Let’s Pretend and the Gods of the Copybook Headings

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Well, the Greeks rejected austerity measures in a referendum yesterday 61% to 39%.  This should mean that Greece leaves the Eurozone but I doubt it.  My guess is that the powers that be in the EU, afraid that the whole Euro edifice will crash, along with their phony baloney jobs, will craft together some sort of last minute mini-bailout to keep the Greeks in the Eurozone for a bit longer, making the ultimate collapse of the Eurozone that much more devastating.  What all of this portends of course is the end of an era that is much larger than what happens to a minor Mediterranean economy, or even of the European economy.  We are saying farewell to the era of Let’s Pretend.

Let’s Pretend began back in the ’60’s of the last century when it became a common belief among the intelligentsia of the West that the usual rules, what Kipling called the Gods of the Copybook Headings, that had governed human affairs since the dawn of Man no longer applied.  We are clearly in the end game of this rubbish on stilts as reality keeps intruding.  Summoning money out of thin air eventually comes to a crashing end, welfare states eventually collapse under their own weight, free sex burdens society with kids growing up fatherless and with adults that never grow up at all, imposing a common currency on nations with separate economies, banking systems and disparate cultures is delusional, and the list of collective flights from reality could go at great length.

 

In this end game we have the proponents of our Let’s Pretend Culture assuring us that sex is merely a made up distinction and that marriage includes joining men to men and women to women.  Rather than ushering in a brave new world, this is a dying gasp of an exhausted project of reality denial.  Of course we are not the first generation to engage in such a project.  The lamentable chronicle of human folly and crime is replete with examples of societies collectively taking leave of their senses for a time.  However, reality always wins in the end, and the return of reality is usually attended with the shedding of many human tears and the shedding of much human blood.

 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

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Midwest Voice Translator

This will come in handy on my annual excursions behind the Cheddar Curtain.  Bonus:  

Impeachment Forever!

  A simple rule that every good man knows by heart. It’s smarter to be lucky than it’s lucky to be smart.

November 21, 1864: Letter to Mrs. Bixby

Executive Mansion, Washington, Nov. 21, 1864. Dear Madam,—I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the

32 Comments

  1. Meanwhile, over to the East, the Putin bear is planning how he can make a bold move to take advantage of the most weakened western world since Marx and Lenin. Perhaps, he’ll wait until the UN climate change makes their move for power.

  2. Your sentiments ring so true. I hope reality comes soon on a global scale. I’m utterly frightened of the world that my children will face, raising their children.

    Unfortunately for Greece, they got what they have deserved for so long.

    Their economy is a direct result of the peoples decision to vote in a Conmunist government. They don’t know how to manage money. This and the “slack” work ethic of the current working generation produces a complete disastrous outcome.

    And they STILL want handouts instead of a slap of reality ie. the logical and sensible tightening of the belt.

    The powers that be (whoever they claim to be) are complete morons.

  3. “They don’t know how to manage money…”

    Ezabelle, I would argue that Marxists (by whatever name) very well know how to manage money and economies, but they seek different outcomes from it. You assume they seek to improve the economic life of its citizens (thereby allowing independence) when in fact they seek to bring everyone down that they might easily be controlled.
    Visit any marine boot camp and you’ll see the process of humbling and thus dependency upon (loyalty to) the government. (Those few who seek to control the masses)
    The key is that there can be no other choice allowed the people–hence, control of communications, indoctrination, and the destruction of western ideals and God’s Church which sets us free.

  4. Meanwhile, over to the East, the Putin bear is planning how he can make a bold move to take advantage of the most weakened western world since Marx and Lenin.

    Marx died in 1883 and Lenin in 1924. Somehow I suspect the occidental world of 1942 which had seen a dozen years of economic depression and much of which was under occupation by the Axis powers, was weaker than it is today. (And, while we’re at it, Soviet Russia in 1979 was a more vigorous and threatening power than post-Soviet Russia is today).

  5. I would argue that Marxists (by whatever name) very well know how to manage money and economies, but they seek different outcomes from it. You assume they seek to improve the economic life of its citizens (thereby allowing independence) when in fact they seek to bring everyone down that they might easily be controlled.

