The Truth About Health Care

Yesterday’s post, was tangentially about health care, but it got a lot of responses about health care. It is a funny subject, in that everyone starts from the premise that everything has been the way it is now since forever. The Left has been so good at proselytizing about government run health care for the last 25 years that the public suffers from collective amnesia. We forget that no one complained about insurance very much a generation ago and no one expected miracles from medicine. Health care was just not a big topic.

After a quarter century of chanting about health care, most everyone seems to buy into the belief that it is a fountain high up on Magic Mountain. It is guarded by the twin dragons of Big Pharma and Big Insurance. The keepers of the faith sent their paladin, Barak Obama, to slay the dragons so that the people could dip their cup into the fountain of health care, getting all they need. His failure to accomplish this is proof that the dragons are mighty and therefore the most extreme weapons must be deployed.

It’s all ridiculous nonsense, of course, but that’s where we are with the topic. All goods and services are rationed. That’s an iron law of the universe. There are no exceptions. The rationing is either done though control of the supply or through price. In America, a massively convoluted system to control supply has evolved so that the people do not see the cost of health services. This lets a long list of skimmers attach themselves to the system so that prices go up, even though the quality of service often declines.

The question no one ever asks is how to make it cheaper. Follow the talking heads on the subject and they will never address making the price of services cheaper. Instead, they prattle on about access and risk pools and other terms they think sound clever. The reason is not that they view health care as a right. It is because they see it as a privilege to be dispensed by the Cloud People to the Dirt People. Allowing a free market for health services would take all the fun out of being a Cloud Person.

Even so, the goal of any health care reform should be making it cheaper, especially the common care items. The two areas where health care has gotten much better and much cheaper are dentistry and eye care, both of which are usually paid for out of pocket and have low barriers to entry. Veterinary medicine is the most obvious example of what happens to prices when you have anything resembling a marketplace. That’s also why the people in charge will never allow competition for health services. Their donors hate it.

The other aspect of health care is the quality of medicine. The truth is, the advance of medicine has been very slow and is not looking to speed up in the near future. The great leaps in health are a) diet, b) antibiotics and c) sanitation and d) a crackdown on quackery. All of these things are products of the last century. Some treatments are much better than fifty years ago, but cure rates for most diseases have not budged. Death, of course, remains a universal constant. Medical advances are glacial, not revolutionary.

As Greg Cochran pointed out the other day, a free market in medicine is probably not the answer, any more than a government monopoly has been. The truth is we don’t know a lot of about the human body and the diseases that afflict it. Genetics promises to open the door to a vast new trove of learning about human biology and medicine, but that’s not going to speed up with any government health care scheme. This is a science problem, not an economics problem and that takes the time it takes.

Finally, the problem of health insurance starts with understanding that there is no such thing as health insurance. What we have in America is an elaborate system of cost shifting. The young are forced to pay for the old. The healthy are forced to pay for the sick. The government and their buddies in the insurance business get a piece of the action. Nowhere in America can you buy insurance in case you have a stroke or just for the chance you fall off your roof.  Everyone’s plan is designed by the government.

This is a problem that is easily solved in theory, but nearly impossible to solve in reality because insurance companies have billions to spend on politicians. There’s also the fact that generations of Americans have become conditioned to having someone else pay their doctor bills. All the reforms that would work require people paying their own way and that will never happen on purpose. It’s why the current system will mostly likely stagger along until it collapses. At that point, we end up with government insurance.

That’s the truth of health care in America. The system, at its best, is a web of lies designed to shield the citizens from reality. At its worst, it is a complicated skimming operations so the people at the top can squeeze a bit more from the middle-class. It does not have to be this way, but until we resurrect the national razor, nothing substantive will change until it collapses. At which point, the “solution” will be something worse like national health care or single payer insurance.

Good Riddance

President Obama is about to shuffle off the stage next week as his term finally comes to a close. He has been spending the last weeks of his presidency celebrating himself. This has included giving himself some awards and giving a farewell address that no one bothered to watch. He and his old lady have been popping up on every liberal TV chat show, and sitting with even minor reporters, for farewell interviews. All of which is supposed to be a victory lap, but it feels more like last call at a local dive.

All of this is being done while members of his cult rend their garments and cry out to the void where God used to exist, asking for deliverance from what they imagine comes next. Moonbats from around the nation have been doing what they can to draw attention to their grief over the end of the age of Obama. The last week has been a weird celebration of what will be remembered as an unremarkable time in the nation’s history. In the long run, putting an exotic weirdo in the White House will not seem very significant.

Naturally, the press is feverishly working on their hagiographies about the Obama age, but they are finding the material to be resistant. Obama’s signature achievement is a big bureaucratic nightmare that most people see as a mistake. Everyone in Washington understands ObamaCare has to be removed, root and branch, but the debate is how to do it without hurting the feelings of The Cult. The political class knows they have to do something about the spiraling insurance costs set off by ObamaCare, so it will eventually be repealed.

The rest of the Obama record ranges from the narcissistic to the pointlessly petulant. Normalizing relations with Cuba is probably the only thing he can point to that makes any sense. The Cold War has been over for 25 years. No one is putting missiles in Cuba so there’s no point in maintaining the embargo. The Iran deal promises to be a fiasco in the long run, but for now it is just a big giveaway to his coreligionists in order to spite the Jews. US oil companies also got a big giveaway as they are now allowed to do business with the mullahs. Otherwise, it changes nothing.

