My regular observation and analysis of world affairs over the past 10 or 15 years was very interesting and motivating, but somehow left me with many unanswered questions, and the feeling that many decisions were hardly to be explained by simple logic or by common sense. I am sure that such feeling is present with most observers, and some of them fill the missing links with what we often call "conspiracy theories" implying that all what we see and that looks incoherent is in fact the result of the coordinated action of certain groups of people, for example the Bilderberg group.
But conspiracy theories are on my view too simple and too nice to be true, even if a coordinated action is possible in isolated cases. For the ones reading this letter since 2006, you know that I always pay attention to the socio-psychological side of the story, for example referring to Emmanuel Todd's theories on family structure to better understand the political choices of the world's nations.
Here again I wish to elaborate on a vision of events based on the trends in society over the past 60 years, in short since the end of WW2.
I was obviously too young to assess the evolution over the first half of that period, but a lot of changes slowly happened over the past 30 years, leading to a situation where political and economical decisions and the way they are covered in the medias, seem to be more and more disconnected from real life. Elites, journalists and populations themselves seem to behave in a mode that reminds me of spoiled children or teenagers, spoiled indeed by several decades of well being and relative economical security. The trend became very clear a few years after the end of the Cold War and the final days of the Soviet Union.
What is a spoiled child in a family? All of us have seen such cases in our families or in friends' families. A young person denying the authority of older members of the family and generally living in her/his own world, isolated from the reality of the family and the outside world. This is were I start the comparison!
Refusal to take responsibility
A typical childish behavior is a systematic absence of sense of responsibility, a systematic tendency to either accuse someone else (the dog did it! my sister did it!) or to simply ignore the question.
While such behavior can be considered as normal with young children, we can observe it with experienced and educated adults in charge of important decisions. All French readers shall remember the denial of Laurent Fabius in the contaminated blood story in the late 80's, when he said he was responsible but not accountable. All remember the proven accusations against Hillary Clinton last year, and her total denial, combined with a similar denial coming from the legal instance of the country. Putting citizens at risk used to be a reason for prosecution and impeachment in the past, no longer today.
This trend is also generalized within the media and even within the population.
Journalists have become very skilled at claiming a truth one day, and a few months later announcing something radically different, while completely ignoring the contradiction and therefor the lies they told us beforehand. Have you ever heard excuses or seen analysis of why this happened, both things to be expected from real and honest media shops?
Another typical childish attitude that may be fine in childhood (and may be not), but can lead to disasters when generalized amongst adults, is a ferocious selfishness (You ate all of the cake, nothing left for your brother!). Coming together with years of developing pseudo identities within society and dividing it into silos, we often hear group of citizens opposing other groups of citizens, each of them trying to maximize the size or THEIR cake, while minimizing their contribution and duties.
The list is endless: young against old, civil servants against private sector, employees against entrepreneurs, locals against migrants. Duties are rarely discussed and like with spoiled children, everybody only wants to hear about good news, and start to accuse the neighbor as soon as something contradicts the slogan "more of everything" driven by an eternal "growth", all those tendencies quietly encouraged (or at least not fought against) by medias and politics.
Errors repeated for ever
Like children playing a game for kids older than they are, leaders are unable to learn from the previous errors and repeat them ad-nauseam. The economy is regularly fed with more QE (Quantitative Easing), although the technique is used since many years without success. But the US and EU do it again and again. I think that leaders actually know that the money is going elsewhere and not in the real economy, but journalists and populations simply do not react to the facts. They prefer to believe the words: "we need to reduce spendings until growth is back again", "we take measures to reduce employment"...
On the geopolitical theater, several countries have been destroyed in the fight against terrorism, or to "protect" local populations (Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan etc), but facts do not count in front of the ideology and the lies of the medias and elites. Populations have been buying the same lies since years and years, and ask for more, as we see with the rapid increase of popularity of Donald Trump after sending a few missiles on Syria.
Again, French readers remember the Cahusac story, a minister in charge of fighting money laundering, caught with accounts in Switzerland, but saying to a journalist a few months before his destitution: "I can tell you looking in your eyes: I do not have any bank account offshore". Who does not remember Clinton lying about Lewinski, or Powell showing pictures of the terrible WMD developed by Saddam Hussein? Can you remember candidate Hollande in 2012 saying that his enemy was International Finance? Do you remember Trump claiming that he would cooperate with Russia on the Syrian conflict?
