Warning Bells

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What has been happening in the West for the last decade, or so, is a populist reaction to the rise of global technocracy. Globalism is the spiritual-economic model that rewards poor people in poor countries and rich people in rich countries. The rich people in poor countries get a boost, as well, but that is a happy accident. The rich people in rich countries, pushing free trade and open borders, get their spiritual boost from seeing poor strangers rise up to challenge the middle classes in Western countries.

Global technocracy is the administrative off-shoot, where the attendants of the ruling elites take up newly created positions in the growing international administrative bodies. This includes Western universities, which have been deliberately transformed into international indoctrination and propaganda centers. In 1970, for example, Boston University was a commuter school for middle class kids in Massachusetts. Today the student body is close to 50% foreign born. Nowhere is the New Religion more popular than the college campus.

Popular resistance to this new form of governance is striking fear in the hearts of the ruling class, mostly because the people in charge have come to believe their own rhetoric about the arc of history. The people in charge of the EU just assumed everyone wanted the amorphous, gray blob that is Europe, rather than the vibrant national heritage that is their patrimony. Resistance to turning large swaths of Europe into Muslim ghettos has come as a bit of shock to the people in charge. Why wouldn’t people want this?

That fear will eventually be replaced with a response and that response will not be a change of heart. As we see in Europe, the people in charge have no limits when it comes to inflicting harm on their own people, as long as it supports the European project. Angela Merkel invited in a million Muslims, that no one wanted, because she hoped it would weaken the strength of Germany’s native population. Obama opened the flood gates with a similar goal in mind, but he was just a bit too late to stop Trump.

Anyway, that’s my reaction to this column in the New York Times. It reads like a planning session, by managerial class types, about how to de-legitimize the resistance.

Political scientists have a theory called “democratic consolidation,” which holds that once countries develop democratic institutions, a robust civil society and a certain level of wealth, their democracy is secure.

For decades, global events seemed to support that idea. Data from Freedom House, a watchdog organization that measures democracy and freedom around the world, shows that the number of countries classified as “free” rose steadily from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s. Many Latin American countries transitioned from military rule to democracy; after the end of the Cold War, much of Eastern Europe followed suit. And longstanding liberal democracies in North America, Western Europe and Australia seemed more secure than ever.

But since 2005, Freedom House’s index has shown a decline in global freedom each year. Is that a statistical anomaly, a result of a few random events in a relatively short period of time? Or does it indicate a meaningful pattern?

Mr. Mounk and Mr. Foa developed a three-factor formula to answer that question. Mr. Mounk thinks of it as an early-warning system, and it works something like a medical test: a way to detect that a democracy is ill before it develops full-blown symptoms.

The first factor was public support: How important do citizens think it is for their country to remain democratic? The second was public openness to nondemocratic forms of government, such as military rule. And the third factor was whether “antisystem parties and movements” — political parties and other major players whose core message is that the current system is illegitimate — were gaining support.

You’ll note that there is nothing in there about the conduct of the ruling class. If whatever they are calling “democracy” at the moment produces degenerates like the Clinton Crime Family or easily manipulated airheads like Bush or Obama, people are going to get suspicious of whatever you’re calling democracy. Of course, the fact that democracy, strictly speaking, is just mob rule, is not addressed. According to our betters, the Founders were a bunch of Nazis, because they opposed democracy.

The big point is the last one. Any resistance to the status quo will now be classified as anti-democratic. This is, of course, a backdoor way of smearing anyone who questions the wisdom of allowing unaccountable bureaucrats free rein to rearrange the social order, based on theories popular only on the college campus. It is a lot easier to call critics immoral and beyond the pale, than it is to debate them, so there will now be a healthy market for intellectuals, who can demonize the resistance to the status quo.

The humorous part of the story is this bit.

According to the Mounk-Foa early-warning system, signs of democratic deconsolidation in the United States and many other liberal democracies are now similar to those in Venezuela before its crisis.

Across numerous countries, including Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States, the percentage of people who say it is “essential” to live in a democracy has plummeted, and it is especially low among younger generations.

For the last decade or so, it was popular on the Official Right to use Venezuela as a club to beat their liberal buddies over the head. Now those liberal buddies, having lost an election, are using it to beat their “conservative” buddies over the head. What’s funny about it is that the people who voted for Trump did so as a rejection of the Official Right, as much as a rejection of the Left. The Punch and Judy Show among defenders of the managerial class has lost its audience.

The fact is, democracy is a disaster. It’s a free shot for despots and lunatics to gain power, at which point they put an end to democracy. Democracy is a bus that runs in one direction and only has one destination – authoritarianism. It’s why sensible men of the Right, notice the qualifier, have preferred ordered liberty in the form of representative self-government. It permits the state to be responsible to popular will, but it protects the citizens from themselves and their worst instincts.

