Saturday, 20 May 2017

The old world order won't go without a fight

I don't really follow US politics but I do like to keep an eye on it. I get the impression that America is a country in flux. It would be tempting to say that US politics has not looked this ugly in living memory - but that would be to ignore an entire era of civil strife, riots, beatings and interracial divides. One might even say that civil unrest is an integral part of the American picture. I get the feeling though, that this time around, America is disintegrating. 

Watching the rise of the alt-right as a political reply to the social justice agenda we see that this is a no holes barred fight to the death. The "social justice" agenda, known for its policing of speech and thought is little more than a power play for control of civic institutions. There is a hefty left wing bias on US campuses and if you have any ideas beyond the accepted realm of permissible conservatism you keep them buried if you want to keep your job. I rather expect this is also true for parts of the government. Over the years the state has become institutionally left wing and does not take very kindly to democratic interventions.

If I understand it correctly the state is at war with itself. The Federalist blog would have it that a slow motion coup-d'etat is underway.
Complicit with the authoritarian nature of the administrative state is factions within the United States intelligence community both inside and outside the White House. They have engaged in a campaign of selective leaks and plots to undermine the president of the United States and weave a media narrative of Russian influence, conspiracy, and now obstruction of justice. With their media allies, they have leaked information and intelligence that — while lacking any actual criminal element — has allowed a narrative to arise that casts a dark shadow over the White House and those who live and work in it.
In this it must be difficult for Americans to choose a side. It was assumed that Trump we be a wrecking influence which was actually part of the appeal, but it rather looks to me like Trump has no aptitude for, or interest in, governing. Even ignoring the smokescreen of hysteria, the Trump administration does not come off well. The very idea that a seventy year old man-child represents the USA abroad is as terrifying as it is depressing.

Still though, it should not be forgotten that this coup is not an urgent and principled manoeuvre against a superbly unfit president. Any Republican president, competent or no, would be facing this left wing establishment revolt.

The American Conservative skilfully argues that it is this embedded deep state that has made US institutions so mistrusted and indeed hated, and even if it succeeds in removing Trump the deep fragmentation of American society does not go away. The Federalist has it that "We may already be past the point of no return. Some in the White House made it a point to seek dismantling the administrative state, but it appears the administrative state is more than capable of fighting back and seizing additional power through leaks, obstinacy, and partisan rancor — ensuring its survival".

In effect the slow creep of big government, now captured by the left, has brought about an all powerful tyranny to America which is fundamentally at odds with the values and mores of its people. If the Trump administration cannot bring it to heel, then America is on course for a bloody reckoning. We will have seen the republic transformed into a technocratic leftist dictatorship that is immune to democracy. Government by the people, for the people, this most certainly isn't.

As to how it will go, I can't really say. The deep state may well remove Trump but I have a hunch Trump will ride the storm for at least a term. In two years there will be congressional elections and the window for substantive reforms is then closed. They just have to keep the president on the run until them, eroding his approval rating with a barrage of histrionics.

One way or another, the Trump administration will be out of power eventually, and when that happens there will be the usual triumphalism, with left wing politicians talking about closing the door on a "dark chapter", an aberration to be glossed over and forgotten. We have already seen how this works with the EU taking the election of Macron as a mandate and an affirmation of liberal politics when in fact the schism is still there. The French simply didn't want Le Pen.

Here in the UK, remainers look on in remorse, often exclaiming "I want my country back", sorrowfully lamenting that Brexit has divided the country and if only that beastly verdict could be overturned we could go back to our blissful slumber and pretend the economic and social disparities do not exist.

Across the West we see these divides, with regions turning on their capitals, which is ultimately why I think the EU is a dead man walking. Western leaders have become adept at self-deception, failing to fully acknowledge or recognise the deep dissatisfaction at the non-performance of government. Like the US deep state, the EU is skilled at evading and fending off threats from democracy. This is why they will be the most surprised and shocked when it all comes crashing down.

Whether or not the US deep state will be defeated by democracy or by other means remains to be seen. All we know is that the continued trajectory of Western politics points to an overall collapse.

The US deep state shares many commonalities with the EU. Both are deeply protectionist and territorial entities cut off from the people they notionally serve. In order to rise through the ranks you have to swallow the climate change agenda wholesale and believe what they believe. It spawns a closed off culture with values entirely alien to the people, but is ever more intent on imposing its moral and social agenda on the people.

We find that it funds junk science to find conclusions in keeping with its own social and economic agenda, manifested in the form of Ed Miliband's energy bill of 2008, which was a crippling blow to the billpayer. We saw similar measures from Obama about the same time. This is all wrapped up in the UN agenda which is largely a hive of leftism.

In this the public has a long memory. The Brexit vote did not appear out of thin air. The Guardian is presently leading a US inspired smear campaign of anyone with ties to the Leave campaign, suggesting Russian influence, looking for financial ties and suggesting links between Russian diplomats and Farage. There are a lot of very stupid people willing to believe it. It suits them to believe that Russian subversion is more responsible for Brexit than their own manifest failings.

The truth of it being that we remember what was done to British fishing. We remember our landscapes being vandalised by wind turbines. We remember what EU regulation did to small businesses in the 90's. We remember the hikes in energy bills. We remember the conning to deny us a referendum on Lisbon. We remember the floodgates to immigration being opened without our consent. The list of gripes is long. It doesn't occur to them that on balance we would rather not be in the EU and vote that way if given the chance.

Western technocracy has become bloated, arrogant, democracy-phobic and corrupt. Moreover, its subversion of moral norms, more acutely seen in America, is beginning to have a uniquely corrosive effect.

Whether or not Brexit marks a change in the tide remains to be seen. Brexit may have started something but we haven't seen a change of mindset among our political class. Mayism is the usual timid economic tinkering with a dash of paranoid authoritarianism. The all things to all people rhetoric tells of yet another managerial administration with no ideas of its own and no particular desire to depart from the norm because it doesn't see that it is part of the problem. Unlike the US deep state the British establishment doesn't need to mount an insurrection because there is no direct threat to it.

This is ultimately why Ukip was a failure. Ukip only ever saw Brexit as the destination. Having failed to galvanise any kind of movement, having failed to popularise ideas and having squandered so many chances, its support has melted away when, if it had been competent, it could still be calling the shots and making demands.

Ultimately though, this is the conundrum that haunts this blog. The analyst in me is looking for a stable and intelligent Brexit but there are days when I think the harder the Brexit the better. While it would have a calamitous economic impact, it would bring about the political reckoning we so badly need. There are those on the right who wouldn't hesitate for that reason alone, but I'm not convinced things are yet bad enough that we need be so drastic. There is still a great deal of potential in a more intelligent Brexit.

Ultimately Brexit is about restoring the civic health of the nation. It is not and never was an economic consideration. The real question is how far we have to go to purge the cancer from the system. And whether we can afford not to. The great pity for America is that their last revolutionary hope is a stone cold moron with no real aptitude and no direction. His influence will be easily erased and America will have to revisit this contest later down the line. France also has a reckoning to come and Italy also.

What we are seeing is the the final days of the order that has existed ever since the Second World War. The election of Trump is significant, and Brexit is more so. These are, though, just battles against a world order that will not go without a fight. There are powerful forces at work to stifle democracy and the battle is only just beginning. I have a feeling they won't let a little thing like Brexit get in their way.

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