We seem to be at an inflection point in world history, a moment of general change.
In Canada, the government is collapsing. I said after Jody Wilson-Raybould’s initial testimony to the Commons Justice Committee that this was likely to be the end of Justin Trudeau. It put him in the position of fighting his own constituency, who are going to believe Wilson-Raybould before they believe him. That seems now to be playing out.
Raymond Bourque reported Ottawa insider gossip at the time as envisioning two ways forward for the Liberals: either everyone but the PM resigns, or the PM resigns. They have tried option one now, and it is not working. It has not been enough. The scandal continues to build. That leaves option two: Trudeau resigns. Or, if they do nothing, simply sound defeat at the next election, coming soon. There is, at the same time, no guarantee that a new leader would satisfy the public mind. For what has been exposed seems to be a culture of corruption at the top. Unless, that is, they chose Wilson-Raybould or Jane Philpott as new leader—but then that might look cynical.
In Britain, the government is also collapsing. Brexit is itself a major inflection point. But now the government is apparently disintegrating over their incomprehension of how to go about it. Theresa May is resigning, but it cannot end there. Surely nobody really believes the problem is Theresa May. Her resignation will change nothing. The entire managing elite, commons and bureaucracy, is looking incompetent, panicked, and like a laughing stock.
In France, rioting in the streets continues every weekend. They are at least calling for Macron to resign. Merkel has forestalled similar protests in Germany by already announcing her resignation.
This must all be connected. There is too much happening all at once for it not to be connected.
But then there is the US, where the opposite thing seems to be happening. Elsewhere, the government is collapsing, and the leader is being pressured to resign. In the US, it is the opposition that is collapsing. The Russia collusion bust, the Jussie Smollett case, the Covington smear, the #Metoo hits on Hollywood, the Warren aboriginal fraud, all seem to expose the opposition rather than the government as venal, self-serving, and incompetent. The demands are instead for prominent members of the media to resign.
It seems to me that it is just this American exception that demonstrates that it is indeed all interconnected. It has nothing to do with any one particular leader, and it has nothing to do with leaders in general. The demands for leaders to resign are only because the leader is in each case the public face of the ruling elite. Except in the US. In each case, it is the ruling elite that is being exposed as venal, incompetent, and self-serving. Hence Trump is the significant exception, because he positions himself as in opposition to the ruling elite.
In Canada, many if not everyone probably realizes that Trudeau is a naif in way over his head, that he has always only been the regime’s mascot. It is his “handlers” who have engineered this fiasco, including the upper reaches of the bureaucracy, who have always been the backbone of the Liberal party. And surely it is evident that the confused mess of Brexit is not really Theresa May’s fault. Does anyone seriously believe that her resignation is going to change much and suddenly make it all work? The policies the French demonstrators are protesting are not Macron’s policies in particular, but the same policies they hated under Hollande, or Sarkozy. And so forth and on. It is the ruling elite in general that is in trouble here. We are, frankly, watching a revolution unfold.
This is perhaps caused by the convergence of two factors. First, the general collapse of morality in the upper classes of the developed world. It began in its present form with the “sexual revolution” of the Sixties, albeit building on amoral intellectual currents that go at least as far back as Nietzsche, Darwin, and Marx. With noble but increasingly rare exceptions, the educated classes threw out any commitment to morality as a check on their actions. Hence they have indeed generally grown venal and self-serving.
The second factor is improved communications. The elite maintained their position on the basis of a supposed monopoly of expertise, on special access to protected bodies of knowledge. Thanks to social media and instant web search, they are being revealed in many cases to actually know little or nothing, and to be on average no brighter than average.
No more than a parasitical class.
These two waves have now met and merged, and the revolution is upon us.
As either fate or providence would have it, it looks as though the United States is best positioned to make this transition in relative peace. And even there, things look rocky.