Perhaps you’ve heard of “late stage capitalism.” While not coined by Karl Marx himself, the term has gained some popularity as a meme attributing much of the insanity of Western modernity to capitalism. I don’t think this conception is useful. Capitalism doesn’t exist in the West, and hasn’t for some time. Managerial liberalism does, however, and it has progressed to the same final stage converged upon by distinct ideologies in the U.S.S.R. some decades ago and Rome some centuries before that: Late Stage Bureaucracy (LSB
This is my favorite piece you've written to date. It is particularly powerful to conceive of reality as a force exerting itself on deceit. On a mundane level, I'm nearly certain this is something most people can relate to, especially given the old sayings like "the truth always comes out" and, very applicable to what you've written here, "the truth will set you free." Yet, I'm now considering that perhaps the extent to which adages such as these are applied to the consequences of bureaucracy (such as the incident in East Palestine, OH you noted) in the minds of those earnestly attempting to understand the truth behind such atrocities may be limited due to the counterintuitive nature of applying this particular conception of the nature of reality to phenomenons such as LSB. It is perhaps more intuitive to assume foul play or malicious intent, when in fact large scale incompetence and reluctance toward acknowledgements of the truth motivated by perverse incentives is likely much more common. A huge white pill for me is that, in the end, the truth about the reactor not only came out, but all attempts to expose it out of genuine concern for humanity were not in vain. The truth did matter. It does matter. Speaking the truth matters, even if the effects of doing so and the freedoms that come with it are not seen in the speaker's lifetime. Excellent job on this!
Fantastic essay, and your title should become a popular catchphrase to describe the state of our culture: "Late Stage Bureaucracy." That's the best description I've heard yet for what we see around us now. Death by bureaucracy, with the HR Karens and DEI commisars strangling the life out of once productive institutions, inverting the natural order by elevating talentless grifters above the competent and virtuous. Hope we can course correct before we run into our own version of Chernobyl, though it wpuld take a mass awakening of the American people to demand that kind of change from our illegitimate and parasitic ruling class (and it would probably require a Chernobyl-like catastrophe to trigger such an awakening, unfortunately).
Also, thanks for the reminder that I need to read Mises!
This concept of a reality debt seems extremely important - of very wide applicability at a very high level of abstraction. I'm going to have to think about this for a while. It's quite obviously true, I feel that in my gut, but the underlying mechanism needs to be described.
"It is still possible for the bureaucracy to be dismantled in a manner consistent with the U.S. Constitution."
"America is faced with a phenomenon that the framers of the Constitution did not foresee and could not foresee: the voluntary abandonment of congressional rights. Congress has in many instances surrendered the function of legislation to government agencies and commissions..."
Ludwig von Mises, _Bureaucracy_
Mises was talking about what we now call the Deep State. We could view Trump as an experiment in whether the Administrative State could ever be dismantled. It will never dismantle itself, of course; given the left's control of the media, do the Deep State and its media minions have enough power to prevent any attempts to dismantle it?
"There is no compromise possible between these two systems. Contrary to a popular fallacy there is no middle way, no third system possible as a pattern of a permanent social order. The citizens must choose between capitalism and socialism..."
Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy
Perhaps a disaster of similarly epic proportions is the only catalyst capable of shattering the illusory constellation of perceptions advanced by The Cathedral.
I think that's what it's going to take. If covid didn't wake them up, nothing can wake them up. Some people just can't be saved.
Good article. I would argue that we don't have capitalism in the US currently. We have a form of soft socialism. We are currently heavily under attack by communism (Russian and China working together). Most of our levers of power have been taken the highest levels. This includes esg, equity, and woke crt marxist ideas dominating education, medical, military, judicial, and large corporations. Plus fentanyl being pushed (largest killer of fighting age men), borders being overrun, etc. The war is just not kenetic yet. Lots of folks blame the globalists but the globalists are pawns of the Communists.
"The U.S.S.R. collapsed shortly after the disaster at Chernobyl, and Mikhail Gorbachev has stated that the two events are related... "
you might look into JR Nyquist.
He is an excellent geo-political analyst. The dissolution of the Soviet empire was a ruse and the Soviet/Sino split was a trick as well. You can see all this playing out in real time today. Also there are leaked Chinese General Chi documents about using bio weapons to take over the US.
also see New Lies For Old a book by Anatoliy Golitsy
Excellent piece, Grant. I found your Substack from the recommendation of Rob Henderson and it was well worth taking the time to look into your work.
"To be highminded is to hold and articulate the luxury beliefs of the elite. To be highly educated is to hold some higher degree or credential than the average American. A midwit teacher can loudly proclaim that with her Masters degree she is more capable and qualified of caring for children than any parent without."
The trick to making such people trip over their own feet is to expose the internal contradictions in their beliefs.
For example, ask that midwit teacher whether her master's degree automatically makes her a superior parent than a transgender Latina undocumented immigrant with no formal educational credentials.
Try talking to normies about federalism and they look at you like you asked them to just try on this white hood and hold this torch.
Seriously, I have better luck with COVID, culture war issues, anything. I have never once gotten anyone to agree or even consider a strengthening of federalism
Really good essay, Grant. Lots to chew over and digest.
In as few words as it gets: the reality will win, its victory is sealed. The unanswered question remains that of final body count.
I cited this helpful essay of yours in my own recent discussion of bureaucratic pathologies.
1. We are a Hegemony because of our matchless geography, which under any government should remain intact, I do not mean this one (which is feudalism in a Federal skin and more inertia than government). I mean do not allow the breakup of the nation, not to the point of internal enemy states and their inevitable foreign allies. The Eurasians would either dismember and exterminate us gleefully or we them. Attn - Southerners and Exiteers- this formula for Wars of unknown and unlimited horror.
2. 🇺🇸Competence is yet in plentiful supply, denied it’s place and HIDING from Karen and HR.
3. True Hard Hope; we are reindustrializing “in a Tidal Wave.”
4. You and we 🇺🇸 need allies- here.
5. In a choice between the Earth and the Open Sky , America must choose the Open Sky.
(Or Earth gets nuked, and no we’re not innocent).
8 year term limits for Federal bureaucrats. Best feasible specific step, now. Yes to federalism, but that requires…what, exactly?
Late Stage Bureaucracy is a fine name for elite based messes we are living thru- tho most folks’ lives are pretty good.