What Next?

Conservatives, and especially reactionaries, are often criticized as grumpy old geezers, yearning for a bygone world that is never coming back, and that was never, in fact, nearly as nice as they’d like to think it was.

This is a fair point. It’s only older folks who have the perspective to see what’s really changed, and what’s really been lost — and of course the world changes irreversibly, every day. Some changes, such as improvements in medical technique, or the recent proliferation of excellent breweries in America, are uncontroversially changes for the better. (Those were the only two I could come up with off the top of my head, but I admit my list is probably not exhaustive.) Others, however, really are a matter of perspective, involving complex trade-offs with long-term consequences that are still evolving. Others things are obviously much, much worse now than they used to be.

One thing is for sure, though, just as Omar the Tentmaker warned us so long ago:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
 Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
 Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Not only has the world changed irreversibly, it is going to change at an almost unimaginably faster pace in the next few decades.

Peter Diamandis of Singularity University has begun a series of posts about what’s coming up next. He lists eight powerful technologies, all of which are advancing at an exponential pace. They are:

1. Computation

2. Internet of Things (Sensors & Networks)

3. Robotics/Drones

4. Artificial Intelligence

5. 3D Printing

6. Materials Science

7. Virtual/Augmented Reality

8. Synthetic Biology

It’s easy to see that rapid advancement in any of these might have enormous social and economic effects, but they are all accelerating — and what’s more, advances in many of these fields immediately spur faster progress in the others. It’s very clear that, as much as things have changed in the last few decades, we ain’t seen nothing yet. (You can read Mr. Diamandis’s first two posts in this series here and here. I don’t know whether they will gladden or horrify you; I suppose that depends, for example, on whether the adjective “disruptive” puts you in a positive state of mind.)

Let’s face facts: the only way out of this mess is forward. (Or, as Churchill said, “When you’re going through Hell, keep going!”) So what’s the proper task of the Right, in these choppy and uncharted waters?

Here’s what it isn’t: getting behind this or that candidate in the next election. That’s like choosing which side of the barrel you’re going to sit on as you go over the Falls.

Here’s what it is, in three parts:

1) Understanding what happened. How did we get here, and why? How did the great promise of the Enlightenment, and of the Framing, bring us to this point? What can we learn from the way this experiment in popular government — which was, in 1787, a radical and previously untested inversion of the near-universal tradition of monarchy — has worked out? Looking back over the span of 230 years, what principles of government can we say were tested and failed? What principles were abandoned that we ought to have stuck to? What are the “system requirements” for such a program of ideas to run without crashing? Where were they met, and where were they not? We have faced a great many problems in the history of this experiment, and tried to solve them in many different ways. Which solutions worked? Which didn’t? Why? Finally, and these are perhaps the most important questions of all: How do we define “success”? What is the purpose of government? What is a happy society? How do we define human flourishing, especially given that different cultures and ways of living, rather than simply falling from the sky onto whatever human population happens to be passing underneath, are the specific, phenotypic expressions of particular peoples?

2) If we have managed to answer the many questions in part 1 — and while some of them have obvious answers, some are very hard — then we should see taking shape a set of general principles worthy of preservation and adaptation for the future. What can we discard? What, on the other hand, can we identify as being essential for our flourishing? Which principles were specific only to a particular time, or to a particular state of technological capacity? Which are universal enough to be adapted successfully to a world transformed by the extraordinary new powers that we are soon to possess — in particular, the power to alter the human genome?

3) Finally, we need to do our best to keep abreast of the pace of technological change, and to try to anticipate the ways in which it will change the context of human life. In particular, we will need to understand how it will distort the pressures and incentives that shape the channels in which human history flows.

Only when we have done all of this very difficult work — and it may well beyond our best efforts — can we work wisely and effectively to create a truly relevant and responsive Right, one that has any hope of restoring an organic and livable culture for our children. There is no doubt, as Peter Diamandis says, that “disruption” is ahead; my own feeling is that much of it is going to be profoundly unpleasant. But going backward is not an option; nor is trying to graft, in mechanical and simplistic ways, the vanished past onto a radically different future. “Disruption” may turn out to be an opportunity to rebuild some things of forgotten value in brand-new ways.

