November 16, 2016
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For everything there is a season. Normally, we are magnanimous in victory knowing that we may be the defeated ones tomorrow. But this time we are dealing with the vanguards of a decadent movement that spent over 50 years in power and did its absolute best to destroy us. For the entire duration of the election, they were smugly secure in their imminent victory and spared their opponents no mockery or indignity. They had no honor, they deserve none. If any thought of mercy were to creep into our heads now that they are beaten, we need only think for one second about how they would have behaved if the tables were turned. Since the beginning their strategy has been to guilt trip and play the victim while thinking with snide condescension what idiots we are for actually believing them. But they’ve wasted their social capital now and no one believes anything they say anymore. Their tears and tantrums are just a hilarious joke. No mercy or safe spaces this time. I don’t normally spend much time on social media. No facebook and just recently started a twitter, but I’ve been after them on hashtags like #notmypresident slapping them around. It’s mostly a waste of my time, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to spend hours laughing so hard that tears are about to stream down my face, while they are crying for real. As I tweet, there’s a shit-eating grin pasted on my face. So this is what it feels like to conquer. What Conan said about the lamentations of the women, lol. Now that they are broken and demoralized, the cavalry sweeps in to mop them up.
October 13, 2016
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I saw Trump absolutely destroy Hillary on October 9th airing out her myriad hypocrisies for all the world to see and dragging her through the mud. But I am just one person. Across the internet I see Hillary supporters all think Hillary won, Trump backers like me all think he demolished her. I can find only scant patches of somewhat neutral ground(all of it slanted one way or the other). Trump supporters like me focused on his dominant presence, the threat to jail her, her visibly rattled and frightened appearance, his unapologetic crushing of her pathetic Lincoln excuses.
But Hillary supporters weren’t seeing the same thing the same way at all. They saw a creepy, sniffling, hulking, stalking orange man trying to intimidate Hillary while she was trying to make intelligent points about policy.
Someone from another planet would never believe that both parties had seen the same event!
Even with the first debate, I can remember Trump supporters readily admitting he went in unprepared and having good-natured discussion with the other side over what he could have done better.
The second debate is the moment that any sense magnanimity and shared purpose between factions is lost. A new age of tribes comes into being.
As of October 9th, the last pretense of cooperation within the American republic has been cast aside. There is now only war. No one will ever admit their candidate lost at anything out of a sense of fair play, they will relentlessly push for whichever functionary pushes their interests best so they get their piece of a steady dwindling pie and the other guy gets left out in the rain. The civic life becomes like those two soldiers in Saving Private Ryan fighting over that combat knife.
It’s easy for everyone to get along in times of plenty, but when the good times dry up, humans play the primal monkey game of musical chairs. Every round someone gets left out and “voted off the island.”
After years of economic stagnation only kept under control by easy money with low interest rates, the established system steadily falls apart nonetheless.
With the polls lately, I no longer know what to think. It’s a cliche for supporters of a losing candidate to suppose polls are rigged but when you see swings of nearly 10 points with the same polls within a few days, I’m inclined to stop paying much attention. At that point it’s just noise. If the overall trend they indicate is true, though, Trump likely loses this election after all. But let’s be clear, at this point nearly every established institution has now burnt its political capital and sacrificed its credibility to try to get Hillary into the oval office. It’s so far gone at this point that it’s not completely out of the question that even the pollsters have done the same. Even with Real Clear Politics average I’ve noticed that with the exception of LA Times tracking poll, they may have ceased including some more favorable results for Trump such as a recent Rasmussen poll. Everyone has a dog in this fight like I’ve never seen before. I no longer know who to believe. The most important thing right now may be whether Trump can assume full control of his party and keep the coalition together in the midst of GOPe defections.
Establishment supporters suppose their golden world will roll on blissfully as it was once they’ve won the election. No, the dynamics in play have irrevocably changed. From this point the divide only grows more wide and more bitter no matter who wins or loses.
Just as supporters of either side now back the party line completely to the hilt unwilling to make any concessions whatsoever, millions of Americans will cease to see the ruling order as legitimate.
There is now a huge demand to provide services for a completely separate new culture. After political purges on social media, there’s now attempts to start a new twitter, a new wikipedia, a new reddit. While geographic secession is difficult in a nation where all groups overlap, cultural secession and fracture is well under way.
August 26, 2016
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I mentioned in my last post that in less than a decade internet dissenters who would have been considered on a level with child molesters have gained influence in national politics. Just a few days after this post Hillary Clinton to my complete astonishment and delight directly devoted an entire speech to the “alt-right.” I would have thought this some /pol/ish wet dream if it hadn’t actually happened.
