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Recommended Reading

[Mark Safranski / “zen“]

Time for a really must-read pair of posts about the election and the reaction to the election.

T. Greer of Scholar’s Stage examines the reasons, causes, culprits and cure for what I would characterize as the post-election epistemic collapse of the American establishment in DC and the media and among activist liberals nation-wide.

They can also be read very much with the ideas of John Boyd’s OODA Loop foremost in mind. Another thing to recall would be the shocking NYT piece based on interviews with Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser and off-the-record narrative weaver. In retrospect, it now looks much less shocking.

The Time Has Come to Give Up the Lie 

….The lies went like this. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a wonderful and visionary person. She is a representative for women across the world, an extraordinarily talented politician, and a true example of what makes America great. Clinton’s words are inspiring. Her political judgement is beyond reproach—in fact, given current national conditions, her political instincts are ideal. She is a good listener. She is in touch with the concerns of the nation and its ordinary people. She is a woman of the future. History is on her side.

This lie both enabled and was enabled by others: America’s economy is only getting better; because of her predecessor’s efforts, the country’s future is bright. Americans look forward to that future. Only those deceived by Fox News and the “Alt-right” could believe otherwise. In fact, if you didn’t realize it yet, the few thousand twitterers known as the ‘Alt-right’ are a critical part of the enemy coalition; when normal Americans hear about this new political force, they will care about it, remember it, and feel threatened by it. Demographics is destiny. Hispanic voters will be an electoral force to be reckoned with. Gender will be a deciding factor in this election. The concerns of working class whites do not deserve to be addressed; really, it’s an open question whether that demographic even needs to be respected. Jim Webb and Bernie Sanders were out of touch. The media isn’t actually filled with the lap dogs of the DNC. The DNC isn’t actually filled with the lap-dogs of the Clinton campaign. Clinton’s victory is so sure that she should be spending her time in Arizona and Georgia, not in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The Democratic Party is in the best shape it has ever been in. Sharing John Oliver videos makes a difference.

It was all a lie.

Time for some truths:

And Greer’s follow up Winning the Popular Vote While Losing Grip on Reality

There has been a bit of push back to my last post. A lot of it revolves around this fact: Donald Trump did not win the popular vote. Others point out that if the vote had shifted 1-2% in favor of Clinton, Trump’s stunning electoral sweep would never have happened.

That’s all true. It is also irrelevant.

When I say that large parts of the press and the Democratic establishment have lost grip on reality, I am not saying they are less in touch with ‘the popular will’ than team Trump was. Were you to line up the entire country and rank them by their preference for Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton, the median individual (though repulsed by both candidates) would probably lean towards the latter. That is undoubtedly true for the median voter.

It is also utterly irrelevant.

The American presidency is not decided by a popular vote. It has never been decided by a popular vote. The win must come in the electoral college. Hillary Clinton knew this. Her goal was always to win the electoral college. She organized a gargantuan super-PAC network, spent a billion dollars, hired thousands of staffers, mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers, launched one of the biggest get-out-the vote campaigns in this country’s history, and cajoled or inspired thousands of newspapers and media-hands to endorse her in order to win the electoral college. The battle she chose to fight was always about winning a certain alignment of electoral votes.

The problem is not that Clinton lost this battle. The problem is that no one had any idea that the loss was coming. Or that the loss was possible. Or even where the battle would be fought. Clinton, her team, the vast media apparatus that had grown up around it—all were soaking in the same cesspool of self-deceit. The election has shown them all for what they are: an insular network of operators and opinion-makers charmed by their own cleverness and enthralled with their own moral certitude, more comfortable exchanging clever quips and flattering platitudes than confronting the world outside of their carefully constructed echo-chamber.

To put it another way: in this election, narrative building trumped strategy making. Narrative building trumped reporting. It trumped honest assessments of the facts. It trumped everything except Trump himself.

It needs to stop.

Read the rest here.

3 Responses to “Recommended Reading”

  1. Lynn C. Rees Says:

    The American establishment’s implosion into an antiseptically sealed yet incestuous cesspool, doomed to be consumed by its own entropy, is tailor-made to be a one slide illustration of Boyd’s ideas in Patterns of Conflict.

  2. J.ScottShipman Says:

    Well said, Lynn!

  3. larrydunbar Says:

    “…is tailor-made to be a one slide illustration of Boyd’s ideas in Patterns of Conflict.”

    The slide would be an observation (yours) and not really an illustration of Boyd’s ideas. I mean, it does illustrate Boyd’s idea that Orientation is an isolating bubble-making process, but his ideas in Patterns of Conflict suggested letting the enemy continue and accelerate isolating itself while at the same time observing the patterns in the enemy’s actions in its process of isolating itself.

    The second part of his ideas suggested at the same time freeing yourself from isolation and fast transite from where the enemy is to where it is going to be.

    To accomplish this I think he also suggested you first need a community of like-minded individuals that can act both individually and in unison to help the isolating process along, until it implodes (folds in on itself).

    So it is not the “antiseptically sealed yet incestuous cesspool” of the American establishment that is danger of imploding, but the alt-right, nationalist, neoconservative orientations who are, and it is mainly because of their incessious relationships and unwillingness to look outside the bubble.

    For the most part the Dems are free (for the most part by Constitutional mechanics) of the bubble, but it is reforming quickly. If the Dems used Boyd’s ideas they would use this opportunity (outside the bubble) to form a 3rd party and let the Republicans keep theirs, as there is a chance it is going to implode.

    As you perhaps suggest by your comment, the Democratic party’s swamp could use some (a lot) draining, and they (the establishment) now potentially have access to the youngest and largest generation to transit to and future to orient towards.

    I mean it has been pretty much greed that has gotten us this far; anti-greed is a concept that is easy to rally to, especially for the newer generations with a low (and lowering) potential.

    They (the establishment) could call it the Burn party, and burn the institutions down with the use of knowledge (a destructive force) instead of fear. Just saying….

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