One of the repeated lessons of history is that when Potemkin politics become standard operating procedure in a nation, no matter how powerful and stable that nation might look, it can come apart with astonishing speed once somebody provides the good hard shove just discussed. The sudden implosion of the Kingdom of France in 1789 and the equally abrupt collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 are two of the most famous examples, but there have been many others. In every case, what happened was that a government that had stopped solving its nation’s problems, and settled for trying to manage appearances instead, discovered the hard way that governments really do derive their power from the consent of the governed—and that this consent can be withdrawn very suddenly indeed.
John Michael Greer
August 18, 2021
[Via email from a reader after reading yesterday’s post.
Wow. So John Michael Greer was certainly not someone I expected to see quoted in the QotD, and I would have bet a small fortune that if he were, it wouldn’t be in a positive light.
Politics certainly do make strange bedfellows.
Poseur politicians come in all stripes. The observation seems to bear out no matter kind of public pose the inner party tries to portray. The outer party is faithful to the political ideology, but the inner party is only faithful to its power. If the outer party figures out the inner party are traitors to their ideology, they’ll have a party-coup with whatever inner party members successfully pass themselves off as outer party members. When people outside the party structure work out that the ruling party is faithful only to the party, not to the nation, you get Pinochet Airlines.
I’d say it is more because we are in the early stages of collapse.
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“…a government that had stopped solving its nation’s problems, and settled for trying to manage appearances instead…”
There’s a pretty huge disconnect in there. See it? Who would even see it anymore, even after having it pointed out to them? And yet those who upheld the founding principles of this country would have recognized it immediately, and would have excoriated anyone foolhardy and ignorant enough say it.
If we now believe (and who doesn’t?) that the purpose of government is to solve our problems then we are the problem and thus we deserve what will surely come of such a grand, pathological delusion. We will have literally asked, no, begged, for what’s coming.
When regarding government, any form of, “Master, Master, take care of me and solve my problems!” translates directly to “Lie to me, abuse me, take me for all I’m worth, and then murder me”! And so, eventually, that’s exactly what we’ll get. And I dont want to hear a word of complaint, because almost all of you asked, begged, even vehemently demanded, just that.
Good comment all. And Mr. Greer. points out the problem we have with this statement.
“Keep in mind that the same elites who were responsible for those twenty years of total failure in Afghanistan are also responsible for the current state of affairs here at home, and a great deal suddenly makes sense.”
What he seemed to miss is that while what’s going on is natural to empires. This one is being destroyed actively.
All the examples he gives are of naturally collapsing nations. And we would get there. But the retreat from Shitholistan was done for humiliation. And arming the world with tech that most would never have come by naturally.
To me the difference will play out not only in the severity of the collapse, but the aftermath. As both France and soviet Russia were left to rebuild as best they could.
Could America be put upon by those wishing to rob, rape, and steal from the corpse?
Vox Day has a good post related to this today, Rule by ontology, where he quotes Bill Lind about how for some if you give something a name it makes it real. It’s about magical thinking, and Potemkin Villages are just such a thing. But in the end, reality has the deciding vote.