The Limits of Conventional Politics (September 10, 2010)
Conventional politics is defined by "leaders" who are actually following the lead of politically powerful constituencies and fiefdoms whose only agenda is protecting their current share of the national income.
President Obama's administration is utterly conventional, and therein lies its failure. But this failure falls not just on the political "leadership," but on the nation's Balkanized constituencies and fiefdoms which have gotten exactly what they wanted: a full-spectrum defense of the status quo.
These Balkanized constituencies and fiefdoms have no interest in systemic change, as any authentic reform would threaten their income streams and tremendous political power. Real change is thus actively resisted as "the enemy" of the status quo--what I term a full-spectrum defense of the status quo.
Obama's promise of "change" was deeply inauthentic. The Obama Administration and the Congressional leadership of both parties are completely, totally conventional; their agendas and policies are unchanged from decades ago: scrape away the "modern" lexicon and you will find retreads of policies and strategies from 1970 and 1980.
Thus "healthcare reform" was all artifice and propaganda; the insurance and other sickcare cartels remain firmly in command, vacuuming up an ever-larger share of the national income. The banal conventionality of Obama's "fixes" are painfully threadbare: dozens of panels comprised of "experts" (i.e. those academics and industry insiders who have absorbed the system's belief-system propaganda) will massage and tweak various "treatment protocols" to shave billions of dollars from the ballooning sickcare swag.
Yeah, right--as if panels of "experts" dependent on the status quo for their influence and wealth are even capable of conceptualizing a healthcare system without cartels and "Federalized entrepreneurship," i.e. the channeling of Federal tax dollars into private pockets.
The only real "fix" that has the strong backing of the nation's Balkanized constituencies and fiefdoms is to fill the yawning gap between the government's income and the swag demanded by the fiefdoms is by borrowing $1.5 trillion each and every year.
At the local government level, the "fix" is the same: borrow billions in bonds to perform "work" which was once paid for out of tax receipts.
Conventional politics depends on what I term the illusion of incremental change. The sickcare reform is a classic example of this illusion: leave the structure entirely intact, but promise miracles will flow from modest policy tweaks.
The same magical thinking/delusion can be found everywhere in conventional politics. Thus the trillion-dollar sinkhole of public union pension plans is being "fixed" with widely heralded tweaks like modest increases in public employees contributions to their own pensions--as if a few million dollars will fill the ever-deepening trillion-dollar sinkhole.
Conventional politics is characterized by this truism: "leaders" are actually "followers" of the status quo constituencies. Conventional leadership (Clinton, Bush, Obama, et al.) never reach beyond what the fiefdoms which fund their campaigns consider "healthy" to their own self-interest.
Humans only change when there is no other choice. Thus we can safely predict that the nation's Balkanized constituencies and fiefdoms will resist any systemic reform until the status quo's collapse is visibly inevitable. Then it will be too late for modest policy tweaks to pass as "real reform."
The majority of voters do not vote, leaving the field clear for the nation's Balkanized constituencies and fiefdoms to control the machinery of governance. As long as the bottom 80% are bought off with SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid and unemployment, their political silence (and thus complicity in the status quo) enables the top 5% to operate with a free hand, electing "leadership" devoted to full-spectrum defense of the status quo.
Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter; the American Empire continues apace, as do all the other primary fiefdoms: the National Security State, the drug/prison gulag, the Sickcare cartels, the defense industry/Pentagon revolving door, the education "industry," etc.
Conventional politics will reign supreme until the people reach a point of realization that compells them to rise up and lead their "leaders" to systemic transformation.
The true leaders are those preparing the ground for a new planting ("the Remnant"). Once a relatively modest 20% of the citizenry gather round this point of realization, then the Pareto Principle suggests the other 80% will eventually follow. And at the rear, following the majority, will come the politicos--at which point they will largely cease to matter.
This analysis is from my book Survival+.
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