The Stolen Future

In among all the wailing and gnashing of teeth that has gone on for the past few days, one poster caught my attention: it read “You Stole Our Future From Us.”

you_stole_our_future_from_us

It’s not a poster I could ever have written, or held aloft. For me, “the future” is something that is both unknown and unknowable. It’s wide open. Only “the past” is something known and knowable. It’s completely determined, closed shut.

That’s just my ordinary experience of life. I know what happened yesterday. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Absolutely anything might happen tomorrow.

But then, as I’ve written before, I don’t make plans. Or to the extent that I make plans, they’re ones that can be torn up and thrown away at a moment’s notice.

And these days I’m beginning to think that one of the principal characteristics of the political “progressive” left – in fact maybe their defining trait – is that they have very strong ideas of what the future is going to be like. They’re always trying to plan the future. They’re always trying to make the road ahead look as sure and certain as the road behind. They’re always trying to eradicate uncertainty.

And for them our motion from past to future is one of progress to a better world. For them, history is going in a particular direction. It proceeds like a train running along a railway track that extends from the past into the future. And about the only thing you can do on that railway track is to move faster or slower along it.

And because the future is as well known as the past, it’s as fixed and concrete as the past. It’s become an object, a physical thing – and it’s an object that can also be stolen, just like a car or a wallet. And that’s what these two ladies holding up the poster are complaining about: their stolen future in the EU, which was going to all be so wonderful. It had all been planned out so carefully, right down to the windmills!

And that’s really why it’s all been such a tremendous shock to the “progressive” left. The future had been carefully planned, and now the plan had been torn up. In fact their whole world had been turned upside down. They were suddenly adrift in a world where they simply had no idea what was going to happen next.

It was as if they had boarded a bus that was going from Bristol to London along the M4 motorway. They were all clutching tickets that even had the arrival time in Victoria printed on them. But then, suddenly, near Swindon, the bus turned off the motorway, and headed off down first A-roads, then B-roads, and finally narrow country lanes that wound through places with names like Cricklade and Cirencester and Ampney Crucis. Places nobody had ever heard of. Worse still, the bus driver no longer knew where he was, or where he was going.

And I think that there’s a lesson here for the “progressive” left: that their idea that history has a direction, and that the future is foreseeable, is fundamentally mistaken. The world isn’t like that. It’s always open to chance. And even the best laid plans all too often come to nought.

And with luck, some of them will start to look at the world with different eyes, and stop seeing it as something that can be planned in minute detail, and instead see it as a range of possibilities which might be realised one day, or which might not. Others, of course, might decide that they will plan the future more carefully next time, to ensure that there is never any deviation from the plan, and send any “wreckers” to re-education camps.

It’s not just that this has given a tremendous shock to the “progressive” left in Britain, but to the “progressive” left all over Europe and the USA. And now nobody knows what’s going to happen next in Europe. It was all set for “ever closer union” in the EU, but now that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon. In fact, it’s looking like the whole thing might come apart.

And it was probably as big a shock to Hillary Clinton as it was to Barack Obama. But it didn’t come as a shock to Donald Trump. He’d foreseen the possibility. And that’s probably because a businessman like Donald Trump doesn’t make detailed plans, but responds flexibly to events as they unfold, and makes shrewd guesses about what might happen next. In an uncertain world, inflexible and unimaginative state planners like Hillary Clinton are like beached whales or derailed trains. They’re only in their element if everything is proceeding down the track exactly according to plan. But a flexible entrepreneur like Donald Trump, who can respond in real time to unfolding events, and take opportunities when he sees them, is in his element when all the plans have been torn up.

If you’re an American and you think the world is on track to becoming utopia, and you think you just need a driver in the cab to hold down the handle to keep the train moving down the track, then vote for Hillary Clinton. It doesn’t need much skill, and she’s been doing it all her life as a back seat driver. But if you think the world is becoming a dangerous and unpredictable place, and you think you need a president who can respond quickly and flexibly to unexpected events as they unfold, then vote for Donald Trump. He’s very good at it, and he’s been doing it all his life.

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About Frank Davis

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20 Responses to The Stolen Future

  1. beobrigitte says:

    “You Stole Our Future From Us.”

    It’s not a poster I could ever have written, or held aloft. For me, “the future” is something that is both unknown and unknowable. It’s wide open. Only “the past” is something known and knowable. It’s completely determined, closed shut.

    That’s the beauty of “future”. You have control over it. The past is done and over with. The present is every second of what you do/decide now.

