Global elites play ‘Let’s Pretend’ as the world crashes in around them
Matthew Continetti writing in the Washington Free Beacon:
The last week has provided a sad but worthwhile opportunity to assess the global elite, the heads of state and government, the bankers and journalists and celebrities, as they worked overtime to preserve a veneer of progress and stability. From Athens to Beijing, D.C. to Vienna, the desire has been to avoid tough decisions, to prolong deliberation, to pretend as though dangerous emerging trends do not exist. To take action, to provoke, to choose, to commit, to fight, to admit reality would be far too disruptive, would cost too much, and would endanger the social positions our best and brightest have worked so mightily to attain. Better for them to wait things out.
So begins one of the more thoughtful and incisive essays in recent memory. As Continetti writes, Obama, Kerry, the EU, Greece, and the elites from Turtle Bay to Tehran are playing one gigantic game of “Let’s Pretend”:
What we have in the Iran deal is another instance of the ruling caste distorting reality to suit its ideological preferences. It is also the most dangerous instance. So much elite discourse resembles the game let’s pretend that it’s become difficult to restate what is true and what is false. Let’s act as if Iran negotiates in good faith, as if Greece can remain in the Euro, as if the Chinese have their economic situation under control, as if immigration policy had nothing to do with the murder of Kate Steinle, as if the Islamic State can be destroyed without major American involvement, as if you can promote racial antagonism and animosity toward police without an increase in crime and disorder, as if Hillary Clinton excites the Democratic Party, as if the Confederate flag was responsible for an act of racial terrorism in Charleston, as if we shouldn’t apply moral standards to Planned Parenthood’s traffic in fetal tissue, as if Caitlyn Jenner, peace be upon her, is more courageous than Lauren Hill or Noah Galloway. And let’s do all of this without considering the trade offs and missed opportunities, the externalities and sunk costs, of maintaining a culture grounded in wish fulfillment and infantilization.
There is, after all, only so much self-delusion a society can take before it loses its mind.
We are rapidly approaching that limit.
How can they get away with it? The first line of defense against the illusions created by the elites is the press. And they have been castrated – or, perhaps more accurately, they have cut off their own testicles. They play along with the fantasies by choice, preferring to indulge in their little partisan games while society blows up and the world careens out of control. As for the rest of us, the lack of critical thinking skills among ordinary citizens living in the mostly democratic West results in most people swallowing the treacle emanating from Obama and the rest without a second look – if they even bother to take a first look.
The Iran deal is a fabulous artifice, an intricately woven shawl that masks its real intent: the avoidance of military confrontation with Iran and the rise of Persian regional hegemony. “Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation,” President Obama said at his press conference Thursday, “or it’s resolved through war. Those are the options.” He presented his diplomatic resolution as a fait accompli, as the best America could ever hope to do. If the deal favors Iran, which it unequivocally does— without so much as closing a nuclear facility this rogue regime gets cash, legitimacy, and an end to U.N. bans on sales of conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology—it is because Obama wanted desperately to pursue the diplomatic option and prove its validity.
Read the whole thing.