WE are all heading for a commercial psychotic break. The institutions we think are there – police, health, government, law, academia, science, even the Army – are not actually there at all. They are adverts in our minds, vestiges of old hopes. To see one up close is to be shocked, not surprised, at how little of these things remain in reality.
Our current diplomacy seems to be generous, rather undiplomatic. Bluntly, the competence is not there. The police seem to prefer not to catch criminals and the courts not to sentence them much. Our immigration services taxi the cross-Channel chancers to Domino’s Pizza and thence to a Holiday Inn.
The NHS often resembles a job creation scheme. Doctors recently threatened to go on strike if they were asked to see their patients for a change. Our schools seem to be a fact-avoidance programme run by passive-aggressive women. The only people who see any value in degrees are the ones buying them. The biological definition of ‘woman’ is now unscientific, and the practice of science itself as described by science graduates is to accept only peer-reviewed papers and disregard the discipline of observation, record, discussion and the results. That is called ‘the scientific method’, and it is what we used before science turned into Reddit.
This all may come as a shock if you have managed to keep out of the way of reality and consult only your Trusted Sources. A reliance on Trusted Sources demonstrated the capability of Saddam Hussein to launch an attack on Britain with weapons of mass destruction (how come we never hear that phrase any more?) in 45 minutes.
Trusted Sources shut down your country, your life and removed your civil liberties because of a seasonal flu (which kills far fewer people than the actual flu). Trusted Sources say you need these dodgy injections once . . . twice . . . uhh, maybe for ever, and they also say that eggs, making the bed, standing up quickly, sneezing and climate change cause heart attacks. If only we had a method to make sense of all this madness. Thinking emoji face.
Trusted Sources gave us the orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, one of the lowest points of our stumbling civilisation to date. An intentional programme of demoralisation could not have been more humiliating. This mess came about from the dedicated reliance on Trusted Sources, to the total exclusion of reality. This is a very efficient fact-exclusion zone we have built around our minds and around the mirage of our power.
The merest touch is enough to dispel the fear of ghosts. When your hand passes through the awful spectacle, you are not so much surprised as baffled. How could I have been so stupid? Well, we are trained to believe what we see, and much of what we see is put there for that reason.
Power is a performance in a media-managed system like ours. Sadly, performance is all that is really left of our institutions. They are convincing fairy tales we tell ourselves, whose relation to reality cannot be proved by experience. Disappointment, rather like that attendant on meeting your heroes, is the likely result of confronting reality. Yet disappointment is not the worst we can expect when our society removes its spectacles and rubs its eyes in disbelief.
The culture shock we all experience is to be profoundly disturbed by what is really there. It is a type of Paris syndrome – a contradiction between media expectations and unreported reality. I suspect a lot more parents home-school now, having seen for themselves on Zoom precisely who and what makes for education in schools these days.
A harder lesson from the university of life awaits us beyond the headlines. If the actors we call our leaders manage to meme this war into reality we risk the possibility of a humiliating defeat. There simply is no chance of closing the Suwalki gap. There is no realistic peer capability in force-to-force warfighting, which no one now in the US Army has ever done. The casualty replacement rate will be near zero. The missile capability is almost absent. Ground to air is scant. Ground to ground outmoded and of a number so small as to be insignificant. Communications-dependent doctrine means command will likely not survive the first few weeks.
The corps of Napoleon’s campaigns were better suited to independent battle than are the units of the US Army. If you don’t already know, the US Army is the only one that matters. The French are not going to fight and neither are the Germans, whose gas supply choice (Russia or US) is the real reason for World War Three – the Trailer. The British Army does not have significant numbers in anything. The two front teeth of Nato, US/UK, are better understood as advertising campaigns for arms sales. After 20 years in the sandpit neither army is built to fight a war against Russia.
Nuclear or not, there is no peer capability which could realistically sustain a major theatre war in Europe. In any case, Russia already has the best bits of Stalin’s breadbasket. Their troops are all men while 10 per cent of ours aren’t. I might be accused of running a demoralisation campaign but I could never hope to compete with the optics of Afghanistan, never mind some of the official messaging from ‘our side’.
It is impossible to take seriously a person whose worldview is based on firmly held delusions, and yet this is our entire culture as we project it. We no longer hear of a ‘peace dividend’ following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and nor are any assurances given to Russia about anything seemingly binding. This fact does not sit well with ourselves, and nor does the creation by fiat of Kosovo, a legalistic anomaly and failed state whose wag-the-dog genesis and dubious status provides a very inconvenient precedent for anyone with a breakaway republic to legitimise.