    I do plan ahead – vaguely. That way I do have plenty of options for adjusting to changes – and fight the ones I deem useless/pointless….. etc.

    I didn’t plan to go to university, I fell into it when I made the choice to sit A-levels. I did not plan or even dream of earning more than I need. All I wanted was to keep my little house and feed my kids.
    That’s the beauty of ad hoc decisions. And to be able to make these decisions you have to keep the future open.

    And these days I’m beginning to think that one of the principal characteristics of the political “progressive” left – in fact maybe their defining trait – is that they have very strong ideas of what the future is going to be like.
    I take this even further. The plans for the future is more… more… more… quicker… quicker… quicker. Structure. No breathing space. Just more, more, more.

    Something’s gotta give.

    and you think you need a president who can respond quickly and flexibly to unexpected events as they unfold, then vote for Donald Trump. He’s very good at it, and he’s been doing it all his life.
    I’d take this more as a protest vote. The guy is good at marketing himself but has not uttered ANY political stance with respect to e.g. smokers in the US. And the guy is a billionaire, the kind of people lobby groups, especially the smoker haters, home in on.
    And, yes, the others are in the hate camp. Perhaps the American people can only waste their vote…..

  2. Trump’s unlikely to do anything FOR smokers specifically, but I’ll bet that any federal money they’re currently getting would be one of the early cuts as he tries the impossible job of balancing the budget without raising taxes.

    Americans have been gullible as hell over the last 30 years when it comes to “targeted” taxes. I.E. “We’re not raising taxes in general. We’re just enacting a special tax here with 100% of it going to ‘Save The Choking Children.’ ”

    People go right along with that without stopping to think that the Choking Children had previously been supported from the general fund just fine. All the new tax does is let the gvt TAKE that money and use it for their boondoggles elsewhere.

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    Here’s an interesting clip from Newsnight featuring Crispin Blunt explaining how it’s possible that the negotiations to come out of Europe may well result in the UK staying in the Single Market, but on “most favoured nation” rules (apparently the default exit route if no agreement can be reached). Sounds like the perfect solution to me – access to the single market, small tariffs (no more than with other, non EU countries, apparently), and no requirement for free movement, amongst many other advantages. The interview starts around 18.26, and Blunt’s outline of it sounds like exactly the kind of arrangement that most Brexiteers would think is perfect. So maybe we should just trigger Article 50 right now, make a whole lot of totally unreasonable requests which the EU simply won’t be able to agree to (and stick to them, rigidly), and then let the default exit route apply.

    Have to put up with Evan Davis (sounding for all the world like a typical Remainer, even though he may not be one – who knows?) interrupting two seconds into the answer to every question he asks all the way through, though, which is a bit irritating. But it’s worth a view nonetheless.

    Not very good at this link business, but here it is – you might have to copy and paste it etc …
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07j8mlp/newsnight-29062016

    • “So maybe we should just trigger Article 50 right now, make a whole lot of totally unreasonable requests which the EU simply won’t be able to agree to (and stick to them, rigidly), and then let the default exit route apply.”

      Sounds like quite a reasonable plan! You should try to spread that idea around so its’ sure to be seen!

  4. waltc says:

    In full appreciation of (and agreement with) your notion of the future and your description of Theirs, i think the world right now is a dangerous and unpredictable place but I still think Trump is a dangerous and unpredictable man. Otoh, I think Hillary is a predictably dangerous woman.

    Tho If the left, like Marx himself, really thought their planned future was inevitable, they wouldn’t have to help it along so hard by punishments, sanctions, coercion and a force-stream of propaganda, would they.? The European omelet could only be made by breaking a lot of eggs but, lo, some of the eggs may turn out to be hard-boiled.

    • WaltC, you wrote, ” I still think Trump is a dangerous and unpredictable man. Otoh, I think Hillary is a predictably dangerous woman.”

      Agreed. Plus there are other factors at play.

      I could easily see a misogynistic Putin make a move in Europe figuring that Hillary would back down — while at the same time I could see Hillary making a disastrously escalated military response far too quickly as a way of establishing she could never be faulted and damned by history for being “a weak female president.”

      I see the same Putin being afraid to make antagonistic moves because he’d feel Trump was unpredictably dangerous… kind of the way the Russkies viewed Reagan, only more so.

