These very same arguments can be made about vaccines and the Covid consensus. The Serious Persons all believed their cause was righteous. Vaccine mandates, lockdowns, school closures and masks were absolutely necessary.
But the obscene money thrown at big pharma greased the wheels. Big pharma bought ads, hired lobbyists, supported NGOs, made political donations. They bought the opinion leaders.
Fear was absolutely necessary to create alarm, encourage compliance and drive vaccine acceptance. Opinion leaders drove this fear. And maybe they did believe every word of the consensus, but they were bought and paid for by big pharma.
The same thing can be said about the Serious Persons and the military industrial complex. Raytheon, Lockheed and others grease the wheels. They sustain and nourish the narrative the same way big pharma does, with donations and whatever financial support is necessary.
You can run a similar argument in terms of status.
There are low status opinions an high status opinions. The MSM make it very clear which is which and no right thinking person wants to be caught holding low status opinions.
Brexit was a text book example. Quite a number of people I know seamlessly picked up the line that Brexit was a disaster voted for by people who were too stupid to have the vote.
I do like your distinction.
I think you have to be pretty stupid to believe that a high status opinion is always identically the same as a correct (true) opinion – or the reverse (low status is always wrong). That’s obviously nonsense.
So normal and expected to have at least a few “low status opinions”.
Of course, the idea that the world was flat used to be a high status opinion.
I thought about your point but you don’t have to form a view about whether an opinion is right to hold it. You hold it and therefore it is right.
For example, for those people who chose to believe the message that the Covid vaccine was effective it became an article of faith.
You can point out to them that we were first told it would prevent them from catching Covid and it did not. We were then told that it would reduce the chances of transmitting Covid, but it didn’t. In the last chance saloon we were told that it reduced the severity of the symptom, but where’s the proof. Yet still they believe.
Part of their embrace of the vaccine might have been driven by fear but I suspect it is in equal part due to the portrayal of those that questioned the vaccine as low status “anti-vaxers”
Your last paragraph sounds about right to me.. anyone who believed Farage and Johnson has to be incredibly stupid, surely? And Serious Peo0le now see the light, or most likely saw it from the beginning!
I liked farage in European Parliament. Somebody needed to start telling them.
Brought to you buy the federal reserve.
Can you imagine if these corporations and government puppets had to fund these things by either selling products directly to consumer, pandering donations, or just calling down to the precious metals miners and saying get back down in that hole, we need 10 more tons of gold and silver to fund our next war effort!? If you want to stop endless war, you have to stop unlimited unabated taxation. QE is merely a tax which bypasses effective legislative authority. Literally everything we need to correct these issues lies in adherence to Article I Section X.
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
Good comment Jim on a well-written but ultimately futile article. Power, not money, corrupts politicians. Money, not power, corrupts politicians. A distinction without a difference.
I know you express a popular opinion, but it assumes that public policy was the enemy. Public policy did not put anyone in the hospital or the graveyard.
The virus was and is the enemy and the efforts of public health were aimed at combatting that enemy.
The pandemic was far more about society than about science. Society is about leadership and leadership is about truth and trust. The first pandemic POTUS botched the crucial job of crisis communication and the second pandemic POTUS had not the wit nor the gravitas nor the inclination to correct that.
Don’t fall prey to blindsight because if we do, the next pandemic may well be the last in recorded history.
The Consensus has been finding itself in a bit of a panic. What do you do if your citizens start seeing you as corrupt, treacherous, and incompetent? What lies do you tell yourself? Corruption? Hey these people are our friends. Sure they have closer ties to political power than they are supposed to and we get less out of the money we give them every year, but they are protecting America and providing jobs! If we do not keep funneling money in to the latest underperforming overbudget weapon system, we might have Chinese invading San Francisco. Treachery? American citizens think we are the enemy? How? Look we might have lied a few times and violated their Constitutional rights over and over, but we had good intentions! We need to protect America from its enemies and anyone trying to keep us from doing so is an enemy. It’s sad that patriotism is almost dead and few people are joining the military anymore. Incompetence? You try running foreign policy. I went to an Ivy League school and I am part of several think tanks. So a couple of our latest military ventures could have turned out better. No they weren’t completely pointless or counterproductive because uh… Anyway how dare those right wing militia nuts mock our power by pointing out we lost to guys with rusty Kalashnikovs living in caves and wearing sandals. Those lefty hippies are horrible too! Where do they get off calling us evil imperialists every time Iraq is brought up? You all are just horrible ungrateful people! You don’t have what it takes to protect America!
I have said it before and I will say it again, self-righteousness is a hell of a drug.
It certainly is.
All in all a depressing read. Forty years of failure seems no impediment to maintaining the course. Trillions are wasted every year but there seems no end in sight. They must be going to run out of other people’s money soon.
The thing you have to understand about these people is they live in a tiny bubble with the same worldviews, went to the same schools, are part of the same think tanks, and surround themselves with the same brownnosers. Its not that they know what they need to do to fix things and just refuse to do it. These people would not even know where to begin doing things differently. All of them have a neoliberal beliefs and the idealists, realists, and noninterventionists were given the boot decades ago. So there is no longer any differing opinions. To make things worse, they also have an acute case of Never My Fault Syndrome.
