Tower of Davos
"Never make deals with assholes and criminals."
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND — Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven: and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands.
The funny thing about themes is they tend to repeat, regardless of the era.
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The ultrapowerful and wealthy met once again for the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in the Swiss Alps. The Davos summit claims it’s committed, by way of dialogue and political action, to "improving the state of the world." How best to achieve such a lofty goal, and what should undergird this endeavor? Why, man’s own ingenuity and determination, of course. Nothing more, certainly nothing outside man’s immediate control.
To call the summit secular would be an understatement. It is aggressively secular. Indeed, aside from the odd Buddhist monk and the centuries-old churches that pepper the Swiss countryside, Davos nearly makes one forget organized religion even exists, it's that absent from the weeklong event. One gets the distinct impression organized religion is not only unwelcome at Davos but also actively discouraged from taking part, which may explain the gathering's many contradictions and why it seems doomed for failure. It certainly doesn’t seem destined for the type of success and longevity that has accompanied man’s two greatest achievements in the name of liberty, self-determination, and "improvement": the Constitution and the Magna Carta.
The chief distinction between these accomplishments and Davos is the former are unified by a collective understanding of goodness and truth, rooted ultimately in the divine and a sense of natural law. Davos, on the other hand, feels more like a carnival for the blind, would-be do-gooder clowns fumbling around in the dark, relying entirely on a worldly, and therefore fallible, Sesame Street-style understanding of truth, a worldview no more profound or meaningful than the type of message found in a fortune cookie.
All up and down the small Swiss town, whose shops and restaurants have been converted to serve the hosting needs of the WEF and the dozens of unrelated organizations looking to benefit from their proximity to the summit’s high-profile attendees, one sees slogans that amount to absolutely nothing, platitudes that crumble under the slightest scrutiny. "What if peace of mind came from mindful technology?" "Everything starts with ambition." "Growth in an age of uncertainty," reads another sign. What does this mean? What age has ever been certain?
Unfortunately, the presence of American politicians and newsmen does nothing to add clarity to the week’s revelries. Contrary to what some may believe, Americans are as susceptible as anyone to peer pressure and fads. At Davos, U.S. lawmakers, including Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), are perfectly happy to go along to get along. In fact, Moulton and Manchin even side with the anti-free speech rhetoric so popular at Davos, the latter walking back his comments only after his fellow Americans collectively ask, "What the hell?"
The aggressively secular event continues apace, headlined by people who seem genuinely concerned for the well-being of the world's population. The problem is: These "elites" and "experts" have no clearer idea of what they want, or how to achieve it, than the average schlub pulled randomly from the Yellow Pages. Where there is a near-total absence of a defining and unifying faith in a higher being and natural law, there is an abundance of incoherent and inconsistent messaging.
Trudge your way up the main thoroughfare, stomping through snow that has been beaten into a gray pulp by the gathering’s many speakers and attendees, and marvel at the fact the Equality Lounge ("The Place for Conscious Leaders"), which hosts the Female Quotient’s nearly all-female panels and audience, is situated next door to the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation’s Youth Majlis. You can't miss them. They’re across the street from Blockchain Hub Davos and Ukraine House Davos.
Casually bump into Wendy Diamond, founder of Women's Entrepreneurship Day, at a Wall Street Journal-hosted cocktail party, and hear all about her efforts to empower and honor women. Exit the building, whose halls are lined with signs advertising Audi limousine services and whose office spaces host HSBC, Pfizer, and IBM, and head across town to hear an address by Liu He, vice premier of the People's Republic of China, where sex-selective abortions are the most popular kind. Hear from multiple speakers on the grave evils of Russia, whose representatives are not welcome this year at Davos, and ponder why members of the Chinese Communist Party, which is waging a genocide against China's Uyghur population, are not similarly unwelcome.
Hop over to the Freie Evangelische Gemeinde Davos, a nondenominational evangelical church that has been converted for the week into a space for parties and events hosted jointly by CNBC International and the Filecoin Foundation. Mingle at a boozy Financial Times social hour with, among others, representatives from the "ecocide" movement, which is lobbying The Hague to treat carbon emissions and deforestation with the same severity as honest-to-God genocide. Again, ponder why representatives of the CCP are not treated as personas non grata at Davos. Take a ski lift to the Hotel Schatzalp to attend the Swedish Lunch and meet along the way an American professor best described as a Davos groupie. It’s her fifth year at the summit. Her best experiences, indeed even her best friends, are all from Davos, she’ll tell you. It’s not just a political movement. It’s a lifestyle. Listen carefully as she explains why climate change is "the new Holocaust."
Like the Holocaust, she says, "we know it’s wrong, but we do it anyway."
