Note: The weekly Taki post is up here. It somewhat ties into the post below. Behind the green door is a new post on the 1960 classic, The Apartment. This was my first viewing, so I was surprised to like it, even thought I did not get any of the jokes.
When two parties attempt to negotiate a deal, the starting assumption is both sides actually want a deal. That is not always the case, but if one side thinks the other side is not coming to the table in good faith, they are wise to break off negotiations. For starters, they are wasting their time, since there is no deal to be had. Second, a party that starts a negotiation with a lie is going to keep lying. If you cannot trust anything they are saying, or their intentions, you cannot reason with them.
A simple example of this is car buying. When a person walks onto the lot, the salesman is trained to look for the signs that the person is just a tire kicker. He may profile him based on his appearance. A young guy looking at expensive sedans is probably not a serious buyer, for example. He will ask questions to determine if the person is serious about buying a car and willing to entertain an offer. The point is, he is determining if the other side is open to reason and ready to bargain in good faith.
This is the heart of any negotiation. Both sides have to start with the belief that the other side is amenable to reason and is bargaining in good faith. They may have different goals and very different ways of negotiating, but both sides have to be open to reason and come to the table in good faith. In other words, both sides want to find a deal that satisfies both sides. Otherwise, both sides are just wasting their time and perhaps harming their own interests in the process.
This is also the basis for popular government, which is nothing more than a long public negotiation. The various interests in a society have their goals regarding the issues they see as important and they work the process that is setup for hashing out the particulars and promoting their case. The public is both the referee and a counterparty. They make their voice heard throughout the process. The politicians are the hired negotiators, tasked with hashing out a compromise that satisfies the majority.
Like the simple deal between two parties, the democratic process relies on all sides being reasonable and operating in good faith. Sure, there are always bad actors trying to fool the public or game the process. The system, through elections, debates, public hearings, and investigations, is supposed to flush out the bad actors or at least correct what they have done after it is discovered. It may not be pretty, but the point is for reasonable people acting in good faith to reach a compromise.
What happens when the parties are not open to reason and they are not operating in good faith when they bargain? In a business negotiation, this often results in one side or the other breaking of negotiations. One side sees that the other is lying or up to shenanigans, so they stop wasting their time. This happens a lot, so firms train their people to look for the signs, so they do not waste their time. The most valuable commodity is time so you cannot waste it on bad deals.
In a democratic system of government, there are supposed to be rules to punish those who do not argue in good faith. Politicians who take bribes, for example, are removed from office and sent to prison. Interests that misrepresent themselves or defraud the public see their interests destroyed as a way to discourage the practice. There are laws that allow the media and the public to examine the claims of the various parties in order to root out corruption and deception. That is the theory, leastways.
That is clearly not where America is right now. Liberal democracy has evolved into one giant game of liar’s poker. Much like the financial markets, the big players in the system no longer have respect for the spirit of the rules. They never come to any deal in good faith and they are never open to reason. They want to “win” the deal by getting all of what they want at the expense of the other parties. In modern liberal democracy, no one is acting in good faith and no one is open to reason.
It is not just the big interests gaming the system. The system itself has been gamed to the point where only a sucker operates in good faith. The politicians, instead of operating as brokers and negotiators, are middlemen facilitating the looting of the system by the big players. Public debate is now a game of shadows, because the mass media lies about everything and is always pushing an agenda on behalf of the big players or their politicians working on their behalf.
Of course, the old adage about always knowing who the sucker in the room is when in a room full of sharps applies here. In the great hall that is where negotiations happen in a liberal democracy, the monied interests, the politicians, the media, and the shadowy players of the permanent ruling class put on a negotiating show. The public, until very recent, was never sure who was being conned by the grifters. As the saying goes, they were always the sucker in the system.
This is the heart of the current crisis. The reason the financial markets keep needing bailouts is because everyone inside that system is a liar. No one comes to a deal in good faith and no one is willing to reason with the other side. Everyone is trying to take advantage of everyone else. In a system of zero social trust, entropy is inevitable, which in human systems means collapse. This is why the financial markets careen from crisis to crisis, needing bailouts from the public.
Liberal democracy is mirroring the financial markets. This makes perfect sense, as the entire culture has been financialized. Republican virtue was removed from the official system long ago. What remained of it with the general public went away with the events of the last few years. America now finds itself in a world where no one acts in good faith and no one is open to reason. We have reached the point where we need a bailout, but there is no bailout for a liberal democracy that fails.
A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.
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