Comment Of The Day: “Dispatch From ‘The Great Stupid'”


I had a long list of topics I wanted to write about today, but I have been rendered mostly unproductive due to some malady or another. Luckily, and not for the first time, readers have come through with content at least as valuable as anything I could have generated. I already have backlog from the last two Open Forums, and some delayed Comment of the Day as well. I am very grateful.

This Comment of the Day is another from the frequently history-minded (and often pessimistic) Steve-O-in-NJ, and his subject is the bad ideas, an evergreen topic, focusing on the tweet above, which is more representative of the current drift of progressive thought (it one is generous enough to call it that). Only one previous post had the “bad ideas” tag: this one, on “fertility equality.” I bet there are a hundred more that should have it, like anything about making Kamala Harris Vice-President.

Here’s Steve:

The U.S. and the world have hosted some pretty bad ideas over time.

The tulip bulb bubble, the ancient astronauts theory (remember “Chariots of the Gods?”), phrenology, New Coke, the XFL, and Boston selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees were some of the more benign ones. John Maxwell’s execution of the leaders of the Easter Rising, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and the National Guard opening fire at Kent State were some of the ones that were not so harmless. The Reign of Terror, where the Committee on Public Safety sent who knows how many to the guillotine for any reason or no reason, Pol Pot’s Year Zero, in which towns, money, religion, and private property were abolished and execution by clubbing to death by a pick or a hoe, also for any reason or no reason,, Petrograd Order No. 1 (mostly now forgotten) which de facto stripped military officers of disciplinary authority, causing the Russian military to collapse like a deflated balloon in the face of renewed German offensives, and Hitler’s crackpot racial theories were examples of instant disasters.

A modern society, indeed any society, must have some form of order, some means of maintaining order, and some level of trust and good faith in those who perform that task in order to function. In the Middle Ages, religion kept people in their place and from demanding fairness, which had the effect of maintaining order, although it was an order that served mainly to keep the lowly low and the lofty lofty. In the 19th century the governments of Europe eventually had to use force to maintain order while allowing enough reforms to keep the people satisfied, since no one wanted a repeat of 1848. The times when things have become completely lawless have been almost always utter catastrophies. The Nika revolt in Constantinople was about as close to complete destruction as a Western society ever got. The Jacquerie almost turned France into a wasteland. Then we can talk about the modern revolts in Portugal, Ireland, et al. All of them had two things in common: life sucked for ordinary people during these lawless times, and eventually when they were put down there was huge loss of life, property, and personal and societal freedoms.

We’ve been talking about these issues here, or at least I have been with anyone who will listen, for over a year. What we have now is a bad idea that’s quickly approaching the level of those really disastrous ones listed above. Those behind it can cloak it in whatever rhetoric they want. However, it boils down to those given power, with the understanding that with it comes duties and obligations to those who gave it to them, abandoning their duties and obligations to most of those who gave it to them or using that power against them. Businesses can’t function if anyone can steal from them with impunity. Landlords can’t function if there is no mechanism for tenants to be made to meet their obligations to them. The police can’t function if there are too few of them, if they are underequipped, and the prosecutors are more interested in jailing them than lawbreakers.

All of this means ordinary people can’t function. If ordinary people can’t function, then society can’t function. If society can’t function, then eventually you will get a collapse.

Then what?

8 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Dispatch From ‘The Great Stupid'”

  1. I live in Seattle, so I get to see these policies put in place daily. While collapse is a possibility, I think it’s much more likely that we return to protection rackets before that happens. That will be the ultimate irony for those who want to defund the police, they will trade a profession and politically accountable organization for gangs and thugs with no accountability or oversight. Throughout history, when central state authority has been weak communities policed themselves, same will happen here.

