You Wreckers!

I could not bring myself to watch any of the debate. I flipped over to see Trump for a minute or two, but I was not all that interested in him either. These debate shows are a good example of what’s wrong with American politics. They are talent shows for the managerial class where we get to see inside the conference room of the bipartisan fusion party headquarters.

One of the stranger things about the modern mass media age is how much of it is make believe. I can think of exactly one debate that truly mattered and that was Nixon – Kennedy in 1960. How much it mattered is debatable. Otherwise, debates are like football games. People tune in to root for their team. Few minds are changed. At this stage, no minds are changed as they have been doing these shows for six months.

That said, I enjoy reading the commentariat the day after. They put on their serious face and lecture the rubes about what really happened in the debate. Because their true motivation is to burnish their class status, they personalize their analysis in the hopes of elevating their status in the club. It’s silly parlor politics among men who have made a career of telling the women what they would do if they had the chance.

This one caught my attention.

Finally, this debate was a fascinating glimpse into what might have been absent the disrupting force of Donald Trump. Bush was far more at ease without one of the candidates hurling middle school insults at him, and the debate itself was substantive — showcasing the GOP’s most effective communicators. This is why people said the GOP had a “deep bench” in 2016. Absent Trump, the three-man contest likely would have been between Bush, Rubio, and Cruz. But might-have-beens are irrelevant, and in this evening’s audition for the best alternative to Donald Trump, Marco Rubio won the night.

That’s their complaint in a nutshell. The big meanie, the bully, has wrecked their fun. It’s not fair. Without Trump, panda men of the managerial class could have had tea and calmly discussed the really important stuff, like how to best rearrange the commas in the regulatory code. Instead, that vulgar dirt monster and his populism ruined it!

Mark Steyn the other day made the very good point that these pusillanimous popinjays make excellent money scribbling for popular websites and chattering on TV. Being right or even being popular does not factor into their thinking because it has no impact on their lifestyle. The guys and gals who spent a year selling Mitt Romney still had jobs after Romney lost what was a very winnable election.

Once you decouple the paycheck from performance, the performance collapses. In the dreaded private sector, this is well known. Go into a UPS office and it is a model of efficiency. Go into a US Post Office and it is a sclerotic nightmare of bureaucratic asshattery. The reason is in the former, performance and pay are linked, while in the latter the pay remains the same no matter what you do.

It’s an interesting thing we are seeing with our media. The cable rackets and the donor system have conspired to populate the ranks of journalism with ball washers and yes men. In an attempt to turn the media into a megaphone for the ruling elite, they have emasculated it.  Worse yet, their insularity has made them vulnerable to even a mild breeze of discontent.

I’m reminded of this from H. G. Wells:

‘It seemed to me that I had happened upon humanity upon the wane. The ruddy sunset set me thinking of the sunset of mankind. For the first time I began to realize an odd consequence of the social effort in which we are at present engaged. And yet, come to think, it is a logical consequence enough. Strength is the outcome of need; security sets a premium on feebleness. The work of ameliorating the conditions of life—the true civilizing process that makes life more and more secure— had gone steadily on to a climax. One triumph of a united humanity over Nature had followed another. Things that are now mere dreams had become projects deliberately put in hand and carried forward. And the harvest was what I saw!”

It was not so long ago that you could not afford to make enemies in the elite media, if you wanted to have a public life. The old saying was, “never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.” People like Mark Steyn, Ann Coulter, Steve Sailer and many others are getting on fine as enemies of the state media. Now, Donald Trump is doing well as an enemy of the state parties. Those who are deeply invested in the state have good reason to fear the wreckers.

17 thoughts on “You Wreckers!

  1. By ” This is why people said the GOP had a “deep bench””

    They meant of course, well used and hardened corporate whores.

  2. Rambling response alert! Has Rubio ever had a job? He strikes me as a bit dim. Also I’ve often heard that story about 1960- but is there data? I’d guess Rand Paul is pretty smart- an open borders maniac, but smart. And Z your comment reminds me of the Derb’s proposal? observation? that no one more than 2 standard deviations from the mean IQ should be allowed to vote. I have a high school friend- very smart PHD in science, the whole deal. He has 5 kids- all good kids – not one works in the private sector- they all work for NGOs and non profits. Maybe this is just a function of latte towns, but it seems to me a huge portion of our cognitive elite are opting out of the private sector. As a wise man once said, “This will not end well!”

