Michael Gorbachev has died in Russia. He was a key node in a ‘Genius Cluster’, groups of men and women who somehow magically appear during monumental moments in history to help see humanity through. As the Soviet Union was coming to its messy, inevitable end Gorbachev was joined by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul and Mother Theresa, Mandela and De Klerk to help humanity avoid the apocalypse in the waning days of the empire.
There have been genius clusters before. Eisenhower and Truman and Churchill during WWII; Jefferson and Washington and Madison and Adams and Hamilton during independence. Momentous figures who define the tone of the times, paving the way and setting the table for all the unsung junior geniuses who also worked to bring about tremendous change.
I often wonder why today we are so bereft of great minds. Today we have a moron cluster. Putin and Biden and Trump and Trevor Noah (Whoever the hell he is, appearing unwanted on commercials with uninformed, unfunny comments as I’m trying to escape it all through reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond – which is actually funny. There really is nothing more tiresome than somebody who thinks he’s funny, but isn’t). In sports we’ve got Briner the basketball and weed aficionado (Note to self don’t take marijuana to enemy countries where it’s illegal, no matter how entitled you think you are); we’ve got that short gymnast who quit the Olympics, walking off at just the last minute to become a Subway sandwich salesperson (I guess winning, or even competing, is no longer important for our moron cluster. The metrics for our sports figures somehow got rewritten – I must have missed the day when winning become second to, well something else). Or there’s Messi the soccer playing serial tax evader; joined by Shakira in the music industry. Or that purple haired ‘star’ who prefers over the field, the microphone and her own opinions, perfectly curated through a process developed by Hegel called “Mental Hygiene” where you only read your own work and listen to your own voice. I think that’s what the ‘experts’ on CNN – Fareed Zacharia and his ilk do. God forbid they should have to entertain an alien thought; that’s how actual geniuses are made and they are certainly unwelcome these days.
One of the main problems with our moron cluster is that, like the genius ones before them, they also set the table for society at large. They articulate the priorities; they create guardrails for the debates; they define the terms. Under them, and within those parameters, the debates rage. Case in point, the Pope. John Paul talked about freedom and faith; Francis talks about victimization.
We live in an age of victimization – this is what our moron cluster has bequeathed us with. It’s what allows a society to celebrate an Olympian not as a winner but as a victim of ‘mental health problems’ – how Orwellian is that? Now, the mini-Morons are in a death-struggle to out-compete each other to define who is the most victimized; it’s how the idea of ‘intersectionality‘ was mainstreamed. Overlapping victimizations that no longer even have anything to do with behavior, they are in your blood and genes (of both the victims and victimizers), and this ‘fact’ will suffer no debate.
Gorbachev did not see himself, his nation as a victim – unlike the vision Vlad has of Russia. “Passionarity“, the glorification of victimization as the singular contribution of Russian civilization to the world. Victimization on an epic, Tolstoian scale! Mandela, 27 years in prison did not come out as a victim intent on sticking it to the whites (though he, of all people, surely had cause); unlike Julius Malema South Africa’s guru of victimization who talks about “Slitting the throat of whiteness…” keen on using rage to seize power.
None of this is a recipe for civilizational success. It is a recipe for war. Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of war (I know, appeal to authority is a logical fallacy of the kind that has gotten us into this mess). But it’s hard to say “believe me”, when our society no longer has judgment to identify good thoughts from bad ones; thanks to our moron clusters and their unstoppable Twitter feeds.