The Age of Kayfabe

Covid, the Capitol protests, and BLM/antifa defined 2020 and the first month of 2021. But things have slowed down over the past few months. Cities are no longer burning, with BLM back in hibernation. The world isn’t falling apart, as many predicted if Biden won. CPI being 4% is a long way from hyperinflation spite of all the news it has gotten. It took unprecedented spending/stimulus to get the CPI to budge from 2% to 4%. Given that such spending is not likely to continue, it stands to reason CPI will fall back to 2% yoy growth. The vaccine has at least allowed some of the restrictions to be lifted, and revealed the left for not being ‘believers in science’ as they purport to be, but rather mask-fanatics in which mask wearing is a part of their identity and culture and an easy way of identifying believers from non-believers.

There is something refreshingly honest and ‘real’ about the scathing, sardonic style of left-wing writing, which you typically do not see with conservative writing, which is more earnest and strait-forward and not as amusing. Maybe liberals are more more emotionally invested in their positions and it comes across in the writing. Conservatives seek to explain why their ideological opponents are wrong, but liberals prefer mockery. Humor as a rhetorical device can be more potent than anything else. This is could explain the huge recent success of The Babylon Bee, which uses sarcasm to mock the woke-left by taking their positions to their logical yet absurd extremes.

For example, from Freddie Deboer The Age of Kayfabe

He writes:

I do not share the belief, whether sincerely held or not, that there is a social revolution occurring. I see no reason to believe that we’re facing anything other than a continued trudge through America’s long phase of declining unipolar dominance, decadent neoliberalism, and spiraling social and economic inequality. Nothing of material importance has changed thanks to the current “awakening,” save perhaps more enthusiastic and brutal enforcement of liberal discourse norms in public life. There’s no reason to believe anything will meaningfully change soon. Tomorrow will be much the same as today. I’m very sorry to say.

I feel the same way. But replace ‘de-fund the police’ with ‘close the borders’ or ‘stop the steal’ and it’s pretty much the same thing. Or replace ‘decadent neoliberalism’ with ‘wokeness’ or ‘cultural Marxism’. Short of some major upheaval even worse than Covid, I don’t see anything changing either.

I see a lot of anger and distrust, from both sides of the aisle, directed at the bureaucracy. There is the perception that Washington is working against ‘the people,’ and view ‘us’ as a burden. Biden supporters are grumbling about the checks being delayed or only getting $1,400 instead of $2,000 as originally promised, or about student loan forginvess not happening (having $30K+ in student loans forgiven sure sounds a lot more appealing than $1,400 anyway).

Biden supporters who are complaining come across as petulant. Trump voters have a right to complain. Biden will deliver far more for his voters than Trump did. Student loan forgiveness, tax hikes, more stimulus checks, etc. are in store. What about Trump ending Middle East wars? But has Biden started any? The narrative in 2019-2020 is that the presumptive democratic nominee would start wars in Iran or Syria for reasons that were never made clear,but I predict no Middle East escalation under Biden.

6 months into Trump’s term, I correctly predicted that Trump would fall short to deliver on any of the stuff he campaigned on, save for tax cuts. It soon became apparent that we were not going to get a wall, no mass deportations of illegals, no ‘returning of manufacturing jobs to America,’ nothing about stopping or at least slowing censorship and de-platformings of conservatives [1] on social media and payment processors. etc. I was not the only one to come to this realization; I think Tucker came to it too, as did Ann Coulter and others. So the remainder of Trump’s presidency meant having to suspend disbelief by rationalizing that Trump was a really effective and great leader, a great businessman, and a great negotiator, when he wasn’t really much of any of those. He was alright but not that great.

But it’s hard to evaluate the performance of the Trump administration because his biggest policy successes (Covid stimulus, vaccine production) were not part of his original campaign. The economy boomed under Trump and continues to boom (as measured by GDP gains and other metrics), but in terms of the culture wars, it felt like another loss. Tax cuts for the very individuals and companies who push CRT, does not feel like winning to me. Ted Cruz can grill Dorsey about treating Twitter as a publisher, but if nothing comes of it, what’s the point. Like pro wrestling, it is just for show.

[1] More like anyone to the right of Ban Shapiro or Dennis Prager, which could also explain the apathy of politicians to do anything about it. Mainstream conservatives are probably happy to see their competitors gone.