Today we hit five million page views. What’s the result of this project?

Begun in November 2007, today the FM website hit five million page views (95 thousand in May). People have read 2,750 posts (average 1,000 words each), on which they made over 33 thousand comments. Today is the time for you, the readers, to speak. In the comments please explain what we have done right — and wrong. Has it been worth the massive investment of time and energy? What should we do differently in the future?

Cassandra
Cassandra, perhaps a better icon for this site

Thoughts about this project

What’s the bottom line for such a project, the proof of skill? In terms of the analysis, perhaps its the ability to forecast. My co-authors and I have made many predictions. Of those predictions that have been resolved, most have proven correct. Inevitably some were wrong, some embarrassingly so (most often from excessive optimism).

As for our politics, we’ve been pegged by the Left as being extremely conservative. And by the Right as being radicals. That’s natural, as today there is no reality-based community in America for us to join. Sites like ours attempt to build one, but so far it’s sowing seeds on rocky soil.

The goal of the FM website remains what it was when first opened, what it says on the masthead: to help re-ignite the spirit of a nation grown cold. Over the years I have tried many approaches to strike sparks in the minds of readers. So far with uniformly negative results. Any suggestions for new approaches will be appreciated!

Content

Born in opposition to our mad 9-11 wars, since then we’ve covered a wide range of subjects.The #1 series of posts — by far — was about the TV show Castle, with 74 thousand hits. The posts about “Ender’s Game” (books and film) got 30 thousand hits. We should be writing about popular culture, and doing reviews of hot films and books. Vox populi, vox Dei. Coming soon, an analysis on the cultural significance of “Barbarella” (1968), a mirror of our soul.

The most requested subject, by far: how to reform America. I wrote 51 posts, discussing this from several perspectives. Low traffic posts, which nicely illustrates the problem: we just don’t care.

You can find the posts for any subject discussed here by looking at the reference pages on the right-side menu. Or access them by the category dropdown box (top right), or the tag cloud (bottom right).  Here’s a listing of topics covered, with the number of posts in each.

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Hannibal
Hannibal counting the rings of the Roman senators killed at the Battle of Cannae, by Sébastien Slodtz (1704)
  1. The third industrial revolution: 33
  2. Military theory (4GW, COIN, etc): 108
  3. America, our political regime and society: 665
  4. Art, myth, and literature: 29
  5. Book reviews: 44
  6. Cyberwar & cybercrime: 18
  7. Demography: 11
  8. Economics: 120
  9. End of the post-WW2 era: 292
  10. Europe, will it unify or fragment: 43
  11. Good news about America: 27
  12. Grand strategy: 58
  13. History, economic & geopolitical: 226
  14. Income & wealth inequality: 35
  15. Information & Disinformation: 229
  16. Internet’s impacts: 46
  17. Iran, our rival in the Middle East: 90
  18. Our wars in Iraq & Afghanistan: 297
  19. Our military: 231
  20. Peak oil & Energy: 64
  21. Science: 236 (185 are about climate)
  22. Women & Gender Issues : 21
  23. Other issues: 310

Why a picture of Hannibal?

Rome was great, but foolish leaders led it to the brink of defeat by Hannibal. Fabius Maximus saved Rome by adopting a cautious strategy, building its strength and cohesion for the eventual confrontation with its foes. We can learn much from him.

No nation, no matter how great, can withstand too high levels of folly by its leaders and people. The people of 3rd century Rome almost lost everything. It can happen to us, also. Perhaps we’d care more about our political regime if we realized that we can lose it.

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16 thoughts on “Today we hit five million page views. What’s the result of this project?

  1. Hi Agree with much above, especially the history, as I was a long time latin student. Sad that most of your readers define themselves by cultural myths i.e. TV shows. However, if you agree with Boorstin et al., that has always been the case. When do we as a society reach the point where slavish adherence to the myths at the expense of reality becomes toxic? Rhetorical question…….

    1. Bulldodman,

      That’s a fascinating comment! I define myself by our cultural myths! Don’t most people!

      When I think of who we should be, or can be, or should do, I often reference stories — books, film, comics, etc. Just as Greek children did with Homer’s tales, and the great plays of tragedy and comedy.

      You raise an question — perhaps we need new myths. Or perhaps we are selecting poorly among our myths. Or have misinterpreted them.

      Thanks for commenting!

