AMERICA’S INTERNAL NON-INTEGRATING GAP
Chirol of Coming Anarchy asks about ” Domestic PNM Theory “
“Like Curzon and Younghusband, I’m a big fan of Thomas Barnett and the Pentagon’s New Map. While we at ComingAnarchy, and many others, have debated the implications his theory has in the domain of international relations, one interesting question came to me, namely, the implications of it for domestic policy. If we accept that disconnectedness equals danger, then what kind of social and criminal justice policies should we be pursuing? Barnett advocates a so-called SysAdmin force to police the world and rebuild failed states into functioning members of the Core. If one then were to imagine a city with its suburbs, downtown and ghetto, what kind of SysAdmin force and policies would PNM theory dictate?
Since the primary goal of a domestically aimed PNM program would be to connect disconneted people with mainstream society, who would be targeted (i.e. what are the signs of disconnectedness) and how would they be connected? Given that Barnett’s theory is so complimentary of capitalism and views globalization, the international incarnation of capitalism, as the savior of our world, I find it interesting that on a domestic level, his theory would tend to recommend policies essentially socialist in nature.”
The Core-Gap-Seam taxonomy developed by Dr. Barnett is a good ” horizontal model” that can be applied to other domains besides international relations and military grand strategy. In fact, Tom Barnett and Stephen DeAngelis are currently looking at applying PNM concepts to business strategy, international law and public education. I will leave international law and business strategy aside for another day and concentrate on Chirol’s question on domestic disconnection.
It is popular to divide America into Red states and Blue states these days and look at the shrill rhetoric that exaggerates differences and obscures commonalities. I have news for the internet partisans of both sides. They’re on the same side. They’re all connected. They’re in the system. They have the luxury of time, education and DSL connections to worry and fight over permutations of John Roberts attack ads, the lunacy of Cindy Sheehan and other future historical trivia.
The real ” other side” is neither Left nor Right but the disconnected denizens of America’s Educational Gap. They are the children of Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities who meander through stark lives of unquiet desperation. They come from bookless homes with parents who are at best marginal figures, often consumed by drug addiction and mental illness, when they are present at all. Ubiquitous violence and conflict from an early age leave them emotionally disconnected at a neurological level from societal norms and at times a sense of empathy. The range of the moment oriented skill-sets they develop to survive the conditions of their dysfunctional world coupled with the basic education left unlearned in subpar schools leave them virtually unemployable in mainstream society. America has developed a durable underclass and contrary to popular belief it is not an exclusively Black or urban demographic.
Chirol asks if applying PNM theory, a domestic ” System Administration” force, to America’s internal Gap requires ” socialistic” measures. It’s a good question. My answer is that it does not. What is required is that all measures both public and private, State and Federal, current and future be designed, concentrated and coordinated with the systemic effect in mind. A trillion dollars of public and private money directed at two or three objectives instead of twenty-thousand directions is going to have a significant effect.
Secondly, that if we truly wish to make significant headway and solve rather than manage this problem and ” shrink the gap” I would suggest that a certain realistic ruthlessness is required to make the very young the focus of all our efforts for the first time and write off the already badly screwed-up, incompetent and sometimes criminal adults in their lives. For two generations we have worked through and subsidized the dysfunctional adults and I have to say, anecdotal happy cases aside, this strategy ran counter to basic economics, psychology, sociology and educational theory and has, unsurprisingly, yielded consistently miserable results.
My prescription fits poorly into a Left-Right spectrum and would draw upon policy ideas from conservatives and liberals alike without adopting the worldview solution of either being primarily goal-directed. A massive redirection of societal resources toward our most At-Risk and vulnerable children coupled with a systemic intervention against socially disruptive and incompetently disfunctional behaviors that create the conditions for anarchy and violence.