2018 in Review: Revisiting WC’s Wishes for 2018


In what passes for tradition here at Wickersham’s Conscience, we spend the last week of each year thinking about the year that is ending, and making our wishes for the coming year. This blog post is firmly in that tradition.

Despite the abject failures of his wishes for 2010201120122013201420152016 and 2017, WC, in a continuing (and perhaps masochistic) triumph of hope over experience, once again set out his wishes for 2018. While a few readers had suggested WC moderate his wishes, WC remained disinclined to lower his expectations in the hope of greater success. But let’s see how those wishes for 2018 panned out.

  1. Overpopulation. Yes. Still at the top of the list. The root of much is what is wrong and going wrong on this tired, over-crowded and badly abused planet.
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    Not even on the federal government’s radar. World population grew by 83 million in 2018 – about 1.1%. It’s absolutely unsustainable. There are some scholars who think world population will peak in 2025 at about 8 billion, and then slowly decline. WC is pessimistic. Score: Abject failure.
  2. Anthropocentric climate change. Another repeat from 2011 – 2017: the second great crisis facing humanity are the changes we are forcing on our planet’s climate. The way things are going, to paraphrase Pratchett and Gaiman, we are going to scourge all intelligent life from the planet, leaving nothing but cockroaches and fundamentalists.
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    This is especially discouraging, It turns out the climate models were likely too conservative, and that the impacts of anthropogenic climate change are both worse and more time-critical than science thought. It is clearly critical that the U.S. – the largest per capita CO2 emitter – take action immediately. Faced with the dire threat, the Trump Administration has done… nothing. No, wait, they’ve removed a lot of references to anthropogenic climate change from federal websites. That’s certain to help. Score: Abject failure.
  3. Our national government still remains broken. For the first time since the prelude to the Civil War, a political party set its agenda as obstructing everything a president proposed. Worse still, it succeeded.
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    Somehow, it has become acceptable to hold the entire federal government hostage to achieve a single, dubious aim. As WC writes, much of the federal government is shut down in the President’s effort to coerce implementation of an insignificant fragment of a failed immigration management technology. It’s kind of a poster child for just how broken our government is. The Republican Party, in particular, has completely lost touch with its claimed core values. Sore: Abject failure.
  4. The American people re-discover their values. Have you seen a video of a Trump campaign rally? If you have, you know it’s now beyond question that as a people, a substantial minority – not a majority – of Americans have lost their way. Out of fear, or revenge or some even darker emotion, we as a people have come to embrace as normal things a generation ago we rejected as morally repugnant.
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    The 2016 mid-term elections might be a modest indication that the body politic is at least starting to recognize principles matter more than hate. The failure to throw out people like Ted Cruz, though, make this a qualified success, at best. The triumph of Donald Trump Wannabees in places like Alaska is a disturbing sign. Score: Incomplete.
  5. Find a path to reduce income inequality. In the United States, income inequality is at its greatest extreme since the Gilded Age. The middle class in America is vanishing like the polar sea ice. The share of total U.S. wealth and total U.S. income commanded by the top 1% of the population has increased every year since the start of the Great Recession.
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    Income inequality has worsened still further, a foreseeable consequence of the Republican-controlled Congress and the disastrous tax bill of 2016.  In 2018, the top 1 percent of families in the United States made more than 25 times what families in the bottom 99 percent did, according to a paper from the Economic Policy Institute. Score: Abject failure.
  6. Reform Campaign Finance and Lobbying. It’s more than the deluded, now disproven ideas the U.S. Supreme Court espoused in Citizens United. It’s even more than the ludicrous claim that major campaign donors don’t have out-sized influence with the candidates they support.
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    Never discussed by Congress. Score: Abject failure.
  7. A Chance to Gain Control of Congress in 2018. Short of a messy revolution or massive number of election recalls or impeachments, the earliest we can start to fix our broken government is the Congressional elections of 2018.
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    Modest improvement, with the U.S House in the hands of the Democrats. The Senate, with its power to confirm judges, remains in the hands of the utterly unscrupulous Republican majority led by the even less scrupulous Mitch McConnell. Not good. And unless Mueller makes an overwhelming case, we get two more years of an incompetent, narcissistic, impulsive and amoral man as president. Score: C-.

Read ’em and weep: seven important, comparatively modest, sensible and practical wishes. None of them really met.

Welcome to reality, everyone.

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2 thoughts on “2018 in Review: Revisiting WC’s Wishes for 2018

  1. Leaving the wrong dates in several sectiond. 1, 4, and 7 for a start, makes it clear this is just last year’s post with a quick attempt to update.

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