The Last Question
The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way: ...
"I know all about entropy," said Adell, standing on his dignity.
"The hell you do."
"I know as much as you do."
"Then you know everything's got to run down someday."
"All right. Who says they won't?"
"You did, you poor sap. You said we had all the energy we needed, forever. You said 'forever.'"
"It was Adell's turn to be contrary. "Maybe we can build things up again someday," he said.
"Why not? Someday."
"You ask Multivac. I dare you. Five dollars says it can't be done."
Adell was just drunk enough to try, just sober enough to be able to phrase the necessary symbols and operations into a question which, in words, might have corresponded to this: Will mankind one day without the net expenditure of energy be able to restore the sun to its full youthfulness even after it had died of old age?
Or maybe it could be put more simply like this: How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?
Multivac fell dead and silent. The slow flashing of lights ceased, the distant sounds of clicking relays ended. Then, just as the frightened technicians felt they could hold their breath no longer, there was a sudden springing to life of the teletype attached to that portion of Multivac. Five words were printed:
INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.
The quoted excerpt is from a wonderful short story by Isaac Asimov. Below the meta realm, another "last question" presents itself.
The great divide in the West is now immigration. On which side of the issue you fall, determines where you are on the political spectrum. If you have been paying close attention over the last two decades, this has been increasingly obvious. If you have just started paying attention, it may be a bit of mystery. After all, politicians in both parties dismiss the issue. The press is unwilling to cover it, other than perfunctorily. In polite circles, the “I” word is close to being the “N” word.
Even stranger, particularly in America where the never ending election season is boiling like never before, is that politicians are allergic to the topic. Donald Trump has made immigration his central issue and risen in the polls, yet his competitors refuse to discuss it. When asked, which is rare, they get a frightened look as if they have been asked about their desire for young boys. There’s real fear in their eyes.
What’s going on? (From, Z Blog, "The 'I' Word.")
The excellent "Z Man" goes on to explain the fundamental conflict between the Stateless, Nation-less billionaire elite and their sycophants, and the bottom 80%, whose only protection from the global race to the bottom is national borders.
Since the Enlightenment, we have been operating under the premise that it is ideas that matter, not the people who hold them. America, Europa were defined by their propositions, and no thought was given to the people who dreamed up those propositions and maintained them. This Age of Ideas is drawing to a close. We are now entering the Age of Identity, as poor old Bernie Sanders found out in Seattle and Baltimore. We like our socialism nationalist, is the message black nationalists are screaming at old-school trade unionists like Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Whitopia). And now a new theme begins to spread across the political landscape: while we're spreading the green around, why not show some love for the white Americans who still, albeit tenuously, constitute the democratic majority? These are the people beginning to show up for Donald Trump.
Donald Trump's campaign for the US presidency fascinates me on two levels. First is the quaint, "Make America Great Again" slogan, which hearkens back to Ronald Reagan's "Morning In America." I call the 1980's the Last White Decade, and that was when guys like Trump came into their own. Second is the outsider-billionaire, who has apparently decided these less-alpha lickspittles can be dispensed with. In other words, let's just cut to the chase: why should the most ruthless, wealthiest, better-looking, more-intelligent people kowtow to mediocrities like Scott Walker or Jeb Bush? I bet Jerry Jones, maverick Texas oilman and football team owner, is kicking himself right now for not entering politics instead of having to invite a marshmallow like Gov. Chris Christie into his Billionaire Bros Skybox.
Trump has injected a long-simmering issue into the presidential campaign that all the Establishment-candidates and their slick consultants and pundits have been paid not to think about since the 1960's. Immigration truly is the Last Question of Western politics. Taxes per se do not really matter: around half of us are net tax consumers; the US government runs an annual deficit of hundreds of billions of dollars per year; and in no event will government ever be able to capture more than around one-third of actual GDP in taxes. The Constitution does not matter; it's a piece of paper that means whatever the regime says it means. The Culture War does not matter; a Republican Congress cannot even bestir itself to cut off Planned Parenthoood or kick transvestites out of the military.
All that really matters, in the end, is who gets to live where. In more primal terms, it's about Blood and Soil, and always has been. The Pueblos, carving holes in sheer cliff faces to keep away from their neighbors understood it; Jewish settlers and their Palestinian neighbors in the West Bank understand it. The warring factions in Syria understand it.
Most people all over the world over understand it. It is only Westerners, living in a prosperous, post-Enlightenment dreamscape who think pure, incorporeal ideas are what's holding it all together. When a critical mass of a country's people are higher-g, lower time-preference, you get Rhodesia. When the mean shifts toward lower-g, higher time-preference, it's Zimbabwe. The boorish, uncouth Trump, of all people, is the only one pointing out that Americans are what make America, and it has caught the financial and cognitive elites absolutely flatfooted.
Trump is probably the last gasp of White America, a term which encompasses negro-American descendants of slaves and Native Americans by the way, whether they like it or not. The future Hispanic/Asian plurality does not carry the baggage of slavery and native conquest and cannot be expected to maintain the privileges of America's traditional ethnic minorities.
I do not expect Donald Trump to be particularly effective, if at all. The forces arrayed against a nativist America are powerful and deeply entrenched, and the demographic battle is probably lost. My only hope is that he destroys the Republican Party, a toxic institution which is actually an obstacle to conservative reform. After Trump, I expect White America to accelerate its process of withdrawal to its redoubts in the Pacific Northwest, Northern Midwest, New England and scattered rural areas.
Finally, my apologies for the long delay in getting around to my 506th posting. After several hundred posts it started dawning on me how the same issues come up, over and over. Feminism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism, socialism in their various awful, gnostic iterations just keep wreaking havoc, and everybody just seems perplexed that the same bad outcomes keep turning out.
I have a lot of demands on my energy these days, so I may attempt to concentrate on shorter postings via Tumblr and Twitter. Please continue to browse the blogroll and tag cloud at the bottom of the page. Like I say, chances are I've written about the particular issue before.