In every society there is a gap between the truth the ruling class asserts and the truth the people experience. This used to be a feature of Western criticism of the Soviet economic system during the Cold War. Communist rulers would make claims about their system and critics would compare that to reality. Today, the obvious gap is in the West where the ruling class exists in another world. Over the last year this has been on display when they speak about the war in Ukraine.
Yesterday, the regime sent Joe Biden to visit Kiev, thinking this was going to be a public relations coup on the anniversary of the war. This is the New York Times lead story in which they make him sound like Lenin crossing into Russia. The Washington Post has a very similar story. They even use the same photo. Obviously, much of the content was supplied by narrative men in the regime. The point of these stories is to maintain the sense that victory is at hand!
In reality, Washington coordinated the trip with Moscow so that nothing bad could happen during Biden’s trip. Serious people in the Pentagon, who still have contacts in Russia, made sure the Russians knew Biden was making the trip long before Biden got on the plane to Poland. Those serious people know Russia does not want a direct war with the West. Two days before Biden made the trip, social media was buzzing about it, as word was leaked by both sides.
This public relations stunt was conducted against the backdrop of a policy that has failed at every turn and now promises to end in disaster. No one in the ruling class bubble wants to think about that, so they tell each other stories like this one from one of the Kagan cult members. Another cult member chimed in with this post in the same publication, now operated by the cult. This post in a conspiracy site gave the kooks out in the fever swamps something to discuss.
There is a theme coming from the cult members, which is aimed at maintaining the fiction that animates Ukraine policy. That theme is inevitability. The subtext to these stories is like the quote from the Terminator movie. The neocons are out there. They cannot be reasoned with. They do not feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until Russia has been destroyed. You hear that Europe? Washington will never stop until victory is achieved!
Of course, the reason for this is reality is starting to creep in at the edges, especially among the Europeans. The stockpiles of old Soviet weapons are all gone, blown up on the battlefields of Ukraine. The extra Western weapons have also been used up to the point where many NATO countries no longer have a functioning army. The German army is back to using slingers and berserkers. America is no longer able to provide Ukraine with enough ammunition for the war.
What is going on here is that the people inside the bubble created a glorious story for themselves regarding Russia. The story said that if they could bait the Russians into war, they just had to sit back and wait for Russia to collapse. This version of reality created by the cult was a reboot of the Bolshevik Revolution. This time, war would crack the Russian regime and the heroes would ride into Moscow to finally exact their revenge on their ancient enemy.
That has not happened. In fact, it is the American Empire that is now cracking under the strain of this war of attrition. Western economies are struggling. There is growing unrest in the public about the political class. Meanwhile, the Russians have organized themselves for the long haul. The story Western elites told each other about this war are falling a part, but rather than face reality they fill their minds with more versions of the big lie from the biggest of big liars.
This form of elite escapism is not unique to Ukraine policy. This is the defining feature of our ruling class. When asked about how all of these magical electric cars will be charged, people like Pete Buttigieg just reply with some hand waving or maybe say they will supply more sockets. He has no idea and he has no reason to care, because his world is the world of fantasy. The people running energy policy are just as divorced from reality as the people running foreign policy.
It is not confined to the elites. This is how the managerial class maintains its sense of identity and cohesion. The answer to the primary question of life, who are we?, is supplied by the many narratives that define the managerial class. Whether it is pronouns, support for deviant sexual practices, saying “keev” all of a sudden or any number of affectations, the point is to signal membership in the club. For these people, the answer to the big question is one of the approved narratives.
This is why the neocons have managed to dominate foreign policy. They are expert at creating complex narrative structures that provide simple moral choices for the audience, moral choices that favor their preferred outcomes. In a society that lives by words, rather than deeds, being good with words counts for a lot. Robert Kagan tells one side stories about monsters and heroes, while his wife tells the other side similar stories, always with the same monsters and heroes.
In the fullness of time, Francis Fukuyama’s seminal essay, The End of History, will be seen as the point at which Western elites became untethered from reality. For them, history was always a nightmare from which they could not awake. All of a sudden, the nightmare was over because history was over. What was ahead was whatever their imaginations could conjure. They could hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as they had a mind.
Much of what constitutes democratic politics in the West is the people debating with one another about the precise time their rulers wake from their dream. Surely they will see the folly of making war with Russia. Maybe this event will do it. Surely they will see the lunacy of banning fossil fuels. Maybe now they will see it. So far, nothing has worked, suggesting nothing will work. Elite escapism is now too much a part of what defines the elite, so their can be no awakening from their dream.
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