    Don, see Paul Hollander on this point. There was an implosion in morale among the Soviet managerial stratum when, ca. 1985, it suddenly was possible the disconnected problems in the economy that they knew about themselves. The notion abroad for many decades (in fragments of the occident and in the East Bloc) was that central planning was the way to run an economy for maximum output and broad distribution of benefits. I can show you textbooks and magazine literature that I was reading as late as 1985 singing the praises of ‘indicative planning’ (something different that the comprehensive bureaucratic authoritarian state and society you saw in Soviet Russia, to be sure); at the time, chatter about ‘industrial policy’ was all the rage among a certain sort of journalist-wonk (e.g. Robert Kuttner), among others. Characters like Boris Yeltsin visit the United States and see what’s available in an ordinary American supermarket (without lines out the door a block long) and the jig’s up.

  6. “I can show you textbooks and magazine literature that I was reading as late as 1985 singing the praises of ‘indicative planning’ (something different that the comprehensive bureaucratic authoritarian state and society you saw in Soviet Russia, to be sure); at the time, chatter about ‘industrial policy’ was all the rage among a certain sort of journalist-wonk (e.g. Robert Kuttner), among others.”

    This from John Kenneth Galbraith in 1984:

    “Partly, the Russian system succeeds because, in contrast to the Western industrial economies, it makes full use of its manpower.”

  7. I recall that a major issue in the USSR circa 1980 was that the managerial class came to understand that none of the metrics it was using to ‘plan’ the economy could be trusted. The need for secrecy and the widespread corruption resulted in informational anarchy. After the collapse the CIA was shocked to find that it’s estimates were too low: it turned out that the Soviet military-industrial complex occupied two-thirds of the total economy! The leadership was dancing in a hall of mirrors of its own making, and they simply could not effectively respond to the Reagan-Thatcher-Wojtyla challenge.

    In a sense the same thing happens in countries like Argentina and Greece with their economic manipulations. In this case it is the value of the currency that is the metric being polluted. The leadership fools itself into believing the value is what they say it is.

  8. Whatever any Greek government does will be merely rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
    The Greek birth-rate went into free-fall in the 1980 and the country now has a Total Fertility Rate of 1.34 children per woman. Given that the median age is 43.5 years, there are simply not enough women of child-bearing age to reverse the impending decline of the population.
    No economic nostrums will enable Greece, to cope with a rapidly growing population of dependent elderly. Like Japan, by the end of the century, their language will be spoken exclusively in hell.
    IEven Germany, despite its present prosperity, has a median age of 46.1 and a TFR of 1.38. That may enable them to die out more comfortably and, in the meantime, to purchase some amusements to reduce their boredom and anxiety as their nation sins into the grave.

  9. After the collapse the CIA was shocked to find that it’s estimates were too low: it turned out that the Soviet military-industrial complex occupied two-thirds of the total economy!

    Can you provide a reference for that? The CIA estimate was revised in 1976 at which time it was calculated that about a quarter of their output was devoted to military uses, rather than one-eighth, which was the previous estimate. Keep in mind, that under conditions of comprehensive national mobilization, a mean about 1/3 of American output was devoted to military uses during the period running from 1940-46. It’s indicative of how vigorous the government was at the time that it was reduced from over 40% to 6.7% in less than two years (1945-47), and the country weathered a severe recession to boot. The federal government ran budget surpluses in FY 1946/47, 1947/48, and 1949/50. (There was a recession in 1949, so there was a deficit in 1948/49). We aren’t the people we used to be.

  10. This from John Kenneth Galbraith in 1984: “Partly, the Russian system succeeds because, in contrast to the Western industrial economies, it makes full use of its manpower.”

    If Mrs. McClarey has some time on her hands, you might ask her to produce a Kenneth Galbraith bibliography, omitting everything but refereed research papers in academic journals and working papers with similar content. You could add some monographs if they were historical works incorporating original research. That bibliography will be very, very short, his longevity notwithstanding. The man was an op-ed monster.

  11. Gosh yes! 🙂 We all reject austerity don’t we?!
    Is the die cast? What can really be done to alleviate the austerity that is actually in our future- not as part of a grand plan, but actual hunger and drop in so called standards of living none the less.

