Sunday, February 5, 2017

When the People Rebel Against the Elites

It’s not just America. It’s happening around the world. The people are rising up and disempowering their guardians. The term “guardian” comes to us from Plato… as I have often pointed out. It refers to a group of philosopher kings whose superior knowledge of Ideas qualifies them to govern those less intellectually endowed. Call them elites. Call them experts. Democracy notwithstanding, they have largely been in charge.

They know better than you how you should be living your life. They have little use for the free enterprise system because they do not believe that you and your ilk can, by making your own decisions, produce an economically efficient and effective market. Don’t you know, your lack of knowledge of the Ideas makes you a rube, a self-interested, rent-grabbing, ignorant, greedy SOB. The elites are there to save you from your worst instincts.

Today, of course, they feel compelled to save the world from the embodiment of everything they fear. That would be Donald Trump, the Antichrist incarnate. The elites are secretly happy to see the advent of Donald Trump. He proves that they were right all along. He represents everything they hate. As I have mentioned, they see him as the Antichrist. They will do anything to destroy this agglomeration of evil, even running a Women’s March behind an anti-Semitic Palestinian activist who prefers Shariah Law and who wants to mutilate the genitals of women who oppose Islam. If that doesn’t tell you how far the elites will go to destroy the Antichrist, nothing will.

And, what does it mean that the alt-left is out en masse clamoring for more Muslim men to be allowed entry into the nation? Do they care about the havoc that Muslim immigration has produced in Europe? Not at all. They see a vanguard that can rise up and destroy the Antichrist. They will deal with the rest later.

The elite class is made up of government officials, academics, media figures, the intelligentsia and lawyers. And let’s not forget the one group that everyone seems to ignore: the central bankers who control the world economy… and who do it for our own good. Didn’t they save us from the Great Recession? Some will say Yes and some will say that it will not be a happy day when we get the bill.

The intelligentsia might not have any experience running anything more than their mouths, but they are not ruled by the profit motive, and thus have purer souls. They know what is best. Give them the power, as we have for lo these many years and they will do what is best for everyone, not just for the rich and the military-industrial complex.

How much of the anguish issuing forth from the mainstream media reflects their horror over the fact that the American people rejected their collective wisdom in the last election. After all, all the media elites favored one candidate. The American people rejected their favored candidate.

The populist revolt is not just happening in America. Around the world, the common people, those who do not belong to the cognoscenti, have been in open revolt. They have not been storming the Fed, pitchforks in hand, but they have been revolting through the ballot box.

P. J. O’Rourke takes us on a world tour to show the people rejecting the elites:

If it's any comfort, people all over the world are saying, "We're sick of the elites. We're tired of the experts. To hell with the deep thinkers who think they know what we should have better than we do and who—while they're at it—are grabbing everything we've got."

Great Britain's political, business, and trade union leaders were opposed to Brexit. That is, the people who supported the Iraq war plus the people who caused the 2008 global financial crisis plus the people who nationalized the British automobile industry were all in unprecedented agreement on one issue. Voters felt they couldn't go wrong betting against this trifecta.

A similar broad coalition of Colombia's good and great spent five years negotiating a peace treaty with a starving rabble of FARC guerrillas who had been marauding in the country's hinterlands since 1964. A plebiscite was held to ratify the peace agreement, causing voters to tacitly ask, "After 52 years of murder, kidnapping, pillage, theft, and trafficking in narcotics, FARC is being offered retirement benefits?" The plebiscite failed.

That’s not all, folks. O’Rourke continues:

However, antielitism can come from every political direction. Brazil is in the process of bringing indictments for corruption against practically every one of its politicians—left, right, and middle-of-the-road—for the simple reason that they're guilty of it.

Sometimes the antielitism seems to come from never-never land. Among the principal contenders in the 2016 Icelandic parliamentary elections was the Pirate party (symbol: a black sail), featuring a platform plank to give Edward Snowden Icelandic citizenship.

Not to be outdone, citizens of the Philippines gave themselves a dose of electoral homeopathy. Overwhelmed by violent lawbreaking, they elected a violent lawbreaker president. Rodrigo Duterte, former mayor of crime-plagued Davao City, is nicknamed "Duterte Harry."

Even the dull politics of Australia have been in turmoil. Politics in Australia are so dull that the name of the conservative party is the Liberal party. But Australia has had five prime ministers in six years. Its last election nearly resulted in a hung parliament. A hung parliament! What a tempting idea. Although I suppose hanging legislators is immoral. And it's illegal, except maybe in Queensland if parliamentarians are caught chasing sheep.

In staid Canada they now have a prime minister who's a completely inexperienced dashing young celeb named Justin. I haven't Googled "Canadian politics." (Who would?) But I'm assuming it's Bieber.

We are all anxiously awaiting the moment when the Canadian people stand up against their Prime Minister, Justin Bieber.