Very “Realisiic”–as long as one doesn’t live in the real world, at least after 24 Feb 2022.
Indeed, just how do “Noninterventionists” oppose Russian “Interventionists” in Ukraine?
The latter’s “Consensus” seems to be a tad more expansionist than in DC.
And they never pay attention to pieces like this.
There was a time in June when there could have been a peace deal. But Biden sent Johnson over there to crush any attempt at peaceful negotiation.
They don’t. Ukraine and Russia are the business of Ukraine and Russia. That this administration is pouring billions into Ukraine for a good laundering is the only reason the US is involved at all, I don’t care what Serious People in Washington tell themselves.
Ukraine is the business of every country that borders it.
Russia gets no special privilege.
You do realize that America and Russia almost touch each other and Ukraine is not anywhere near us? Just thought I would point that out in regards to your blanket statement there.
You think Russia is more interventionist than the US? What? ..ok, I get it; it’s a joke, right?
Each of those was–or is–a hot war, designed to bring back the Russian Empire in some form.
I don’t believe Syria, Libya and Mali were ever part of the USSR.. all the others were. I note you distinguish between Donbas, Crimea and Ukraine. Is that deliberate or is your geography poor? I’m pretty sure none of those states is part of the USA or anywhere close to the Americas for that matter.
So my point stands: Russia has never threatened the US except that one time in 1962, ie Cuba which ended before it began thanks to the Russians opting for peace. I’m no apologist for Russia or Putin but do see a deeper level of depravity in the US. The death toll in Iraq stands at 1 million, half of them children… “a price worth 0aying” says Madalene Albright!! How degenerate is that?
US interference in Central and South America is endless and disgusting, the CIA murdering freely elected leaders and the US then supporting the lowest form of terrorist there.. imposing sick, degenerate tyrants that the US can then “do business with”, ie who will cooperate in the exploitation of that country’s people.
In addition the US has invaded/ bombed several countries all over the world (with a death toll of 5 million) that clearly present zero risk to the US? The count in the last 50 years is over 100 acts of aggression…
Why is that?
You are correct Liam, however the alternatives are even worse ie the Chinese or the Russians being the dominant power on our planet……..
Unlikely they’ll run out of money. They’re in the unique position of being able to just keep printing it. For the foreseeable future anyway.
It’s the ‘first receivers of money’ argument. The velocity of cash fiat.
One more time; Where in the hell does the actual money come from?
If the whole world is in debt, to whom are we indebted?
Article I Section X
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
A glimmer of reality…but still only a glimmer.
The problem is that the writer looks at the US in a vacuum.
One might thus propose a better model: Every other major nation in the 19th and 20th Cs had their own “Consensuses”: Imperialism, Communism, Nazism, Maoism, Islamism, and now “Putinism” and “Xi-ism.” In each case, America had to respond in some way, and–surprise, surprise!–they usually wound up creating some form of “consensus.”
But that’s because ALL states act this way. And the only way to eliminate such competition is to eliminate sovereign states.
Since there are close to 200 of them, good luck!
Naturally, we will always have the “Dumbed-Down Marxist” explanation, that “they’re all only in it for the money.” But that’s because most Marxists simply impose their crackpot idea on everything, dubbing any counter evidence as a “bourgeois” smokescreen.
Again, ALL states act this way, and have done so for quite a while.
So…welcome to the last 5000 years of human history.
Three things strike me as incorrect in your overly simplistic assessment:
1. You assume all states spend vast sums on militarism. The vast majority of states are small states and spend very little on militarism: eg Ireland. We see no need whatever to engage in militarism. The need for militarism has little to do with defence and far more to do with aggression and imperialism!
2. You assume the arms race is required just in case your country is invaded or at least threatened. The vast bulk of such aggression took place with little risk of that, eg US wars and aggression (c100 cases) in the last 50 years despite zero risk to the US itself. US spending is so far ahead of every other country it cannot be regarded as “keeping up” by any stretch of the imagination. It is simply for world domination.
3. Suggesting that it is all for the money (plus money’s ugly twin sister, power) must be wrong because it is dumbed down Marxism is a huge stretch. It could be just all for the money due to the US’s crazed obsession with money irrespective of any other ideology. Indeed it is!
Well O’Mahony old chap, at least we can agree on something!
“Ireland. We see no need whatever to engage in militarism.”
No too busy shooting people in the back and blowing up supermarkets and pubs and then running to the USA for asylum as I recall.
Nah, they’re imasuclating themselves with the lgbt propaganda of late. It’s a bomb with much more widespread devastation, because it destroys peoples minds, their dignity follows.
There is a war on, for your mind.
Yes indeed, and I thank you for reminding me of this insidious‘campaign’.
You have the wrong country there Charlie my boy! Those things occurred in NI which has been in the UK for the last 700 years, and still is by the way! Had it been in Irish hands none of that would have happened (because in our 26 of the 32 counties it DIDN’T happen did it?) It happened in your country on your watch so take the shame.
“The Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974”. 33 Dead, 300 Injured, the record………..so far!
I presume you were ‘in nappies’ at the time, otherwise you should have remembered that O’Mahony old chap.
