9/20/15

Looking back 250 years, the world is a better place now than it was then. This is beyond dispute.

  • Living standards are much higher.
  • Life longevity is about double.
  • Quality of life is superior by far.
  • Men’s productivity is hugely improved and thus the creation of wealth.

And on and on.

Of course, detractors will point at the still-many areas of human suffering, poverty and sickness, but I never said that we live in utopia. It is better, not perfect. Even critics will admit that those areas of suffering are less than what existed 250 years ago and what is considered suffering and poverty today would have been an aspirational goal 250 years ago for those who were suffering then.

So how did it all happen? What made it happen? Of course industrialization, technology, science, and on and on, but underlying it all was the moral compass, the morality of the sacred value and predominance of human life and of freedom.

But the question is what made it so? What brought the world at large—not every place and not everyone, but a majority and the prevailing morality—to accept the sacrosanct nature of freedom: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

For something so complex and so important, the simplicity of the answer is shocking.

There are two names that can explain it all:

  1. The United States
  2. The United Kingdom

It was the moral compass of these two great nations who each, in their turn, were first the dominant imperialist power in the world (UK) and then the world super power (USA) that laid the underpinning for everything that grow out of this foundation.

Of course, others contributed too. The French Revolution, for instance; however it deteriorated into violence and chose and never took hold.

Starting from the 18th century’s US Declaration of Independence and Constitution, both together the second most important document ever written in all the annals of mankind . . .

Moving on to the abolition of slavery by the British empire first in 1833 followed by a decision by an American president in the 1860s to go to war, war against his own people, in order to abolish slavery in America . . .

Followed by the joining of Great Britain in WWI that was the start of the elimination of the old colonial powers and regimes, a war that was only won after the decisive intervention of the USA (I am not an expert on WWI and I concede that I may ascribe purer motivation to the UK’s joining of the war than what actually happened but in the scheme of the last 250 years, that is not a major “literary license”) . . .

Then to WWII where again the UK engaged first (completely rejecting the opportunity, which was open to it, to make peace with the devil) but it was the US might which was necessary to deliver the victory . . .

Going on to the cold war—won only after a defiant British prime minster (Thatcher) with strong moral clarity helped, pushed, and stood side by side with an American president (Regan) with a similarly strong moral compass to deliver the winning strategy in that war . . .

To the rejection of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait where the same British prime minster was again pushing the then US president (Bush Sr.) to deliver the mortal blow . . .

To the 1990s where a young British prime minster (Blair) was pushing and providing both moral clarity and a shield from criticism for an embattled US president (Clinton) to deliver peace through military force in Europe’s Balkan region in both Bosnia and Kosovo . . .

To even the early 2000s when the same British prime minister provided a new and inexperienced US President (Bush Jr.) with the moral support to go to war against the menace of Muslim terror.

In all these cases, it was either the UK who lead from the front and the US that delivered the necessary power to beat the malevolent, or the US that took the lead with a staunch moral position on the sanctity of human life living in freedom.

However, that leadership and moral clarity—this foundation of moral compass that underpinned the value of “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—is gone.

Consider the following (from the trivial but symbolic to the horrific):

  • A lead sportsman, handsome, talented, rich and successful is clearly implicated in a cheating scheme, admittedly a minor one but still cheating, and his acquittal in court is a cause for more or less unanimous celebration by sports fans all over the country, instead of voices asking how the hell did we get to the stage where we are happy to allow cheaters to prevail because we like them, because they are celebrities?
  • A movement (Black Lives Matters) which, for the purpose of this post, I will concede have a valid massage (I do not subscribe to that notion but many do and that is not the issue now) digresses into blunt calls, chants, encouragement for the killing of law enforcement officers and, rather than get wall to wall condemnation at least for that element of this movement, it is defended by many on the Democratic side and the left and condemned by no one in the administration and governing leadership of this country.
  • The leading, near enough anointed, contender for the Democratic presidential nomination is proven (at least in the court of public opinion) to be a liar and a cheater, unreliable and dishonest and not only does that not disqualify her but it does not even deter her supporters from going on media and vociferously lying and distracting in order to try and present her in a better light.
  • A strong regional power, an aspiring world super power (Russia) is allowed to invade a small neighboring country (Ukraine) and takes over parts of it, while the world looks on in boredom and acceptance and the world sole Super Power ignores a written agreement obligation it has to the invaded country to protect it (The Budapest Memorandum).
  • The “Killing Fields” of Syria, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions displaced in one of the most horrific refugee crises since WWII and the regime is being allowed to continue massacring its own people. The free world looks on in complete impotence while allowing the non-free world, the axis of evil, to help and support this murderous regime.

To be clear, there were always atrocities in the world. In the 1940s the annihilation of the Jews in Europe could, and probably should, have been disrupted by the Allies if they’d paid more attention and diverted resources to that issue. But they were engaged in a very difficult war anyway, the information available then cannot be compared to what we have today and thus no action was taken. It is different to what is happening now.

The term the “Killing Fields” was coined in the 1970s in connection with the massacre of about 1,000,000 Cambodian by the Khmer Rouge, while the world stood by and did very little however, again the lack of timely information prevented timely action and the world did act after about 2 years.

