baduin (baduin) wrote,

The Last Revolution in America

The current events in Wisconsin look like the start of the revolution. A lower tier of the ruling class - the government employee unions, are being sacrificed, with the full support of the population. Of course, the ultimate result will be the same as always: the increased power of elites, with some important changes in the membership of that elite. And the elite will be smaller.

Republicans and Democrats are two faces of the same elitary coin. Since 1968 the roles of both sides have reversed, however. It is Left which is reactionary and elitist (although it uses various stratagems and mental constructs to deny it) and Right which is progressive, utopian and at least rhetorically populist (but, of course, in essence still elitary).

Here are some funny quotes from our Brahmin golden youth about the Great Unwashed. See comments for clear and concise examples of the contempt our (would-be) elite feels for the unruly serfs. This is the view prevailing on the left since 1968.

"This is my advice to any aspiring dictator; early on in your career, identify and inventory all the self-pitying, bullying shitheads your country has to offer. Anyone with a grievance, a beer belly and enough strength to swing a pickaxe handle will do. You don't need to bother with military training or discipline because they're hopefully never going to be used as a proper military force - just concentrate on nuturing their sense that they, despite appearances, are the backbone of the country, and allowing them to understand that although rules are rules, there are some people who just need a slap. The bigger and burlier the better, but when the time comes they'll be fighting in groups against people weaker than themselves, often under cover of darkness, so numbers are more important than anything else. The extractive industries are indeed often a good source, as are demobbed veterans (Zimbabwe) or the laity of an established religion.

    I think this is my new rule for assessing the stability of any dictatorship around the world, and I am on the lookout for any Francis Fukuyama style book contracts. The key factor in determining the survival of repressive regimes isn't economics, religion or military success. It's arseholes.


Cian said...

    Yeah this was one of the key differences between Iran and what's going on now [1]. Not sure it entirely applies to the US in the 60s though. Best I can work out they were more propagandistic (union men for Nixon) than practical in the main. Plus the students weren't terribly popular with the general population, which always helps...

    My guess is that Jordan is safe, don't know enough about Syria, but hey don't the Saudis look worried... Now that would be fun.

    [1] The others being a rural/city divide (actually quite useful), and the fact the regime is rather more popular than western correspondents realize due to their inherent biases.

Anonymous StlInquirer said...

    I'm not sure I could have written a better description of the characteristics of our beloved Tea Party Patriots. They're a reactionary guard just waiting for the right dictator to come along so they can start punching some hippies and telling young whippersnappers what's what. Good thing Bush hadn't realized they were ready to go - we dodged a bullet when Bush didn't marshal them to get an indefinite term in office though he certainly did a bang-up job of laying down a solid foundation of the principles of a dictator-lite kind of regime - torture, citizen surveillance, hypernationalism, suppression of dissent, stacking the civil service with political apparatchiks, cronyism, appropriation of state resoures for wealthy patrons, military tribunals, suspension of basic rights, disappearances, extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention, unwise military adventures, lack of curiousity or shame, and general disdain for regular people and democracy. Good thing, we're a democratic republic and we rose up and put an end to all that. Sigh."

Both Republicans and Democrats stand now for  the increasing control of the masses by the elites - always in the name of democracy and freedom, of course. And that elite is always shrinking, with unnecessary parts of it thrown under the bus.

(Of course, elite is right - masses MUST be controlled, and if the run riot in an uncontrolled democracy, the only result possible is a calamity. The only problem is that our current elite is not fit to control a herd of swine).

Bureaucracy was useful once, when the original progressives at the beginning of XX century wanted elections to stop mattering. Hence the elimination of the spoil system, etc. Politicians became the elected face of unchanging perpetual government.

But bureaucracy became too big, too entrenched, too democratic itself.

The control must be always increased. Now the universal idea is public-private partnership and the replacing of bureaucracy with publicans, using Roman terms, or financial feudalists - private corporations doing goverment work.

The coming collapse of American budget and financial system will certainly cause a right wing victory, with quite persuasive majority. (I hope that President Obama will manage to be reelected first, before the collapse comes.) And this majority will demand cuts in the government expenses, esp. in expenses for the governmental unions. This is Parkinson principle: the expenses for the unions are understandable. Those people are no bit better than the electors themselves, and they get much better money and security. This will not be tolerated.

Again, this is something both left and right elites agree upon - although Democrats must, for electoral reasons, support their unions, at least a bit. In fact, this is an international trend supported by the general elite feeling (modern elites - and would-be elites - are remarkably well coordinated). In England this was done by both Thatcher and Labour, with disastrous consequences for the state as such, but very profitably for corporations and other beings.