Those atrocities were perpetrated by British terrorists, at least that’s what they called themselves (eschewing the term Irish at all costs). You really are ignorant aren’t you Charlie.. a little learning is indeed a dangerous thing. Have you checked the Atlas to see who governs NI? ..with all its attendant racism, religious bigotry, hatred and political gerrymandering? Under whose watch? Blighty’s old boy! Not a Paddy in sight except as victims.. wtf do you expect when you abuse half a million people in their own country for 50 years! Meek acquiescence? In their shoes would that be the Stanhope way? I think not..
Keep digging, it’s hilarious!
I think there’s a distinction between “world domination” and protecting your nation’s interests. My take on the USA is that it’s really concerned about the second and not the first. No doubt it takes a lot of flak because it’s very good at it.
US military dominance has – as some smarter commentators have observed – brought us a long era of free trade where shipping can move freely and easily around the world. Which, on the whole, benefits everyone.
If the USA is as “imperialist” as you suggest, where are all its colonies ? Why isn’t it out there conquering new territories ? Yes, it has military bases in a lot of countries, but that it far from the same thing.
Part of the reason that you can get away with spending so little on defence in Ireland is, I suggest, that you live under the US umbrella and get a lot of “free defence” that way. I believe that UK military flights also patrol some zones of interest to Ireland. I wouldn’t be comlaining too loudly …
But you’re quite wrong. Neocolonialism has replaced old fashioned military conquest and so the US controls countries just as much as if it had invaded them. Perhaps even more with its subculture as well as its threats if sanctions, and 800 threatening bases around the world etc.
Notwithstanding, the US has seen the need for several invasions to assert its hegemonic power (100 or so in the last 50 years).
Do you seriously expect me to believe the oceans would awash with pirates if the US navy wasn’t patrolling them? Are you serious? I cannot recall a single Irish ship being attacked by pirates in the last 100 years, let alone a US naval vessel coming to its rescue.
“Protecting American interests” is merely a euphemism for world dominance so that it can exploit its vassal states in the same way the British Empire looted its colonies, and still does through neocolonialism. US economic power is vast but now at risk of being challenged by China whose Belt & Road Initiative is a more benign form of neocolonialism.
The small nations depend on the UN for protection though by and large we in Ireland have no need of it, thank God.. Instead we provide the world’s finest peacekeeping troops for the same UN.
Seriously? Un ‘peace keeping’ troops are notorious for actually not being that nice. You might want to research their catalogue of seriously awful fu*k ups. The UN is worse than America in my opinion.
Not the Irish troops.. check it out. Maybe you can find one or two bad apples but I doubt even that.
Fair enough, I’m not trying to batter the Irish, just the UN. Still, the un peace keeping missions are normally more of a sham than American intervention. That’s saying something.
Actually the Irish UN troops, (along with our good selves) have performed very well, and taken quite a few casualties in doing so.
However for most of the ‘others’ you are, sadly, absolutely correct Ms Emery.
Thank you. I wasn’t sure on the Irish troops I’ll be honest, I don’t like the un force much but I’m glad the Irish and our good selves are at least doing a good job. Can I ask, do you think the un is worth keeping or do you think it might be past its sell by date?
We’ll probably better the ‘devil you know’
It’s hard to conceive of an alternative.
However I think the entire thing (Military UN) should be turned over to the Gurkhas, probably the finest troops available, and Nepal could certainly do with the business
Sadly it will never happen.
Well I wasn’t expecting that. The gurkas I mean. Fair enough. If that was possible though it would be a good idea.
It’s another place corruption seems rife, the way they carried on Haiti was really awful, but you know, nothing is going to be perfect, mistakes get made etc. so you have to work with what you have I suppose. I haven’t got a better idea either tbh.
Almost uniquely the Gurkhas are ‘disciplined’ troops, and oddly that makes ALL the difference.
I’ll grant you that Mahony old fruit.
I don’t think Liam O’Mahoney remembers very far back. If it weren’t for U.S. militarism, his name would likely be something like Manfred von Richthofen.
Correction. If it weren’t for the alliance of the UK, Soviets and the US. That’s the big three. There are many more allied powers I could mention. Thank you.
Oddly the US really does have nation states eager to take over the role the US has played since WW2. Why does Russia and now China maintain rather huge arsenal of missiles? US invades to counter what it perceives as threats. Pity it really didn’t invade Libya because the aftermath might have been better. Iraq is a mess because the US couldn’t counter Iran. Afghanistan might have worked itself out for the better had Biden not withdrawn so foolishly. Vietnam after a few bad years is recovering nicely. South Korea is now a rising star.
Meanwhile the world is unlikely to end up in WW3 with a death toll in millions, perhaps because the US became a sort of world police – not that it really wanted that. After WW2 the US was insanely rich via it’s productive might and a lot of sacrifice. Over time that wealth was transferred back into other’s economies. China has accumulated much of the US wealth making a few in US even wealthier. Sadly China has decided it must have a huge military now to match the US. One might ask why?
The US continues to muddle along with largely fools in charge. At the moment the world seems on a similar path with seniors refusing to retire. Sadly some of the new younger leaders appear even less capable to serve the public but stoke their own egos. This article suggests that leaders are power hungry as are their immediate staff, but I think they are simply greedy and don’t want the gravy train to slow. Current financial conditions might suggest the train will be stuck for a time.
