If watching periodic readjustments can be hard, living through them is often downright stressful. This is what historians of the future will document when they write about this period in our history, if they write about it at all – if we have not gone the way of the dinosaur and the dodo but instead have found a way to stave off, at least for a season, our arriving ordeal. I think they will catalog our time as America’s ‘Age of Readjustment’.
‘Readjustment’ – initially I was looking for the translation for reacomodamiento, oft-times we find the perfect word for things in another language – but the best I could do is readjustment. Reacomodar has a more tranquil spirit to it along with the air of something that happens as a process of nature and nature’s God not product of the tinkering of the planners. But nevertheless, readjustment it will have to be.
The west has led the world forever; since recorded history at least. The great wars, great inventions, great leaps in philosophy and religion are all ours. Most of the other regions of the world follow, existing as the inverse of epicenter and following in the fullness of time the lead provided by the west. Until that is no longer the case, it is we who are destined to lead – pushing our reacomodamiento, our readjustment, out in unsteady waves of stress. “Creative destruction”, the economists call it. Never mind that what is being destroyed is a system itself. More on that later. If 2017 was ‘the year of the market’, adding 25% to its value; 2018 has been the ‘year of the worker’. The year that money flowed from the corporations into the lives of people. It was the year of in-sourcing, of reinvestment, of repatriation. “In 2018 some 4 million workers got pay bonuses from employers thanks to the Trump tax cut. (…) Pay gains in real terms this year are now estimated at 3 percent (…) The latest jobs report spotlights 7 million more job postings than workers available to fill them.” It has even trickled into the most unlikely of markets, for example “…hiring of ex-convicts is rising rapidly as employers search for ready and able workers. In some instances, employers are so hungry for labor that they wait outside the prisons for the inmates to be released so they can hire them.” This is of course what economists want to see. Stock market growth is meaningless in and of itself, representing as it does the prosperity of the relatively few who own stocks and mutual funds and their elite hedge-fund managers in the great urban archipelagos.
Apropos of that, the Wall Street Journal labeled the greatest loser of 2018 to be the “Liberal International Order”. Of course such an ‘order’, if it existed at all, only did so in the imaginations of America’s new aristocracy who counted on the permanency of their role in the world as the overseers and supervisors of humanity’s interactions. The fall of the “Liberal International Order” is probably better referred to as the “refutation of the ruling class”. Readjustment, because, let’s be honest, those who saw it as their job to manage our world were not doing a very good job. Forever wars, great recessions (economic and democratic) and environmental degradation. Those who brought us the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Paris Climate Accords surely are not those who have the answers to the anarchy that came; if nothing else that is obvious. Ergo the ‘readjustment’.
It is, however, unclear how the readjustment will proceed. Many are stressed out, especially the aforementioned aristocrats, accustomed as they are to being the wizened wizards in their ivory towers; Saruman in Isengard who thankfully few people visit anymore. Except Gandalf once, boy did he learn his lesson. Our readjustment is not a revolution – those are always unwelcome and always detrimental to our search for prosperity. Neither is it ‘progress’ like we are sold by progressives, for there is a great deal of looking backward in our ‘readjustment’; and this is good. There’s certainly a lot more of Hillsdale than Harvard in our readjustment. We will find the answers to so much that ails us in the backwater valleys of Tennessee and the gentle goodness and timelessness of the Bible Belt; for the ideas of the archipelago are spent.
So what will 2019 be, in our ‘Age of Readjustment’? I’ve never been very good at predictions (I do however fare better than our nobles… Too soon?) But if I were to venture a guess, I’d say that our year of corporations, which led to our year of workers, will lead us in 2019 to the year of solutions. When the spillover of our tremendous prosperity will finally lead to natural, organic embryos of solutions to the problems which ail our society and coming as they must from society itself. For our ‘Age of Readjustment’ is at last putting to the sword our liberal, statist world order. And, as has always happened, as goes the west so will go the rest of the world.
It is said that there’s a man opening a new establishment here in Knoxville, Tennessee called “Resolutions”. It will function as a gym for the first two weeks of the year and a bar for the remaining 50. But all kidding aside, our year of solutions in our age of readjustment requires also resolutions. So here are mine; let’s be gentler with each other this year. Lets be more magnanimous to our foes, more constructively critical with our own ‘tribe’, more open-headed toward those with whom who we do not agree and more open-hearted with those who – for one reason or another – we just don’t like. And lets drain our toxic swamp – no I’m not talking of an old city atop a marsh but instead the nasty leavings of the unexamined mind spread across cyberspace. Specifically, I challenge you in 2019 to delete your Twitter and Facebook accounts (I already have), look up from your computers, and start to work locally on issues that affect your daily life. Don’t think (too much) about the ‘Pacific Garbage Patch’ but instead the mess in your own neighborhood. Worry less about the White House and more about making your city council more accountable. And read less of FoxNews and MSNBC and more of The Imaginative Conservative and the Crossville Chronicle. It is with this behavior that we will start finding our solutions.
Without further ado, 2019 here we come!!!