      Additionally, the underling staff that gets involved in big war decisions would NEVER dream of questioning Hillary no matter how strongly they might disagree with her — the blowback possibilities of ignoring military orders from the first female president would simply be too intense. Trump though? If Trump started waving the nuclear button in the air while raving I could easily see someone down the line making sure that the “Go!” button was “accidentally” disconnected and could be reconnected only after some time and cooperation.[*]

      Sooo… I see Hillary as more likely to get us fried, despite the conventional wisdom pointing to Trump as the “crazier” one to hold the “football.”

      [*] If you read http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/trumps-terrifying-nuke-answer-at-the-debate-should-end-his-campaign-but-it-wont-20151216 you’ll see why Trump might have difficulty getting the military folks to accept his judgement during a crisis.

      – MJM

      • Frank Davis says:

        Strange. I don’t see Trump as dangerous. Unpredictable, maybe, but not dangerous. I’m not in the least bit worried about the prospect of a Trump presidency. In fact, I think he could be a really great president.

        I also don’t think he’s racist, fascist, and all the rest of the things they call him.

        In many ways, it goes straight back to what I wrote up at the top. The progressive left want everything to be predictable. Including people. Trump is only “dangerous” to them because he’s unpredictable. And he’s unpredictable because he doesn’t play along with the political rulebook. In fact, he’s torn up the rulebook.

        But to me he’s just unpredictable in the way that great football players are unpredictable, and can do something amazing just when you don’t expect it. Trump is a one off kind of man. There’s nobody else like him. But in his way he’s perfectly consistent.

        • Fully agreed on the positive aspects of his unpredictability. And I also feel he’s quite generally both a lot more intelligent than he’s given credit for and a lot less racist etc than he’s being targeted as. The US Democrats are very familiar with playing off the foibles of voter blocs, and painting Trump as racist and (eventually) anti-feminist will be a BIG part of their election strategy. If they can capture even a third of the general middle/liberal vote but nearly all the black/latino/female vote they’ll have a solid win and they know it. They’d LOVE to have him come out with something pro-smoking because it would lock in the Antismokers’ votes and a good deal of the middler parents with kids who are worried that their kids will take up smoking and the “even deadlier” vaping (Meanwhile of course, half the self-hating smokers would go along that path as well…)

          He’s going to have to play much more strongly to the middle, AND come out with a solid plan to make current legal latino voters feel safe and respected, AND convince a good bit of the black population that 8 years of Obama really hasn’t helped them and that they and their children will be better off under whatever policies he’s going to implement than if they just continue under the same old road with Hillary. I think that’s going to be very hard for him to pull off, but it’s his only hope.

          If Hillary gets in and we survive her first four years I see dark days in 2020: the economic collapse will no longer be able to be ignored as our debt hits into the 30 trillion range and we’re liable to see an election where someone a lot “crazier” than Trump lands in office in a 1930s’ Germany replay. If Trump is in I think we’ll see unhappiness with him, but I think he’d be replaced with someone more truly in the “middle” than either Hillary or Trump with that “middle” person maybe being able to convince the bulk of the electorate that they have to bite the bullet for a few years to pay off some of the debt as we pull back on some of our wilder world-control activities and concentrate on simply making the repairs needed to keep a roof over our heads.

          – MJM, who’s clearly made a bit of a trip since being a total Jimmy Carter supporter in both elections… and who STILL thinks Carter was a real credit to the Presidency!

        • Frank Davis says:

          If Hillary gets in and we survive her first four years

          That’s a big if.

          White House Watch latest poll
          White House Watch: Trump 43%, Clinton 39%

        • waltc says:

          MJM: economic collapse doesn’t necessarily lead to ouster. See eg the once properous Venezuela. In genral, the in party just says We didn’t do enough yet. Next time we’ll do more. Also, in a death spiral, it leaves more people broke and dependent and voting again for the policies of big gov

        • Walt, blaming the previous administration won’t work for Hillary though since she’ll be seen as a simple continuation of Obama. Trump however can look back at 8 years of the Obama administration and claim it can’t be fixed in his first four.

  5. nisakiman says:

    …narrow country lanes that wound through places with names like Cricklade and Cirencester and Ampney Crucis. Places nobody had ever heard of.

    Au contraire, for the last five years I was in UK, I lived just outside Cricklade, and my local (The Red Lion) was in Cricklade itself. :)

    I believe you’re right with regards the ‘progressives’ needing a mapped out and secure future. That’s why they try to press everyone into the same mould. People are much easier to control if they all march to the beat of the same drum. Individualism is discouraged, anyone deviating from the PC path is torn to shreds, and of course pursuits like smoking which tend to go hand in hand with risk-taking and rebelliousness are heavily repressed.

