Belmont Club has an unusually good post for yesterday. I could say that more than once a week, if truth be known. This one is quite to the point on Sequester Day.
The NHS, which its creators boasted would be the ‘envy of the world’, has been found to have been responsible for up to 40,000 preventable deaths under the helm of Sir David Nicholson, a former member of the Communist Party of Britain. “He was no ordinary revolutionary. He was on the hardline, so-called ‘Tankie’ wing of the party which backed the Kremlin using military action to crush dissident uprisings” — before he acquired a taste for young wives, first class travel and honors.
The NHS is dealing with the shortage of funds by pruning its tree of life, so to speak. He also does not tolerate anyone telling the truth about it.
it emerged he spent 15 million pounds in taxpayer money to gag and prosecute whistleblowers — often doctors and administrators who could not stomach his policies.
The public money spent on stopping NHS staff from speaking out is almost equivalent to the salaries of around 750 nurses.
It has recently been noted that NHS staff no longer recommend their own hospital for family members. Also one quarter report being harassed or bullied at work.
The other half of the equation involves the youth.
The European Youth will remain outside the Death Pathways for some time yet. But they will spend the time waiting for their turn at affordable, caring and passionate medicine in poverty and hopelessness. With the exception of Germany youth unemployment in Europe is over 20%. “A full 62% of young Greeks are out of work, 55% of young Spaniards don’t have jobs, and 38.7% of young Italians aren’t employed.”
Unemployment exceeds even our own Obama economy for failure.
A whole generation is finished. Like their counterparts a hundred years ago, the European young are being sent to their professional death in millions. The carnage at both ends of the age spectrum — with the old being killed off and the young’s professional lives essentially buried — is a sign that the welfare state, the future on offer to “Julia” and Sandra Fluke, is now an empty box.
The guys who voted for Hope and Change voted for nothing. The cupboard is bare. Everything that is left in the dying system is being spent to provide a luxurious lifestyle for people like Sir David Nicholson.
At this point, it is useful to read the latest installment of Angelo Codevill’s report on the ruling class.
The ruling class’s appetite for deference, power, and perks grows. The country class disrespects its rulers, wants to curtail their power and reduce their perks. The ruling class wears on its sleeve the view that the rest of Americans are racist, greedy, and above all stupid. The country class is ever more convinced that our rulers are corrupt, malevolent, and inept. The rulers want the ruled to shut up and obey. The ruled want self-governance. The clash between the two is about which side’s vision of itself and of the other is right and which is wrong. Because each side — especially the ruling class — embodies its views on the issues, concessions by one side to another on any issue tend to discredit that side’s view of itself. One side or the other will prevail. The clash is as sure and momentous as its outcome is unpredictable.
The Ruling Class is confident that it will prevail.
It’s not true, as Mayor Bloomberg confidently says that government, unlike ordinary people, doesn’t have to pay their debts.
“We are spending money we don’t have,” Mr. Bloomberg explained. “It’s not like your household. In your household, people are saying, ‘Oh, you can’t spend money you don’t have.’ That is true for your household because nobody is going to lend you an infinite amount of money. When it comes to the United States federal government, people do seem willing to lend us an infinite amount of money. … Our debt is so big and so many people own it that it’s preposterous to think that they would stop selling us more. It’s the old story: If you owe the bank $50,000, you got a problem. If you owe the bank $50 million, they got a problem. And that’s a problem for the lenders. They can’t stop lending us more money.”
It’s not true any more than it was true that machine gun bullets wouldn’t kill you at the Somme if you went over the top kicking a soccer ball, as some did.
The current elite has abused, as very few elites have abused in the past, the power of trust. They’ve taken legitimacy built by generations of competence and used it to paper over mediocrity and madness. The trust they had to squander was immense; and they squandered it.
The casualty of Obama’s rule has been the trust of half the American population. That trust was eroding through the Bush years as millions worried that the Republicans had flubbed the opportunity to right the economic ship after the Congress came into their hands in 1994. The prosperity of the 90s had something to do with it but they still had the chance to control spending. The illusion of a balanced budget was a fiction depending on the raid on the Social Security trust fund. It does not appear on the national budget so the balance was an illusion. It could have been real. This may have something to do with the renewed interest in Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge would not have squandered such an opportunity.
