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.


  1. Distracting us with spectacles
  2. The Overton Window, recalibrating our sense of the political center
  3. The way out from under all this
  4. 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:

  1. It’s unthinkable.
  2. Too radical.
  3. It’s acceptable.
  4. It’s sensible.
  5. Popular!
  6. 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

  1. It’s is not just McCain who believes we’re dumb – it’s a crowd, 3 September 2008
  2. America’s elites reluctantly impose a client-patron system, 5 November 2008
  3. Lilliput or America – who has a better way to choose its leaders?, 19 November 2008
  4. The Democrats believe we are stupid. Are they correct?, 19 December 2008
  5. About campaigns for high office in America – we always expect a better result from the same process, 17 June 2009
  6. Please put on every milk carton: America’s political class is MIA, 17 November 2009
  7. Why does a great nation choose its leaders so foolishly?, 28 March 2010
  8. Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations, 1 September 2010
  9. A Washington Insider looks at America, but does not understand what he sees
  10. Which political party will best protect our liberties?, 10 September 2010
  11. We have the leaders we deserve. Visit McDonald’s to learn why., 30 October 2010
  12. Our fears are unwarranted. America is in fact well-governed., 18 August 2011
  13. Today is a red letter day in American history! Our leaders speak honestly to us about an important issue., 6 October 2011

10 thoughts on “The hidden dynamics of the 2012 campaign, and what it’s doing to America”

    1. FM: I don’t have the impression that Robb is doing what he is doing just because he wants to be a successful marketer. I think his conclusions, based on his own research and experience, is that the end you are trying to avoid: the collapse of the USA into a hodgepodge of rich enclaves and third-world equivalent decay, is unavoidable, and he is trying to give people and communities tools to survive this in a somewhat civilized manner that could allow them to thrive (comparatively).,

      I take it you think that spending any time and thought on this possible future is negative, because it makes it more likely?

      Unfortunately, those of us who have concluded that there is little hope for the 2nd Republic are morally obligated (to our families and neighbors) to prepare for the worst. Well, we aren’t even trying to prepare for the worst, but for a future that is not Mad Max chaos, but relocalized and self-sufficient.

      The brutal reality is that even those who should have a clue about what is happening don’t, and those who do are considered lunatic fringe types. Even you are probably considered a “doomer” by the standards of the mainstream!

      1. (1) “I don’t have the impression that Robb is doing what he is doing just because he wants to be a successful marketer. ”

        (a) You might be correct. I seldom guess at motives. And when I do, often incorrectly — even for my wife and kids.
        (b) That his gig is smart marketing implies nothing about his actual beliefs and sincerity. It’s just a fact.

        (2) “I take it you think that spending any time and thought on this possible future is negative”

        Obviously false, since most of the content on the FM website discusses possible futures. The difference is that most doomsters assume disaster. Mostly based on false assumptions — such as that complex technology is more likely to produce disaster than low-tech or pre-socieities. That requires a stunning lack of knowledge about operation of systems and history.

        The Y2k myth shows this thinking in action. Supposedly disaster was averted — and civilization saved — only by the expenditures of billions and billions of dollars, and the tireless efforts of legions of software engineers. Total nonsense. Many nations, esp in Asia did little. Just minor fixes. And their systems worked just fine.

  1. I think the Rich will soon discover that they need to be careful about what they wish for, they might get it.

    A kcountry where the wealthy pay little or no taxes and privileged aristocrats jet around the country for their own pleasure is highly unlikely to continue to be the richest country in the world. As the South discovered in the Civil War, they suffer abrain and talent drain to countries/regions with a better GINI ratio.

    Already the richest man in the world isn’t an American.

    Is it better to reign in hell?

    1. That is exactly the choice that determines the fate of nations. Elites often choose their gain over that of the whole nation. It’s why the phrase “rich as an Argentinian” has dropped from our language.

  2. This puts me in mind of one of the most insightful discussions of contemporary America, found in William S. Lind’s final column on his now-defunct “On War” series:

    The best book on where America now stands and where it is going is J. H. Elliott’s The Count-Duke of Olivares: A Statesman in an Age of Decline. Olivares was what we would now call the prime minister of Spain in much of the first half of the 17th century. His era saw Spain go from “the only superpower” to a downward plunge that lasted three centuries. Unusually, the more one looks at the details, the more the parallel holds. Then, as now, the root problem was the same: the court was controlled by interests that lived off the nation’s decay.

    Source: “On War #326: FINIS,” William S. Lind, 14 December 2009.

  3. Being of Native American ancestry; I have been since birth, 60 years ago, a “Prisoner of War” of the USA.
    Long before they made their way to the “west” where they encountered by ancestors; the USA was a “criminal nation”. Little has changed and little is expected to change. They do not keep their word, and meddle in the affairs of millions of people the world over; while their own nation is a corrupt Plutocracy with “herd” of “sheeple” who follow one “voice” or another; or are waiting for a “Messiah” to deliver them from the mess they have made of “our continent”, and the futures of their children’s, children’s children.
    Unless the USA makes drastic changes; almost at the speed of light; they will seal their fate; that their criminal origins predicted: the USA will be a “horrible and negative exmple for humanity”.
    But, as my “tribe” says: “If ya know what NOT to do; you’ve got half of the problem solved”

    “If the USA were any other criminal nation, the ‘Americans’ would invade the USA to keep the world safe; and they would be justified.”

    Good Luck America, you need it.

    1. “the US was a criminal nation”.

      Not so. Until the signing of the UN Charter in 1945, conquest was both right and legal. It was the way of the world. With a very few exceptions (eg, the Inuit, the Aboriginal Australians) most land was taken from other people — who were absorbed or dominated. A people’s history was often an account and justification of conquest and domination (eg, the Torah).

      This was true of the various Indian nations in western hemisphere as well as the US.

      To call conquest criminal is anachronistic, a inconsistency by applying current standards to a time before they were widely believed.

    2. I’m wondering, why don’t Native Americans, instead of focusing solely on past injustices, organize, and try to insert themselves into the American political system? It worked with the Native Hawaiians…(and the Māori in NZ).

      Just an unrelated observation.

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