On the future

Perhaps I have mentioned before, that I cannot predict the future. No one else can, either, and no one can save himself. That, “we’re all gonna die,” I don’t take as a prediction, any more than that the sun will come up again tomorrow — and whether or not one accepts Darwin, or Copernicus. Maybe some day the sun won’t rise, but in that case gentle reader will not be needing predictions.

The Prophets did not make predictions. They were not economists. They were more like routine journalists, or reporters. Each received a message, from God, which he reported to the Israelites. Old-fashioned reporters, to a man: I should think their principal concern was getting the message right. (My usual apology for intruding on theology.) But if God seems to be making a prediction, one should listen up.

Being, myself, neither a Prophet, nor the son of a Prophet, but a mere herdsman, as it were, I make predictions like the world makes predictions. For instance, that the pot which just slipped from my hand, will land on my toes. True, some predictions like that can be reliable. But they are seldom of more than passing subjective interest. It is only when one makes grand unlikely predictions that one is able to elicit subjective interest in others. That’s where asteroids, and climate change come in. Or, “Trump wins,” to scare half the population; or “Trump loses,” to scare the other half.

A more interesting question remains, whether he wins or loses. My view, that either result will lead to chaos, is not actually a prediction. Rather it follows from the observation that we have chaos now. Further, that neither of the alternative parties, in Natted States or most other Western countries, can do much besides sprinkle some additional chaos over the top.

This is because (another observation), there is no philosophical integrity, either on Right or Left. Perhaps a little more on the Left, because it is more consistently destructive, and progressing from irreligion, to outright satanism. Whereas, the Right is holding with irreligion, and just spinning at the moment.

My own position is like that of the “liberals” I grew up with: neither pro- nor anti-Trump, but anti-anti-Trump, the way my generation were anti-anti-Communists. Actually, I deprecate him myself, for a long list of reasons, such as whimsical policies on the trillion-dollar scale; nevertheless, I support him as the least available evil.

But tell that to the ineffectual Louis XVI, on his way up to the guillotine. That man was also a (mild) liberal and reformer. He was always willing to give his lethal enemies half of what they wanted. He, too, lacked a philosophical spine. As “absolute monarchs” go, he was a klutz — symbol of a power already hollowed out. Like Trump, just trying to ride the tiger. The ideal enemy for a genuine revolutionary, one might say. And history is full of Louis XVIs. Unfortunately, it is also full of genuine revolutionaries. And it doesn’t take all that many of them, to seize the instruments of power.

This last is less a prediction, or an opinion, than a little-known fact. The great majority of Frenchmen were not enthused by the downfall of King Louis, nor Russians by that of Czar Nicholas, or either by the fall of any of the mediocrities who first replaced them, trying to preserve a few constitutional norms. “The peeple” could never have voted for what was coming, as they won’t be voting now. They were just trying to get on with their lives, as opportunistic as any of their leaders.

Those “peeple” have no philosophical heart either, let alone experience with rudders. They’d need such things to take their own stand. Those noble individuals, who resist ruthless revolutionary tyrants, generally end up in the same way: friendless and dead.

I am not even expecting the next Revolutionary War to be coherent. Things just happen. No predictions from me.