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do something! this is something. let's do that!
and why "leaders" are so bad at hatching plots for world domination
more so than perhaps any time in modern history, the reasoning of government has become circular. those in power become gold givers who lavish funding upon groups who will, in turn, gin up reasons and rationales for those in power to take more power.
these “experts” then write large official “think pieces” that wind up dominating politics.
and it looks like “outside support.”
but it’s not expertise.
it’s not even reason.
it’s bought and paid for songs from medieval bards about how kingdoms are sad and desperate and prone to problems without beneficent kings to sagely rule them.
and such aspiring sovereigns are always plotting.
it’s what they do.
but they are also not very good at it and the fact that they get their data and thought structures from echo chambers of presumptive pipers whose tune they called a decade ago does not help.
they spend so much time immersed in the music that they themselves composed that they forget that it is not the beat to which the world dances. and reality is not optional. so they wind up going all kinds of wrong but rarely see it until they crash the careening clowncar they created and mistook for the all terrain vehicle to righteous rulership.
we have this strange contradiction in our thought in the west:
on the one hand, we look at our leaders and say “these people are idiots and should not be trusted with anything more dangerous than a PB&J with the crust cut off.”
on the other, we see these super-genius super-villain plots being run by them.
these ideas not consistent with one another.
grand nefarious plots are all well and good, but mostly, these people are fools and they do not suddenly get smart when it’s time twirl their moustaches and hatch, much less execute wildly complicated schemes. and once you start the ball rolling, it’s A LOT harder to keep this stuff under control than it looks.
consider the possibility:
these are mostly not james bond villains.
these are mostly scooby doo villains.
most of the actual “leaders” people fear always pick the worst idea and it always goes bad on them because it was based on assumptions that provide an unsound foundation.
but we are to believe that these 8d chess playing galaxy brains chose these self-unravelling sweaters in which to garb themselves for their grand grab at the brass ring of world domination cuz “super smart”?
when untrained, inexperienced people are faced with fear and crisis, they freak out and mostly grab at whatever comes to hand and/or is shouted loudly at them.
there is a terrible jump of illogic that occurs and a basically irresistible bias toward action vs inaction because scared people want to act and a scared populace demands action.
we saw this with bells on all covid.
and it creates a one sided bet for leaders:
if you do nothing and things go wrong, they’ll string you up.
but if you do lots of very obvious and strident things, even if it all goes pear shaped, you look leadershippy and you can always claim “it would have been so much worse if i had not done X.”
that argument does not work with inaction. people clamor for “something” too hard.
and this is a terrible basis for launching grand plots.
you get the “crisis 3 step.”
1. we need to do something
2. this is something
3. so we need to do this
and just what “this” winds up being depends upon what is lying around.
and what is lying around is often the work of NGO’s and think tanks that produce “think pieces” based on “thought experiments” like this one from may of 2010 that seems to have surfaced recently.
this sort of access may appear to make control of NGO’s a real commanding heights and it might seem like a recipe for a plot, but once you mix the ingredients, it’s a generally recipe for disaster.
this 50 page delirium dream covers quite a wide range of topics in a number of scenarios all with a sort of “presumption that beneficent statism and technocratic rule is the path to solving complex problems” which seems pretty par for the course from groups like this.
they get funded by big government to gin up reasons that we need big government and to put the frighteners on anyone who wants to resist by painting terrible tragedy to come from “the pesky people who want to keep their rights.”
pretty predictable pablum.
but what has sent the conspiracists aflame here is how closely this is alleged to have predicted covid and all the plans and overreach therein.
and this raised questions about “well, so was this actually a cunning plot in the works for decades?”
and naming the pandemic scenario “lock step” was just gasoline on the fire.
but i think this is getting overblown in its significance.
upon closer examination…
superficially, this seems oddly prescient, but i’m not at all sure that’s so. it’s a pretty pedestrian prediction that’s been made for generations. big scary disease, world closes. 1918 all over again.
but note how much it got wrong. it predicted big death in africa and SE asia. nope. didn’t happen.
but look at the US and china.
