So, this is not the worst of times. It’s not the best of times either. Oh, sure, there are indications both ways, but neither is the way to bet.
We are better off, have more material wealth and abundance than ever before in the history of humanity. That by itself is probably setting off all sorts of alarms. You see, it seems that whatever else we were or are, we are built on the framework of a scavenging ape species. This is sort of like one of those kit cars that help with building a model T on top of a VW structure. It will look like a model T and it will impress people, but it’s all fiberglass and trickery atop the old VW.
Same thing. We look like it’s all rational and we’re the thinking/reasoning dominant species in this world (Greebo-cat, at my feet, would laugh if he could laugh) but underneath we still have all the impulses and signals that run at an instinctive level: the ones of the old beast underneath it all.
And the old beast was a scavenger. Oh, it might or might not have killed its own meat sometimes. NOTE sometimes. Most of the time, it would be eating the leavings of lions and hyenas.
If a scavenger hits really GOOD times two things happen: its population explodes; and if it has a brain above the old chassis, it worries.
Why worries? Well, think about it. There probably was a glut for the (tiny) scavenging mammals when all the dinosaurs died. BUT that meant famine was around the corner.
It’s probably that sort of mechanism that seems to make human populations collapse when people stop struggling. Sensible, in the Savannah. Annoying now. But it also gives us the feeling that things are coming unglued, and we’re about to be in big trouble.
Which is okay, because we sort of are.
No, it’s not the worst of times. Not even politically. There is a tendency to enshrine the first half of the twentieth century as either a golden age (conservatives) or a fascist hell (leftists.)
It was neither. But it was no paradise for lovers of liberty. I read about the persecutions and purges of people who were three generations removed from Germany. I read of instigator corps disseminated among the population by luminaries like Woodrow Wilson. I read of lynchings and of people spying on people with a fervor worthy of the communist republics.
On the other hand, yes, we could build big things. If we lifted the regulations that cripple us we could build them now too, probably bigger and better and done by private business.
The regulations, and the people screaming for more of them are a manifestation of the scavenger’s fear, too. Oh, sure, they’re a manifestation of a greed for power in some, but the reason they get away with them is that the rest of the people are scared. The hind brain is reading that something wicked this way comes, and the regulations are an attempt to slow change, to keep things static, to be safe “until I run out the clock.” I’ve heard this phrase from a number of boomers.
It’s nonsense, of course. You can’t stop the clock. You can go too fast or you can die. And it’s easier to go too fast, because when you close avenues of development with regulation, other avenues open, unexpected. Statists more or less closed the avenue of space, perhaps having realized it would be harder to control all of humanity? Or perhaps out of an atavistic desire to stop everything that scares them. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. They closed that, and the engineers slipped away into cyberspace, which has had side effects like destroying the big narrative of mass media, which the left had spent a century positioning to control completely. Evil will oft evil mar and all that.
But it’s not the worst of times, no matter what your back brain is telling you. There have been much worse ones. And there will be again, more the pity.
Lately a lot of people including some of my friends have been posting some variation of “Do you want a civil war? Because that’s how you get a civil war.”
It is of course nonsense. We’ve been in a civil war my whole life. A cold civil war, between the forces of Western civilization and the enemy (encouraged, if not started by the now defunct Soviet Union) within. And the forces of freedom have been losing badly. Until about 15 years ago or so, when we started fighting back. Not in the political realm, or not effectively enough yet, but increasingly so. Mostly we were fighting back in the news, the perception, the culture realm. Which is where we had to start. Politics comes after. About 25 years after, because it needs awareness of who we are, and some form of organization (yes, even for individualists.)
The good news — ah! — is that the same thing that is making you nervous, the fast technological change, is also on our side. Why on our side? Because we’re the ones who thought ourselves to dissidence in the days of the single, unified narrative blared by news, movies, novels, art. We have resources to navigate with imperfect, incomplete information, and arrive somewhere sane.