Wow.. you are so wrong in almost everything you assert to be the case. Indeed the direct opposite is true in some instances…
Russia and China need to defend themselves against US aggression. There has not been one single act of aggression towards the USA by either country. The direct opposite is the case with the US waging war on Russia by proxy and US posturing in the South China Sea. Last time I looked I saw no Russian war on the US and no sign of the Chinese navy in the Caribbean!
How unlucky can you be waging all those wars against small nations and been beaten soundly in every one! ..and none of the death and utter destruction is any of the US’s fault! What? Are you insane?
You give naivety a bad name!!
And the wealth of the US is all thanks to its own endeavours while the wealth of other nations has nothing to do with their own endeavours but instead is due to what? The largesse of the US! What a joke! China pulled 800 million of its own people (exploited by foreign powers for centuries including the US) out of poverty while in the US 100 million were driven into poverty by its own billionaire class!
Wake up before it’s too late. Try not to be such a sucker for MSM propaganda! Try not to be so gullible. Look up a few facts FGS!
The most deliberately naive statement on this site.
You DO know that there is something called NATO standing between Ireland and Russia? And that, after 24 Feb 2022, Russia would be in Germany without NATO?
If Ireland were a Baltic country you’d be squealing bloody murder to join.
And sorry, when you ignore 3000 dead Americans in a single attack as the impetus of the Iraq War, you are just being willfully stupid.
Pls try to make some sense next time.
We are not members of NATO as we are not under threat (last time I looked). We have always had good relations with Russia ever since their revolution. There isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest we are under any threat from Russia, or China or the US (but only because we do US’s bidding).
The 3,000 US dead in 911 were murdered by not one single Iraqi but rather by a bunch of Saudis and Egyptians! So why didn’t you invade those countries? Bin Laden resided not in Iraq but in Afghanistan where he had been supplied weapons by the US to fight Russians years earlier!
Iraq, under Saddam was probably the most anti-Alqaida country on the planet. Indeed he ruthlessly executed dozens of Alqaida terrorists. Saddam and his best buddy Donald Rumsfeld had a falling out over oil – that and that alone was the reason for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Don’t you guys know anything?
Thank you for finally stating the obvious.
#1 was a good one! Ireland seeing no need for militarism is like a grade school football team seeing no need to play Manchester United.
Quite right. This is nothing more than the continuing history, which began in the Old Testament, of mankind who, in cycles that last between a hundred years or many hundreds of years, alternates between following God’s way or man’s way.
Excellent, excellent discussion. One rarely encounters corruption or evil in the form of a malicious conspiracy of mustache twirling villains in a smoke filled room or a group of stern faced men in black suits sitting around an expensive table deciding which evil plan they can use to get rich and take over the world. One encounters it in the form of a mindless mob, a group of ostensibly reasoning, thinking, autonomous individuals nonetheless behaving as little more than a herd of stampeding wildebeests. What motivates the herd is usually unobjectionable and sometimes very appealing, but that hardly matters to the unfortunate sops who stand in its path. The herd will trample anyhing and everything in the way, be it human freedoms or human lives in its pursuit of the goal. The herd’s members will engage in the usual social posturing, racing one another, each striving to be at the front of the line, thus driving one another and the whole herd to ever more dangerous speeds. The herd is not controlled by any one individual. The lead member can attempt to turn one way or the other, but the herd may pay no heed or another may use the opportunity to usurp the leader and turn the herd in still another direction. The herd sustains itself. Even if one or a few leave the herd, others will take their place. If the herd crosses a river and many drown, it does not matter because the herd continues. If some cannot keep up and fall to be trampled, it only makes the herd stronger. Thus, the herd sustains itself independently of its members. It becomes a beast in its own right, a mindless, soulless, thing driven by whatever purpose to move forward heedless of consequence. So it always is with herds. Whether the Catholic inquisition or the Roman Legions or the the American military industrial complex, the herd takes on a life of its own, and, regardless of intention, leaves a trail of pain and casualties in its wake. Our modern society is positively rife with herds. I will not call it herd-ism, because the ism would imply a kind of conscious reasoning that is alien to herd behavior. It is difficult to credibly blame any person or group for herd actions, yet for the sake of the herds members and for its victims, someone must be held to account, and only the most powerful members bear enough responsibility for any level of guilt to be assigned. In this sense, it does not matter that the elites, the bureaucrats, the establishment, the consensus, or whatever other term one wants to use is not consciously plotting to ruin our civilization through war and greed. They must be held to account all the same.
Very true; a good analogy. Was there ever so great a need for courageous independent press and ever such a shortage.. where would we be without Unherd and the other truly independent press such as DDN? MSM is a sick joke these days with its very own group think on what/how to publish to advance one’s career or save a job.
Come off it! War, hot or Cold War is great for US jobs, millions of them.
Have we already forgotten what happened after 1918? The US then plunged into a self-righteous ‘peace dividend’, but the 1922 Washington Disarmament Conference was all too soon followed by the financial crash of 1929. Then it was Steinbeck and “Okies” until, ‘heaven be praised’ those idiot Brits got themselves involved in yet another war, and guess who lent them the cash and the tools to continue it? Oh happy days of maximum production for US Industry.