Modern presidents get too much credit and too much blame for what happens in their time. To be fair to Obama, he inherited a mess from his predecessor. The Bush Klan blew up the Middle East and left the economy a smoking ruin. You can debate the last part, as that seems like a disaster created by the political class in general, rather than the work of just one party. But, Bush started too unwinnable wars and left them for Obama. The best you can say about the Obama foreign policy, though, is he did not start a third unwinnable war.

Even so, Obama will not go down as the worst president in the post-WW2 era as his legacy is mostly nothing. Like the disco era, this will be a time that people describe with, “You really had to be there to understand why it was important.” Once the people who lived through are gone, no one will have any reason to talk about the first black president, other than on whatever day his cult venerates him. That’s the funny thing about being the first to do anything. Most of the time, being the first is the only thing you did worth mentioning.

The reason Obama was a do-nothing President is he was always just a symbol, rather than a man with his own ideas and agenda. The Cult selected him because he ticked all the boxes, with regards to their fantasy of the perfect black guy. He was black, but you know, not really black. Most important, he confirmed all of their opinions about themselves and their ideology. The Cult of Modern Liberalism never cared much about Obama the man, they only cared for as a symbol on their coat of arms.

Obama came to power with an extraordinary opportunity to pass his agenda. He had a huge majority in the House and a 60-seat majority in the Senate. His first big act was to let Nancy Pelosi pass a massive package of freebies for the Democrat Party supporters. Then he sat by and let them turn health care in to a circus of incompetence. His party’s leaders made clear from the onset that his job was to be their pitchman. They had no interest in what he had to say. His job was to sell their plan to the public.

That’s something the liberal media will skip over as they write their re-imagined histories of the Obama years. The other thing they will skip is the very superficial appeal of Obama. He was always just a black guy. Liberal whites and blacks supported him because he was a black guy, not because of anything he said or proposed to do as President. It’s why no one ever quotes an Obama speech. He was always the smiling black guy on the brochure. His efforts to promote Democratic candidates failed because that narrow charm is never transferable.

All of this belies a greater problem with the Left in the technological age. It is mostly just symbolism and ritual. It has nothing concrete to offer in the digital age because it is an ideology crafted in the industrial age. In 2008, the Left promised an anxious public that this gift to the void where God once stood would usher in the glorious future. Instead it was eight years of a stagnant economy, terrorism and droning speeches from a man who, in the end, had only one thing to say that mattered to anyone.

Good riddance.

New Solutions

The generally accepted theory among archaeologists is that humans began to settle down and transition to agriculture about 15,000 years ago. It did not happen all of a sudden nor did it happen everywhere. The first large scale settlements arose in places that were the most hospitable to people just mastering agriculture. The region between the Yellow River and Yangtze River, Mesopotamia and the Indus River Valley are thought to be the first places humans developed large scale settlements.

The big challenge for the first settled people was how to pick leaders. Hunter-gatherers had an easy solution for this. The best warrior or most senior male would be in charge of the group. Since the groups were small and composed of related males, disputes could be worked out at the personal level. If Trog turned out to be a bad leader, Trog would fall off a cliff or have a hunting accident. Once the group got too big for this to work, cousin Grog would lead his kin off to form a new clan somewhere else.

Once groups of humans began to settle down in close proximity with one another, conflict was inevitable. That’s most likely why the first settled societies happened in the fertile river valleys. They were good for human habitation, so populations grew. Before long the population density made group conflict inevitable. In time, one group would come to dominate and absorb other groups. The old Grog clan from above would take over the Trog clan and maybe some others. The result was a tribe distantly related people.

Picking leaders to rule over unrelated people required different habits and different rules than picking a leader for the small group of related people. Once you get past second cousins, family relations are not all the close. Then you have the habit of marrying off women to other groups in order to broker peace and cement agreements. Governing can no longer be personal. You need a system to develop and select leaders, adjudicate disputes and delegate authority.

There are many ways to pick leaders, but the real challenge is how to deal with a bad selection. The Roman Republic solved this with what amounted to term limits. The Roman Empire relied on assassination to solve the problem. The Chinese never have figured out how to remove defective rulers, but they did come up with a very good way to filter them out before they gained power. Mao remains the best example of what happens when their filtering fails. The Great Leap Forward killed between 30 and 50 million people.

The European method that developed after the fall of Rome was feudalism. The king had to rely on the large land owners for money and soldiers. Those large landowners often relied on lesser nobles to collect food rents and conscript men for soldier work. This system put limits on the power of rulers, so a tyrant or lunatic could be controlled until he fell off his horse or got some bad wine. It was not perfect, but it protected the landowners from a predatory tyrant or a dangerously ambitious monarch.

The other unique thing about Europe that effected the evolution of governance is the fact that no one group was ever able to dominate the rest of the continent. The Qin unified China over 2000 years ago. Various Arab tribes dominated the Near and Middle East for very long periods. The Romans dominated Europe, of course, but that domination was their undoing. The cost of holding the Empire together exceeded the benefits of keeping it, leading to the collapse of the Western Empire. The fact that the Eastern Empire held on is not an accident. Europe is not built for unification.

