The Potemkin Society, by the Zman

Potemkin anything connotates phoniness, and phoniness, as the Zman notes, is everywhere. From the Zman at theburningplatform.com:

A Potemkin village is a fake community built solely to deceive others into thinking that a situation is better than it really is. The term comes from stories that Grigory Potemkin erected phony portable settlements along the banks of the Dnieper River in order to fool Catherine II, the Russian Empress. After she passed, the village would be disassembled and then reassembled further down so she could pass another nice village. The story is probably exaggerated, but the concept is a useful one so the term has stuck with us.

It’s a useful term that came to mind in the run up to the Charlottesville rally. It came to mind after the riots in Berkeley. In both cases, you have fake cities that exist for no real reason, other than there is a government run college in them. In both cases, the people in charge are ridiculously unserious people, who should not be in charge of a convenience store, much less a small city. That’s because the people who put them into office are just as ridiculously unserious. They’re adult children playing grownup on the public dime.

This is not just a small city issue. The general lack of seriousness among the political class seems to be a byproduct of managerialism. Look around Washington and it is a parade of naive, clueless airheads produced by our finest colleges. It’s not just an American phenomenon. Europe’s leaders are ever bit as ridiculous. The Europeans are creating a class of politicians that are close to fictional. Emmanuel Macron, the new leader of France, may as well be a hired actor, which is why he is a disaster.

Now, Macron’s problems are not all his own making. France, like the rest of Europe, is a financial knot that can never be untied. A lot of it has to do with being vassal states for the last 70 years, but a lot of is demographics resulting from socialism. When you make having babies expensive, people stop having babies. Macron inherited a country that is old, expensive and in debt. Still, he’s proving to be incapable of doing the serious business of building coalitions and getting his program implemented.

To continue reading: The Potemkin Society

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