“After four years of warfare that tore the world apart like never before, a peace was finally reached. But it was a peace which one man in particular vociferously condemned — and that man was John Maynard Keynes.
In just two months, Keynes wrote the book that would make him a household name around the world — The Economic Consequences of the Peace.
In the book, Keynes was highly critical of the deal struck at Versailles, which he felt sure would lead to further conflict in Europe — describing the agreement as a “Carthaginian peace” — and with the passing of a surprisingly short period of time, he would be proven correct.”
~ Grant Williams in The Economic Consequences of Peace
After WWI, a particularly noxious set of treaties and economic reparations agreements were put in place that all but guaranteed a future WWII. Mr. Keynes sniffed that out and, sadly, was proven correct.
The lesson from this is that, at certain times, it’s really not that hard to predict “what” is going to happen next after disastrously short-sighted and self-interested policies are enacted. Predicting the “when”, with precision, is much trickier. But obvious misguided economic policies are destined to have a limited period of apparent (but false) prosperity, after which they end with a nasty Bang!.
We have entered just such a time. This isn’t a Trump vs. Clinton thing; I’d make this claim regardless of who won this week’s presidential election — as our plight is much bigger than a single Administration. And my observation is that neither political party had much interest beyond some temporary election year lip-service to the economic plight of the middle class.
And by “middle class” I mean anybody not in the top 5% economic bracket. For those doing the math at home, that leaves the remaining 95% of us stuck in the meat grinder.
I know a lot of people who are suffering very raw emotional wounds from the harsh negativity and divisiveness of the seemingly never-ending election we just went through. There will be a period of healing and adjustment for many, and I can fully empathize with how they feel.
For the Clinton supporters stunned that she didn’t experience the victory so many predicted, here’s a “what went wrong” post-mortem given by the brilliant British comedian Jonathan Pie that I think hits close to the mark (caution: it’s a pretty heated rant):
Pie asks some very important questions, chief among them: Have we lost the ability to entertain alternative points of view? Are we ready to begin finally talking to each other again?
The Left has a lot of soul searching to do. As does the Right. Because let’s be clear: Trump wasn’t the Republican’s preferred choice either. They fought him tooth and nail. In terms of the traditional Left vs Right rivalry, both sides lost this time.
If we’re to heal and progress from here, it’s critical that we take the time to understand why.
The conversation has to begin here, I believe, with this excellent article that I ran across in Cracked – yes, the comedy alt-everything online outfit – explaining how it’s the rural vs urban divide more than anything else that’s pulling our society apart at the moment.
For those desperately seeking answers to Trump’s surprise win, this article, of which I have reproduced only a small part, provides essential context. It’s explanation has done wonders for everyone I have shared it with who was struggling:
How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind
Oct 12, 2016
[Note: please go to the article to read reasons #6 through #3 as they are very important for understanding the two I have snipped out below]
Reason #2: Everyone Lashes Out When They Don’t Have A Voice
[To a rural person] it really does feel like the worst of both worlds: all the ravages of poverty, but none of the sympathy. “Blacks burn police cars, and those liberal elites say it’s not their fault because they’re poor. My son gets jailed and fired over a baggie of meth, and those same elites make jokes about his missing teeth!” You’re everyone’s punching bag, one of society’s last remaining safe comedy targets.
They take it hard. These are people who come from a long line of folks who took pride in looking after themselves. Where I’m from, you weren’t a real man unless you could repair a car, patch a roof, hunt your own meat, and defend your home from an intruder. It was a source of shame to be dependent on anyone — especially the government. You mowed your own lawn and fixed your own pipes when they leaked, you hauled your own firewood in your own pickup truck. (Mine was a 1994 Ford Ranger! The current owner says it still runs!)
Not like those hipsters in their tiny apartments, or “those people” in their public housing projects, waiting for the landlord any time something breaks, knowing if things get too bad they can just pick up and move. When you don’t own anything, it’s all somebody else’s problem. “They probably don’t pay taxes, either! Just treating America itself as a subsidized apartment they can trash!”
The rural folk with the Trump signs in their yards say their way of life is dying, and you smirk and say what they really mean is that blacks and gays are finally getting equal rights and they hate it. But I’m telling you, they say their way of life is dying because their way of life is dying. It’s not their imagination. No movie about the future portrays it as being full of traditional families, hunters, and coal mines. Well, except for Hunger Games, and that was depicted as an apocalypse.
So yes, they vote for the guy promising to put things back the way they were, the guy who’d be a wake-up call to the blue islands. They voted for the brick through the window.
It was a vote of desperation.
#1. Assholes Are Heroes
But Trump is objectively a piece of shit!” you say. “He insults people, he objectifies women, and cheats whenever possible! And he’s not an everyman; he’s a smarmy, arrogant billionaire!”
Wait, are you talking about Donald Trump, or this guy:
You’ve never rooted for somebody like that? Someone powerful who gives your enemies the insults they deserve? Somebody with big fun appetites who screws up just enough to make them relatable? Like Dr. House or Walter White? Or any of the several million renegade cop characters who can break all the rules because they get shit done? Who only get shit done because they don’t care about the rules?
“But those are fictional characters!” Okay, what about all those millionaire left-leaning talk show hosts? You think they keep their insults classy? Tune into any bit about Chris Christie and start counting down the seconds until the fat joke. Google David Letterman’s sex scandals. But it’s okay, because they’re on our side, and everybody wants an asshole on their team — a spiked bat to smash their enemies with. That’s all Trump is. The howls of elite outrage are like the sounds of bombs landing on the enemy’s fortress. The louder the better.
Already some of you have gotten angry, feeling this gut-level revulsion at any attempt to excuse or