CHARLES HUGH SMITH
When the parties do finally implode, the general mood will be: good riddance.
History informs us that once something is obsolete, it can disappear far faster than anyone expected. While we generally think of obsoleted technologies vanishing, social and political systems can become obsolete as well.
Should a poor soul who entered a deep coma a year ago awaken today, we must forgive his/her astonishment at the political wreckage left by the 2016 election. The Democratic Party, a mere year ago an absurdly over-funded machine confident in an easy victory in the presidential race, is now a complete shambles: its leadership in free-fall, its Fat-Cat donors disgusted, and its demented intoxication with pinning collaboration with Russia on the Trump camp eroding whatever feeble legacy legitimacy it still holds. What the party stands for is a mystery, as its Elites are clearly beholden to insiders, special interests and Corporate donors while glorifying the worst excesses of globalism and the National Security State’s endless war on civil liberties.
The newly awakened citizen would also marvel at the chaotic war zone of the Republican Party, in which the Insider Warlords are battling insurgent Outsiders, while the same Elites that fund the Democratic machine are wondering what they’re buying with their millions of dollars in contributions, for it’s unclear what the Republican Party stands for: it’s for Small Government, except when it’s for Bigger Government, which is 95% of the time; it’s for more law enforcement and the militarization of local police, and more intrusion into the lives of the citizenry; it’s for stricter standards for welfare, except for Corporate Welfare; it’s for tax reform, except the thousands of pages of give-aways, loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations all remain untouched, and so on: a smelly tangle of special interests masked by a few sprays of PR air freshener to the millions left behind by the globalization that has so enriched Corporate America and the class of financier-owners, bankers, insiders and technocrats–the same group that funds and controls both political parties.
Political parties arose to consolidate centralized control of the central state. We have now reached the perfection of this teleology: the political elites and the financial elites are now one class. In our pay-to-play “democracy,” only the votes of wealth and institutional power count.
As I have often noted here, the returns on centralization are diminishing to less than zero. The initial returns on centralizing capital, production and social-political power were robust, but now the centralized cartel-state is eating its own tail, masking its financial bankruptcy by borrowing from the future, and cloaking its political bankruptcy behind the crumbling facades of the legacy parties.
Now that technology has enabled decentralized currency, markets and governance, the centralized political parties are obsolete.They are the political equivalent of buggy whips, and those holding tight to the fantasy that their current dissolution will magically be transformed into unity by some future leadership will be disappointed.
The fragmentation of the political parties is not temporary–it is permanent. As I discussed yesterday, political and social fragmentation are the consequence of economic fragmentation–these are self-reinforcing dynamics, as fragmentation in one feeds fragmentation in the others.
Those who have gotten rich inside the bloated machinery of the parties will never accept their era has ended. The dreams of private jets and millions of dollars in contributions die hard. But the voters and donors are both waking up to the cold reality that the parties are nothing but wealth distribution machines that sluice millions from financial elites to various political elites.
All the legacy claims of both parties ring false; neither party gives a hoot about the working class, small business or civil liberties. Their entire game plan is to whip up hot-button social issues to distract a fragmented citizenry and arouse last-gasp emotional loyalty to empty slogans.
Is it any wonder that people are abandoning both parties and claiming Independent status? All the core systems of the nation are failing, visibly, painfully, badly, and yet all the parties can dredge up is more of the same and TINA–there is no alternative.
The citizen who just awakened also awakened to the truth: the legacy parties have no solutions; their game plan is to milk the system as long as they can before it collapses in a rotten heap of corruption, fraud, collusion, debt and profiteering that benefits the few at the expense of the many.
When the parties do finally implode, the general mood will be: good riddance. A centralized spoils system is no longer a viable way to govern the nation. Political systems everywhere are facing a choice: Decentralize or die.