At the Altmarket blog (via Zero Hedge) Brandon Smith offers a chilling vision of the future. You might think that Trump is inheriting a strong economy and a strong stock market. Not so, Smith writes:

For the entire first half of 2016, globalists were “warning” non-stop that a rise in populism (conservatives and sovereignty champions) would result in international financial catastrophe. It was as if they KNEW that the Brexit would succeed and that Donald Trump would win the election…

This has been my position for the past half year — that globalists were planning to allow conservative and sovereignty movements to take the reins of power, that they would allow the passage of the Brexit and the rise of Trump, just before they pull the plug on the system’s life support. The Federal Reserve in particular has already launched the final phase by beginning a series of rate hikes which will remove the safety net of free and cheap overnight loans to companies, thereby sabotaging equities markets. I specifically warned about this over a year ago when most analysts were stating that negative rates and QE4 were “just around the corner.”

From the perspective of the globalist elites, if Trump is in charge when the bill comes due, the world will blame it on him and the other populist leaders. Then they will come to rescue the world and regain their power.

Smith continues:

After the dust has settled, the argument will be that the world was "on course" before the Brexit, before Trump and before populism. The argument will be that globalism was working and conservatives screwed it up with their selfish nationalist endeavors. After the final crash and perhaps numerous deaths from poverty and violence, the argument will be that the only conceivable solution must be a return to globalism in an extreme form; or total global centralization, so that such a tragedy will never happen again.

Smith believes that Trump is playing into the globalists’ hands. That he is playing a role in their narrative:

No incoming president with any sense would try to take credit for the largest equities bubble in history.  But, take credit is essentially what he did.  That said, if you ALSO understand that the globalist narrative is engineered so that conservatives take the blame for the coming crash, AND if you believe that Trump is knowingly participating in this narrative (as I now do after he lied about "draining the swamp" and front loaded his cabinet with banking elites), then Trump's statement makes perfect sense.  Trump is playing the role of a future bumbling villain, the populist maniac who gets too big for his britches and brings disaster down on people's heads.

The false recovery narrative will indeed die in 2017, and it will be because the globalists WANT it to die while nationalists are at the helm. This is perhaps the biggest con game in recent history; with conservatives as the fall guy and the rest of the public as the gullible mark. One can only hope that we can educate enough people on this scenario to make a difference before it is too late.

Obviously, it sounds rather conspiratorial. And yet, even your humble blogger, whose knowledge of the workings of the world banking system is significantly inferior to that of Brandon Smith, once suggested that at some point we would have to pay for profligate spending of the Obama years and that it would have been good not to be in power at that moment.

With any luck it will go down as yet another failure of my and Smith’s crystal ball.


Ares Olympus said...

All narratives are obviously incomplete, and "The People" and "The Elite" are both abstractions, not united positions, rather both divided coalitions.

The Left, like under Bernie Sanders, in their protests love the chant "The people United will never be defeated" and they also imagine a controlling Elite, while not bothering to talk to "The People" on the Right who see completely different things to complain about.

And Ross Douthat addresses this problem in his article yesterday.
“That’s not who we are.” So said President Obama, again and again throughout his administration, ... urging their fellow Americans to reject the exclusionary policies and America-first posturing of President Donald Trump.

The problem with this rhetorical line is that it implicitly undercuts itself. If close to half of America voted for Republicans in the Obama years and support Trump today...

In seeking to reject Trump’s chauvinist vision, they end up excluding too much of what a unifying counternarrative would require.

Right now the urban-rural gap is standing large, with the Republicans holding the rural and affluent suburban vote, and the Democrats holding the urban centers. And strangely the middle class Democrats have been forced into the position of defending the bankers and billionaires because they to need the income taxes flowing to keep all their social programs running.

I like to go back to Wendell Berry at times. He looked at the decline of rural communities as family farms were replaced by agribusiness and ever larger fields, all competing in a global economy where mechanization is America's advantage.

So Berry's advice has long been how to restore local economies and stop the race to the bottom that will leave us without jobs or community. Cheap stuff, and community might be contradictory, and Trump's protectionism seems to recognize that.

If we think this task of rebuilding local economics as one large task that must be done in a hurry, then we will again be overwhelmed and will want government to do it. If, on the other hand, we define the task as beginning the reformation of our private or household economies, then the way is plain.

What we must do is use well the considerable power we have as consumers: the power of choice. We can choose to buy or not to buy, and we can choose what to buy. The standard by which we choose must be the health of the community - and by that we must mean the whole community: ourselves, the place where we live, and all the humans and other creatures who live there with us.

In a healthy community, people will be richer in their neighbors, in neighborhood, in the health and pleasure of neighborhood, than in their bank accounts. It is better, therefore, even if the cost is greater, to buy from a small, privately owned local store than from a chain store. It is better to buy a good product than a bad one. Do not buy anything you don't need. Do as much as you can for yourself. If you cannot do something for yourself, see if you have a neighbor who can do it for you.