this is very much the “story” that got told probably because it was the story that was lying around here and who knows where else. all these folks tend to read and write the same stuff and these sorts of top down statist collectivist organizations have always loved dictatorships and coveted such power. wilson and FDR were notorious and open admirers of it.
but you can see the strong lean against rights and toward a sort of consequentialist justification for taking them “for your own good.”
even the language frames this. “deadly in its leniency.”
china became a prison and saved the day! huzzah!
of course, this is all completely wrong. lockdowns did nothing. closing borders did nothing. we had 100 years of known and knowable pandemic guidelines and data to tell us so.
china did indeed go wild with aggressive action, but there is no basis to claim it worked. they are literally a country synonymous with lying about data. it sure did not work anywhere else in the world and places like sweden that did basically nothing fared best so this idea that “you just needed to stomp harder” looks pretty out of step with the facts.
now look at what’s claimed next:
here we start seeing the nub of the assumptive plan. we got you used to all manner of new tyranny and it stuck. ah-ha, the cunning villain pounces! this has clearly been the plan all over the west! use crisis to take power, take power, don’t give it back!
but this is hardly a new idea. this is the despot’s diary going back 100’s of years, maybe 1000’s. this is hardly some “outlier” prediction, it’s just a basic familiarity with human nature and and the behavior of those who seek power in the presence of crises.
the closer one looks, the more holes appear.
on tech, we can focus on the two it got right or the three it got wrong, but you can sure see the dystopian creep in the thinking. but nothing here is especially radical or could not be found in 80 years of sci fi.
but it would seem that even rudimentary expertise as “futurists” does not cross over into “economist.”
check out the jump they look to make:
At first, the notion of a more controlled world gained wide acceptance and approval. Citizens willingly gave up some of their sovereignty — and their privacy — to more paternalistic states in exchange for greater safety and stability.
Citizens were more tolerant, and even eager, for top-down direction and oversight, and national leaders had more latitude to impose order in the ways they saw fit. In developed countries, this heightened oversight took many forms: biometric IDs for all citizens, for example, and tighter regulation of key industries whose stability was deemed vital to national interests. In many developed countries, enforced cooperation with a suite of new regulations and agreements slowly but steadily restored both order and, importantly, economic growth.
now it’s easy to say “see, this is exactly what they did, right down to pushing the ID and taking over industries (like banks) but pay particular attention to that last line, because it is the doozy: they think it’s gonna work to drive “order and economic growth” and despite all the wild protestations to the contrary from the folks who think china is an exemplar on governance and data transparency: it ain’t.
the US has just endured 24 straight months of declining real hourly earnings, the worst since the great depression. (2008 was half as long and far less deep)
and this is why plans like this fall apart. you land, as ever, in “authoritarian collectivism, one five year plan away from a worker’s utopia since 1907!” and the wheels start coming off of everything because, just like lockdowns, it’s a facile presumption of success from a practice with a history of centuries of unbroken failure.
not exactly grade A basis for plotting.
now where this really gets funny is that in amongst all this rockefeller rhapsody about the benefits of our supreme beneficent overlords and this clear “plan” for conquest, one wonders: did the alleged plotters read to the end?
because there is a sort of stupefying divergence here.
they seem to see the issue with top down rules, but then misdiagnose the problem vector as “privately owned IP.”
once more it seems they want to bet on the collectivism and removal of profit motive that has destroyed innovation in so many places over time.
Meanwhile, in the developed world, the presence of so many top-down rules and norms greatly inhibited entrepreneurial activity. Scientists and innovators were often told by governments what research lines to pursue and were guided mostly toward projects that would make money (e.g., market-driven product development) or were “sure bets” (e.g., fundamental research), leaving more risky or innovative research areas largely untapped. Well-off countries and monopolistic companies with big research and development budgets still made significant advances, but the IP behind their breakthroughs remained locked behind strict national or corporate protection.
and this just becomes humorous.
note that in this scenario, the pandemic was 2012, so 2025 is 13 years later.
seems a tad optimistic, no?
try more like 3.
in the end, it’s a half baked plan based on presumptions about “how great it would be if you all just did what the experts tell you” even if you ultimately wind up resenting it.
