Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – We are all being played here, folks. This is why this partisanship is going to lead to heartache, and has led to heartache. Do you know what else it does? It keeps the faithful faithful. It keeps those little old ladies sending those $25 checks to the Heritage Foundation. It keeps those little old ladies going to all those club meetings. It keeps all those people out there firing those emails off. It keeps the people in the trenches. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: “Two Nations, Under Mammon,” posted by Patrick J. Deneen:
William Galston has written an important column in the Wall Street Journal, devoted to an assessment of Tyler Cowen’s new book, Average Is Over. The book tells of a coming(?) nation of two economic classes, the meritocratic elite and an increasingly poor, even third-world economic class of underemployed who gather in large ghetto areas (e.g., Texas) with poor public services but plentiful distractions (think: internet porn, 24/7/365 football, and soon-to-be legalized marijuana delivered by e-joints).
Aficionados of science fiction know that Kurt Vonnegut predicted this world already in 1952, with the publication of his first novel, Player Piano. There he describes with chilling accuracy this world ever-more coming into view—one divided between a meritocratic class with all the right degrees (even the secretaries will have Ph.D.s in a credential-inflated future) and the “Reeks-and-Wrecks,” who a visiting dignitary from the Middle East insists on calling “Takaru”—”slaves.”
We should be unsurprised, as Galston seems to be—shocked, shocked!—that this world comes ever more clearly into view. Indeed, as domestic policy advisor for President Clinton, Galston assisted in the expansion of this social and economic arrangement, participating in one of the most libertarian administrations the world has ever seen. According to Cowen, “technology” is displacing middle-class workers into either a shrinking class of “winners” or a growing class of “losers,” but assuredly, part of that “technology” is a regime of free-trade agreements and a host of other government incentives that have supported the infrastructure of globalization and worker replacement.
The fact is that this project was readily discernible to the likes of Vonnegut in 1952 and Michael Young (author of The Rise of the Meritocracy) in 1958 . . .
Mike: Long before that, Christopher Dawson saw it, J.R.R. Tolkien saw it, C.S. Lewis saw it back in the ‘30s, Irving Babbitt saw it in the 1920s. I will tell you, the great Irish writer Jonathan Swift saw it in the 1830s with Gulliver’s Travels. What do you think Gulliver’s Travels was about? Go back and re-read it. It is about us. It is about today. It is about a world that cannot deal with God and science at the same time, so they choose science. That’s what Gulliver’s Travels is about. It’s metaphorical, but that’s what it’s about.
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The Left laments the income gap, and proposes various forms of social welfare that will cushion the blow, all the while even more enthusiastically constructing the meritocratic society and populating government and leading thinkeries with Ivy League “winners.” The Right laments the decline of “family values” as it supports economic policies that support this arrangement (even as it has garnered votes from those displaced by an increasingly rapacious economy, attracted to its message of traditional values. Notably, many of these voters simply stayed home during the last election, rightly perceiving that neither of the major candidate was in their corner.). These button-down hipsters increasingly accumulate in a select number of urban echo-chambers described most recently by Charles Murray, where they lament the rise of a growing underclass while sipping $7 lattes. These social policies are purportedly to be supported by a tax base of theoretical future citizens that are not being born, [Mike: That’s right, because we don’t have time for children, so let’s abort them all.] a logical outcome of an aggressively expanding and government-subsidized sexual revolution, contracepting, gay marriage, and abortion culture advanced by the very same Left. [Mike: All true, all happening. Why do you think I rail so mightily against it? Because it is the destructive force.]
I would add two additional observations to Galston’s justified worry about the future of the Republic. [Mike: First, Mr. Deneen, there is no republic in any meaningful sense of the term, and there hasn’t been since 1810 or so.] First, it has never failed to strike me that it is libertarians (perhaps of a certain stripe) that advance an “inevitability” thesis. Cowen, according to Galston, argues that “resistance is futile.”
There’s nothing we can do, says Mr. Cowen, to avert a future in which 10% to 15% of Americans enjoy fantastically wealthy and interesting lives while the rest slog along without hope of a better life, tranquilized by free Internet and canned beans.
This echoes similar arguments, advanced by libertarian Lee Silver in his book Remaking Eden, that a post-humanist future of biotechnologically enhanced humanoid creatures will come to pass, whether we wish it or not. Similarly, he predicts a future not only of two classes, but of two races: unenhanced humans who become a servant class to their enhanced overlords, and increasingly “perfected” humans who, as their mastery of human biology becomes ever-more complete, even begin to entertain the notion that the God that was once imagined by the underclass is none other than the creature staring back at them in the mirror.
Thus, a philosophy that places in the forefront a theory of human liberty arrives at the conclusion that certain historical, technological, and economic forces are inevitable, and it is futile to resist them. One might bother to ask the Amish if this is true, but they didn’t go to Harvard. Clearly, they don’t value human freedom, since they are not on the historical merry-go-round to inevitable human liberty—and degradation.
