The Genocidal Gerontocracy

Brother Dawn, Brother Day, and Brother Dusk. From the show Foundation, via

I was in the car with my parents and kids and my kids were like “who's in charge here?” It's a good question, though they just wanted to resolve some inane point of order like 'whose feather is this?' The best rationale we could settle on for self-governance was averageness. We added up the ages of everyone in the car (6, 7, 41, 70, 72) and divided by 5, giving about 40. AKA me. This seems obvious enough in a car, but not in any political cartography. That's one reason the whole clown car they call the 'rules-based order' is crashing.

If you look at the vehicle of state, the dying White Empire is driven by a visibly dying octogenarian, as are many 'liberal' democracies. These 'democracies' are actually naturally conservative. Rulers fail upwards forever and pass on power to their children. There are lower age limits on civic rights but no upper, so people literally die in their seats, thinking they can take it all with them. And so they actually do. This ending generation is ending the world with them, leaving everybody else with the consequences.

In Foundation, Isaac Asimov (and the new show runners) imagined this demographic problem quite graphically. He posited one ruler, composed of three identical clones, decanted at different times. Brother Dawn, Brother Dusk, and Brother Day. Brother Day rules the day to day, with advice from Dusk (the old ruler) and with Dawn in training (the next in line). They each took turns, and the Galactic Empire rules (ruled?) for centuries. It was the reign of Cleon, the clone king. The middle-aged Cleon is always in charge, which is of course science fiction.

The White Empire we live in is ruled by some rounding error (pick a Vice-President for Obama that doesn't scare white people!) who is 81 years old and cannot physically climb stairs, but who can mount a good old-fashioned genocide. The alternative is 77 years old, probably humps chairs, and is also down for an old-fashioned genocide. WTF are we even doing? If we were on a road trip, would we put these embarrassing grandfathers in charge? No way. But that's who's steering the ship of state. They're good representatives, I guess. The White Empire is visibly dying. It's a global gerontocracy.

Globally, people who—with all due respect—can't pee straight, are expected to rule the fate of millions, if not billions. I can certainly understand on an advisory level, but executive? They're literally losing executive function. And Allah knows governing is just tiring. Old people should honestly just chill and be with their grandchildren. I can't even understand the motive for clinging to power until you die. What's the point of the thing? The lord dies clutching power, and it's just a one-way ticket to hell, guaranteed. Best to repent while you can, and let someone younger take the lead (and the blame).

Anyways, getting out of the car, we decided to go for a river bath and then my mother started getting swept away by the current. My daughter screamed 'Achchi's drowning' and it quickly dawned on me that this was not her usual bullshit screaming about inanities. This was an actual auntie emergency. My father was sitting there frozen, thankfully, else I'd have two problems. I pushed across the current and got my mother to the other side. Then we waited around for some people to help her get back across, while my children got devoured by sand flies lol.

It makes you think, doesn't it? I'm definitely not the smartest person in the family, but I'm the least physically and mentally retarded, for lack of a better word. I learn slower than my kids and know less than my parents, but I am simply average enough to be the most useful for most situations. My parents have more brains than me and my children have more heart, but my body simply works better. I literally bow to my parents and serve my children, but I am undoubtably the most competent of the lot, just by the law of averages. This is of course no match for the law of compounding interest, which largely explains the unequal and old state of the world we're in.

The great problem of this era is that our parents' generation will, on average, always be richer (and thus more powerful) than us. It's simply the power of compounding interest. It's like Fry in Futurama who had $0.93 in his savings account in 1999 and $4.3 billion in 2999, when he woke up. You can't beat compounding interest. Time is money, and older people simply have more of it 'saved' up. In bank accounts, investments, property, or education. All of this stuff used to be affordable and now it's largely unattainable assets.

The only real wealth transfer happening during the White Empire is when rich peoples kids literally inherit the wealth, or have their parents buy them a home, or an education that costs as much as a home, or fund their first, second, and third businesses until they can be 'self-made'. Modern soothsayers with spreadsheets (economists) ignore the one economic rule that survived the bronze ages (regular debt jubilees) to our collective ruin. As they knew in the Bronze Ages (re: Michael Hudson), a society without debt jubilees just ends up in debt slavery and collapse. The entire experiment of modern White Empire, carrying over from the Romans, is seeing what would happen if interest compounded forever, which is a mathematical impossibility (re: Sessi's chessboard)., But Ponzi schemes are good fun unless you're holding the bag. And if you've died before the music stops, all the better. You literally got away with it. That seems to be the plan.

My friend once told me the most revolutionary thing you could do would be to kill your grandparents, and the thought makes me shiver, but it makes sense. The trouble is that the people who have the least actually invested in the future have the most investments. The people that have the least stake in the future won't give up control without a stake through their hearts. They're really trying to live forever, and take it all with them when they go. The Empire is run by gerontocrats, people that should be playing with their grandchildren and not burying children in rubble. But here we are.

I don't mean my grandparents or your grandparents, my God, obviously other other grandparents. I mean that inchoate gerontocracy of reruns that runs the Empire at the heart of it all. I'm not saying younger people would run Empire better—it's a dumpster fire by design—but they certainly couldn't run it worse. They might park the bus rather than driving it off a cliff. It's not that 'adults' are more advanced than the elderly or the young, they're just—on average—a bit less retarded. Which is the best you can hope for in this reign of clone Emperors literally decomposing in front of us, taking the world with them when they go.