Dear Jordan. Thanks for your missive on the Trump Insurgency, and indeed I found many intriguing insights. Still, may I be critical a bit? Your points on communication are interesting, but you make little effort to connect any of it to history or human nature or psychology.
Yes, indeed, the roots of this putsch go back to the 1770s… specifically 1778 when the British resolved to pursue their “Southern Strategy” for forcing a capitulation of the Americans. The British were persuaded that there was a strong Loyalist sentiment in the south, largely due to the extensive business and trading relationships those colonies had with Britain. It was expected that these Loyalists would rise against the American Patriots in large numbers.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Charleston
Southern pro-tory sentiment hinted at what would become a cyclical Civil War in America, sometimes simmering as culture war and sometimes violent. By my reckoning, we are in phase eight of the American Civil War. See: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/09/phases-of-american-civil-war.html
The fever running under American life, opposing progressive-scientific liberalism, has always been a “confederate” yearning for nostalgia, romanticism, hierarchy, inherited status, magical thinking and… yes… racism. But above all, anti-intellectualism. That is how magical thinking can maintain itself. By denigrating those who work with processes of fact and evidence.
You call that a “church.” Only note that you use that term as a pejorative. Why do you do that? You use it because science and most of the knowledge castes would dislike seeing that term hurled at them. Because they are fighting, still, for a revolution against churchly magical thinking. Your very use of the term is ironic, then. It only stings those who dislike ecclesiastical control over truth.
Shortly at Contrary Brin I’ll be posting on how Robert Heinlein predicted this outbreak would be a harsh one. Have a look at some of his incredible forecasts, from 1953. You’ll be stunned. http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/
This paragraph is a taste: “Throw in a Depression for good measure, promise a material heaven here on earth, add a dash of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Negrosim, and a good large dose of anti-“furriners” in general and anti-intellectuals here at home, and the result might be something quite frightening — particularly when one recalls that our voting system is such that a minority distributed as pluralities in enough states can constitute a working majority in Washington.” Heinlein was amazing.
While I agree with you that skills at guerrilla communication are vital to understand… and yes “destroying the old systems” and creating a desert are major traits of the Bannon-ites, I have a problem with the following.
You say “benefits massively by hamstringing any collective intelligence that works in the old top-down fashion (i.e., all existing forces currently at play).” This puzzled me. What I think you may mean is the relentless campaign by the Fox-led right-wing media to repudiate all expert castes and knowledge professions, from science and teaching to journalism to medicine (name an exception?) And yes, there were a few exceptions. Two of the last expert castes who had been relatively un-attacked by this cult were the Intelligence and Military officer corps. But their turn has come. And when they also flee the confederacy, exactly how is this fever to win?
Yes, if that is what you meant by ‘hierarchy,” then the Foxites’ anti-intellect and anti-fact crusade has been ‘anti-hierarchy.’ But this campaign has been in service to older hierarchy. The intent of every wave of confederatism — going back to 1779 — has been to re-install the traditional human form of government — feudalism.
The knowledge elites are attacked because they stand in the way of that restoration.
Indeed, many of those knowledge professions are comfortable with flat-open-competitive systems. They created the flat-open world of the internet. They are the heirs of Adam Smith. And no human being is more competitive than your average scientist.
You said: “the Insurgency has been running circles around the the Establishment and the old media.” Sorry, I don’t see it. Very large American majorities disapprove of all this. Indeed, the GOP got majorities of actual votes for Congress or President only once, in 2004, across the last 20 years. Yes, they have managed to game the system brilliantly and cheating has worked quite well. But their great success at communication has been to whip one third of Americans into a froth. The majority is appalled.
“My assessment is that the Trump Insurgency has identified the Deep State itself as its central antagonist and is engaged in a direct existential conflict with it.” Well, yes — putting aside the blatant, Big Brother pejorative of “Deep State” to mean the mixed economy system that the Greatest Generation created — in that civil servants are among the knowledge castes who can stand in the way of feudalism’s restoration.
“if my read is correct, the balance of the struggle between the Deep State and the Insurgency will be determined by how quickly the Deep State can dispense with old and dysfunctional doctrine and innovate novel approaches that are adequate to the war.” Hm, well. If one looks at previous phases of civil war, it always takes a while for the Union to wake up. Let me quote Sam Houston, denouncing the Texas convention’s decision to secede, in 1861.
“Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, you may win Southern independence if God be not against you, but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of states rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South.”
Sorry, I just don’t see this “deep state” stuff. Are you aware that most of the DE-regulation of gov’t meddling in the last 50 years was done by democrats? If Trump is impeached it will be by Ryan and a GOP terrified that Trump has driven away the very last competent and sane people in their party and that 2018 will be a catastrophe. If the dems and the Union have any sense they will let Ryan fix his own house.
No, what anyone can see in Trump’s cabinet appointments is a compact arrangement with the Kochs, whose network has subsidized nearly all of the appointees.
While mentioning Pax Americana, you don’t refer to the way that the last 70 years has seen exponentially more human development, happiness, learning, freedom and creativity than all generations of our species, combined. That is the mastadon in the room. Those who would repudiate the methods that brought this renaissance bear some burden of proof.
“Right now, the Church is killing us.”
Um…. prove this, sir? It is an assertion that feels good. But the systems set up by the Greatest Generation provided humanity’s best 3/4 century, ever. The American Revolution is ongoing, though the tories keep coming back to impose on us a king. Seriously, once the confederates drive off every knowledge caste, including the military and Intel officer corps, I am not sure what your scenario leaves you with. Already half of the billionaires have declared opposition to feudalism.
Enough. You provoked thoughts sir! See the attachment for one of the most amazing forecasts ever. Do thrive