Why the World Has Gone Mad

Behind closed doors… Mar a Lago front gate.

The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago looks like a truly foolish move by the Biden administration. Unless it produces something utterly alarming about Trump, some smoking howitzer, it is most likely to rally support for him and against the Dems just in time for the midterms. And even if it does produce some damning evidence, because of the way it was carried out, and the way damning evidence is ignored in the case of the Bidens, any Trump supporters will probably just assume the evidence was planted. The general public might well too.

The Washington Post suggests the issue had something to do with the nuclear arsenal. That sounds impressive. But even if so, why not a simple request to turn the relevant documents over? At most, a subpoena? Trump had full control over the nuclear arsenal for four years. He has had whatever he now has for two more years. Why is it an urgent problem now?

One explanation, previously suggested in this space, is that there is some blackmail ring forcing powerful people to act against their immediate interests. Trump may have dirt on someone.

Another is that the American administration has gone insane.

Here’s how it might have happened.

As Nietzsche observed, madness is rare in individuals, but the norm in groups. If any one of us wakes up one day and decides we are Napoleon Bonaparte, it will quickly become difficult to sustain that delusion. People around us will tend to ignore our orders, even laugh at us. They may send for the white frock brigade. If, however, a group of people jointly decide that one of them is Napoleon Bonaparte, the delusion is immediately more convincing. Especially if they live in close quarters and cut off the outside world. This is how dysfunctional families work.

This is how dysfunctional governments work as well.

“Cancel culture” is a systematic move by some—by many–to cut off their own sources of information. It is a sure mark of incipient madness. This allows them, within their close-knit circuit, to ignore reality. Within this bubble, they can grow hysterical about the dangers of global warming, or decide that men can become women, or that a prejudice in favour of reality itself is “white supremacy.” They will come to delight in their delusions, because they demonstrate their exclusive group membership, and show their awesome power.

This surely is what we see happening to governments and elites everywhere.

But the real world has a way of finding revenge. Gravity is cruel to those who try to defy it. Those who are prepared to listen to ideas they disagree with over time develop a huge strategic advantage: they know what is actually going on, and the dysfunctional with thumbs in their ears do not.

The Americans—and everyone else– thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction mostly because he behaved as though he had weapons of mass destruction. He refused to let inspectors in to find out. He risked war to prevent them. This was madness, if he had nothing to hide.

The simplest explanation for this self-destructive behavior is that Saddam himself thought he had weapons of mass destruction. Dictators want to hear only good news. Accordingly, clever sycophants learn to tell them what they want to hear. As a result, sooner or later, lacking any knowledge of what is really going on, they will make a fatal misjudgment.

We see something similar now with Vladimir Putin. His underlings seem to have badly misled him about the sentiments of Ukrainians and the capabilities of his armies. We may be seeing something like this with Xi Jinping in China. His economic and diplomatic policies look likely to push China off a cliff. Local officials have been sending in false figures for years.

Closer to home, Justin Trudeau may have been genuinely blindsided by the size and strength of the Freedom Convoy in February. He may have believed this was a “fringe minority.” Disoriented by the sudden flash of reality, he might have believed that this must have been funded by some nefarious foreign power. He then panicked and declared a state of emergency. It was the hysterical reaction of the psychotic whose delusions are challenged.

So too, the Democrats in the US look hysterical about the “Russia hoax.” I do not think they could ever have believed it; but the deluded are lying, first of all, to themselves. It was a way to save face rather than accept that the “deplorables,” the “far right,” the “bitter clingers,” whom they had been refusing to listen to, were actually close to a majority of the American people. They went paranoid again over January 6th. And now the Mar-a-Lago raid.

And so it goes. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

Why is it all happening now, and so fast?

Because this disparity between the dysfunctional delusional and the open-minded has been multiplied in recent years by the growth of information technology. In earlier years, while the elite lived in their bubble, so did the rest of us, since everyone’s ability to communicate was limited. Now that we can all, so far as the technology is concerned, both talk to and listen to one another almost without limit, anyone who refuses to listen is at a much greater and more immediate disadvantage.

While the present period of hysteria looks grim, it is liable to lead to a much brighter future soon. It may get much more nasty, but we are witnessing a rear-guard action.

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