I’m not stealing this from a series I neither read or watch. I am echoing it from many discussions recently in which the phrase is used like a short code for “things are gonna get rough.”
Yesterday I was at village inn (don’t judge me. Our very rare violation of no-carbs, no-sweets is in the minor form of no sugar apple pie about once every two months. On Wednesday, of course. Which is how I realized it was Wednesday. Sorry I didn’t do MGC guys. Things are still confusing.) and a group of women I’d say ten years older than I, (but I’m bad at judging so probably my age) were discussing how bad things have been going over the last eight years. (It wasn’t said, but I got a strong feeling they’re voting for Hillary anyway.) And then they said “We need to get used to this. It’s the new normal.”
There was in their words a feel of “we’ve lived so well so long” and of the Marxist fallacy that making us poorer makes the rest of the world richer, and being decent people they accept their fate with resignation, because, really, would you want to be responsible for starving children in Africa?
Only the starving children in Africa are the victims of their own (mostly socialist, though there’s a few tribal nationalists) corruptocrats, and our own (mostly socialist, though there’s also tribal nationalists of various stripes) corruptocrats making us poor won’t make them rich or even better off. Arguably the stuff the first world sends them is already responsible for economic malformations that makes their best and brightest work for NGOs as chauffeurs instead of working in something useful to their country.
And as for “the new normal,” the advantage of being half a century old is that I’ve seen this movie before, and the laugh lines aren’t any funnier the second time around.
My own host parents who were Democrats (generational democrats. We still have them) were sure that the malaise wasn’t Carter’s fault and that Carter’s heart was pure. He meant the best. Reagan was going to plunge us in a war. As for the economy, I mean, do what? It was the way it was going, all over the world. The new normal. (They eventually voted for Reagan in no small part because there might have been a campaigning mole in their house… ahem.)
It’s funny how Reagan made the economy work again, and suddenly we were all doing better. Well enough to last through a Democrat and a Democrat light, two terms each.
But people get used to the slide down. As I’ve said before, sliding down is easy. If it’s gradual enough, we resent the first few cuts, then sort of get used to it. After a while we start viewing it as virtuous to make do with less, to become “frugal” and proficient in things we never needed to do before. There is a pride in that, of course, and people should be proud of their survival skills. In Portugal where delivered bread had been a thing for years, people were very proud of making their own bread during a bakers’ strike. I’m still proud of them. Better than bitching and moaning and doing without.
However, learning to do new things, getting used to going down easy and coping is the slow slide down. You can go a long way that way, and not sparkle rebellion. People are amazingly good at adapting. They forget there was ever anything different. Or if not forget it existed, they forget how nice it was. They find excuses. “we’re more self-sufficient now” or “we’re running out of raw materials” and “overpopulation.” (the later two were very popular in the seventies.) I suspect the new one is (rolls eyes) “climate change.” Like massive overpopulation this imaginary animal can be blamed for everything those in power want to do, and because it’s nebulous (how over must overpopulation be before it counts. Last I heard we could all live snugly in a state (not one of the big ones) at NYC densities. And people live in NYC on purpose.) it can be described as anything needed at the time. I mean the latest thing I heard blamed on “climate change” was unemployment. Yeah.
The thing is that the slide down easy has worked for other countries in large measure because of the US. In many ways the US is the economic pillar holding up the world. We’ve all heard when the US sneezes the rest of the world gets pneumonia. Having lived through 99.9% of the seventies abroad, I’m here to tell you it’s true, very true.
But what happens when the pillar gets socialist termites? What happens when snaity goes mad? What happens when the salt of the Earth loses it flavor?
You know what happens. And all of us, at the back of our head are feeling it. Hence, the sentence “Winter is coming” cropping up everywhere, despite the summers of recovery (six? Seven? How many now) and the cooked numbers, and GDP reports that would make the former soviet union proud (they never managed that much misinformation even with a captive press, while ours are captive on purpose, presstitutes who will spread their leggy lies for anyone with sufficient lefty credentials. Heinlein was right. You can’t imprison a free man. But if you get inside a man’s head, he’s already not free. You need no force to coerce him. Just sweeter journalistic gigs, more money, and the happiness of knowing they’re “the good people.”)
But winter is coming. Partly because we’ve lived so well so long. Because through the Reagan years and the years that followed people were told how much better off they’d have been if Jimmah had got a second term, if we had stayed the course. He only needed some time for his policies to work, see. And Reagan destroyed it, which is why by the time we got to GWB things were failing and and and…
So we’re trying to cure the ills of socialism with more socialism. And we know where that ends. And because of who we are in the world, we’re taking the world with us.
Winter is coming.
Things to remember:
Winter is not endless – it might seem so, and this time it might outlast me, and most of you, but it is not endless. In the depths of winter, work towards spring. In any way you can, keep building, keep the idea of freedom alive.
Winter is not total – Again, I don’t believe in total collapses. Can they happen? Oh, sure. Like ice ages happen. There are ways. We could get hit with a nuke, or a lot of nukes, all over the world, which could, as Heinlein pointed out decades ago, catapult us to the stone age in most places. BUT barring that, collapse is just uncomfortable, annoying, restrictive, with occasional bouts of violence (less occasional if your area is particularly… ah… vibrantly endowed with people who have been taught the man is hiding the ‘stash.) And because America is starting much higher than the rest of the world, collapse here no matter how bad will be better than anywhere else in the world, unless you’re very very very rich in the rest of the world.
Winter is not dead – Our government might be doing its best to encase us in a coat of snow, but beneath the snow growth and activity continue, ready to explode when the environment allows it. This is why after the ice ages more or less the same plants came back.
So. Continue working. Stay true to what true liberty is. Remember that what these people are doing in curing socialism with socialism is no part of America. It is an European thing, where both sides of the “political spectrum” are socialist. (In the ROJIVYV, their colour stops at red. You can have any color you want provided it’s pink, red or crimson.) Remember the constitution even when honored in the breach. Remember we are the fruits of a radical experiment, and in radical experiments there are set backs. Work. Believe. Create. Form community. Teach your children well.
In the end we win, they lose, winter or no winter, but that’s no reason to be unprepared when winter is coming.