When video game designer extraordinaire, Sid Myers released Civilization IV, he became personally responsible for a great loss of productivity and the growth of much sloth and indolence amongst the American Nerd Class. Yep, CIV IV was that farkin’ cool!
Accolades aside, the entire premise of Civilization IV involves a player taking over a society in 4000BC and serving as an omnipotent Demi-God. As that society’s leader, the player makes every decision involving how the society evolves, while attempting to take over the world. It’s like ObamaCare, except that it requires far fewer megs to run its xml engine.
As a video game, CIV IV dominates. As a governing principal for societal organization, it drove a band of brave men to meet up in Philadelphia and write The Declaration of Independence.
Yet many leaders around the world seem to think they are engaged in a multi-player game of Civilization IV. Even in so-called democracies such as ours, our leaders indulge in the petty indoctrination of the children; as if they admired the bold swagger of Hugo Chavez and Augusto Pinochet.
The United States is not the only example of this odious baronial arrogance on the part of the political overclass. Barack Obama’s public ego-waving is merely a symptom of the tyranny and not the most malicious effect. The world’s political class dominates all mechanisms surrounding money. Hence, they feel no inclination to live within any reasonable set of means.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger describes the effects of this fundamental disconnect between power and accountability.
In the U.S., debt as a percentage of GDP rose to 87% in 2009 from 55% in 2000. In the U.K., to 75% from 45%; Germany, to 78% from 60%; France, 86% from 66%. There are exceptions to this trend, such as Canada, New Zealand and notably Australia, whose debt has fallen to 16% of GDP from 25%. But for all the countries in the OECD's basket the claim of indebtedness on GDP grew to 92% from 69% the past nine years.
In short, the lumpen electorate works, and the lumpen bureaucratariat spends. They get away with it because they have perfected the illusion that no human hand causes these commitments. The payroll tax just happens. Entitlements are "off-budget," presumably in the hands of God. This is government without the responsibility of governance.
And yet the people have begun to get very angry. We see it every day, in every land. Japan threw out a ruling party for the first time in over 50 years. They voluntarily elected a man whose wife regales the press with stories about the times she was abducted by UFOs and assures of Tom Cruise’s Japanese ethnicity. Compared to the leadership which had sent Japan’s vaunted economy off on a one-way space voyage to Pluto, this was preferable.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel led her party to defeat in local elections. They lost to an alliance of disaffected ex-Communists and radicals known as Die Linke. While her defeat was not the humiliating woodshed beating that was administered to the Japanese LDP, many political observers view these local elections as harbingers of what will happen the next time Germany chooses a parliament.
This profound discontent and hatred not only strikes against failed parties on the right. A recent shock poll in Great Britain suggests that Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be destroyed in the next British Parliamentary election. He certainly wasn’t helped by having a major scandal erupt involving British socialized medicine putting the elderly to sleep in NHS hospitals. This is precisely the sort of despicable behavior that leads people to believe that those that govern them consider their lives no more important than the cyber-lives of spear-carriers in some garagantuan autocratic video game.
This discontent also raises its ugly head in the United States, as well. President Barack Obama’s previously stratospheric approval ratings are under 50%. The GOP holds a 7% edge in some recent Congressional preference polling. Both of the major contested gubernatorial races for 2009 lean GOP. The people seem prepared to tell Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi what sort of change they believe in.
Thus, in four different nations, athwart governing coalitions on both ends of the classical political spectrum, the people are rising up against the theory of Government as a PlayStation Game. They are grabbing the joy stick in the only manner they no how. They are throwing whoever holds the fasces out of office in favor of Plan B. This even happens if Plan B involves an undefined cipher.
Therein lays the challenge for the Tories in Great Britain, Die Linke in Germany and the GOP in the USA. No one is saying they want John Boehner as Speaker of The House or David Cameron to govern Great Britain. Polling data backs up the assertion that neither of these men has acquired a mandate at the current time. They are saying they want the current government out the door for colossal arrogance and profound unrealism.
Thus to undo the damage, rescind the condescension and make Americans feel like actual citizens of a legitimately free nation, John Boehner will have to embody humility with a purpose. Government must do fewer things, with greater proficiency and vastly more concern and respect for the people which hire it every two to four years. If Congressman Boehner becomes Speaker Boehner in 2010, the sentence written above must become the driving rudimentary principle for a new and drastically different agenda for the United States Congress.
Should Speaker Boehner place-hold for a mendacious and corrupt status quo, or even worse yet, find new ways for government to control our lives like an over-caffeinated and under-social video game dweeb, his misrule will be blessedly attenuated. The people don’t see a right party, a left party or even a commonly decent party right now.
They see a feudal aristocracy of pull which rapes the wealth of the land, for personal satisfaction. The average American believes our leaders govern without reference to any sense of commonweal. Restoring the humility of those who govern and the faith of those who comprise the citizenry is the only way to end the current video game mentality before we end up in utter revolution. Otherwise, Civilization V: Revolt of the People, can only end in one way for the United States of America - Game Over!