Friday, February 10, 2017

An interesting perspective on what may be a new American Revolution

Over at, Jordan Greenhall has penned (typed?) a thought-provoking article that he calls "Situational Assessment 2017: Trump Edition".  Here's how it begins.

In 2015, I took a swing at assessing the shape and state of our global challenges. Looking back, that essay is still well worth a read, but it is high time for an update.

While many things have changed in the world in the past two years, 2016 saw what looks like a phase transition in the political domain. While the overall phenomenon is global in scale and includes Brexit and other movements throughout Europe, I want to focus specifically on the victory of the “Trump Insurgency” and drill down into detail on how this state change will play out.

I use John Robb’s term “Trump Insurgency” here to highlight the fact that the election of 2016 was not an example of “ordinary politics”. Anyone who fails to understand this is going to be making significant errors. For example, the 2016 election is not comparable to the 2000 election (e.g., merely a “close” election) nor to the 1980 election (e.g., an “ideological transition” election). While it is tempting to compare it to 1860, I’m not sure that is a good match either.

In fact, as I go back and try to do pattern matching, the only real pattern I can find is the 1776 “election” (AKA the American Revolution). In other words, while 2016 still formally looked like politics, what is really going on here is a revolutionary war. For now this is war using memes rather than bullets, but war is much more than a metaphor.

This war is about much more than ideology, money or power. Even the participants likely do not fully understand the stakes. At a deep level, we are right in the middle of an existential conflict between two entirely different and incompatible ways of forming “collective intelligence”. This is a deep point and will likely be confusing. So I’m going to take it slow and below will walk through a series of “fronts” of the war that I see playing out over the next several years.

There's much more at the link.

Mr. Greenhall examines the current situation under several headings:
  • Front One: Communications Infrastructure
  • Front Two: The Deep State
  • Front Three: Globalism
  • Front Four: The New Culture War
  • The War for Collective Intelligence

Under the last heading, he notes:

The conflict of the 21st Century is about forming a Collective Intelligence that can outwit and out innovate all of its competitors. The central challenge is to innovate a way of collaborating and cohering individuals that maximally deploys their individual perspectives, capabilities, understandings and insights with each-other. Right now, the Insurgency has the edge. It has discovered some key ways to tap into the power of decentralized collective intelligence and this is its principal advantage. While it is definitely not a mature version of a decentralized collective intelligence, it is substantially more so than any collective intelligence with which it is competing and unless and until a more effective decentralized collective intelligence enters the field, this advantage is enough.

It's a sometimes rambling essay that wanders off into the intellectual bushes on occasion, IMHO, but nevertheless pulls together several very interesting perspectives on the present sociopolitical and cultural situation in the USA and around the world.  Thought-provoking reading.



SouthRon said...

That was a good read. He does kind of get lost in the weeds and some of his premises are a bit off. But, he is right that the only option for the Left is to stall until they can reorganize. I think that's why we see all the foot dragging with the Senate and courts. They are just hoping to wait out Trump until they can retool, gain traction, and move the ball forward.

He perhaps hints at, but doesn't state, that the minions within the Deep State are just that. Unintelligent minions. Their only advantage is quantity and unless the conflict goes kinetic I'm not sure they'll be of much use to them.

deimos said...

Mr Grant
I'm here partly to offer a huge thank you for your space set sci fi novels, I've just read the latest maxwell book for the third time and found it most excellent.
But then I read your latest posting on my first visit to your site and I see you have the same problem that we are enjoying in Britain.
The peasants are revolting!
I followed my own logic and voted Yes to Brexit, I suppose the same thing happened to Trump voters in the US. we were voting for chaos.
Not Obama style "change", but the spirit of chaos that can only come from war or the rarest of all things - a genuine unknown.

This world has fallen into a massively inward looking, pleasure based route. No bases on mars but hugely powerful PlayStations. We are not settled under the sea, or on the moon but we have hundreds of games about it. Concorde is gone but we can enjoy the huge benefit of cheap air travel.

Mankind needs chaos, before we gently bond with our seats and melt into our carpets.
This has been a rant inspired by the decent, functional world your writing describes. I would love to live in the Lancaster planets.

