Facing the Hard Truth on “Packing the Court”

The present angst of the left on judiciary nominations started with one of their own unwise moves:

The Senate has been on the brink of ending the filibuster twice in the last 15 years. In 2005, Majority Leader Bill Frist, frustrated by a Democratic filibuster of seven federal judicial nominations that had gone on for months, considered changing Senate rules to end the filibuster. In the end, Frist made the decision not to “go nuclear,” concluding that, long term, keeping the filibuster in place was better for the institution of the Senate and, therefore, better for the country.

Eight years later in 2013, it would be Harry Reid and a Democratic majority that would do away with the filibuster for executive branch appointments and judicial nominations, with the exception of the Supreme Court. Despite warnings from the minority that it was a decision they would live to regret, Reid and the Democrats deployed the nuclear option anyway.

Let me be clear: when I say “packing the court” I don’t mean nominating many judges of one idea or another, like Joe Biden does.  I mean it the way FDR and those who came after him understood it, i.e., increasing the number of members of the Supreme Court to make sure that there are enough judges of your idea to make “it” happen, no matter what “it” is.

Technically speaking, it’s not a constitutional issue either way.  The filibuster isn’t enshrined in the Constitution and neither is the number of Supreme Court judges (unlike, say, the number of Senators or Representatives.)  The fact that the legitimacy of our judiciary hangs on procedural/legal issues and not constitutional ones is a weakness of our system.  Personally I don’t think the Founders envisioned the large role the judiciary plays in our system, but when John Marshall unilaterally made the Supreme Court the arbiter of constitutionality, that pretty much settled the issue.  Getting rid of the filibuster for judicial nominees was Harry Reid’s expedient to get his way on them.  It was controversial at the time; even some of his supporters said it would come back to haunt the Democrats.  It has.

The fundamental problem on a Federal level is that our legislature either cannot pass proper legislation or, when it can, cannot write it properly.  The ACA is a classic example of this.  Sprawling and complicated, the Supreme Court up until now has had to fix its deficiencies.  A country with long established entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare should be able to make something like this stick, but it’s been a struggle.  (The authors and administrators also engaged in overreach, something that triggered things like the Spanish Civil War.)  If our legislature would be more strategic in its vision and detail-oriented in its drafting, our courts wouldn’t have as much to do.  But it’s not, and we have the mess we have.

Amy Coney Barrett and the Lessons of the Ukrainians

In the midst of everything else that’s going on, next Monday (Lord willing) we’ll start confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett to be the newest justice on the Supreme Court.  In light of the fact that she was and is in a Catholic Charismatic covenant community, I’ve tried to shed some light on what that really means and not be taken off on rabbit trails by our uninformed media.

I didn’t turn down membership in such a community because of what they believed.  I turned it down because I didn’t think their authoritarian structure was, well, a propos.  That separates me from those who somewhere along the way “discovered” what their idea really was.  Part of that idea is certainly wrapped up in the way they looked at the world around them.  To varying degrees, covenant communities were a preparation for a time when Christianity would be very unpopular and even persecuted in our culture.  That time looked imminent in the 1970’s, in the wake of the nervous breakdown we experienced. I really thought that such times were coming.  But I had my doubts as to whether the communities that were forming in the Catholic Charismatic community were an answer to this problem, and those doubts were confirmed in something that happened in the next decade.

In 1988 my church facilitated the resettlement of twenty-four Ukrainian Pentecostal refugees.  For someone who had been regaled with stories of the persecuted church, to have real contact with these people was a chance-in-a-lifetime experience.  The fact that I had made my own first trip to the USSR the previous spring only added to the anticipation.  We struggled with the language barrier but we did learn quite a bit about their life under communism.

The first is that the USSR was as hard on Christians as everyone said it was.  That varied with the generation.  Many of the older people had done hard time in Siberia.  One had been sent to an “orphanage” because her parents had been shipped to Siberia and couldn’t raise their child.  The younger ones had it better; under Brezhnev, things lightened up.  The biggest problem was that you couldn’t go on to higher education unless you were in the Young Pioneers, which meant that you had to be a communist, in outward form at least.  This was unacceptable to them, although they had relatives who had backslid along the way.

