America’s ruling class, early 2020s

(via Claremont Review of Books.)

This political cartoon (“America’s Ruling Class”) is in the best tradition of the genre. I think it is worth some consideration and so here goes. It can also be appreciated simply with a few seconds’ glance, a kind of thinking man’s version of the “meme” concept so influential in our era, but for me ideas only get firmly pinned down when they are put to the written word.

The artist: The cartoon is signed “BANFIELD,” for Elliot Banfield. I know nothing of Mr. Banfield except that his work is often published by the Claremont Review of Books accompanying essays or book reviews.

What follows here is commentary an analysis on what we see here, some interpretations of symbolism and more. There will be three sections: One on the hot-air balloon imagery, the people inside the balloon looked at individually, and a final “assessment” section.


The hot-air balloon

Our attention turns at once to the figures in the center, but with a moment we realize they are housed in a basket held aloft by a hot-air balloon. It floats high above the ground, disconnected and uprooted from the surface of the Earth. The people in the balloon (have to) literally look down on the mass of nobodies down below.

The artist chooses to put them in a hot-air balloon. I suspect the idea is to play on concept of “hot air,” which can mean “empty, exaggerated, or pretentious talk or writing” or “impressive but worthless” rhetoric. There are different degrees of talk/rhetoric going on inside the balloon, but we’ll get to that shortly. It any case, recall how these balloons work: The whole is held up by hot air.

The hot-air balloon also puts these Ruling Classers in a basket. Might the imagery of the basket itself perhaps a conscious homage to the “basket of deplorables” of 2016?

Another layer of symbolism is that the smoke in the background implies movement: “America’s Ruling Class” is literally “flying over” the faceless folks down people. I take this to be a representation of Middle America outside a handful of mega metro areas and leading power centers. Some wag once called 90% of so of the USA’s land area “flyover,” and here we have America’s Ruling Class literally flying over it, or floating over it.

But there’s a little problem: Two of the ten ropes holding the basket up, connecting it to the balloon, have snapped off.

We still have not looked into the basket at the visages of the inhabitants thereof, i.e., at America’s Ruling Class, but will momentarily. Before we do, notice how basket has a symbol with a representation of the US flag, in a shield-like design. A basically old-line patriotic symbol.

This is a visual reminiscent of yester-generation. Perhaps something from a Fourth of July in the 1950s, or 1920s, or 1870s, or earlier still. How closely do the denizens of the basket recall yester-generation?


A look at the subgroups of “America’s Ruling Class

The following is a look inside the basket. We see seven identifiable subgroups as depicted in the cartoon:

(1.) In the center, standing tallest of them all, we see BIG TECH.

We note in passing that this term did not exist ten years ago. Google-Ngram suggests “Big Tech” was only coined around 2014 and really came its own by the late 2010s, surging in use in 2018 and especially 2019 (Google-Trends suggests its breakout followed closely after the Trump election, with a big jump in September 2017 and then a sustained big-jump in early 2019; but 2020 was really the year of Big Tech, and when on a timescale including 2020 the pre-2020 trends get obscured into nothingness).

In the cartoon, we see Big Tech decked out as a knight ready for battle, suggesting this is how Big Tech sees itself within US discourse.

Big Tech clutches a lightning bolt and stands poised ready to zap anyone, any time. He has antenna, suggesting he’s a-listening for signs a righteously applied lightning bolt is needed. The artist seems to be saying Big Tech, like Zeus, has veto power over the others in the basket.

The other arm rests on hip, striking a pose of power and self-satisfaction.

(I might add here that Hail To You was hit by Big Tech in about the Dec 2017 / Jan 2018 period, when viewership rates fell by around two-thirdse overnight, and they have never returned. Some posts do not appear on Google search indexes. This is remarkably easily achieved with the resources Big Tech has. Someone put us on some kind of hit-list, and it was done. Far fewer people since then have found this site by chance than did pre-2018.)


Proceeding clockwise:

(2.) A figure who looks something like a self-righteous feminist stands in front a lectern labeled “LIVING CONSTITUTION.”

The speaker at the Living Constitution lectern looks somewhat like Elizabeth Warren. But really she is just meant to be a general type and not Warren specifically. That type is: smug, somewhat scolding, supercilious. She lectures you on what the Constitution really means in (insert current year).

If she were forced to take a truth-serum, she might say this: “And don’t you complain about the details, because it’s a living document, this Constitution. That means we, the good people up here, are allowed to consult our political tea-leaves to see what new rights or responsibilities are to be massaged away or massaged into existence, before first breaking the resistance of the faceless nobodies down there. Thanks for understanding.”

More broadly, this could symbolize “lawfare” generally, and/or paint the courts and justice system as elements of America’s Ruling Class, and decidedly not neutral actors.

The “Living Constitution” lady may also personify what Christopher Caldwell famously called America’s Second Constitution (of 1964). It replaced the original (of 1789), is somewhat free-floating, and dedicated to an aggressive promotion of equality (or, now, equity), mandated with never-ending search-and-destroy missions against racism and other “isms.”

