The hidden dynamics of the 2012 campaign, and what it’s doing to America
Summary: John Robb’s open source insurgency nicely describes the quiet coup underway in America. Like-minded rich people work together, and finance others to help them. The 2012 election shows several of the mechanisms by which they’re doing so. Solidarity works for them.
- Distracting us with spectacles
- The Overton Window, recalibrating our sense of the political center
- The way out from under all this
- For more information: about America’s leaders
(1) Distracting us with spectacles
Donald Trump, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and now Rick Santorum. As Der Spiegel and others have observed, it’s a freak show. Entertainment for the peons. Watching the race, pretending that the are involved in the result, that’s its a real race. Left and right both focus on these oddities pretending to be leaders.
Meanwhile our leaders implement important policy changes. Pushing useful idiots off the stage, as with the Koch brothers take-over of the libertarian Cato Institute (see David Weigel’s articles at Slate on March 1 and March 5). Increasing the reach and immunity of executive power, expanding foreign wars, consolidating the power of the mega-banks (including immunity from effective civil or criminal liability). Serious work, while the peons watch the clowns.
Keeping our eyes off the ball: an essential task for managing the people in a system still retaining the electoral machinery of a dying Republic.
(2) The Overton Window, recalibrating our sense of the political center
The Overton Window, like Kübler-Ross’ stages of death and dying, provides a conceptual schema to understand a process of change. It describes a process by which an idea becomes accepted by a society, and how to mainipulate it (see Wikipedia for links). One aspect is this series of steps:
- It’s unthinkable.
- Too radical.
- It’s acceptable.
- It’s sensible.
- It’s policy.
The extremist language, viewpoints, and proposals of the lunatic right have received massive media attention during the GOP primaries. That makes the center-right candidates — Romney and Obama — look like the reasonable choices. And prepares the soil of public opinion for further drift to the right in public policy. By now a center-left politician like Clinton looks quite liberal. And classic post-WWII liberals (eg, Hubert Humphrey) look like radical leftists.
The Right helps mask the similarity of Romney and Obama by exaggerations and outright lies about Obama. That atheist, anarchist, Islamic, leftist foreigner. Repetition has firmly fixed much of this in the minds of Republicans. Such as the lies about Obama’s foreign birth and about his “apology tour” (see section 3a of Our minds are addled, the result of skillful and expensive propaganda).
(3) The way out from under all this
Learn and listen. Get angry. Talk with others and organize. The Tea Party had the formula right, although it was clear from the beginning they were mired in lies and confused thinking. For more about this see Five steps to fixing America. These are small, easy, simple steps, as a cure is not possible at this time, IMO. We have to build our strength before we can have any reasonable odds of reforming America or building a Third Republic.
That means that political conditions most likely will continue to deteriorate in America (masked by normal economic cycles). Probably economic conditions as well — as the engines of prosperity for the middle class are systematically destroyed. Slashing funding for primary, secondary, and advanced education. Mass immigration to depress wages at all skill levels. The Rich paying taxes at the same or lower level than most workers (total taxes, not just income). Public services deteriorate, as the rich retreat to enclaves and resorts — between which they travel by private plane and limos.
The sooner we begin, the sooner a new day will come for America. But inertia and denial (it’s not that bad) act as chains on our minds. We might not act until more severe conditions occur.
For more information: About America’s leaders
- It’s is not just McCain who believes we’re dumb – it’s a crowd, 3 September 2008
- America’s elites reluctantly impose a client-patron system, 5 November 2008
- Lilliput or America – who has a better way to choose its leaders?, 19 November 2008
- The Democrats believe we are stupid. Are they correct?, 19 December 2008
- About campaigns for high office in America – we always expect a better result from the same process, 17 June 2009
- Please put on every milk carton: America’s political class is MIA, 17 November 2009
- Why does a great nation choose its leaders so foolishly?, 28 March 2010
- Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations, 1 September 2010
- A Washington Insider looks at America, but does not understand what he sees
- Which political party will best protect our liberties?, 10 September 2010
- We have the leaders we deserve. Visit McDonald’s to learn why., 30 October 2010
- Our fears are unwarranted. America is in fact well-governed., 18 August 2011
- Today is a red letter day in American history! Our leaders speak honestly to us about an important issue., 6 October 2011