The second is that their churches did have organization but it was informal in that there were no paid clergy.  (Some of the reason for that is here.)  They were house churches, organized around the families that came.  (There were more formal Evangelical churches with buildings, my wife and I visited one two years later.)  Their leadership tended to be strong (it still is in Slavic churches over here) but more than just the pastor was allowed to speak during their meetings, something I also saw in covenant communities (I think the latter kept a tighter rein on what got said.)

The third is that they had no problem participating in the underground economy (or «marché noir» as my African contacts called it.)  Although it’s easy to understand why one would disrespect a government which was trying to eradicate your religion, the Ukrainians lacked the punctilious obsession American Christians have with abiding by every law and regulation the government comes up with.  (Within the church they were capable of serious legalism, something people in the Church of God could relate to.)

The fourth is that they were a lot of fun.  They had a good sense of humour and knew how to enjoy life.  If I had to make the greatest contrast between them and covenant community people, it was that, I always felt that the latter were too serious.  Beyond that, covenant communities were a synthetic response to coming persecution; what the Ukrainians experienced was real.

Lastly, the Ukrainians had the advantage of not having to deal with an “over church” like the covenant communities did with the RCC.  They were a real, autocephalous (to use the fancy ecclesiastical term) group.  That complicated relationship came back to haunt the covenant community movement; I am surprised the People of Praise have stuck it out as long as they have.

For me, having experienced both of these groups, the reason why it’s important to put Amy Coney Barrett on SCOTUS is to avoid (or at least try to avoid) getting ourselves into the same situation that our Ukrainian Pentecostal friends found themselves in and from which they’ve tried to escape.  But the irony that we’ve nominated someone who is a product of a community that was formed, in part, to weather the storms of the “laid, high or drunk” crowd is one of those ironies that makes us say “you just can’t make this stuff up.”

In the Old Days, They Always Wanted to Wreck the Computer

As was the case at Stamford in 1971:

H. Bruce Franklin was the center of attention at Stanford University’s White Plaza one winter day in 1971. The steely-eyed, raven-haired associate English professor delivered a fiery speech during a campus rally. Stray dogs ran laps around the crossed legs of student revolutionaries as Franklin spit his ire toward an unlikely target: the campus computer center. As he and other activists had recently learned, the facility was helping the U.S. Navy develop a program named Gamut-H, which would be used for an amphibious invasion in North Vietnam.

The time for token acts of protest was over, Franklin declared, urging protestors to do real damage to the institutions of imperialism and citing the building as a “good target.” Soon after Professor Franklin’s speech, more than a hundred students scaled the fence of the center, broke open the back door, climbed to the roof to hoist flags in support of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, and occupied the building. Their actions resulted in a daylong revolutionary melee. Riot police stormed the campus, the teenage son of a history professor was shot, and Franklin became the first tenured professor to ever be fired from Stanford.

This wasn’t the only incident of its kind in the day: the year before, the mathematician Peter Lax saved the computer at New York University from a similar attack.  At the time I wrote the piece on that attack (2012) I made the following observations:

The fact is that the left, very much in the driver’s seat in this country these days, is largely the follow-up to the 1960’s radical agenda.  One should think of the 2008 election; the Democratic primary was a battle between a 60’s radical who was actually there (Hillary Clinton) and one who absorbed the philosophy of its leading light (Barack Obama/Bill Ayers).  Two years before the incident at New York University, Mary Hopkin recorded the Russian song “Those Were the Days” which included the following prophetic lyrics:

Oh my friend we’re older but no wiser
For in our hearts the dreams are still the same

That’s pretty much where the American left is at.  Their dreams, Luddite to the core, have never changed, and they are certainly “older but no wiser”.  They can wrap themselves in their “scientific” flag all they want, but their vision of life would take us back to a more primitive stage of living if fully implemented (assuming we survived the shock).  That’s why, for example, they would never dare consider nuclear power to reduce greenhouse gases, even though Greenpeace’s founder has seen daylight on the issue.

Today we’re pretty much on steroids with all of this.  The Antifa and BLM people who terrorize our cities are the successors of those 1960’s and 1970’s radicals, complete with the children of the privileged at the ramparts.  This time, however, they have more support from those who own and operate this society, although they will pull the plug if they think their own privilege is being threatened.

