Wrench does not fit:
It is commonly said, “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  Properly speaking, they are supposed to say, “A man with only a hammer,” but I think that’s a quibble.

Anyway, I have a hammer.  Well it’s more like a wrench, I think.  That’s the demographic: the stork obeys the married kin, or something like that.  Any hammer can pound on anything but a wrench has to fit.  Of course you can always use it as a hammer, can’t you? 

So here we sit in a world in which a number of nations are in flames.  The term “Arab spring” can hardly be used without irony any longer.  Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and I suppose Yemen have undergone upheavals that have made everyone there worse off.  For a few years I have been gazing on and thinking, “Of course.  These rebellions are only lashing out at regimes that have been Westernized.  Westernized means adopting Western values, including marrying out.  So the rulers have all been marrying outsiders, paying the price in fertility and now the birds have come home to roost.  They don’t have enough capable people to run a government where only a few years ago they seemed to be in good control.”

So on the face of it, my wrench fits, and we are looking for regime changes in the future that will be a lot worse than the maggot-gagging events we read of each day. 

But there is a flaw.

If that’s the truth, why hasn’t anybody noticed it?  I mean the correlation between kinship and infertility may be too much for the average observer to put together, but anybody can look at babies.  Nothing I have ever read has said, “The birth rate among the elite in this shambles of a country is this and the average birth rate is that.”  The most casual observer should be able to see it.  Just look around at family gatherings or have some discrete woman quiz the midwives.  Are our experts, boffins and gurus THAT stupid?  It’s hard to believe.  If it is true, then there is no helping us.  So at this point I am willing to say, “The only hope is that there is nothing to be seen.  The elite face no demographic problem.  It has to be something else.”

What else?  I recently looked at a review of The Prince by Machiavelli.  I have not read the original, nor do I intend to.  I don’t care what he said.  But I do care a lot about what people think he said – hence the value of a review. 

What they say he said is 1) It is impossible to distinguish between the life of an individual and the life of the society in which he lives.  2) If the society disintegrates the individual is destroyed.  3) So the basic goal of any society is to survive.  4) The survival of the society is of such importance that any mistreatment of individuals is to be tolerated, any lies or pressure, so long as the purpose is to keep the society together, which means keeping those already powerful in power.

It kind of reminds me of Mendel.  It’s just wrong.  Take the first proposition, the one that individuals only thrive if their society thrives.  Then remember who built the Japanese Zero fighter plane.  It was Mitsubishi.  That company is doing just fine nowadays.  I doubt those in power in the country ever really faced starvation.  Same holds for Volkswagen.  Powerful businesses, and the powerful people who control them, can survive a collapse of the society just fine.  That covers point number two as well.

The third point is that society has some sort of “goal,” namely survival.  Well from what I see no society ever collapsed while the demographics were good.  People will find a way no matter how stupid and odious the ruling clique. 

And the final point is the big one.  It says people are there to be manipulated for the amusement of the powerful; this they say is taught in political science.  No, I don’t buy that.  I say there must be a basic sympathy between the people and the political form that organizes them.  Lose that sympathy and bad things are going to happen on both sides.  Remember the phrase, “Read him the riot act”?  The implication is that every government has something written down somewhere that permits them in the event of revolution or secession or insurrection to do horrible things to people.  And of course people do awful things to governments they have overthrown.  Mussolini was shot and hung up by the heels and Qaddafi in Libya was beaten to death by a mob.  The deaths of Nazi leaders in Germany and of Saddam Hussein in Iraq were rather more tidy but the bottom line was the same.  The government needs to fear the people, not use them as pawns. 

Obviously the sympathy between the average American and the American government is far greater than the sympathy between Bashar al-Assad in Syria, but you can see the points of fray.  For instance the government has been spying on us, plain and simple.  Imagine if the resources being used to spy on us were in the hands of the government of North Korea to spy on them.  Do you really think there would not be abuses?  Ah, you say, but they are bad guys and our government is good guys.  And I agree.  Indeed.  But the reason our guys are good guys is because they are forbidden to do things like that.  How long will it take for THAT bird to come home to roost?  I can only guess and fear.

There have been 52 visitors so over the past month.

Home page