Do everything you can to see that your money stays as long as possible in the local community. If you have money to invest, try to invest it locally, both to help the local economy and to keep from helping the larger economy that is destroying local communities. Begin to ask yourself how your money could be put at minimal interest into the hands of a young person who wants to start a farm, a store, a shop, or a small business that the community needs.

The agenda can be followed by individuals and single families. If it is followed by people in groups - churches, conservation organizations, neighborhood associations, groups of small farmers, and the like - the possibilities multiply and the effects will be larger.

David Foster said...

"The Federal Reserve in particular has already launched the final phase by beginning a series of rate hikes which will remove the safety net of free and cheap overnight loans to companies, thereby sabotaging equities markets."

This is just silly. Maintaining rates at a low level which drives stock prices unrealistically high does not create wealth, it merely pulls returns forward in time at the expense of lowering future returns. Extremely low rates also create problems for retired individuals who are not sophisticated investors and for pension funds and insurance companies who *are* sophisticated investors but have near-term obligations that need to be funded.

Trigger Warning said...

The intellectual "guardians", the folks with sinecures at the elite universities and aeries of government that Sowell recognized as The Anointed, are the same people that: fund research fostering negative population growth, and fund research to extend life and even discover the Grail of Immortality.

Naturally, to achieve both goals simultaneously, many will need to go (e.g., Al Gore's Davos comments on African "fertility management") and a select few will anointed with life extension.

And, BTW, it's not a matter of "save[ing] you from your worst instincts". Since we are all Noble Savages corrupted by flawed institutions, it's simply a matter of tweaking the "nudges" and humankind will be redeemed in a materialist Paradise. X-ray carrots are only the beginning...

Trigger Warning said...

My grandparents enjoyed a fruitful, debt-free retirement based entirely on financial prudence and risk-free US Savings Bonds earning roughly 4%. Bernanke and his successor have made sure that such financial freedom will never again be realizable to the formerly middle class retiree in America.

Jim Sweeney said...

Davao is not plagued with crime. It is an extremely safe city on the most dangerous of the three main islands of the Philippines. It was crime-plagued before Duterte took over but he cleaned it up in his own style.

Dennis said...

Having lived and traveled extensively in the Philippines crime has always been a large problem. I've spent time on Luzon, Mactan, Cebu, Mindanao, Panay, and places like Asinggan Pangasinan(Sp) and others so far out in the jungle that they had not seen Americans since WW II. Even though I paid a Pilippino guard service we were robbed close enough to our return back to the US that there was not to much I could do about it. Actually I felt safer in many places in SEA than I did being assigned to a military base north of San Francisco.
One the whole the Philippinos are great people and some of the best musicians in Asia, but I would suggest that they still suffer from the 400. The 400 riches families who controlled almost everything and probably still do. I don't think that it has changed since Marcos took the same similar actions. In that Jim Sweeney is correct. The Philippine Constabulary was always tough on those who got in their way.
A aside here, We flew into Panay on a C130 because it was one of the few who could land or takeoff there. The pilot said as we landed "Wait until you see your reception!" As the back made its way down we were expose to a crowd of 10 to 20 thousand Moro warrior with shields, spears and battle cries. They put on an hour show for us. We were working with the Peace Corps at the time. It was a good time talking and dealing with them. Good people.

Ares Olympus said...

Trigger Warning said... My grandparents enjoyed a fruitful, debt-free retirement based entirely on financial prudence and risk-free US Savings Bonds earning roughly 4%. Bernanke and his successor have made sure that such financial freedom will never again be realizable to the formerly middle class retiree in America.

My grandparents did well also, farming through the 1930s without debt, but also did well selling their farm for a good profit on land appreciation. I don't know what investments they had.

Myself, I can also disapprove of Greenspan and Bernanke's bubble economics, but its hard for me to judge what the alternatives were. It looks to me that financialization of the economy has been a slow and steady thing, where we replace real growth with growth of debt, and globalization allowed this game to continue much longer than anyone would have guessed. So since it has worked 40 years, we have to believe it'll keep working for another 40, while I'm seeing 10 years as extremely unlikely.

If you get used to 7% illusionary growth under fiat money debt bubbles, then you should accept that a more "normal" 2% real growth means everything may be overvalued by over 100% now, and we have to pass through a period where most investments lose money. So getting 0% returns (cash) under 2% inflation might be best ordinary people should hope for these days, and if you shoot for anything higher, you're basically rewarding the speculators and you can lose everything.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

"We're sick of the elites. We're tired of the experts. To hell with the deep thinkers who think they know what we should have better than we do and who—while they're at it—are grabbing everything we've got."

Yea, including football and the Super Bowl. The NFL made it clear last night that they have no clue who their target audience is. Roger Goodell was loudly booed.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

While we're on the topic of O'Rourke's "We're tired of the experts..."

Let's include wunderkind Nate Silver, who at some point in last night's 2nd half took to his keyboard and proclaimed that the Patriots had a less than 0.5% chance of winning.

Yeah, just like Trump in November.

Stuff it, Nate.