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Quote of the Day: The End of History That Wasn’t
Following the horrors of 9/11, [Francis] Fukuyama and his ideas were derided as triumphalist nonsense. But he was only half wrong. Fukuyama, a Hegelian, argued that Western democracy had run out of “contradictions”: that is, of ideological alternatives. That was true in 1989 and remains true today.
Fukuyama’s mistake was to infer that the absence of contradictions meant the end of history. There was another possibility he failed to consider. History could well be driven by negation rather than contradiction. It could ride on the nihilistic rejection of the established order, regardless of alternatives or consequences. That would not be without precedent.
The Roman Empire wasn’t overthrown by something called “feudalism”—it collapsed of its own dead weight, to the astonishment of friend and foe alike. The centuries after the calamity lacked ideological form. Similarly, a history built on negation would be formless and nameless: a shadowy moment, however long, between one true age and another.
― Martin Gurri, The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium
“Do you know what time it is?” This question has been tossed around over the past few years, separating the traditional Reagan-style conservatives (me in 2018) from those who’ve noticed the ideological sea change in our politics (me today).
One man far ahead of the curve was former CIA analyst Martin Gurri. Back in 2014, he published the little-read The Revolt of the Public. As Trump roared to the forefront of the GOP primary field, dog-eared copies of the book were passed around. Turns out, Gurri read the public mood early, giving him a jump on Brexit, Trump, and the rise of anti-globalism. As a result, he revised and reprinted the book in 2018.
The British political class was horrified when the rabble rejected membership in the European Union. A few months later, their American co-religionists were equally horrified when Trump was elected president. Both groups labeled the voters racist-sexist-homophobic morons; most still sling those lies today. They’re stuck in the early ’90s “end of history” groupthink whether they realize it or not.
Gurri realized early that a growing number of people around the world — Egypt, Spain, the UK, Israel, you name it — had lost trust in their institutions and wanted to tear them down. Some were on the left, others on the right, and few had a realistic program of what should replace the old order. But they all agreed on one thing: the current institutions had failed and needed upending.
Most people remain in this “repudiation mode,” denouncing zombie elites in zombie institutions. They still have power but they have no moral authority and little legitimacy. It will be hard to replace the zombies without a positive vision that will supersede them. The fall of Rome was slow and grinding, and it took several painful centuries to settle on its replacement.
No one knows what will replace the collapsing “rules-based international order,” but all serious thinkers know that history still has several twists and turns in store for us.Published in General
Fascinating. I think many of us know that we have to stop the current disaster, but really don’t know what should come next. There are glimmers of possibilities, but no coherent plan, which is understandable: everything seems to have been upended.
Jon Gabriel, Ed.: It will be hard to replace the zombies without a positive vision that will supersede them.
You mean something other than limited government gibberish and tax cuts? Say it ain’t so! Sounds like totalitarianism! You’re saying the current GOP doesn’t provide that and is short on any kind of vision? You sound like a burn it all down type! We must stay the course of losing the country and claiming the next round of tax cuts to Sysco and Apple will provide the abundance to the rust belt and middle America.
Found this guy and been watching him.
Here is what hooked me:
Worth the watch.
Scary stuff. I am not wanting to live through the end of the world we know.
At least he is bullish on America in the long term.
Keep the bunker stocked.
From the Amazon page:
I remember hearing Gurri interviewed years ago. The conversation was centered around the “Arab Spring”. He did indeed forecast counter-narratives challenging prevailing wisdom. I thought then he deserved more attention.
Zeihan is The Man. His latest book is a must read
Definitely matches my sense of the American future. We control continent that has everything we need to support ourselves even if it’s a lower standard of living than we have now. This is why I don’t like the talking about breaking up. No! We need each other.
I like Zeihan too, though his predictions last year about the calamitous effects of the Ukraine war don’t seem to have panned out. As I recall, he was predicting the imminent collapse of Russian oil production, which doesn’t appear to have happened, and he was predicting significant food problems in African and Middle Eastern countries. My impression is that he expected this as a result of US-led western sanctions, and in the event, the sanctions have proven pretty easy to evade.