Mike: This is truth to power here, folks. All of the gadgetry, all of the technology, all of the sophistry that we think is so cool and so modern and so enriches our lives, and in some ways it can, but it is not the enriching force, indeed makes us all that much more impoverished. I just want to pause right here and tell you a personal story. Let me try to tie all this together. Let’s just say we were having some of these acrimonious discussions that we’re having right now about the government shutdown, about the size and scope of the enterprise, which, quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing about because nothing is going to be done about it until we break away from the monster, and I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. Let’s just say we were having these conversations and we were discussing these things as we’re discussing them today, with the same amount of emotion and passion and maybe even the same amount of knowledge. Let’s also assume for just a moment here that this conversation is happening in 1851.
How much time in a day in 1851 am I going to have to sit down at a desk with paper in front of me, ink well to my right, quill pen even further to my right, to compose letter after letter after letter after letter, replete with hand-transcribed copies of the latest tragedy or travesty committed by those of the other party or someone in government? Am I going to have the entire day to do this? Am I going to sit there at that desk and do nothing but fire these letters off, transcribe these alleged news stories and then bring them to some post office in the hinterlands and spread them all about the countryside? I suppose that could happen, but there might be something that might get in the way like, I don’t know, having to feed myself and having to feed those five or six kids sitting at the table going: Dad, can you back away from the mail forwarding for just a minute? We’re hungry! Then there would be fields to be plowed. Even if you lived in the city, there would be lots of work to be done, very little time for this, maybe an hour or two per day for your correspondence. That’s about the extent of it.
Here in 2013, we’re no longer limited by that, thus we have people out there — I bet every single one of you listening to this right now knows someone just like the person I am about to describe to you. Instead now we have armies, tens of millions of these foot soldiers in the information dissemination first infantry. What do they do all day long? They forward emails. Sometimes they can’t even be bothered to prune their email list from all the bounce-backs they must get from the 16,000 addresses that are contained in the forward header. There are at least five of you people listening to this program right now that are in the information dissemination 101st airborne. I marvel at the level and at the sheer quantity of information that you forward out on a daily basis. I must get 20 to 30 pieces per day from the five of you. Try as I might to filter them out, somehow you’ve figured out a way around my filters. Every once in a while I’ll click one and open it just to see if it contains anything worth actually reading in it. Apart from the various and very creative names you have devised for the president, apart from the various and sundry and very creative names you have devised for members of the other party, and apart from the ill-informed, misguided, ahistorical, and non-factual garbage that’s contained in those emails, I guess there’s something to read there. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something there. Every day they arrive like clockwork.
Question: What is it that you think you are actually accomplishing by doing this? This must be a fulltime occupation for some of you, being members of the 101st airborne information dissemination cavalry. It is really quite tragic to witness. All that is being sent around is misinformation. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: The internet has made people incredibly stupid and incredibly gullible. [mocking] “I got an email forward the other day and I saw this.” Really? Ever heard of Snopes? Hell, ever heard of MikeChurch.com? Why don’t you go check that story out. [mocking] “I ain’t got time for all that. It’s in the email. It’s gotta be true. It wouldn’t be on the internet if it wasn’t true.” What is being accomplished by this? What is actually being accomplished by all this? I would say all you’re doing is wasting your time. You’re wasting your time. Yet the internet is viewed as the great savior. It’s going to solve all this. Really?
Since the advent of Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and the email and all the other things, here’s another question for you: Has the share gobbled up by the federal leviathan, has it increased or decreased during your reign of internet information supremacy? I’ll answer that. It has increased. In other words, all this has done is serve as a very enjoyable and very entertaining distraction. It doesn’t serve any actual purpose here. Few things are ever averted or ever delayed as a result of it. If they were, I would suggest to you that they could have been averted or delayed maybe while they were in the cradle if some people weren’t so damn busy living their lives through their electronic communications.
What he’s describing here is, I think, already amongst us. How many of you have friends that are on Facebook now and must inundate you with what time they got home? AG, remember when we first used to announce the Twitter feed and you said: Mike promises he’ snot going to spam you. What did you mean by spamming people?
AG: Sending a bunch of innocuous tweets.