This speech is one of the biggest triumphs ever for internet dissidents. Hillary has unwittingly ushered in a new age where anti-orthodox internet culture is openly acknowledged as real opposition to the establishment when but a few short years ago it was no more than the whispers of a ghost within the mainstream. The term “alt-right” itself is only directly adopted by a narrow slice but a huge spectrum of internet personalities holding underground opinions have been suddenly given official recognition by one of the most famous and powerful people on earth. Hillary is a living symbol of the orthodoxy, representing at once the apotheosis of 60s wishful equalism and the disastrous economics and blindly ideological foreign policy that’s held sway ever since Reagan. In the social cosmology, she lives in the top rank of the heavens as a goddess so any being she sees fit to address must in the public eye be at least a minor god in its own right. As someone who has spent decades in the business of social perceptions she should know better!
The speech itself was highly effective. It was well-tailored to its target demographics of white women and establishment republicans while reassuring her base. Bringing the alt-right into play may have been an effective rhetorical device but for a possible short term gain in one election, she opened a portal into a “dark” dimension. She and others like her will come to regret it.
It is truly remarkable in that a prominent politician in a national election would address something that’s not a movement or even a political party—just a vast milling about of unsatisfied souls.
This sort of loose structure is not only proving successful in modern warfare but increasingly so in politics and culture. I first wondered at this phenomenon in 2011 as the Arab Spring swept the world and almost simultaneously riots and protests rose across the globe. I was especially intrigued by Occupy Wall Street. I noticed that OWS marked a transition from 60s-style activism headed by traditional hierarchies and concrete agendas to decentralized movements of dissenters swimming in schools to enjoy safety in numbers but often cooperating little more than that:
For a few hundred years now, elites have had their own version of Anonymous that has helped them to accomplish their goals. It’s called a corporation.
Shareholders come together to in order to mitigate risk and allow them do things that would ordinarily be too risky. By acting collectively, they can do away with individual accountability.
These elites failed to understand what would happen if technology sufficiently improved the ability of the peasantry to communicate and coordinate their actions.
The result is effectively a counter-corporation.
In just a couple months most of this agitation had fizzled out. I had thought at the time it would go further and looked at where I went wrong in my understanding of the situation. I thought about demographics and realized that the older generations, especially boomers were still too prominent to be seriously challenged. In 2011 there were still just too many adults who read newspapers instead of surfing the internet. But at the time, the first of them were hitting retirement age and I realized by 2015 there would be a generation coming of age that couldn’t remember the 90s, had only ever known corruption and catastrophe, and had access to high speed internet their whole lives. For them, I realized, a functional America would be something from a history book or an 80s movie. I made a guess that around this period the time would finally be ripe for dissident ideologies to begin gaining a serious hold. My guess didn’t require this new generation to be especially radical as a whole, but only that it would have no attachment to the old order and thereby bring the potential for real change.
Things have begun to change right on schedule, though ironically because even a large cohort of boomers has become disenfranchised enough to turn against the Old Regime. Some of the same elders who were screaming at millenials to “occupy a job” are themselves mourning the lack of good jobs. Also, the smartphones and social media that made the unrest of 2011 possible have greatly matured and become an established part of the culture. Presently, with defectors peeling off from the older generations, millennials as disaffected and uninvested as ever, with a new generation hitting adulthood who’ve never known the old prosperity, there’s finally enough mass built up to challenge the established order on a larger scale. The emergence of Trump and Sanders in 2015 was like the busting of a dam and by giving a speech on the Alt-Right, Hillary has given dissident internet-dwellers more direct recognition than her opponents ever have. I cannot help but suspect that this huge miscalculation comes from being disconnected from the culture. She and her advisors may simply not understand what they do.
See Also: Anonymous and Occupy: The Emergence of Counter-Corporations (2011 archives)
June 29, 2012
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IQ is still only a so-so predictor of success for a President, it doesn’t judge a President’s learning method, ability to rigorously fact check sources, fortitude, mental flexibility, leadership, teambuilding skills, bureaucratic support, ect…:
In terms of brute brainpower, the smartest postwar presidents were Richard Nixon, a Duke Law School graduate with a reported IQ of 143; Jimmy Carter, who graduated in the top 10 percent of his Naval Academy class; and Rhodes scholar Bill Clinton, a graduate of Georgetown University and Yale Law School. Deeply flawed presidencies all, despite their potential.
In contrast, take high school graduate Harry Truman — railroad worker, clerk, bookkeeper, farmer, road inspector and small-town postmaster — or Ronald Reagan, sports announcer and B-list actor with mediocre college credentials.
Despite their intellectual limitations, both achieved substantial political success as president. And, to press home the point, there is Franklin D. Roosevelt, a top-tier president in rankings of historical greatness, whom the late Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes branded “a second-rate intellect but a first-class temperament.”