    2. The myths are just that.
      Do you really believe that they cannot be transcended?
      Seen as mere subjective self reinforcing ideas?

      Cognitive dissonance is not the norm in all things.
      Allowing that there are truly things that have no answer…yet…is quite healthy.
      And reality based.
      The self distancing therein is rare but not so elusive as is the slavery to the dominant myths.

      Breton

  2. Thanks for the hard work. We know who is manipulating the system for ideology and financial gain. It would be interesting to learn more about social as well as scientific innovators who are working to bring about change without reference to the established political and social structures.

  3. Hi FM…I stumbled upon this blog just a few weeks ago, having arrived through another site that had posted a link to “What the TV show “Castle” teaches us about America, and ourselves” and started reading others on your site. I read that not because I’m a fan of the show, I don’t even watch it, but was intrigued by the idea of using something from popular culture as a mirror for problems in society. I’m impressed by the amount of analysis and thought that your (or your co-authors on the team) put behind them, as well as the links that you provide for further reading, but if I have any suggestions on how to improve things, I guess it would be that I often can’t identify whether you have offered a conclusion or recommendations about your thesis. Some posts are informational and do not need them, but other topics suggest a line from thesis to conclusion, and I don’t always see one. I don’t understand where you stand on the issue (or maybe I get where you stand but not on how to fix it) as a result. Maybe you could consider adding a section for conclusions like you do in the numbered sections of your post. Some of the posts have so many reference links that I end up flying down one rabbit hole after another and have a hard time remembering the original thesis, or even from which window or tab I had started.

    I’ve really only touched on a small part of your site, but what I have read has been very interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I hope you keep going.

    – GB

  4. Regarding Hannibal, Machiavelli in the Discourses describes him as strong as a lion and clever as a fox. But leaders with both qualities are rare. Rome was lucky enough to have the fox-like Fabius Maximus when she needed that quality but when a strong leader, a lion, was needed to take the battle to a weakened Hannibal, she was able to replace Fabius with Scipio Africanus. The ability to change leaders according to needs is the great strength of a republic according to Machiavelli.

    1. SDW,

      Thanks for the additional color on this history!

      I agree, and that is my point here. America has binged on aggressive geopolitical strategy for over a century, bringing us to an anti-Boyd strategy: discouraging most of friends, multiplying and emboldening our enemies. Combined with horrific overstretch.

      No signs here of flexibility in strategies or learning from failure — just cult of the offense, with failure met by more of the same. Meanwhile America’s infrastructure rots and our social cohesion frays, while the national debt grows.

  5. Cassandra by Robinson Jeffers (1948)

    The mad girl with the staring eyes and long white fingers
    Hooked in the stones of the wall,
    The storm-wrack hair and screeching mouth: does it matter, Cassandra,
    Whether the people believe
    Your bitter fountain? Truly men hate the truth, they’d liefer
    Meet a tiger on the road.
    Therefore the poets honey their truth with lying; but religion—
    Vendors and political men
    Pour from the barrel, new lies on the old, and are praised for kind
    Wisdom. Poor bitch be wise.
    No: you’ll still mumble in a corner a crust of truth, to men
    And gods disgusting—you and I, Cassandra.

  6. Short answer: Keep doing what you’re doing.

    For me, the FM site has become a valuable piece in the fabric of “alt-media”, providing information and perspectives not present on the standard news channels.

    Readers can sort out ideological categories for themselves, and anyhow it would do us all a lot of good to stop using the usual left-right labels as our first “filter”. Also we don’t all have to agree with everything that is presented, and I’m sure FM would not agree with all the readers :-), but that is the beauty of it all. This is exactly what the internet is supposed to be about.

    A couple of specific features that strike me about this site are the extensive cross-referencing (yes!), the persistence of the authors — returning to the same themes again and again, and the generally sober, in-control, authority-based presentation. I think this is a really valuable combination.

    The movement-building element is really interesting too, but that is a whole different skillset, not to mention a different type of “message discipline”, and whole another level of personal commitment. Maybe something to explore as a research subject (i.e., what kind of reform movements are out there? Have they got anywhere?)

    Congratulations of the 5MM views!

  7. If your goal is high page views, start a porn site. Second choice? Self-help blog telling the readers how to become thin, rich, sexy, and achieve all their dreams without hard work.

