Wildly, madly, the West is destroying itself

Wildly, madly, the West is destroying itself, by Lionel Shriver.

A surfeit of Western security, with no major wars and nearly uninterrupted prosperity for 75 years, has created an ahistorical under-appreciation for the fragility of order. …

I would argue that most of this year’s abundantly white, middle-class protesters embody the epitome of complacency. These are not people who expect to make any personal sacrifice to make the world a better place. To the contrary, by positioning themselves as “allies” on “the right side of history”, they expect to reap rewards, and to jettison older, purportedly prejudiced generations even more rapidly than younger generations do as a matter of course.

BLM bandwagoners assume they can change everything while everything they fancy stays the same.

  • Weekend revolutionaries imagine they can bring an end to capitalism and still keep all the fruits of capitalism that they take for granted.
  • They think they can install a neo-Marxist equality of outcome, boot out all the wicked old white guys like Tim Cook, and keep their iPhones, replete with regular OS updates.
  • They imagine they can pack faculties and student bodies with minorities regardless of qualification and “decolonise” the curriculum to rid it of “white knowledge” and still have prospective employers regard their degrees from Harvard as meaningful commendations.
  • They want to undermine the means by which their parents earn a living yet still expect to crash back home when they’re low on cash, where they can always raid the refrigerator when feeling peckish.
  • Woke white activists want to demonise “whiteness” as the sole source of all evil, while mysteriously believing this does not entail demonising themselves. …

If governments, schools and businesses embrace “anti-racism” as their sole prime directive, as opposed to producing a saleable product or performing a valuable service, competency is bound to decay at what was once these entities’ driving purpose: to provide for the common defence, to educate students for viable careers, to manufacture products that consumers want to buy. Should most Western institutions and corporations devote their principal energies to “anti-racism”, China will clean up. As a result, “equality” zealots will level the playing field by making everybody poor. Forgive me for stating the self-evident, but advocates of wealth redistribution need wealth to redistribute.

  • Rioters are dependent on a functional society or they have nothing to disrupt.
  • Hoodlums still assume that if they get thumped with a truncheon a well funded and skilfully staffed hospital will patch them up.
  • Looters rely on a generous supply of operational businesses whose premises can be ransacked and which are chock-full of the fruits of capitalism like high-end trainers.
  • Eager to acquire more free stuff, looters blithely expect these businesses to replace their windows and restock, the better to get ransacked again.

For all their demands for “systemic” transformation, 2020’s protesters don’t really want that much to change. They want to keep curating their playlists on Spotify and ordering oat milk from Amazon Fresh. They want Netflix to keep churning out new entertainment, through whatever nefarious corporate machinations, because they’ve already binged the fifth season of Ozark. …

Two flashpoints ahead::

Few in the white majority feel any responsibility for slavery and many white Americans are themselves struggling to pay bills or unemployed; should the reparations movement be victorious, white resentment could be incendiary.

And if a deadly confluence of logistical disarray and mutual distrust means there’s no clear winner after November’s presidential election, I foresee mayhem.

Something-for-nothing also dominates the “financial” scene:

I’m worried about implosion on a more historic scale. Lockdowns have sped up the rate at which national debts are burgeoning. How tall can a house of cards rise before it topples? According to “Magic money tree” thinking, aka modern monetary theory, a government that controls its currency can print money to cover its expenses without limit. We can see why this theory is so popular: everything for nothing.

What’s wrong with this fairytale? It’s deeply counterintuitive, and never underestimate common sense. I can’t cite a single product that can be manufactured in infinite quantity and still retain its value. Flood the market with corn, and the price of corn plunges to below the cost of production. Our gut intelligence dictates that the logic of oversupply also pertains to money: the more you conjure from thin air, the less it will buy. …

All Ponzi schemes collapse. The only uncertainty is when.

Will dystopia be averted?

I dread ever having to watch the civilisation that has nurtured me, and that has provided me such an exhilarating cultural inheritance, fall apart. I could not bear a real-life dystopia in which the Statue of Liberty is toppled and Parliament burns to the ground. In which libraries and online search results are strictly policed to serve a single, narrow, fanatical dogma (a process Facebook and YouTube have already begun).

All common sense really.

hat-tip Stephen Neil