Mike: Yes, I was not going to inform them of what time I got home, not going to take pictures of my lunch and play food paparazzi and send that out there. That’s great entertainment. What these men are describing here are the great comforts that are now to become the existential part of the operative part of life in the underclass. I would say that if our overlords had planned this, their mission is nearly accomplished. Let me finish up with the piece:
The second point worth asking is whether, in some deeper way, this increasingly discernible “future” is in any way related to current government and civic dysfunction. We are, of course, all prone to explain contemporary debates in terms of electoral strategy and personality dysfunction. But if, in fact, we are in the midst of a re-definition of the basic nature of the American polity—from a republic to a banana republic—then we should not be surprised to witness some inevitable political disruptions, dislocations, and even wild and undisciplined opposition to the unfolding arrangement. While the Tea Party receives unending scorn from the chattering classes, forgotten in the mist of time (well, in the course of only five years) is that the anger of this uprising was fomented by the not-unsubstantiated suspicion that there was a deep collusion between government and economic elites in the nation (and beyond) that existed to assure that their growing take would be sustained by policies and even government fiat. [Mike: What he’s talking about here are the bailouts, the 2008 bailouts.] This fact, often hidden from plain view by political coverage worthy of ESPN, was exposed in 2008 to ordinary Americans who “played by the rules” . . .
Five years later, with economic disparities growing and social mobility shrinking, the elites regard these voices as unwashed rubes, while cheering for the brief but wholly confined movement of “Occupy Wall Street” that succeeded in—nothing. The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street have been wholly shorn of a language and tradition by which they could properly protest the current arrangements. [Mike: That is so perfectly written. I want to hang it on a wall and frame it.] Such a tradition would be found in democratic populism, stressing decentralized political and economic arrangements in which policies and national priorities are first and foremost oriented toward the dignity of self-government, not get-rich-quick schemes in which the winners win and the losers move to Texas. But instead we debate whether government or corporations are to blame, while our betters increase their take and enjoy the show.
Galston is correct to raise alarm bells about this “inevitable” future. But there is currently no major figure in the public sphere that sees with any clarity the deep collusion of the all key players in its construction.
Mike: Mr. Deneen, you’re not looking very hard because I know of people that see this. I would like to include myself as one of them. We are all being played here, folks. This is why this partisanship is going to lead to heartache, and has led to heartache. Do you know what else it does? It keeps the faithful faithful. It keeps those little old ladies sending those $25 checks to the Heritage Foundation. It keeps those little old ladies going to all those club meetings. It keeps all those people out there firing those emails off. It keeps the people in the trenches. It keeps the right versus the left, the red versus the blue, the Yankees versus the Red Socks. It preserves all of it. Hell, it even raises the furor. It makes it that much more important to get into the ramparts. Pick a side; be on a team. Be on a team? I’m on the side of republicanism. I’m on the side of a virtuous, traditional society, civilization. What’s wrong with that?
Playing a game in which you cannot win — let me just repeat this. This is my personal opinion. We cannot fix the federal leviathan. I used to make this a cornerstone of this show. You can’t. It is an impossible task. It’s going to lead to heartache. It’s not even worth attempting because the endeavor is so large and so out of scale and so out of proportion, it is going to defy you at every turn. There are very powerful forces that have trillions of dollars at stake here that are never going to allow that to happen. This is not a Star Wars movie. It does not end with me as Luke, some woman out there as Princess Leah, one of you as R2-D2, another as C-3PO, and one of you bigger guys as Chewbacca. It does not end with us getting awards for our valor in a congressional ceremony in Washington. That’s not how it’s going to end. Instead, what’s more likely and what we’re on the path to is it’s going to end in tears. There is no fix for this.
It will fix itself at some level because it has to, because it has so devalued and so overplayed its hand, but the inertia that’s behind it is not going to be slowed. Those that are in the pay, those that have worked and worked and worked — they don’t work very hard — but they have worked to see to it that the revolving door is now not just a revolving door. It doesn’t even revolve anymore. It’s just an archway. They walk out one side and walk right back to the other. The line between public and private is blurred. It has been blurred by the government. It has been blurred by the private sector colluding with the government because they are now one in the same. The whole thing is but one entity. What does that entity do? It takes what you make and allows you to keep a little bit of it, so you kid yourself that you’re free. It does what it wants with the rest, showering the lion’s share on those that have purchased access to it. Those that have purchased access to it, you might have noted, has their access been denied? Are we not still funding soon-to-be-bankrupt green energy companies? Are we not still funding agriculture businesses? Are we not still funding military hardware creation and manufacture unlike anything the known universe has ever seen? Of course we are.
Mike Church Show Transcript – Government Shutdown May Actually Increase Productivity Of Private Sector
Do you not see, do you not realize that that is the game? It’s not part of the game, it IS the game. All those people you see on your favorite shows that serve no purpose other than to entertain you and keep you in the trenches, who do you think is paying all those people that work at the Center for American Enterprise? Who do you think is paying all those people that work at the Heritage Foundation or the Center for the Free Society or whatever the think tank is? Who do you think is paying that? Don’t you see that is part of the gambit? That’s what Deneen is describing here, and the authors he was writing about, that’s what they’re describing here. It’s only going to get worse. The Constitution cannot stop this. If it could have, it would have stopped it. We don’t have anyone that’s in the game that’s trying to stop it.
End Mike Church Show Transcript