Way back at the beginning of May, when I was still posting at the other place, I wrote of the hollow-credentialed buffoons, or the HCYSW (Heavily Credentialed Yet Still Worthless) crowd…again, with apologies for the blatant mimicking of Mr. Taleb’s Intellectual Yet Idiot construct…that now dominate the ruling American beltway (and so much more of the American managing class). That post was titled Let Us Now Praise Hollow-Credentialed Buffoons and Kleptocrats Alike and I invite you to review it at your leisure. I return to the subject today because of an article from The American Mind by Michael Anton published earlier this week that perfectly summarized the state of the near post-Republic era with his eight word sub-title: America’s elites are neither bright, competent, nor qualified. The entire article…actually, a speech….must be read but I must document some of it here for my records:
…I do not believe the present regime of the United States bears much similarity to that of the founders. …those who have done the most to change the founders’ regime into what we have today are, or used to be, quite open about what they consider to be the inadequacies of the former which necessitated its transformation. But partisans of the present regime recently determined that their former openness no longer serves their interests. Hence today they obscure the nature and extent of the changes to our regime, the better to confuse and disorient their enemies.
Do those who accuse me of using “regime” as a pejorative deny that any change has taken place? If so, they are being unscientific, not to say delusional. Or is their denial insincere, an example of what I have termed the “Law of Salutary Contradiction”? The regime hasn’t changed—and it’s good that it has, because the old regime was “racist” or whatever.
I suspect there is a whole book of such laws of contradiction…while described here, in this way, it is fresh to my mind but it perfectly describes common versions of the anti-intellectualism (little more than mindless recitation of MSNBC talking points) that I battled for so long at the my old on-line home. In fact, Anton continued to expand on the description/behavior to the point one can almost see the “Reagan” avatar that some of the stoolies – usually just shallow authoritarian elitists – use as part of their gaslighting costume:
In the case of the fake “conservatives,” I believe they know our regime has changed, they welcome that change, and so attack those who notice but don’t welcome it. This is the Law of Salutary Contradiction married to the Celebration Parallax: they get to say it because they like it; when we say the same thing, it’s a dangerous conspiracy theory. The role of these fake “conservatives” is therefore to gaslight you into believing that the founders’ regime still rules, and, failing that, to denounce you for saying otherwise. Telling the truth about the present regime is not a privilege allowed to its critics.
There are many of these rationalizers for fake conservatism around the nominal center-right-ish on-line universe. I’m sure you’ve noticed they are in a particularly active phase right now. (Many seem to be lawyers. But I digress.)
Shifting focus more to the core of the current regime:
…unlike many past notions of a “regime,” ours includes more than the officers of the government. It is comprised of a whole array of elites in business, finance, tech, academia, entertainment and media, and the non-profit sector (to cite only the most important). The elites work together seamlessly in a way that is neither anticipated nor welcomed by the founders’ regime, nor even by the conservatism of just a generation ago, which insisted on a sharp separation between the public and private sectors.
These elites mostly arise from the same socio-economic background and all share the same credentialing and a worldview. This is the core marker of what makes a person part of the elite: do you hold the correct opinions on a certain number of hot-button, social, domestic, and foreign policy issues? …
The key here is put some context to the changes from “the conservatism of just a generation ago.” From my perspective, the biggest factor in that change was the “big tent-ism” of the late Bush era and the early Obama era. As I have said many times before, so much effort went into building annexes upon annexes onto the test to accommodate each and every self-identified conservative who didn’t have a clue what that really meant but did know for sure that they were not as bat-shit crazy as Nancy Pelosi so they must be conservative. With such membership, it is not surprising to witness the occasional reflexive comment section feeding frenzies that show the true underlying nature of some of these self-identifiers…look no further than January 6 and this reactionary post that seems to have been written by someone’s overemotional fourteen-year-old daughter. Even worse than that was when many in the same neighborhood jumped on the anti-liberty bandwagon a few days later as conservatives with the wrong world view were increasingly barred from the arena of public discourse. That week in American history remains possibly the greatest touchstone for “right sizing” the tent again. (Now, that right there my friends (of a certain age), is some skillfully recycled yet still high quality corporate HR lingo.)
Speaking of touchstones with regards to the elite and their behavior:
…they are in the grip of a faith-like ideology that they cannot question. None of it has been thought through, but its basic tenets (the doctrine) are known to all and treated like scripture from which it is heresy to deviate.
Take the Russia Hoax. It famously began as an “insurance policy” to preserve elite power. It stretched into a credibility-shredding exercise of stating wild claims over and over that would all be quickly disproven. Thus did they torch enormous amounts of credibility for short-term gain—gain which turned out to be partial. RussiaGate hindered, but didn’t destroy, Trump. And it became an article of faith that one must believe to have any standing in the regime. Even after every claim was refuted, our elites still insist that Trump was (is?) on Putin’s payroll.
I think I saw that the Puppet-in-Chief returned yet again to the Charlottesville “fine people” hoax this week. The “fine people hoax hoax” posts from your local stool pigeon cannot be far behind. A faith-like ideology indeed. But even their loyal masses of stoolies on many levels can only keep the game alive for so long:
…the elites have been burning through the credibility of arguably their two most important institutions: the universities and the news media. These still have enormous power and prestige, but they are now believed and respected by, at best, half the country (it might be as low as a third) and positively despised by the other half. When the most important foundation for your rule is propaganda, this is a problem.
I cannot say we are at, or that there even is, a tipping point but we are reaching the point where anyone who does not now see that the foundation (and everything above it) is nothing but propaganda must be recognized as simply not willing to see the truth. The fully corrupt elite really don’t even try to hide it anymore. Unfortunately, as I have bastardized and used for my own agenda so often before:
“[A] significant and growing portion of the American population is losing the virtues required to be functioning members of a free society.” – Charles Murray in Coming Apart (Page 289), 2012
The truth is out there. The problem is clear. Are We the People smart enough to recognize it?
Into the abyss…