Fortunately wise council prevented history repeating itself in 1945 and very soon we had a new enemy, “Reds under the bed” was the battle cry! The all too predictable collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 caused a minor panic, but fortunately a new enemy hove in sight, one distinguished by sporting large beards and wearing flip flops. Here the ridiculous battle cry was to be “The War on Terror”. Pathetic as is this enemy was, it sustained massive ‘defence’ spending for a further generation, thus those happy days continued.
Then last year as various Afghans practiced their ‘ free fall’ techniques from the last US aircraft departing Kabul, I began to wonder where the next war would be. I didn’t have long to wait, a mere six months in fact, before the whistle blew and it was kick-off in the Ukraine.
“War (hot or cold) is the Father of all things”.
That military spending actually retards the growth of economies obviously proves that capitalists don’t follow their own best interests, and instead mindlessly look for enemies to fight.
So it’s all one giant conspiracy.
Overseen by George Soros…or is it Hillary?
I thought it ‘stimulated’ the economy rather than retarding it.
Just another ‘Keynesian’ way of pumping ‘other peoples money’ into the economy?
So in this cynical, somewhat ironic view of yours, the U.S. and other global powers should stop pretending to anything beyond a warlike motive, “stimulating growth” at an affordable cost in blood, and mostly foreign blood at that?
Gotta admit: I’ve come to appreciate your terse audacity, at times.
Great power politics is a bloody game that requires bloody acts and bloody mindedness. It’s not something most of us would aspire to. Failing to engage in great power politics, however, is also problematic because then someone else gets power and and uses it to benefit themselves. It is the legitimate business of any government, king, or emperor to pursue the interests of its/his own people even at the expense of other nations. Everybody being nice to each other and getting along has never been a choice. The world does not work that way. The spreading democracy and world peace nonsense is a show to keep the useful idiots in line. Intelligent hard hearted people like ourselves could do without the pretense and appreciate geopolitical strategy for the bloody business that it is, but we’re not really the target audience. It’s calibrated for the lowest common denominator of human intelligence and critical thinking. It’s for the snowflakes raised on self-esteem and participation trophies who have been sufficiently insulated from the harshness of the world since childhood. They need a spoonful of sugar to swallow the nastiness of running an empire.
Si vis pacem, para bellum,*as Vegetius so succinctly put it.
As always the Ancients said it best and got there first.
(*If you wish for peace prepare for war.)
What if you start to suspect the Empire no longer has your country’s best interests at heart or is a threat to its citizenry? That is the line that becomes inexcusable in great power politics.
Indeed. There are legitimate questions to be asked, but I think the military industrial complex is less guilty of this than other quarters. I would point out that the military industrial complex is an altogether different blob than the neoliberal globalist blob that I regularly complain about. They are ultimately accountable through civilian military control and the power of the budget. The globalist corporate blob is accountable to nobody but profit and thanks to the free movement of money and people, has become a thing entirely outside anybody’s control, and that is a bigger problem at the moment. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I can live with bloated defense contractors that employ Americans before I can live with multinational corporations that employ the cheapest labor available anywhere in order to increase their own wealth and power.
You thought wrong.
Spending on arms only creates deficits and inflation. the only time the US had the glimmer of a budget surplus was when it stopped spending on arms with the fall of the Soviet Union.
True, it would be a much better world if Marxist ideas actually made sense.
But they don’t.
it’s an unwitting conspiracy, ie simply an example of like mindedness; a twisted view of human behaviour which justifies the money/power grab associated with it. It’s as patriotic as xenophobia and racism. How nice to be able to encompass it all in the gilded frame of self-righteousness!
..the Father of all things evil Charlie boy! But I guess some people see evil as worthwhile and things like peace, goodwill and love itself are just for deluded dreamers! What a pathetic outlook on life.. what a degenerate viewpoint. Some might think you’re being ironic; I hope you are but I fear you’re not.
You have obviously been out in the Lusitanian sun for far too long O’Mahony old chap.
To an extent yes Mr Mahony, peace goodwill and love are important. If you ignore war, violence, confrontation and hate though you ignore the other half of the human condition. Peace is historically won by fighting war and maintained with difficulty. You go all flower power there’s nothing to say the Chinese, or Russians won’t take advantage and kick your arse. It just reality. People aren’t always that nice, people can never agree on the best way to do stuff, at best we can reach a consensus the majority are happy with and the minority don’t blow their lids over. Arguably some pretty bad dictators have been overthrown by civil conflicts. Sometimes, unfortunately, we just can’t seem to find another way to deal with it. History is pretty clear on that.
If you have a solution – you’ve just solved the world peace problem.
Unfortunately evil is out there and active among the nations no matter how much we wish for world peace and love. This is why “militarism” is sometimes necessary. You Irish, how would you like it if a powerful nation were to attempt a conquering invasion and we all said let them sink or swim on their own.
