The worst thing about living in the declining era of a great civilization is knowing that you are. -- Robert A. HeinleinThis is the second essay by the title of Confidence that I have written, the fourth that I am aware of that has been posted to the blogosphere. The earlier two (not written by me) are no longer available online. My first one posted February 15 of 2009. Not a great deal has changed since then, except for the worse.
I strongly recommend you (re-)read that previous piece, but in it I wrote:
It has been an ongoing theme here at TSM since I hit "PUBLISH" on Not with a Bang, but a Whimper? in October of 2003, that things are not going well for the Republic, and they appear to be getting worse. As Bill Whittle said, there's something very wrong with our foundation. The Left exhibits cockroach resilience, while the Right seems ever less willing to even lace up its boots.I also quoted Bill Whittle from his piece entitled Confidence:
What I've witnessed over half of my life (the time I've actually been paying attention) and especially the last five and a half years (the time I've been writing about it) is what appears to me to be America's inexorable slide away from our individual "pursuit of happiness" towards a pursuit of collective security in what the populace - what few of them who think about it all all - hopes will be at least a gilded cage. It's the pursuit of an illusion, but it's a pretty illusion.
The fault is ours. We let it happen. Too much of the population lost its abiding belief in the Constitution some time long before I was born. I put the date around the Great Depression, with FDR and the New Deal, after the country was prepped and primed by Woodrow Wilson's presidency. With the New Deal we finally reached the point that Tocqueville (maybe) warned us against:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.The New Deal did exactly that. But entropy can be slow, and the nation had a lot of momentum to overcome. That's been taken care of now, though. The only way to achieve high office in this country now is to be a statist willing to promise redistribution of wealth (though it is generally disguised as "earmarks" and not - usually - blatantly referred to as "spreading the wealth.")
When all is said and done, Civilizations do not fall because of the barbarians at the gates. Nor does a great city fall from the death wish of bored and morally bankrupt stewards presumably sworn to its defense. Civilizations fall only because each citizen of the city comes to accept that nothing can be done to rally and rebuild broken walls; that ground lost may never be recovered; and that greatness lived in our grandparents but not our grandchildren. Yes, our betters tell us these things daily. But that doesn’t mean we have to believe it.But we know from history what happens when we do.
Let me list just a few recent books - some less pessimistic than the others - all describing different aspects of the same dark future:
Dismantling America - Thomas Sowell, publication date 8/2010
The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture - David Mamet, publication date 6/2011
After America: Get Ready for Armageddon - Mark Steyn, publication date 8/2011
Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? - Patrick Buchanan, publication date 10/2011
Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America - Mark Levin, publication date 1/2012
Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 - Charles Murray, publication date 1/2012
A comment from Sailorcurt I saw a few days ago spurred this post. Here it is:
We’ve been on the long slide for a long time. We’re nearing the bottom. We’re WAY past the point of no return.And in response to that, Weerd Beard replied:
Romney as the "conservative" alternative demonstrates that more clearly than anything I could articulate.
Basically, our society is headed for the crash and has been for years, the only difference is how fast we get there.
I'm beginning to feel that I'd prefer to get there sooner rather than later. With every generation, our kids are being indoctrinated and brainwashed into further believing that the Government is the answer to all our ills, that human beings, when left to our own devices, will destroy ourselves and the earth, that it is more noble to be cared for and kept than to live in freedom and face all of the risks, benefits, consequences and rewards of same.
Perhaps it's better to keep the "faster" version in charge and let us rush into the void headlong, while there are still at least a few free-thinkers around to give us even a semblance of a chance of getting back on the right track after the dust settles.
Granted, the odds of that happening are extremely slim, but they're better in this generation than they will be in the next, or the next, or the next.
Everything that has a beginning has an end.
The end of our little experiment in liberty is in sight. It is unavoidable at this point IMHO, it’s only a question of how long it takes to get there.
Are we content to keep things as comfortable for ourselves as possible as we trudge slowly toward oblivion? Because that seems to me like what is being advocated by those desperate to get Obama out of office.
Be electing Romney, we'd not be averting, only kicking the can down the road and leaving our mess for someone else to try to clean up.