All of this is very grandiose, and very vague; I am really just thinking out loud (which is what blogs are so helpful for). The point I’m really trying to make here is that much of what we think of as the Right in the modern West is, for the most part, really nothing of the sort; it is either just the caboose of a fast train heading Left, or it is a kind of doomed and static nostalgia. What it is not, as far as I can tell, is a living, organic system, built on sufficient wisdom about the permanent features and variations of human nature as to be capable of effective adaptation to a rapidly changing environment. It must become this, or it will die. And much that is of incalculable value for human happiness will die with it.

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33 Comments

  1. Musey says

    Grumpy geezers have been around forever.My parents thought that “The Rolling Stones” were subversive. I believe that it’s in our DNA to be nostalgic for the past where the sun always shone, food tasted great, and we all played out until the sunset, knowing that we were safe. Without doubt, it was a more innocent time.

    Ever more invasive technology which has transformed our lives in ways which were unimaginable a few years ago, have made us uncaring of accumulated wisdom. We know best.

    But, for as long as we stay human, with all the worry and fear that condition entails, the more we go back to basics. Looking out for our children, our neighbours, our neighbours children, our friends. It has always been that way.

    Having moved out of the city a few years ago, dubious about how it might work, and how I would miss the city buzz, I can say it’s been a revelation. Old-style caring is alive and well. People here still care, and still have values. Maybe they’re old-fashioned.

    Wisdom never dies. Neither does the sense that we’re living in uniquely turbulent times. Our grandparents thought that way too, and they went to war to prove it. I think that we have just come through a very calm period and we’re just ramping up for the next war. Hopefully contained by the realization of MAD that we’re all familiar with, which is not to deny the horrendous casualties that happen along the way.

    Old people have always had a unique perspective, and they’ve never been in charge. They never will be, because the power is in the hands of the young, as it always has been. They will decide the future.

    We are living in exciting times. You have a choice to make and I don’t have that option. I’m just a by-stander, concerned because your decision will have repercussions for me and mine, on the other side of the world. Donald or Hillary? It’s your choice. Hold your nose and take your pick.

    Just to be a little partisan I would say, that if your choice is Donald who has pledged to build a wall, paid for by the people who are being locked out, (it’s not going to happen) you will be locking out most of the rest of the world at the same time. Because we’re watching on in horror.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 1:21 am | Permalink
  2. Kevin Kim says

    Malcolm, if you’re a fan of Wait But Why, there are two posts there on the coming problem of artificial superintelligence (here and here). Some of what’s in those posts dovetails with what you’ve written in this post.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 2:11 am | Permalink
  3. If Peter Diamandis is right, it seems pointless to plan for what’s coming. Einstein couldn’t cope with singularity. Nor could anyone else to date. Maybe it’ll be fun.

    It could happen …

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 3:56 am | Permalink
  4. Whitewall says

    “Grumpy old geezers”? Henry, you must ask Malcolm to stop talking about you that way.

    It strikes me as odd that we “conservatives” are described that way when the two candidates on the Dem side ain’t spring chickens, and one is an old white haired “Trot”. We old reactionaries want a better way that most remember, faults and all, that will provide the best way forward for most people and especially the young. We are opposed by Leftism and all its operating names–socialist, progressive, communist, liberal etc. Leftism is very old and is, I think, the embodiment of “reactionary” thinking. They have some of the most destructive reactionary elements-think teacher’s unions- within their ranks. Change is no doubt upon us and much in the tech arena will be exciting and helpful though in many areas disruptive beyond imagination. We on the Right can change along with lots of it and maybe put some of it to our own good use. But what of the Leftist? He will change with it, but he is dragging an ancient operating system, call it some form of socialism, right along with him. History has shown that the Left only has one way to go and that is crash and burn. They operate under a system that is simply the means by which democracy commits suicide.

    Maybe our current democracy has run its course and has lodged itself in a kind of kleptocracy where the protected elite secure their world from assaults from we the common people. They can force their reality on us from the safety of their security guards, gated communities and elite private schools. We deal with the consequences of their making. This may be the time that our current experiment in self government has reached its conclusion. Candidate A or B doesn’t matter. The existing system must be fed and protected like a child. This system needs a massive disruption. More later.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink
  5. “Grumpy old geezers”? Henry, you must ask Malcolm to stop talking about you that way.

    I resemble that remark. But I object to the “old” part. I prefer “senior citizen”.

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    Posted February 28, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Musey,

    Your parents were right, of course: the Rolling Stones were subversive.

