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Systemic, Institutional Rot: from Big Freeze In Texas to Fires In Cali
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Some blame a quasi-free-market in electricity for the collapse of the electrical grid in Texas, during a winter snow storm, mid-February, in which temperatures hovered at 0°F (or -18°C). The same people finger deregulation and isolation from the national and neighboring grids.

Opposing opinion has it that an excessive reliance on renewable energy sources, like wind turbines, was the culprit in a grid collapse that saw 40 percent of the power supply fail within hours of the storm, indirectly causing the death of about 60 Texans.

All agree that the oil-and-gas state enjoys both cheap natural gas and abundant wind power, and that its natural resources could have stood Texas in good stead.

The Lone Star State’s human resources are another matter entirely.

Be they wind turbines or gas pipelines; the electrical grid has to be properly maintained. Texas, however, lacked “leadership.” It transpires that the grid had not been weatherized or winterized in anticipation of a harsh winter—pipelines had not been insulated and wind turbines never deiced.

Leadership is a euphemism for intelligence. Texas in the winter of 2021 will likely be looked upon as a case of systemic stupidity; systemic rot.

Things start to fall apart when the best-person-for-the-job ethos gives way to racial and gender window-dressing and to the enforcement of politically pleasing perspectives.

Likewise has the emergency personnel managing the blackouts for the nation’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, joined California’s political leadership to deliver third-world quality service to Californians.

When it is reported that, “Among the hundreds of people who handled the blackouts from Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s emergency operations center, only a handful had any training in the disaster response playbook that California has used for a generation”—that is a fancy way of saying:

Affirmative action.

It doesn’t help that the American Idiocracy is moving at breakneck speed to equate merit-based institutions with institutionalized racism.

Or, think about it like this: When merit-based hiring is deemed racist, bridges fall down.

Literally. The reference here is to engineers from the FIGG Bridge Group. They got the mathematics wrong, and, oddly for mechanical engineers, they seemed to have no feel for the properties of cement. As a result, a bridge meant to connect Florida International University with the city of Sweetwater collapsed, in 2018. People died. Something was terribly wrong with these engineers. Rumors were rife. Was it a designer, female-only outfit? Nobody would come clean.

In any event, when spanking new bridges collapse, trains on maiden trips derail (Washington-State Amtrak trains, in 2018 and 2015), Navy ships keep colliding (USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald in 2017) and police and FBI failure and bad faith become endemic—a picture emerges of a sprawling place, the USA, in which indeed the best-person-for-the-job ethos has given way to racial and gender window-dressing.

The latest exhibit in America’s set-aside and quota fiasco is the Capitol Police. The force received the memo about the unruly protest planned for January 6, but was deaf, dumb and blind as to how to process the information, plan and then proceed against a ragtag band of rumbunctious MAGA men and women.

I’ve lost count of the security breaches in the White House’s formidably protected perimeter. Memorable is the one in 2014. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson oversaw an incident in which one female Secret Service agent was easily overpowered; another lass didn’t bother to lock the White House front door.

The reality into which America’s deformed social reformers have thrust us is better understood by reading the cautionary tale of South Africa, through the prism of Into the Cannibal’s Post: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa, where American reformers were, incidentally, destructively instrumental, too:

“If American institutions continue to subordinate their raison d’être to politically dictated egalitarianism, reclaiming them from the deforming clutches of affirmative action will become harder and harder,” I warned. (Page 6.)

South Africa’s gutted institutions were meant to serve as a harbinger of things to come in the U.S. Ten years since Into the Cannibal’s Pot’s publication, evidence abounds that societal institutions—state and civil—have been similarly hollowed out like husks.

In 2011, readers questioned the emphasis on the importance of the electrical grid. Nevertheless, on page 97 of the same book, the South African grid is depicted as groaning under the weight of affirmative actions:

[South Africa’s] electrical grid has been degraded at every level: generation, transmission, and distribution. Since distribution is now entrusted to the local, increasingly inept, authorities, candles and paraffin lamps have made a come-back in my home town of Cape Town as well as in other cities. Daily power outages affect industries and services across the country. Rolling blackouts—’load shedding’ is the local euphemism—are now as typical of Cape Town’s landscape as the tablecloth of clouds that cascades over the majestic Table Mountain.