The people most dedicated to this kind of thing are often identifiable out of a lineup, and often look a lot like the woman there, but really the whole ship of state is on board and is personified here more for artistic sake than to imply the individuals involved are guilty; in other words, it’s “systemic,” and is an element of the Ruling Class today.


(3.) Next is a bespectacled man in a lab coat labeled with a giant needle labeled “CDC.”

The man is frenetically engaged in shoving needles on the people down below. These enormous, terrifying-looking needles rain down on the faceless people below from all sides. The character vaguely resembles Fauci (the “Corona-Ayatollah”).

We see the latest launch is at the vicinity of a grouplet with a “Let’s Go Brandon” sign. (More on the “Let’s Go Brandon” sign below.)

This casting of a public health authority as part of a “ruling class” coalition is something genuinely new, far newer even that Big Tech. No one would have added a “CDC” character shoving scary-looking giant needles at people in 2019 or earlier. Then came Corona-Panic Year 1 (that’s 2020 in the Christian calendar).

Starting in 2020 large sections of the public now identify strongly with this imagery, either for or against. Obviously this particular political cartoon is against, but plenty are for the permanent empowerment of public health officials. (I call these people the Corona Pro-Panic side, slightly different conceptually from the category ‘Panickers.’ The organized Pro-Panic side is more political, and actively seeks permanent quasi-political power, even veto power, for public health bureaucrats.)

Put it this way: If we have an ‘estate’ system ala pre-Revolution France, and if each of these ruling class elements is an estate, effectively Public Health Experts were promoted to being a new estate, having a clear piece of regime power. This has held for two years, and may hold at least in part for a third and beyond, which wraps up the entirety of the “early 2020s.”

Opponents of the endless mandates and disruptions and masks and all of it (which I call the Corona Anti-Panic side) now see public-health officials and their allies in nominal political office as petty-tyrants as overt members of the ruling class, even as a kind of religious elite. Their diktats seem to be law. Someone proposed that Anthony Fauci existed as effectively an ayatollah, with veto power above the president.

The vaccines, and the needles used in this political cartoon, are symbolic of the general trend, which goes beyond the Pro-Vaxx vs. Anti-Vaxx slugfest.


(4.) Next we have a bored-looking, bald, somewhat-unkempt-presenting academic looking off in the distance from his books. He is scribbling something but looks distracted. The label “MARXIST THEORY” tips off what this unimpressive-looking character is up to.

We might interpret the shabby visage and distracted or bored look to mean true Marxist Theory is stale and unimpressive in the 2020s, nothing like the spirit it had in the 1920s, or even the 1970s.

Stale or not, it has a place in part because of the SoixanteHuitards (Sixty-Eighters, 1968ers) and their cultural triumph, which continues a half century after their supposedly glorious moments in the late 1960s and 1970s. Its role is passive, sitting in a quiet corner, the least conspicuous place in the balloon, really. It’s there.

In a broader sense this can represent academia, or a politicized academia. Not scholarship itself per se, but the kind of politicized work that goes on in academia which finds a way to seep out into wider discourse. It usually starts with unimpressive-looking, unattractive people people spinning theories on a college campus, functioning as a thought-bubble, and any conservative types dismiss it all as so much wasted time and energy on their part, not realizing these ideas often end up with surprising sticking power.

(See the two posts on Robin DiAngelo: biography [“Who Radicalized Robin DiAngelo?“] and the intellectual history of her “white fragility” idea, which followed a traceable ‘pipeline’ from extreme academic-nonsense-fringe to being promoted in the mainstream political Left and even in the political Center in 2020.)

The man personifying Marxist Theory, we might add in passing, just happens to be the most Jewish-looking of any of the characters presented. In any case, to borrow a Yiddish word, Mr Marxist Theory is a “nebbish” looking man, hardly the image of a ruling class member you’d expect. There are some in the basket with at least the aesthetic of a traditional ruling class, some of which we come to next…


(5.) Next we see three well-dressed people toasting each other, glasses of wine in hand. They are labeled “GEORGETOWN.”

I presume this represents two things:

[5-a.] Broadly, GEORGETOWN here refers to the remnants of an old upper class, plus that element of nouveau riche which have embraced the old aesthetic, often with recent personal origins in other elements of the Ruling Class, say elite academia, law, elite military (officers who reach high rank and testify before Congress and get comfy think tank jobs after retirement), or indeed Big Tech.

There is no label that quite fits this group. We might list some general prerequisites without quite reaching an adequate working definition. Attending an elite school is nearly a prerequisite. Having a degree of money. Social standing and knowing the right people is key.

The old term “limousine liberal” comes to mind, though many of these people will vote Republican, few indeed would have dared back Trump publicly and expected to keep their social standing.