This is best explained as Liberalism 5.0 by Walter Russell Mead

"Uniting all four liberal versions is a belief in the individual conscience and a drive to find a creative compromise between the individual’s drive for self-expression and free action and the need for a stable society.  There is a belief that an open, dynamic society will lead to a better life for all and that promoting ordered liberty is the morally obligatory as well as the pragmatically desirable thing to do.  All four versions were grounded in the history, philosophy, literature and culture of the western world – while progressively opening to new ideas and perceptions from within and beyond the west.  All four versions were pragmatic, developing their visions and ordering their priorities based on an understanding of what their society’s abilities and limits were.

All four versions have something else in common: none of them can serve as the political program for the heirs of the two great revolutions today.  We don’t want the constitutional monarchy and Anglican establishment of William III; we don’t want the aristocratic, limited franchise republic of George Washington.  We don’t want the Manchester liberalism of the British and American radicals of the 1860s; and we don’t want the progressive, managerial state that liberals and progressives built in the first two thirds of the twentieth century.

That doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t admire, learn from, and build on the accomplishments of each iteration of the revolutionary tradition.  But our job today is to begin to put together a new synthesis of the enduring liberal values in the 21st century: liberalism 5.0.

Over the next couple of weeks I will have more to say about what liberalism 5.0 is going to be about. Like earlier versions, it will build on the best of what has gone before while making adjustments – radical when necessary, though never gratuitously so – to existing beliefs and institutions.  5.0 liberals will challenge the right of 4.0 liberals to the magic L-word, seeking both to convince 4.0 liberals to come on back to the future — and denouncing those that don’t as the blinkered reactionaries and speed bumps they are."

Classical Walter Russell Mead - the archetypal Anglo-Saxon thinker. Very insightful in some aspects, and utterly blind in others.

Eg. what he calls liberalism 4.0 was defeated in 1968. The time from 1945 to 1968 was in many aspect the best era in the history of the world, the only truly democratic state with welfare for the masses - in other words, the reign of Antichrist, and realised utopia.

Very rightly, it came to be hated by both left and right, but mostly left, and was subverted from the left since 1968.  It would have fallen anyway - the true democracy is simply unworkable, since it has no way to discipline the underlings, and as the result the excessive demands of the unions were eating Western economies alive. It is not only money: they demanded to have written down rules for the way the factories were to be run, and this made effective management impossible.

But it didn't really got the chance. It was pushed before it could jump.The new left is not ruled by the Antichrist, the spirit of utopia, but by Apollyon, the spirit of destruction.

Walter Russell Mead is essentially undistinguishable from Palin, except that he certainly despises her utterly. He is more intelligent, of course.

As for his liberalism 5.0, it will be undoubtly based on free market, moral liberalism, social mobility, social networks, desktop manufacturing, 3D printers, etc.
"Thus the new industrial organizational model. It’s built around small pieces, loosely joined. Companies are small, virtual, and informal. Most participants are not employees. They form and re-form on the fly, driven by ability and need rather than affiliation and obligation. It doesn’t matter who the best people work for; if the project is interesting enough, the best people will find it."

The only problem with it is that it will not work.
 "   * The elimination of benefits.  A complete shift of risk to individuals.  Costs are rising fast (often many, many times the rate of core inflation) and one slip puts you into bankruptcy.
    * Record levels of job dissatisfaction (waiting for the next great project never happens on your schedule).
    * Stagnation or a steady erosion of income at best (many see an immediate drop in income or long periods of unemployment between gigs with a shift to temporary status) due to pressure from off-shoring and automation.
In short, it's a disaster that's sweeping the economy. That being said, work is moving to a just in time model and it is not going back."

This new system (we can call it Apple capitalism) will transfer money upward, creating a small elite class of owners, and the broad mass of peons. Except that owners will be producers, and peons with no money will be expected to buy all this product - with what money?.

As a result, money will be very tight, and very quickly there will come rather dramatic attempts to make this work. When people go hungry, they become angry, and demand quick solutions. Government will be cut down, parasites will be eliminated, privileged classes, races and genders will stop being priviledged - in practice, if not in theory. If no one has a normal job, it does not matter if women and blacks have privileges in a job.

There will be a desperate battle between various types of entepreneurs, waged through their hired (mostly right-wing) politicians. Old type manufacturing will go down quickly, but financials will also fail, after desperate defense. I expect a small group of Apple-type networked enterpreneurs to remain.

They are certainly personally very liberal, and any movement dominated by them will be socially liberal. On the other hand, the economy will have to be fixed - unless they want to share the fate of Mubarak. And the crowd will have to be promised their utopia, with some plausible way to get it.

In short, many of the remaining Left-wing factions will have to be cut down. Especially those which cost money and do not help economy.

A term "revolution" is not too much, because this process will require the destruction of intellectual leadership of USA - all universities etc. will have to go, except those which can make themselves useful - either mass practical education through internet, or a handful of Ivies, with suitably adjusted program, to teach the new elite.

This was also posted on the forum on John Reilly's website.
Tags: civilisations, revolution, spengler, tea party, toynbee, usa, wisconsin
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