  2. Great COTD, Steve, and good job of distilling the issue down to its essence. There is majority agreement among my friends and colleagues that a number of increasingly lawless communities are on the brink of acts of vigilantism or of individual victims seeking retribution.
    Years ago, one of my prosecutor friends told me that as an alternative to individual revenge, vigilantism and other practices like blood feuds, our system of justice would only survive so long as the process was seen by most of the citizenry as being fast, fair and final. In my experience, all of those characteristics are often seen as lacking. This now seems to be accelerating rapidly and, as you point out, can only end badly if it persists.

  3. “In the Middle Ages, religion kept people in their place and from demanding fairness, which had the effect of maintaining order, although it was an order that served mainly to keep the lowly low and the lofty lofty.”

    I’m curious as to what would lead one to believe that people in the Middle Ages were any more religious than people in the periods before or after, apart from Monty Python sketches. Every eventual reform and demand for fairness I’m aware of came from a pretty religious position, and medieval serfs as far as I know weren’t lacking in direct State enforcement, so I don’t quite follow.

    • I think a narrative adjusted more to the real state of things would be that laws and enforcement have always been present, but the restraints of religion (of a specific kind) made it possible for more libertarian forms of government to eventually exist, ruling with a lighter touch without resulting chaos. Because, in the absence of the terror of rulers, people were still able to police themselves. The rejection of those restraints as authoritative is what is slowly bringing us back to a more bestial and lawless condition. No one need agree with me, but I think it fits the evidence better.

  4. If the justice system isn’t working from arrests on up, you naturally have mob rule. People will take the law into their own hands, it’ll be akin to the “Wild West” most likely. Buck up, buttercup. Perhaps the thief will lose a hand or be branded on the face, perhaps they’ll be hung, perhaps they’ll be chased off to bother someone else. Hard to know without the traditional rule of law we’ve all become used to. One thing for sure is it will likely be more violent. Normal people don’t have the ability to keep others locked up for trial. Other means of justice will be meted out. That’s where I think we’ll be headed if the cops continue to quit, repeat criminals continue to be released, and judges become unfair.

  5. So, what is the endgame? I think this is just plain elitism. Since the beginning of this country, there have been people who wanted a hereditary elite. There hasn’t been much of a hereditary elite, our elites tend to rise from the middle class and supplant the previous elite. This is what the ruling class fears. They want an end to the middle class and any threat to their power. So, what does this have to do with our current situation?

    (1) The shutdowns and lockdowns have destroyed small businesses across this country. This is especially true in the blue states, where independent stores were ordered closed and large chains were allowed to stay open. Small business created 2/3 of the new jobs in 2019. I have seen is stated that small businesses are the #1 path to the middle class in this country. Without small businesses, the middle class withers.

    (2) They have destroyed education. Before the Global Panic, I would estimate that the average public school student was 2 years behind the average private school student. Now, it is more like 4 years. The private schools kept teaching, the public schools stopped. Now, schools are more indoctrination centers, trying to convert as many elementary students to the transexual lifestyle as possible. How are these kids going to compete with the children of the elite? Many of them will be 6 years behind in school. They can’t compete. No more threat. Then add equity. How does ‘equity’ deal with the fact that there are more whites and Asians in calculus than other groups? They ban the teaching of trigonometry and calculus in public schools as Virginia has and California soon will. Without a quality of education, without the ability to start a small business, the path out of poverty is effectively blocked. The path to the middle class is blocked.

    (3) They are creating active discrimination against whites. Why, you might ask, when the elites are overwhelmingly white? Well, they are also overwhelmingly racist. You can see it when they make statements like “The poor kids are just as smart as the white kids”. They don’t see a threat from minorities, only from middle class whites. So, in their minds, they need to destroy all the other whites to ensure their hereditary position.

    (4) They got people hooked on Communism. Communism is one of the most blatant elitist systems around, but it is marketed as egalitarian. Yes, most people have the status of state slaves, but there is a hereditary elite in all Communist systems and it is more stark and impenetrable than that of feudalism. At least in feudalism, there were grades of elites and commoners. There is pretty much just Party members and slaves under Communism. Remember, Black Lives Matter is Communist. So is Antifa. So are the vast majority of schoolteachers and university professors. Almost all promoters of Communism are wealthy. Have you ever seen someone leave their wealthy lifestyle, move into a small apartment, live in poverty, and THEN promote Communism? No, they don’t want to do that. They want to tell YOU to do that. They are going to buy 4 houses each with your money.