We can always depend on Charles to dial the cynicism up to eleven. Unfortunately for us, he’s not entirely wrong. It wasn’t economic factors that have finally encouraged America to develop its own domestic capacity for critical things like microchips and the materials to make them. It took a new Cold War to do that. America’s size, diversity, and historical origins will always tend to move the country towards more decentralization and greater regional autonomy. It’s almost like gravity. Without some countermanding force, America will separate itself into different economic blocs whose interests will eventually conflict with one another. It already erupted into outright war once, in 1860, and it probably will again given enough time and the right circumstances. What is required to push the needle in the other direction, towards greater centralization and unity, is an external threat, the more credible and the more terrifying the better. WWI,WWII, and the Cold War dominated the 20th century and provided a long period whereby external threats were far more important than internal conflicts. After 1991, that era ended and gravity began to pull America apart again. The powers that be attempted to slow this process with the “War on Terror” but the threat posed by terrorism was simply not that serious, and the leaders of that era pursued the conflict in a haphazard and incompetent manner, so that only lasted a couple of years before it was back to business as usual. Climate change and COVID both failed utterly to produce any unifying force, instead serving the opposite purpose. The threat of a rising China allied with Russia is the next attempt. So far it seems to be working, insofar as we’ve gotten a broad consensus on policy with regards to those two issues, but it hasn’t trickled down to the public yet, and when and if it ever does probably depends more on what Russia and China actually do than what America does.
Great commentary. Peace lives forever in our hearts. They can not take this away from us. Peace requires justice to be blind, or societies descend into something else.
Bastiat; When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel choice of losing his moral sense, or losing respect for the law.
Delivering democracy in the form of bombs. Brought to you by the federal reserve. 100 years of not being federal, and not having any reserves.
If you want the best education possible on the war machine, watch Ron Paul Liberty Report, weekly with Dan and Chris. ytb & rmbl
I only watch it when I need a laugh.
I profoundly disagree with your theory of the instability of the USA due to a supposed tendency to fragment. I’ve lived in the US for a year and spent a fair amount of time there and just don’t see it that way at all.
There are countries which are struggling to maintain national unity, but these are all based on regional, historic, economic, tribal or cultural differences. Italy is one example (perhaps mainly economic). Spain is another (cultural/lingusitic and historic). The USA really has none of these problems.
If you spent a year in the US, you probably spent it in one of the larger metros, where, no, you wouldn’t see much of a problem. If it was New York, LA, or Washington, you basically were in the fully globalized part of America, so you may as well have visited London, Berlin, or Rio. Cities are cities wherever they are. You would have to visit several places, towns of various sizes and then places in between to truly understand the profound differences between California, New York, Kentucky, Montana, etc. Civilization and culture never stand still. America may not have had those regional, historic, economic, and tribal differences before, but that doesn’t mean they don’t develop. From 1789-1860, the south and north developed radically different cultures and economies, and eventually went to war over it. The civil war destroyed the south’s slavery based economic model and much of the culture, but couldn’t erase it entirely. By the time the US recovered from the civil war, it was a global power and the global conflicts of the twentieth century, as I said before, produced a whole host of foreign enemies who were strong enough to encourage unity and make America seem more united than it ever was. To be fair, I don’t see another civil war coming very soon. I see a period of increased political unrest, perhaps minor acts of terrorism and so forth. Some would say we’ve already reached that point. State and local governments will push back against federal control on a number of issues, and the federal government will realize it doesn’t have enough money or power to fight internal and external threats at the same time, and they’ll let the states get away with increasingly divergent policies on contentious issues for the sake of keeping the empire together, and that’s not a bad thing. There will be a de facto transfer of authority on domestic issues back to the states. It will take many more decades, maybe centuries, for the cultures to diverge enough to produce outright warfare again.
I am surprised you didn’t mention the wonderful Space Race. If the Soviets hadn’t fired that little dog into the ether on the back of a V3, would we ever have reached the Moon?
My only caveat on the Sino-Russian monster is that the Chinese are anxious to retrieve a large slice of territory along the Amur river that was ‘lost’ to the Tsar in the 1860’s. If this can be resolved then perhaps we will have a credible ‘new’ enemy.
You make two excellent points here. There are some indications that a more lasting alliance might be building. For example, after decades of negotiations, the two countries finally built a cross border bridge over the Amur river for the purpose of ‘economic development’. Whether that means anything or not is debatable. With two opaque countries driven by authoritarian regimes, it’s difficult to separate public posturing from legitimate attempts to build a lasting alliance. Doesn’t stop the powers that be in America from preparing as if the alliance is real, the precautionary principle after all, or from attempting to use the possible threat to build national unity. As always, time will tell what happens in this arena. The space race is an excellent example of how defense spending advances technology. Computers were basically invented to do the complicated math necessary to put men on the moon. There are so many examples of how war drives innovation, from gunpowder to shipbuilding to metallurgy, that it is almost impossible to understate its impact. It could almost be considered a natural law that conflict produces technological advancement in direct proportion to the scale and importance of the conflict. The peace-nicks hardly realize that the computers they use to blog about the evils of war might not exist otherwise.
I think this is partly true — many of the people with unchecked power and no accountability in our country (high-level politicians, FBI, CIA, high-level military, etc.) seem to have definitely fallen prey to the story that they’re the official heroes in our collective reality, always saving us from one “enemy” or another, with some also working to make a name for themselves in history in the process — even if it requires illegally forging documents in an otherwise meritless investigation, apparently.
