Get Yer New Year Prophecy Here!
It’s that time of the year, when everyone is forecasting the future. But the whole business of forecasting is useless because the future is a combination of same-old-same-old and the unexpected. That is why humans have invented prophecy, examining runes and entrails and the results of economic and climate models to divine the future.
And the prophecy better make a good story, because nobody wants to hear the same-old-same-old! And who has a clue about the next Black Swan event?
What is really interesting is not the prophecy. What really matters is When Prophecy Fails, when all the runes and entrails and scientific models get tangled up. Yes, there’s a book about this, by a bunch of scientists: Festinger et al. They studied a UFO cult that flourished right after World War II. The members were convinced that the world was about to end but that they would be rescued by a UFO spaceship.
Yeah, yeah. So what happened when the UFO failed to show up? What happened was that the cult members, for a while, amped up their enthusiasm and broadcast their prophecy. But then the cult started to fall apart and the members drifted away. People can’t live in the frenzy of a cult forever. Eventually, they have to go get a job.
The UFO cultists were Nobodies; nobody cares about them.
But what happens when Somebodies get all tangled up in prophecy? Then it becomes important, because if the prophecies of the Somebodies fail someone is going to get hurt. Take the preachings of Rousseau and Marx and the Frankfurt School and critical theory. It all reads like this:
“Believe in me, and you shall have Heaven on Earth; otherwise you are the very spawn of all the white oppressor patriarchs since time began.”
As we all know, Heaven on Earth never shows up as promised. Not after the French Revolution, not after the Bolshevik Revolution, not after FDR, or LBJ, or Obama the Lightbringer. So it’s all the fault of the white oppressors and the racist-sexist-homophobes.
Do you see the point? Our liberal and lefty friends cannot believe -- and I mean this in the sense of cannot even conceive -- that their Sacred Beliefs are, shall we say, primitive throwbacks to the good old days of tribal chiefs and shamans. And when the world isn’t working out according to their Sacred Narrative it must be the world’s fault, not theirs. My quote from Mircea Eliade:
The primitive... cannot conceive of an unprovoked suffering; it arises from a personal fault... or from his neighbor's malevolence... but there is always a fault at the bottom of it[.]
And the more that things go wrong -- that crime goes up, that homelessness spreads, that schools get worse, that inflation roars despite MMT, that Build Back Better Makes Things Worse -- the more our educated liberal and lefty friends lash out.
Hey, it’s not their fault! They went to school, to university; they got carefully taught that the liberal agenda, from universal suffrage to administrative programs to anti-racism, was the royal road to justice and equality. If you were taught all that, and believed, like a Good Little Boy or a Good Little Girl, what would you be thinking right now?
You’d be lashing out at White Oppressors. You’d be canceling J.K. Rowling. You’d be calling out “misinformation” and “disinformation” wherever they reared their ugly heads. And still things are getting worse.
But I am optimistic. Because Crane Brinton in The Anatomy of Revolution writes that, eventually, the Reign of Terror ends; the Great Purge subsides; the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution ends. The Cancel Culture gets canceled. Because humans cannot live in a frenzy forever.
But in the meantime, as the great middle class continues its rebellion against the hegemony of educated-class Somebodies, our liberal friends are going to go crazy. The next three years, for them, will be like the Seven Plagues of Egypt.
Remember, it was the Seven Plagues that gave Pharaoh the idea that maybe, just this once, he should let the Israelites go. What harm could they do, wandering around in the Sinai desert?
But I have a funny feeling. It is something I observed in the entrails of a dead squirrel that I stepped over last week. Here is my prophecy:
Nothing our liberal friends can do, from bullying Big Tech to siccing AOC on Ron DeSantis, to railing about “misinformation” and “armed insurrection” will make a blind bit of difference.
And it’s all their fault. If our ruling Somebodies had a blind bit of sense, they would make the economy and inflation their first priority: before megaspending bills, before killing fossil fuels, before their anti-racist racism.
Instead, they weave fantastical prophecies about climate and race and call it a “right-wing slur” if we laugh in their faces.
Bless their hearts.