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63 Comments on "Warning Bells"

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Severian
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I do so love it when the Liberal Arts pretend to be sciences. “Our model labels anything we don’t like as anti-democratic; stuff that we don’t like is happening; ergo, democracy is in danger!!!” (Too bad we can’t keep holding votes until the voters get it right, as with the EU). And the Alt-Right is falling faster for this flimflam than the reactionary Left, seemingly impossible as that is – cf. how Vox Day has gotten a bug up his ass for Peter Turchin’s “cliodynamics,” which pretends to quantify history with chaos theory or some such. The only science in… Read more »
Drake
Guest

Back when “Liberal Arts” meant something, they did have a broad understanding of math, sciences, economics, philosophy, art and music, and actual history.

Horace Pinker
Guest

“Political scientists have a theory called “democratic consolidation,” which holds that once countries develop democratic institutions, a robust civil society and a certain level of wealth, their democracy is secure.”

Dysgenic immigration policies that drive America’s IQ down to an average of 90 couldn’t possible get in the way of our secure democracy.

Severian
Guest

I’d really love to see the white papers on that. Is India, say, a secure democracy? Or is their civil society a little too robust? What about France, where they change constitutions more often than their underwear (as Jonah Goldberg once put it) and where their robust civil society and ever-changing constitution seems designed to lower their certain level of wealth? How about Peru? Too democratic, or not democratic enough? I’m betting the whole thing is petitio principii, as Latin Americans say.

Dutch
Guest

The French wear underwear?

Yub
Guest

Sacre bleu!

Ganderson
Guest

I was always under the impression that the girls in France don’t wear underpants, and further that the men don’t care cuz they smoke their underwear.

chiefIlliniCake
Guest

50.0001% of the voters think you should give up everything you believe in and give them all of your shit.

Go ahead. The People have spoken. Give up your shit, now.

That’s democracy in action.

meema
Member

I prefer the analogy – five wolves and a sheep vote on what’s for dinner. That’s democracy.

Rich Whiteman
Guest

My impression is Mounk-Foa’s 3 factor formula is designed to show how the citizens of a country have let down their betters by suddenly not trusting them anymore. For no reason! Further proof, as if any was needed, that the common man sucks.

Wilbur Hassenfus
Guest

Right. All the thumbsuckers are asking “How do we get them to feel better about the policies that made them stop trusting us?”

Not one floats the idea of government acting the the public interest as the public sees it. That idea is unthinkable. Which is exactly why nobody believes any more in what we now call “democracy”: The central “virtue” of our current “democracy” is that the people aren’t allowed to interfere in the decision-making process.

Member

It’s a scientific fact: Trump is the next Hugo Chavez. The useful idiots who read the NYT are sure to get this subtle take-away as they reach for their smelling salts. But wait…Hugo was a great leader who created a wonderful and fair economic system…although he did steal a few billion in the process…and Venezuela is now bankrupt and its people starving. George Bush must have sabotaged him…somehow…Not to worry, Oliver Stone will reveal the truth in a movie soon, starring Sean Penn, who must be very confused, poor guy, and will reach for his…

JohnTyler
Guest
It’s also a fact that the voters of Venezuela, in their stupidity and ignorance , voted into office Chavez. Representative democracy also allows for the citizenry to vote for a national suicide; a very real danger in any representative democracy and more likely as the electorate becomes ever more ignorant (witness the ground swell of support that that commie pig Bernie Sanders got.) We should not think that here in the USA the people could not elect a Chavez (or Bernie Sanders or Stein or the corrupt should-be-a-convicted-felon Hillary) as a president. After all, the voters elected Obama for president… Read more »
Member

What are the ruling elites going to do? They don’t have a secret police or death squads, and aren’t likely to for the foreseeable future. I also don’t see the elites having the ability to silence the internet anytime soon.

The current situation came about because people stopped listening to the elites and their narrative. Without the narrative, they don’t really have any power. If the elites are to regain power people would need to start listening again. I’m not saying that’s impossible, but I’m all ears for speculation on how this could happen.

Karl Hungus
Guest

You can thank that dumbass Bush for Chavez staying in power.

Chiron
Guest

Venezuela was basket case well before Chavez, some smart Venezuelans actually saw that oil wealth is more of a curse than a blessing.