And, on page 99:

I’ve lived through Highveld thunder storms and Cape, South-Easter, gale-force winds. Few and far between were the blackouts. … No, Eskom, the utility that supplied most of the electricity consumed on the African continent, did not run out of juice. It just ran out of experienced, skilled engineers, expunged pursuant to BEE [Black Economic Empowerment, aka affirmative action]. ‘No white male appointments for the rest of the financial year,’ reads an Eskom Human Resources memo, circulated in January of 2008 …

The same supple thinking went into destroying the steady supply of coal to the electricity companies. Bound by BEE policies, whereby supplies must be purchased from black firms first, Eskom began buying coal from the spot market. Buyers were to descend down the BEE procurement pyramid as follows: buy spot coal first from black women-owned suppliers, then from small black suppliers, next were large black suppliers, and only after all these options had been exhausted (or darkness descended; whatever came first), from “other” suppliers. The result was an expensive and unreliable coal supply, which contributed to the pervasive power failures.

The American government is marred, at every level, with similar set-asides, preferential hiring practices and affirmative action, which compromise an already compromised institution (the State, where incentives are inverted, as in the less efficient they are, the more funds government departments get).


“The U.S. government hasn’t had an entrance test since 1982. It abandoned both the Federal Civil Service Entrance Examination and the Professional and Administrative Career Examination (PACE) because blacks and Latinos were much less likely to pass either of them. In academia, law schools have lowered the bar in admissions and on the bar exam. Universities run a ‘dual admissions system’; ‘one admissions pool for white applicants [and Asians] and another, far less competitive, pool for minorities.’” (Page 113.)

Institutional or systemic rot certainly explains some of the failures on the COVID-19 front.

By way of comparison, the South Koreans entrusted contact tracing to teams of highly intelligent, Sherlock-Holmes type characters. Contact tracing is indeed an endeavor requiring highly skilled detective types. The South Koreans have done it to perfection from the start.

The U.S. was never in control of COVID. Serious contact-tracing was never deployed to help prevent spread. Rest assured, though, that had COVID been caught in its infancy, and contact tracing implemented to that end—it would have been used as a job-creation opportunity for the government. Instead of merit-based appointments, state and federal authorities would have turned it into a job-creation project for minorities.

No doubt, our country is suffering a blackout of intelligence. It is collapsing under the blackhole of affirmative action.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s currently on Parler, Gab, YouTube & LinkedIn, but has been banned by Facebook and throttled by Twitter.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Affirmative action, Political Correctness 
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  1. TG says:

    I hear you, and I also agree that a ‘diversity’ led push to destroy what’s left of meritocracy (or rather, play divide-and conquer with the working class) is a disaster.

    But in this case: it really was about deregulation.

    Under ‘deregulation,’ there is still a monopoly for residential customers wanting electricity, but there is now a vast network of parasitic billing experts (who do not produce any electricity themselves) that private citizens have to deal with.

    Under regulated electricity, people get electricity at affordable and predictable rates, and investment in equipment insures that the electricity is reliable.

    Under deregulated electricity, people can gamble: pay unaffordable high prices for stable rates, or get affordable rates with the risk that if the spot market goes haywire they will be bankrupted. And the electricity is unreliable, because deregulation is all about asset stripping, there is no inventive to build spare capacity or weatherproof facilities etc.

    Here’s the bottom line: El Paso Texas also had the same issues with ‘diversity’ and ‘green energy’ as the rest of Texas. El Paso’s market was regulated, and so they invested in spare capacity and backup systems etc. The rest of Texas did not. Bad weather hit, and the deregulated system crashed, and the regulated system did fine.

    Even with the same rubbish about diversity.

    • Disagree: botazefa
  2. Charles says:

    It is interesting that so many people believe that entrance to a college, law school, or medical (!) school should be based on sex or racial “historical disparities” (not to mention every-day jobs). If only those people would live long enough to see the time when indoor plumbing and electric lights become luxuries…oops, I’m afraid we’re just about there.

    • Agree: Realist
  3. gay troll says:

    In California we have had more frequent and severe wind events which have been a major contributor to both the genesis and destructive power of recent wildfires. My dad who grew up in the north state gets spooked when the wind comes through the pines now at 50 mph, he says it’s never been like this before. So too was the disaster in Texas the result of weather conditions not seen in 100 years. Blaming these disasters on politics alone is stupid.

