Quod Erat Demonstrandum
- Jul 8, 2009
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Belmont Club: I Want My MTV
Two articles, one by Christopher Booker describing the impending bankruptcy of the UK and another by Victor Davis Hanson describing the catatonic walk over the financial edge by California are united by a single theme: the power of denial.
Britain is broke, says Booker, but none of its major parties want to admit it because it would force them to run on a platform of belt-tightening, welfare cutbacks and sacrifice. But since a public long conditioned to hearing comforting lies would never accept the truth, nothing will be mentioned until the final smash. Until then the voters will be beguiled with soap opera causes, celebrity news and public-relations sleight of hand.
Until recently the difference between the First and Third Worlds was a that the Western future was real. The Western tomorrow was a definite quantity; loans would mature at a certain date, elections would be held at scheduled times and the pension check would arrive in the mail every 15th and 30th of the month. By contrast the Third World timescale had only the present. Tomorrow was ink on a calendar. Only things you could touch, take or use now were real. Checks in the future were as unreal as rocket ships and rayguns.
What a whole generation of Western political leaders have done is abolish the future. Comprehensively and perhaps irretrievably. And since that hasn’t happened in two generations, very few can even come to terms with it. Victor Davis Hanson describes the bewilderment of Californians who find that, for the first time in living memory, tomorrow isn’t coming. It’s so absurd people treat the fact with disbelief. People continue to act rich even though they’re poor. They live as if that check will arrive tomorrow even though no one can give a reason why it should.
Are we a nation in denial?