[5-b.] Narrowly, GEORGETOWN here refers to a specific sub-group of the broad elite which are “Inside the Beltway” (hence Georgetown, the Washington, D.C. neighborhood considered to be elite; other neighborhoods could be substituted, and sometimes you’ll hear the neighborhood where the Obamas bought a large luxury-mansion compound with a skyhigh pricetag, Kalorama; there are many possible contenders. Charles Murray’s “Super ZIPs” might do in a pinch for [5-a.], but Georgetown is name-recognizable and best suits [5-b]).

The important distinguishing feature of [5-b] is the connection, by one or two steps, to the central (“federal”) government specifically.

We see the people in this “Georgetown” grouplet are interested primarily in each other, in keeping up appearances and looking good to each other. They pay relatively little heed to either their companions in the rest of the “America’s Ruling Class” balloon, nor to the vast faceless people down below.

I would also note that this “Inside the Beltway” set includes much of the D.C.-based media. But what we understand as “the media” is really dispersed in several elements of the seven.


(6.) Next we see a “Woke Capital” man handling an enormous sack of money.

Woke Capital’s moneybag is full to the brim and even overflowing somewhat, with coins and bills seeming to fall onto the faceless masses below.

Perhaps Mr Woke Capital has even intentionally tilted the sack to disperse some free cash on the pitiful, faceless, Earth-bound masses down there, to show he’s not such a bad guy. Per his ideological commitments a large share of this will be reserved for races and ethnic groups and genders whom he favors. But alongside the falling coins are also those terrifying giant needles.

Notice that the cartoonist does not use “Capital,” but “Woke Capital.” This is a phenomenon not exactly brand new in the early 2020s, but which ratcheted up in a way impossible to ignore. For any who were unaware r hoping it was a passing fad, summer 2020 removed doubt.

(A note for posterity: “woke” referred to left-wing politics of a specific kind whereby White-Christian-males were, as a class, designated class-enemies or even public-enemies, and by which someone’s morality was re-defined, after said person gets woken up, to oppose the aforementioned class-enemy element of the population.)

Non-Woke Capital is not in the America’s Ruling Class balloon.


(7.) Rounding out our clockwise trip around the balloon basket, we get to “Woke Military.”

Three puffed-chest, uniformed men — ohh, correction, people, people in uniform. (One or more could be Trans; we must solemnly honor their struggle. Uniformed people.)

The Woke Military men are confident-looking, clutching their banner with panache, if maybe a little pompous and self-important.

Given the company they keep in this balloon — the scold at the lectern, the unkempt Marxist Theory professor, and some of these others which do not at all make one proud to serve — we might also call them “clueless.” That would be unfair. They know what they’re doing.

The Woke Military here really represents the senior officers and the culture of the military. Since late 2019, the senior officer in the U.S. armed forces is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, who beclowned himself denouncing White Racism at the U.S. Congress and all the rest, in effect declaring himself for the Woke side. Few even knew the names of most previous Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, but Milley became a household name in 2020-21.

Placement within the balloon: the Woke Military is positioned just below Zeus-like BIG TECH; both of them have martial appearances, though Big Tech is depicted as even more powerful and dominant than the Woke Military.

The positioning of the Woke Military may also suggests they exist as a praetorian guard doing the bidding of Big Tech, and other elements of America’s Ruling Class. Notice the Woke Military is in the balloon, not down below among the masses of people. We are reminded naturally of the militarization of Washington with unnecessary call-ups of national guard for show, while crime surged and there was a record-setting illegal immigration crisis.


(Others.) There are other characters in the balloon in the background, in the shadows, harder to see and partly concealed, perhaps deliberately concealing themselves.

I would interpret these to be small interest groups not otherwise classifiable here under one of the seven labeled groups. Often these groups in the shadows want to hide behind one or more elements out front, like Big Tech, Woke Military or Woke Capital. They are historically neutral-seeming institutions — though I don’t think they’re particularly seen as neutral anymore.

None of these secondary and minor elements could keep the balloon aloft on their own, which makes them mostly decidedly second-tier elements of America’s Ruling Class. We ought not neglect their influence just because we don’t see them clearly, but also understand they exist in symbiosis with the rest.


The Non-Ruling Class

(Down Below.) Turning to those down below. Outside the balloon.

We see a faceless mass, lots of people. They easily outnumber the balloon people, but are an anonymous mass. We see none of their faces clearly. Their facelessness in the medium of political cartoon represents their voicelessness.

There are five signs held by lower-dwelling people. Four are incoherent, again symbolizing the lack of firm axis of legitimate political identity for those outside America’s Ruling Class. One lone sign is legible. It says “Let’s Go Brandon.”

Note to posterity: “Let’s Go Brandon” was a protest line against President Joe Biden, who reached surprising levels of unpopularity in 2021 after a disputed election and multiple crises or problems. There was a foreign policy humiliation in Afghanistan and multiple domestic problems running parallel with crime, illegal immigration, inflation, public-health mandates and disruptions, and more.

In fairness to Biden, people’s anger is not at him personally so much. It’s more at Biden as a symbol of America’s Ruling Class, most of which now seems openly hostile to Middle America White-Christians.

