The natural end of life is never a dignified thing. This is true whether it is the life of a man or the life of a nation. That is what Joe Biden and his rotten Ruling Caste represent for the American Empire. His shuffling around the stage, struggling to remember his name, is a metaphor for the age. He represents the final undignified end of an aging political class sitting atop a dying empire. What is not debatable is that America is plagued by decrepit and mediocre men and women with delusions of grandeur and access to power.
BY THE INTERNATIONAL CHRONICLES
America’s Decrepit Ruling Caste
Joseph Biden is a cognitively challenged, decrepit bag of rotting bones that was installed into the White House like a used latrine by a Ruling Caste filled with such specimens. Yet, even though the American media is stuffed to the gills with toadies and rumpswabs, there is always the chance one of them accidentally asks him a real question. Worse yet, there is the chance he tries to answer. For a man in severe cognitive decline, even simple questions can lead to embarrassing moment. When Biden shuffles out to the podium like a sad old man in a nursing home and mumbles through a mostly incoherent speech, it is a good reminder that in his prime, Joe Biden was a glib dunce. Now he is no longer glib.
The absurdity of his performances is amusing, but also sad. This man should be at home playing with his grandchildren, whose names he never remembers. Instead, he is being forced to play President, while minions from the inner-party push through the great reset. It is a disgusting and vulgar display that should never be allowed to happen, but it really does capture the state of the political class.
“The natural end of life is never a dignified thing. This is true whether it is the life of a man or the life of a nation.”
Biden is not the only geezer shuffling around the halls of power. The Speaker of the House is an octogenarian, Nancy Pelosi, who, like Joe Biden, struggles to handle simple conversations with the media. A lifetime of day drinking has not helped. The Senate Majority Leader is a relative youngster at 70 years old. Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader, just turned 79 this past February.
America is a gerontocracy now. Look around the political space and it is geezers as far as the eye can see. According to the Congressional Research Service, the average age for House members is 58 years old and the average age for the Senate is 63 years old. The bureaucracy is also old. Since no one ever quits or gets fired, government workers stay until death. A third of them are senior citizens now. America is governed by geezers.
One reason the political class looks like a museum exhibit is the voters are a bunch of geezers too. Older people tend to vote in greater numbers than younger people, and we now have a lot of old people. The baby boomers are all in various stages of decrepitude now. The Woodstock Generation is in their late 60s, while the Disco Generation is late 50s. Boomers are the largest voting bloc by far. Boomers, of course, were never going to age gracefully. The generation that gave us the youth culture cannot come to terms with being old. When they hit middle age, they convinced themselves that 40 was the new 25. When they hit their 50s, they got the little blue pill so they could pretend 50 was the new 30. Now that they are senior citizens, they vote for octogenarians, because 80 is the new 60.
Another reason America is now ruled by geezers is America stopped being a growth business a long time ago. When a business is small and growing, it draws in young ambitious people. Young people need an opportunity, and in a growing enterprise, there are chances to make a name for yourself. Great fortunes are made at the start of a boom and great names are made at the beginning of an empire. Once the enterprise matures and stops growing, it begins to shed the young, creative, and ambitious. Those young whippersnappers with their new ideas and energy are a threat to the people in power, so they have to go. That is what happened with the American empire toward the end of the Cold War. The collapse of communism meant the end of history and the end of America’s growth phase.
The Soviet Union went through the same process. After the war, the man at the top was in his 60s, a senior man leading a young confident party. After Stalin and the reform efforts that came after him, the Soviet Union became a static, conservative state. It was no longer a growth enterprise promising to conquer the world. By the end, the party leadership looked a lot like the current American leadership.
Like the old Soviet Union, current-year America is now a highly conservative state, despite the proliferation of bizarre social fads. The range of acceptable discussion has narrowed to the limited number of things permitted by those geezers at the top of the system making the rules. Anything that questions their authority is forcefully denounced because old people lack the confidence to defend themselves or their ideas. The elephant in the room here is demographics. The gerontocracy is white and the voters that sustain them are white. White Americans are old. According to Pew Research, the typical age of a white person in America is 58 years old. The typical age of a Latino is 11 years old. The typical Asian is 29 years old. Overall, whites are twice the age of nonwhites, which is not going to change until the boomers die off.
Of course, when the boomers die off, that brings the gerontocracy to a close. The millions of brown people they imported to assuage their guilt will take over. That is what makes the Biden-Harris administration so perfect. Like Joe Biden, the boomers will stick around too long, stagger around in a fog at the end, then leave their descendants to the tender mercies of the nonwhites who will take over.
The natural end of life is never a dignified thing. This is true whether it is the life of a man or the life of a nation. That is what Joe Biden represents. His shuffling around the stage, struggling to remember his name, is a metaphor for the age. He represents the final undignified end of an aging political class sitting atop a dying empire. The only question now is whether he and what he represents go peacefully.