  4. Rahan says:

    In his books about the collapse of the USSR Sergei Kara-Murza describes a slow then sudden collapse not only of basic competence and basic honesty, but also of a will to live, which sends ripples into the whole system.

    People start doing a shoddy job of everything, from driving, to healthcare, to manufacturing, to maintenance. Chernobyl was the first big example of this depressive solipsism colliding with objective reality, resulting in mega-catastrophe.

    Keeping in mind the opioid, meth, and sissy-hypno epidemics among US whites, it’s not “just affirmative action”. It’s “affirmative action” + “depressive solipsism” of what in the new Russian constitution is called “the state-forming nation” i.e. US heritage whites.

    The average IQ of Ireland is 92, of Serbia is 89, of Brazil is 87, of Iran is 84, and of India–82

    Brazil is thus far perfectly capable of manufacturing airliners that fly.
    India has 22 nuclear powerplants that don’t melt down.

    Being a society of an average IQ in the 90 – 80 range may preclude innovation, but does not preclude being able to handle basic upper range 20th century tech.

    Systemic rot, once it hits, can make a mockery of any nation with any IQ levels, and it’s a long way back. If we accept that Russia “clawed back to functional normality” circa 2010, and the rapid descent kicked off circa 1980…

  5. I think “our country is suffering a blackout of intelligence”
    is the gist of the article.If so,it begets who,when,where and
    most importantly WHY? HOW, with super computers,
    increased understanding of almost every system in the galaxy
    and at least 4,862.3 yrs.experience ARE WE DUMBER ???

    Something is indeed “ROTTEN INSTITUTIONALLY”

    BUTT…”WHAT” is it?

  6. Texas vs. Dubai/Norway Query

    Why doesn’t Texas use it’s vast oil monies like Dubai or Norway to prevent situations like this?

    In an oil rich country like Norway or Dubai, this would have never happened.

    So why did it happen in Texas?

    Why are Americans so afraid that using some natural resource as a windfall will lead to “socialism” & Siberian gulags 30 years after the cold war is over?

    Is it because they believe some fat cat telling them that if more taxes are cut that maybe they will get a job?

    Why do Americans buy that garbage & Australians or Emirates or Norwegians do not?

  7. “Blaming these disasters on politics alone is stupid.”
    Fair point — with emphasis on “alone”. Perhaps Texas is more weather than politics — the argument would revolve around the cost of weather proofing the grid etc against the possibility of such extreme weather occurring….. But — would Texas politics have even allowed such a debate? Somehow… I have my doubts.
    Then you have a New Orleans — where the politics was definitely to blame (State & Fed knew the dangers & the need to spend on remedial engineering).
    As for Ilana’s general views on PC & it’s increasing perversions of society & culture she is spot on. We a witnessing collective insanity in real time.
    It’s almost feudal in nature: kings etc selling or giving away jobs & “offices” primarily for political/economic expediency. (Interestingly, the British army sold most (not all) of its Officerships — artillery may have been an exception. However, the navy always basically worked it’s Officerships on merit — the Navy Board recognized the bleeding obvious: sailing is very technical. Which is not to say that politics never had a role in questions of jobs etc).
    Some basic lessons it seems need to be relearned — even when they are the “bleeding obvious”.

    • Replies: @unit472
  8. onebornfree says: • Website

    “The U.S. was never in control of COVID. Serious contact-tracing was never deployed to help prevent spread. Rest assured, though, that had COVID been caught in its infancy, and contact tracing implemented to that end—it would have been used as a job-creation opportunity for the government. Instead of merit-based appointments, state and federal authorities would have turned it into a job-creation project for minorities.”

    Oh .My. Gawd. So you are in favor of government- run contact tracing, as long as its not “a job-creation project for minorities.” , or as long as it is copied from the S.Korean model [or similar]?

    This just in: The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic” H.L.Mencken.

    Which doesn’t make it any less idiotic if its a woman promoting the exact same garbage, but perhaps I misinterpreted your words [?]

    “Regards”, onebornfree

  9. “When merit-based hiring is deemed racist, bridges fall down.” Another great saying, Ilana!

    • Thanks: ILANA Mercer
  10. Realist says:

    It doesn’t help that the American Idiocracy is moving at breakneck speed to equate merit-based institutions with institutionalized racism.

    Or, think about it like this: When merit-based hiring is deemed racist, bridges fall down.

    Yes, merit is the god to worship.