  12. And thank you for Kipling- pretty much unknown to me before TAC– and for Bill Whittle commentary

  13. Alas, I am too young to be able to count on being dead before the inevitable Mother of All
    Market Corrections happens. The Chinese stock market has lost almost $3 trillion in
    value in the past two weeks, and keeps dropping. With Greece’s woes, the crash of the
    Eurozone is that much closer– and as intertwined as our economy is with the rest of the
    world, no one with any sense could think that we’ll escape unscathed here in the USA,
    where we’ve doubled our national debt in the past 6 years, and our financial industry
    is wildly, unsustainably over leveraged.
    .
    I’d be a bit less pessimistic if it weren’t for the thought that the oncoming crisis will be
    handled by the corrupt, feckless, malignant crop we currently have in Washington.

  14. Russia may be weaker, but we are even more so–having lost all will to oppose evil and become quasi-socialists ourselves.
    It is wise to remember about the Putinized Russia, that it is the weak and wounded Tiger that becomes the man eater, and while the more noisy rattler makes loud noises warning you of danger, the silent cottonmouth or copperhead bites before you become aware of the danger.
    Russia, weak or otherwise, controls the life-blood fuel of Europe and has many times already intimidated her when they get advantage. They’ll not ignore the EU’s economic crisis and fail to see the best opportunity in many a year to make a move….while we wage war on CO2.

  15. Alas, I am too young to be able to count on being dead before the inevitable Mother of All Market Corrections happens. The Chinese stock market has lost almost $3 trillion in
    value in the past two weeks, and keeps dropping. With Greece’s woes, the crash of the
    Eurozone is that much closer– and as intertwined as our economy is with the rest of the
    world, no one with any sense could think that we’ll escape unscathed here in the USA,


    China has been nursing bubbles in asset prices for years. Nothing surprising and nothing all that troubling unless their traders are up to their eyeballs in margin. The American stock market is only mildly over-valued. Greece accounts for only 2% of the Eurozone’s production and what has been happening is very well telegraphed. The real problem might be if there is a panic re Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian debt. There hasn’t been much change in the CDS spreads on the Spanish and Italian debt of late, just some flux. There has been some increase in the spreads on Portuguese debt, though the spreads are not any higher than they were last year.

  16. Russia may be weaker, but we are even more so–having lost all will to oppose evil and become quasi-socialists ourselves. It is wise to remember about the Putinized Russia, that it is the weak and wounded Tiger that becomes the man eater, and while the more noisy rattler makes loud noises warning you of danger, the silent cottonmouth or copperhead bites before you become aware of the danger. Russia, weak or otherwise, controls the life-blood fuel of Europe and has many times already intimidated her when they get advantage. They’ll not ignore the EU’s economic crisis and fail to see the best opportunity in many a year to make a move….while we wage war on CO2.

    We have a bad elite, typified by the vapid and unscrupulous man who sits in the Oval Office. Some manifestations of that may improve in a year and a half. The notion that ‘we are even weaker’ I cannot credit. We have enormous productive capacity we did not have in 1941 and our economy and military dwarf in size that of every other country in the world bar China. Putin is engaged in a game of harassing countries on the Russian border. This is an expense and an irritant for the Ukraine. Donetsk is a long way from Warsaw, however. As for what Russia ‘controls’. Russia’s the most important component of the international export market in fuels, accounting for 12% of the total. They are also dependent on fuel exports for 70% of their foreign exchange. I tend to be skeptical they’re going to be running a general embargo on the rest of Europe.

  17. In the long run this is probably good. Greece will be forced to put it’s house in order, kicking and screaming for sure. But the short run will be painful.

    ==========================

    Don

    On different note for your Kipling series, some recently put up a good video of the “Mary Gloster.”

    http://eclecticmeanderings.blogspot.com/

  18. I do not believe the left are in a “let’s pretend” mode. That would be indicative of a modicum of innocence/virtue.
    .
    .
    I believe that from day one, say 1913 in the USA, the left’s modus has been let’s fabricate problems, tear it down, and replace it with what we control. It’s about power. It’s not about reform or change.
    .
    And, I believe the closest the left comes to analyzing the consequences of any ill-conceived experiment is a fleeting thought that “We will have control. How bad things be?”
    .
    Scratch a leftist and you find a totalitarian. As Gibbon wrote regarding Augustus, they are intent on reducing every one to an equal level of powerlessness, poverty and desperation so that they can readily control all.
    .
    When in the course of human events . . .

  19. “Can you provide a reference for that? (After the collapse the CIA was shocked to find that it’s estimates were too low: it turned out that the Soviet military-industrial complex occupied two-thirds of the total economy!)

    Art, my recollection is that I saw that in a U.S. Naval Institute publication, probably a Proceedings issue.