These people down below seem as leaderless and rudderless as they are faceless. But look closely again at the ropes connecting the balloon and the basket in which America’s Ruling Class carries on. Two have already snapped…



America’s Ruling Class, the cartoon version here, when taken as a whole seems a little absurd, or pitiful, doesn’t it? All political cartoons tend to do that. It’s in the nature of the medium. It’s satire. It’s hyperbolic. Except a lot of it here feels worryingly non-satirical, and not high on the scale of hyperbole.

The gaggle of interest groups and social-political currents personified in the cartoon seems almost pitiful, maybe, but rest assured their power is considerable.

Or is it?

Take the “Georgetown” element. The main business street of Georgetown in Washington, D.C., itself was one the places hit by mobs of looters and vandals in mid-2020. The extremely expensive police foce was under strict stand-down orders. Some ruling class!

This same ruling class was behind the Corona-lockdowns and all that followed. In a never(-yet)-posted essay, I asked what the Corona-Panic social-political phenomenon means for U.S. regime stability, and it doesn’t seem to be anything good.

There were “class” elements pro-Lockdownism and also “ideological” elements — including but not limited to the pressure from the newest actor in the balloon, the public health experts and their auxiliary of public-health commentators, officials, and bureaucrats. People who formerly got minimal or no attention at all (like the truly odious CoronaPanic-fanatic Eric Feigl-Dingle), but who are now a legit part of the ruling class, at least as long as the Corona-Panic New Normal lasts.

In other words, as many were saying from near the start, a Corona Coup d’Etat accompanied the Corona-Panic, but also galvanized other elements of America’s Ruling Class, and the whole of it net-benefitted despite the many inconveniences to them individually.

One thing that followed the embrace of the Corona-Panic by most of America’s Ruling Class was an angry and frustrated racial-political movement which burst out of nowhere in mid-2020, led by bored and stir-crazy youth subject to months of bizarre lockdowns over a flu virus.

Few if any with legit seats in the “balloon” criticized the riots and looting, and some even cheered them on; few are willing even to criticize the now-eighteen-months-worth of unprecedented crime spike, in which many even Ruling Class-heavy major urban cores are seeing crime back at their 1970s-1990s levels.

Then we come to internal narrative-policing and regime-compliance-enforcement. Any of the balloon dwellers who even dreamed of criticizing the riots at their peak in mid-2020 would’ve been liable to get zapped by Big Tech’s lightning bolt. And, really, the same for the masses down below. They are all easy prey for a skilled wielder of the lightning bolt.


In the end, a lot of these are just not very impressive people.

Although I’ve approached this task via analysis of a political cartoon, I do think regime-analysis is one inevitable path to understanding the complex and fascinating topic of the Corona-Panic, a self-imposed, (thank-God-)limited-scale civilizational disaster so irrational one wonders what’s really going on.

The initial wave of the Corona-Panic, which was wrong from the start, allowed Public Health Authorities to enter the scene. As I say, maybe most interesting thing about this cartoon, drawn as it is about Q3 2021, is that “CDC” would never have appeared on the same kind of political cartoon at any time in any era of U.S. history from the age of Plymouth Rock up to 2019. The other elements of America’s Ruling Class basically all embraced it and we have a new equilibrium.


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36 Responses to America’s ruling class, early 2020s

  1. M says:

    Compare to Tucker Carlson”s “[i]Ship of Fools[/i]” cover art. Book released in 2018. It puts real people’s faces on the cover. Already 3yrs later hard to recognize the faces.

    A point by point comparison may be useful.

    • Hail says:

      Good point, M.

      I recognize Maxine Waters, Nancy Peolsi, and Mitch McConnell (average year of birth: 1940), then there’s Hillary. None of these people will be around and active much longer. Or will they? In their eighties? Woke Military and Woke Capital are all fine and good (so to speak), but how ’bout some Woke Gerontocracy?

      That must be Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, with Tucker Carlson anticipating “Big Tech” power. (A book like this ten years earlier–2008–would not likely have had “Big Tech” people on the cover.)

      I think the one with the spyglass is Bill Kristol, influential Neocon but not a household name. Who’s the guy between McConnell and Hillary?

      Clearly the metaphor that they are steering the ship over a waterfall. I think Mr Banfield’s metaphor (i.e., the political cartoon which I analyze in this post) is better, however you interpret it.

      • Dieter Kief says:

        Both metaphors are telling. The waterfall because decline does happen (and is widely ignored) and the balloon, because the usual neglect of the decline has something aloft to it. the German expression for such a person/ state of mind is: Überflieger: Meaning, those who are in the air above reality – not rooted at all. The .a.n.y.w.h.e.r.e.s. over fly-over country.

        • Hail says:

          “not rooted at all”

          That’s right.

          I sense quite many people now feel there is an absurd quality to US public life. Not just the types who read political essays. Those types may have said the same ten or fifteen years ago (and not necessarily been wrong).