I couldn’t agree more, Curt!This kind of sentiment is getting to be more and more common on the blogs and message boards I frequent.
Shortly after reading Sailorcurt's comment, I saw this at Market-Ticker:
Our government with its present infestation of Democrats and Republicans, and the inability to find a single third party that will stand for the end of the stupid when it comes to the policies they espouse, including the one I'm currently involved in quite-heavily, means that we're going to go off the cliff Thelma and Louise style with the entirely-certain outcome.This was in response to a speech given by Mohamed A. El-Erian, CEO and co-CIO of PIMCO, Pacific Investment Management Company. Mr. El-Erian gave his speech as the "Homer Jones Memorial Lecture" at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
That speech is rather lengthy, but here's what I (and others) think is the key excerpt:
To crystallize our conversation today, allow me to use a very – and I stress very – clumsy sentence to summarize the current state of affairs: In the last three plus years, central banks have had little choice but to do the unsustainable in order to sustain the unsustainable until others do the sustainable to restore sustainability!(Emphasis in original.) As others have asked, what is the likelihood that our titular "leaders" are any nearer to doing "the sustainable to restore sustainability"?
Zilch, so far as I can see.
Still, there are those who hold out hope. Bill Whittle in his latest Afterburner decries the horrible quality of education our youth have received, but near the end says:
To that one in a hundred of you who's actually angry at how badly you've been ripped off by your educational system, and you're willing to face it, let me say this: It's not over. It's not too late. Our best days are still ahead of us and we're going to do great things, you mark my words. We need you, you one in a hundred.But in counterpoint, Captain Capitalism's latest video advises How Gen Y is Completely, Hopelessly and Totally Screwed Part 1.
And he has data.
As I noted in the previous piece, I have had a consistent theme at this blog since almost the first post that what is going on, here and in the rest of Western civilization, is a war between two (now three) utterly incompatible philosophies. Initially the two philosophies were Locke's and Rousseau's - Locke's being one of "Life, liberty, property" and Rousseau's being, not "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" but Marx's 1850 expansion from that to "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." The third incompatible philosophy that has been added to the mix is "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His prophet," but the first two are what I will be discussing at the moment. This war has been ongoing pretty much since Marx and Engels published The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.
Lenin himself acknowledged that Communism could not succeed until the Western capitalist nations were overthrown - violently, he emphasized. It was only through violent revolution that the proletariat could bring down the bourgeois, and that is what the true believers in Marxist-Leninist ideology have sought ever since. As others have noted, when World War I did not result in such revolutions except in backwards Russia and instead the citizens of various nations put on the uniforms of their national militaries and went to war to support their governments, many adherents of Marxist-Leninist theology - unable to question the gospel - were forced to ask what caused a delay in the historically inevitable? The Frankfurt School was established to study this problem, answer the question and come up with a solution, and they did.
The problem, they concluded, was that Western capitalism made the proletariat too comfortable to revolt. In order to overcome that, it would be necessary to destroy Western capitalism from the inside. To accomplish this would require a long period of time and take several steps, but True Believers believe in long-range planning. Former soviet propagandist Yuri Bezmenov (aka Tomas Schuman ) explained those steps in 1984 thus:
The first one [is] demoralization; it takes from 15-20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which [is required] to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy, exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words, Marxist-Leninist ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged, or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism (American patriotism).So the professors of the Frankfurt School wrote books explaining what needed to be done, they lectured and they spread their philosophy far and wide, and it took seed.
The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties (drop-outs or half-baked intellectuals) are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, [and the] educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated; they are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind[s], even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words, these people... the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To [rid] society of these people, you need another twenty or fifteen years to educate a new generation of patriotically-minded and common sense people, who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.
The next stage is destabilization. This time [the] subverter does not care about your ideas and the patterns of your consumption; whether you eat junk food and get fat and flabby doesn't matter any more. This time—and it takes only from two to five years to destabilize a nation—what matters [are] essentials: economy, foreign relations, [and] defense systems. And you can see it quite clearly that in some areas, in such sensitive areas as defense and [the] economy, the influence of Marxist-Leninist ideas in [the] United States is absolutely fantastic. I could never believe it fourteen years ago when I landed in this part of the world that the process [would have gone] that fast.