    (5) They are destroying the money. Look at what is going on with the money right now. The FED is now actively financing the government. They are trialing a new ‘digital dollar’ that will allow them to charge ‘negative interest’ or just expire in a few months after it is issued (like the digital yuan). No savings for you. No way to get ahead. They are ‘printing’ trillions of dollars of currency, they ‘buying’ the currency back to keep it off the market (reverse repo). I am guessing the government is going to declare silver and gold ‘strategic assets’ and prevent people from buying it soon (how can you enforce currency that expires if you can buy gold with it?). You might want to buy some silver or gold while you still can.

    (6) They are destroying all stabilizing institutions. They have pretty much destroyed the family. Scouting…gone, churches…mostly gone. People no longer trust the media, the police are vilified, the courts are just eager political activists, and experts of all fields have disgraced themselves and proven that they are just willing political pawns. There is no one left for people to turn to.

    (7) They are increasing crime and violence on purpose. With the increased crime and violence, it gives the government an excuse to grab more power. Look at how many politicians are saying ‘if you want some of your rights back, get vaccinated’. Who allowed them to take our rights in the first place? They claim that none of the laws apply if there is ‘an emergency’. Well, who gets to declare the emergency? They do and there are no standards for what constitutes an emergency. They will take more and more until nothing is left. There are no First Amendment rights left, the left conveniently decided that the government can outsource tyranny to corporations, and that is fine. The fourth amendment received a recognition that it existed lately, but if the Supreme Court gets out of line again, they will be packed.

    (8) They are taking the houses. With the rent and mortgage moratorium, tens of millions of people fell for the trap and didn’t pay their rent or mortgages. Most didn’t realize they would still have to pay the full amount, so they are going to be evicted or foreclosed upon. The smaller landlords have gone into massive debt by not getting rent for over a year. The banks are snatching up houses. Unlike the foreclosure crisis of 2008, they are going to keep the houses and rent them. They are buying up the rental properties from the small landlords as well. When hyperinflation comes, they will ‘call in’ the mortgages and foreclose on those who can’t pay the full mortgage by the demand date. We will become a nation of renters.

    (9) The tech monopoly has made their power unchangeable. Any competitors can be deranked by the search engines, denied ads, removed from app stores, denied credit card processing, denied banking, and denied server space by the tech oligarchs. To compete, you have to make your own internet, money, purchase-processing, operating systems, web browsers, search engines, ad programs, etc from scratch.

    So, our new class of hereditary elites will control everything. You will take the money they give you, spend it only on what they allow (digital currency can be restricted to only certain purchases), live where you are told, pay the rent they tell you. You have no way to compete for the ‘good jobs’ because you have no education. If you displease them, you will be denied housing, food, medical care, etc. When the World Economic Forum said “You will own nothing and you will be happy”, it wasn’t a utopian promise, it was a command.

  6. The fundamental balance in all materially successful societies is security and liberty.

    The perennial risk is in seeking efficiencies – collective security becomes LESS expensive at scale…that is to say, collectivizing the costs of security allows less money per person to be focused in problem areas of any given society.

    The danger posed by that risk is the collective security is in the hands of fewer people.

    At one end of the spectrum, you have NO collective security and people lose their liberty because they increasingly dump vast sums of their own wealth into their own security – walls around private property, bodyguards, or at a minimum on a local level they have to form the equivalent of militias which are taxing on personal time and wealth.

    At the very other extreme, you have Empires, in which collective security is guaranteed by a body of enforcers. While that can often set the conditions for wild material success of the people, we see how people lose their liberty in that arrangement as well.

    The challenge is always in the balance.

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