Friday, September 18, 2015

Stop the Inanity

Company man Peter Wehner, in Commentary (hey, I was just there to jerk off to the pictures, not read the articles, m'kay?) finds himself on the horns of a dilemma, what with the bumptiousness of Trump and all, undermining Serious People Doing Very Important Work.

Citing not just the popularity of Corbyn but the rise of Donald Trump and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders in America, as well as unfolding events in Greece and France, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair argues, “There is a politics of parallel reality going on, in which reason is an irritation, evidence a distraction, emotional impact is king and the only thing that counts is feeling good about it all.”

He went on to say this:
The explanation for this parallel reality is something to do with people feeling empowered by their ability through it, to “fight back” against “the system”, the traditional ways of thinking about politics with all its compromises, hard decisions and gradual increments. It is the clarity of full-throated opposition versus the chin-stroking nuance of: “What would we do if we were in government?” It’s a revolution but within a hermetically sealed bubble…

Mr. Blair concluded this way:
Because it is a vast wave of feeling against the unfairness of globalisation, against elites, against the humdrum navigation of decision-making in an imperfect world, it persuades itself that it has a monopoly on authenticity. They’re “telling it like it is”, when, of course, they’re telling it like it isn’t.

Jesus H. Christ. Talk about a hermetically sealed bubble. Blair is firmly encased away from the consequences of his decisions, and the decisions of his friends, hard and otherwise. Corbyn's election, and the candidacy of Trump -- and yes, that of Bernie Sanders as well -- do in fact all share a common thread of frustration with the mendacious tendencies of "the system" Blair worked within. There is much talk about "hard decisions" and "compromises" but no talk at all about who bears the brunt of those things, every goddamned time.

You have to wonder sometimes if these assholes really and truly don't get it, or if they're just Oscar-caliber actors. If one of their hectomillionaire backers loses, say, 10% of their net value in a recession, well, it sucks, but fortunately they have many other tens of millions of dollars with which to cushion the blow. Not so for an average lower-middle-class (since the US hates the fucking middle class, and has driven it into the dirt) family, whose net worth is mostly tied up in the value of their home, which went underwater in the recession, and will take years to recoup its value, assuming he can hang on to it long enough.

Joe Hecto has cash flow, cash reserves, and an economy of scale to help him get back on his feet and recoup his losses quickly and reliably, while Joe Schmo has none of those things, and has to hope his job doesn't pull up stakes from under him and leave him destitute while he's trying to recover from the economic downturn -- the naturally foreseeable result of all those "compromises" Tony Blair described with such smug anguish.

Whatever policies Blair and his ilk -- and this includes the Clintons and the Bushes alike -- the outcomes are predictable: successes accrue to the elites, while failures fall on those least able to bear it. The rich do not send their kids to die or get maimed in some bullshit war, don't have to deal with a fracking company turning their water table into flammable chemicals, never have to worry about their job getting sent to Bangalore so some cocksucker can make one more million on top of the dozens or hundreds he already has.

If the risk-reward scenario were spread out more evenly, if Our Betters (bettors?) faced even remotely the same consequences for their own decisions that everyone else does, it would be a different story. But they never do, and it's not even close. And now Tony Blair has the fucking gall to come out of the woodwork and chastise the peons for their ingratitude. Look, asshole, I'm about the last person to defend a troglodyte like Donald Trump, or the ignorant mouth-breathers who support him. But it's almost impossible not to get why they're frustrated, and that they intuitively understand that the politicians are out to get them.

I don't know enough about Corbyn to comment one way or the other, but that's really the brass ring that just barely evades the Trump-lodytes. They are correct that the system is out to fuck them over; what they miss is that their boy is playing them like a fiddle as well. Like any good huckster, he's going to pull the rubes along until the critical moment, and then pull the rug out from under them.

What's tough to figure out here is what Trump's endgame is. He's almost certainly not as wealthy as he claims, but he is wealthy. And he's already taken some hits, between losing his deals with NBC and Univision. Unless he's got some mad scheme to compete with Shelly Adelson for some Macau casino real estate, where's the financial gain for him? Secondly, while Trump is not as smart as he thinks he is, he's not stupid, either; in fact, primarily because of his immense ego, he probably understands the ideals of rational self-interest more than most people. And he has to know that the odds of actually succeeding are against him; a snake-oil salesman knows better than anyone that the media is geared to a build-them-up-and-tear-them-down cycle, and that his time is coming.

Maybe his ego outweighs his better sense, who knows? Again, this is a guy who spends his time -- or at least pays someone to spend their time -- fucking around on Twitter, picking and responding to fights over the most mundane, idiotic things. You don't see Warren Buffett doing that, you don't see Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, any other billionaire, doing that stupid shit. Trump's a queer duck, no doubt. Good luck figuring out his master plan.

But whatever it is, the fact is that the rage he's channeled, however poorly, to whatever end, much of that rage is justified. Because these elites, these transnational merchant princes and their political dogsbodies, like Tony Blair, with no loyalty but to themselves and each other, have screwed them over royally. The plebes don't know much, and they don't know what exactly to do about it, but they know that much well enough. When they finally figure out the proper direction to focus their anger and frustration, it might be a good idea to look at property in The Okanagan or some such.

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