Europe’s governing structure where rulers were limited and ethnic groups competed with one another, but were never able to fully conquer one another, was probably the recipe that eventually led the West to race ahead of the world economically, militarily and technologically. There’s more to that story, but things like the rule of law and property rights were essential ingredients for the Industrial Revolution. Without property rights and limits on the state’s ability seize property, there’s no reason to save and invest.

The sudden changes in governance that swept Europe coincided with the Industrial Revolution. One way of looking at the French Revolution is that the old governing model was built for an economic system that was being replaced by a new economic system, one that would require a new governing model. Liberal democracy has only flourished in nations with merchants and manufacturing. Industry does not automatically lead to democracy (China), but in order to have self-government you need a market economy.

The point of all this is that social structures like liberal democracy are not the product of inevitable historical forces. The Chinese form of government is the product of the evolutionary history of the Chinese people. Pluralism, openness, self-government, the rule of law, all the things we associate with liberal democracy, are the product of the unique history of the people of Europe. It is why they have proven to be impossible to transplant to other parts of the world. The rest of the world is not built for Western social structures.

That’s a lot of book length material summarized into a few paragraphs, but it is an important lesson of history. The people of the West have unique organizational structures because they have unique histories. As a result, they have different human capital, because the people evolved with those social structures. These small differences on the individual level, roll up to be rather large differences when expressed in customs and social institutions. Just as important is the fact that it is ongoing. People and their societies continue to evolve.

With that in mind, what we call liberal democracy is the product of the industrial age when making and selling things was the core of European economies. The challenge every ruler in Europe faced in the 17th century was how to get the most of the available human capital. That not only meant getting everyone working, it meant increasing each worker’s productivity. If you are going to have a big standing army, for example. your farmers have to produce lots of surplus food and supplies for that army.

The technological revolution is going to lead to a different economic model. Instead of one that gets the most from the available human capital, the new economy will be one that gets the most from technological capital. The robot revolution is oversold, but the future will require fewer people to produce the goods and services we demand. It is not just labor being replaced with machines. It is intellectual capital being replaced with technology. The future is about how best to organize society when technology is handling the bulk of work.

The so-called populist uprising in the West, seen through this prism, takes on a different color. For instance, the reason Hillary Clinton lost is that technology allowed for a different type of campaign and new way around the government controlled media. The establishment showed up in its 1960’s muscle car and the challengers arrived in Teslas. In 2016, the twitter account of thousands of alt-right types carried as much weight as the pages of the New York Times.

This post is going on too long, so let’s wrap this up. In 1789, no one in France could imagine what was coming. That’s in part because they had not noticed the demographic and economic changes that had been going on for generations, which led to the Industrial Revolution. The modern West has been in a post-industrial phase for at least a generation, maybe two. Yet, the organizational model we have is still an industrial one. Consider this. Who has more power? Congress or Google? Your PM or Tim Cook?

It may not be 1789 all over again, but these populist uprisings that are vexing Western leaders could simply be the tremors that precede the earthquake of social upheaval, as the old organization system falters in the face of new challenges. Ours is a less violent age so Madame Guillotine will not be making an appearance, but systematically altering the governance model is not out of the question. Our constitutions were not handed down by God. They were always temporary solutions to immediate challenges. We have new challenges and maybe social democracy has run its course.

The Face of Modern Antisemitism

In a speech delivered Wednesday, that was supposed to be the pièce de résistance for one of the dumbest men to take up space in the political class, John Forbes Kerry declared himself an anti-Semite. He was not that polite about either. If he had simply said, “I hate Jews” that would be better than what he actually said. Specifically he said, “Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, but it cannot be both.” In other words, he hates the very concept of Judaism, not just a particular manifestation of it.

The implication, the only way to interpret it, is that he thinks Judaism is incompatible with liberal democracy. There’s never been a time when he has hinted at the same argument with regards to Islam. He has not even said this about Christianity. That would be laughably stupid, but Lurch is a laughably stupid man. No, he specifically singled out Judaism for this argument. Judaism is incompatible with democracy. Presumably, he would argue that Jews can either be Jewish or citizens of a democracy, but not both.

Sensible people have pointed out for years that Islam is incompatible with modern liberal democracy. The reason we say this is Muslims regularly say that Islam is incompatible with Western liberalism. Logically, Imams and Muslim scholars are good authorities on these issues so taking them at their word is a good idea. The fact that everywhere Muslims get to vote they go for theocracy confirms these claims. Muslims are not fond of democracy and they really hate modern liberal democracy.

Israel is a Jewish state and a liberal democracy. Christians and Muslims are free to do their thing, as long as they abide by the laws of Israel, which are written by the Israeli parliament. In theory, Israelis could vote to fling open their borders and let the Muslims pour into the country. They can vote for all sorts of things, because it is a democracy, but they choose to be a Jewish state that preserves itself as the homeland of world Jewry. As a sovereign people, that is their right and consistent with western liberal democracy.

John Kerry disagrees. He does not thinks Jews have a place in a liberal democracy, even one of their own. The modern Progressive sees national and ethnic identity as obstacles to the glorious future. It’s why they embrace open borders and multiculturalism. They truly believe that obliterating ethnic and national identity is the key to the lock. Jews are the most stubborn of ethnic groups because they combine race and religion into a single, immutable identity. That simply cannot work in the glorious future.