The next stage, of course, is crisis. It may take only up to six weeks to bring a country to the verge of crisis. You can see it in Central America now.
And, after crisis, with a violent change of power, structure, and economy, you have [the so-called] period of normalization. It may last indefinitely. Normalization is a cynical expression borrowed from Soviet propaganda. When the Soviet tanks moved into Czechoslovakia in '68, Comrade Brezhnev said, 'Now the situation in brotherly Czechoslovakia is normalized.'
Not everyone believed fully in the Cause, but enough did, and enough more were blinded by the beautiful utopia promised by that philosophy to embrace enough of it make them want to spread it, too. Bezmenov said:
This was my instruction: try to get into large-circulation, established conservative media; reach filthy-rich movie makers; intellectuals, so-called 'academic' circles; cynical, egocentric people who can look into your eyes with angelic expression and tell you a lie. These are the most recruitable people: people who lack moral principles, who are either too greedy or too [much] suffer from self importance. They feel that they matter a lot. These are the people who[m] [the] KGB wanted very much to recruit.In America his counterparts needn't have bothered. The process was self-sustaining very early on, as he noted himself:
They serve [a] purpose only at the stage of destabilization of a nation. For example, your leftists in [the] United States: all these professors and all these beautiful civil rights defenders. They are instrumental in the process of the subversion only to destabilize a nation.
The demoralization process in [the] United States is basically completed already. For the last 25 years... actually, it's over-fulfilled because demoralization now reaches such areas where previously not even Comrade Andropov and all his experts would even dream of such a tremendous success. Most of it is done by Americans to Americans, thanks to [a] lack of moral standards.
Socialism is extremely attractive to a certain type of intellectual. In fact, Thomas Sowell once said:
Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.And they do. So that is why, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, Socialism itself is still being pushed, no matter how many people die to make the lie true.
The first two steps, demoralization and destabilization are brought about through the education system and mass media. Each are used, as Bezmenov explained, to "change the basic perception and the logic of behavior" of a population, but it goes even further than that. Remember, Socialism is a class struggle. The motto of the United States is E Pluribus Unum - "Out of Many, One." The goal of destabilization then must be balkanization.
Rules for Radicals, the last book published by the first acknowledged "community organizer," is the textbook on how to divide a nation, bottom up, from the inside, with the final goal being revolution. Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven developed their strategy to overwhelm the welfare system and cause its collapse. Cloward was also instrumental in the "motor voter" National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Piven has been a longtime member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Cloward got his master's degree at Columbia University's School of Social Work - Columbia being the home of the Frankfurt School after it fled Nazi Germany, and Piven received her B.A., M.A. and PhD from the University of Chicago - the city where the Communist Party of the USA first set up its headquarters in 1919. Saul Alinsky got his Bachelor's in Philosophy at the University of Chicago.
These two schools seem to be the epicenter of the early spread of Socialism among the intellectual elites. William Ayers - former member of the Weather Underground, "guilty as Hell, free as a bird" in the deaths of (at a minimum) three of his compatriots, and probably of the death of a San Francisco police officer in a "successful" bombing - received his Masters and his Doctorates in Education from Columbia University, and until recently taught Education at the University of Chicago. He's one of the highest-profile Socialists in Education, but a long way from rare.