    • Replies: @Dr. Charles Fhandrich
  11. SafeNow says:

    The U.S. is ranked 30th in the world in tracking Covid variants.The standard deviation in the U.S. ranking at doing various tasks is amazingly small; the U.S. is around 25th at most tasks. I have commented about the relaxed, contagious ethos of “good enough” many times before, and variant-tracing is merely the latest. A turning point was reached some time ago in terms of whether it is feasible for the proficient, conscientious institution or individual to resist “good enough.” It is now no longer feasible to resist “good enough”— it is not feasible in career, interpersonal, and economic terms.

  12. “They seem to have no feel for the properties of cement”. LOL Priceless.

    • LOL: ILANA Mercer
  13. @Realist

    I think most people who need a serious medical operation would wish to have a surgeon who barely graduated from medical school and was censored several times during his internship for bone headedness You can bet that all democrats want the best and for the well heeled democrats, it’s a matter of course. They won’t be debating “‘fairness”‘ before their operation.

    • Replies: @Realist
  14. Yup blacks are the dumbing down and completing the destruction of White Western Civilization. You know, White Western Civilization, the people that invented, BUILT AND MAINTAINED the modern world. And built every MODERN country in Africa. SA, Rhodesia to name a few…now a S hole named Zimbabwe…Rhodesia used to be the breadbasket of Africa , then SA was, now they are basketcases because of blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacks! oh no, omg, shhhhh da racismsss…dat be raycist yo,… Let’s not forget HAITI…. Haiti was once the Jewel of the Caribbean – Its Wealth Legendary—-What happened to Haiti?
    It’s a tale of genocide, repeated white genocide. Has it been good for Haiti?

  15. Realist says:
    @Dr. Charles Fhandrich

    I think most people who need a serious medical operation would wish to have a surgeon who barely graduated from medical school and was censored several times during his internship for bone headedness

    Is this facetiousness?

    • Replies: @Dr. Charles Fhandrich
  16. gatopreto says:

    Cheers, Ilana. ..Great article as always. But…..I have an issue with generalizations notwithstanding they be unescapable most of the times. Take the term Latin America: I have no idea who the hell created this designation for a disparity of Americans but he certainly would not distinguish Uruguay from Paraguay in a map the size of Texas. Putting in the same basket countries like Argentina and Mexico is like, you know, apples-oranges, etc. Brazilians were offended when a US president in a trip to South America greeted the brazilians saying he was happy to be in…Bolivia (were I a bolivian I would likewise be offended). Putting in a basket written “jews” guys like Schummer and my dearest friends Mauricio Kurcgant or Tomas Ratzersdorf, for example, is an abomination. Or take the senile expression “third world” (aren’t we all inhabitants of the third planet?): I would rather prefer the terms Developping or Underdevelopped or Poor or Miserable or, paraphrasing the distinguished She Devil, Deplorable . Yours truly.

  17. unit472 says:

    Yes, the weather in Texas was unusually cold but part of the problem was conservative ideology. The idea that ‘free markets’ are always a good thing even for natural monopolies like utilities. Its not as if people hadn’t thought about this before and thus arose the regulated utility that would generate an adequate electricity supply with its rates and profit margin regulated by a Public Utility Commission. It worked well for generations.

    Then merchant power companies got into the act and so did Wall St. traders who started playing games with Grid operators to rig power prices. This was a tactic employed by, among others, Enron in California in 2001. Texas really went all in on this new model and created a confusing array of companies offering various pricing schemes but who did not generate any electric power of their own.

    When the arctic air hit they ( and their customers) were trapped. With no generating capacity of their own they had to buy power as the price per kilowatt soared and pass that price onto customers who had no idea electricity could become so expensive.

  18. @Realist

    Is this facetiousness? It is, among any other names it has…lol

    • Replies: @Realist
  19. Turns out you can’t winterize wind turbines on Zoom. Who knew? Why isn’t there an ap for that? Next great revelation: There is nothing to eat on Twitter.

    • LOL: ILANA Mercer
  20. Realist says:
    @Dr. Charles Fhandrich

    Is this facetiousness? It is, among any other names it has…lol

    Thank god…I thought you had the Biden disease.

  21. SafeNow says:

    In case you have never seen it, here is a 53-second video showing what happens when there is an accident in a tunnel in South Korea.

    • Thanks: ILANA Mercer
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