The more serious question is this: it wasn’t a given that this country, weakened then as now by these kinds of movements, avoided loss to the Soviets.  So what’s going to stop a country, weakened again by its own guilty elites, from being rolled by the Chinese?

Was the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Really Catholic?

The week after next the grilling of our latest Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, will begin.  There will be a great deal of pressure brought to bear on the fact that she is a serious Roman Catholic.  That happened during the last nominating process; Diane Feinstein’s remark about the dogma living loudly within her reflected that.  There will be more focus on that.

But is that focus misplaced?  She is a product of a covenant community, the People of Praise, and a major one at that.  This puts her whole relationship with Roman Catholicism in a different light.  The relationship between the covenant communities and the Church is a complicated one.  This isn’t going to be a “blow by blow” account of that, but more of a personal reflection based in part on experience and in part on knowledge gleaned from others with more personal–and in some cases unhappy–experience with covenant communities (most of my personal experience comes with prayer groups that did not formalize a covenant commitment.)

Let’s start by making a bold statement: the RCC in the US during the late 1960’s and 1970’s was, in many ways, a different church than the one we have now.  In the wake of Vatican II and the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae (the liturgy that followed Vatican II) it was more open to influences coming from outside of the Church than before or since.  David Peterman, who headed up the Community of God’s Delight (a major covenant community in Dallas) noted that there were two streams flowing: the one of Catholic thought before Vatican II and the other from Pentecostal and Evangelical Christianity.  Because the Church never figured out how to communicate the former to the faithful, the latter surged in those years, and the Church had a decidedly “Protestant” feel to it.  #straightouttairondale types will hit the floor before they can grab the smelling salts at that statement, but one advantage is that it made it easier to get converts (like me) coming from Main Line churches which were selling the pass on the basics.  It was possible in the 1970’s to go through Catholic life without an Ave Maria or a rosary; I know, I did it.

That brings us to the ecumenical nature of prayer groups and covenant communities.  Catholic permission for ecumenical activities is, even after Vatican II, fairly restrictive.  Ecumenical groups such as the People of Praise weren’t really “according to Hoyle” but the hierarchy, from the parish level up, was so shell-shocked that they let it slide.  It’s interesting to note that many of the objections to this state of affairs comes not from traditional Catholics but from the left, from the likes of J. Massyngberde Ford or John Flaherty.  And the influence of those communities and prayer groups on parishes was usually limited.  I was confidently told that there was a certain Mass at St. Rita’s in Dallas where members of God’s Delight gathered, and I went, but you really had to look hard to detect their presence.

At this point I want to stop and say with a decent degree of confidence that the type of Christianity that Judge Barrett experienced in the Catholic Charismatic renewal was different in important ways from either the conventional Catholicism of the day or the Trad/Rad Trad Catholicism that is fashionable in some circles today.

However, like the covenant communities themselves, this situation was metastable.  The thing that changed was the accession of Pope John Paul II in 1978, who was determined to bring some order to the chaos of the waning decade.  The existing renewal was impacted and responded in various ways.  One of them was the Sword of the Spirit network, led by Steve Clark and Ralph Martin, who wanted to continue on as they had with the ecumenical and authoritarian communities by more or less going “underground.”  (The People of Praise split off from this.)  In other cases the Church brought these communities to heel, either by forcing them to abandon their ecumenical ways (God’s Delight) or by dissolving the community altogether (Servants of Christ the King.)  But another effective weapon was the imposition of Marian devotions, which was guaranteed to split covenant community and prayer group alike.  I was involved in a prayer group that experienced the latter; it was one of the nastiest things I’ve ever seen in a Christian group.  This kind of thing generally came from the inside, which only made matters worse.

So the situation today is much different than before.  That difference is obscured by the fact that many of the major figures of those times in the Renewal have switched over to the #straightouttairondale Catholicism, which in many ways is antithetical to what they were in before.

My advice to everyone is to evaluate Amy Coney Barrett on what presents itself now and not try to impose some ideal construct of what Catholicism is or is supposed to be.  In addition to being from the New Orleans area (which always complicates things) her antecedents coming out of a covenant community are more complicated than they look.  I doubt that members of the U.S. Senate will do this, but stuff like that is one reason why it isn’t the deliberative body it used to be.

