Don’t look anywhere

It’s not safe to look anywhere in the world of politics these days.

The UK has an unelected Conservative Prime Minister with no clearly definable policies and no mandate. The official opposition – the Labour Party – has self-destructed. The UK’s third party, the Liberal Democrats, was obliterated at the last election. The UK Independence Party has no leader and no purpose.

The UK voted to leave the EU by a sliver of a margin, but a legal challenge has today wrecked the government’s policy on Brexit, and thrown everything into disarray. Brexit might not happen, and if it does, nobody knows what it means.

North of the border, Scotland is preparing for a second independence referendum.

In Europe itself, many other countries are teetering on the brink and may leave the EU also, with the possible outcome that Scotland joins the EU just as everyone else has gone.

South of Europe, the war in Syria is threatening to tear the entire region apart on sectarian divides.

Further south, and east, North Korea is poised to launch a nuclear strike on, well, anyone in range.

Looking to the west, our closest friend and ally is about to complete its most divisive election in living memory, and has a 50% chance of making a dangerous idiot the most powerful man in the world.

To the east, Putin is poised, pointing his weapons and his tanks in our direction.

So I’m just going to keep my eyes shut tightly. Let me know when things improve.

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19 responses to “Don’t look anywhere

  1. Sorry, can’t help. I’m the US. I have my eyes tight shut and my fingers in my ears. LA LA LA LA IS IT OVER YET? PLEASE JUST LET THIS BE OVER!!!”

  2. I actually read the UK court requiring a vote in Parliament for Brexit to be a promising sign. Of course, I’m saying that as an outsider thousands of miles removed from the action and fully cognizant that I don’t really know of what I speak.

    As to here in the US, it’s a national nightmare that I was hoping would be over on November 9, but it’s increasingly looking possible that it might be with us for the next 4 years. The idiocy of what we might be about to do to ourselves is just sickening.

  3. The Brexit ruling is positive I think. But it might be years before the UK actually leaves the EU and the political situation in the UK and Europe is so unstable, I have no idea what the political landscape will look like in 3-4 years time. None of this is good for the economy, which has already lost 20% of its value since the Brexit referendum.

    And yes, I don’t think your nightmare looks set to end for years to come … whoever wins.

    • I think a Trump win would be far far worse, not just for us, but for the world. I desperately hope we don’t have to find out just how worse. With Clinton, partisan gridlock and acrimony would certainly continue, but that will eventually fade as our demographic changes continue.

  4. Well Steve, as you do yoga, if Tge Trump does become President at least you’ll be able to kiss your arse goodbye when the time comes.

  5. I honestly believe we’ve reached an inflection point of sorts. We may be faced now with the possibility that humanity in such vast numbers simply isn’t a workable proposition. Our entire evolution is based on smaller groups, tribes, villages, cities, even nation-states, but large countries may just not work for us.

    The USA is a great case study in having an extremely diverse population that’s nearly impossible to govern at all, let alone well. And I’m not sure there is a workable solution.

    We may, as a species, be discovering the answer to the Fermi Paradox. Intelligent life isn’t ever intelligent enough. We discover technology that either destroys us or opiates us into uselessness. One can make a strong case for both happening these days. Climate change on the one hand, the internet adult nursery on the other.

    Our destiny may very well be a perpetual saw-tooth curve of rising civilization and inevitable fall. Simply put, it’s never going to get better. In fact, it’s going to get a whole lot worse.

    • Things look bad right now, but not as bad as in Germany in the 1930s, and not near as bad as most countries in Europe during most of the past two thousand years.

      It’s true that small, homogeneous communities are easier to govern, but economically and technologically they are doomed to stagnation. The story of America is surely one of diversity and optimism.

      • Was it really that bad in 1930s Germany or “during most of the past two thousand years.” Was climate change a threat? Was political and social disunity because of diverse and growing populations a threat? Was our own technology such an existential threat?

        The modern era, in terms of our food chains, industrialization, population growth, technology, social pace, and global scope, is unlike anything seen in our civilization before.

        As for America, consider this: The youngest major country, just a bit over 200 years old, and the first that may tear itself apart. Or, at least, prove to be utterly ungovernable in any reasonable way.

        Just take a look at all the rising trend lines and ask a simple question: Can growth ever be infinite? And what happens to sharply upwards trending social and resource curves when that growth trend becomes impossible?

        What happens to any motor that spins faster and faster and faster…

        • Lots of questions here 🙂 We have discussed many of them before. My blog article was about current politics, not the state of humanity. I am a short-term pessimist about the former, but a long-term optimist about the latter.

          Politically speaking, I think that 1930s Germany must surely have been much worse than either post-Brexit UK or America in the age of Trump. That’s not to say it can’t get worse. History shows us that it can. Let us blog while we can, in case we are shut down soon 🙂

          The past 2000 years – was climate change a threat? No. Political disunity a threat? I refer you to pogroms, crusades, massacres, genocides, etc, etc. Technology a threat? You could argue that international trade caused the bubonic plague. You could certainly say that technological warfare made WWI one of the worst wars in recorded history. Then again, Genghis Khan supposedly massacred 10% of the world’s population.

          So the modern era is certainly unlike anything before – I agree. For good, as well as bad.

          America the first major country to tear itself apart? Surely not. Germany? Yugoslavia and the Balkans? The entire Soviet Union? Vietnam and Korea? Those are just recent examples. What about the Roman Empire?

          Rising trend lines – it’s a point that’s been raised time and time again. There is logic here. Many upward trends turn down again, especially resource-limited ones. But people have said the same thing over and over again for hundreds of years. Malthus is a famous example. I believe we create resources, not consume them.

        • You are essentially making the “it was ever thus” argument, and — as you say — we’ve discussed this a great deal in the past (enough so that, today of all days, I’m disinclined to repeat it; I’m much too tense about election results today).

          Suffice to say I don’t believe it was ever thus. I think we face an existential time as a species in terms of global scope, social pace, and technology. If you don’t, well, then you don’t. 🙂

        • BTW, re your comment about WWI. Average estimate of deaths in WWI is 17.7 million. Average estimate for WWII is 74.3 million. Plus we unleashed the horrifying power of the atom in that one…

  6. This are looking more than grim here, Steve. I think you’d better keep your eyes shut for a very very long time.

  7. I had a nightmare the other day, that Trump was president, Brexit was actually happened and Farage was Prime Minister…

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