It was always just a matter of time before American progressives got around to Jew-hating. Once you go down the road of multiculturalism, you eventually end up trying to erase anything resembling cultural identity. Now that you-know-who is far enough in the past, no longer in the rear view mirror for most people, taking on the tree stump of ethnic identity was inevitable. For 2,000 years, Jews have kept their thing going in the West, despite every conceivable attempt to erase them. Now it is the Left’s shot at them.

The Company Men

Since the major news outlets are run by the Cult, all of the focus has been on how the Cult is dealing with the calamity of November 8, 2016. Even two months on, members of the Cult are throwing tantrums in order draw attention to their grief. For example, two degenerates had to be removed from a plane because they objected to Ivanka Trump riding on the same plane. Unfortunately, the plane was still on the tarmac when they were removed. Then there are the daily hoaxes, which are part of their grieving process.

Less noticed is the ongoing collapse of the Conventional Right into irrelevancy as it copes with the sudden realization that no one cares what they think. National Review, for example, has seen its traffic collapse since they went NeverTrump. The ridiculous person they have running the joint these days is out begging for money to redesign the site again. The implication is that bad technology is the reason no one reads National Review. The fact that they publish nonsense like this gets no mention at staff meetings, I bet.

While it is amusing to watch silly people like Charles Cooke struggle with the reality of his situation, there are some intelligent and thoughtful people in the Conventional Right trying to make sense of things. They correctly see the rise of Trump, and the emergence of a counter culture on the Right, as a dire threat to their thing. After all, why bother consulting the grovelers at National Review when they are always wrong and there are alternatives out there getting it right?

This long piece by Matthew Continetti the other day is a good read for a number of reasons. Continetti is married to a daughter of Bill Kristol and he is a true believer in the neo-conservative faith. Take that however you like. This is the first bit of interest.

I have been thinking about Gavin lately because his life and thought so perfectly capture the conservatism of Donald Trump. When you read Gavin, you begin to understand that the idea of Trump as a conservative is not oxymoronic. Trump is a conservative—of a particular type that is rare in intellectual circles. His conservatism is ignored or dismissed or opposed because, while it often reaches the same conclusions as more prevalent versions of conservatism, its impulses, emphases, and forms are different from those of traditionalism, anti-Communism, classical liberalism, Leo Strauss conservatism in its East and West Coast varieties, the neoconservatism of Irving Kristol as well as the neoconservatism of William Kristol, religious conservatism, paleo-conservatism, compassionate conservatism, constitutional conservatism, and all the other shaggy inhabitants of the conservative zoo.

Like most of the box-tickers in the managerial class, Continetti is largely unaware of what constitutes conservatism in English speaking countries. For men of the Conventional Right, conservatism is a list of policies and poses that define their relationship with Progressives. The idea that conservatism is a temperament, rather than a laundry list of policy proposals is alien to these guys. They are men of the multiple choice exam. Their options are always bounded by the number of choices provided to them.

Moving along, this bit offers a glimpse into the mind of the neo-cons as they face the dustbin of history.

Trump has always been careful to distinguish himself from what he calls “normal conservative.” He has defined a conservative as a person who “doesn’t want to take risks,” who wants to balance budgets, who “feels strongly about the military.” It is for these reasons, he said during the campaign, that he opposed the Iraq war: The 2003 invasion was certainly risky, it was costly, and it put the troops in a dangerous position, defending a suspicious and resentful population amid IEDs and sniper attacks. The Iraq war, in this view, is an example of conservative writers and thinkers and politicians following trains of logic or desire to un-conservative conclusions.

One of the things that never gets discussed is just how spectacularly wrong the Conventional Right was about the response to 9/11, particularly Iraq. Everything the neo-cons said about the Muslim world in the Bush years turned out to be wrong – disastrously wrong. There was a prohibition on pointing this out for a while, but Trump said it, in South Carolina of all places, and paid no price for it. Pretty much the only refuge for the neo-cons is to pretend that everyone was wrong and that Trump was just lucky in his opposition to the “invade the world” portion of neo-conservatism.

This bit is comical because it highlights the foreignness of the neo-cons and the Conventional Right.

The conservatism of Donald Trump is not the conservatism of ideas but of things. His politics do not derive from the works of Burke or Disraeli or Newman, nor is he a follower of Mill or Berlin or Moynihan. There is no theory of natural rights or small government or international relations that claims his loyalty. When he says he wants to “conserve our country,” he does not mean conserve the idea of countries, or a league of countries, or the slogans of democracy or equality or freedom, but this country, right now, as it exists in the real world of space and time. Trump’s relation to the intellectual community of both parties is fraught because his visceral, dispositional conservatism leads him to judgments based on specific details, depending on changing circumstances, relative to who is gaining and who is losing in a given moment.

What he is alluding to here is the deeply held belief, among Conventional Conservatives, that the true leaders of society are the men who manipulate ideas, not the men who manipulate other men or manipulate things. The great revulsion for Trump among our betters is they see him as a man that makes his way managing people things. He is not a man who operates in the realm of ideas. Therefore, he is disqualified from leading society. Continetti sees himself as Trump’s intellectual and moral superior.

This bit is laugh out loud funny.

His is a blunt and instinctive and demotic approach arrived at after decades in the zero-sum world of real estate and entertainment contract negotiations. His are sentiments honed by immediate, knee jerk, and sometimes inelegant reactions to events and personalities observed on Twitter or on “the shows.” And the goal of his particular conservatism is not adherence to an ideological program so much as it is to prevent the loss of specific goods: money, soldiers, guns, jobs, borders, national cohesion.

