Five-Year Plans: Climatistas Think Three's the Charm
Last week I descanted on the Obama-Biden enemies game, and how it leads to terrors, purges, and culture wars. But this week let us remember the other side of the rule of the educated: the repeated illusion that a few educated geniuses can transform the world's economy.
Joe Stalin was first out of the box with his Five-Year Plan, a brilliant scheme to transform the Soviet Union from an agricultural into an industrial state. What could be easier, what with all the brilliant intellectual minds that Stalin had gathered around him, not to mention Joe's extensive library of 20,000 books? Only, of course, on account of "saboteurs and wreckers," it didn't quite work out as the planners had predicted. The Five-Year Plan of 1928-32 was punctuated by the Soviet Famine of 1932-33. Still, only 6 to 8 million died. Thirty years later, Mao Tse-tung, as we then knew him, tried to repeat Stalin's achievement with another Five-Year Plan, the Great Leap Forward of 1958-62. There's no doubt that the Great Leap Forward made Stalin's Plan look like a walk in the park, with the Great Chinese Famine of 1959-61 causing 15-55 million deaths.
As a leading intellectual, Mao shrewdly judged that the failure was caused by enemies within, rightist intellectuals and university professors. So he started the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to stamp out the Four Olds -- Old Ideas, Old Culture, Old Customs, and Old Habits -- that had wrecked his Great Leap Forward. It was a different worldview from Edmund Burke's, who maintained that "History is a pact between the dead, the living, and the yet unborn" rather than a fight to the death between the generations. Anyway, Mao sent his wokey students out to "struggle" the professors and intellectuals, and a bunch of them died of the struggle or from suicide. The professors, not the students.
It took two generations after Mao for the intellectual genius Klaus Schwab and his WEF to propose their Five-Year Plan, or Great Reset, with intellectuals and experts confidently proposing how to transform the economy from fossil fuels to renewable resources and Net Zero. Little kiddies, encouraged by the Deep State are, shall we say, "struggling" climate deniers and conservative judges and transphobes that refuse to get with the program.
How do we teach the kiddies and the experts and the intellectuals that Five-Year Plans Never Work?
We'll never talk Klausi out of his annual gathering of the fly-private set at Davos, because who wouldn't like directing traffic at the top of Magic Mountain if he got the chance?
We can't teach the experts to give us real science for a change, because their paychecks come from telling government what it wants to hear, not from genuine science.
We can't teach the intellectuals because they are never going to tell the politicians to cool their jets and wait for some nobody -- a Carnegie, a Ford, a Wright, a Jobs, a Musk -- to come along and transform the economy. The whole point of being a political intellectual is to fire up the politicians to change the world.
We can't teach the activists because if we leave it to the nobodies to invent the future then there is no transformative role available for activists to heroically tear down the oppressions of the capitalistic economy.
We are almost left with the Baldrick gambit:
Is it as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University but has moved on, and is now working for the UN at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning?
My goodness, Baldrick's Cunning Plans have certainly gone upscale since the good old days of Private Baldrick in the trenches of World War I.
It may be that the Climate Five-Year Plan puts our ruling class out of business, with sky-high energy costs and rolling blackouts, but maybe not. The Bolsheviks won a world war after their Five-Year Plan and Famine, and the Maoists are still in power in China.
And maybe the worst thing to happen in the US after the climatistas are finished with us is that Americans will no longer be allowed to See the USA in a Chevrolet, for Joel Kotkin writes:
Green activists, it turns out, do not expect EVs to replace the cars of hoi polloi. No, ordinary people will be dragooned to use public transport, or to walk or bike to get around.
But I Have a Dream, that in the next regime politicians will forever be hearing the chant, as they expound on the splendid bennies in store for their supporters, of "Stay in your Lane!"
And the same for scientists, activists, intellectuals and German engineers.
Politicians are good for winning world wars and handing out free stuff -- at least they were. But when it comes to restructuring the economy, not so much. You could ask FDR about that.
Image: Public Domain