The Custodial State

Guest Post by The Zman

If you were to transport someone from the 1980’s to our age, they would be amazed by some things, like HD TV’s and streaming services. They would probably be a bit disappointed that the internet has not advanced very far or that cars are still pretty much the same as they were forty years ago. Of course, even the most jaded man of the 80’s would be shocked at the cultural revolution that has taken place. The thing that would be most shocking though, is the total collapse in social trust.

In the 1980’s, people generally thought most Democrats wanted to improve the lives of the working class and most Republicans wanted to protect the middle class. The media, while biased, had lots of people trying hard to get the facts to the public. Big business may have been motivated by greed, but most people in business were decent people. People who doubted everything were conspiracy nuts, who wore aluminum foil hats. 1980’s man would be astonished to see that only total fools trust anything in the public domain.

There are a lot of explanations for why no sensible person trusts anything now. The breakdown of homogeneous communities, mass immigration, the derangement of the civic religion by the Left, late phase empire and so on. All of these arguments are plausible in their own way and are all probably true to a degree. Human societies operate like the Julia set and the Fatou set. There are chaotic aspects that seem to defy explanation, but most of what happens in a society operates in a predictable manner.

An example of this may be how technology is changing a key relationship in Western societies that seldom gets addressed. That is the rise in the use of modern technology to insulate people from the consequences of their own behavior. This story on Zero Hedge about new Volvos threatening their drivers for driving drunk. The car will call the cops on you if it detects alcohol. Simply disabling itself is no longer seen as a enough to prevent people from self-harm, so now the car will initiate an intervention for the driver.

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