The new great divergence:
Increasing polarization, even fragmentation, of society is becoming apparent in US politics. There is a sense that society is separating into parts, each of which is listening only to other members of that group. The separation between groups can enable them to deviate even further in values and perspectives. …
That’s the process. Nothing else is necessary. The only task remaining is to accelerate it.
The same article that introduces the immediately-indispensable phase “dirty culture war” presents its deeply blue-tribal take on the state of the media struggle. Among much of interest:
Andrew Breitbart, Stephen Bannon’s collaborator in right-wing tabloid journalism and the founder of Breitbart News, often reiterated a maxim: “Politics is downstream from culture.” When normal voters assess, say, a complex piece of legislation, they are unlikely to read the bill itself; more likely, they will base their opinions on how the bill is portrayed by their friends and Facebook friends, by celebrities, and in the media. In his 2011 memoir, Breitbart summed up his position, writing, “The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. . . . I am at war to gain back control of the American narrative.”
To assume that Andrew Breitbart rates lower for culture-war strategic genius than Antonio Gramsci is mere Cathedral class-prejudice (favoring academic-format thought). He understood the basic thing, and there’s not much sign yet that Steve Bannon is deviating from his mentor’s path in the direction of pacifism:
He now refers to the media, with monotonous insistence, as “the opposition party.”
Don’t organize. Pack. […] Not literally, of course. Not even the good people of Canada should have to stomach a mass migration of moping American liberals mumbling, “Live locally … make art.” What I mean is that it’s time for blue states and cities to effectively abandon the American national enterprise, as it is currently constituted. Call it the New Federalism. Or Virtual Secession. Or Conscious Uncoupling — though that’s already been used. Or maybe Bluexit.
Politico explores irony:
… the idea that a swarm of socially alienated trolls played a meaningful role in a multibillion-dollar presidential campaign by, among other gambits, relentlessly spreading images of a cartoon frog is at least as ridiculous as the idea that a billionaire TV entertainer could win that campaign.
You have to admire the Left for it’s clarity of vision. It has identified its enemies, and it does what it can to drive them from the field. The recent fireworks in Indiana are a perfect illustration. Team blue knows that Christians are hateful homophobes, and so it goes to bat for the right of homosexuals to sue them over wedding cakes. The Right, with its characteristic acumen, mistakes this bushwhack for a principled stand. “Ah!” they say, “But if you support the right of a gay man to force a Christian to make a cake then you must support the right of the KKK to force a black baker to make a cake!” The average liberal couldn’t imagine a more irrelevant rejoinder. They aren’t making any such proposition at all. In their calculus, Christians (of the Not-fans-of-Pope-Francis type at least) are the bad guys and thus their interests are hateful and invalid and must be opposed. The KKK are bad guys and thus their actions are hateful and invalid and must be opposed. You attack bad guys. You don’t attack good guys. Whence the confusion?
‘Must‘ is the most stupid word.
ADDED: From the other side of the culture war — “The Right hits low, so we hit lower, harder, and without mercy.” The 21st century is going to be a riot (at least).
Hengest on Bill Bishop and Tiebout Sorting among the (in this case specifically Anglo-Saxon) nations of America:
Rather than [the] borders dissolving between cultures and populations, the various nations are actually becoming further differentiated with time. This concept is demonstrated in The Big Sort by Bill Bishop. Bishop argues that Americans are segregating themselves into like-minded geographic regions at increasing rates with the onset and ease of long-distance travel. Basically, the various Anglo-Saxon regions are more strongly becoming themselves.
If this is actually the trend, the motor of dynamic geography (running Patchwork-type geopolitical arrangements) should work fine.
There needs to be much more work done in the field of Entropic and Negentropic Trends Emerging in Dynamic Social Distributions. It would tell us who’s going to win this thing.
Chinese racism informs their view of the United States. From the Chinese perspective, the United States used to be a strong society that the Chinese respected when it was unicultural, defined by the centrality of Anglo-Protestant culture at the core of American national identity aligned with the political ideology of liberalism, the rule of law, and free market capitalism. The Chinese see multiculturalism as a sickness that has overtaken the United States, and a component of U.S. decline.
America’s new court prophet explains:
We live in an increasingly volatile and primal era, in which history is speeding up and liberal democracy is weakening. As Vladimir Lenin wrote, “In some decades, nothing happens; in some weeks, decades happen.” Get ready for the creative destruction of public institutions, something every society periodically requires to clear out what is obsolete, ossified and dysfunctional — and to tilt the playing field of wealth and power away from the old and back to the young. Forests need periodic fires; rivers need periodic floods. Societies, too. That’s the price we must pay for a new golden age. […] If we look at the broader rhythms of history, we have reason to be heartened, not discouraged, by these trends. Anglo-American history over the past several centuries has experienced civic crises in a fairly regular cycle, about every 80 or 90 years, or roughly the length of a long human life. This pattern reveals itself in the intervals separating the colonial Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and World War II. Fast-forward the length of a long human life from the 1930s, and we end up where we are today.
Despite a new tilt toward isolationism, the United States could find itself at war. I certainly do not hope for war. I simply make a sobering observation: Every total war in U.S. history has occurred during a Fourth Turning, and no Fourth Turning has yet unfolded without one.
This would stir things up (just a little):