As you might know from previous scribblings, I am fascinated by the notion of ‘Megatrends’, from a book of that name by John Naisbitt.
He describes changes as ‘trends’, things going in a particular direction, and he describes broad societal changes as megatrends. He has many examples over the ages, but the example I like best is prudery. In the 18th century, necklines down to there, gentlemen’s tights left nothing to the imagination, let it all hang out. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria’s time, prudery reigned; we became so worried about displays of body parts that not only were we thoroughly covered up, even piano’s had skirts as it was vulgar for the piano to show its legs!
He said trends go in a particular direction, then explode and people forget all about them, sometimes just because they become old hat, sometimes they are derailed by an event or upheaval. Remember yoyos? Or hula hoops? Leisure suits? Or even concern about dioxin? The prudery thing was fading with the loss of Queen Victoria, but was really exploded by the First World War, and after that we had the flappers, let it all hang out again, prudery gone.
I suggest we have been in the process of a megatrend these past 60 years or so, call it ‘progress’ or ‘political correctness’ or ‘causes of the hippies from the 60’s’. This trend has gone well past it’s best before date; concern about gender and racial equality has gone so far it is causing inequality; concern about ‘the environment’ has gone so far it is causing environmental degradation; concern about financial inequality has gone so far it is making inequality worse; concern about social inequity has resulted in a new serfdom for regular folk. The pendulum has swung way out there. We are putting skirts on our pianos, and as a result facing huge issues which threaten peace and stability in the world.
I am amused by the indignant outraged screaming in the press about everything Donald Trump does or says. Donald is not part of the big government/big corporation unholy alliance and they can’t buy him off, (no doubt they will try to blackmail him, and even his life is in danger). He is anything but ‘politically correct’. The humorous part is that the politically correct extremist piano-skirters do not even realize they have joined forces with their enemy, the rich, in frantically trying to bring him down.
But I see him as a possible salvation. Perhaps he is the outside force that will explode the megatrend of Political Correctness before it brings us down to war, poverty, destruction. Admittedly, perhaps it is too late; perhaps this megatrend will explode whoever wins their election, with dire consequences for us all.
Just another way of looking at things.
O’ROURKE ON TRUMP
More about the media sputtering about the evil Donald Trump. They completely miss the point, of course; in the first place, he is playing them like a fish, saying things they see as outrageous and getting all the media play for free.
More importantly, our opinion-makers, who only talk to and listen to each other, are stuck in the obsolete paradigm of a world torn between two poles, communism versus capitalism, ‘progress’ versus conservatism, and so on. That battle has been resolved; the divide now is between the New Nobility, an unholy alliance of big government and big corporations, versus the rest of us. Personal freedom, especially private property and small business are being extinguished in the battle to make us all serfs to that new nobility.
Those who want to be seen as ‘upwardly mobile’ of course agree with the media position. However, working people pay more attention to what they see happening around them than to the yammering of the ‘chattering classes’, and they understand this new reality; personal freedom is the issue now, government has become the enemy, the ‘political correctness’ trend has run its course. So they see the Donald as being on their side by positioning himself outside that unholy alliance.
P J O’Rourke is one of my favourite political pundits as he manages to put a bit of humour into his commentary (If meat is murder, are eggs rape?). He says the Donald has tremendous support outside the big, in-bred cities, and could be the next US president. You can see more of his commentary on the election on my blog, drydencurmudgeon.wordpress.com
O’Rourke makes the point that Donald will need a more specific platform to actually run the country, and offers his suggestions, here they are, copied from “The Stansberry Newsletter”.
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O’Rourke says — But now Trump needs an actual campaign platform. Here are my suggestions…
Declare the U.S. Government Bankrupt U.S.G. has an annual revenue of $3.3 trillion. Its outlay is $3.8 trillion. Our national “business” is losing $500 billion a year. Any experienced chief executive like Donald Trump would raffle this turkey in a New York minute. And Trump knows how – Chapter 11 filings for Trump Taj Mahal in 1991, Trump Plaza Hotel in 1992, Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts in 2004, and Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009. It’s not failure, it’s restructuring. And everybody wins. U.S.G. has underlying assets with gigantic income-producing potential. For example, the federal government owns 640 million acres of land. Doing a little simple math, if we rent each acre for just $65 a month, we’ll break even. Only $65 a month for a whole acre! Surely a real estate deal-making maven like Donald Trump can convince people that that’s a great deal.
Mr. Trump, Tear Down That Wall We don’t need a wall on our border – we need gates with turnstiles and ticket-takers. The right way to limit immigration (and make people in foreign countries pay for it) is to charge admission to the United States. Disneyland costs $100 a day. At least 12 million illegal immigrants are living in America. By my calculation, we’re leaving $438 billion a year on the table. And America has many more attractions than Disneyland. (The S&P 500 rollercoaster is much scarier than Space Mountain.) Plus, think what we could bring in from the food, toy, and souvenir concessions. But what if people don’t leave after we let them in? We’ll ask Disney. Disney doesn’t seem to have trouble clearing the park when it’s closing time.
Don’t Make America the World’s Policeman… Make America the World’s Private Security Guard And bill the world for it. According to this website, an armed security guard typically costs $18-$25 per hour. But the U.S. military has the best training and weapons in the world. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines are certainly worth double the going rate, $50 an hour at minimum. We have 150,000 U.S. troops stationed overseas – $50 x 150,000 x 24 x 366 (this is a leap year) = $65.9 billion. Foreign countries can pay up or go ask ISIS for help with their national defense.
Expand the Brand Trump may bill himself as a real estate mogul, but his real genius is in branding. To date, he has only exercised his genius on one brand: his own. But what a job he has done. There is, however, a brand that’s even bigger than “Trump.” It’s “America.” All around the world, people are imitating America – wearing blue jeans, listening to rap music and rock and roll, tweeting, posting on Facebook, playing violent video games, binge-viewing rubbish, eating junk food, and becoming obese. We should be getting royalties for this. I admit I’m fuzzy on the details. But Trump is the businessman, not me. BMI and ASCAP have made the royalty model work for American popular music. Since it was copyrighted in 1935, the song “Happy Birthday to You” has earned an estimated $50 million in worldwide royalties. Imagine each American getting even a few pennies in licensing fees from 7.4 billion people whenever they wear an ugly t-shirt, say “OK,” or lose the TV remote.
Eliminate Poverty While Saving Taxpayers $252.6 Billion a Year (I’m serious about this platform plank.) According to the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee, “There are at least 92 federal programs designed to help lower-income Americans.” Together, these poverty programs cost $799 billion a year. About 46.7 million Americans are living in poverty. The poverty threshold for an individual is $11,700 a year. If the federal government wrote 46.7 million checks for $11,700, the total would be $546.4 billion – $252.6 billion less than what’s being spent now. And a family of four would get $46,800 a year. Giving money to poor people should eliminate poverty. But the government is spending 46% more money to eliminate poverty than it would take to eliminate poverty by giving poor people money. Bonus: Trump will get to shout his reality TV catchphrase at all the employees of 92 federal programs.
Regards, P.J. O’Rourke