I sat down for a talk with Astral, of Astral Flight Simulation. His views on Regime fragility differ somewhat from mine, and I specifically used his views as a foil in my original piece. Thus, this was a very productive conversation, especially because I have been focused on Regime fragility lately (when I am not beating up on Rod Dreher for lying about me).
You can find the episode here on Substack (no charge, though I recommend you subscribe to Astral’s Substack), or embedded below (link to Apple Podcasts), and also on other standard podcast platforms.
Hello Charles. I was wondering if you had ever read the book “The Roads to Modernity, the British, French, and American Enlightments” by Gertrude Himmelfarb( I haven’t started reading it yet)? I have heard you and others talk about how the enlightenment have partly caused what we are going through nowadays as a country. I was wondering what books you have read about the subject of the enlightenment to lead you to this opinion? Keep up the great work. I love your content on the site and the podcasts you are on.
Thank you! No, I haven’t read that book, although I’m aware of it. It is true that my claim seems like somewhat of a simplification, because a lot happened in political philosophy between, say, 1700 and today, and not all of it had anything to do with what I am talking about. Similarly, one can argue whether Francis Bacon’s “improvement of man’s estate” is a precursor to the core values of the Enlightenment, or not. I would argue not, but the question is not free from doubt (and things like the Scottish “Enlightenment” fall into a vaguely similar category). Similarly, there is no doubt that Enlightenment values of which I complain informed quite a bit of the American Revolution, which is very much less clearly bad than, say, the French Revolution. Does that mean these Enlightenment core values are not all bad? I’d say not–if you take a virtuous people, they can, for a little while, adopt even pernicious values and make a working society. The classic recent work on these topics is Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
I listened to the podcast with Astral with great interest because it touched on the central questions in the regime fragility thesis – how competent is the regime, how well can it withstand crises, what kind of crisis is it likely to experience? I agree with your comment, that the Treasury Department is the strongest grounds to argue for regime competence, as opposed to, say, Transportation, or DOE or DOD or DOJ, the last of which is a strictly vengeful apparatus to go after regime opponents. Unlike the Dept. of Transportation which is largely irrelevant, Treasury, because of its active participation in financial activity does steer and influence the course of the economy of this nation, and hence the argument for competence there.
If you overlay this stipulation with the assertion in the podcast that of all possible crises (military, financial, social, medical, etc.) the most likely is a financial crisis, (i.e. one where the Dept. of Treasury will play a central role), then does it mean that since the regime will engage its most competent arm in the most likely crisis, it is more likely to weather the crisis? In other words, while there may be a lot of elements of fragility in the regime, the most likely crisis scenario will test the regime at its strongest point, and not its weakest.
Do you agree?
Yeah, maybe. But whatever its competence, the ambit, the scope, of Treasury is very limited. It can manipulate the money supply and take a variety of financial actions, but only God can make something out of nothing, and given the complete disconnect of our economic system from reality, Treasury cannot fix it as it goes down. And for other challenges to the Regime, Treasury will be of no real use, other than perhaps to send a few competent people to other posts, to be overwhelmed by the deluge.
It is near midnight at a type this comment, so I’ll keep it brief. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting home for Christmas and have seen quite a lot. My blood family is living through the tragedy of end-stage Boomer Revolt, although I will spare us all the gory details. What are your thoughts on the Boomer generation specifically? I see my family as being rather cursed by whatever toxin was in the air at that time, and God only knows how they’ll be healed.
Blessed St. Stephen’s Day
Thank you, and to you. Yeah, the divisions cannot be healed by any traditional means.