Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End of year post

Happy New Year from Unforeseen Contingencies.

"We" here at Unforeseen Contingencies subscribe to the theory that human society is in the midst of a transition to becoming a genuine civilization, Type I on the Kardashev scale.  In the process, we're passing through a time of widespread social insanity, something Robert Heinlein called "the Crazy Years." How else to describe such a time?  Hoodlums like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown are portrayed in the mainstream media as noble martyrs and, with zero evidence, claimed to be victims of endemic white racism.  "Peaceful demonstration" is defined so as to include burning buildings and assaulting police officers. The president and attorney general assure us that people who endorse strict interpretations of the Constitution are America's greatest terror threat, even while more of those "peaceful demonstrators" from the left chant "What do we want, dead cops" and assault police.  When police officers are subsequently executed in cold blood, well, not much of anything happens...the AG is too busy trying to build "civil rights" cases against police officers who were confronting black criminals and happened to be, unfortunately for them, white.  It's a year in which Hamas fired thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians, and then used civilian human shields in an attempt to maximize civilian casualties when Israel responded militarily to stop the attacks... and the overwhelming international outcry was against Israel.  ISIS, North Korea, Ebola, Obamacare, federal efforts to smuggle illegal immigrant minors into the country, amnesty for illegal aliens, Islamic regions in Sweden patrolled by Muslim gangs where police dare not go, and more... there was much craziness in 2014.

But in my view, 2014 was a very good year for civilization and liberty.  There was one particularly hopeful story, a series of events that is ongoing -- the success to date of Ukraine's Euromaidan Revolution.  Against all odds, and with shamefully little international support,* Ukrainians have managed to throw off a dictator, begin battling endemic corruption, and fight off the crazy tyrant to the east.  The odds hardly seem to have favored these advocates of freedom -- Viktor Yanukovych had at his disposal billions of dollars of state funds, plus the security forces, plus the support of Putin.  Yet he's gone, an anti-corruption campaign is underway, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has bogged down... Ukraine is not yet dead.  Given how things looked in January 2014, Ukraine seems a very hopeful place.

This is a great example of what I mean by "unforeseen contingencies," as well as a reminder of why we should be hopeful about the future of civilization.  In November 2013, when Yanukovych rejected the association agreement and the Euromaidan demonstrations began, there seemed little reason for hope.  But there's a tendency for good to beat evil, for non-zero-sum systems to beat zero-sum, and we've seen these tendencies asserted themselves in 2014 in Ukraine.  This is not just some impersonal mechanism at work; it's the sweat, and sometimes the blood, of good people working to build a better system and better future. May we all profit from their example, and devote our own efforts to building a real civilization.

In the past I've sometimes made predictions for the coming year.  I didn't do so in 2014, so no end of year scorekeeping tonight.  But I hope to post predictions for 2015 tomorrow.  In the meantime, С Новым годом!

* Credit where it's due: Western sanctions against Russia have been crucial, as has been the Saudi-drop in oil prices that the Saudis have helped orchestrate.  May this continue.

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