From Covenant Community to SCOTUS Nominee

Well, it’s official: the product of a Catholic Charismatic covenant community, Amy Coney Barrett, is the nominee to be a Supreme Court Justice.  My regular readers know that I’ve dealt with this subject over the years, from this piece in 2011 (where I document why I turned down the invitation to join one) to the present.  One of the albums I posted came from the People of Praise, the community Barrett is a part of.

If I were sitting in one of the meetings of the Community of God’s Delight over forty years ago and someone told me that a product of another major covenant community would end up in the situation Barrett now faces, I wouldn’t have believed them.  That’s not because the members of the community typically lacked formal education or were not professional people.  The man who taught my Life in the Spirit Seminar, Joe Canterbury, was a Dallas attorney whose delivery of the Seminar reminded me of a closing argument for a jury.  And of course we have David Peterman, the PhD holding engineer who ended up leading the Community.  The extreme bifurcation of education and status–and the wealth inequality that goes with it–wasn’t as extreme in American life then, which is interesting because one of the battle cries of Barrett’s opponents is “equality.”

The reason for my disbelief is because covenant communities, like much of the Charismatic Renewal at the time, were decidedly escapist and more akin to the “Remnant” theology of my Baptist grandparents, which I discuss in my piece on Elizabeth Warren.  In some ways these communities were the prototypes of Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option.”  Some of the leaders of the day, like Ralph Martin, still reflect that idea.  One of the things this nomination will be “about” is whether people who want to seriously live the way that Barrett lives will be permitted to do so, or even to express that desire.

The current idea in American politics–especially as it comes from the left–is that those who live in this country are obligated to support their racial and sexual construct.  That of course is totalitarianism, and their criticisms of authoritarianism from institutions like covenant communities ring hollow.  In order for that totalitarianism to succeed, things like rights must be set aside, and along with those rights the due process that judiciaries are constituted to uphold.

We’ve already been regaled with a “trial balloon” of setting due process aside with the blowback from the “Dear Colleague” letter than came from Barack Obama’s Department of Education on sexual harassment and assault.  The enthusiastic response of university administrators to this was breathtaking.  Now I’m not one to support the encouragement of the “laid, high or drunk” mentality our elites hold sacred, and I’ll bet that Barrett isn’t either.  But leaving due process in the rear view mirror isn’t right, and if you can get away with doing it in that important of a field of law you can do it anywhere else.  Barrett herself was involved in the judicial pushback against this; that’s a legitimate subject to discuss now, but those who oppose Barrett’s idea don’t want the issue framed around due process.

But getting back to the original point: I’m not looking forward to the whole issue of Catholic Charismatic covenant communities being front and centre in a this kind of process.  The whole issue is complicated from an ecclesiastical standpoint let alone a political one; a great deal of ignorance will be on display.  My reservations about covenant communities have not changed in the forty years since the choice was put in front of me back in Dallas, and I’ve never regretted my decision not to join.

But that doesn’t change the fact that covenant community authoritarianism has more than met its match, and that’s the fight we’re having now.

Aligning with the Obvious in the Middle East

The recent normalisation of relations between Israel on the one hand and the United Arab Emirates on the other hand has been billed as a major foreign policy triumph of the Trump administration.  It is that, to the extent that at least a little of the American foreign policy establishment was forced to conform with the obvious (and you know what I think about Americans and the obvious.)  It’s unlikely that the Arab states would have entered into this just because the Americans wanted them to; you don’t survive in the Middle East by doing everything the American government tells you to do.  It’s the result of several things, some of which this blog has been saying for years.

Israel Isn’t the Arabs’ Greatest Enemy

It’s true that many in the Arab world have accorded Israel with a shame-honour reaction; they were shamed that Israel was established in their midst, thus they feel that they must recover their honour by eliminating same.  In reality, Israel doesn’t occupy much land, no matter how you set her borders.

Today it’s clear that Iran is the Arab world’s once and future greatest enemy.  The Sunni-Shi’a divide is deep and vicious.  We didn’t help matters by taking out Saddam Hussein; butcher though he was, he was also a buffer between Shi’a Iran and the Sunnis on the other side of the Tigris, Euphrates and the Gulf.  Eliminating him only put the issue in the light of day.