These times of fast change are worse for those who simply memorized/swallowed a narrative. They want someone to tell them what to do. They are having a visible, audible, scary breakdown in front of the world and everyone.
Which makes them and the world very dangerous right now. People who are that desperate to be ruled will find a ruler. And they’ll try to take us with them.
I didn’t realize how stupid things had got until I hit weather.com last night, and they had a thing about how by leaving the Paris accord Trump had endangered his own properties.
Let’s count the insanity, shall we?
1- I’d come there to look up when it would be cool enough to open my office window.
2- I’m used to the clickbait, but politics, right there, in the front page. Ooh boy, someone was very sure all their users agree with them and that — wow — everyone will buy this narrative.
3- I don’t buy the narrative. You see, I have looked into the Paris accord. It really has nothing to do with stopping carbon emissions — even if carbon were proven to be causing global warming, which it isn’t. Chances are it’s a trailing indicator — because it if it did, it would have to impose limits on China and India. All it is is a way of transferring money from the West — mostly the US — to China and India, which will of course, be used in more “dirty” development, which if ANTHROPOCENTRIC global warming were a thing, would just back us faster. (Is it a thing? I don’t know. The data is corrupted, the researchers are corrupted, the programs don’t even predict what already happened, and the whole mess needs to be swept away and investigated by someone whose only solution to EVERY problem isn’t “Socialism!”
4- Even if the Paris accord had actually done anything about global warming, even if global warming were a danger (humans usually do well in warm periods, but there’s indications we’re just in a long break on an ice age. If you page back, you’ll see a post by Stephanie Osborn explaining what is going on with the sun and the likelihood things are about to get a whole lot cooler.)it would take a LONG time for any coastal cities to be underwater. To melt all of Greenland’s ice, my friend Charlie Martin, estimated somewhere around 6500 years. This means that for Trump’s properties to be affected, they must still be around in 6500 years. And for him to be affected by his properties being under water, Trump must be immortal.
To put this in perspective, it’s quite likely at least one and (because there weren’t that many people in the world then, you’re probably descended from the same few over and more) probably more of your ancestors were scratching the dirt of the fertile crescent 6500 years ago for a meager living.
Yeah, it is “ironic” that Trump just arranged for “his properties” to be underwater 6500 years from now. All hail Donald Trump, Immortal! (Maybe it is the worst of times. We’re living in a bad sci fi flic.)
5- Weather.com, an enterprise run by the weather channel is a multi-million dollar thing, an investment, a company presumably run by SOME adults.
But they not only thought it was okay to splash cockamamie political propaganda on their front page, never considering some of their users might know better/just disagree, but they think we’re ALL SO STUPID they can do some photoshop and we’ll buy this crap lock, stock and barrel.
… Which is why I realized the people saying the cold civil war will go hot are right… in part.
Remember, months ago, when I told you that the left thought they couldn’t lose the election? Because their way is the “future” and history comes with an arrow and moves only in one direction?
To be fair, this is human, not just leftist. We all impose a narrative on chaos, so we can predict the future. It’s often imperfect, but also somewhat useful. For instance, if you know communism in all its forms has killed 100 million people, it’s stupid to try it again, this time with more eggs broken. There is still no proof it can make an omelet.
It is however a good thing to keep a flexible mind about it. What happened before, and what we can extrapolate is a guide. History is not predictable, malgre the various dreams of the various science fiction writers in the middle of the last century. It’s influence by humans and how they react to their environment, and humans are deplorably — eh — unpredictable.
The problem is the left has bought into Marxism and its pseudo-scientific lies. And the system despite many past failures to predict anything, purports to predict our emergence into a paradisaical “perfect communist state”. Everything, from leftist “science” to leftist “art” (that is to say the establishment versions of those, since our establishment is solid left) is designed to hasten the coming of that ah, eschatological result. According to Marxist/leftist/progressive exegesis, of course.
But the predictive powers of that system are somewhat less reliable than Michael Mann’s cooked up hokey stick, which fails to predict the weather now, fed data from the eighties.
