With the apparatus of state education over many years serving to bamboozle the populace into the hardened belief that government has a positive role to play in virtually all aspects of modern life, it should come to no surprise to anyone that, when push comes to shove, people are now trained to look to government to solve the problems – even when it was the government that created the problems in the first place.
Thus, confronted with the intractable mess they have made, these governments have to keep alive the mythology they have created about their omnipotence. Which is easier said than done, because with things now swirling fairly quickly around the drain, the mob is beginning to lose faith – and even patience.
Which puts these governments in a very tight spot, because the only way they can actually fix things is by doing exactly the opposite of what people have come to expect from their governments, which is always to do more. Put simply, the only hope now is that these governments begin to reduce their roles in their respective economies, and dramatically so. Concurrently, they have to encourage people in their aspirations to greater wealth, by lowering their taxes and unwinding the tangle of regulations they have created over the last half-century.
But if the governments actually tried to take these actions, the brainwashed masses would be positively befuddled then outraged, as it goes against everything they have been taught. Why, it would be like the Pope shuffling his way to the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and informing the doting faithful that there isn’t a god and never has been.
Riots would follow.
So it is that we find ourselves at a particularly interesting juncture in the historical record.
On the one hand you have a majority of the world’s population who have been carefully schooled into believing that the institution of government holds the solution to all problems and is the source of succor to all who need it. (Even that subset of the populace who has lost confidence in their current government invariably believes as doctrine that the next and better government can change things for the better and lead the way to the shining castle on the hill.)
In this mix are the politicians and their functionaries, 99.99% of whom believe that, if for no other reason than their re-election prospects, they have to do something to meet the demands of the public.
Of course, under normal circumstances the “something” usually consists of making grand-sounding speeches and otherwise blowing smoke. Today that’s just not going to cut it, for the simple reason that the crisis is real, it is spinning out of control, and it’s not going to go away unless and until the markets are allowed to breathe again.
Which brings us full circle to the simple truth that the brainwashed public won’t stand idly by while the politicians lower taxes and regulations on the profit makers or cut back state pensions and guarantees or otherwise reduce any of the many services the state has taken on itself to provide.
“Between a rock and a hard place” is an inadequate phrase to describe the situation.
Meanwhile, the mob has started to gather, their dark mutterings heard by the politicos who quickly don the red caps themselves, the better to be viewed as one with the people and join in expressing outrage against the capitalists who have been selected as fall guys in this unfolding drama.
When confronted by reporters about the fact that his 75% tax on high-income owners would raise nowhere enough revenue to offset France’s towering debt and social obligations, Mssr. Hollande was heard to respond:
“It’s not a question of return. It’s a question of morality.”
When coercion and theft are considered moral, anything is possible, and none of it good.
While I certainly can’t say how this is all going to end, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to end well.
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