          To simplify it down, I think it’s because the people in the “ruling-class balloon” are unrooted, and some have taken pains to de-root themselves.

      • Adam Smith says:

        “Who’s the guy between McConnell and Hillary?”

        Lindsey Graham would be my guess.

        • Hail says:

          RE: Adam Smith

          Senator Graham, neocon[?] of S Carolina. Sounds right.

          Haven’t heard his name in a long time. Is he in hiding? I don’t think anyone thinks he has a hand in running the ship-of-state. Just a highly visible rider. No real ideas. He must have ‘made’ the book cover because Tucker so often criticizes him on his show.

    • Hail says:

      More on the book Ship of Fools:

      I should add that our friends at Peak Stupidity read and reviewed this book at the time (see part one, two, and three).

      Steve Sailer reviewed it and framed it the “high-low coalition against the middle” terms. There is a good review at the Washington Times. And many other places. Tucker Carlson was a superstar by late 2018 when the book came out, and writing, marketing, and selling it was “fish in a barrel”-level easy.

      And, keeping with the Claremont Review of Books theme, Michael Anton had an excellent review-essay on the Tucker Carlson 2018 book, worth reading. It is partly a reflection on Tucker’s place in US politics by that time of writing, that the late-2018-to-early-2019 period when core supporters really started giving up on Trump in earnest (although Anthon never did; he even wrote a pro-Trump of the 2020 campaign season). (“Tucker’s Right,” CRB, Spring 2019).

      I’m guessing reviews of the reviews would find that both Tucker and the commenters reviewing him all “miss,” or downplay, or don’t properly anticipate or frame, some important elements to us in the early 2020s which are in this excellent Banfield cartoon. Most obviously this is anything on an authoritarian-minded, crazed, rogue public-health apparatus. But also those in 2018 and early 2019 may have still not fully appreciated the dominant power of Big Tech, and even the “Woke Military,” maybe more. (Tucker does get “Woke Capital” quite right in the 2018 book.)

  2. Nice article, Mr. Hail, and it was organized very well, as usual.

    That CDC is the tip of the newest American Totalitarian policy. It’s like the TSA 20 years back, after the still-ongoing Terra Panic. If you have gone to or through a big hub airport terminal in the last 1 1/2 years, you would note that there is now both the TSA and the CDC giving us rules to follow over the P/A. Of all the US Feral Gov’t agencies that ARE NOT CONSTITUTIONAL to begin with, I never minded the NOAA, NTSB, and the CDC, but back when the latter collected stats and gave recommendations. That’s all!

    Regarding this being a hot-air ballon, I’m not sure Mr. Banfield had any special meaning about the elites being full of it, by using this. To me the balloon is about these 2020 elites being above all the fray (that they have caused) and out of reach, but your take fortuitously works pretty well with the theme. Hydrogen/Helium balloons are used for weather balloons, and for fun (the latter), but I don’t know if anyone does passenger-carrying ballooning other than with propane-heated air these days.

    I know a few people who are balloonists as a hobby and have meant to take my family up in one just one time*. Does that make me one of the early ’20s American Ruling Class? Lord, I hope not! Tell you what, instead of champaign, we’ll drink beer.


    * They are actually not so safe statistically – there have been fatal files upon landings with that propane and fabric.

    • Hail says:

      RE: the TSA

      An anecdote.

      I was, not long ago, at an unfamiliar US airport. Somehow the entrance I ended up at was so low traffic that I was the only entering passenger. The “TSA” people were goofing off, bored and chatty. The TSA guy started listing the things he wanted mem to do, it felt like the rules had gotten even stricter….

      Now, this particular group and this particular person were not the usual standoffish, entitled crowd you often get which have earned this “TSA” such negative marks all around. (Really the whole procedure of air travel has become highly unpleasant, and I think more than a few wish the US had a functioning decent-speed train system to present a competitor which they could/would choose.)

      But “reading the room,” I decided to float a trial balloon just to see what he’d say. I asked if I needed to take off shoes in a neutral way. He said “Yes.” I wondered aloud how long we’d have to keep doing that. He said: “I think they’re always going to do it.” I said–having read the situation and sensed the guy was inclined to friendly chat–that a lot of countries didn’t do it. “Really?!?” He was shocked, seemed to genuinely be unable to conceive of such a world.

      I can’t remember if this was before or after my chiming in that most of the world didn’t do this, he said something about someone getting caught trying to bring explosives in their shoes “recently.” Was he talking about the shoe bomber from 2001? He was still friendly about it, but the rhetorical turn painted me into a corner, and I dropped it.

      Someone’s also told me the rule against bringing liquids, enforced for twenty years now by the TSA clownshow, was quietly dropped because during the Corona-Panic they wanted to allow people to carry larger quantities of hand sanitizer! Security theater vs. public health theater.