America’s Disastrously Inept Ruling Caste
The Russian evolutionary anthropologist Peter Turchin coined the term “elite overproduction” to describe the condition of a society that is producing too many potential elite members. These potential elites jostle for positions that are declining in number relative to the increase in elite members. This game of musical chairs creates conflict as these elites engage in a struggle for power within society.
His choice of terms is a bit misleading, as his description of elite overproduction in America is better understood as an overproduction of people who see themselves as potential elites, despite being mediocrities. He points to the glut of lawyers as an example of the excess of people who wildly overestimate their ability. The number of people toting around an MBA is another example of this phenomenon.
The primary appeal of Turchin’s theory is flattery. It is human nature to resent the people who rule over you. A theory of history that says the problem with the world is there are too many people like that know-it-all rumpswab at the office is going to strike most people as plausible. All of us imagine ourselves as the most rational person in the room, so elite overproduction turns a conceit into scientific theory.
“The American empire is plagued by stupid people with access to power.”
Turchin’s argument is aided by present reality. Jake Sullivan is the United States National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden. He was the primary architect of the plan to leave Afghanistan. A quick look at his résumé shows that he is laughably unqualified for the position. He is an overeducated idiot who is sure he is the smartest man in every room, despite being one of the dumbest men in every room.
How did a vacuous airhead like Jake Sullivan get into this position? The system selects for mediocrities who will never question their superiors and do not possess enough talent to cause them to worry. In other words, the system selects for increasingly dumber people who are festooned with increasingly absurd credentials. Jake Sullivan is a Rhodes Scholar with two degrees from Yale University.
In a more rational society, Jake Sullivan would be the accounts-receivable manager at a midsize company. He not only would be qualified for the position, but he would also be happy with the arc of his life. More important, he would have no illusions about his talents and his role in life. Jake Sullivan would never have started out in life imagining himself as a member of the elite. He would have known his place and been happy with it.
This is not unique to the civilian side of the ruling class. The military has been infected with a plague of credentialed mediocrities as well. In fact, this has been a problem for a long time now. It is easy to forget, but the army advertised as the greatest fighting force in human history has not won a war in generations. Within this decade there will be no one alive who remembers the last time America won a war.
Another mediocrity involved in the Afghan debacle is General Milley. He is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. People may remember him from his appearance in front of Congress earlier in the summer. He was kitted out like a third-world dictator with a chestful of ribbons and medals. The general spent his time fighting back tears as he told the congressional committee of his struggle with white rage.
Milley, another product of New England, is a Princeton man, where he graduated with a degree in politics. Then it was a master’s in international relations from Columbia and then another master’s from the Naval War College. His military career has mostly been about avoiding any real danger and making sure the people above him are happy with his personal service. Milley is a career rumpswab.
Milley has risen to a position far beyond what his talents should merit. Like Jake Sullivan, he should have ended up in a middle-management position or perhaps as a gym teacher at the public high school. At no point in his life should he have imagined himself as a member of the elite. Instead, he should have had an otherwise uneventful life as a member of his local community. He would have known his place and been happy with it.
Another thing you notice about the mediocre men who now dominate the elite levels of society is that they have faced little resistance. As H.G. Wells put it, “intellectual versatility is the compensation for change, danger, and trouble.” Look around the American elite and you find few who have faced danger or trouble. Therefore, they have never had to develop what little talent they naturally possess.
Men like Sullivan and Milley are good examples of Turchin’s thesis. They are not men who have risen to the top through merit. Instead, they have been pushed up into the elite by the overproduction of a synthetic elite. The system seems to produce more narcissistic mediocrities than society can absorb. As a result, the American empire is plagued by stupid people with access to power.
The main defect with Turchin’s theory is that the relative distribution of intellectual capital in a society is constant. What changes is the size of the smart fraction. This is the portion of people who possess the minimum cognitive ability to manage the institutions of a complex society. The more complex the society, the greater the minimum cognitive ability required to be in the elite.
As American society increases in complexity, the relative number of people who possess the minimum cognitive ability to manage the institutions declines. One result of this is that the number of people lacking the minimum cognitive ability increases relative to the demand. In other words, the plague of mediocre men is not just a problem of overproduction, but also a problem of demand. Someone has to be a general.
Another defect in Turchin’s theory is that it does not explain why we have suddenly started to produce waves of mediocre men with delusions of grandeur. For most of American history, no one would have indulged people like Sullivan or Milley. They would have been told in various ways to set their sights lower. They never would have imagined themselves in the elite. They would have been happy as average men.
What has changed is the explosion of liberal democracy in the 20th century. Once the population comes to believe that every opinion is equal to every other, there is no reason to submit to anyone’s opinion. In a world where criminals and imbeciles have the franchise, how can there be an elite at all? If the simpleton’s opinion is equal to the business owner’s, then all opinion is equal. In a democracy, every man is a king.
The ultimate cause of what we are seeing is multivariate and debatable.
What is not debatable is that America is plagued by mediocre men with delusions of grandeur and access to power. Rule by stupid people must always end in disaster. Short of a mass culling of the ruling class, America will just have to wait for nature to solve the overproduction of elites.