    You wrote:

    Having moved out of the city a few years ago, dubious about how it might work, and how I would miss the city buzz, I can say it’s been a revelation. Old-style caring is alive and well. People here still care, and still have values. Maybe they’re old-fashioned.

    But of course it’s more like that, away from the cities, away from the seats of power. (For now, at least.) The atomization of society is centrifugal.

    Peggy Noonan recently wrote a very good piece in the WSJ (see here or here) about the insulation of policymakers from the consequences of their choices. Excerpt:

    There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

    The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

    I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.

    They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details.

    Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.

    One issue obviously roiling the U.S. and Western Europe is immigration. It is the issue of the moment, a real and concrete one but also a symbolic one: It stands for all the distance between governments and their citizens.

    It is of course the issue that made Donald Trump.

    You wrote:

    Just to be a little partisan I would say, that if your choice is Donald who has pledged to build a wall, paid for by the people who are being locked out, (it’s not going to happen) you will be locking out most of the rest of the world at the same time. Because we’re watching on in horror.

    Watching in horror, that is, from an island nation, with no land borders, that uses its navy to turn back migrant vessels. Got it.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink
  7. djf says

    As a US citizen, I’d be happy to pay for a wall on our southern border. Apparently, some believe that the US would be “locking out most of the rest of the world” if it re-establishes control over its borders, to determine for itself who will be permitted to enter it, and that such a plan of action is cause for “horror.” Is it similarly horrifying when other nations (such as Australia and, yes, Mexico) exercise control over their borders, with or without a wall? Or is there some reason why the US, of all countries on earth, has no right to do this? Or is there something especially horrifying about using a wall for this purpose? I’m having some trouble following the reasoning here, if there’s any reasoning going on at all.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink
  8. Dan,

    As a U.S. citizen, I’d be happy to match any payments you make for a wall on our southern border. It’s not that I’m against immigration, having been an immigrant myself. I’m against illegal immigration. The United States has the right, as well as the obligation to its citizenry, to prescribe the manner in which it is willing to grant immigrant status to anyone who is not a natural born citizen. That is our law and I wish our administration would abide by all of our laws, not just the ones they feel are in the best interests of their political objectives.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink
  9. djf says

    Henry, the problem I have with your approach is that the problem of “illegal” immigration can easily be solved by simply changing the law. My concern is not with whether immigrants are legal or illegal, but whether the quantity and quality of immigrants we are receiving are making life better or worse for the majority of American citizens and their future descendants. As things now stand, we are receiving (and have been receiving for many decades) far too many immigrants and, sad to say, mostly immigrants of the wrong kind, who bring negligible intellectual and social capital to our society and demonstrate less proclivity to adopt our cultural norms than did previous waves of immigrants. I will venture to say that you are not typical of the immigrants that the US have been receiving since 1965.

    Incidentally, all of my great grandparents, and two of my grandparents, were immigrants, so I am not opposed to all immigration, either (I don’t know of anybody who is, actually). But I think the US should give priority to the interests of its existing citizens in determining the number and kinds of immigrants to admit.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
  10. Wisdom is insight gained through reflection on experience, and it worked well as a guide to dealing with a future that would be similar to the past, but the future we face threatens to be radically unlike the past, so what role remains to wisdom?

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink
  11. PS: TBH, you look a lot younger than I imagined. I was expecting someone more like Edward Teller.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  12. Eh, HJH, you do know that Teller is dead?

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink
  13. Yes, TBH, and the imagined resemblance ended at that point.

    Moreover, you’re a good-looking guy, unlike the old Teller – and you look younger than I do!

    Life’s not fair . . .

    * * *

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  14. Dan,

    I think your problem with my approach is moot. I am first and foremost opposed to having any Branch of our Federal Government skirting any laws that have been validly established under our Constitutional processes. That being said, I am not against having any laws modified by lawful procedures, including the amendment of the Constitution itself — so long as the modification process itself proceeds in accordance with established law or laws, excluding, of course, any modification that would be tantamount to ex-post facto laws. The latter would not be a legal procedure (as I learned in high school social studies).

    Nevertheless, my preferences for the manner in which the U.S. is willing to grant immigrant status to anyone is pretty much what you have described in your comment. And I am not in favor of any general amnesty, which I believe would be the equivalent to an ex-post facto law. Such are my personal preferences.

    But I am prepared to abide by any legally established laws and procedures. The United States is a nation of laws, not a nation of men. Which leads me to ask, “Why is our current President still ensconced in the Oval Office?”