  3. Regarding your confidence/trust change bar graph:

    The “Congress” bar (probably a long term trend) and the “Presidency” bar (we know what happened between ’18 and ’21) are due to obvious changes for the worse in reality. I am hopeful that the negative changes for the other institutions are, in addition to the noting of real change for the worse, the awakening of Americans about things that have long been the case, especially those last 2, “Law Enforcement” and “Military”.

    From people I know, I was under the impression that “Let’s Go Brandon!” was pretty directed at the one guy. I’m not saying they’re right, as too many people, not knowing squat really about how the US Gov’t is supposed to work, think that the President is King. Don’t get me wrong, he’s destroying the country as fast as he can, but he’s not close to the be-all-to-end-all on this ruination by the cntrl-left. Perhaps the more knowledgable among us are using “Let’s Go Brandon” as a big F-U to the whole scene in the balloon.

    Now, I don’t want to be one of those ackshully guys, and maybe I’m ackshully wrong here, but about the 2 lines hanging freely : I was under the impression that these were tie-down or mooring lines. Then, I’m not a balloonist.

    Anyway, that was good reading, Mr. Hail. Thank you.

    • Hail says:

      “Perhaps the more knowledgable among us are using ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ as a big F-U to the whole scene in the balloon.”

      That is a good way to think of it.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Regarding the confidence/trust change bar graph (kinda), here are some of the things that are more popular than Congress: hemorrhoids, Nickelback, traffic jams, root canals, colonoscopies, gonorrhea, and herpes. Yes, even herpes. The people masquerading as “government” are less popular than herpes. Even politifact rates this statement as “mostly true”.

      • Hail says:

        It seems the US Congress has been consistently and majorly unpopular since 2006, not quite so (consistently) bad before:

        Congress ‘approval’ was below 10% approval among Republicans in 2010, the big “Tea Party” year. Republicans won in 2010 but trust in Congress never recovered.

        The USA has been on a path with some serious social-political red-flags for some time now. Compare Norway, where public polling suggests confidence in their parliament (Storting) has always been above 50%, even around 75%.

  4. Hail says:

    On “Woke Capital”:

    See some of the classic Jonathan Bowden talks on the emergence of a left-wing capitalism, as this Jan. 2008):

    A stable, ideologically uniform, socially left-wing capitalism (or “Woke Capital”) was a fait accompli by circa 2000 and in early forms was already observable by the 1990s and 2000s, but would have shocked anyone in the early- or mid-20th century.

    “Woke Capital” is something new, even within the living memory of the elders among us. So are most elements of America’s Ruling Class.


    “If you’d turned to [people] eighty-odd years ago [and said] we would have, in the early part of the new millennium, a left-wing capitalist society, people would have said ‘You’re mad!’ The idea that the market can adopt the values of the…Left would have been regarded as perverse by almost any social and ideological commentator of that era. But it’s what we’ve got! And it’s all around us. It’s sort of in the ether; it’s all-pervasive. Even to cut against it in a very minor way is to create a shock somewhere. […]

    …[H]ard Marxism, strict Marxist-Leninism and various anarchistic and other variants…have failed, but the trajectory of the ideology itself has succeeded, has morphed, and has transfigured itself in a new way. The Left has come into the Center, taken it, turned it around, and what we’d call ‘liberalism’ now, either with a small- or large-‘L,’ is not the liberalism of fifty to sixty years ago. […] The Protestant ideological moralism that underpinned liberal ideas of a traditional sort has been ripped out. So it’s become a materialist and secularist ideology prone to infiltration and change by forces from its own radical Left…


    • holiday pie says:

      Great speech.

    • Hail says:

      While I recommend Bowden’s 2000s and early 2010s political talks for “consumption” in full form, I recognize that few will likely sit through an entire talk based on a link in a comment. As such have added the relevant excerpt in text.

      (It’s a point he often made in his political talks so you’ll find it come up in many of them. But without doubt Jonathan Bowden foresaw this “Woke Capital” thing.)

    • Hail says:

      Also this, applicable to much of the entire political-cartoon subject of this post, both the balloon people and those down below.

      Jonathan Bowden, 2012:

      “Many White people today feel bereft of something. The leaderships we look to — the upper bourgeois tier, the most educated parts of our own societies — they seem to have left the majority. The elite has ‘gone global.’ Our elite sees itself as part of a global elite.

      The traditional brokers of power — from your university lecturer, to your senior businessman, to your senior lawyer, and so on — they always seem to be on the side of ‘giving the line away.’ That’s because, in the present day, it works for you to be on the side that gives away that which the past has bequeathed to you…..”

      (slightly edited for text rendering; from Mr Bowden’s “Western Civilization Bites Back!” talk)

      • Dieter Kief says:

        What Jonathan Bowden says is what David Goodhart too pointed out a few years ago. He is an English ex-marxist and wrote the book Road to Somehwere. He put it this way: The elite’s and the prosperous middle classes’ perspective is now focused on the world. These are the Anywheres. And the lower classes are much more tied to their local / regional life-world (Husserl) – the Somewheres. And they are simply left behind. David Goodhart saw the Brexit as the triumph of the Somewheres – not least with regard to immigration.

