“At the moment, however, and for the foreseeable future, we are also living through an extended period of what can justly be called the Phantom Revolution, in which we rebel against threats to our liberty that don’t actually exist but that we create for ourselves. It is not a revolution of the mind. It’s a revolution of the gut. It is not a revolution of ideas. It’s a revolution of the id. We have so cheapened the idea of revolution that the emergence of this revolution manqué was inevitable. It has manifested itself in spasms over the past several decades, primarily through the development of the modern conservative mind, which has chosen a series of imaginary enemies against whom to stage a very real counterrevolutionary struggle. The Clinton Death List. The Birther Conspiracy. The Tea Party. Then four years of an administration* based on phantom policies, run by a president* who’d made his entire career out of phantom success and phantom wealth and who discharged his phantom duties with phantom competence. Donald Trump did not create the Phantom Revolution. But on his watch, the Phantom Revolution manifested itself in actual revolutionary activity, some of it violent. (…) For a revolutionary nation, we’ve become so bad at revolutions that we find it necessary to locate imaginary oppressors against whom to rebel, many of them the most powerless people around. We saw the beginnings of something real in the summer of 2020 following the killing of George Floyd, and the country is desperately in need of revolutionary change—to face the climate crisis, to rebuild itself, to address challenges undreamed of only a decade ago, to adjust its 18th-century government to the needs of the 21st, and, dammit, to run its elections in a sensible way. We should be better at all this than we are.” Charles Pierce
“An underlying issue has dogged our counterinsurgency efforts from Vietnam to Iraq for over a generation. When the United States risks the lives of its military, stakes its prestige and involves other countries, it must do so on the basis of a combination of strategic and political objectives. Strategic, to make clear the circumstances for which we fight; political, to define the governing framework to sustain the outcome both within the country concerned and internationally. The United States has torn itself apart in its counterinsurgent efforts because of its inability to define attainable goals and to link them in a way that is sustainable by the American political process. The military objectives have been too absolute and unattainable and the political ones too abstract and elusive. The failure to link them to each other has involved America in conflicts without definable terminal points and caused us internally to dissolve unified purpose in a swamp of domestic controversies.” Henry Kissinger
“Polariation has already damaged America’s global influence, well short of future tests like these. That influence depended on what Joseph Nye, a foreign-policy scholar, labelled ‘soft power’, that is, the attractiveness of American institutions and society to people around the world. That appeal has been greatly diminished: it is hard for anyone to say that American democratic institutions have been working well in recent years, or that any country should imitate America’s political tribalism and dysfunction. The hallmark of a mature democracy is the ability to carry out peaceful transfers of power following elections, a test the country failed spectacularly on January 6th. The biggest policy debacle by President Joe Biden’s administration in its seven months in office has been its failure to plan adequately for the rapid collapse of Afghanistan. However unseemly that was, it doesn’t speak to the wisdom of the underlying decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, which may in the end prove to be the right one. Mr Biden has suggested that withdrawal was necessary in order to focus on meeting the bigger challenges from Russia and China down the road. I hope he is serious about this. Barack Obama was never successful in making a ‘pivot’ to Asia because America remained focused on counterinsurgency in the Middle East. The current administration needs to redeploy both resources and the attention of policymakers from elsewhere in order to deter geopolitical rivals and to engage with allies. The United States is not likely to regain its earlier hegemonic status, nor should it aspire to. What it can hope for is to sustain, with like-minded countries, a world order friendly to democratic values. Whether it can do this will depend not on short-term actions in Kabul, but on recovering a sense of national identity and purpose at home.” Francis Fukuyama
“In January, I stumbled across a new thread there titled ‘Dead Internet Theory: Most of the Internet is Fake,’ shared by a user named IlluminatiPirate. Over the next few months, this would become the ur-text for those interested in the theory. The post is very long, and some of it is too confusing to bother with; the author claims to have pieced together the theory from ideas shared by anonymous users of 4chan’s paranormal section and another forum called Wizardchan, an online community premised on earning wisdom and magic through celibacy. (In an email, IlluminatiPirate, who is an operations supervisor for a logistics company in California, told me that he ‘truly believes’ in the theory. I agreed not to identify him by name because he said he fears harassment.)” Kaitlyn Tiffany
“Nothing is more despicable than the old age of a passionate man. When the vigour of youth fails him, and his amusements pall with frequent repetition, his occasional rage sinks by decay of strength into peevishness; that peevishness, for want of novelty and variety, becomes habitual; the world falls off from around him, and he is left, as Homer expresses it, to devour his own heart in solitude and contempt.” Dr. Johnson
“Looks like we’re two bananas short of a dog shit sundae.” Cliff Steele
Is there one diagram, chart or illustration that can sum up the average American voter regardless of party or political leanings?
If you have a better idea I’d like to hear it.
Chew on that for awhile as we move along.
What’s 2022 going to bring?
Like most things it will be powered along by events that transpired in 2021. At some point in the next 12 months we’re going to find out the consequences of what happens when the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict merges with the military taking their tools home at the end of the day. Sooner or later protesters and counter-protesters will be armed and it will come down to who has the better fire power.
Boiling it down – in the short run don’t go out in Portland after dark.
That said – the verdict was the least interesting part of the trial. The real problem with where we are now came the second someone handed the judge an iPad.
OH the look on his face.
The central problem right now is neither capitalism nor socialism.
We’re run by a country of olds who are kept in place by other olds as only the olds vote. But it’s not like the olds in power pander to the olds who vote. The olds in power merely execute their worldview despite the fact that the world has changed far too much and far too fast in the past 10 years. Meanwhile the electorate olds vote for the olds in power because the olds in power think like they do.The whole thing is a closed loop. think of it this way – Zuckerberg isn’t exploiting division. He’s just traveling through the loopholes that no one can close because they have no idea how the world works now.
Will it lead to an authoritarian state?
No … well … you can call it that if you’d like.
It’s more like we’re going back to the 19th Century where most of the country was run – at least at the local level – by bosses and tight-knit cabals. (America’s original rule by the minority.) There will be no agenda but to hold power and idealism will be based on the prevalent group think of wherever the boss or bosses are located.
Will people notice?
Unless some moral outrage accompanies the return to fiefdoms no one will notice – no matter how facetious this may sound – until Porn Hub gets shut down.
If you’re looking at this page you’re probably attuned if not hyper attuned to current events as offered by the cable channels, web sites, and various publications. Which is why I would put it to you that Red State Blue State divide overlooks the real split – those who care about all the the things that happens in the public sphere vs. those who don’t care.
Two words – Britney Spears.
Again if you derive you daily intake of news from the sources previously mentioned you’re getting top-down information. What Ms. Spears proved is that there is news that comes from the bottom up and the people getting bottom-up info do not share your body of knowledge. They’re not stupid – it’s just how their wired up. Sure, some of the new bosses will recognize this and apply what they learned from our current state of manipulating the religious, but for the most part they, like Zukerberg, will skate along on the backs of the people who can’t or never did pay much attention.
So there you have it – the divisions in our society will lead to armed protesters as well as armed counter protesters while the Marines take their work home with them at night and all the while those in charge fail to keep up with a world that changed so long ago that – should they ever venture out of their bubbles – they’d find it to be a foreign land.
What could possibly go wrong?