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  15. Ah, thanks, HJH. I am relieved that you were referring to Teller’s image before he died.

    As for “Life’s not fair …” I sincerely hope you haven’t just made such a discovery. I could simply give you the old standby, “Nobody promised you a rose garden or a bowl of cherries.” But I won’t be glib with a friend. I’ll just say be thankful for what you got — there is a whole boatload (much larger than Noah’s Ark) of people out there who are much less well off than you are.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink
  16. djf says

    Henry, your commendable concern that government should act lawfully does not answer the question of what policies should the law further? For example, should the level of legal immigration be increased, decreased, or left unchanged? The principle of adherence to the rule of law does not help us answer this question. As to people already here illegally, their presence is not actually a crime, and Congress can always retroactively “legalize” them (Obama unilaterally handing out green cards, as if he were king, is another matter). The question to be answered should be, what immigration policy will best serve the interests of the American citizenry? Talking about “the rule of law” in this context is a distraction. We are trying to figure out what the law should be.

    Of course, I understand that the Left has succeeded in making Americans uncomfortable about putting their own interests first. This is why criticism of non-enforcement of our immigration laws is usually expressed as concern about enforcement of the law, rather than as concern about the effect of immigration on our society.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
  17. Malcolm says

    Jeffery,

    Wisdom is insight gained through reflection on experience, and it worked well as a guide to dealing with a future that would be similar to the past, but the future we face threatens to be radically unlike the past, so what role remains to wisdom?

    Excellent question.

    Posted February 28, 2016 at 9:25 pm | Permalink
  18. Dan,

    All I can say about what the tenor of our nation’s immigration policy should be is some such generality as — it should strive to serve the best interests of our society and the security of our nation. I am a retired physicist, and though I do take a serious interest in the socio-economic wellbeing of our nation, I am neither a sociologist nor an economist. Neither am I schooled in the law nor in the complexities of government policymaking. But I am able, I believe, to judge whether or not the policy that is formulated is supportive of my own preferences.

    So, yes, I believe we should have a policy that welcomes immigrants who have the potential to improve the intellectual and social capital of our citizenry, and I am not against giving a chance for a better life to people who have been oppressed in their native lands, provided they can demonstrate in some reasonable fashion that they do not pose a threat to our own society’s wellbeing. I believe our nation should act charitably, as long as our charity does not impose an undue burden on our citizenry.

    The important thing to remember is that most actions involve tradeoffs, and our government is responsible to its citizenry not to indulge in ego boosting policy that effects negative tradeoffs for its existing citizens. That is what our elected officials have been elected to do.

    Posted February 29, 2016 at 1:10 am | Permalink
  19. djf says

    Henry,

    I don’t disagree with anything you say in your comment @1:10, but I think you omit mention of what should be a key factor in shaping immigration policy – the number of immigrants that our society can usefully absorb without harm to our own citizens’ quality of life. If this is what you mean by “an undue burden on our citizenry,” then we are in agreement. But if you mean that, out of charity, we should take in as many immigrants who want to come whether or not our economy needs them, and even if it hurts many of our fellow citizens (so long as the burden is not “undue”), I disagree. For me, the determining factor should be the needs of the existing society. We have no obligation to help foreigners at the expense of our fellow citizens and to the detriment of our own culture and public institutions.

    I would add that we are not talking about people who are fleeing Auschwitz or Pol Pot. Very few of the immigrants we receive are fleeing oppression; they are simply poor people who want to better their lot. Nothing wrong with that, but our first obligation is to our fellow citizens. Most of the purported “asylum” seekers we take in are bogus, in my opinion (excluding, of course, genuine dissidents from places like China and Iran). The family of the Boston Marathon bombers, for example, came here as purported asylum seekers; it turns out that they were related to high officials of the Chechnya provincial government, so it is highly unlikely that they had any reason to fear persecution. Lately, our feckless, worthless government has started granting asylum based on people’s fear of generalized violence in their home countries – a rationale that could be used to grant asylum to most of the world’s population.

    I completely agree with your last paragraph. Unfortunately, our elected officials (and the unelected permanent bureaucracy under them) are failing, and have been failing for many years, to do their jobs in connection with immigration.