Just like the USSR in its last years, lies are a fundamental element for the survival of the system. The Soviet industry and agriculture were officially still regularly beating targets, while shops were empty and people had to wait one year or two to finally be able to buy the piece of furniture they needed. People met in their kitchen in secret to discuss the real world and the horror of the lies. In the west, people still can talk freely, but less and less, with medias reluctantly inviting non politically correct guests..
Lying has become the norm and a recognized tool to reach political goals. Children often lie to escape reality and this is part of growing up. When grown-ups in power do the same, society is in danger!
Fear of truth, reality and real words
Also a tool to escape reality is a to change words and avoid crude words or even words honestly describing reality. While children may use such alternative words to describe what they do not understand or cannot accept (grand mother moved to another place and lives in the sun now... , father has moved to another house closer to his office), many words have been created over the past years to put the society in a kind of cocoon where all tough things are smoothed in appearance, while often getting worst in reality.
- Black people became people of African origin - did they get a better life or less discrimination after that?
- Invalids became people with limited abilities
- In France, school teachers became "school professors" - but got reduced bonuses and lower level hiring criteria
Perceiving people through one aspect of their person only
Part of the split of society in silos, we saw a growing tendency over the few past years to characterize individuals based on one only criteria, very much like children do, when they caricature other children at school (fat Eddy, red haired Sally, stuttering Johnny), reducing them to a single characteristic. Persons and communities are today often reduced to one criteria as well, when discussed in medias.
One of the best example is the LGBT community (or what medias want to call a community), which indeed is a reduction of each individual within that group to a single element of their personality. This is convenient and allows all kinds of simplified schemes in order to better divide society in silos. The results is potentially a new type of racism (even if intended to be used positively), where for example a transsexual is put in a box with big red letters "TRANSSEXUAL", while most of those people simply have issues with the sex written on their passport, want to become a person of the other sex, and live a life as normal as possible, far from the advertizing box in red letters! The ones willing the red letters advertizing are in general using the concept as a marketing tool, like Conchita who won the Eurovision contest some years ago, but would have lost big time without his woman-with-beard look. Just listen to the song to understand what I mean!
All in all, I perceive in all those trends an artificially created fear of reality and common sense, and a move towards a virtual reality where appearance is more important than content, slogans are more important than truth, community is more important than individuals, images are more important than facts, and where the past goes back to a few days only, while future is within a 2 weeks horizon.
Absence of strong authority (fear)
To come back to the spoiled kids comparison, the reason for being spoiled is often the lack of authority (punishing but also loving and protecting) around the kids. I believe we see the same situation here, when fear was symbolized by the USSR and Communism until the begin of the 90's, while sense of security was ensured by a growing economy, and overall improvement in life conditions and perpective for newer generations. After the end of the Soviet era, we lived a phase of lack of fear (or competition) and the existing capitalist system became the only one possible, developing without external fear or authority, thus without limits nor red lines to respect.
Fear was gone, but sense of security also vanished with growing unemployment, less social protection and bleak perspective, even for educated kids. Just like a teenager refusing the real world, the system started to create its own reality, driven by its elites, but with the complicity of the populations who also preferred to live like a spoiled kid then confront reality.
The loss of key values goes together with living in a virtual, irresponsible world, when history loses its learning value to be re-written and serves as a justification for today's political or commercial ambitions.
Bullying Russia for not being a spoiled child
Only Russia and to some extend China create a counter power to the virtual world, terribly frightening for western elites, thus the current hysterical attempts to demonize Russia and bring it back in the virtual game. What the west cannot understand is that Russia has a different history and CANNOT identify itself with western society, the reason being that it was not spoiled by 60 years of stability and well being, but just recovers after years of hardness and tough life, enjoying stability since the mid 2000's only, far too less to be spoiled.
Russian media and diplomats use real words, talk about international laws, family values, sovereignty, society coherence... all those aspects terribly irritate the western leaders and medias, especially because they have no way to stop it, unless starting a nuclear war, also meaning the end of their dream.
Spoiled for ever?
I still until recently believed the trend could be stopped by political changes within the present system and institutions, but the state of decay within the system is too advanced, like the decay within the USSR made a reform of the system impossible. Latest elections in the US, and coming elections in France show that the system can ultimately block or control candidates that may be a risk, while populations are too engulfed in the virtual world of endless consumerism to go to the street and storm the power centers.
Like for most past Empires, the fall and the waking up of populations shall only come from one of two sources. Either a war that would hit the heart of the system - in this case hits on the territory of the key players like the US, or the EU, or a natural disaster of major magnitude. Only then can the smoke screen disappear and new (really new) leaders come to power and bring all of us back to reality, if we are still alive.