        The former green party leader and now minister in the new German government, a historian writer and culture sicientist (!) Robert Habeck publicly declared, that he couldn’t care less for the German nation state and everything German.

        Claudia Roth, now minister for culture, walked side by side on a protest march with German leftists who carried a big sign, which read: “Deutschland, Du Mieses Stück Scheisse!” – Germany, You Awful Piece of Shit.

  5. Hail says:

    (RE: Dieter Kief writing on “Anywheres” vs. “Somewheres,” class politics in our time, and on Germany):

    I first started paying attention to Germany and its politics in the mid-2000s. Over time I became disappointed and a little hurt (vicariously hurt) to see what it was like, especially after living there for a time and several visits. I am acquainted well enough with Germany to feel it partly my own.

    These so-called “Anywheres” dominate the German political scene. They dominate it even more fully than comparable types dominate the US scene. I remember when I began realizing how rare any actual opposition was in Germany. Actual opposition was almost entirely either “extra-parliamentary,” or based on small dissident sub-cultures, or involved solo regime-defectors like Thilo Sarazzin, but most often more like disorganized, anonymous, demoralized, and inactive. It all felt much darker, gloomier, than US politics (perhaps until very recently).

    I got the feeling that among the ranks of Nonvoters in Germany, one finds many oppositionists. (23%-30% of citizens in recent Bundestag elections do not vote, more in Landtag elections.) I get the feeling most of these are demoralized “Somewheres.” To simplify, to be a “Somewhere” is to be a loser; to be a loser is to be civically detached, including by not voting. (This means, from the actual or aspiring ruling class perspective, a “Somwhere” is like a “Nowhere,” a nobody.) Most people respond to these cues and pushes from above. (I think the artist Banfield conveyed this with his making all the “people on the ground” faceless and most of their signs illegible.)

    A dissident music group composed of East Berliner ex-1980s-era right-wing youth dissidents sang this song in the late 1990s. In their teens and twenties in the 1980s under the communist government, by the late ’90s in their late twenties and thirties, they reflected on the new order, and didn’t like it. The lament was of having been “verkauft und verraten von den Demokraten.” A pair of verses gives the idea:

    Die Maske fällt,
    Träume zerrinnen,
    groß angelegte
    Lauschangriffe beginnen.
    Zwar darf man auch weiter
    seine Meinung frei sagen.
    Aber alles, bitte schön,
    im demokratischen Rahmen….!

    Die damals regierten
    sind schon wieder die Herren!
    Die damals rebellierten
    wird man wieder einsperren!
    Und dafür sind wir
    auf die Straße gegangen…
    “Mitgegangen, mitgefangen, mitgehangen….”

    This kind of political atmosphere persisted mostly in the 2000s and 2010s. Then the exuberance of the crazy 2015 “keine Obergrenze” migration catastrophe policy came and real politics briefly returned. The AfD came up rapidly. Late 2015 to late 2017 was really realignment which gave birth to the AfD (for practical purposes) as a permanent fixture on the scene.

    At one time, the AfD threatened to even take 20% of Bundestag seats and do so well in the East to potentially lead state governments there in the 2020s. (Though I’m not sure how much state governments really matter; was there even one case of a German state-government “DeSantis” who broke ranks and successfully blocked all the Corona rules? It seems they were all vetoed by Berlin in the name of a permanent-emergency; if so, the sovereignty test proves Germany is no “federal republic” in the textbook definition.)

    The AfD was still a pretty major system threat in early 2020. The Feb 2020 Thuringia case, regardless of the specifics, caused a major domestic political panic.

    Then, in March 2020, comes the Corona-Panic. After two years, it feels like they’ve successfully molded it into a permanent (counter?-)revolution-from-above. Only the most clueless miss the obvious political angle to “Corona,” and why so many places so rapidly and enthusiastically adopted this guy into their “ruling class balloon”:

    The hopeful thoughts for a potential German shift towards a less-crazy politics, which some (like me) had in 2016-19 period, are now frozen. The regime has successfully contained the AfD and other threats, partly through the mechanism of the Corona-Panic (but at the cost of also radicalizing a hard-core of Corona Anti-Panic hardliners against it).

  6. This is totally off the wall, Mr. Hail, but then it relates after all.

    I just now saw a headline at the top of the Unz Review site that said “Report Links Ballooning Fatalities to “Specific Batches” of the Covid-19 Vaccine”. Ha! My first thoughts were, “How coincidental. OK, I’m still planning on going ballooning coming summer, but I’m sure as s__t not wearing a face mask!” and “what’s the chances of that?!”

    Then, I saw it was Mike Whitney and clicked on the article. He meant “ballooning” in the usual, figurative sense, the trend, not the sport. While I’m at it, this is a good example of how I respect Ron Unz for FEATURING, no less, writers who are anti-panic even though Mr. Unz still talks “millions and millions” of deaths, like he’s a modern-day Carl Sagan. Here: Report Links Ballooning Fatalities to “Specific Batches” of the Covid-19 Vaccine

    • Hail says:

      I’m trying to imagine what literal “ballooning deaths” would mean (i.e., deaths while engaged in the activity of riding in a balloon) in the context of the political-cartoon metaphor.