    Posted February 29, 2016 at 1:59 am | Permalink
  20. Dan,

    We are in agreement. I only shy away from being too specific about the details of a sensible (from the standpoint that you and I agree on) immigration policy because I don’t pretend to know what specifically would or would not lead to harmful unintended consequences. Such are the issues I would like my representatives in Congress to figure out, which is why I have delegated the task to them. This is how a representative government is supposed to perform its nation’s business.

    Posted February 29, 2016 at 2:21 am | Permalink
  21. Whitewall says

    From that Singularity list, I can say I am aware of much of it in a limited way, but the thing that has captured my attention the most is the advance of 3-D printing. Just what I have watched operate on You Tube or seen in news reports makes it easy to see how soon great swaths of our labor force can be idled. Not just ours, but even the global workforce. Specifically I focus on a 3-D builder that I watched on You Tube build a house complete with systems, insulation, walls and the whole nine yards. This amazed me as I have been involved with my own investment real estate business since I stopped traveling for a living in 1988. If 3-D printers/builders can be used to build the components that make up a house or office or whatever…my God, all that is needed is a delivery truck with a half wit driver to bring the components to the site.

    If this goes faster, I might just have to unretired myself and go back to investing in real estate. It was and is something I enjoy.

    Posted February 29, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink
  22. Whitewall says

    “Understanding what happened”. We were given a “Republic, if you can keep it”. The attitude around the western world back then, was simply, the common people are not capable of self government. Maybe we have proved those royalist, monarchs and intellectuals right. We have passed “peak democracy”. A republic may only work best in small homogenous populations. This yawning mass of humanity we have today is too much. A small population can maintain certain successful principles that produce healthy outcomes for all. That is something to unify around. Even technological advances can be put to great use by this population. They have the intelligence to create it use it and benefit and then repeat.

    Posted February 29, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink
  23. Malcolm says

    Agreed, Robert. This is a sound criticism of both democracy (the dangers of which the Founders rightly foresaw) and multiculturalism.

    It is a central tenet of the reactionary Right that how well you are governed is far more important than who you are governed by.

    Posted February 29, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  24. JK says

    my God, all that is needed is a delivery truck with a half wit driver

    Posted February 29, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
  25. JK,

    That driver, however, looks like a quarter wit. Is he texting while his behemoth truck is barrelling down that roadway on autopilot?

    Posted February 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
  26. Whitewall says

    JK that truck in all its technological glory has missed the exit. Judging by the country side, I’d say by two thousand miles. That sort of thing happened to me a lot when I was working.

    Posted March 1, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  27. Musey says

    I’m not opposed to immigration, neither am I in favour of uncontrolled immigration. If you want to build a wall, do it. It would appear that you’re all happy to stump up the money, which is not what Donald is suggesting but it’s the only way it could possibly happen. It’s a fairly major project. How high do you think it might have to be? Who will watch for the breaks in this very long wall? How long will it take to build it?

    There is a world of difference between turning back a few boats and building a massive barrier, on-land. That’s not to say that I agree with boat turn-backs but they have been very effective as a deterrent, whilst not stopping a very large immigration scheme whereby people come here legally. Of course, the government here can claim the moral high ground and insist that they only wish to prevent deaths at sea. Nobody believes that.

    It pains me to see the chaos in Europe with these displaced people arriving in huge numbers. Something has to be done to stop the flow and to help these people rebuild their own countries. How we are to do that I don’t know but Europe cannot accommodate vast numbers of migrants, and the ordinary people are at their wits end. As Whitewall has implied it is a tinderbox. Oh, and Whitewall, if I’m not too late, may I say that I’m an equal opportunities labeller of grumpy old codgers from the Right or the Left.

    A clip of the latest US Presidential nomination debate was shown on TV here this morning. Marco Rubio has decided to get down with Trump and play his game. So there was reference to Trump’s poor spelling, his fake orange tan, and the size of his hands which obviously give us a clue to the size of something else. (I always thought it was the size of a man’s foot but obviously I was wrong). If nothing else, it makes for entertaining breakfast TV.

    Posted March 2, 2016 at 12:50 am | Permalink
  28. Whitewall says

    Musey, I trust you are well? I was surprised at the tone of your opening post of this thread. It is only, I’m sure, due to the great distance you are from this boiling cauldron called America. “The Wall” being talked about today is symbolic of the deliberate failure of our bipartisan leaders in Washington to secure our borders. A government that begins enforcing our immigration laws and our borders is one that will never see a time for a wall. We are beyond that point. Speaking of walls, right about now, southern Europe wishes it had massive walls already to halt the latest invasion of Islam, because that is what it is. “Migrants” is a comfy term we in the West are being sold by mass media. Well yes they are “migrating” just as they did in 1683 right to the gates of Vienna. This is just a modern day fight in that same old war.

