I’m confident that 2016 will go down as one of the most pivotal years in modern history. It’s hard to recall another period in the recent past, other than World War I and II, that heralded a new direction for the West.
The defining event of 2016 in Europe was the United Kingdom’s bold decision to leave the European Union, Brexit. Most pundits, journalists and politicians were smugly self-assured that the majority would would soundly vote to “Remain”. The “Leave” voters were ridiculed as “nativists” and “xenophobes” if not outright “racists”, tired slurs trotted out by leftist progressives from London to Brussels.
The Brexit vote not only has profound implications for the UK itself, but for the very integrity of the European Union. No one deserves more credit for Brexit than Nigel Farage, the charistmatic and confrontational leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). The successful “Leave” vote was the culmination of many years working to inform the public about the negative consequences of EU membership for the UK.
If there is one other person that deserves credit for Brexit it could very well be Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. In many ways she is the polar opposite of Farage. Perhaps the greatest “true believer” in the EU, a xenophile and a born bureaucrat. It can be argued that her mind-boggling policy to accept more than one million, largely unasimmilable, Muslim, illegal aliens into Germany, led to Brexit.
The politically correct term “migrant” is disingenuous and seeks to obscure the serious offense of illegally trespassing onto the territory of sovereign states. The term “refugee” has been largely abandoned as it became clear that the vast majority of new arrivals from North Africa, the Middle East and beyond, are not Syrians, nor are they fleeing warfare, but seeking access to generous welfare payouts.
Germany’s unilateral suspension of the Dublin Regulation, which governs the assylum application system in Europe, was one of many examples of Angela Merkel’s disdain for cooperative decision-making in the EU. Great Britain has been struggling with the impact of immigration for a generation and the effects of multiculturalism on their society. Merkel’s willingness to accept a virtually unlimited and unvetted torrent of foreigners into the EU may have been the nail in the coffin for the UK’s participation in the European experiment.
Merkel’s continued insistence on the correctness of her immigration policy, even after the horrendous murder of twelve Germans at a Christmas market in central Berlin last week at the hands of an “asylum seeker”, will only reinforce the notion that the UK left a sinking ship just in time.
As impactful as Brexit and it’s repercussions have and will be, the real political earthquake happened across the Atlantic in England’s former colonies. On November 8, 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States. You would think that after the Western mass media’s embarrassing failure to see the impending Brexit vote, they might be a little more cautious in their pronouncements on the contest between Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Yet virtually every major news source from the New York Times, to CNN, to almost all political polling companies, predicated a Clinton victory. Even on the day of the election, November 8, Poland’s largest newspaper, the struggling Gazeta Wyborcza, heralded the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll. “Hillary Clinton Has a 90% Chance of Victory Over Donald Trump“!
The significance of Donald Trump’s election can’t be overstated. It represents a revolution in American society that could mark the most significant economic, political and social direction change the country has ever seen. Never has a true political outsider been a contender in, let alone the victor of a presidential contest.
Everything is possible, but it’s hard to imagine Trump backtracking on his signature promises to end illegal immigration and “Build a Wall”, and also revive America’s moribund economy, the two main pillars of his “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) campaign pledge. I don’t doubt Trump’s sincerity in wanting to fulfill his promises, even his detractors would probably concede that Trump’s ego won’t allow him to betray his critical support from Middle America, which would doom his chances for a second term and tarnish his legacy.
His biggest enemies will be the entrenched bureaucracy, fellow Republicans and the mass media. He successfully vanquished the latter two, and will likely be able to handle them again even in changed circumstances, but how he fights the bureaucratic leviathan of the managerial state. I’m cautiously optimistic after his cabinet pics so far.
Perhaps the most important story of 2016, and yet the most underreported one, was the total collapse in credibility of the mainstream mass media. I’ve long known that major media sources are heavily biased against Republicans, conservatives and other groups on the right. Yet I naively hoped that some shred of integrity would keep outlets like the New York Times and CNN from going full partisan on behalf of the Democratic Party.
Never has such brazen media bias been evident in history, in a free society. The only comparable situation on a similar scale was the propaganda machine of the Soviet Union, featuring publications like Pravda (“the truth”) and Izvestia. Then however, a majority of citizens recognized transparent lies for what they were, though as a matter of self-preservation kept quiet.
Today in America, roughly half of voters think that the main news networks, major newspapers and social media giants like Facebook and Twitter (not to mention “fact checkers” like Snopes) are credible outlets for objective information. The fake “fake news” imbroglio is a topic that merits it’s own post and podcast, but like the “Russian’s hacked the election” falsehood, is meants to undermine Donald Trump’s significant victory.
How is it that I, a political news junkie, yet far from an authority, was able to predict a Trump victory nearly 6 months before the election? In the meantime an avalanche of “experts” across the political spectrum, from the arrogant Nate Silver to the haughty George Will, all confidently foretold a Trump defeat. I did it by reading outside of the mainstream echo chamber. The real experts are people like Mike Cernovich, Ann Coulter and Scott Adams, three of the handful of people who predicted a Trump victory back in 2015. Honestly the idea of all the “experts” being wrong is a stretch, I think coordinated deception on a mass scale is more believable.
This year, 2017, is going to be the continuation of the great realignment in politics, mass media and society in the West. Thanks to the internet the traditional gatekeepers of the channels of communication from television, to publishing, and everything in between, are being bypassed.
As I near the completion of my PhD in a year or so, I will continue to write about these topics and others that fascinate me and are critically important in this day and age. I thank you for reading my work and appreciate the time you set aside to do so. This year I will strive to keep content at a high level and publish with even greater frequency. Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017!
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