Further complicating matters are the Turks, who are trying to recover Ottoman glory.  Both Turk and Arab remember that the Ottomans occupied territory on both sides of the Arabian Peninsula; Saudi Arabia was established only with the ejection of the Ottomans from Mecca and Medina.  I don’t think that an Iranian-Turkish alliance is really stable (just as I don’t think a Sino-Russian one is) but something thrown together for convenience, in part, by the American “us vs. them” foreign policy mentality.

People have the idea that these new alliances will fade if Trump goes away.  I don’t think so;  I think that the Arab states in particular are banking that, if Biden wins, American foreign policy will tilt back to the Iranians as it did during Obama’s time.  That would leave both Israel and the Arab states in the lurch; forming these alliances in the current favourable condition is a sensible option for both states.

Israel also offers technological advances for the Arabs as well.  And, if Biden wins, the Israelis will probably lessen their squeamishness about selling military hardware to the Arabs, using them as a shield against Iran.

The Palestinians Are Political Duds

The conventional wisdom in the West is that the Arabs were hostile to Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians.  With these deals that needs a reality check, and that reality is more complex than the idealists which drive our rhetoric can comprehend.

I said earlier that the Arab hostility was a shame-honour reaction to the loss of Palestine to the Israelis.  The blame for that disaster fell on the Palestinians; they lost it, thus they are losers.  The Palestinians’ status in the Middle East isn’t the greatest, whether they’re in the UN-sponsored refugee camps or doing labour in the Gulf states.

The Palestinians “no terms but unconditional surrender” mentality (which worked better with the Confederacy than with Israel) has meant that they have repeatedly turned down a viable two-state solution time after time.  My guess is that the Arabs’ patience is wearing thin with this way of politics even if the Europeans and Americans are blind to it.  In getting Israel to stop its settlement annexation plans, the Arabs have done more for the Palestinians than their own leadership (or leaderships, it’s really plural) has done in a long time.  My guess is that both Fatah and Hamas will show Scots-Irish level contempt of gratitude for this, but perhaps others in the Palestinian community may have second thoughts.

Christians Need to Put Their Prophetic Clocks Away

In the wake of this event I heard one Christian leader express disappointment at this because it threw off his prophetic paradigm.  Very few actually do this; they just reset their clocks, make new pronouncements and go on as if nothing was wrong.  We’ve been going through this for more than fifty years and, as for the U.S. foreign policy establishment, it’s time for a reality check.

The Darbyite reset of the place of the Jewish people was a major step forward in Christian thinking; the implementation of the prophetic unroll wasn’t.  Our Lord was insistent that we didn’t know the day or the hour of his return, but that there would be indicative signs.  The prophetic portions of Scripture lack the precision that we like to see, and our attempts to read that precision into the Word have shown our ignorance of the Middle East; a musical demonstration of that is below:

The whole point of Our Lord’s emphasis on his return was to remind us to do what he put us here to do, so we need to quit staring at our prophetic clocks, lift our eyes and look to the fields, white with harvest.

Jessica Krug Should be Thankful She Didn’t Get Tangled Up with Karl Marx

She’s definitely been busted:

Across the pond, a few days later, a woman waved a white flag. The historian Jessica A. Krug, then an associate professor at George Washington University, posted a confession on the publishing platform Medium, last Thursday, explaining that she is not who she’d been claiming to be. “To an escalating degree over my adult life,” she wrote, “I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.” Her life and, by extension, her scholarly career—or is it the other way around?—had been based on a lie, she admitted, or rather a glut of them, feeding on good faith like, as Krug put it, “not a culture vulture” but “a culture leech.”

But it could have been worse: evidently too swarthy for Karl Marx’ taste, his fellow “traveller” Ferdinand Lasalle was referred to by Marx as a “Jewish n—–.”  (How BLM people can claim to be Marxists with this fact is beyond me.)  The ultimate irony in all this is that Karl Marx was frequently referred to by his friends and family as “the Moor” because his own swarthy appearance made him look North African!

