Suppose The Four Twits Aren't the Only Twits
Watching the four former Twitter executives testifying before Congress last week I wasn't sure whether they were trying out for the part of Sgt. Schultz in a woke redo of Hogan's Heroes or whether they were doing an out-of-town tryout for the "The Four Twits," a multicultural reimagining of The Three Stooges.
Actually, I feel sorry for them -- except for James Baker, formerly of the FBI. If you are a wokey executive twerp at a social-media company and you start getting calls from the "intelligence community" during a desperate national crisis that all good people agree is the moral equivalent of war, what are you going to do? Call some racist-sexist-homophobe Republican senator for help? You do that and you will never work in this town again.
Back in the day, when the educated world was reeling in shock from McCarthyism, a subaltern Twit could have expected support from the fearless national icon Edward R. Murrow -- of CBS! -- telling us in 1954 that
We are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.
Except, Ed old chap, you were not fearlessly defending an unpopular cause. You were merely selling the Narrative of the educated class in the U.S. and shilling for Democrats, just like journalists do today. Of course, if you were Whittaker Chambers, a shambling writer that outrageously accused State Department icon Alger Hiss, Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs, of being a Commie spy, well then you got pitched out into outer darkness. Think Project Veritas and James O'Keefe.
Our problem is not that the intelligence community and the Deep State are bullies and the wokey crowd are cowards. No, I think that our problem is that, when the Big One hits, they really won't have a clue what to do.
Suppose we are heading into a nasty recession. You think Biden & Co. will do anything except print and spend more money on climate change and systemic racism? Last time the Democrats got us into a nasty inflationary spiral Ronald Reagan got us out with tax rate cuts and spending restraint, a policy diametrically opposed to the Keynesian consensus and sneered at by all the Great and the Good. To this day our liberal friends burble about Reagan's "trickle-down economics."
Suppose the war in Ukraine starts to "escalate"? You think Biden & Blinken & Milley & Co. can figure out how to avoid blowing up the planet? Looking back at the chaotic wars since the end of the Cold War, I am not optimistic. Everything the national security apparatus has done since then has been Stumble Town.
In the last couple of weeks Democrats have been warning us that Republicans are going to cut Our Social Security and Our Medicare. But guess what, cupcake, you can do me now, or do me later. One fine day the federal government is going to have to cut entitlements or descend into Weimar Germany hyperinflation. Does anyone think that the Democrats have a clue what to do then? Other than raise taxes?
Mind you, I think that that Democratic scaremongering about Social Security is a "tell." It means that Democrats know we are screwed, but really don't have a clue what to do about it.
I have an oversimplified understanding of modern politics. It all comes down to fighting the enemy and rewarding your supporters. Just like the Danish Vikings in The Last Kingdom TV series. The enemy for the last 100 years has been, in order, Robber Barons, Germans, Economic Royalists, Nazis, Commies, Racists, Greedy Bankers, Sexists, Homophobes, and now Transphobes and Climate Deniers. Then comes the loot: Social Security, GI Bill, Military Industrial Complex, Medicare, Medicaid, Regulatory Jobs, Activist Jobs, Green Energy, DEI Jobs, Reparations.
The problem is that people in politics cannot think beyond fighting the enemy and dishing the loot out to their supporters. I say that we humans, we Americans, can do better than that.
But how? I'm glad you asked me that, Senator, and unlike The Four Twits, who can't even answer a simple question, I am full of ideas.
Back in the day, Michael Novak wrote The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. He proposed what I call the Greater Separation of Powers, that the three sectors of human society -- political, economic, and moral/cultural -- should not be allowed to combine into totalitarian hell. Kinda like the three branches of government, only applying to the whole society beyond government.
And beyond that? Well, you can't do better, Senator, than read my "Real Meaning of Society," a better world that minimizes the scope of force, that honors the space of the transcendental, that encourages human flourishing through voluntary social cooperation, that protects the vulnerable and the marginalized.
But you knew all that.
Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class