But I have also observed huge corporations, consultancies, military contractors, and other special interest lobbyists with deep pockets and important connections playing an outsized role in the decisions that are made in D.C. I have also witnessed, directly, the government’s increasing and complex use of contractors that circumvent the Freedom of Information Act and therefore plunge the political decision-making process into pure darkness.
I don’t think the idea that there are powerful, hidden influences in D.C. is an oversimplified notion — it’s actually an overly complex concept that usually requires whistleblowers and deep investigative research to uncover, as journalism in the early 2000s proved (i.e., Snowden, Assange, the Panama Papers, etc.). To deny that special interests wield serious power over our political system is to deny a lot of American political history since the 1950s.
There is also the problem of “groupthink” within powerful groups of leaders — i.e., the idea that we are the good guys, and they are the bad guys, therefore any decision we make must be morally justified, even if it involves funding the endless killing or harming of other human beings, and all criticisms must be self-censored (see Janis L. Irving’s research into the “groupthink” phenomenon that contributed to numerous political disasters in 20th century America).
Consensus is always necessary to some degree in groups (Irving even conceded to this) but arriving at the truest and most democratic consensus is key. The encouragement of free expression and critical thought — and maybe the use of a “Devil’s Advocate” in group decision-making processes — could help avert more political and military (and humanitarian) disasters in the future. Until those things start happening, though, it seems likely that history will just continue to repeat itself.
An insightful piece in its own right! well put.
“Instead, it works more loosely, subconsciously, to shape what individuals and institutions value and what they believe is right and normal and just. It really is more like a deep story about the world and how it works; or a spirit that moves subjects without their understanding how or why, or even that it exists.”
Indeed: with its very own doctrines and dogma!
Thank you for a very insightful article, written in a sparkling style. The only comment I’d make is that the situation the author describes as prevailing in official Washington would seem to exist in so many other capitals as well, except perhaps to a lesser degree and with considerably less serious consequences for the rest of the world. As a citizen of the relatively small country of New Zealand, I recognise similar attitudes in official Wellington.
Two thoughts, the Consensus is adaptable to the interest of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Second money and power go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other.
excellent analysis thankyou – and was it Neitsche’s ‘will to power’ i read a long time ago that posited similar. My wife certainly exhibits all the characteristics of your thesis – and I have a full time job ‘wingnutting’ lest she take over my world……
To believe that we can do without a superior military is to deny that we have real enemies with competing military prowess of their own. The purpose of a strong military is to deter aggression. “Deterrence,” per the venerable Dr. Strangelove, “is the art of producing in the enemy the fear to attack.”
Our military must be so demonstrably superior that every potential adversary knows that armed conflict would end in their defeat – at best – and possibly their existential demise. We may find this awful to contemplate, but it’s truth is incontestable.
Surely, the Russian invasion of Ukraine – two First World nations at war in Europe! Today! – must disabuse us of any fantasy that human nature or realpolitik have changed.
There are and will always be those who would take what we have by force, if we let them.
Sjoe, what a great summary of what we all know but feel to powerless to really contemplate. Throughout I was haunted by images from Huxley’s Brave New World. Thank you.
It is rare thar I disagree fundamentally with an Unherd article but this is one such occasion. The author says he got it wrong the first time and now sees the light; I suggest he was closer to the truth the first time.
Anyone who downgrades money (and its ugly sister, power) has little understanding of human nature or at least the American version of human nature. To suggest money is secondary to any American is simply false. Paul Kingsnorth’s take is correct.
This does not negate the article’s general thrust by any means but it needs to be rebalanced. Of course it’s nice to have the ‘confirmation’ of your alleged righteousness through the approval of like-minded, equally greedy, xenophobic, racist and degenerate others all telling each other what a righteous thing it is, as soldiers of the one true God, to smite the unbelievers and their children.. e.g. in Palestine.
Executive summary: We live in a nuclear and digital world. These days conventional warfare is about as “useful” as poetry–but the former’s departments are much better funded indeed. Because, c’mon man, if we’re being realistic not everyone can be a poet
Sounds like the classic case of ‘Getting too close to your subject’ there Lyons, till you begin to believe the lies. The Great Lie.
The flaw in your argument of this all being some kind of self feeding ‘Mass Formation Psychosis‘ is that anyone can see the agenda has captured the Politicians – they Own them by 100% corrupt means.
Governor candidate of Georgia – Stacy Abrams – $100,000,000 One Hundred Million spent on her campaign! And this is just how it went. Gates gave $400,000,000 FTX gave $100,000,000 Soros gave $150,000,000 to Democrat campaigns – Facebook – Twitter, Google… They gave $Billions of free social manipulation… The MSM 100% Lies and twisting truth!
Bio-Pharma/Medical Complex – $Billions! Military Industrial, same – then the paying of everyone – all the incestuous boards they hop to and from – and then into the Regulatory bodies….,
CORRUPT, LIES, TREASON, EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BS with your tale of it just being like bees all dancing till a consensus is met and then off all they fly as one, without even knowing why…..
