[Published at Catallaxy Files 27/11/2020]
Edsgar Dijkstra became a programmer in 1951. He is one of the early giants in a field that saw an unprecedented explosion of intellectual activity. When multi-processing came to computing, the phenomenon of deadlock began to make a pest of itself. Processes would just sieze up, something that anyone with a personal computer or smartphone has probably observed. Dijkstra studied this problem, and in one of his simple, elegant expositions, showed that systems reached a point of no return before there are indications of trouble ahead. Processes could do essentially the same things thousands or millions of times without problems, then two or more of them would deadlock, no one of them able to continue. Until that happened, there would be no warning; yet, at some earlier moment the rubicon had been crossed, and it was only a matter of time.
There has always been a contempt for the rubes within the ruling class. Different rules have always applied. There has at least since the advent of mass media been manipulation of public opinion. Powerful agencies of government have always chafed against the restraints of law and representative government. There has been a widespread awareness of this malignancy – it is part of the background, it is part of what is thought of as normal. It is an assumption for those who have disconnected entirely from the “news” and the goings-on of politics, as it is for those who make their living, on way or another, from politics. So it is that no-one noticed any change in the character of the times. The Zeitgeist flailed and raged much as it had before.
Towards the end of 2016, the Zeitgeists of the US intelligence agencies, almost all of the “reliable” news media, and the Democratic party, with a little assistance from confidential meetings here and there, combined to switch the political institutions of the United States onto the track of deadlock. There’s nowhere else to go now. Normal programming cannot be resumed.
Does any path remain to what was recently thought of as normalcy? Either way, the country will be split pretty much down the middle, with no realistic prospect of reconciliation. A nominally democratic country requires the consent of the governed. But all governments require a consent of the governed. That consent can be open-hearted and enthusiastic at one end of the spectrum, or forced, fearful and uncooperative at the other.
What happens if Biden is made President? Almost half of the US electorate have believed for the whole of President Trump’s first term that he was a puppet of President Putin. Most still believe it. A substantial percentage of those believe that the KGB hacked the voting machines. For them, a Biden victory is a culmination and a vindication of what they have always believed – that Trump stole the 2016 election. Some are calling for Trump to be prosecuted.
All of the media which require any kind of state licence will fall in step. The Deep Media , delirious with success, will pontificate that it is dangerous to peace and public order to be sceptical about the election. Trying to focus through all of the champagne, they will inshist that the country must now unite. Kumbaya! Let bygones be bygones, and prepare the lists.
For the rest of the country (remembering that Trump got a larger vote than any previous presidential candidate, and got it legitimately) “President Biden” will be the sign and effective agent of the total corruption of the US electoral system. The left, by definition, does not have the institutional commitment of conservatism. That conservatism will reduce the expressions of rejection should Biden win. “Not my President,” while it may not be chanted in the streets, will never be expunged from the awareness of a majority of those 70 million. More disturbing, that belief will be coupled for many of them with another: “Not my Commander-in-Chief.” Meanwhile Biden advertises his intention to enforce changes which will enrage these people.
What if Trump manages to defeat Biden’s bid? That’s why store-fronts are still boarded up in cities like Washington. All of the demonstrations supporting Trump have been peaceful; at least until the evening stragglers attract the Antifa and BLM heros out of the shadows. But if Trump wins, the People’s Militias of the Democrat Republic of the United States will attempt to restore disorder. The editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, which originally published the Mohammed cartoons, has refused to republish any of them. “I wish it was different, that we could express ourselves freely, as we do in all other matters. But violence works.” That could be the Democrat motto of a second Trump term.
There is no realistic prospect of unifying the country. The Western countries whose self-perception was, quite recently, of upholding the finest traditions of the enlightenment are being racked by an upheaval of Cultural Revolution proportions, if not of that intensity. The bodies are not floating down the rivers. But the crazy collectives determine who is hired and fired at once-respectable outlets like the The New York Times and The Guardian. The PLA is not available to temper the enthusiasms of the radicals as it did the Red Guards, and stability in Western societies cannot be restored by taking control of the CCP.
The cultural vandalism of Covid-19 totalitarianism is the closest our societies have come to that sort of absolute authority, and Western elites are loving it. From this experience bizarre alignments are forming between conservatives and anarchist-influenced radicals. There’s no roadmap for this; not for the USA, not for any in the West. Whatever happens in the US is going to have profound implications for us here. Buckle up.