“The Walking Dead” owes its success to the subconscious power of its political metaphor: It is all about liberal internationalism – a corrupt, rotting zombie version of the liberal creed that really died 50 years ago but refuses to admit it.
For the past decade “The Walking Dead” has been one of the most popular television dramas in the world and arguably the most successful horror franchise ever made. And the now it is more topical than ever: The Biden administration has just taken over in Washington and the Compassionate, All-Powerful, All-Knowing and All-Wise European Commission continues to rule over the 27 nations of the European Union
For “The Walking Dead” owes its success to the subconscious power of its political metaphor: It is all about liberal internationalism – a corrupt, rotting zombie version of the liberal creed that really died 50 years ago but refuses to admit it.
For from the fateful year of 1965 onwards, the great tide of liberal internationalism started to disintegrate to the horror and fascination of the entire world. First, the mighty, invincible United States at the very same time it was even outracing the Soviet Union to the Moon was humbled and made fools of by a rag tag army of fierce, impoverished but implacable guerrillas in the remote little Southeast Asian nation of Vietnam.
At the same time as it fell flat on its face halfway around the world, American liberalism fell apart at home, the United States itself was convulsed for years by race riots even after President Lyndon Johnson pushed through the century-overdue Civil Rights and Voting Acts. American colleges became theaters of rage and childish destruction too until Johnson’s successor, cynical Richard Nixon finally ended the threat of being drafted in to fight in the jungles of Vietnam.
Finally, the third leg of the liberal triad, the supposedly wise and humane economics of John Maynard Keynes, lost all credibility in the great inflation unleashed by Johnson. The inflation was then witlessly fanned by Nixon with wage and price controls. They had previously failed for President Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression and the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Needless to say, they failed for Nixon too.
The great inflation was finally crushed by the policies of the greatest of all Federal Reserve chairs, Paul Volcker in the late 1970s and early 1980. But the price was a deflation and rolling back of the role of government in the private sector that flew in the face of the Grand Liberal Faith.
Yet two decades into the 21st century what do we find? A neo-Keynes based on pumping endless paper money into the economies of the United States and Western Europe has reemerged and again reigns supreme. Interest rates have been reduced to literally zero, or flat rates, a new mechanism to make purchasing power worthless that was eagerly fostered by George W. Bush, the dim without limits, fake-macho, posturing U.S. president who permanently discredited the heritage of Ronald Reagan – just as Lyndon Johnson destroyed that of his own hero Franklin Roosevelt.
In the 1960s, classic American liberalism stumbled into an unwinnable war in Southeast Asia and lacked any moral courage or intelligence to pull out. Forty years later “Dubya” Bush unleashed two endless unwinnable wars also in Asia that two succeeding Democratic presidents – Barack Obama and now Joe Biden – have both eagerly embraced to fight: This time in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again we see the same monstrous triad of nightmarish, and absurd policies: Fighting unwinnable foreign wars, fanning endless racial and now even gender divisions in one’s own country through policies meant to banish them and economic policies that bring impoverishment, joblessness and ruin instead of the growth and prosperity they endlessly promise.
All three “legs” of this liberal policy triad were supposedly discredited forever 50 years ago after the catastrophic presidency of Johnson bequeathed his successor the glowing heritage of race riots and hatred at home, the worst inflation in U.S. history and the Vietnam War. To see them all now raging more thoroughly than ever, half a century on, is an exercise in bloodcurdling horror. It exceeds anything we can watch on “The Walking Dead.”
The parallels are obvious. What died 50 years ago refuses to recognize it. Dead ideas and their eager acolytes still walk.
Merely 20 years ago, a New York publisher rejected one of my books on the patterns on international economics in which I correctly predicted the coming revival of Russian agriculture and food processing. The pompous fool was particularly outraged because I spoke disrespectfully of the Sainted John Maynard Keynes. Now I have some respect for Keynes: At the very least, he hammered home the elementary value that economics should be used to reduce and eliminate human suffering, not callously ignore it. But I told that publisher what he could do with his Keynes.
My book “Cycles of Change” eventually came out in 2015. In it I predicted the progressive revival in the U.S. Democratic Party against liberal internationalism that was led by Senator Bernie Sanders and the nationalist-patriotic reaction on the Right that made Donald Trump President of the United States. I had to self-publish it. Not a single publisher in the United States would touch it: 140 of them rejected it. There’s freedom of speech, U.S. style for you.
It is a mark of zombies that they cannot recreate the past they cling to but instead make a gruesome mockery of it. They are also cruel, stupid, intolerant and merciless. Can anyone looking at the policies that still pour forth ceaselessly from Washington and Brussels therefore doubt for a second that both imperial capitals are run by zombies?
The Walking Dead have won.