Before you can reach the TOE, you have to satisfy the GUT. This is not a Pervert’s Guide To Dating, but rather the current state of science. We’d like to have a Theory Of Everything that would explain the creation and operation of the Universe in detail, but such a TOE is reliant on a working Grand Unified Theory that explains the quantum-level interactions of various forces. The purpose of the various atom-smashing colliders around the world is to observe those interactions at very high energy levels. Apparently there’s a merging of the electromagnetic and weak forces into an “electroweak”; that’s a clue.
Don’t ask me to explain any further, I majored in 18thC Brit Lit. As far as I know, the real purpose of a “Loop” is to put the soul of your big brother into a depressed-looking robot.
The American Left has a Grand Unified Theory to explain everything that happens in America, and that theory is Racism In All Its Forms. Everything you don’t like about America, or indeed about life, is probably somehow due to racism. It is the original sin from which all others flow, as documented in its holy text, The 1619 Project. When non-whites commit an offence against this ideology, as was the case with Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys, we are told it is due to “multiracial whiteness”, in which the Person-of-Color is, ah, possessed by the dybbuk of an evil white person.
Don’t ask me to explain any further, I majored in 18thC Brit Lit. As far as I know, the dybbuk is primarily a science fiction phenomenon.
There’s no GUT for the American Right, which makes sense because nowadays the Right contains the nonconformist side of things. A hundred years ago, the Right was a unified whole with a functioning GUT — it was called “The Bible” — and the Left was the nonconformist side that couldn’t decide if it was a labor movement, an art movement, or a sexual-liberation movement. Still, in order to provide any alternative to the Uniparty, the Right needs a way to explain why things are the way they are, one that doesn’t involve racism, because that’s like trying to create an electric vehicle infrastructure where you burn gas in a turbine to create electricity, if that makes any sense.
The nice people at Tablet have just published a paper that does a pretty good job of explaining America’s current state in a single word. That word is: China. The individual facts of the paper are not in dispute. Only the conclusion is open to debate. It’s scary — but we’ve seen this movie before. Or have we?
The Thirty Tyrants is the name of the Tablet piece. As is usually the case here, I’ll excerpt some of the big hits for those of you who don’t want to read it right now.
For decades, American policymakers and the corporate class said they saw China as a rival, but the elite that Friedman described saw enlightened Chinese autocracy as a friend and even as a model—which was not surprising, given that the Chinese Communist Party became their source of power, wealth, and prestige. Why did they trade with an authoritarian regime and by sending millions of American manufacturing jobs off to China thereby impoverish working Americans? Because it made them rich. They salved their consciences by telling themselves they had no choice but to deal with China: It was big, productive, and efficient and its rise was inevitable. And besides, the American workers hurt by the deal deserved to be punished—who could defend a class of reactionary and racist ideological naysayers standing in the way of what was best for progress?
Trump’s incessant attacks on that elite gave them collective self-awareness as well as a powerful motive for solidarity. Together, they saw that they represented a nexus of public and private sector interests that shared not only the same prejudices and hatreds, cultural tastes and consumer habits but also the same center of gravity—the U.S.-China relationship. And so, the China Class was born.
A decade ago, no one would’ve put NBA superstar LeBron James and Apple CEO Tim Cook in the same family album, but here they are now, linked by their fantastic wealth owing to cheap Chinese manufacturing (Nike sneakers, iPhones, etc.) and a growing Chinese consumer market. The NBA’s $1.5 billion contract with digital service provider Tencent made the Chinese firm the league’s biggest partner outside America. In gratitude, these two-way ambassadors shared the wisdom of the Chinese Communist Party with their ignorant countrymen. After an an NBA executive tweeted in defense of Hong Kong dissidents, social justice activist King LeBron told Americans to watch their tongues. “Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech,” said James, “it can be a lot of negative that comes with it.”
And because it was true that China was the source of the China Class’ power, the novel coronavirus coming out of Wuhan became the platform for its coup de grace. So Americans became prey to an anti-democratic elite that used the coronavirus to demoralize them; lay waste to small businesses; leave them vulnerable to rioters who are free to steal, burn, and kill; keep their children from school and the dying from the last embrace of their loved ones; and desecrate American history, culture, and society; and defame the country as systemically racist in order to furnish the predicate for why ordinary Americans in fact deserved the hell that the elite’s private and public sector proxies had already prepared for them.
Nearly every major American industry has a stake in China. From Wall Street—Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley— to hospitality. A Marriott Hotel employee was fired when Chinese officials objected to his liking a tweet about Tibet. They all learned to play by CCP rules.
“It’s so pervasive, it’s better to ask who’s not tied into China,” says former Trump administration official Gen. (Ret.) Robert Spalding.
This is a small part of the essay, which is remarkably well-organized and forceful. There are two other rather damming assertions made in said essay. The first is that the majority of overseas American troop deployments are in the furtherance of Chinese, not American interests; the second is that the COVID-19 crisis was a direct result of Chinese attempts to crack down on internal dissent.
While referring to America’s elite as “The China Class” seems provocative, it’s hard to argue with the fact that most of those elites rely to one degree or another on China’s cooperation, whether it is Amazon’s status as the number-one cloaca for Chinese junk, Stanford’s reliance on China’s grant money, or the fact that so-called “Mad Dog” Mattis earns his living as a consultant for a Chinese advocacy group. LeBron James lectures us about racism in the United States but is professionally silent about whatever’s happening to people in Hong Kong.
This Grand Unified Theory — namely, that the American elite has become a vassal class to the Chinese elite, and operates accordingly — is pretty hard to disprove. The logical outcome of this theory is the eventual Brazil-ification of the United States. The Chinese-connected will live in gated communities and reap the rewards of their vassal state, while the rest of the country will descend into poverty-stricken polyglot chaos that is periodically suppressed by mercenary troops. But it’s worth noting that we’ve seen this movie before.
Thirty years ago, Japan’s influence on the United States was pervasive and terrifying. The Japanese took our cash for their imported cars, televisions, and consumer goods — then used that cash to buy capital assets in this country. The iconic deal was Mitsubishi’s purchase of Rockefeller Center. Michael Crichton wrote a fascinating book, Rising Sun, in which only a Japanese-aware warrior-savant could protect the country from the horrifying power of people who were smarter, harder-working, and richer than we were.
China’s power over America today is exponentially greater than whatever Japan could do at its apex, but it is similarly dependent on maintaining domestic growth and tranquility back home. It’s worth noting that while the primary Japanese purchases of real estate were commercial, the Chinese real estate purchases are overwhelmingly residential, with tens of thousands of wealthy Chinese nationals buying homes on the West Coast all the way up to Vancouver, known informally as “Van Kong” since around the Clinton era.
These people aren’t buying vacation homes; they’re buying boltholes for some unspecified upheaval to come. What will happen if China enters a Lost Decade, the way Japan did? Or will the system so admired by our own elites, that pernicious hybrid of capitalist greed and communist autocracy, prove to be the most durable way to govern an increasingly rowdy and ignorant proletariat, both there and here?
Either way, one half of America is going to get a punch… right in the GUT.