The Crisis of Confidence

When the rigged high court, this week, ignored the precedent of Roe v. Wade, I realized that a blog post I wrote exactly two months earlier seemed word-perfect. Post-Democracy America is taking shape right in front of us.

As with a lot of events, now, I’m still making some attempt to analyze and process, yet I also keep finding that a lot of what happens is compatible with conclusions I reached and wrote about previously, some times years ago. It was right around three years ago that I went through intense anguish at the corrupt, evil takeover of America’s high court. Watching it play out, now, is sad and bad, but can I say that I really expected anything else?

I have been writing explicitly for some time that I think America is beyond repair, certainly in terms of a representative democracy. The proposition that the system can be repaired within the system is beyond farfetched, at this point.

Yet I still expect that zombie systems and concepts will shamble along, because that’s human behavior.

I am again re-reading Stokesbury’s Short History of World War I, and again the book and current events provide fascinating perspective on one another. Particularly how absolutely unprepared European leaders were for what war of that era was going to be like, even though there were warnings. The Russo-Japanese War was a warning, but they ignored it. “…early in 1915, Allied intelligence heard rumors that the Germans might conceivably be going to use gas. Not knowing exactly what to do about it, the Allied commanders decided to do nothing.” By later on in 1915, the war had ground up lives for an entire year, and still the nations of Europe continued to feed more lives into the same meat-grinder battles for multiple additional years before some new ideas managed to force themselves into use, often through some degree of accident.

America has had warnings, plenty of warnings, and we have even been living through plenty of nightmarish consequences of our culture becoming badly unsuited to new challenges. But most of those in authority (who are not actively part of the destruction) don’t know exactly what to do about it, and are instead doing nothing, at least nothing besides the same ineffective things which they have been doing.

I think this might be thought of as a Crisis of Confidence, partly at least a disastrous surplus of confidence as was very much the case in World War I.

I have been hearing suggestions that America is near or in a Constitutional Crisis every few years, it seems like, since at least the 1990s. I think we’re beyond that now. We have a crisis of confidence being way out of whack. Among elites and institutions, there is far too much confidence, as was the case in World War I. Unlike Europe a century-and-change ago, when overconfidence was very much shared by ordinary people, I think confidence in systems is plummeting among ordinary Americans.

I also think that it’s very reasonable to be deeply skeptical of America’s systems, at this point. Unfortunately neither ordinary people nor elites seem, for the most part, to know what to do about it, and any good ideas which are out there will struggle to get anywhere when there is so much disillusionment.

I feel like I should personally have processed my own analysis and done something more in response to it, sooner, although it’s difficult to pin down when or what.

It’s really horrifying, really genuinely horrifying, however, to face the prospect that the whole system is just unfair and impossible to improve from within the system. Not only are the practical implications scary, but additionally this just unavoidably takes one outside the rational, and at least partly into the world of the irrational. “It is a maddening space. The physics of it make no sense.” Naturally, people cling to alternative beliefs long after we have enough information to set them aside. Cling to hope that failed tactics will work with more effort, or that some exposure of some big conspiracy will restore a just world, or that something will intervene somehow. People are very slow to set aside belief that tolerable outcomes can yet be brought from within the system—because what is to replace that belief?

In this case, I think the only solution to the grand problem of America—where entire systems plural are awful, worsening and beyond reform from within the system—is to replace the problem.

In the big picture, America just seems like an unworkable unit. Essentially we have a sprawling empire which, if it might in theory be governable by some very different set of rules, is not only without such rules but beyond the point where any rules are going to fix things. Empires tend to fracture, anyway, and I have advocated openly for preparing to do this in a relatively peaceful, orderly and intentional fashion. I stand by that. I think we are to the point where, for leadership figures, maintaining the pretense that the system can be fixed from within the system is complicity in the dysfunction and abuse.

For the rest of us, eh, I advocate getting out. I reached this conclusion a little over ten years ago, actually, and wish that I had done something about it other than—not knowing exactly what to do—doing nothing. I have more recently concluded that while complicated and challenging, the idea is worth pursuing at least. For those who just do not have that option, well, internal migration is probably the next best plan. What city and state will at least support you and have some strength behind its efforts, as corrupt autocracy vies with breakdown and destruction as national currents? For those who are just stuck where they are, well, there is likely little more to do than personal resilience.

I hate to just say “it’s going to get bad,” but it has already been bad, and it seems likely to get worse, and I gave my all to pushing and pushing and hoping that what we were pushing on was more like a lever than a rope. It was not.

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