Post Alley Crackpot said...

Actually I'm quite looking forward to the ground giving way beneath all of those who have been conducting various "point and shriek" campaigns at the edge of various deontic and ontological fallacies ...

To be, or not to be, that was once the question.

Ought, or not ought ... I should think that not ought has the eventual advantage, and once determined there should be very little question left in the matter, not that there would be much of that matter to matter as well.

Mapping the familiarity of "collective intelligence" onto contempt simply requires a higher level of collective intelligence, one that is inevitably hostile to the concept entirely.

The civilian-military C4I establishment referred to as the "Deep State" should eventually realise during this transition that the maps no longer map to any tenable territory, and during this transition when the ground is falling away from them as well, perhaps they'll also realise how foolish their remaining narratives actually sound in speech and look in writing.

"Point and shriek" gives way to "point and laugh", campaigns being rendered unto Monty Python what was once rendered unto the New Caesars.

As a reminder to those of us who are enjoying ring-side seats as both spectators and participants, the first rule of Leo Strauss Fight Club is that we do not talk about Leo Strauss Fight Club.

Perhaps AE van Vogt and Count Korzybski would have loved being alive during this transition -- I for one would very much enjoy reading things that would have fermented from this, such as "The Revenge of Null-A" ... :-)

Anonymous said...

The article was great in places, and shallow in others.

The deep state as stated, is bs. There are entities to the left in the US and some organization/ communication. The control/ coordination is from the press, Democratic Party and allies, and the Soros entities. This gives a general direction that is picked up by the overall left. I see what they are doing as more of a cultural fight, that uses Alinsky tactics and leftist theology from the Frankfurt school.

Alternate media or alt right is very exciting. The left culture inspires Facebook, twitter, google, and apple. Some more than others.

On companies being part of the deep state. Many companies believe it's cheaper to pay the danesgeld (contribute to the right causes), than be velified as racist, etc. by race hucksters, sjw, etc. others think it's good marketing, and have a sjw culture due to the indoctrination that colleges supply. I hope this is changing due to a backlash for companies that went full sjw that has hit target, twitter, etc.

Hollywood has a similar issue, and I hope a silent consumer boycott hits their wallets. Their shrieking of how bad Trump and people who voted for him is upsetting half their customers. And their are alternative forms of entertainment. Netflix and Amazon prime video are focused on dollars. Yes, I watched the trailer for dear white people, and that was a rare misstep.

Bannon is leading a culture war, and Trump has selected cabinet people to have a huge impact. The Republican Party has traditionally ignored the culture part, and fought with one hand tied behind their back. Trump hit back, and Trump has selected heavy hitters for his cabinet. And Trump learns and is willing to fire people that are not performing. I next 4 years will have huge changes, that will reduce is sjw influence in our society. It's going to realign the Republican Party. If Trump succeeds in his minority and union outreach, you may have more of a true Conservative party focused on the economy, verses a fully converged sjw Democratic Party fighting endless cultural wars.

Another Anon

JK Brown said...

I've been contemplating this idea from a recent Uncommon Knowledge interview:

"Muirhead defends the Electoral College, stating that it answers the fundamental question of who should rule, which is the constitutional majority. The Electoral College is a constitutional majority because it represents an enduring and geographically dispersed population that is larger in space and more enduring in time and thus a more thoughtful, right, and just majority. "

Taking off from that idea, I see Trump didn't create a new group, he simply listened and came to represent the fractured majority in the middle. The constitutional majority. A "tea party" of a sorts, but instead of getting some tea party support then trying to run right, Trump listened to and brought in the conservative Democrats. As long as Trump hangs in the middle, keeps his word, he may have an unbeatable coalition. But then Reagan did something similar but the Bushes (Sr and Jr) burned it down. The Gingrich Congress was a reaction to Clinton trying to run left after his win. That worked, that time, as Clinton hung about mostly in the middle.

As one might expect, the country is conservatively liberal or liberally conservative. But the real special interest party politics is on the far left and right. For now, it looks like their is a new pilot on the bridge and he's taking the middle of the channel, leaving the establishment GOP and Dems to ping off the buoys on each side with a real chance of running aground.