Guys like Continetti would not last five minutes in the world of real estate or the world of fast food, for that matter. If he were to get a job with Trump’s organization, it would be as a doorman or desk clerk. Maybe in a decade or so he could be in a position to make a decision, like selecting a cleaning contractor or a building maintenance vendor. The reason the Conventional Right is in crisis is that normal, conservative people, have grown weary of the smug condescension from useless know-it-alls like Continetti.

In fairness to Continetti, he does seem to be figuring it out a bit.

It is this specificity of attachment rather than adherence to a program that explains the divide between street corner conservatives and their political brethren. Many of the conservatives in Washington, D.C., myself included, arrived at their politics through study or experience at university, by encountering a great text, the coherence of natural law, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, or the economics of Smith, Ricardo, Friedman, and Tullock. That is not the case for the street corner conservatives.

Continetti cannot bring himself to contemplate how the people he labels “street corner conservatives” arrived at their positions. That would require a degree of self-awareness that he lacks. He is far too concerned with distancing himself from these people, because Conventional Conservatism is nothing more than a buffer between the dominant ideology of Progressivism and the rest of us. In their heads, they are standing athwart history yelling “stop”, but in reality they are standing in front of you yelling “stop.”

I’ve gone way too long so I’ll circle back to this another day, but the whole vibe from the Conventional Right is of a collection of middle managers after a takeover. They are still wrapping their heads around the fact that the guys coming in are now in charge. The old company men will have to demonstrate their worth or be tossed out like obsolete furniture. In the end, they will come around, because they have no choice, but there will be plenty of moaning and complaining along the way.

Europe’s Bloody Future

One aspect of the continuing crisis in Europe that is never discussed is why the people allegedly responsible for the welfare of their people, continue to act so irresponsibly. Closely linked to this is why the people in these countries have been so passive toward their ruler’s flagrant disregard for their duties. In any previous era, the terrorist attack on the Berlin Christmas market would have led to a swift response from government, because doing anything else would have the people in the streets building a scaffold for their rulers.

Germany continues to have a reputation for effective and efficient government administration, despite the fact all the evidence suggests Germany is now run by a collection of thumbless boobs. As someone on Sailer’s site noted, this is not a new thing. Germany has been operating like a drunk on holiday for quite some time. Angela Merkel’s decision to import a million violent low-IQ barbarians is just the most egregious example of the reckless disregard for their duties by the German rulers and the indifference of the German people to it.

It’s not just the Germans, either. The French have been tolerating the importation of useless savages from North Africa for decades. Paris is now a small tourist area surrounded by Bronze Age cavemen. Every election, the French people come out and vote for the guy promising to murder more French citizens, because the alternative risks being called a racist and that’s worse than death. The fact that millions of otherwise sensible people can vote in favor of suicide like this speaks to the power of belief.

The Europeans, at least a great many of them, are infected by the same virus that has infected many Americans. They have embraced the most extreme forms of multiculturalism, where opposition to racism is the highest calling. In America, this results in finding the nearest black guy and parading him around the streets or putting him in the White House. Secondarily it has meant an embrace of open borders and the celebration of degeneracy, but the primary focus is always on race. In recent times, it’s been black history month twelve months a year.

In Europe it is a bit different as they don’t have the long shadow of  the English Civil War and slavery. Instead, the afflicted become convinced that there is no difference between people. Since difference is the sole reason for borders, any hint of a border is tantamount to bringing back Nazism. The result is open borders above all else. Even the small steps they have taken to control the flow of barbarians into Europe were done reluctantly and after many public proclamations about how awful everyone feels about defending themselves from the hordes.

How this has happened is not a topic discussed in polite company or by the chattering classes. Read through all of the news accounts and commentary about the Berlin attack and no where do you see any questions about whether it was wise to import a million barbarians. That’s just assumed. Instead, the speculation is over how the natives somehow drove this poor barbarian to fulfill his purpose as a barbarian. The European media reads like the patient newsletter at an insane asylum.

One cause of this is the Cold War. For close to fifty years, Western Europe was America’s daycare center. Americans did all the heavy lifting with regard to the defense of Western Civilization both militarily and economically. European elites were allowed to play dress up and pretend to be in charge, but everyone knew the Americans were in charge. If something broke, America fixed it. If someone got an ouchy, America would salve their boo-boo. The Pax Americana allowed the West to remain in a state of perpetual adolescence.

The result was at least one generation of leaders lacking any training in responsible government. They dress up like proper rulers, but they have no idea what it means to defend their people. In fact, they don’t even think about the hoi polloi as their people. They are just the great unwashed, an undifferentiated mass of greedy mouths and grasping hands. They were free to evolve this way because the Americans were always there to make sure nothing bad happened. As the protective bubble is removed, all of this being exposed.

At some point, people get tired of being murdered. The young German with a taste for politics is going to start to question why he is loyal to people, who show more concern for foreigners than they do for him. A lesson of the French Revolution is that once people begin to question the legitimacy of the system, everything is soon up for grabs. The reckless disregard for their duties, by people like Merkel, is planting the seeds for something much worse than the monthly Exploding Mohamed we see in the news.

Whether or not it is too late to save Europe is open for debate. It is also possible that more sober minded politicians will rise up, push aside the reckless and begin the task of rebuilding their countries. The future is not written and there is no such thing as the tide of history. Even so, it appears Europe is headed for a very ugly and perhaps bloody reckoning. No society can last when its rulers are perpetually at war with its people and that is what Europe is today. At some point, the people will join the war.