Reach the mountaintop and the professor disappears into the crowd, hugging and kissing old friends at the swanky indoor/outdoor affair with enough champagne to drown a fraternity. At the luncheon itself, meet representatives from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and learn about their collective efforts to wean modern man from fossil fuels. Try not to think about how the luncheon’s 100-plus guests, including the American professor and the MIT representatives, made their way into Switzerland. They likely didn't walk.
Attend any panel and you’ll hear speakers preach the gospel of "peace through tech," "peace through sustainability," and "peace through economic interdependency." Try to ignore Russia’s invasion of Ukraine . Try, but you’ll probably fail.
"The only thing that matters right now is Russia," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says at a private event hosted by the Female Quotient. The invasion is a constant topic of discussion at Davos, a looming cloud that serves as a stark, real-world contrast to the gathering’s otherwise flowery and optimistic themes of international cooperation and partnership. It's enough to give one whiplash.
But this is what happens when man relies entirely on himself. He is an erratic animal, prone to ignorance, inconsistencies, and passion. Absent something greater than himself, he tends to revert to his baser tendencies. It should not be surprising, then, that a movement as outwardly secular as Davos should feature a great deal of ignorance and passion (and not the good kind).
At Davos, few, if any, can explain coherently (or realistically) the "how" of the movement's stated goals or what "improving" looks like. There doesn’t appear to be any unifying idea of what "good" even means. WEF officials and attendees know only that they want to ascend to the heavens. But lofty aspirations ignorantly informed usually result in failure, if not outright catastrophe. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the saying goes. If Davos hasn’t hurt the average citizen directly, it certainly hasn’t helped him, even after five decades of activity.
Unhappiness worldwide reached record highs in 2022, according to Gallup, a troubling trend that takes place against the backdrop of the WEF’s 50-plus-year effort to improve “the state of the world." As the "elites" bumble around every year in Switzerland with only a vague and undefined understanding of "good," exploring and promoting new regulations meant to "improve" the global community, the average person has grown more miserable, more stressed, and more unhappy. It has gotten to the point where mental health professionals are recommending "coping toolboxes," packages that include anything from stress toys to essential oil sprays to sugar-free chewing gum.
Most notable of all is the fact that, in the past 17 years, Gallup’s "well-being" score for the top 20% has increased, while the same metric has decreased for the bottom 20%. The rich get happier, while the poor get sadder. Or, put more bluntly, while the type of person who headlines WEF speaking events has grown more satisfied and content, the average Joe who can’t afford a plane ticket to Switzerland has grown more despondent. You’d think that after 50 years of the WEF’s high-level political engagement, global unhappiness would at least hold steady. But you’d be wrong. It has seen sharp increases across the board, inching ever upward year after year. We shouldn’t be surprised. How much "good" can an international conference accomplish when the conference doesn’t appear to have any clear understanding of what the word "good" means?
Like Babel, Davos seeks by man’s own ingenuity and determination to conquer the world and mold it to his own liking. But, like the fate of Babel itself, no one at Davos seems to understand what, exactly, this means or how to achieve it, and this is precisely because there is no unifying truth or common framework tying the event together. WEF officials and speakers have only an ambiguous sense of what they want and how they expect to get it, and every man has his own unique interpretation.
In the posh European ski resort town of Davos, situated comfortably and safely in the Swiss Alps, the most privileged people in the world lecture one another about topics they can’t possibly understand, it’s all so far removed from their daily lives and lifestyles. Happily, not everyone who appeared this year at Davos is so grossly disconnected from the realities of the world.
“Never make deals with assholes and criminals,” said Ukraine parliamentarian Maryan Zablotskyy at the "Path Forward: Liberal Democracies and Technology Policy" event in Davos, referring to the West’s overwhelmingly naive understanding of China and Russia. "It will always end badly. Forget it."
Finally, a man who knows what he’s talking about.
Speaking of criminals, who invited the vice premier of the People's Republic of China to this party?
Becket Adams is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and the program director of the National Journalism Center.
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One Hellfire drone at the right time and we are done with these useless pommes.
They are united. United in their ambition, the need for recognition and admiration, their insatiable greed, their machiavellian methods, their complete disregard for ordinary people, their determination to never do any real work, and their complete sociopathic desires. They re all strongly united in that sense. I notice it attracts a lot of females and feminized men. They all talk like psychopaths. They always promote females, even though their men are in the gutter. Yet we don't see many female trades people. Or anything that involves keeping the lights on. They are only promoted in jobs that rely go grift, taxpayer dollars, and government employment. Anything with a white collar and a large paycheck - they'll skip the rest thanks. They don't like to work for a living, but do want us to think that 65% of university graduates being female is somehow making them oppressed. The west is finished. These people are our enemies. The goal they have set for themselves is to persuade us otherwise. That is quite a uniting objective. They want to see you poor, hungry, unhappy, and to kiss their feet. What has Russia done to me again? I forgot.