Monday, May 30, 2016

The End Of History

Young people who weren't at the age of social awareness from 1989 to 1991 will never comprehend the triumphant zeitgeist that sprang up in the U.S. when the rusty old Soviet bloc, those countries to the east of Stalin's post-WW2 Iron Curtain, finally expired from its own internal contradictions. Poland was the first to shake off the slumber, with its Solidarnosc movement and clumsy, half-hearted reaction from the Soviet-run Polish military. Beginning in November 1989, the Berlin Wall started crumbling, a live-broadcast event I remember well. My law school roommate and I watched news footage of Germans wielding picks against that imposing edifice, and I said to him that the Soviet Union would be gone in five years. He said it would take ten years. It was all finished in less than two.

The defining conflict of the 20th century, the USSR and Karl Marx vs. the US and Adam Smith, was finally over, and we had won! A sea change took place over an entire hemisphere, and the old grey men like Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu were caught flatfooted when all the old mantras suddenly lost their potency.

Adapt or die, as they say.

And so, having seen Western liberal democracy vanquish fascism, Nazism, and Bolshevism in their turns, political philosopher Francis Fukuyama declared the End of History.
What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.
Giddy times, indeed. I remember reading about Fukuyama's "end of history" thesis in a Charles Krauthammer column from that period. He ended the column by essentially declaring further philosophical-political inquiry over. "Lights out," was the exact phrase he used. And thus it seemed, as President George H. W. Bush declared a New World Order, and the U.S. began using its uni-polar muscle to force liberal democracy down the throats of everybody on the planet.

And then, the planet struck back, as Wahabbist Muslims decided they didn't like this new, global Pax Americana.

I remember that day very clearly as well, getting breakfast at an office building cafe' and overhearing the cashier on her cell phone: "A plane hit the World Trade Center?" Upstairs, a group of us gathered around the TV in the break room and watched as a second plane slammed into the other tower. Eyes got big. Jaws dropped. Not a word was said. And that was all the work that got done that day.

Western Liberal Democracy went on the warpath. First, the PATRIOT Act had to be passed, an odious piece of comprehensive national security legislation. Then the regimes in Afghanistan and, inexplicably and fraudulently, Iraq, had to fall. Even more astounding, immigration was expanded as opposed to the rational policy choice of slamming the gates shut. And this bold new conservatism wasn't finished, as the money spigots necessary to President Lyndon Johnson's George W. Bush's "guns and butter" fueled an epic investment Bubble, the popping of which led to discovery by government and its central bankers of a strange new power in the Constitution: to print money and hand it out to Goldman Sachs, AIG, General Motors, and others. A threshold in U.S. economic policy was crossed: the rich would not be allowed to become poor. None of these policies have changed under President Peace Prize, by the way.

Speaking of the Constitution, is there anything it won't let government do? Fiat money? Only 435 Congressmen? Gay marriage? Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, Housing & Urban Development, Transportation? Korea? Vietnam? Gulf non-Wars I and II?

As should be obvious from this brief retrospective, the relationship of the citizen to the government in America has been fundamentally altered, well beyond the titanic changes of 1865, 1918, 1939 and 1965. In fact, one might say that damn near all of U.S. history has been about the increasing power of the bureaucratic state over the lives of a supposedly free and self-governing people.

One of the more under-remarked changes has been the deliberate engineering, through immigration policy, of US demographics from an 85% Anglo-European super-majority to Anglo-European minority by 2040.

And so, as the US follows the course of all multi-national empires through history, devolving into an inter-tribal ethnic spoils fight, we see the awful truth revealed: Conservatism conserved nothing; the Constitution preserved nothing. As our good friend Porter observes, the rule of law does not exist; it's the Law of Rule, and always has been. In sum, the Age of Ideology is over. Anglo-Europeans will adopt the identity politics of their ethnic and cultural rivals or they will lose everything they have. Of what use are "conservative principles" to this man who is one thin, blue line away from being torn to pieces? He doesn't need principles; he needs a strong man who hates his enemies.

As I say on Twitter, if you want Reagan-era policies, you need Reagan-era demographics. We no longer have those, and so white ethnics, perforce, now begin to engage in the battle for collective self-interest like everyone else does.

Now one would think that, seeing the above laid out with such lucidity, the aging stalwarts of neo-conservatism would recognize how the ground has shifted under their feet. But like dogged old commie Ceausescu, they stick to the same old mantras: Tax Rates!, in a country where half the population doesn't pay taxes. Deficits!, in a country with a central bank that prints all the money it needs. Traditional Values!, in a country that has made this the Law of the Land:

To the contrary, this late awakening on the part of Anglo-European America has drawn a number of prominent detractors:

Bill Kristol
John Podhoretz
Max Boot
Mona Charen
Jonah Goldberg

In fairness, there are others of the not-so-Recent-Arrival-persuasion (some might call them "Useful Idiots") who also oppose Trump solely on the noblest, highest-minded, scrupulously ethical principles. Check the Twitter feeds of people like Charles C.W. Cooke, Ben Howe, Erick Erickson and others to see the bile spewed at Donald Trump, or the more dignified harrumphing from Ross Douthat and Rod Dreher. All from self-styled conservatives who have tsk-tsked and wagged their fingers through decades of public and private elites' culture-wrecking and explicit hatred of founding stock Americans. As the possibility (inevitability?) of a Trump presidency approaches, conservative sputtering increases, and their impotence to stop this tide becomes embarrassingly apparent.
What we may be witnessing is not just the end of Conservatism, or the passing of a particular period of post-Enlightenment idealism, but the end of history as such: that is, the non-linear steady state of mankind's ideological evolution and the universal realization of Who Gets To Live Where And Run Things as the final form of human government.
Lights out.