In the 1990s the world allowed approximately 1,000,000 people to be murdered in Rwanda in the space of four WEEKS!! That was too quick for the world to react and at the very least the US president of the time did say that this failure to act then was his biggest regret. Although the UN official responsible for the supervision of Rwanda at the time who could have maybe done something to stop it, possibly, was promoted to become the Secretary General of this corrupt and useless organization.

As I said, the world is far from perfect but at least these events were clearly denounced and stopped as opposed to the world watching the annihilation of human lives in Syria with what can only be called indifference, or an astonishing demonstration of the morally corrupt “realpolitik” and all that without any mitigating circumstances. No world war is raging, no lack of information for this slow rolling four-YEAR disaster.

So why? What happened to the moral compass so beautifully coined in the phrase “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?

The erosion of the moral clarity is a matter of decades. It is not something that happened over one day.

It started about 100 years ago in academia and intellectual circles where people who consider themselves intellectually and morally superior noted that there are problems around the world; poverty, inequality of incomes, hunger etc.

The notion that these problems are an integral part of a less-than-perfect world and that the only solution to those is in slow, incremental progress never crossed their minds.

The intoxication of “do-gooders” is that surely we all want to have a better world so let’s get government to fix it.

The possibility that government cannot fix these obvious issues never crossed their minds as they are steeped in theoretical models and laboratory conditions where 2+2 always equals 4. In real life this ain’t so.

They also forget that the notion of freedom includes and is dependent on economic freedom and that the more government gets involved, manages and dictates, the more our freedom is curtailed.

All these notions are excusable mistakes. Their motives were good.

What is inexcusable and a total moral corruption is that after decades and decades of trying to achieve their goals and influencing government policies to become more and more interventionist, they fail to see the writing on the wall. They refuse to accept that they may have been wrong—that they are wrong. They have failed. Their theories that work great in models and in laboratory conditions CANNOT be translated to the real world.

Take as an example the Veteran Administration health system. I recently wrote a blog on it called VA Health System. A few week ago a report showed that in spite of all the attention and additional funds provided by Congress to the VA health system, it still fails miserably in its main and only purpose: deliver health care to veterans. One million veterans are waiting to be treated over one year. Can you imagine that? Yet we still believe, or at least some do, that the VA CAN get better at all. The mantra is not that we need to cancel this whole nonsensical structure but that we need to improve it. Why? Why improve it when there are so much better solutions, simple and available? Because these do-gooders believe that they know better and that government can implement their superior ideas. Well, it can’t.

Rather than accept Einstein’s definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results), they are refusing to admit the failure of their policy solutions and are doubling down. It is like a drug addiction—the more you satisfy it the more and more it needs.

The other moral deficiency of this crowd is that while they push democratically elected governments to do more and more they give the dictatorial world a complete pass. It is an inexplicable moral dichotomy. They know they cannot make any difference there with their way of doing things, so they simply give these regimes a pass.

Again, it does not cross their minds that it may be that their way of doing things that is wrong and needs to change.

The moral corruption of these people is that they are so captive to their own self-aggrandizement and the notion that their goals are “good,” and thus they are better than others, that they are left blind to the fact that their methods are simply not working. From a theory worth exploring, which, upon objective observation one must discard as it patently failed, it became an ideology.

This ideology seeped slowly into the media and largely took control of the media establishment and practitioners. The media world is very similar to the academic world.

It, too, is an environment where you do nothing. You create nothing. You only discuss and, in most cases, critique what others do.

It is also, like academic circles, a world that fits people whose strengths lie in articulating and engaging rather than actually doing things; a world where theoretical knowledge has a clear edge over practical experience.

Both of these spheres interact and cross-pollinate each other. Due to their self-view of their moral superiority and intellectual dominance, and the intoxicating simplicity of their goal (make the world better, fairer etc.), it was a fairly simple process for the media world to catch on and become one with academia in pushing for the same goals and looking at the world virtually identically.

The problem is that both of these spheres have very little notion of the real world. They sit in their academic ivory towers or media glass towers and high tech environment and very rarely do they go out to the front to try and do the hard work of actually putting in practice models that fall on their face when they need to be implemented by governments.

Due to advances in technology, media became a bigger part of our world and is now the dominant presence in or lives.

While practical, good men were busy doing the hard work of incremental progress in the world, one man at a time the “do-gooders” with their own conviction of their righteous approach and intellectual superiority were taking control of the media and spreading their message through the growing influence of the medium.

But what delivered the mortal blow to the moral clarity of the UK and the US is the rise to power of leaders that are creatures of both academia and the media. I suppose that after so many years of brain washing us and of increased influence of the media on our lives it was only natural that our ruling class would become one with this ideology and thus have no moral clarity, no compass to show them right from wrong, and no backbone necessary to defend and stand up for what is the moral right.

In the UK we have a young and seemingly able prime minster who had abandoned the tradition of being the moral compass, the light for and with the US.

In the US we have a president that is a total ideologue; who believes that the end justify the means, who cares only about his legacy. A man who is a master in using for his advantage the shallowness of the media and their focus on words as opposed to deeds. A man who has no morality whatsoever other than his belief in his own superiority.

If I was Émile Zola I would have written a much more eloquent essay on this subject but, articulate or not, I still say to David Cameron and significantly more so to President Obama that history will judge them harshly.

J’Accuse