So they were sucker punched by the election. Inf act, they’ve been sucker punched by a whole lot of things the last ten years. Mostly the fact people are exiting their modes of information/propaganda at speed and forming a different picture of the world than that fed to them by the industrial education-entertainment-arts-“scientific” complex.
Because their minds were not trained in flexibility and they’re something of a cult, they are having a nervous breakdown.
In cults, this usually ends up in koolaid. In nations, too, when a paradigm (yes, sorry, but it’s the right word) breaks in a way perceived as sudden.
So– is the cold civil war about to be hot?
Um… Stasis has an inertia of its own. And our populations are too emulsified for something like the ACW. If what you’re visualizing is armies taking the field and shooting at each other, this is unlikely at least for the next 20 years or so. Why? Because it would take the two sides in the ideological and conceptual civil war separating first.
The bad sign is that this is happening. Or the good sign. Depends on how you look at it, okay? For decades, we who didn’t sing the choir chafed at the narrative or parts of it, but there was only one source for news and entertainment (yes, I know, many publishers, many channels. BUT the differences in their POV were negligible.)
There were (there still are) penalties for not endorsing the “reality of consensus” which was leftist. You didn’t get HEARD. If you deviated you were boycotted. This didn’t create consensus, but it created the APPEARANCE of consensus.
Now you can get heard, at a lower level, but heard. And people are listening. This means instead of the left just boycotting the right, it’s now mutual. (For instance, I’m using Wunderground.com) Which means, given twenty or thirty years, it’s possible we’ll largely separate into two mutually hostile groups. It’s even possible we’ll slowly separate geographically. I’m one of those odd libertarians who loves big cities. I have conservative and libertarian friends in the heart of the big coastal cities. But in the last five years, they’ve started saying things like “My time here is coming to an end.” And “I’m getting tired of living in enemy territory.”
Will that happen?
My gut instinct is to say no. The true-believers are not… Um… how to put this? I don’t think they can survive on their own, unattended. I don’t think they’re a long-term viable movement. A friend once told me “the left screams their defiance loudest when they’re dying.” And I think he’s right. I think their collapse will be sudden and shocking like the fall of the Berlin wall.
So, everything is clear? Everything fine ahead?
Ah, I didn’t say that. When — at a guess, and for true believers, not the dupes, unthinking endorsers and people to young to have shed educational indoctrination — one quarter of the population goes stark raving nutters, like disappointed cult members when their prophet fails to take them to paradise, we’re in for — at best — very choppy water.
And the left for all their mealy mouthed talk of peace, has ALWAYS been startlingly and unrepentantly violent.
So, will there be a civil war?
This is a very big country. Conditions are very different in different states, cities, locales.
There will be… a distributed heating up of the cold civil war. In spots. This is tricky business, as, for instance, the unrest of the last five years has touched me not at all, despite living (now) in a fairly large city. OTOH I missed some unrest, once, because we went to a museum a different day than we’d originally planned. (No real reason, we were just not feeling it that day.)
We’re in for a more noisy, larger version of the unrest I grew up through, where in a normal day, on the way to school, I’d turn the corner and find myself in the midst of a pitched street battle.
Keep your eyes open. Keep your powder dry. Stay armed in any way you can stay armed. If by occupation, place of residence, whatever, you can’t carry, make sure you have something you can use to defend yourself. Be imaginative. An ornamental walking stick can be a mace with the appropriate weighting. So can an umbrella.
Get in as good a shape as you can. Sometimes your feet are your best defense. No, I don’t mean kicking, though I did my share of that, but running away when outnumbered or outgunned. There is no shame in escaping to fight another day.
Most of all, stay alert, and do not buckle.
This too shall pass, and we’re more likely to adapt to the place tech is taking us, and to emerge victorious in the end. Freedom is always more adaptable, and therefore, in the end, more survival enhancing.
This is not the best of times, but it is not the worst of times. And though doubtless there is an ending in the future, it is nowhere in sight.
Be not afraid.