Samuel Adams
Guest
My father was real estate developer in Florida late 60s through 80s. All through the 70s one of the biggest markets for condos was Venezuelan flight money during the military dictatorship. They would literally purchase an entire floor of a condo building for cash. Would rent the units, but in the event it was necessary to grab the first plane out of Caracas, there was both a hard asset and a roof over their heads. It’s always been that way with South and Central America. Buddy of mine who is a Portuguese born private banker down there was hoovering up… Read more »
Dutch
Guest

The Mexicans have always done the same thing in San Diego. The condo towers south of the Hotel del Coronado are called the “taco towers” by the locals. It is understood that there are condos and perhaps whole floors of the buildings that have never been occupied, since their purchase by Mexican nationals after construction in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Member

It’s an article of faith down here that ladrillo, as in “brick”, is as safe as houses (forgive pun) when it comes to capital preservation; gold, not so much.

BlindMan
Guest

Is it a curse in Norway?

Yub
Guest

The people in Norway have faith in their government, that their funds and patrimony will not be wasted. Yet.

Member

For the time being it seems the policy of Norway is to insulate itself as best they can from the ongoing Muslim disaster in Sweden. That faith isn’t entirely misplaced.

Member
The most hysterical thing about the elite right now is that since people stopped believing their narrative, they have absolutely nothing to offer the voters. They didn’t have a backup plan to the narrative. I don’t think we have much to fear in terms of authoritarianism from the elites. Authoritarian rule requires either a popular mandate, loyal foot soldiers willing(and able) to kill innocent civilians on command, or both. The elites have neither. Also, the elites are cucks and don’t have the stomach for a fight with real casualties. They might try an administrative coup, but that would only multiply… Read more »
The Sage
Guest

As the widely attributed remark goes, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury.” And it’s not like that latter hasn’t been happening a lot.

alzaebo
Guest

The majority of the political class, that is.
Please don’t blame the schnooks, we are deliberately squeezed into seeking ‘relief’, and given narrowed choices from bad to worse.

We get the crumbs from this table and are blamed for it, proof of our wicked ways.
We’re not worthy!

Dutch
Guest
Great essay. The Trump (and Sanders) phenomenon represents a firm push back by those who would be crushed by the trends currently in place. It is an expression of freedom, not a loss of it. Note how the powers that be conflate a rejection of democracy, taught to the younger folks by their “educational” institutions, with the Trump election, which was driven by those who are older and have seen more. They need to up their game to keep up with the rest of us. Any person with an IQ anywhere close to triple digits can see through all of… Read more »
Member

Just finished reading this, Nationalism, Internationalism, and New Politics:

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/nationalism-internationalism-and-new-politics/

Drake
Guest

Democracy was always a disaster waiting to happen. The Greek experiments with it were debacles. The story of Alcibiades and the Sicilian Expedition is my favorite example of idiotic unrestrained majority rule. I also like the trial (by the people as there were no separate branches of government) and execution of Socrates for the crime of being annoying.

Member

Ghost of an average Athenian: Yeah? And how would you vote if it were Piers Morgan on trial?

Member

To sum up globalism:

The bankers in Germany have more in common with the bankers in Greece than the carpenters in Germany have in common with the carpenters in Greece. In addition, the bankers in Germany have more in common with the bankers in Greece than the bankers in Germany have in common with the carpenters in Germany.

james wilson
Guest
The American Republic was formed because the experience with democracy throughout the thirteen newly liberated colonies was frightening and without an end in sight. The object of the Convention was to promote several abstract principles for sustainable governance and to limit democracy. Fisher Ames-The agents that move politicks, are the popular passions; and those are ever, from the very nature of things, under the command of the disturbers of society…Few can reason, all can feel; and such an argument is gained, as soon as it is proposed. By securing property, life and liberty can scarcely fail of being secured; where… Read more »
Drake
Guest

And they were well educated men who new how the Greek democracies and Roman Republic ended. Now our public schools only teach about how cool they were.

Doug
Guest
What makes me fighting mad, and I’m not just talking here, and I’m far from alone on this, is the gall of these self appointed elitists, they are at the core takers, robbers, destroyers, usurpers, they create nothing but cultural and economic wastelands for their benefit and enrichment. And they possess this unparalleled arrogance that after all they do in their selfishness and greed, those they perpetrate and foist their world and personal views upon through economic, specious regulation, and social terrorism, they despise and spit on us if we don’t submit and bend a knee to it. Never mind… Read more »
thor47
Guest

