*I started this post about 24h ago, and then life pulled me away, and I got home too late to write. I tried to finish it last night, but got lost in the weeds. This morning I started discussing it with son over breakfast, and I THINK I figured out what the stops would be for people born and raised here, and what I have to address. So, once more, with feeling.*
After the last week — sweet slithering mother of soycakes and tofu, that was SOME week — I was in a private group, where one of my friends said that our problem right now is not left against right; it’s not political correctness against free thinkers; it’s not even SJWs against Libertarians. No. It is the elites against everyone else and, of course, vice versa.
He said we’re in the middle of a great populist spasm.
This is true… ish.
What I mean is, I know the idea we have in our minds of a populist revolution. But that is not … exactly what we’re facing. It’s possible that a lot of the so called populist spasms of the past weren’t that, precisely, either, because these spasms seem to work out with incredibly regularity at moments similar to what we’re facing now.
Because of movies and books, and the inevitable Marxist gloss on anything created/taught in the last century, a lot of us think a revolution comes about when the pressure on the people being oppressed is so strong that they rise come against the oppressor, and assert the will of the people.
This is not jut crazy, it is fricking delusional. Like most ideas Marx had and disseminated to gullible minds, it would have benefited a little bit from JUST a little exposure to the real world.
If this were the case, the Soviet Union would not have lasted, and Cuba and for that matter North Korea would be a thing of history. As would be Venezuela for that matter. And before you tell me “no, because those are populist movements” think very carefully, because otherwise I’ll send you to the corner without books to contemplate your sins. This is precisely what the left thinks, that those governments are populist and “the will of the people” and that’s why no matter how horrible the suffering they haven’t been overturned.
This is not how this works. This is not how any of this works.
Revolution happens not when things are at their direst and when the boot of the oppressor is solidly on the neck of the people, but when conditions ease up, when things are better, when the boot lifts enough to allow movement.
Sure, the wheat harvest in France (rolls eyes.) Pull the other one, it plays the Marseillaise. The revolution happened not because people were starving, however bad things were momentarily, but because things were changing really fast, and the reformist, soft leader (wanna compare him to his grandfather) was viewed as weak.
The same can be said of just about any revolution. Horrible tyrants don’t get toppled. Their softer, kinder successors do.
It’s enough to make you despair of the human race. But that’s when you have to lift the hood of history and take a good look at the engine beneath.
I’m not a materialist. Most of you know that. But it is important not to forget the material (which bizarrely Marx by and large did, so inspired was he by his prophecy of class struggle and revolution) in your examination of human history.
Man might not be an ape, but it’s not an angel, either. Somewhere between, there is a creature that dreams and projects, superimposed on the body of a tinkering ape.
If man craved that fruit of the tree of knowledge, it was probably because humans have a really hard time with paradise. No matter how nice the Savannah, how plentiful the food, there would be some Odd ape who went “What if we could?” And then he made some sparks and started fire and–
The problem is this: humans crave leadership but proper leadership requires that the leader know what the heck is going on. Leaders work, if they’re carefully trained to lead (one of the reasons Heinlein advocated breeding and raising rulers, or at least jokingly advocated it) and in our complex technocratic society, more so, but what if what they’re learning actually renders them more unfit to lead, because they can’t see conditions as they are right now?
Louis XVI paid the price of the being a leader trained for an agrarian, feudal society who was in fact installed over an industrial, fluid (in relation to the past) society. The revolution of France was not started nor spawned by the people, the poorest of the poor who were suffering, but by the bourgeois who instigated it, because they had no place, no role, no traditional expectations. They had to create their own place and the old order was in the way.
The same could be said for the American revolution, though that’s complicated by things like “distance” and the US still being largely rural. Our war to adapt to the industrial revolution, our equivalent of France’s thirsty Madame la Guillotine was the civil war. It adapted our form of government to a more centralized one, in tune with the times we were entering: times of centralized production, of vast industrial scales, and yes, of mass production, of standardized sizes and types of product. All of this needed centralized decisions, highways, possibly at times federal grants for truly big projects in terms of energy supply or mass communication. The road to get there was strewn with corpses and soaked in blood.
