Neither management nor leadership is easy. Making a society managerial may well set it up for failure. This is even true of engaged managers, entrained in a daily flow of events regarding the resources and people under management. In Amerika, our current faux-caste system makes the problem even more non-trivial. Our highest caste is farthest from where data is available to intelligently manage whatever is going on. This gives us a good rough equation to describe a lot of the angst you may currently suffer:
Altitude + Distance = Failure.
The altitudinal separation from the leaders of Modern Amerika has two components. These are wealth and credentialism. The vast differences between the leadership castes and the workers stem from our current cursus honorem. This cursus honorem begins with a degree from a prestigious (expensive/selective) college or university. This degree program then teaches this individual a lot of very unrealistic things that have no bearing on how a typical family of four, in say Cleveland, OH, goes about an average day of surviving.
Pace Charles Murray in his book Coming Apart, these leaders all attend the same colleges, get the same set of entry-level jobs, and live in the same select number of ZIP Codes. These leaders have families that are nothing like the families they supervise. They attend widely divergent religious services and shop in different stores from what the people they condescend to bossing around experience.
A budding elitist never has to make anything actually work. Put someone like this into street-Level Reality and you get a parachute jump sans parachute. This should be a self-resolving problem. Make Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, or Kevin Williamson actually engage reality and reality will feed upon them as a lamprey munches the occasional careless tropical fish. This is where distance protects the precious from reality.
F. Scott Fitzgerald may have first nailed this down when he wrote about The Buchanans in The Great Gatsby. These elites are not powerful due to competence, but rather instead they possess immunity to consequence.
I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…
Peggy Noonan famously described how these people distance themselves ever further from any consequences while they rack up the participation trophies than add to their precious resumes. In “A Separate Peace” we see this motte and bailey being constructed.
I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, “I got mine, you get yours.” You’re a lobbyist or a senator or a cabinet chief, you’re an editor at a paper or a green-room schmoozer, you’re a doctor or lawyer or Indian chief, and you’re making your life a little fortress. That’s what I think a lot of the elites are up to.
This entirely fits with what we know of the psychological effects of democracy, in effect turning people into narcissistic (self-worshiping) solipsists, or those who believe that the world exists within their minds:
Yes, I said, he lives from day to day indulging the appetite of the hour; and sometimes he is lapped in drink and strains of the flute; then he becomes a water-drinker, and tries to get thin; then he takes a turn at gymnastics; sometimes idling and neglecting everything, then once more living the life of a philosopher; often he-is busy with politics, and starts to his feet and says and does whatever comes into his head; and, if he is emulous of any one who is a warrior, off he is in that direction, or of men of business, once more in that. His life has neither law nor order; and this distracted existence he terms joy and bliss and freedom; and so he goes on.
Meanwhile, out beyond the patrol range of elitism’s motte and bailey, Altitude + Distance = Failure. Failure in what ways? There are three different types of failure currently occurring that can be explained by example.
The American idea of state formation in Afghanistan was predicated on the theory that people all across the world are equal and Afghanistan could be like post-war Japan or Germany, where Madisonian democracy would flourish and Afghans unite under one national identity and fight to preserve their system of governance. Culture, geography, and history never mattered to this idealism. The flaw was that Afghans would never fight for this goal, as there has never been a unified Afghan identity since the time of Babur. There were only the Pashtun, Tajiks, Hazaras, and other such tribal identities. In contrast, Germany and Japan had coherent, civilized polities, different though they might be in temperament than the Anglo-American west.
We’ve been warning that inflation would run out of control as multi-trillion-dollar federal stimulus crashed against broken US supply chains. So-called “core” inflation (without food and energy) has increased at an annual rate of nearly 11% during the past three months, something the US hasn’t seen since 1981. The overall inflation rate briefly touched the 10% mark in 2005 and 2008 due to spikes in the oil price. Bad as the headline numbers are, the actual situation is much worse…
So what? Goldman continues below…
I don’t think that inflation will continue at the 10% level, but we are likely to see 5% to 6% inflation for the next several years, enough to erode real earnings and squeeze family budgets. How long the Federal Reserve will pretend that inflation is “transitory” is anyone’s guess.
Wheat farmers across the country are facing lower yields as 98% of the country’s wheat crop is in areas experiencing drought. In the Northern Plains, the Department of Agriculture said Monday that farmers were projected to harvest their smallest crop of spring wheat—crops planted in the spring and harvested in the autumn—in 33 years. This week, the North Dakota Wheat Commission noted in its weekly update that some farmers saw rain and lowered temperatures following last week’s searing heat, but conditions are still worrisome. The region is hardly alone; the USDA also said this week that 68% of the Pacific Northwest’s spring wheat was in “poor or very poor” conditions. At this time last, only 6% of the region’s wheat crop was in this state. All told, the USDA found that 98% of the U.S. wheat crop is growing in areas hit by drought.
Now we’ll all be regaled about how bad climate change and global warming truly are. We’ve never had hot, dry Summers in the US of A before. It’s not like this bad wheat crop is anybody’s fault or anything. Besides, it will be transitory. Just like the inflation. Or, it won’t be anybody’s job. The excuses that maintain altitude and distance will be run out the way a British Man-O-War ran out the guns at the sight of a Jolly Roger Flag atop a rogue schooner.
Meanwhile, in a place far away and far, far below, these excuses run thin. They are tuned out. The things that must be done to solve these problems and fix what is broken are never done with serious motivation. The leaders aren’t like us. They have no skin in the game, so I should offer none of my own. At that point, diversity is truly our stupidity. Altitude + Distance = Failure. Failure, just like the socialism preferred by our unengaged elite, leads invariably to death.