The Ruin Reservoir
In the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer notes:
It doesn’t take a genius to see what happens when the entitlement state outgrows the economy upon which it rests. The time of Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, the rest of insolvent social-democratic Europe — and now Detroit — is the time for conservatives to raise the banner of Stein’s Law and yell, “Stop.” You can kick the can down the road, but at some point it disappears over a cliff.
Yes, yes, yes … but. Despite its perfect common sense, the monotony of this message is becoming utterly unbearable. The end isn’t arriving tomorrow. This dreary horror show could last for decades. How many roughly-identical, absolutely obvious, sensible Op Ed columns is it possible to endure? (I’m already way into overtime.)
A reasonable conclusion from the reality of degenerative ratchets is that nothing less than a comprehensive crash makes them stop. Some of the healthier Right-delight over the Detroit implosion is tied to the expectation that bad examples could be educational, but the evidence for that is slender, especially under conditions of sovereign propaganda saturation (the Cathedral). Who are you going to trust, the academic-media complex or your lying eyes? We already know the predominant answer to that question.
When a message is existentially unacceptable to the Cathedral, it will not be heard, and the only messages with substantial reality content are of exactly this kind. True believers will stick with a morbid utopia to the end, since anything truly different would — in any case — count for them as some species of death. For cynics, the calculation is even easier: why unnecessarily shorten looting time? More common still are the poor idiots, who will just do what they’re told (while trying to grab a little feeding trough time), and then be sacrificed. It should already be clear that nobody cares about them, and they’re too defective to care competently for themselves. That’s neither justice nor injustice, but simple reality.
Nobody here is under any illusions about the profound socio-political malignancy given free reign in Detroit, or about the quality of human material over which it held sway, and yet it lasted up to a point that has provoked repeated comparisons with Hiroshima-1945, wrung out to the ugly end (and we haven’t yet seen the end). If we ever doubted that there’s a lot of ruin in a nation, we no longer can. For a city uniquely proficient at suicide, the process lasts half a century, including final, grinding decades, when nothing beyond a zombie parody of what once was still remains. If a uniquely benighted social trash pile can last this long, how far can the world’s most powerful nation spin out its decline? There’s enough time, to be sure, for an Amazon jungle worth of Herbert Stein-inspired Op Eds.
Can-kicking eventually runs out of road, of course, and its only when this truism has become an intolerable, deadening drone that neoreaction begins. Anybody who still needs to hear that message is simply lost. Remedial education cannot be the neoreactionary task (there are libertarian-oriented conservatives for that — and they will fail).
If the Dark Enlightenment cannot end with Stein’s conclusion, but is rather initiated by it, born from the presupposition that this cannot go on forever, how is its guiding topic to be understood? What will it discuss — with what will it occupy itself — amid the deepening ruin, for decades?
As its name indicates, Dark Enlightenment is a creature of late twilight, preparing for a gruesomely protracted night. One object that merits growing fascination is certainly this: the ruin reservoir is deep. As a fact this is easily — and for neoreaction necessarily — acknowledged, but the exploration of its mysteries has still scarcely begun.