We are in such a period now. People underestimate how big a change extremely cheap data storage and processing and communication at a distance have made.
No, mass production for some things is not going away, any more than agriculture went away. But it is going to shrink, products are going to become more customizable. And one size fits all government will be almost impossible, the further we get into that change.
I’ve talked about this, and the necessity to build under, build around, build over to take the weight of the structures that aren’t working.
But it wasn’t until this weekend and the conversations about last week that I GOT it. It’s not just government. If it were just government, it would be easy. But the same stick hitting politics is hitting EVERYTHING from Hollywood to your local grocery store. A lot of it is still being done the way it was ten years ago, sure, but that is probably incompetent, delusional, and quite likely hurting the business.
I know the establishment of publishing is mostly running around with its head in a sack, insisting it’s still night. Their extended modified hangouts when from “Amazon is just a bookstore” to “Ebooks are inconvenient and the readers are expensive, it will never catch on” to “Ebooks are a thing of the past” (!) to now “those puny little indies aren’t threatening us, it must be people are reading less. Red staters are so teh dumb.”
But they’re not alone. The leadership of CHURCHES seems out of touch with their parishioners. Do not even get me started on the corporate leaders, either, as they have no clue how to change to fit where we are now, much less where we’re going.
This means that the leaders appear incompetent. Really incompetent. Crowds smell fear, like any wild animal. The other things crowds do is notice failure, and the collapse and insanity of the press makes it hard for them to hide it.
Eight years ago people were sensing something was wrong. Hiring Obama was part of this. He was the dream-boat of the Marxists and everyone had been educated to believe Marxism (even when they weren’t told the name) was the way of the future. I mean, it’s right there on the tin “progressive.” It must be progress. He had the education, he didn’t have experience in government but the media burned its last shreds of credibility to convince everyone he was a deep thinker.
Only, like managers being hired now on impeccable credentials, he was trained to administer the government of the thirties, at most. Not the chaotic economy and intricate specializations of the oughts.
More and more people are failing like he did — by the book — and being declared successes, btw, by the similarly indoctrinated, while leaving the thing they were leading and administered in pieces behind them.
It is not their fault in a way. Modern society requires training, but the training they’re being given, besides being infected with Marxist fantasies (this is similar to what held Catholic countries back from the industrial revolution. All their training was religious, so it was hard to see past the ideal to the pragmatic) the techniques they’re being taught are fifty to a hundred years out of date.
Even people graduated now are already wrong, and about to become more wrong, because change keeps coming.
If you look around in the fields you know, the feeling is always that the worst possible bozos are in charge.
This is not true. It’s easier to adapt when you don’t carry the responsibility for others, and for picking the right change for others.
But what it means in practical fact is that it’s fueling a vast tide of “populism”. We can see that the people who are supposedly smarter and in charge really don’t get US much less the changes in what is happening around them. They’re not taking things in account, they’re lost. They don’t know what to do.
Let’s hope this tide is not a blood tide, though it will be, in some places, at some times. It always is. Man is a fighting ape.
But if you are a manager, or have the ear of one, think through things. How everything is affected, what is likely to come next. Then try to influence things to keep stuff going, with minimal shocks.
Because the confused and shell-shocked elites have started fighting back. This is most obvious after the elections, and in politics, but it’s happening at all levels. And because they don’t know why things are failing, they’re starting to get paranoid. There’s going to be a lot of deplatforming and politics of destruction ahead. And that leads very easily to politics of physical destruction.
Be prepared. Think about the future as well as you can. This is difficult, on account of the future hasn’t happened yet, and there’s things you’ll not take in account and things that will go wrong. Sure. But you’re plenty smart enough to keep a step or two ahead of destructive change. Most of us are.
Most industries/institutions/polities won’t get this. You must try to save what you can from the wreckage, but be aware, too, that we’re about to go upside down.
Be ready for it. Be prepared. Don’t lose your way. We’re going to need all the people who can think through this, plus some, to avoid a blood letting that will make the French Revolution or the American Civil war look like tea with the parish ladies.
Keep your head, keep your sanity. Be not afraid.