Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Time to Defog Andrew Sullivan's Crystal Ball

First out of the box in the prophecy derby is Andrew Sullivan. Readers of this blog know that at times I find Sullivan illuminating. At times, I do not.

This week is one of the nots. 


Sullivan predicts that 2021 is going to be great. It will be so good that we will not know what to do with ourselves. We will see a miraculous economic recovery, a perpetual orgy, and more fun than we deserve.


By Sullivan’s lights the social rifts that 2020 exposed will vanish in the cold night air. Everyone is going to love everyone else because, you guessed it, Donald Trump will no longer be president.


In a strange way the stock market, which keeps rising and rising, as though floating on air, is offering the same story. And Bitcoin is flying through the roof. What could go wrong?


For a more sober assessment, famed market strategist David Rosenberg suggested that if you think Bitcoin is really worth what the market says it’s worth, he will happily sell you some Dutch tulip bulbs. Or else, he recommends that we all read up on the madness of crowds.


Speaking of madness, Sullivan sees a glass half full and declares it to be full:


Next year is going to be epic. It will be a year of rapid economic growth, extraordinary medical triumph, huge psychological relief, mind-numbing political normalcy, and pent-up social liberation. It will be lit. The summer will be remembered as the most hedonistic since the 1980s. There will be parties; there will be orgies; we will drink and do drugs; we will travel in unprecedented numbers; and after a grim year of withdrawal, fear, anxiety, and solitude, we will become human again.


But then he adds a sobering note:


Of course, if that doesn’t guarantee catastrophe, nothing will.


There you see it, the voice of reason crying out in the wilderness of Sullivan’s thought. When the conventional wisdom holds that nothing can go wrong, the chances are that something is going to go very, very wrong-- a black swan, as it happens. 


The greater the consensus, the more likely it is that the consensus is wrong.


Anyway, Sullivan found it especially galling that one Donald Trump was president. When you think that Trump is the Antichrist, defeating him means that the New Jerusalem is about to descend on our miserable world. 


Somehow or other, for reasons that are thoroughly opaque, Sullivan associates the New Jerusalem with non-stop decadence. 


Of course, Sullivan fails to notice that Trump-haters like his very self have contributed mightily to the appalling atmosphere of the past four years. We have seen Trump slandered, defamed, harassed and lied about-- on an hourly basis. And we have seen the radical left blame Trump-- because they have no sense of responsibility. Their mantra-- look what Trump made me do.


Fair enough, when Trump leaves the White House, the Trump hating left will immediately rediscover its long lost faculty of reason. But we will understand nothing about what is going on in America if we do not understand that the toxic cultural environment we live in was largely caused by those who despise Trump. If Trump is gone they will surely find someone else to hate.


The summer’s Black Lives Matter riots destroyed over a billion dollars worth of property. They tore down the hopes of minority families and minority communities. And they gaslighted the country into believing that America’s crime problem is being caused by white police officers.


First and foremost, Donald J. Trump will not be president. Savor that for a moment. Remember how he has invaded our minds and souls and even dreams for years. But in 2021, there will be days you don’t have to flinch at every ping of a news alert, when the constant possibility of a sudden lurch of despair in your gut recedes, days when you don’t have to think about him. It’s happening already. When did Trump last control a news cycle? He’s fading like the Cheshire Cat, leaving just the trace of a sneer.


I don’t think we’ve fully absorbed yet the psychological toll a madman with such power has inflicted on so many of us for five years. But imagine it going away!


As it happens, Trump will be going away. Yet, the vile, virulent, vituperative  and vicious attitude of the American left will not be going away. Just wait and see what will happen when these imbeciles see that they cannot get their way.


Sullivan thinks that these leftists will immediately find their long lost sanity. He is dreaming:


What makes 2021 more than just a change of regime, however, is that this massive psychic relief for half the country will almost certainly be accompanied by an end to the plague and the end of the winter. No Trump; no quarantine; no viral fear; and the rites of Spring. And more: a near-inevitable V-shaped economic rebound.


And Sullivan is especially happy to see that the absence of the viral threat will produce a permanent orgy, a return to decadence, to parties and drugs. And yet, why does that represent a return to sanity or even a return to decency?


Sullivan believes that history repeats itself-- it doesn’t-- and he imagines that the 2020s will be a repeat of the 1920s. It feels feebleminded to me, but what do I know.


Anyway, Sullivan describes the roaring twenties:


Fashions changed sharply to become more risqué; and Prohibition only intensified the desire to let things rip. The Cabaret culture in Weimar Germany; the bright young things of London and Paris; the flappers and the bootleggers and the speakeasies and the endless dancing and newly scandalous “petting parties” were all familiar features of the post-plague West. The wealthy also lost any inhibitions about flaunting their possessions, clothes and cars; and the younger generation, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s words, “brusquely shouldered my contemporaries out of the way and danced into the lime-light … A whole race going hedonistic, deciding on pleasure.” Something similar happened after the AIDS epidemic relented. Many gay men, finding it hard to process what they had just gone through, sought refuge in sex again, but this time with crystal meth, plunging them into a vortex of hedonism that verged on nihilism.


I don’t think it takes too much imagination to ask what followed the roaring twenties. As in, a horrifying economic depression, the rise of fascism and Nazism, and finally a world war, with tens of millions of casualties.


But, party like there’s no tomorrow, because if you act like there’s no tomorrow, there probably will not be one.


At the present time, America is engaged in a civilizational competition or clash-- as you will-- with China and the other rising powers in the Far East. Anyone who imagines that a new wave of cultural decadence, led by a demented old man with a hair sniffing fetish will make America more competitive should defog his crystal ball. Better yet, he should defog his mind.

6 comments:

trigger warning said...

Don't tell Sullivan, but my source tells me the Lunchbox Sockpuppet Transition Team swapped his crystal ball with a festive snowglobe. Merry Christmas, Andy!

FWIW, I also have tulip bulbs for sale. Along with certified carbon credits.

ErisGuy said...

I see Trump replaced Palin’s uterus in this squalid little toad’s mind.

Anonymous said...

Sullivan is saying crazed things that are absolutely ridiculous. And what makes him think Trump will go away? Trump will be in the news constantly because Biden and Harris don't get any ratings and Trump does.

Sam L. said...

"Sully's been smokin'/ingestin' waaaaaaaay too much. (Just a guess.)

"Next year is going to be epic. It will be a year of rapid economic growth, extraordinary medical triumph, huge psychological relief, mind-numbing political normalcy, and pent-up social liberation." And it will all be due to Hidin' Biden; yesssssssss, it will.

"If Trump is gone they will surely find someone else to hate." That will be all of us who voted for Trump. Bummer for them, we'll hate them right back.

370H55V said...

From petting parties to rainbow parties?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_party_(sexuality)

America is circling the drain.

jmod46 said...

It's remarkable that a reasonably intelligent man like Sullivan could be so delusional. If he thinks half the country is about to board the Slow Joe train to unity after being "otherized" for 4 years, he is not dealing with reality. I anticipate Trump will be much more in the news than Sullivan can possibly imagine.