Tales of The Upside and The Downside

The Archdruid is back from vacation and hits the road running with an extra long and powerful post titled: The End of Ordinary Politics

It is, as usual, easy to get lost in the flowery prose, but I can summarise the whole with just a few quotes for those who, like me, tire easily from having already spent the day grappling with weighty cerebral matters (though you might miss something juicy if you take the easy way out).

The essence of the piece, for me at least, revolves around the differences between the roles and practices of leadership within civilisations that are on the rise and those that are on the slippery slope to dumpsterland.

It is no longer about Left or Right but about Going Up or Going Down.

On the way up:

The leadership of a rising civilization pays close attention to the outcomes of its policies and discards those that don’t work.

In a rising civilization, … the political elite wins the loyalty and respect of the rest of the population by recognizing problems and then solving them.

On the way down:

The leadership of a falling civilization prefers to redefine “success” as “following the approved policies” rather than “yielding the preferred outcomes,” and concentrates on insulating itself from the consequences of its mistakes rather than recognizing the mistakes and dealing with their consequences.

In a falling civilization, … the political elite forfeits the loyalty and respect of the rest of the population by creating problems and then ignoring them.

If I were to spend all day, every day, for in inordinately long period of time, I would not be able to come up with a better description of how Western governments for many years now, have performed their governmental policy roles than this:  They are entirely focused on “following the approved policies” rather than “yielding the preferred outcomes”.

What does this mean?  Well, if you followed my simplification of the situation above, you would immediately recognise that our civilisation is most definitely ‘on the way down’, or if you live in Australia, with all the benefits of an Australian education – ‘on the way dowen 🙂 ‘.

The eventual result of following such practices for prolonged periods of time (such as we have been doing) is that:

The lessons of failure are never learned, and so the costs of failure mount up until they can no longer be ignored.

…and then what?  Well, in brief, an impasse is reached – something has to give.

…resulting in what?  We-e-e-e-lll…

If a society’s officially sanctioned leaders can’t lead, won’t follow, and aren’t willing to get out of the way, sooner or later people are going to start looking for a way to shove them through history’s exit turnstile, by whatever means turn out to be necessary.

That’s not a recipe for social stability; those who make peaceful change impossible, … make violent change inevitable.

I know that I can’t sum up the situation in this election year, not only in the US but also in Australia, better that JMG does in his final paragraph.  So I will just quote it here, with the admonition – read the whole thing:

No matter how loudly today’s establishment insists that the policies it favors are the only thinkable options, the spiraling failure of those policies, and the appalling costs they impose on people outside the bubble of privilege, guarantee that sooner or later the unthinkable will become the inescapable. That’s the real news of this election season: the end of ordinary politics, and the first stirrings of an era of convulsive change that will leave little of today’s conventional wisdom intact.

I want to be around to witness that.

…and what follows.


3 thoughts on “Tales of The Upside and The Downside

Add yours

  1. That was a doozy from him, wasn’t it? Maybe he should go on holiday more often. I fell about all over the place with delight when I read it. I want to be around to see that, too. Oh boy, do I. (maybe the two of us can get together in our dotage and have a party). 😉

    1. A party to mark the end of ordinary politics, the collapse or overthrow of current civilisation and the possible beginning of a new and sensible future. Great idea.

      Might need to make it a series of parties though. It won’t all happen at once I think.

  2. Somewhat serendipitously, I came across this article in The Guardian this morning: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/08/nuit-debout-protesters-occupy-french-cities-in-a-revolutionary-call-for-change

    Is this a second French Revolution in the making?

    Is this how it starts? Is this the beginning of the overturning of current political powerbases? The overthrowing of leaders on the take, of leaders who don’t lead but are themselves led?

    Where are the night gatherings in Melbourne and Sydney? Or are we as a nation just going to continue to plod along and vote for more of the same shared political absurdities that we have tolerated for decades?

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