The Consequences of Inconsequence

From the diaries by Erick

I probably have zero drops of Mayan blood in my veins. I do, however, admire their imaginative take on apocalyptic prophesy. I think they just about got 2012 dead-on. Even absent the bitter hatred accompanying a Presidential Election in our divided states of America, that year will require a little more than just Advil to take the edge off.

People can choose their causal vector amongst a great abundance of choices. I’ll nominate my own. Disaster will betide us all at last when the bill for consequence avoidance comes due. The Good Book goes into detail about the cycles of abundance and of need. We get seven fat years and then nature has its way of putting us all on Jenny Craig.

Where our nation has “taken our eye off the ball,” to quote the current politico jargon, is that we seek to constantly avoid the consequences of prior bad decisions. We expect to have our cake and eat it too. This is a pernicious form of American Exceptionalism. As “God’s Chosen Nation,” (when choose to suspend the heresy of denying God’s existence) we delude ourselves that we can pull off some feat of prestidigitation to avoid taking our medicine. Our continuing economic woes are a primary example.

When J. Kyle Bass of Hayman Funds described our current economic crisis in October of 2008, he quoted the coruscating brilliance of Herbert Spencer. “The ultimate result of shielding man from the effects of folly is to people the world with fools.” He then went on to explain that TARP, “Stimulus”, TALF, Cash For Clunkers, Homebuyer Tax Credits, and every other cheap gimmick our leaders would attempt from that point until now, were all steeped in feckless enstupidation.

…there are $8 TRILLLION of assets already in receivership, conservatorship, liquidation, or “parked” with a big brother. Do you think the Government will be successful in purchasing illiquid assets off of the balance sheets of troubled companies? The odds (and the assets) are against them. Even if the Government invests equity to fill the “hole” that is created upon the sale of these assets, it leaves the same nefarious management teams in place to continue the problem by taking the money and levering it up again. The only way to solve this problem is to go THROUGH IT. We know it isn’t politically popular or even popular on Wall St, but the fact is that the U.S. and the world need a Darwinian flush to rebuild our foundations and become even stronger on the backside of this mess.

The impact of not having taken Bass’ sagacious advice lies before us. We see hints of it with every “worse than expected” economic report that arrives like predictable clockwork. We don’t see it coming because the truth hurts like a Ray Lewis smackdown. Thus, we delude ourselves with irrational expectations.

Our economic policy is not the only place where our social elites fortify themselves from the consequences of unethical and stupid behavior. The “Separate Peace” grimly foretold by Peggy Noonan seems to genuinely exist. Noonan described the “Separate Peace” as follows.

Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they’re living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they’re going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley’s off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, “I got mine, you get yours.”

And once that elite invulnerability has been obtained, the chosen ones react to any threat thereto. They pull up the draw bridge, drop the portcullis and let the bolts fly against anyone still outside the gates. To see how climate-fraudster Michael Mann is being “investigated” is to see how feudal hierarchies see to their own.

After Climategate allegations strongly suggested that Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State University had falsified scientific data to support his theories regarding the state of the planetary climate, he should have faced a rigorous and painstaking investigation. He has received millions in grant money from taxpayer coffers. We should not even want our citizenry to think our scientific establishment consists of grant-smuggling liars and churls.

What happened instead is another avoidance of consequences. Scott Ott of The Daily Caller describes the “investigation” that Penn State University has launched.

In addition, you may never learn what really happened between Mann and other leading lights in the global warming movement. That’s because Penn State, like other universities, treats such inquiries as confidential personnel matters, protected by policy “to the maximum extent possible.”

More surprising, the initial probe involves a committee of just three, all of whom are Penn State employees with a clear interest in preserving the reputation of a university ranked ninth in the nation in receiving government research and development grants. It may raise some eyebrows to know that no outsiders will monitor the proceedings.

Yet still, the poor, put-upon Dr. Mann does suffer. How grievously? So badly that he even qualifies for a Stimulus Check.

Sayeth Thrasymachus. “You’re Schumering me!”

“Oh no, Jim Rico, I Schumer you not.”

“That doesn’t quite explain why it smells in here.” He rejoins. And he’s got a valid point there. Maybe this explains it well.

In the face of rising unemployment and record-breaking deficits, policy experts at the National Center for Public Policy Research are criticizing the Obama Administration for awarding a half million dollar grant from the economic stimulus package to Penn State Professor Michael Mann, a key figure in the Climategate controversy.(HT: The national Center)

Indeed the lucky and the powerful take care of their own. President Barack Obama’s high-binding aristocracy of pull sucks us towards perdition. That Barack Obama, he just won’t let you remain apathetic.

The ones who enjoy Noonan’s separate peace; our new feudal overlords, they must be either oblivious or convinced of their invulnerability to the hostile fire coming from Nemesis. The real theme of the Obama Presidency is not hope and change. His reelection slogan ought to be “Holiday From Consequence.”

For the average, non-connected American, the message of Obama is more stark. What I hear is this. “I’ve upped my standard of living; now up yours!” As long as these people remain in power, I’m forced to grudgingly admit that Reverend Wright may have actually gotten one right. ”No, No! Not God Bless America,…”