  8. Vox populi, vox Dei…although I realize that you were quoting that sentiment with more than a touch of irony, I’m not certain whether to laugh or cry when I consider how it applies to the times we live in.

    For one thing, our government is supposed to be one “of the people, by the people, for the people” — and yet it isn’t too hard to see that this is not really what we have in this country, at least not right now. The Supreme Court decision which was handed down today and which ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby is just the latest example of the government making a decision which goes against what the polls suggest a majority of the American people wanted. Unfortunately, the American people themselves are at least partly to blame for this because they doggedly insist on voting against their own interests and returning the same kinds of people to office time and time again (or sometimes voting in new people who somehow manage not to be that much different from the ones whom they replaced) instead of holding their elected officials accountable.

    Of course, this sentiment also captures the mindset which I remarked upon in response to another post here on this site within the past week…an arrogant, irrational, and profoundly narcissistic mindset on the part of Americans which seemingly encourages them to believe that the world is somehow required to cater to their opinions and wishes regardless of the facts and that nothing is true until they say it is. The irony and paradox of this is that at the same time, they want someone else to take responsibility for all the dirty work necessary to make this happen. They say they support the wars but don’t send their own children to fight in them…they say they want better roads or better schools or whatnot but expect someone else to pay for them…they say they want smaller government but don’t want to give up the assistance they themselves receive.

    Taking all this into account, all i can say is…if vox populi truly is vox Dei, then this would appear to be a good argument in favor of atheism at this stage because God is demonstrably something of an ignoramus.

  9. Bluestocking remarks on “an arrogant, irrational, and profoundly narcissistic mindset on the part of Americans which seemingly encourages them to believe that the world is somehow required to cater to their opinions and wishes regardless of the facts and that nothing is true until they say it is. The irony and paradox of this is that at the same time, they want someone else to take responsibility for all the dirty work necessary to make this happen.”

    But this proves true of all peoples in all nations, and always has. For example: Germany arrogantly tells the rest of Europe to suck it up, while making enormous economic gains from their huge import-export imbalance. Germany acts as though the rest of the Europe (and the world) is obliged to cater to their economic opinions and wishes regardless of the facts, and that nothing is economically true in Europe until they say it is.

    Or take Britain: the Brits refuse to change their outlandish tax-haven laws and maintain an arrogant, irrational and profoundly narcissitic mindset on the part of the Brits which seemingly encourages them to believe that teh world is somehow required to cater to their economic opinions about creating tax havens, to the point where the City of London is now a bigger money center than New York, and London has more billionaires per capita than any other city in the world — at the same time, this is wrecking the social infrastructure and crushing higher education, social services, etc., in Britain.

    Or take France. The French persist in an arrogant, irrational and profoundly narcissistic mindset which seemingly encourages them to believe that the world is somehow required to cater to their opinions and wishes regardless of the facts, as for example, their nuclear force frappe no longer needed but still maintained, or their bizarre language councils which dictate which words can enter the French language and which cannot.

    All sorts of nations exhibits this kinds of arrogant, irrational and profoundly narcissistic mindset. The big difference between America and the other nations in the world, it seems to me, is not arrogance or narcissism or irrationality, but rather the fact that America sends troops and drones and aircraft carriers and stealth bombers all over the world to blow up impoverished populations, while other nations simply don’t.

    China doesn’t do this. Britain doesn’t do this. France doesn’t do this. The Netherlands doesn’t do this. Saudi Arabia doesn’t do this. Brazil doesn’t do this.

    No, the only country that runs around the world napalming brown babies and blasting cities to rubble with white phosphorus munitions and pounding entire populations back into the Stone Age with JDAMs and cluster bombs is…America.

    Moreover, up until Desert Storm, America didn’t used to do this on a regular basis. It’s as though America went on a bender starting in 1991 when the CCCP collapsed, and still hasn’t recovered.

    1. A small correction:

      “China doesn’t do this (and actually never did). Britain used to do this, but can no longer afford to. France used to do this, but can no longer afford to. The Netherlands used to do this, but can no longer afford to.”

      The history of Western imperialism reads like an endless compendium of slaughtering “brown babies and blasting cities to rubble” across the world, and each of the aforementioned countries did its utmost within its means to take up the challenge. No American exceptionalism here.

  10. In my opinion the greatest strength of Fabius Maximus is the emphasis on positive change through attempts to realistically understand what is happening today, without political or any other bias

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