The Fake News

There’s not much new under the sun. Governments have been putting out propaganda to fool the public since the first guy figured out he could order some other guys to stack one rock on another. The trick is for the people in charge to appear to believe their own bravo sierra, but not actually believe it. If a ruler begins to think he is actually a god, for example, he is going to start making terrible errors. He needs the people to think he is a god, but he has to know he is a man and vulnerable to all the same defects as any other man.

Put another way, rulers must never get high off their own supply. A good example of this is the agit-prop about the Russians hacking the election. Polling shows that close to 60% of the public thinks the “Russians hacked us” stories are ridiculous. About 20% seem to think it happened and matters. That 20% is most assuredly the back benchers from the Cult of Modern Liberalism. That would not be a big deal, except the news media and the White House, at least for a few more weeks, are run by these people.

The result is the Obama White House is getting pressure from their toadies in the press to do something about the Russian hacking that never actually happened.

Over the past four months, American intelligence agencies and aides to President Obama assembled a menu of options to respond to Russia’s hacking during the election, ranging from the obvious — exposing President Vladimir V. Putin’s financial ties to oligarchs — to the innovative, including manipulating the computer code that Russia uses in designing its cyberweapons.

But while Mr. Obama vowed on Friday to “send a clear message to Russia” as both a punishment and a deterrent, some of the options were rejected as ineffective, others as too risky. If the choices had been better, one of the aides involved in the debate noted recently, the president would have acted by now.

The options are risky because the White House knows the hacking story was made up to pacify the lunatics. They also know the Russians know it was made up. Creating a diplomatic crisis over something both sides know is a fiction – and a ridiculous one at that – is very dangerous. The Russians will assume there must be some other reason for the move. Once countries are left to guess about motives, things can spiral out of control quickly. Thus the White House has to just make a show of it, but not actually do anything.

The “Russians hacked us” stuff does show how the Left is expert at narrative management. They can easily retrofit the past, even the very recent past, into the official story line. If necessary, they will rewrite the narrative on the fly. You see that in this section of the linked story.

Mr. Obama is the president who, in his first year in office, reached for some of the most sophisticated cyberweapons on earth to blow up parts of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Now, at the end of his presidency, he has run headlong into a different challenge in the cyberwarfare arena.

The president has reached two conclusions, senior officials report: The only thing worse than not using a weapon is using it ineffectively. And if he does choose to retaliate, he has insisted on maintaining what is known as “escalation dominance,” the ability to ensure you can end a conflict on your terms.

Obama did nothing of the sort. It was the Israelis who sabotaged the Iranian reactors with malicious code. In fact, the US intelligence community was as baffled as everyone else about how the Israelis pulled off one of the great cyberwarfare capers of all time. But, that does not serve the narrative so the past will now be restated. The new past is Obama opened a desk drawer and pulled out a “cyber weapon” to deploy against the Iranians, like the Bond villain often does when he thinks he finally has Bond trapped.

Of course, the bigger problem here is that running endless fake news stories erodes public trust in the media and their government supervisors. Fifty years ago, people could suspect something was bullshit, but proving it was often impossible. Today, there is too much information and too many ways to disseminate it. This stuff is quickly exposed and the public becomes more skeptical, as well as better able to spot the lie. That’s why only nut jobs believe the Russian hacking stuff.

Russian hackers are real. So are Ukrainian hackers and Chinese hackers and Nigerian princess looking for your bank account number. The great threat to network security, however, is not a secret team of super villains writing malicious code. The broken window is the old guy, who is uncomfortable with technology, using “pass123” as his password. John Podesta was not hacked. He had a childishly simple password and he left it lying around for people to see.

According to research, 4% of people use “123456” as their password. Cracking that is not hacking. It is guessing. According to the revelations in WikiLeaks, the people working for Team Clinton at State shared passwords with one another. That means one person leaving the door open exposes everyone, which is what happened in every conceivable way. The reason all of this private information ended up in the public during the campaign is the people producing it are morons and should never be trusted to keep secrets.

That’s ultimately the real news behind the fake news. A skeptical public was presented evidence that confirmed their skepticism. The attempts to retroactively discredit these revelations is only reinforcing the general sense that the mainstream media cannot be trusted. Trust in major media is at all time lows and their audience is dissipating as people seek out alternatives. There’s nothing mysterious about it. As the gatekeepers lose control of the gates, the public learns the truth about what lies beyond the gates.

Playing With Fire

The great mistake over the last century, or more, is in thinking that the American Left is an intellectual movement that relies on facts and reason to formulate policy and strategy, with the goal of making the nation better. Conservatives have long been obsessed with talking about the Left as their colleagues, insisting they are simply mistaken, but otherwise well intentioned. The truth is, the Left in America is a cult, a suicide cult, that seeks to pull down the support beams of society so the roof collapses on all of us.

Here is a good example of it.

More Democratic electors are joining the call for an intelligence briefing on Russian interference in the presidential election before they cast their votes for president on Monday.

Twenty-nine electors now are pressuring Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to disclose more information about the CIA’s conclusion that Russian interference helped sway the election in President-elect Donald Trump’s favor.