This is lead from the top – this is evil taking Politics as Morality and Ethics have been cut out of the hearts of educated Westerners.
It is raw Evil. The backbone of Christianity based Classic Liberalism have been engineered out of the Imperial City classes – and evil has been pushed in like weevils into hardtack. Rotten to the Heart.
Stalin – same thing, The Putin + his Oligarchs AND his simulacrum, Zalenski, and his Oligarchs….. all just the same. Xi, same thing….100% evil has captured the hearts of the Politicians – and it is engineered – as it was in 1932 Germany – 1949 China.
No excuses – it is corrupt to the core. That they have the weak minded, ignorant, sheep, as their running dogs and useful Idiots is only because the useful idiots lack morality to question and see the evil. This is driven by Top level Evil Corporatocracy, one so huge is is best described as WEF – and is encompasses CCP, EU, UK, BRICS, KSA, USA, IMF, BIS, WHO, World Bank, UN, and the rest – and every Hedge Fund (4 of them control all the corporations in the world by controlling their stocks by controlling the investments globally) and so on – all the top 0.001% of wealth.
PS kind of off subject but – this guy, Yan – he is the world’s most intrepid, wide ranging, and excellent War Correspondent – but his gig is to travel the world as an independent to figure out what the great power is driving all the world’s Billions of people towards – give him a time – Ex Green Barret, The best person in all the world to explain what is going on with HOP ‘Human Osmotic Pressure’, his words describing how the world is pushed and pulled from above to drive the global events – I doubt many watch real people telling truth – but try it, you may find it interesting.
“,,, they have the weak-minded, ignorant, sheep, as their running dogs…”
On second thoughts Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
You forgot Peter Thiel and the Koch brothers in your list of evil corrupting financiers. Probably not a coincidence.
How much did they pony up? $100M or more? Unclear because it seems every Republican candidate was outspent, often by a rather large margin. Given the current financial conditions the FTX types will have a lot less to waste on TV and people collecting ballots.
You must stay awake most nights.
I think this article presents an anachronistic caricature of anything that resembles a Consensus. For example:
“American power is righteous, because it is on the right side of History; as clearly demonstrated by the fact that America is so powerful. And if that power is righteous and good, it deserves to be exercised. To use righteous power to remake the world in our own image would by definition be to make the world better. Thus extending American power is both the most pragmatic and the most idealistic possible course”.
Manifest Destiny on a global scale, American Exceptionalism at a kool aid mixer–and a total freakin’ strawman farce! This is some runaway pathologization of people the author disagrees with, not a reflection of real Consensus views. It would not have been an unchallenged consensus, nor so woefully starved of moderation and restraint, in 1902.
To a sad degree a version of the preemptive American self-justification the author diagnoses in the Washington Elite does exist, and that is frightening enough. But the slavering Cult of Consensus, where people march in Might is Right lockstep lest they lose status as Serious People (and what is with this heavy Reliance on 17th and 18th century style early-18th Century style Capitalization?) is a ridiculous fiction. More evidence and good-faith argument would be needed to establish anything approximating the article’s thesis. I think that most of the claims Lyons makes are themselves unserious, combining some form of rabidly Christianized ideology with a rhetorical hucksterism.
But if “the spirit in Man that hungers for infinite ‘control'” in some Nietzschean zombie world–ok I admit we are partly there, but not without much dissent and many saving graces–is what one sees everywhere in this Fallen World, then I guess that is just about all one is going to see in the perceived Enemy. Perhaps the Puritanical theocracies of several American colonies–founded largely by Dissenters who were often disturbingly intolerant of out-group dissent–had it about right, in the author’s view.
So he’s wrong because he hasn’t presented enough evidence and good-faith argument?
Personally I see a lot of truth and insight into what he is saying, he works in Washington and I believe is close enough to know and see a lot of how power functions there.
His tone might be flippant with a lot of jokes, but its not an academic journal article on political science, your criticism is unjustified, imo. If you have any evidence of why he is wrong and a better explanation of how decisions are made in Washington I would be very interested to read them.
Ok, I agree that there are some good points in it, such as the critical importance of purpose and meaning, and “None are, in their own minds, either corrupt cynics or ideological zealots”–I just find them to be overwhelmed by his flippant overreach in many places.
For example, the den of iniquity/wilderness of sin language (“veritable hive of scum and villainy” and many more such expressions). I understand that the author has inside knowledge but he should still, in my opinion, makes his case to those who don’t already agree with him. I’m just a voluntary commenter, not a paid journalist here. If Lyons thinks he can successfully identify a single Consensus view that infects nearly everyone in D.C. but him, I think there should be more corroboration and argument, less sermonizing.
You liked his sermon and I didn’t. But I don’t think the burden lies with the doubter to demonstrate that the Illuminati doesn’t exist, but on the one making the extraordinary claim. Now this is an exaggerated comparison on my part (Illuminati) but not by much, from my (admittedly self-forgiving) perspective. I think I’m allowed to dissent from the admiring herd on this comments page, to a probable cascade of downvotes, just as you’re allowed to push back.
I do understand your point concerning opinion versus scholarship or academic writing and admit I took a wrong turn there. I’ll try to be more fair and less reactive, starting tomorrow–I mean now.