It's still going on today. Zombie put up an interesting piece on a lecture, Teaching as a Subversive Activity, given recently by retired professor H. Douglas Brown of San Francisco State University. You really should peruse it. These are the people, like Bill Ayers, teaching the teachers, and they have been for literally decades. From the comments comes this interesting bit:
My sister was studying to become a high school teacher a couple of years ago and looking through her text books I was amazed to see how prominently Paulo Freire and his theory of "Critical Pedagogy" was emphasized. When I asked her about it, she told me that "critical pedagogy" is the preferred way educators are expected to teach in the L.A. Unified School system. She said they're supposed to teach kids "how to think", not to stuff their heads full of facts and information. When I told her that Freire was a devout Communist she shrugged. Needless to say my sister is a Lefty, so informing her of the fact that Freire was a Communist was like telling her that he cares for humanity.Freire was, in fact, a Christian Socialist, but a major fan of Marx. The point remains valid, though. From the Freire Project website:
Several notable twentieth century educators and activists influenced and in some cases contributed to the body of research and literature of Critical Pedagogy including John Dewey, Myles Horton, Jonathan Kozol, Michael Apple, W.E.B. Dubois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Paulo Freire, and Augusto Boal, The Frankfurt School of critical theorists developed a unified approach to cultural criticism and seminal contribution to the work of Critical Pedagogy, including Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Jurgen Habermas, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Leo Lowenthal, and others.Everyone involved in the Frankfurt School was a big "S" Socialist.
So where am I going with all this? In 1984 Bezmenov - remember, a propaganda agent of the Soviet Union - stated that "at least three generations of American students" had been the victims of Socialist indoctrination. We're now twenty-seven years further on - at least one and more like two generations more. The education system we have now is an utter failure at actually producing educated thinking students, but it has become the ideal machine for producing a demoralized nation. Our economy, and the economies of the majority of Western nations are at the very edge of destabilization - we're just waiting for the first domino to fall, the first plate to stop spinning and drop from its stick.
When that happens, there will be crisis, and as Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel has told us "You never let a serious crisis to go to waste." No, someone has to normalize things when that happens.
And there are probably thousands of dedicated Socialists and tens of thousands of their useful idiots out there rubbing their hands in anticipation. They've worked independently for decades to reach this point.
I know Louis Farrakhan is. His is (partially) of that third incompatible philosophy, heavily influenced by the second. Then there are the Anarchists for More Government Cheese, the EarthFirst!ers, and many other groups who are willing to kill and destroy to achieve the Utopia they've been promised. And that's just on the Left.
Let's face it, after five generations of indoctrination, even Bill Whittle admits that "one in a hundred" is about the best that have escaped, and while they understand that they've been robbed, well they've been robbed. They realize that they don't possess what they need, but now they have to do the work that twelve years of "education" didn't provide them. Most of the rest of the population? They've been prepped to be reliant on the .gov: ignorant, unprepared, incapable of functioning on their own.
And the war is on the "one percenters."
I don't think "our best days are still ahead of us." I'm in very good company. I'm aware that Cassandras have been proclaiming the downfall of civilizations since time immemorial, but as Billy Beck once observed, "Sometimes they're right."
Perhaps it's better to keep the "faster" version in charge and let us rush into the void headlong, while there are still at least a few free-thinkers around to give us even a semblance of a chance of getting back on the right track after the dust settles.There's that hope again. Let's parse that sentence. We should "rush into the void headlong" on the off chance that, after we go smash on the bottom, some of the few survivors will be free-thinkers who might get the rest "back on the right track." Who thinks they'll be the ones prepared for "normalization"?
Who says they won't be around if we try for the soft(er) landing? Tuesday's Quote of the Day was humorous, but it was funny because it was painfully accurate. Like Robb Allen, I'd like to postpone the crash as long as possible, but we're not voting our way out of this.
Maybe Bill Whittle's right. Perhaps the horse might learn to sing. But the best I can honestly hold out for Billy Beck stated three years ago:
All the political initiative now is with the forces of Amsoc. Where the so-called conservatives have fought generations of piece-meal rear-guard action against the integral resolution of socialism to corrode its worst enemy -- the practical and living ideal of freedom: America -- out of existence, and as they have done so as effects of disintegrated philosophy, the socialists are assuming the commanding heights in full political battle gear.
It is important to understand that this can only and inevitably mean physical battle gear, right in front of your eyes, right here in America. The spirit of this place that was not born of the slave's obeisance will require this government to bare its fangs. I still believe that. The ways in which and the singular souls from which Americans select their values are not yet so beaten to any alien molds so well that they will peaceably stand for the conformations that this government will eventually require and demand -- not "ask".
Regardless, there's Tough History Coming.