On Monday, 10 electors — spearheaded by Christine Pelosi, the daughter of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) — wrote an open letterto Clapper, demanding more information ahead of next week’s vote.

 

“The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations,” the letter reads. “We further require a briefing on all investigative findings, as these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether Mr. Trump is fit to serve as President of the United States.”Twenty-eight Democrats and one Republican have now signed the letter.

On Monday, the Clinton campaign voiced support for the effort.

The absurdity of the Russian hacking claims should be enough to put this story to bed long ago, but the media is run by the Cult so they are pumping air into this story every day. The Washington Post ran a fake news story with claims that the CIA has proof the Russians forced John Podesta to write all of those embarrassing e-mails that got released by WikiLeaks. Put another way, the people running the Post are willing to destroy what is left of their reputation to promote something they know is nonsense.

It is one thing for a campaign to cook up fake news in order to divert attention. The Clinton people were desperate to get their scandals out of the news so they made up the Russian hacking stuff. Politicians of all stripes do this sort of thing. LBJ used to accuse his opponents of horrible things, just so they would have to deny it. What the Left is engaging in now is an attempt to undermine public support of the political system. It’s as if they figure that if they can’t win, then everyone must lose.

What makes it especially suicidal is the obvious consequences, if their efforts actually succeeded. Let’s assume they are able to crack the Electoral College and overthrow the election. The result would be a constitutional crises. As Steve Sailer pointed out the other day, the people pushing for that should think about who would probably step into the crisis to impose order. The military is full of PC ninnies, but there are plenty of people in uniform that would like a shot at changing it. It is a safe bet that they did not vote for Clinton.

Of course, none of this is going to happen. Still, the public does notice that the people in charge are unwilling to abide by their own rules. To some degree, that is why Trump won the election. Corruption is just lawlessness among the ruling class and Trump promised to clean it up. If the ruling class appears to be throwing the rules aside in order to stop Trump, the public is going to begin to wonder why they are supporting the political system at all. Millennials are already on the fence about democracy.

None of this is to say the nation is staggering toward revolution or civil war. That seems unlikely at the present date, but the lesson of history is that things can spiral out of control quickly. The number one duty of every ruling elite is to maintain public support of the system that props up the ruling elite. Progressive attempts to kick the legs out from under the system could eventually work. The fact that they will be the first ones sent to the gallows does not seem to bother them. In fact, they probably long for it.

Fat People

Last month when I was in line waiting to vote, I spotted an extremely fat woman. She was so fat, her ankles rubbed together. Judging by the three gallon bucket of soda pop in her hand, I’m assuming she was not the victim of elephantiasis or some other disease. Everything about her was fat, even her head, which was the size of a bowling ball and covered in pink-dyed fur. How she was able to get around with hundreds of pounds of fat attached to her is a mystery. I would think the mere act of toting around so much weight would result in weight loss.

Last week, I stopped at the ghetto market for a few items and spotted a couple in the snack aisle. The man was something like a large ball with arms and legs. I estimated his diameter was close to 24 inches. That would mean his belt was 75 inches. His wife was of similar size. My first thought was how they were able to, you know, enjoy the marital bed. Is it even possible that they find one another attractive? I suppose it is possible that all of their energies are focused on moving around their girth and finding enough food to maintain their weight so sex is a non-issue.

Anyone familiar with American poverty knows that our poor people are fat, very fat. There are exceptions like drug addicts or those spindly ectomorphs you see loitering on street corners. Black woman, of course, are almost always fat. This is something most everyone knows. The ancients drew images of African women with giant stomachs and buttocks. In all probability, this is a genetic issue with West Africans. Even so, across the ethnic spectrum, American poor people are fat. Even our Mexicans are fat now.

In fact, Mexico is the world’s fattest country. This is mostly likely due to the fact that food is cheaper now than at any time in human history. It’s extremely hard to starve your people these days. Food is just too cheap and plentiful. Even basket case countries like those in sub-Saharan Africa have more than enough food. That’s most likely the cause of the population boom in Africa. The Malthusian limit has been pushed much further out so the population has exploded.

Public health officials tell us that obesity is a crisis in America. Being fat supposedly results in an exploding number of maladies like diabetes and heart disease. This drives up health costs thus collapsing the technocratic schemes cooked up by the managerial class. It’s important to remember that public health officials are usually wrong. For example, they said AIDS would jump from the bathhouse and heroin den into the middle-class suburbs. That never came closer to happening.

Even if obesity is a public health problem, it’s unlikely that there can be a public policy to address it, other than deliberate starvation of the people. Our Germans probably have the same obesity rates as Germans in Europe. The same is true across the ethnic landscape. We’re forbidden to notice that blacks and Mexicans are very fat, compared to everyone else. That means we’re forbidden to note that honky obesity rates are not too far off from Europeans rates. That would be racist and everyone knows race does not exist.

The point of this observation is to note that biology is beyond the reach of public policy. If fatness has some serious detriments to the population, then it will sort itself out over time. If fatness becomes associated with low status people, then there will be cultural pressure to not be fat. Smoking rates have declined not so much due to public policy, but from the fact famous people stopped smoking. It stopped being cool with famous people. Fatness will follow a similar path. We are seeing that with black actresses and singers.

Still, humans have never had to deal with the problems that come from too much food and too much free time to consume it. We really have no idea what will come from it and how it will hurt or help society. There could very well be a huge upside to having lots of fat people. Perhaps when the zombie apocalypse comes, the zombies will eat the fat people and be satisfied, leaving the rest of us to regroup. That’s unlikely, but nature tends not to reward that which is deleterious to a species. Nature is self-correcting.

