2011 Predictions
An NRO Symposium


What might happen in the upcoming year? We asked a few of National Review Online’s sages to prophesy the events of 2011.

Domestic affairs: 2011 will be the year that the full scale of our fiscal crisis becomes clear, even to politicians. They will likely be able to postpone the inevitable for another year or so, though. (The inevitable being real, massive reductions in federal and state spending, entitlements cut to the bone, major public-sector layoffs, etc.) Start practicing the term “QE3.” Of course, the longer the politicians postpone it, the worse the crash will be: but politicians always think the horse may sing.

Federal bailouts of states and cities whose finances have collapsed will become a major issue. Citizens of better-managed jurisdictions, and Tea Partiers everywhere, will object mightily, and the rest of us will watch in horror as the deficit doubles, but the bailouts will happen anyway for fear of a devastating crisis in the bond markets.

Numerology: People will make a great fuss about 11/11/11.

Vocabulary: The word “austerity” will be heard a lot.

The culture: Obsessive texting on tiny communication gadgets will become so widespread that at some moment in some daylight hour of 2011, nobody in the U.S.A. will be speaking to anyone else.

Foreign affairs: One country will leave the euro, probably Germany.

China will begin visibly to turn the corner from Wirtschaftswunder to 東亞—…夫 (Sick Man of Asia) as all the rising graphs start to flatten out. Environmental degradation, class resentments, demographic cratering, corruption, and fiscal reality will gain ground over resource development, embourgeoisement, entrepreneurial energy, Party authority, and grandiose government projects. Just a beginning, nothing very dramatic: a big-city demonstration out of control here, a local food or water crisis there, some high-profile corruption trials, continuing intractable price inflation …

Math: Some generous publisher will offer me a handsome advance to write a book on the Banach-Tarski Paradox.

Leadership: Barack Obama will turn 50, the age at which Confucius said he knew the will of Heaven.

John Derbyshire is a contributor editor of National Review.

My predictions for 2011 will be 12.7 percent more accurate than my 2010 elections were, which is to say not very accurate at all.

By the end of the year, WikiLeaks will be recognized as the “Napster” of data-dump sites and Julian Assange as the Shawn Fanning of a phenomenon that totally eclipses his importance.

The mainstream media will, by the end of the year, start to rekindle its love for Obama after a few months of bickering and sniping over his alleged move to the center.

Obama will face another moment arguably similar to the Iranian Green revolution, only this time in North Korea. He will opt for stability over freedom, again.

There will be a large number of very successful symbolic cuts to the budget and too few substantive ones.

Newt Gingrich will do much better than expected in the pre-primary debates, garnering support from both anti-establishment conservatives who don’t think Sarah Palin is electable and from mainstream conservatives who don’t think Romney is conservative enough.

The total number of “serious” candidates seeking the Republican nomination will be over twelve. The number of “serious” candidates running after the South Carolina primary will be less than six.

Guantanamo Bay prison will not be closed.

Fidel Castro will die.

Europe’s financial crisis will get far worse. At least one country will actively try to leave the Euro, causing a major political crisis.

China will experience a major economic correction, causing global concern over Chinese political stability.

A rise in global food prices will create an international crisis.

By the end of the year, no one will think the Newsweek–Daily Beast merger was a good idea.

There will be no major international global-warming agreements.

My predictions for 2012 will have a lot more jokes.

Jonah Goldberg is an editor-at-large of National Review Online.