When the crash happens the disillusionment will be tremendous. It won’t be the kind of disillusion that loses elections or topples a government. It will the kind of disgust that pulls down a civilization. The kind that pulls Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Obama’s world down so low it will be a hundred years before the survivors can even reflect on it objectively. F. Scott Fitzgerald in Tender is the Night understood the immensity of the tragedy in terms of his own era. The leaders of his world had squandered more than the lives of a generation. They had destroyed love, truth, faith and home.
The tragedy of the First World War did not hit America with the same force that it hit Britain. We had a good war with Sergeant York as a hero and a small “butcher’s bill” to temper the enthusiasm. Still, the disillusionment of the Treaty of Versailles brought a loss of interest in Europe for thirty years.
Neither Bloomberg nor Obama will ever understand how much they squandered — and for so little.
Or, as Codevilla puts it, In this clash, the ruling class holds most of the cards: because it has established itself as the fount of authority, its primacy is based on habits of deference. Breaking them, establishing other founts of authority, other ways of doing things, would involve far more than electoral politics. Though the country class had long argued along with Edmund Burke against making revolutionary changes, it faces the uncomfortable question common to all who have had revolutionary changes imposed on them: are we now to accept what was done to us just because it was done? Sweeping away a half century’s accretions of bad habits — taking care to preserve the good among them — is hard enough. Establishing, even reestablishing, a set of better institutions and habits is much harder, especially as the country class wholly lacks organization. By contrast, the ruling class holds strong defensive positions and is well represented by the Democratic Party. But a two to one numerical disadvantage augurs defeat, while victory would leave it in control of a people whose confidence it cannot regain.
Both writers point out that the ruling class has lost the trust of a large share of the people.
But the Republican Party does not live to represent the country class. For it to do so, it would have to become principles-based, as it has not been since the mid-1860s. The few who tried to make it so the party treated as rebels: Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. The party helped defeat Goldwater. When it failed to stop Reagan, it saddled his and subsequent Republican administrations with establishmentarians who, under the Bush family, repudiated Reagan’s principles as much as they could. Barack Obama exaggerated in charging that Republicans had driven the country “into the ditch” all alone. But they had a hand in it. Few Republican voters, never mind the larger country class, have confidence that the party is on their side.
This is the conundrum. We face a future of stagnant growth, rising debt and an uncaring ruling class that will neglect the elderly as they impoverish the youth. What to do ?
The ruling class denies its opponents’ legitimacy. Seldom does a Democratic official or member of the ruling class speak on public affairs without reiterating the litany of his class’s claim to authority, contrasting it with opponents who are either uninformed, stupid, racist, shills for business, violent, fundamentalist, or all of the above. They do this in the hope that opponents, hearing no other characterizations of themselves and no authoritative voice discrediting the ruling class, will be dispirited.
Suppose that the Country Party (whatever its name might be) were to capture Congress, the presidency, and most statehouses. What then would it do? Especially if its majority were slim, it would be tempted to follow the Democrats’ plan of 2009-2010, namely to write its wish list of reforms into law regardless of the Constitution and enact them by partisan majorities supported by interest groups that gain from them, while continuing to vilify the other side.
That does not seem to be a solution. The French Revolution began as a bourgeois attempt to right the wrongs of the “Tax Farmers” and the nobility. In the early days of the revolution, many of the revolutionaries were younger nobles. In the end , they were overwhelmed by the violent classes under the leadership of people like Robespierre whose thirst for the blood of his enemies created the Terror. How does a people throw off the soft repression we face today ?
Achieving the country class’s inherently revolutionary objectives in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with its own diversity would require the Country Party to use legislation primarily as a tool to remove obstacles, to instruct, to reintroduce into American life ways and habits that had been cast aside. Passing national legislation is easier than getting people to take up the responsibilities of citizens, fathers, and entrepreneurs.
How does that work ?
How the country class and ruling class might clash on each item of their contrasting agendas is beyond my scope. Suffice it to say that the ruling class’s greatest difficulty — aside from being outnumbered — will be to argue, against the grain of reality, that the revolution it continues to press upon America is sustainable. For its part, the country class’s greatest difficulty will be to enable a revolution to take place without imposing it. America has been imposed on enough.
I don’t have an answer either.