There’s no reason to think that public policy in a liberal democracy would be capable of addressing problems that stem from excess. Liberal democracy evolved in an age of great inequality and scarcity. Having a super rich aristocracy could not work while the peasants were starving. We now have a mega-rich aristocracy while the peasants are munching snacks and playing video games. They are doing these things at public expense. The bottom half of America is receiving direct and indirect public assistance these days.

Would the super-rich aristocracy of today have the will to impose rules on the bottom half, with regards to their welfare? Mayor Bloomberg came the closest with his soda and salt bans, but they went no where. Even his peers snickered at his prudery. Would these same people be willing to back exercise requirements and fitness exams in exchange for welfare benefits? Probably not. A feature of the modern aristocracy and their attendants in the managerial elite is a fear of confrontation. Hence the passive-aggressive culture of the rich.

We’ll just have to rely on nature to solve the obesity problem.

The Party is Over

After an election, there are two things that almost always happen. One is the winning side draws the wrong lesson from their victory. The lesson they usually draw is that that they are on the right side of history or that the gods are on their side. Same idea, different magic. One of the anomalies of the recent US Presidential election is that Trump is not prone to magical thinking and his own party hates him, so he seems fairly level headed about his win. His party is acting like they lost so no gloating there.

The losing side, on the other hand, draws any number of wrong conclusions. Republicans generally assume they lost because they were too far to the Right, so they immediately start adopting the positions of the Left. The Democrats will often conjure up some sort of conspiracy theory, thus the ridiculous recount efforts now under way. The point is the losers never learn from their mistakes and therefore just rely on the other side burning itself out or screwing up so they can be the default option in the next election.

The way the Democrats lost and their wobbly condition, suggests they may be in for a much longer winter than typical. There is a British Labour Party vibe to them these days. You see that in this piece from Time Magazine on the state of the party.

The narrowness of Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Donald Trump — especially given the fact that she actually won the popular vote by 2.5 million and rising — has led many liberals to conclude that the Democratic Party only needs a slight adjustment to win future presidential elections. A better candidate, a more competent campaign, or a more credible message on economic issues — any one of them might have kept the presidency in Democratic hands.

On one level, this is true. A large football stadium’s worth of additional votes distributed correctly across three states, and Clinton would be president-elect today. But it also obscures the fact that the Democratic Party has basically collapsed at the state level.

There are many things the party must do to rebuild. Here’s one more to add to the growing list: The Democrats need a better breed of operative.

The article then goes onto to describe a few top operatives as soulless, corrupt incompetents. What’s interesting here is you very rarely see anyone on the Left question anything about the Cult, including its political arm. Self-awareness is not their thing. That and doubt on the Left is always assumed to be a gateway drug for apostasy, so it is fanatically discouraged. Losing and losing badly may be forcing some soul searching. The party is now a regional party, for all practical purposes.

What I think we may be seeing is the the end of the normal life cycle for an ideological party. The Democrats, like British Labour, were always a coalition party that adopted an ideology as a theme song, more than a political philosophy. Political parties are practical things. They organize to win elections so the party can us the power of the government to reward friends and punish enemies. In order to win they must make compromises and they often have to get ideological opposites to temporarily agree.

Ideological parties, on the other hand, are impractical, which is why they tend not to last long. They cannot compromise and instead go through purifying rituals in which the doubters and questioners are boiled off. Eventually they become so narrow they no longer have any practical benefit, if they were ever able to have any at all. The Libertarian Party is a good example. It is useless as a party because it spends all of its time wrangling over theory and doctrine. That and figuring out how to keep fat naked guys from showing up.

Like Labour, Democrats went through a period where they jettisoned many of the people who were willing to challenge the Cult over political strategy. In the 1990’s, moderate Democrats were voted out in favor of moderate Republicans. The elected officials that remained after the ’94 election were a bunch of pols from the New Left, who took up leadership positions. They went about turning the party into an ideological movement, that had some early success, but has been burning itself out over the last decade.

Take a look at the Democrat Party and it looks a lot like the CP-USA after World War II. The people in charge like being in charge and use ideology to maintain their grip. The foot soldiers with any talent are heading to other things, leaving an increasingly incompetent core. The Democrats have become the party of “Kill the Honky” because Progressives have become a suicide cult that thinks salvation can only come after the last white guy is hunted down. Outside of Zimbabwe, that is not a winning formula for electoral success.

The Democrats are not going away and Labour is not going away in the UK. Something will replace them. In the UK, it appears the new political alignment will be SNP versus the Tories, with the foreign traitors in London often siding with the Scots. In the US, we will probably see the neo-cons waddle back over to the Democrat side to form a more centrist coalition. There will be the identity political Left and the hyper violent, lose wars of choice, Right in one party. The Republicans will be the honkies from flyover country.

Regardless, progressivism cannot be the core of a majority coalition, at least not in anything resembling a liberal democracy. At best, it can be an influential part of a  coalition, but never the dominant part. In the fullness of time, it may be understood that the worst thing to happen to American Progressives was their final victory over one of the parties. They may have discredited themselves to the point where their thing is never the same again. Robespierre lost his head learning this lesson so Nancy Pelosi should count her blessings.