From Free Northerner: The Neoreactionary Bargain
The current social order is slowly(?) collapsing. The money’s run out, inflation and cheap debt are reaching the limits of their ability to mask insolvency, the natives are growing increasingly restless, low-level guerilla war is rising, and our culture and cohesion are breaking down. What can not last forever, won’t. Eventually this social order will be replaced.
What will it be replaced by?
One option is a slow limping decline/dark age. Another is simple collapse and anarchy, possibly an on-going low-level civil war. Another possibility, particularly in Europe, is Islam. A fourth possibility is a leftist singularity. The most likely possibility is a right-wing surge of the native population and the violent expulsion of the elites and invaders.
The evidence, however, suggests the system is not collapsing, or if it is, it’s collapsing very slowly, almost imperceptibly. The reasons for this are:
A strong dollar and insatiable demand for low-yielding treasury bonds owing to America’s unassailable reserve currency status.
Strong consumer spending, strong exports, record high corporate profits & earnings, and low inflation. Compared to the rest of the world, America, economically speaking, is doing pretty well.
The technological and intellectual contributions from America’s best and brightest are enough to offset the societal/moral decay. This is the moral decay conundrum (if things seem so bad, why is the economy otherwise so strong?)
Some good news is, online, since 2013 or so, there has been a backlash against social justice warriors, and it’s possible that the backlash will spread off-line as well if Trump becomes president. And themes of HBD and the ‘art right’ are already gaining some mainstream acceptance. Millennials are losing faith in democracy. Those are some reasons for optimism.
But capitalism is changing, favoring a few winners and more losers. It has always been this way, but in the future the ‘winner take all‘ nature of the US economy and society will become more amplified, resulting in the so-called Hobbesian-Locke dichotomy. Technology and globalization could improve living standards by making entertainment abundant and cheap, as well as better treatments for diseases, but it may not bring the personal fulfillment many seek, as explained by Noam Chomsky in why Trump’s popularity is surging:
“Fear, along with the breakdown of society during the neoliberal period,” he said. “People feel isolated, helpless, victim of powerful forces that they do not understand and cannot influence.”
“It’s interesting to compare the situation in the ‘30s, which I’m old enough to remember,” he said. “Objectively, poverty and suffering were far greater. But even among poor working people and the unemployed, there was a sense of hope that is lacking now, in large part because of the growth of a militant labor movement and also the existence of political organizations outside the mainstream.”
This parallels the state of politics today, as I explain in Intellect: The Universal Solvent where since 2012 neither the Democrats nor Republicans are satisfied, with an unmovable ‘status quo’ prevailing, rendering any meaningful change impossible.
Between 2008-2012, both the right and the left were duking it out over Obama, Obamacare, and OWS, but with Obamacare not going anywhere, OWS a failure, and with the economy and nation in autopilot mode, perhaps a pervasive, almost cynical, centrism has dawned, almost a resignation that change is impossible. From 2008-2012, both the right and the left had high hopes, but now empty handed, with gridlock, the status quo, and ‘politics as usual’ winning.
David Brooks sums up politics as a ‘compromise’ where neither side really gets what they want, as a way of non-violently reconciling differences:
Politics is an activity in which you recognize the simultaneous existence of different groups, interests and opinions. You try to find some way to balance or reconcile or compromise those interests, or at least a majority of them. You follow a set of rules, enshrined in a constitution or in custom, to help you reach these compromises in a way everybody considers legitimate.
The downside of politics is that people never really get everything they want. It’s messy, limited and no issue is ever really settled. Politics is a muddled activity in which people have to recognize restraints and settle for less than they want. Disappointment is normal.
This is especially true since 2008 with the bank bailouts, which no one liked but may have ultimately been necessary to stave off something potentially much worse. Although many on the ‘alt right’ (with the possible exception of this blog) opposed the bailouts, in another sense the bailouts exemplify the ‘anti-revolutionary/anti-democracy’ ethos of NRx and, some what related, utilitarianism and the ‘rational right’, which is that the ‘common man’ is naive and irrational and thus should not participate in the decision making processes. Hence, in his appeal to the uneducated, in some ways, Trump may actually be revolutionary, sorta like a right-wing version of Mao, who also courted the uneducated to support his ‘cultural revolution’, although I much prefer Trump’s revolution to Mao’s.
The rise of Trump, and Sanders, represents a backlash against ‘politics as usual’. We’re all dreaming the same dream that someone, some outsider or messianic figure, will awaken the nation from its autopilot stupor.
Rather than collapse, we will likely see a continuation of the aforementioned trends, but more extreme. That means wealth inequity will keep widening, S&P 500 profits & earnings will keep rising, treasury bond yields will remain low, etc. The entitlement spending problem may yield to a eugenics program, hopefully, to address the problem of people who are net-negative to the economy. In this blog I outline solutions, but the likelihood of any of them being implemented in the immediate future are slim. ‘Formalism’ is a possibly, but given the existing close ties between corporations and government, we may already be closer to that than we think.
But there is also the possibility that the biggest tech companies of Silicon Valley, along with tens of thousands of the most productive people, will secede from the Union, forming a sovereign state, sorta like Galt’s Gulch in Atlas Shrugged or the libertarian utopia in Stranger in a Strange Land. Or, even less likely, in the far distant future they gradually overtake the existing US government. This could be done by filling all the major branches of government with technologists, and then gradually phasing out existing democratic institutions, to be replaced by something that bears some resemblance to America today, but also different in many ways, too, although it’s difficult to describe what that would be.