  6. petesquiz says:

    As far as I’m concerned, we didn’t steal their future; we gave it back to them!

    The future I foresaw was that of a ‘United States’ of Europe which would have, inevitably, provoked a war with Russia and the future for these young people would have been one of conscription, death and despair. If that’s what they wanted, then I apologise for taking it away from them!

    The future I foresee now is one where those young people actually have the chance to shape it for themselves and not be railroaded down that single track that was there before last Thursday.

    (Other futures are available from all good fortune tellers, soothsayers and charlatans – see your usual media outlets for details!)

    • Margo Jackson says:

      Totally agree. These young people who think ‘we’ stole their future did not know what they were voting for. The media didn’t tell them, the campaigns didn’t tell them, their schooling hasn’t told them, and instead of responding with “Well, then I must find out for myself what this EU is, where it’s come and where it seems to be going”, they simply swallowed the propaganda and voted Remain. I think the ‘future’ they feel robbed of is simply their ‘right’ to go tramping off round the countries of Europe on some ‘study grant’. Of course they think the future’s all mapped out – their whole lives have been. They have yet to learn that shit happens – and that there has never been a time when the world wasn’t a dangerous and unpredictable place.

      • Some French bloke says:

        They have yet to learn that shit happens

        … and about the dazzling array of ways to look at it and to cope with it that’s out there, such as:

        Taoism: Shit happens.
        Confucianism: Confucius say, “Shit happens.”
        Hinduism: This shit has happened before.
        Buddhism: If shit happens, is it really shit?
        Zen Buddhism: Shit is, and is not.
        Zen Buddhism #2: What is the sound of shit happening?
        Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah.
        Islam #2: If shit happens, kill the person responsible.
        Islam #3: If shit happens, blame Israel.
        Judaism: Why does this shit always happen to us?
        Catholicism: If shit happens, I deserve it.
        Protestantism: Shit won’t happen if I work harder.
        Presbyterian: This shit was bound to happen.
        Rastafarianism: Let’s smoke this shit!
        Satanism: SNEPPAH TIHS.
        Agnostic: Shit might have happened; then again, maybe not.
        Atheism: What shit?
        Atheism #2: I can’t believe this shit!
        Darwinism: This shit was once food.
        Jehovah’s Witnesses: Knock, knock. “Shit is going to happen.”
        Nihilism: No shit.

  7. garyk30 says:

    The ‘Self Anointed Elite’ must actually be quite pleased with the results of last Thursday’s vote.

    That the young adults voted overwhelmingly in the ‘proper’ way has proven that the educational system is doing it’s task well.

    The ‘Utopian, One World’ future of the Elites has taken a set back; but, the younger generation has been well programmed for the future implementation of the perfect world of perfect people, all living in the perfect way.

    As long as the ‘Anointed ones’ have control of molding the youths’ minds and values, the outcome is inevitable.

    Changing the mindset of the teaching profession, at all levels, is more important for the Future than changing our political leaders.

    • prog says:

      Most young adults didn’t vote Gary. The 70% + (whatever) vote to remain has been spun to make the gullible believe that the vast majority of young adults are Remainers. We’ll never really know, unless they do a re-run and over 70% actually vote. The low turnout is a true reflection of how dumbed down the younger generation has become. Assuming something doesn’t make it real. We, of all people, know only too well how folk have easily been led down the garden path.

  8. Bemused says:

    2/3 of the under 24 did not vote. 70% of 33% voted to remain. Therefore 75% of the under 24s did not vote to remain in the EU.

  9. Manfred says:

    A picture paints a thousand words depicting Cultural Marxism at its best. The young women shown, who have the choice to stand proudly at the helm of their own destiny instead appear happy (they appear to be exchanging knowing smiles) to be cast as hapless victims of an establishment, which allegedly deprives them of their future. They willingly surrendered their destiny sometime ago. Playing the ‘victim’ as they have been encultured to do, is a comfortable set of railway lines to be traveling along.

    If they consider their future akin to a set of railway lines the existential threat of being derailed at any moment must segue seamlessly into an anxiety ridden life. But then, the hall mark of the ‘progressive’ is not riveting intelligence or intellectual persuasion is it? It is kollectivs and kommittees, shows of hands, an absence of personal responsibility, a Ministry of Truth, of We Know Best For Your Own Good, of being directed and told.

    My guess is these two young women will rue the moment their images were captured, that is, once their emotional age catches up with their chronology.

    Thank you for such a well written post Frank.

  10. patrick Schwab says:

    Really thought provoking post!

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