      When there are deaths-while-ballooning, how many are caused by natural phenomena versus human error (gross negligence, recklessness, or other sundry mistakes)?

      This is a a non-metaphorical question with intended double-entendre to apply, perhaps, to the metaphorical world of the cartoon. (As you wrote in your comment to Mike Whitney, “You DO have to worry about fires upon bad landings, with that propane and fabric. It’s not the safest sport around.”)

  7. Yeah, and I meant to write “fires” here too, in my first comment, but made it into “files” via a typo. Some well-to-do family in my city got killed this way in a ballooning accident some years ago.

    Metaphor away, Mr. Hail. You have been doing well with this.

  8. Hail says:

    Comment ratings (thumbs up/down) have disappeared. Not sure why.

    Still visible in the internal-system. Whatever it is, the data is not lost. The most-voted comments are all in a post on Wentworth Miller I wrote early on.

    (Write about celebrities and you go far, at least in terms of view-counts. But after the Big Tech magicians put this site on a partial black-list sometime about Dec 31, 2017, even people cruising into that post have fallen way off.)

  9. Hail says:

    Interestingly, Google shows no results for this post as of this writing. A blank.

    I have long known that Hail To You is on a “list” and, as mentioned in the main post here, I have evidence of suppression back to around Dec 2017. I expect my Anti-CoronaPanic writings have contributed to getting on an even worse “list,” to the extent many posts simply do not exist at all on Google now.

  10. Hail says:

    Mr Kunstler’s yearly forecast:

    Forecast 2022 — Dumpster Fire Blazing on the Frontier of a Dark Age,” by James H. Kunstler, Dec 31, 2021.

  11. Hey, Mr. Hail.

    I’ve found a hotel that has my site blocked by their server. I’m SOMEBODY now!

    This website is blocked by your network operator.

    If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact your network operator with the following information:

    Category: Hate and Racism

    I’m writing this here just to explain why I can’t write back right now to your comments on PS. BTW, due to not knowing how to clear caching on my phone (yet), I can’t even see the new banner ad right now to check out my possible error. (I hope it’s just the script fonts and tic marks interfering.)

    BTW, I’m reading your link on Clusterf__k Nation now. Boy, that guy must get lots of reads – he has 562 comments and the article is dated yesterday! Better than Ron Unz himself and probably more interesting to me.

    • Hail says:

      Sorry to hear that you have been locked out.

      I and others have taken the liberty of hijacking the Peak Stupidity New Year’s 2022 post with chatter relating to Anti-CoronaPanic figure Dr Robert Malone, given his record-breaking podcast appearance on Joe Rogan.

      Malone says he is willing to die to try to stop any more corona-vaccinations of children. The twist: he is one of the inventors of mRNA vaccine technology.

      • Yeah, but not only that, you said he took the jab, right?

        • Hail says:

          Yes he says he took all the injections, and after getting infected (twice, he believes).

          Dr Malone has ideas a little all over the place. Some of his positions seem calculated to grab attention, as some of my comments at your website suggest.

          However, the Pro-Panic media-industrial behemoth’s attempted debunking (by a young “journalist of Wokeness”) was laughable.

  12. Pingback: Matthew Peterson of the Claremont Institute predicts a possible “extremely wild” Corona-Panic Reckoning in 2022-24 | Hail to You

  13. Hail says:

    The latest in a stream of attack-pieces against Claremont comes today from the Washington Post, co-credited to Marc Fisher and Issac Stanley-Becker. It has the (increasingly standard) preachy, double-sentence headline: “The Claremont Institute triumphed in the Trump years. Then came Jan. 6.

    The tone is clear enough from the subtitle, that it’s a crude hatchet-job:

    “After Trump helped revolutionize Claremont from a minor academic outfit to a key Washington player, the think tank is facing blowback for standing by lawyer John Eastman after he counseled Trump on overturning the 2020 election.”

    Disputes ongoing over the legitimacy of results were ongoing in that highly unusual election (the Corona-Panic had allowed unprecedented and suspicious rule-bending and more of those ‘mandates’ for huge electoral-system changes).

    Right-wing legal theorist John Eastman merely offered advice on how the state legislatures might be empowered to take control and investigate their own results. State legislatures control elections. The media famously declared it and it alone had the power to “call” elections in the week or more before the in-person voting day, but that’s not the case, legally speaking, technically speaking.

  14. Hail says:

    “[T]he Claremont Institute is not interested in participating in the fiction that the Washington Post is a legitimate media outlet, or that its chronically discredited journalists are dispassionate fact-finders intent on bringing their readers objective news.”

    The above is a statement by Claremont Institute president Ryan Williams, as the political journalists Fisher and Stanley-Becker were preparing the latest “hit piece.”

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