What's Ahead?

Today I’m going to try to follow on from yesterday’s How Liberals Win. In that piece I looked at a story about some of the well meaning parents who are desperately—and, let’s face it, against formidable odds—attempting to restore to their local government schools something resembling what normal people would consider sanity. These parents, welling meaning as they may be, typify the advanced state of decay of American civic life: Until the ‘pandemic’ these decent seeming people, incredibly to me, basically couldn’t be bothered to take an interest in what the government schools were doing with their kids most of the day most every day.

Two qualifications are in order.

First, our country has got to the point that I doubt that I would agree with everything these well intentioned parents consider ‘normal’ or ‘sane.’ They probably don’t agree completely among themselves and are simply trying to stem the worst abuses.

Second, the reason the odds they’re facing are so formidable is because they’re not only up against the government controlled educational establishment on multiple levels—local, state, federal. They’re also facing resistance from their neighbors, many of whom are at best confused and, not infrequently, not normal in any sense that would have been recognized a generation ago.

I’ll try to ‘circle back’ to that via the situation in Italy. That situation illustrates what may be some differences between the Covid Regime and Great Reset in Europe and its attempted implementation in the US. The possible difference, as it seems to me, is that in Europe the new regime is being imposed in a more or less top-down fashion. Not without grass roots support, but the impetus seems to come from the top. In the US, on the other hand—or so it seems to me—there is more grass roots support for even the most deviant manifestations of the new regime. This despite the latest and continuing polling evidence of the Zhou regime’s unpopularity.

Zerohedge has republished a post from Naked Capitalism that describes the state of affairs in Italy: Things Are Getting Messy In Draghi's Italy. For those who don’t follow Italian politics—an unrewarding and mind numbing pastime—Draghi could be described in a word as a “technocrat”. To get an idea of what that means you can’t do better than to peruse the Mario Draghi Wikipedia page. Here’s an excerpt from just the first few paragraphs. I excerpt this at quite a bit of length to give you some idea of what happens when a country decides—in this day and age—that the best way to get out of ongoing crises is to put someone in place who has a reputation for ‘competence’. You really need to know what you’re getting and consider seriously before stepping off that cliff—he came highly recommended by what I would consider all the wrong people.

Mario Draghi OMRI (Italian: [ˈmaːrjo ˈdraːɡi]; born 3 September 1947) is an Italian economist, banker, academic, and civil servant who is the current Prime Minister of Italy since 13 February 2021. He previously served as President of the European Central Bank (ECB) from 2011 until 2019. Draghi was also Chair of the Financial Stability Board from 2009 to 2011 and Governor of the Bank of Italy from 2006 to 2011.

After a lengthy career as an academic economist in Italy, Draghi worked for the World Bank in Washington, D.C., throughout the 1980s, and in 1991 returned to Rome to become Director General of the Italian Treasury. He left that role after a decade to join Goldman Sachs, where he remained until his appointment as Governor of the Bank of Italy in 2006. His tenure as Governor coincided with the 2008 Great Recession, and in the midst of this he was selected to become the first Chair of the Financial Stability Board, the global standard-setter that replaced the Financial Stability Forum.

He left those roles after his nomination by the European Council in 2011 to serve as President of the ECB. He presided over the institution during the Eurozone crisis, becoming famous throughout Europe for saying that he would be prepared to do "whatever it takes" to prevent the euro from failing. In 2014, Draghi was listed by Forbes magazine as the eighth-most powerful person in the world. In 2015, Fortune magazine ranked him as the world's "second greatest leader". ... In 2019, Paul Krugman described him as "the greatest central banker of modern times." Moreover, thanks to his monetary policies, he is widely considered the "savior of the euro" during the European debt crisis. He has been nicknamed Super Mario by some media, a nickname that was popularised during his time as President of the ECB, when he was credited by numerous sources as having played a key role in combatting the Eurozone crisis.

After Draghi's term as ECB President ended in 2019, he initially returned to private life. On 3 February 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Draghi was invited by Italian President Sergio Mattarella to form a government of national unity, following the resignation of Giuseppe Conte. After successful negotiations with parties including the League, the Five Star Movement, the Democratic Party and Forza Italia, Draghi was sworn in as Prime Minister on 13 February, pledging to oversee effective implementation of COVID-19 economic stimulus.

