Peter Thiel has been on a serious roll of late. His speech yesterday about the upcoming election was less about Donald Trump and more about why the USA is in desperate need of a man like Donald Trump due to the complete failure of its government and its elites.
Only an outbreak of insanity would seem to account for the unprecedented fact that this year, a political outsider managed to win a major party nomination.
To the people who are used to influencing our choices, the wealthy people who give money and the commentators who give reasons why, it all seems like a bad dream.
Donors don’t want to find out why we got here, they just want to move on. Come November 9, they hope everyone else will go back to business as usual. But it is this heedlessness: the temptation to ignore in difficult realities indulged in by our citizens that got us where we are today….
What explains this eagerness to escalate a dangerous situation? How could Hillary Clinton be so wildly overoptimistic about the outcome of work?
I would suggest it comes from a lot of practice. For a long time, our elites have been in the power a long time, our elites have been in the habit of denying difficult realities. That is how bubbles form. Wherever there’s a hard problem but people want to believe in an easy solution, they will be tempted to deny reality and inflated bubble. Something about the experience of the baby boomers, whose lives have been so much easier than their parents or their children has led them to buy into bubbles again and again. The trade bubble says everyone is a winner. The war bubble says victory is just around the corner, but these overoptimistic stories simply have not been true and voters are tired of being lied to.
It was both insane and somehow inevitable that D.C. insiders expected this election to be a rerun between the two political dynasties who let us through the two most gigantic financial bubbles of our time. President George W. Bush presided over the inflation of the housing bubble so big that it’s collapse is still causing economic stagnation today. But what is strangely forgotten is that the last decade housing bubble was just an attempt to make up for the gains that have been lost the decade before that. In the 1990’s, President Bill Clinton presided over an enormous stock market bubble and devastating crash in 2000 just as his second term was coming to an end. That is how long the same people have been pursuing the same disastrous policies.
Now that someone different is in the running, someone who rejects the stories that tell us everything is fine, his larger-than-life persona attracts a lot of attention. Nobody would suggest Donald Trump is a humble man. But the big things, he is right about an amount to a much-needed dose of humility. He has questioned the core concept of American exceptionalism.
He doesn’t think the force of optimism alone can change reality without hard work. Just as much as is is about making America great, Trump’s agenda is about making America a normal country, a normal country does not have a half trillion dollar trade deficit. A normal country does not fight five simultaneous undeclared wars.
America is not exceptional. America is not blessed by God. America is not immune from the patterns of history. Indeed, the United States of America has followed, almost precisely, the pattern of behavior exhibited by every previous fallen power.
America was great, not because it had superior propositions or concepts, but because it was founded by the most adventurous of the Anglo-Saxons, the great race that also established the Empire on which the sun never set. This was not an accident. The USA supplanted its founding power, Great Britain, because it was large, rich, populous, and geographically isolated, thereby insulating it from the debilitating effects of World War I and World War II. Its political culture was initially advantageous, but contained a fundamental flaw in its equalitarian pretensions.
The rot set in with the first wave of European immigration, who partially integrated, but adulterated the nation and the culture. America was further weakened by the second wave of European immigration, when even less suitable immigrants arrived, who only appeared to integrate, and readily took advantage of the opportunity, wealth, and power to which they had access to serve their various tribal interests instead of the original nation. The fatal wounding occurred with the third wave of immigration, the massive global wave, the largest invasion to ever take place in human history to date.
America is not exceptional. America is not blessed by God. America is now a conquered, occupied, overwhelmed nation that doesn’t even know who or what it is. And until both conservatives and liberals come to understand that there never was an exceptional country called the United States, merely a naturally advantaged land mass that happened to be predominantly occupied for two hundred years by one particular high-performance nation, there is absolutely no hope of making America great again. In fact, America will likely only survive in a severely adulterated and geographically limited form.
History never ends, but empires always do.