I’m not 100% sure of this, but I can check the graphs on oil and wheat prices. Both spiked after the start of the war in February 2022, but have settled down. It appears that both oil and wheat prices are now lower than they were on January 1, 2022.
I did find Zeihan’s views particularly helpful on one issue, leading me to become quite an “isolationist” these days. He pointed out that the US has the least exposure to international trade of any major country — I think that the only exceptions were a few very poor countries in Africa. Moreover, a very large chunk of our foreign trade is with Mexico and Canada, which is quite safe.
This helped me see that we were spending a great deal of money protecting a global trade network that doesn’t benefit us very much, and that greatly benefits our most important competitor, China.
He has addresses the food. Mother nature was good this year for farmers.
Knowing “what time it is” is the bare minimum requirement for me to support any candidate for elected office or institutional leadership. I had to leave a church that had become co-opted by the anti-Brexit, anti-Trump co-religionists, so I joined a church that seems to know what time it is. I’m hoping there’s still time to save us from what comes next, but I also know that we’re not entitled to peace and prosperity.
This post is part of the Quote of the Day group writing project at Ricochet. Please join us and signup here for May!
People can understand being beaten by something — they can strategize and defend against that something.
People have no conception of being beaten by nothing, and have no defense.
For a long while I was thinking in terms of decay. It’s the natural cycle of things great and small. Struggle, solve, prosper, decay, struggle, repeat. We’re all experiencing this large scale, but I’ve also experienced it at the granular level. Organizations such as Boy Scout Troops or Knights of Columbus Councils or even bowling leagues. Some people are better at seeing the end and moving on. That’s not me. I’m dense that way, and it takes me awhile struggling to keep the ship afloat, despairing at the crumbling loss around me. Then I hit bottom and my perspective shifts. Ah yes, what we had was good and if not for so and so we could have kept going, but, recriminations aside, the way forward is clear. Rebuild. Gather people of common goals and start building something new. One step at a time. Before too long we have something going again, something I poetically think of like Rivendell, an outpost of order, goodness, civilization, community, and magic which radiates coverage around it felt by all those inside it, but which needs to be occupied, attended to, maintained in order to keep going.
Lately, though, I’ve been noticing how effective small directed actions can be at bringing about decay and ruin, at capturing control of organizations and institutions. I’ve also been noticing just how inorganic so much of this decay and capture turns out to be. That doesn’t mean I know who is directing this or even that it’s centrally directed at all. The agents of decay and capture seem to be many. How can we hope to fix or rebuild so much so quickly?
Things weren’t destroyed or captured all at once. The fix won’t be all at once. We’ll need to prioritize targets and concentrate fire (so to speak). It used to be that we talked about eliminating this or that federal agency, well with 50/50 power split that isn’t happening. I wonder, though, what we’d find if the RNC concentrated resources on one of the deep blue urban machines. Ask James O’Keefe how to get connected and embedded in things like the elections office, county clerk, elections judges, etc where we can monitor, report, counter-fudge, etc. Would California really end up so lopsidedly blue? Chicago? Wisconsin? Let’s target school boards in the worst of cases. Let’s target college faculty. Let’s o all out legal and PR warfare against teachers union.
Point being: one target, one hill at a time. Yes, it would have been easier to have defended these hills in years past instead of having to retake them, but we must move forward.
I just now put this book in my Kindle queue. Thanks for making it known to me.
you also saw this with the Dutch and Sri Lankan Farmers.
Also the backlash against companies like blackrock
Alinskyism may be right for us after all.
Codavilla called it in his article, then book, about the country class verses the ruling class. Selena Zito tapped into people’s feelings in her book about the 2016 election. Byron York predicted the coup against Trump, he just didn’t know who would be next Republican elected (and I bet Trump wasn’t even on his radar). He didn’t predict how many Republicans would join the Democrats to take down a republican president.