Speaking of North Africa, in his last years Marx’ health was very poor, and he actually made a trip to Algeria to try to improve it.  Around that time he told his daughter the story of the philosopher who hired a boatman and a boat to take him across the river.

“Do you know history?” asked the philosopher.

“No,” replied the boatman.

“Then you’ve wasted half your life.”

They went a little further. “Have you studied mathematics?” the philosopher asked.

“No,” the boatman replied again.

“Then you’ve wasted more than half your life.”

A storm came up and the boat capsized, throwing both of them in the water.

“Can you swim?” asked the boatman.

“No,” replied the philosopher.

“Then you have wasted the whole of your life,” the boatman replied.

In the midst of all our political posturing, it’s important not to waste our whole life.

Obama’s Old Left-Wing Critics Get the Upper Hand

A blast from the past from Barack Obama’s old press secretary Robert Gibbs in 2010:

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

And my response at the time:

He and his boss should have thought about all this when these left wingers became his base. Those of us who are products of the 1960’s and early 1970’s know that the modern (or more accurately post-modern) American left was birthed in that era, and has been working on making its tenets reality ever since. Gibbs is either exceedingly dense or intellectually dishonest not to know this…

Then there’s his statement that “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.” Isn’t eliminating the Pentagon what these people have been fighting for since the days of Berkeley and Kent State? Why should they give up now? Didn’t they vote for Obama believing that he would get us out of Iraq? (Let’s throw in Afghanistan and do it right!) As far as Canadian health care is concerned, that’s a compromise for a true leftist, because the real model is a Soviet style system, both single payer and single provider.

Now look who’s in the driver’s seat of the left…

In some ways the “defund the police” movement is an extension of the “abolish the Pentagon” movement of old, and the radicals of old didn’t have much use for the police either.  Most of their leaders had more sense than to call for the defunding/abolition of the police: they knew they’d need the police later if and when they came to power.

As the Moody Blues would say, yesterday’s dreams are tomorrow’s sighs, and if we elect Joe Biden, we’re going to find that out the hard way.

My Prediction on the Course of Pedophilia

In view of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing into law the lightening of penalties for pedophilia, this prediction, from 2016, bears repeating:

What I am about to say will probably make some people blow their stack.   That isn’t hard to do these days.  But I think this is the time to say it.  We live in a society with two polar opposite ideas on this subject, and they cannot stay conjoined indefinitely.

I’ve consistently defended the Christian sexual ethic on this blog.  One important corollary to that is that everyone is inviolate in their person with regard to sexual activity, i.e., it’s entirely voluntary.  I want to make it clear that I support that corollary.  That’s the underlying assumption to things such as the prohibition against rape, molestation, and sexual harassment.  The persistence of these is part of our post-Christian condition.

On the other hand, we have the pervasive ethic these days that sexual activity is a necessity for life (not in a procreative sense,) and that one is defined by same.  A corollary to that is that people who refrain, temporarily or permanently, are a) not really human and b) need to be brought into line, most usually these days by peer pressure, or now the internet.

Given the realities of the human condition, I believe that sooner or later society will realise that, as my father would say, we “have a no-fit going here.”  Our educational system, which is expected in inculcate all kinds of values it was not designed to do, will be brought to bear on making sex education not only a “how-to” project but to make sure the lesson is carried out.

When that happens, the scandal such as is unfolding at St. Andrew’s will no longer be about doing something wrong as it will be about doing something outside of proper channels.  In other words, after all the years of such scandals rocking the Catholic Church, boarding schools, etc., they will no longer be scandals, and the victims who have not “kept up” with the times will be left in the lurch.

Whether our civilisation, such as it is, will survive to that point is another matter altogether.  But the business of same-sex civil marriage shows that public opinion, led by élite opinion, can turn around very quickly under the right conditions.  As always, I doubt most people are ready to face a societal flip of that kind, but just because we’re not ready to face it doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Imagine a world without the USA…

John Law is possibly the most important man in history you’ve never heard of. He’s also the sort of character you’d find implausible if you read about him in a novel. A gambler who killed a man in a duel in Bloomsbury Square then escaped from jail and fled Britain. A Scottish economist who helped create modern finance, paved the way for Britain’s global domination and maybe even caused the French Revolution.

Imagine a world without the USA…