What in the world were the Italians thinking? This is almost as bad as all the wrong people in the US deciding they’d prefer over Trump to install a corrupt head of an incredibly dysfunctional family to serve as a figurehead to be manipulated from behind the scenes by unqualified climbers and time serving bureaucrats.

So, with that lengthy intro, here’s what Draghi is up to: The most draconian implementation of the Covid Regime anywhere outside Saudi Arabia. I quote now from the Naked Capitalism post:

“No Jab, No Job” Writ Large

As of last Friday all residents of Italy need a covid passport, or Green Pass, to access not only public spaces but also public and private workplaces. … they need it to make a living, to feed their families.

The “no jab, no job” rule applies to workers of all kinds, including the self employed, domestic staff and even people working remotely. If you’d still rather not get vaccinated, you have the option of showing proof of a negative test every two days. [Description of draconian costs and penalties for dissenters.]

Here’s more from Politico (comment and emphasis in brackets my own):

... Roughly 81 percent of Italians over 12 are fully vaccinated.

While polls suggest the majority of Italians are in favor of vaccine passes (just as the majority of people in all countries are in favour of vaccine passes, according to polls), there are still 3.8 million unvaccinated workers, many in strategic sectors and public services such as ports, trucking, health care and law enforcement, who will be unable to work.

Massive Cull of Workers

This is by any measure a massive cull of workers. Three point eight million is more than 5% of Italy’s entire population and over 16% of the country’s officially employed workforce (22.7 million). … And as the Politico article mentions, many of these workers are in strategic sectors and public services.

This is all happening as Europe — and the world at large — faces the worst supply chain crisis in decades as well as acute energy and labor shortages. ...

So far, data suggest that the government’s “no jab, no job” rule hasn’t exactly had the desired effect. [It was supposed to] trigger such a “huge” boost vaccination take-up that its job would largely be done before it even came into effect. That hasn’t happened. ... 

Over the last few days the response of many of the affected workers has been to stage rolling strikes and protests across the country. ...

Since Friday Italy’s largest port, Trieste, 40% of whose employees are unvaccinated, has been an important focal point of industrial action.

...

One Little Flaw

The ostensible logic behind the government’s latest mandate is that by “nudging” almost everyone who can get vaccinated to get vaccinated, it will help the country finally achieve herd immunity and thereby eliminate the virus. ...

There’s just one little flaw in the plan: the current crop of covid-19 vaccines are rather “leaky”, ...

As such, people who are vaccinated are still liable to catch and transmit the virus ... 

Which raises the question: What’s the bloody point? And asking that question raises the suspicion that the author addresses in his conclusion. Are most critics who point out the irrationality of all this missing the larger point, the real point?

Vaccine Passport: An End In and Of Itself?

In sum, Italy just unleashed the most severe de facto vaccine mandate in Europe on the basis of a vaccine that doesn’t actually work very well and is still only authorised by the European Medical Agency for emergency use.

Perhaps, as Fazi postulates, the green pass is not just a means to an end — mass vaccination — but also an end in and of itself:

The Italian economic-political establishment has a long history of invoking, embellishing or even engineering crises — usually economic in nature — to justify technocratic governments and emergency measures, as well as the sidestepping of the normal channels of democracy. In this sense, it is not outlandish to posit that the country’s elites, under Draghi’s leadership, may view the current conjecture as a golden opportunity to complete the oligarchisation of the country they’ve been working at for the past decades (and in which Mario Draghi has played a central role).

A crucial feature of this process has been the transition from a post-war regime based on the centrality of parliament to one dominated by executive, technocratic and supranational powers, in which the legislature performs a marginal role, thus insulating policymaking from democratic processes. As a result, there has been an increased resort to so-called “technical governments” run by “experts” supposedly untainted by political partisanship and unburdened by the complications of parliamentary politics — as well as the transfer of key policy tools from the national level, where a certain degree of democratic control can always potentially be exercised, to the supranational institutions of the EU, which are undemocratic by design.

Clearly the US hasn’t reached this pass yet, but just as clearly many of the same features are emerging and the country as a whole is moving in a similar direction. This could be what our future holds.

The other side of the coin—or so some hope and argue—is that in America we have reached ‘peak woke’ and a reaction is setting in. The reaction of parents to woke excesses in secondary schools is one of the signs of such a reaction. It appears that some enduring results may follow from this continuing movement, but one wonders. Joel Kotkin addresses this issue:

Have we reached the high water mark of woke?

