The end is in sight

For the last hundred years or so, people have been predicting that the welfare and affirmative action state would collapse eventually.

Well, it seems that “eventually” is getting close.  Arnold Kling has a list of links showing that all the welfare state social democracies are going to hell in a handbasket, with everyone else in even worse trouble than the US.

Arnold Kling predicts a US debt crisis between 2015 and 2035.  Public sector pensions are unpayable.

The welfare state has made a pile of promises it cannot fulfill, and like a debtor in trouble, has been rapidly escalating the promises.

When the president and the most prestigious academies are out of contact with reality, then the path to advancement is to deny reality.  As the housing debacle illustrates, the elite is incurably insane.  The process is self reinforcing – any contact with reality, or tendency to engage in reality testing, disqualifies you for membership of the  elite.  Only lowly contemptible insignificant people engage in reality testing, and as everyone knows, they are boobs and disgusting racists.

In beauty contests, the contestants are asked to demonstrate allegiance to progressivism, by asking them questions on which America is divided. They must side with the Cathedral, or else they lose.  Similarly in a job interview for any important position.  If an executive doubts the Cathedral, the company is likely to be sued for a “hostile work environment”, so a precondition for employment in any substantial corporation in any important position is sincere zeal for the holy faith of the Cathedral.

The tea party is not actually all that rightwing.  They are right wing in that they support the extreme left status quo ante and oppose the even more extreme left status quo.  They want to turn the clock back to Clinton, not 1950, but to save the day, would have to turn the clock back to 1900.

People planned on social security and medicare being there for them. They see the government blowing all the money on pork barrel spending and dud mortgages for non asian minorities, and they suspect that the welfare state on which they intended to rely is going broke fast.  They want to preserve the quite left wing status quo of the Clinton years.

Hence the progressive parody of the tea party: “get the government out of my medicare”.

Only the most extreme elements of the Tea Party movement leadership (Sharon Angle) actually propose to put social security on a sound footing, propose to make it a forced saving program, where you individually and personally own your social security trust fund, rather than a welfare program.

The welfare problem is a necessary result of the universal franchise.  Singapore, and only Singapore, has a non catastrophic solution to the welfare problem.  They were able to get away with a non catastrophic solution only because of the Singaporean/Confucian attitude that the rulers have the right to rule, provided things are going OK, which rewards long term orientation by politicians.

The stupidity of the voters, and the short term orientation of politicians means that a universal franchise guarantees social, economic, and political collapse once government becomes large enough to drag everything down with it.

The least radical solution that could actually work, could make the welfare state viable,  is to implement Singaporean style welfare, social security and healthcare, and to restrict the franchise enough that such a solution wins majority support from those few entitled to vote – which solution is a lot more radical than anyone in the tea party will advocate.

We can divide the major political programs into three:

  1. The ignorant and unthinking, who are the great majority, since there is no point in knowing this stuff or thinking about it.
  2. Those who doubt the expansion of the state can go on forever, and fear the end is nigh:  these are the tea partiers, who want to stop the boat right by the edge of the waterfall.
  3. Those who believe the state can expand forever, because state expenditures are so much more productive than mere private expenditures: these are the elite, to whom thinking like the state thinks is a badge of status, and who therefore confidently believe that going over the waterfall will be fine because the boat will fly like a bird without any need for external support.

The practical solution, of course, is to back the boat away from the waterfall – a long way back from the waterfall, but it is too fiscally late to do that without blowing off most of the state’s financial obligations, and politically impossible to do that without radically restricting the franchise. A program of recognizing bankruptcy, and throwing most of the population off the voting rolls is unlikely to be very popular.


2 Responses to “The end is in sight”

  1. Bill says:

    Right, the system which has worked reliably in the West from Ancient Greece forward is rule by an homogenous hereditary aristocracy. Heading it up with a King is particularly useful, since he serves as a visible focal point for unity. Hereditary aristocrats have good long-term incentives, plus the aristocracy broadly has many children, so you are not fucked in the way you are if an all-powerful King has a retard son.

    Now just notice the need for a safe, hierarchical Church allied with the aristocracy and you have back the system which made Western Christendom great (and Eastern Christendom too, for that matter).

    • jim says:

      One problem is keeping the church safe. An established church bribes the indolence of the clergy, and encourages an other worldly attitude to religion. A theocratic church is almost the same thing as an established church, but tends to become very interested in this world – thus, for example, the Roman Catholic Church from 1277 sponsored to 1648 sponsored science by telling scientists what to think, threatening them with torture if they deviated, and exiling, imprisoning, etc, scientists who deviated.

      A good established church is like variola – a harmless disease that grants immunity against more dangerous diseases. It is subject to two problems. It can itself become virulent, a deadly disease, as in the age of faith, or, as happened in the nineteenth century, can become so weak and harmless that it fails to provide resistance to more dangerous diseases – fails to provide resistance against such more dangerous and vigorous religions as Islam, communism, environmentalism, progressivism and so forth.

      We at present have the worst of both theocracy and democracy. Our theocrats demand faith concerning facts about the world, and in attempting to manipulate the masses, manipulate themselves, suffering from the characteristic ailment of theocracy – that the struggle for power among theocrats results in the most holy theocrats getting on top of less holy (that is to say more realistic) theocrats.

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