you can pick out the couple predictions that look correct, but taken as a whole, this is not a terribly compelling augury.
don’t pick cherries.
one must exercise great caution when cherry picking parts of plots. the rest of this allegedly cassandra like document really drive this home:
the section on “clever together” (p26) is well worth a read for its revival tent paean to collective action and selfless cooperation guided by the steady hands of global groups like the the UN, an organization so manifestly incompetent and corrupt that if you left it in charge of a lemonade stand it’s even odds whether they’d regulate it out of existence, bankrupt it, or steal it and run off with the lemons.
the “hack attack” scenario is another hilarity of “if we do not have powerful governments with far reaching security apparatuses and control over the global weather we’re all doomed.”
With government power weakened, order rapidly disintegrating, and safety nets evaporating, violence and crime grew more rampant. Countries with ethnic, religious, or class divisions saw especially sharp spikes in hostility…Technology-enabled gangs and networked criminal enterprises exploited both the weakness of states and the desperation of individuals. With increasing ease, these “global guerillas” moved illicit products through underground channels from poor producer countries to markets in the developed world.
the takeaway is that without strong central states we all get eaten by badguy cyber warlords instead. quite the take from those aspiring to be badguy cyber-warlords themselves.
the final scenario “smart scramble” i’ll leave to you as a fun surprise for the intrepid. it’s easily the stupidest of the four and yet another descent into “no one can solve their own problems and no order or effective system ever evolves without strong, dictatorial central planning.”
it’s just more high octane twaddle about how “we the people who write reports and the governments that fund us are your only hope and you’re all going to be dead in a ditch in about 6 minutes unless we save you.”
now, i certainly suspect that many of the folks who read reports like this (and there are 1000’s of reports like this) believe them and believe fervently in their super special place in the world telling everyone else what to do. for their own good. out of the goodness of their hearts. but the fact that you got one bit of alignment here says MUCH less about successful plotting than people seem to think. it’s mostly post facto ascription and shoe-horning into narrative.
i know everyone always gets mad when i say this, but it really is true. with this many reports making this many claims, someone is bound to hit something close with some of what they say. but these guys batted, at best, 1 for 4 as the other 3 are just clownworld and even the one they hit looked very wrong in most key assumptions.
this is not to say there are not some effective plotters out there, but they tend to be smaller scale.
a few of the smarter, more potent grifters may sneak in, steal some goodies and sneak out while leaving someone else with the bag, but this is because they are smart enough to move early, sell the sizzle, and be long gone by the time any actual steak hits the table.
even john’s hopkins’ event 201 or some such where it was obvious (in retrospect) that the attendees were hatching real time plans based on real time info that was not yet public and that may have had large scale cascading effects was really not about “world domination” it was team davos getting together to plan how to best profit from insider information.
i wonder how many there had read this report or one like it?
is this how we landed on such unified talking points that were mostly so wrong?
perhaps it became the lockstep plan because it was the sort of plan that was lying around, but the execution is always a clownshow because the assumptions about cause and effect are all wrong.
to be sure, we can find some political opportunists trying to take advantage, but this is always the case, they tend to play 1 or no move lookahead, and they wind up with more egg on their face than that time i knocked over the omelet bar and the folks who made the moolah rode giggling into the sunset some time ago.
did covid save us?
sure, it can look like a plot for a few minutes, but in many ways, i think covid may have saved us from the rest of this plan.
they may have have thought they were being clever and “moving up the timetable” but they didn’t.
it was too much, too fast, and too clearly wrong. the models and interventions were testable in real time, the effects obvious, the prices widely paid and highly visible.
outside a few small factions, this did not increase the desire for “leadership by expert” it likely undermined it for a generation. they woke up silent center and they lost them.
team clown may not get it yet, but the vast mobile middle of western societies does and enough have had enough that they now distrust these erstwhile imperials on every vector.
that’s the price you pay for believing your own fairy stories. everyone saw them fail. and they, who thought they were getting ready for the glorious drive into the capitol for their truimph instead bear the blame for having turned lives and economies into a catastrophically careening clown car.
and there is nothing funny about a clown car crash.
clown car crashes are deadly.