Note: I have a post up behind the green door on the 1997 movie The Devil’s Own, starting Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford.
Perhaps in the future, this day will be called day zero of year zero, signifying the official closing of one era and the start of a new one. The installation of Joe Biden as president marks the end of the old civic nationalist America and the beginning of the new managerial state. Competitive elections and open debate of the old era have been swept away in favor of ceremonial elections and speech codes. The managerial class has formally seized control of the country.
No one can look at what is going on in the country and think any of it is normal or that returning to normal is possible. Even if Washington wanted to return to normalcy, the last few months cannot be unseen. Joe Biden will take the oath of office behind layers of razor wire, guarded more than a full army division. The imperial capital looks like it is under occupation and it very well may remain this way. The new regime is extremely paranoid, convulsed by increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories.
This is the big lesson of the Trump years. The nature and psychology of the managerial class began to transform after the end of the Cold War. Little by little it was becoming a closed and insulated culture sitting atop of the general culture. The system looked the same from the outside, two parties competing for votes and the right to dispense the benefits of power, but inside it was changing. It was becoming a distinct culture and the people in that culture were becoming class aware.
Viewed in this context, the 2016 election of Donald Trump was the catalyst for the final phase of this process, the end of which is unfolding now. The political system in America is now a closed shop, like a sports league. Just as you cannot buy a sports team without first being approved by the other owners, you can no longer win a federal election without first being vetted by the managerial class. The razor wire barriers are the manifestation of this closing of the managerial elite.
It is not just the political marketplace that has been closed off. America is no longer a market economy. This is another thing that has accelerated into plain sight during the Trump years. The shuttering of the social media site Parler is a great example of how the marketplace no longer exists in a conventional sense. All of its vendors gave up their business with the company, because the people running those firms are loyal to their class, not the abstract principles of the marketplace.
This will become increasingly clear as the new regime takes control. The big economic players like the banks or the tech giants are no longer subject to the marketplace in any meaningful way. For example, if angry consumers swore off Amazon, not much would change for Amazon as they control the logistics for the companies those angry consumers would use in place of Amazon. Mastercard can black list anyone because they are a part of a cartel that has no competition.
This will be the hardest lesson for people to accept. Every generation of Americans walking the earth right now has been conditioned to believe the marketplace is the final arbiter of all disputes. Despite all that has gone on, most people cannot accept that there is no marketplace in large swaths of the economy. They still respond to the bogeyman of socialism, despite the fact America has been a socialist country for close to a century now. We are now a command-and-control economy.
Of course, all of this is coming with something even more ominous. For example, the tech giants volunteered to work with the FBI to get the protestors they have now labeled insurrectionists, which is an important change in tone. This public-private partnership comes naturally, as the people involved see one another as members of the same class, at war with the same enemy. Silicon Valley is officially the signal intelligence arm of the surveillance state.
This year the regime will roll out the Covid passports, which will be required to get on public transport. Soon, they will be required to do anything. This is the beginning of the social credit system, where your internal passport is essentially a report card that is constantly updated based on your behavior. It starts with public health but will quickly moves to public safety. Surveillance capitalism will come into full bloom tarted up with the language of public safety and defending democracy.
In total, what the Trump phenomenon has revealed is the America most people thought was their country is gone. Politically, economically, demographically, and culturally, the old American has been replaced with this new society. The great reset, as the new regime bills it, is a dictatorship of the managerial class. That class is now largely closed off to the rest of us. Just as the nomenklatura had the house on the embankment, the managerial class has the walled institutions.
This is why the new regime is willing to bust up many of the institutions that had been instrumental in creating. Public distrust of the media is no longer important, as the new class is no longer subject to the voters. The media companies no longer worry about the audience, because what are you going to do, start your own Amazon? Create your own Hollywood? Mitch McConnell supports another impeachment, because he knows the party system is a farce. His loyalty to his class is what matters.
Michael Anton was right that Donald Trump was the Flight 93 president. Like that flight, the story was motivated by hope, but it was doomed from the start. Like that flight, it crashed and now can only serve as a warning and a rally point. For the new regime, it is a warning that their subjects will fight back if given the chance. For the rest of us, it is reminder that we can fight back, but success is not guaranteed. Resistance only works when no one has any illusions about what is being resisted.
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