    • Why would they go private sector? That’s one of the reasons our economy is so screwed — unless your intelligence and inclinations skew into very specific fields (computers, basically), there’s no place to exercise your talents in the private sector anymore. Taxes and regulations crush innovation, and big companies have successfully offloaded all their R&D onto universities. If you’re bright, but writing code doesn’t turn your crank, you can either fight the leviathan regulatory state… or join it. Job satisfaction is less, but the pay and bennies are great.

      • All true, Severian, but a little foresight will deliver the news that a government guarantee of security is worth no more than it’s grasp on reality. As Russians once said of Soviet government, we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.

        • I know that, and you know that, but … did you know it when you were fresh out of college? I didn’t. I had to get mugged by reality a few times. If there’s any hope of turning the culture around, it’s got to start at the bottom — the first candidate who proposes demolishing the university system in toto is the first truly serious one.

          • You guys are correct- it’s just sad, that’s all. I probably shouldn’t talk, as I’m a public school HS History teacher

          • I have friends and family in the ed biz, at from K-thru-PhD. In a way, that’s exactly what I’m talking about — they’re bright, personable, good with people… all the skills that used to be the hallmark of entrepreneurs. But with the market as distorted as it is, they wouldn’t dream of trying to start a business for themselves. So what’s left? They can either be cube rats, or get government jobs. Having been a cube rat, I can tell you that a government job — at least one that puts you in front of a classroom — is much, much better. At least that way you can exercise at least some of your talents, and do some good for someone other than the faceless CEO and the equally faceless shareholders.

  3. Listener (radio) and viewer (TV) survey’s of the Nixon -Kennedy debate found that radio listeners thought Nixon had “won” the debate; viewers surveyed believed Kennedy won the debate.
    Turns out the Nixon’s sweating and visible demeanor detracted from any favorable impressions based solely on his speaking points.

    The present day “debate” format favors those who are quick on their feet; after all, a response must be presented within a few seconds after the question is posed. This literally prevents a reasoned, thoughtful analysis of what is being asked and how best to respond to the topic in the REAL world. After all, a ” quick” decision as president would allow 5 to 10 minutes to consider the options.
    As a result, Ben Carson – probably the smartest guy up there, the most thoughtful and the only person who has had to repeatedly make life and death decisions – is at a great disadvantage. Yet, IMHO, he would make a great president.

    Very good public speakers (e.g., Rubio) are benefited by the debate formats as well as perceived by the viewers/listeners as competent and smart. Then again, so was Obama (an individual who never in his ENTIRE ADULT LIFE held a real job before becoming president) . Recall that some world class public speakers were/are Hitler, Lenin, Mussolini and Castro. There simply is zero correlation between an individuals public speaking skills and competency to hold public office.

    Abe Lincoln would fare horrible in today’s TV driven political scene. He was literally an ugly guy; tall, ungainly. His physical presence would overpower his intellect and the power of his words.

    • So true. Calvin Coolidge was imo, one of our finest presidents and remains highly underrated. Yet he sounded like a technocrat/bureaucrat when he gave a speech. Google his speech on taxation. I doubt someone like him could ever be elected in our modern age. Our celebrity-driven ADHD culture mixed with the Cult of Personality almost guarantees that the person deemed most electable has been prepping for this for most of their life.

  4. It is a curious thing to see Well’s insight so completely fail to grasp the fundamental role which his own political philosophy had in bringing about that sunset, which places him in the company of the contemporary Prog class, absent the inconvenience of insight.

    • He’s a good example of something I find endlessly interesting. People can have great intelligence or keen insights into the human animal, but also believe totally insane things that are obviously nonsense. Look at the number of physicists who were communist sympathizers. I like to use Chomsky as an example. Brilliant in a very hard field, but also a raving loon.

      • Remember, too, that George Orwell was a socialist. And not just a namby-pamby, love-the-world one, either — he really thought that you could do that “workers control the means of production” stuff without it degenerating into Stalinism.

        • When I was a kid, I played chess against a guy who was literally a rocket scientist for NASA. I would beat him at chess by mentioning how much I liked Nixon or something I heard about Alger Hiss. The guy would become so unhinged, he was easy pickings. It was awful of me, but a fun experiment.

      • People can have great intelligence or keen insights into the human animal, but also believe totally insane things that are obviously nonsense.

        It’s because they know how smart they are, thus they are elevated above all the pettiness, as are all their compatriots. The flaws that are in every other man clearly are not in them, so they should be in charge of making everyone else’s decision.

        It boils down to a lack of humility and a lack of fellowship and kinship with your fellow man.

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