By James Howard Kunstler
We are looking more and more like France on the eve of its revolution in 1789. Our classes are distributed differently, but the inequity is just as sharp. America’s “aristocracy,” once based strictly on bank accounts, acts increasingly hereditary as the vapid offspring and relations of “stars” (in politics, showbiz, business, and the arts) assert their prerogatives to fame, power, and riches — think the voters didn’t grok the sinister import of Hillary’s “it’s my turn” message?
What’s especially striking in similarity to the court of the Bourbons is the utter cluelessness of America’s entitled power elite to the agony of the moiling masses below them and mainly away from the coastal cities. Just about everything meaningful has been taken away from them, even though many of the material trappings of existence remain: a roof, stuff that resembles food, cars, and screens of various sizes.
But the places they are supposed to call home are either wrecked — the original small towns and cities of America — or replaced by new “developments” so devoid of artistry, history, thought, care, and charm that they don’t add up to communities, and are so obviously unworthy of affection, that the very idea of “home” becomes a cruel joke.
These places were bad enough in the 1960s and 70s, when the people who lived in them at least were able to report to paying jobs assembling products and managing their distribution. Now those people don’t have that to give a little meaning to their existence, or cover the costs of it. Public space was never designed into the automobile suburbs, and the sad remnants of it were replaced by ersatz substitutes, like the now-dying malls. Everything else of a public and human associational nature has been shoved into some kind of computerized box with a screen on it.
The floundering non-elite masses have not learned the harsh lesson of our time that the virtual is not an adequate substitute for the authentic, while the elites who create all this vicious crap spend millions to consort face-to-face in the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard telling each other how wonderful they are for providing all the artificial social programming and glitzy hardware for their paying customers.
The effect of this dynamic relationship so far has been powerfully soporific. You can deprive people of a true home for a while, and give them virtual friends on TV to project their emotions onto, and arrange to give them cars via some financing scam or other to keep them moving mindlessly around an utterly desecrated landscape under the false impression that they’re going somewhere — but we’re now at the point where ordinary people can’t even carry the costs of keeping themselves hostage to these degrading conditions.
The next big entertainment for them will be the financial implosion of the elites themselves as the governing forces of physics finally overcome all the ruses and stratagems of the elites who have been playing games with money. Professional observers never tires of saying that the government can’t run out of money (because they can always print more of it) but they can certainly destroy the value of that money and shred the consensual confidence that allows it to operate as money.
That’s exactly what is about to commence at the end of the summer when the government runs out of cash-on-hand and congress finds itself utterly paralyzed by party animus to patch the debt ceiling problem that disables new borrowing. The elites may be home from the Hamptons and the Vineyard by then, but summers may never be the same for them again.
The Deep State may win its war against the pathetic President Trump, but it won’t win any war against the imperatives of the universe and the way that expresses itself in the true valuation of things. And when the moment of clarification arrives — the instant of cosmic price discovery — the clueless elites will have to really and truly worry about the value of their heads.