  20. .
    “Scratch a leftist and you find a totalitarian. As Gibbon wrote regarding Augustus, they are intent on reducing every one to an equal level of powerlessness, poverty and desperation so that they can readily control all.”

    Absolutely correct–CONTROL is what it is all about–and DAMN the consequences to anyone.

  21. TomD wrote, “…as their nation sins into the grave.”
    MPS, it makes perfect sense that way too.”
    Doesn’t it just?

  22. Barbara Gordon wrote, “Absolutely correct–CONTROL is what it is all about–and DAMN the consequences to anyone.”

    Does no one read Carl Schmitt anymore?

    Schmitt, a Catholic conservative, argues that every realm of human endeavour is structured by an irreducible duality. Morality is concerned with good and evil, aesthetics with the beautiful and the ugly, and economics with the profitable and the unprofitable. In politics, the core distinction is between friend and enemy. That is what makes politics different from everything else.

    The political comes into being when groups are placed in a relation of enmity, where each comes to perceive the other as an irreconcilable adversary to be fought and, if possible, defeated. “Every religious, moral, economic, ethical, or other antithesis transforms itself into a political one if it is sufficiently strong to group human beings effectively, according to friends and enemy.” “The political is the most intense and extreme antagonism,” Schmitt wrote. War is the most violent form that politics takes , but, even short of war, politics still requires that you treat your opposition as antagonistic to everything in which you believe.

    Of course, he denies the possibility of neutral rules that can mediate between conflicting positions; for Schmitt there is no such neutrality, since any rule – even an ostensibly fair one –represents the victory of one political faction over another and is merely the temporarily stabilised result of past conflicts.

  23. “Every religious, moral, economic, ethical, or other antithesis transforms itself into a political one if it is sufficiently strong to group human beings effectively, according to friends and enemy.”

    That’s a non-falsifiable proposition, MPS.

  24. I recognize that “friend and enemy” duality– it’s a rephrasing of the Tribalism theory of human interaction. All for those inside of the group(classically, tribe- your relatives), nothing of value for those outside.

    It’s an observation on human nature, one that Christianity calls on us to overcome. (by expanding to all people, but that’s still overcoming)

  25. Foxfier

    of course, Schmitt insists that Internal order can only be successdfully imposed as the necessary means of pursuing external conflicts. For him, a world government is impossible, for humanity has no enemy.

  26. Schmitt insists that Internal order can only be successdfully imposed as the necessary means of pursuing external conflicts.

    So, imaginative construction replaces actual political sociology.

  27. Art Deco wrote, “So, imaginative construction replaces actual political sociology.”

    As a jurist and political theorist, Schmitt is primarily concerned with the analysis of political concepts, their logical implications and their coherence.

    Every political community is based on a constitutive distinction between insiders and outsiders or friends and enemies. A democratic political community, as much as any other, must therefore rest on some marker of identity and difference that can ground an exclusive form of political equality which will only apply to insiders. His insistence that the political equality that constitutes a political community cannot be based on the non-exclusive equality of all human beings as moral persons, is analytical, not empirical.

  28. As a jurist and political theorist, Schmitt is primarily concerned with the analysis of political concepts, their logical implications and their coherence.

    So what? The theoretical is insufficient. It is merely a prelude to the sociological and the historical.

    Every political community is based on a constitutive distinction between insiders and outsiders or friends and enemies.

    Please note the following: your first pairing is not coterminous with your second pairing; elegant assertion is not the same thing as demonstration, whether Carl Schmitt does it or you do.

  29. Was not Schmitt excommunicated and effectively an atheist from his mid-twenties on? And while I dislike, generally, to exclude thinkers due to their associations- what wisdom could come from a man like Schmitt who helped to protect, justify and nurture the Nazis? Few read Schmitt, at least directly, anymore because he was barred from the academic world at his refusal to go through de-Nazification. Perhaps it is better for our us that this is so.

  30. Hmmmmm asks, “[W]hat wisdom could come from a man like Schmitt who helped to protect, justify and nurture the Nazis?”

    What led Schmitt to collaborate with the Nazis from March 1933 to December 1936 was, above all, concern with order Along with many German conservatives, Schmitt saw the choice as either Hitler or chaos. But, political thought should not be evaluated on the basis of the authors’ personal political judgements.

    Acute theoretical analysis is perfectly compatible with poor practical judgment.

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