American progressives are provoking a furious backlash.

The question is: Is this “furious backlash” more than mere sound and fury? Kotkin’s argument is centered on polling data that suggests that support for progressive views is the position of a tiny, if influential, minority. He even cites liberal journals that are raising a sort of alarm. The significance of this lies in the difference between America and most of Europe. Is it possible that America’s distinctive civic culture—based in its federal system and its two party system—retains sufficient popular vigor to defeat the coup that we see being attempted by the power elite and their woke supporters? Kotkin sketches the situation:

Over the past decade, the woke agenda has crested like a giant tsunami, covering virtually the entirety of academia, the media, the corporate world and even the military. The Gramscian concept of ‘the long march through the institutions’, embraced by 1960s radicals like Germany’s Rudi Dutschke, has achieved overwhelming success.

Yet there are signs that the woke progressive model may be losing its appeal, even among some liberals. The bulk of public opinion is not in progressives’ favour. In the US, activist progressives, notes a recent study, represent eight per cent of the electorate – barely half the size of moderates and barely a third of the size of conservatives. What they lack in numbers, however, they make up for with single-minded determination; progressive whites, notes the Atlantic, are the most intolerant of all Americans, led by those in the Boston area, while people in smaller towns and cities seem far more open.

The scalps of those targeted by the woke are strewn across the landscape. There’s the cancellations of ideologically unacceptable speakers, the delisting of books and the increasingly selective media coverage, evident particularly in the 2020 election and its aftermath. Yet the very vehemence of progressives, their lack of humour or grace, may prove to be their undoing.

Kotkin continues in impressionistic fashion, providing examples of the reaction against woke cancel culture, including elements of populism as well as from the litterati of the liberal Left. But he adds a sort of caveat that casts a pall over the possibility of a united front against the woke progressives:

The 2020 Harper’s letter against cancel culture, signed by many left-of-centre writers and academics and published in a left-of-centre magazine, was no endorsement of conservatism. It was blowback against ‘illiberalism’ and a ‘stifling atmosphere’ which its signatories say has ‘intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favour of ideological conformity’.

You have to wonder: To what extent will these liberals be willing to make common cause with Flyover Country denizens, the “suburban moderates” whom Kotkin champions but the elites disdain?

Kotkin himself seems to have some doubts in that regard, and in the final analysis he sounds a rather different note than the one on which the article started. He appears to be placing hope in a change of heart on the part of major corporations. Up to now most large corporations have kowtowed to and funded woke activism. Kotkin recognizes, however, that corporate America is a formidable opponent, especially in a society under almost constant digital surveillance from both the government as well as private (quasi-private?) entities:

Perhaps the most impregnable part of the woke empire may be the formerly right-leaning corporate sector. The shift to progressive politics has snaked there through the human-resources departments, ...

Some firms are already acting to enforce wokeness, denying credit and payment services to unacceptably rightist candidates or movements. Google, for example, now routinely demonetises political movements that offend progressive sentiments, ...

In the end, Kotkin’s message is rather mixed. Will the awakened majority be able to pressure corporate America?

Denis Prager sounds a warning that goes to these concerns. He cautions that liberals, despite antipathy for cancel culture wokism, may be the undoing of America, citing two specific reasons—undoubtedly based on personal experience:

One is brainwashing. Liberals are brainwashed from childhood into believing that the right is their enemy and that “pas d’ennemis a gauche” (there are “no enemies on the Left”). That is why there is no left-wing position, no matter how destructive or vile, that could move a liberal to vote Republican or identify with conservatives.

The second reason is fear. Liberals fear they will lose friends and even family if they do not vote Democrat or if they publicly criticize the Left. And this is not an irrational fear.

America and the West are being destroyed by the Left. But this destruction of the universities, the high schools, art and music, journalism and freedom itself could not take place were it not for liberals.

The fate of America and the West lies largely in the hands of liberals. There are simply not enough leftists to destroy our most revered institutions. They need liberals to serve as fellow travelers to accomplish their ends.

And so, circling back to the parents who are trying to restore sanity to government schools: Who will support these game parents? The SCOTUS shows little stomach for culture war struggles lately. The only real hope appears to lie in a massively transformed Legislative Branch with a mandate for fundamental reform. Nothing short of that can upend the now entrenched positions of the Left within our societal institutions. Will the continuing chaos of the Zhou regine lead to that result a year from now?