Don’t hold back, Doug. Tell us how you really feel. 🙂

MSO
Guest
Nietzsche warned of this in his ‘Parable of the Mad Man’ “The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him — you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually?… Read more »
Christopher S. Johns
Guest
The NYT never fails to astonish me: from what was once the (somewhat tarnished) paper of record it has become an overflowing time capsule of contemporary idiocy. These Ivy League managerial types, preoccupied as they are with the sweet (and oh so lucrative) sound of their degrees, have failed to notice that whatever it was that they received for their money, it was not an education. For if they had they would know that no member of that USSR Lite that is the EU could be remotely considered a liberal democracy, and neither is the unconstitutional administrative state in the… Read more »
Christopher S. Johns
Guest

Related: Over at Unz, Steve Sailor has a post up quoting long excerpts from the course description and syllabus of the class in microaggressions, callled “Crossing Identity Boundaries,” that the OSU “Stabby Somali” was taking before being laid up by a bad case of sudden jihad syndrome:

http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-latest-stabby-somalis-syllabus-in-social-justice-warriordom-for-credit-at-osu/

Truly a symposium of what passes for knowledge amongst today’s managerial elite.

A.T. Tapman
Member

Stabby Somali must not have read the trigger warnings, or perhaps he could not read.

PRCD
Guest

Regarding the foreign-born at universities: they pay out-of-state tuition and will slave for advisors for a decade for $30-40k per year. Educrats absolutely love them: a high-paying blank slate upon which to write Frankfurt-school Marxism. The managerial elite, including the academics, will not stop short of total population replacement. Unfortunately, due to our demographic winter, they just might succeed. Even Trump voters are not made of the same stuff our fathers were.

coyote
Guest
Of course not ALL trump voters are made of the “same stuff” our fathers were- no more than all those shooting at the Brits were of the same stuff as the tories and the “cucks” of that day. Breakup is coming: the demographic winter will only fall where whites are greatly outnumbered. Even there, I predict the defense will be of sufficient violence to prevent any attempted genocide. I enjoy the Zmans take on the coming balkanization- there are many writing of this today, he seems to provide a bit more insight into the “how” that I am interested in.… Read more »
PRCD
Guest
I think the land grabs were made possible because of rail. European immigrants to the American West had swift resupply of both personnel and material from Eastern ports. The natives had no demolitions, or maybe no interest in using them. Bill Lind argues that rail and air travel are only possible under the stability provided by nation-states. Prior to rail, everyone moved goods over water. So you could be right: without the artificial unification of territory by rail and with worsening roads, geography might play a much bigger role in the future. Like Lind, I think ethnicity will be the… Read more »
Member

Age old problem. Mixed government theory is the only answer anyone has ever come up with but no one has ever been able to hold off one element from throwing things out of balance.

Member

Democracy devolves into ochlocracy (a word I love to trot out now and then to demonstrate my old-school erudition), “mob rule”, although to me it’s never more than a step away. Centralized government suits a managerial elite capable of convincing the voters (i.e. the mob, a.k.a as hoi polloi) that universal prosperity and the social utopia are just around the corner, never mind that said corner is at the intersection of Dream Street and Bullshit Boulevard. The best government is or should be local government, preferably presided over by a council of demonstrably wise elders.

Member
Finished Arendt’s On Revolution recently. She goes through a discussion of the contradiction of having a democratic system along with a managerial administrative state where these powers are bound to end up at cross purposes because they are really a mob vs an aristocracy with different names. She goes on to describe what has happened in every revolution in modern times in that small localized forms of government arise in the absence of the central govts that have been displaced by the revolution, which are then inevitably replaced with more centralized forms as things progress. She goes on to refer… Read more »
Al from da Nort
Guest
Jefferson apparently was disconnected from reality in this area as well. The temptation of centralization has always existed because of human nature. Anyone who has spent time in a large organization knows that upward delegation attempts are constant. IMHO this is due to the incentive structure for those below: Distinguish yourself and you might gain; Fail in the attempt and you are stultified forever; Do nothing and you keep your pay and simple attrition makes promotion likely. So it takes constant vigilance and a small ego for those above to fight those forces by insisting that decisions be made at… Read more »
Member
Yeah. In the text she notes that he never clearly defined what the exact role of the wards should be, what powers they would have, where the limits of jurisdiction would as related to superior powers, and what would sustain them. Keep in mind that he was old, writing letters, and hadn’t thought things through. I get the idea that she was open endedly speculating about what would happen if the organizations that spontaneously form in all of these modern revolutions were ever to survive, what form they would take, and what effect that might have on future political thinking.… Read more »
Solomon Honeypickle IV
Guest
Solomon Honeypickle IV

The defining characteristic of the technocratic class is their slavish devotion to the abstract. they are not builders, they are counters. no society can prosper with them in charge.

Ganderson
Guest

The only foreigners at BU in 1970 were Canadian hockey players.

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