    How high a wall? As high as needed. A big undertaking? Many of us are still Americans and thus we reject the idea of “too big”. No such thing. A wall with Mexico can serve two purposes if you think about it. For us conservative types, it can keep out those who don’t belong here and that we simply don’t need and are not obliged to accommodate. For our opposition, a wall can keep in those who have broken our laws and slipped in. These sneak ins are vital to the people who are the opposition to us conservatives.

    Massive unchecked immigration is a death sentence to the host nation. We had massive waves of immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century from all across Europe and then the process was halted by law. What happened next was the best thing possible-those new comers were given the best gift of all….they were assimilated into the American Way over the next several decades. Since then, malevolent politicians have corrupted this process by allowing mostly third world immigrants who do little to assimilate. Today, new “immigrants” are not assimilated, they are just accommodated. An injustice to them and mainly to those who came and did it the right way. Hence, our “melting pot” tradition is now a boiling pot.

    Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:01 am | Permalink
  29. Musey says

    Whitewall, I’m very well thank you, and hope that you’re the same.

    The tone of what I write is not calculated to offend in any way. I just write whatever comes into my head (okay, okay, I know) and I am perturbed by the rise of Donald Trump. The possibility of his continuing rise has always been in my mind, but I listened to cleverer people than me who said he was a joke candidate put in place to raise a bit of excitement, engage the voters, and then be given his marching orders. This doesn’t seem to be happening.

    Also, you’re such a clever lot here and none of you have never spoken much about Trump. Why not? There was a post here recently where Malcolm wrote about the inevitability of Trump’s ascension without sounding too worried at all by the prospect.

    Sometimes, I get the impression (from Malcolm) that there is a back-up plan for when the Donald experiment fails whereby some unelected elite promising “good government” will come to the rescue. Maybe he’ll be a part of it? Maybe, so will you.

    It looks likely, at this point, that it’s going to come down to a straight fight between Donald and Hillary. It will be a difficult one to swallow if, and when, Trump falls at the last hurdle delivering to you, President Clinton.

    Like I say, I share your concerns regarding immigration. Your assertion that the migrant is being sold to the populace by the mass-media is debatable. There is huge disquiet here at the prospect and in Europe there is growing rage. I agree with you that we are insulated from the worst here but things could change, and obviously the mood in the USA is despairing about many issues, including immigration. It’s easy for politicians to misjudge the public mood until it’s too late which is why a great country like America can end up with two unsuitable candidates from which they have to choose who will lead “the free world”.

    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  30. Malcolm says

    Musey,

    There was a post here recently where Malcolm wrote about the inevitability of Trump’s ascension without sounding too worried at all by the prospect.

    Would it help? At this point I’m just watching the show. This election cycle is just a sign of the times. It’s like the way the animals get all fidgety before an earthquake.

    It looks likely, at this point, that it’s going to come down to a straight fight between Donald and Hillary.

    Now that’s a depressing prospect, because as you may recall I’ve made a wager with my friend Peter that Hillary won’t win the nomination, and I want that bottle of whisky I get if I win. At this point I’m counting on either Joe Biden (come on, Joe, time’s a-wastin’!) or the FBI.

    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink
  31. Malcolm says

    Ah, hope springs eternal! This just in:

    Justice Dept. grants immunity to staffer who set up Clinton email server

    Posted March 2, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink
  32. At 8:20 PM PST, 1318 Comments (and counting). Most (by my perusal) not supportive of HRC.

    Posted March 2, 2016 at 11:20 pm | Permalink
  33. I am reluctant to speculate how the FBI investigation of HRC will play out (mostly because I don’t want to jinx it — yes, I am superstitious when there’s a lot at stake). I am, however, not reluctant to say I am appalled by the reactions of the Left who are commenting on the breaking news of the immunity granted her former staffer.

    Though they have a lot to say about past offenses having been perpetrated by former Republican officials, there seems to be not a hint of dismay for the gravity of her alleged offenses. It is just part and parcel an all-out defense of their “wrongfully accused” squeaky clean champion. How can a large portion of our society be so unprincipled? Is there, finally, no sense of decency left …

    Posted March 3, 2016 at 3:32 am | Permalink