I’m not entirely sure who said prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future. It has been variously attributed to Nobel laureate Niels Bohr, to Yogi Berra, and others. I am drawn to the formulation of George Eliot’s narrator in Middlemarch: “Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous.” To make mistakes is human. Why make them needlessly? They are to be avoided to the extent possible, or to the extent consistent with living the good life.
Well, we look to the year ahead for fun in a Laughter Is the Best Medicine sort of way. As I look into my crystal ball for 2023, I see (with a decreasing level of certainty):
• Evidence of President Biden’s age-related physical and mental decline will continue to mount.
• By mid-year the Democrats’ media adjunct will be calling for Biden’s likeness to be chiseled into Mount Rushmore.
• The Biden administration will frustrate the efforts of House Republicans to investigate the Biden family corruption and other such issues of public interest. The Biden administration will defy House subpoenas, secure in the knowledge that they cannot be enforced without an Attorney General willing to enforce the law.
• Kevin McCarthy will find a way to win election as Speaker of the House in January. By February, however, he will begin to wonder why he wanted the job so badly.
• George Santos will take office on January 3 but resign later this year.
• Doubts concerning the reliability of the government’s economic statistics will mount through the year. We will increasingly look to alternatives generated by non-government actors.
• Inflation will persist. Unemployment will increase. The economy will drift into recession if it is not there already. The media will salute each trend as a sign of good times and an omen of better yet to come.
• The Obamas will continue to enjoy their ascent to the plutocracy while finding new reasons to seethe over the unfairness of it all.
• Dianne Feinstein will resign from office and Adam Schiff will be appointed to replace her. Before they move on, Schiff will counsel Santos on the importance of public officials speaking the truth.
Inflation was said by the sages of the Biden administration to be “transitory.” They said it in unison, more or less in the mode that synchronized swimmers bring to their sport. That prediction nevertheless proved in short order to be a belly flop.
I quoted George Eliot’s Middlemarch narrator above. Here is yet another permanent truth formulated by Eliot’s narrator that may serve as an appropriate accompaniment of my predictions: “That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency, has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it. If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.”
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