A Catalog of Errors
Just since 2019
When government makes mistake after mistake what are we to think? Is it because rulers are idiots? Or because they are malevolent? Traditionally humans think that when something goes wrong it’s because of malevolence. Thus according to Mircea Eliade,
[S]uffering proceeds from the magical action of an enemy, from the breaking a taboo, from entering a baneful zone, from the anger of a god -- and when all other hypotheses have proven insufficient -- from the will or the wroth of the Supreme Being. (p.97) The primitive... cannot conceive of an unprovoked suffering; it arises from a personal fault... or from his neighbor's malevolence... but there is always a fault at the bottom of it[.]
But I am inclined to believe that bad stuff issues from what Brit Prime Minister Harold Macmillian called “events, dear boy, events.” Not to mention stupidity, ignorance, inattention, and fear.
So when I review the catalog of errors committed by our rulers over the past four years, I avoid the temptation of ascribing it all to “malevolence.” Instead, I reckon it’s mostly due to weakness and fear. Hey, nobody wants to stick out from a crowd, least of all a politician.
2019: Jawboning the Fed. In early 2019 the Federal Reserve Board was getting worried about inflation, so it started to raise interest rates. But then President Trump started jawboning the Fed, so it started to lower interest rates.
2020: Lockdowns, Masks. Clearly, experts agreed, you needed to lock the place down and quarantine the whole world when there is a pandemic. And any expert disagreeing should be censored for disinformation by social media. In retrospect, probably not.
2020: Money printer go brrr. In the spring of 2020 the Fed printed a ton of money to accommodate the COVID lockdown so that M2 went up by $3 trillion between March and July. Not good, I’d say.
2020: Send COVID patients to nursing homes. Yes, but nursing homes were full of end-of-life old people, so the net result was more COVID related deaths.
2020: Close the schools. Yes, but children are hardly affected by COVID. So this was all about protecting obese unionized women teachers. I get it: women expect to be protected. But I thought everything is America was “for the children.”
2020: Dem election agenda to fight climate change and systemic racism. I say that Makes Things Worse.
2020: Operation Warp Speed. I suspect that we are going to find out that putting mRNA vaccines out without proper evaluation of their side effects Made Things Worse.
2021: Biden administration passes trillions in new spending and money printer go brrr. M2 went up by another $3 trillion between July 2020 and December 2021. Can you spell inflation?
2022: Stop the Printer! All of a sudden, starting at about January 1, 2022, the Fed stopped printing money. M2 has been flat from January through August 2022. Obiously, someone panicked at the Fed. Maybe because their economic models said that inflation wasn’t “transitory” after all.
2022: Raise interest rates! Starting in March 2022 the Fed has raised short-term interest rates from essentially zero to 3 percent at the end of September. Thus home mortage rates have gone from 3 percent to 7 percent. Can you spell disaster?
2022: Inflation Reduction Act. The last belch of Dem big spending, on climate change and systemic racism. My nickel says it Makes Things Worse.
2021-22: Weaponizing justice system against GOP and conservatives. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to send the FBI to former President Trump’s Mar a Lago residence or to go after pro-lifers demostrating at abortion clinics. It just ain’t. I don’t think it’s a good idea to treat BLM and AntiFa as “mostly peaceful protesters” and J6 rioters as “armed insurrectionists.” Among politicians there should be “honor among thieves.” And I think that all the push against conservative activists while going no-bail on ordinary street thugs just ain’t gonna look good down the road.
See, my thing is that wise rulers keep their supporters on a short rein, while giving a little slack to the opposition. Wise rulers keep the loot and plunder down to a dull roar. Wise rulers don’t think they can remake the world with fabulous gubmint programs. Wise rulers don’t print stacks of money in peacetime. Wise rulers know that humans are social animals, and they live and die by the little platoons of family, neighborhood, work, mutual aid, and charitable benevolence.
But when a ruling class is coming to the end of its era it tends to do stupid things, because it can’t believe that its glorious rule is coming to an end.
Actually, a ruling class has to be a bunch of geniuses to stay in power beyond about 100 years, and avoid Making Things Worse. And there is the minor notion that politics is about the enemy, and you don’t make things better by treating the other guy as your enemy. Unless he really is Genghis Khan or the H-word.
Job One for the rest of us is to stop the rulers from blowing the place up as they desperately try to stay in power.