A Potemkin village is a fake community built solely to deceive others into thinking that a situation is better than it really is. The term comes from stories that Grigory Potemkin erected phony portable settlements along the banks of the Dnieper River in order to fool Catherine II, the Russian Empress. After she passed, the village would be disassembled and then reassembled further down so she could pass another nice village. The story is probably exaggerated, but the concept is a useful one so the term has stuck with us.
It’s a useful term that came to mind in the run up to the Charlottesville rally. It came to mind after the riots in Berkeley. In both cases, you have fake cities that exist for no real reason, other than there is a government run college in them. In both cases, the people in charge are ridiculously unserious people, who should not be in charge of a convenience store, much less a small city. That’s because the people who put them into office are just as ridiculously unserious. They’re adult children playing grownup on the public dime.
This is not just a small city issue. The general lack of seriousness among the political class seems to be a byproduct of managerialism. Look around Washington and it is a parade of naive, clueless airheads produced by our finest colleges. It’s not just an American phenomenon. Europe’s leaders are ever bit as ridiculous. The Europeans are creating a class of politicians that are close to fictional. Emmanuel Macron, the new leader of France, may as well be a hired actor, which is why he is a disaster.
Now, Macron’s problems are not all his own making. France, like the rest of Europe, is a financial knot that can never be untied. A lot of it has to do with being vassal states for the last 70 years, but a lot of is demographics resulting from socialism. When you make having babies expensive, people stop having babies. Macron inherited a country that is old, expensive and in debt. Still, he’s proving to be incapable of doing the serious business of building coalitions and getting his program implemented.
That’s the thing you see all over Europe. The political elites carry on like administrators of a university, rather than serious political leaders. Europe is facing an invasion from the south and instead of addressing it, they engage in public pose downs. The few serious countries, like Poland, find themselves on the receiving end of the elite’s wrath, not because they are wrong, but because they are making the barren spinsters running the EU look bad. The European Union is no more serious than a faculty lounge.
Again, this is probably as much a result of managerialism as anything else. The way Western politics is run is that some segment of the political class are paid representatives of the financial elite. Another segment relies on popular support for their position. Then there is a group of professionals, who do the hard work of figuring out how to get things done. Managerialism does not produce this class of leader. Instead, it is pompous dilettantes and hired men, whose loyalty is bought by the billionaire class.
Even the financial elite struggles with a lack of seriousness. Kevin Plank is supposed to be an important businessman, yet he goes in for ridiculous showboating like this. Under Armor makes overpriced underwear that they primarily sell to blacks and teenagers. In a just society, it would not exist, because it preys on the worst instincts of the weakest minds in society. But, men are not angels and there will always be rich men who make money off the poor and stupid. The least they can do is act like adults in public.
But that’s a rare thing in the financial elite these days. Google is the most recent example of how unserious people are incapable of managing simple difficulties. Instead of strutting around like a retarded peacock, the Google CEO could have easily made the whole thing disappear. A check and an NDA would have put a quick end to a trivial issue. Instead he let some old lesbians lead him around by the nose and the result was a fiasco that promises to drag on into the court for years.
The common thread in our public discourse is that our leaders are more concerned with playing make believe than doing their duty. That’s why the word “duty” is never mentioned in public discourse. When was the last time anyone heard a politicians or a rich man talk publicly about his duty to society? The closest you get is some halfwit sportsball player talking about how he needs to give back to his community. Otherwise, we are ruled by a class of people with the maturity and fortitude of prep school teenagers.
That’s what managerialism curdles into in time. What the giants of our side, guys like Sam Francis and James Burnham could not see in their time, is becoming clear in our time. The credentialism and parochialism of the managerial state produces people barely capable of working on a local school board committee. Their lack of exposure to the realities of the human condition cripples them spiritually. They become ruthless, overgrown adolescents playing dress up as they ascend into positions of authority.
That brings us back to Berkeley and Charlottesville. If the political class is unable and unwilling to manage the antics of Antifa and Jason Kessler, what are they going to do when smart and resourceful antagonists come along? The morons waving flags and throwing piss-bombs at each other are the easy problem to manage. The hard problem are the well organized guys with goals beyond getting themselves on TV. As I’ve said many times, Trump was a warning shot. The political class better get serious in a hurry.