James Howard Kunstler -- World News Trust
Nov. 21, 2016
America didn’t get what it expected, but perhaps it got what it deserved, good and hard.
Daddy’s in the house and he busted straight into the nursery and now the little ones are squalling in horror. Mommy was discovered to be a grifting old jade who ran the household into a slum and she’s been turned out to solemnly await the judgment of the courts, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. The kids on campus have gone temporarily insane over this domestic situation and some wonder if they’ll ever get over it.
Trump as The USA’s Daddy? Well, yeah. Might he turn out to be a good daddy? A lot of people worry that he can’t be. Look how he behaved on the campaign trail: no behavioral boundaries... uccchhh. He even lurches as he walks, like Frankenstein. Not very reassuring -- though it appears that somehow he raised up a litter of high-functioning kids of his own. Not a tattoo or an earplug among them. No apparent gender confusion. All holding rather responsible positions in the family business. Go figure....
Judging from the internal recriminations among Democratic Party partisans playing out in the newspapers, it’s as if they all woke up simultaneously from a hypnotic trance realizing what an absolute dud they put up for election in Hillary Clinton -- and even beyond that obvious matter, how deeply absurd Democratic ideology had become with its annoying victimology narrative, the incessant yammer about “diversity” and “inclusion,” as if pixie dust were the sovereign remedy for a national nervous breakdown. But can they move on from there? I’m not so sure.
For all practical purposes, both traditional parties have blown themselves up. The Democratic Party morphed from the party of thinking people to the party of the thought police, and for that alone they deserve to be flushed down the soil pipe of history where the feckless Whigs went before them. The Republicans have floundered in their own Special Olympics of the Mind for decades, too, so it’s understandable that they have fallen hostage to such a rank outsider as Trump, so cavalier with the party’s dumb-ass shibboleths. It remains to be seen whether the party becomes a vengeful, hybrid monster with an orange head, or a bridge back to reality. I give the latter outcome a low percentage chance.
Mommy is all about feelings and Daddy’s role is action and that is another reason that Hillary lost and Trump won. We’ve heard enough about people’s feelings and it just doesn’t matter anymore. You’re offended? Suck an egg. Someone appropriated your culture? Go shit in your sombrero. What matters is how we’re going to contend with the winding down of Modernity -- the techno-industrial orgy that is losing its resource and money mojo. The politics of sacred victimhood has got to yield to the politics of staying alive.
President-elect Trump may not know it yet, but events are now in charge, not personalities, not even his super-sized persona. Global trade and economic activity have been winding down all year and it’s finally affecting financial markets kept aloft on borrowed money, sending a strong signal through bonds that the borrowed money may never be paid down, and that additional borrowing will cost a whole lot more -- so much more that it will bankrupt the nations that issue it.
That alone will make it difficult for a President Trump to scare up the ready cash for the infrastructure-rebuilding fiesta so many expect. And if he does manage to flush the funding out of the banking thickets, it is liable to carry an inflationary bird flu that will end up killing money all around the world. We won’t be worrying about Trans Pacific Partnerships anymore because letters-of-credit will be unavailable to move large shipments of anything from Point A to Point B. How long after that will it be before the supermarket shelves empty down? And in the event, what will the dollar buy?
It looks like the shit sandwich President Obama has carefully prepared and left in the White House pantry for his successor will take the form of inflation, the dying of your money -- or, at least, paper currency. Or, if it doesn’t die outright, prepare for the possibility that you might not be able to get your hands on it, as money markets gate their exits and banks restrict cash withdrawals.
Though it’s clearly a loser strategy now, I suspect that the ragged remains of the Democratic Party will persist in amping up their sacred identity grievances to the point of civil strife without ever understanding the economic dynamics in motion. They don’t know what else to do. Plus, they are captives of the poverty policy racketeers. I also suspect that neither Mr. Obama or Mr. Trump will get around to pardoning Hillary Clinton for the racketeering operation of her foundation, of which the private email server was the least issue -- rather, the arrant sale of influence and access to the State Department is the heart of the matter, and anyone paying attention knows it, including the incoming Attorney General. If that circus comes to town, Trump could benefit from the distraction it offers the public.
There’s a lot of talk on the Net about Strauss and Howe’s “Fourth Turning” taking stage now. That excellent book, published 20 years ago, posits the turbulent end of 80-year generational cycles in history. (Blogger Jim Quinn lays it out nicely this week at The Burning Platform). Previous Fourth Turning presidents Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt took the nation through epic bloodbaths and economic dislocation. Donald Trump in terms of demeanor is no Lincoln and no FDR. But he did raise up those children of his somehow, and that’s all we’ve got to go on for the moment.
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James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling -- A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.