About 500 years ago, the new technology of the printing press enabled a religious revolution in the Christian church. The Catholic power structure was subsequently torn apart by the spreading of new Scriptural doctrines that were brought forth by Protestant leaders such as Luther and Calvin.
About 250 years ago, as that printing press technology was maturing, the political world was similarly torn apart by the rapid spreading of new political ideas. The old monarchic empires of Europe–most notably the British and the French–lost control of their institutions. Emerging democratic and republican movements rendered the old power structures irrelevant and replaced them with new, fledgeling governments. The American Revolution and the French Revolution changed the world forever.
Now those revolutionary movements of the 1700s have themselves produced worn-out overdeveloped institutions which have become cumbersome and must therefore be replaced or radically downsized
I’m talking about our old political parties and our old media institutions. And who knows– even the government itself?
Like the 16th-century revolutionary advent of the printing press, we are witnessing an emerging 21st-century revolution in communications technology: the Internet. This changes everything about how we organize ourselves as different interest groups and cultural movements.
We will also endure a revolution in government institutions.
The powers-that-be, now morphing as powers-that-used-to-be, include not only the government itself but also the media behemoths and two political parties of the old order.
ABC, CBS, NBC appear to be going the way of the buffalo. Like IBM in the 1990s, morphing under assaults at the Gates of Redmond and the Jobs of Cupertino, the fates of these media giants will be determined by whether their leadership can change with the times.
And the old behemoth newspaper dailies–same thing. They gotta roll with the punches. Jeff Bezos bought the WashPo. What does that tell you?
But where this stuff is really hitting the fan now is in the political parties.
Bernie and Donald are tearing the old political landscape apart.
The old tags of Democrat and Republican are becoming irrelevant.
Our new identities slice right through both of those bloated institutions. Bernie and Donald are beneficiaries of this creeping political anarchy.
How can I identify these changes in a way that is descriptive without being simplistic?
Like it or not, the Democrats are now all basically socialists. But they are split between:
Occupiers and Mandarins.
Republicans are now all basically reactionaries (against Democrats). They are split between:
Trumpians and Conservatives.
Although this writer is a registered Republican, that association may be coming to an end. If the Trumpians take the booty in Cleveland, I’ll be looking to find a new American party. It’s dangerous, but I’ve read about some old guys from two centuries ago who took awfully risky chances when they signed a Declaration against King George III and then wrote a Constitution to boot.
Here’s the beginning of my declaration, and the old Constitution will do just fine with maybe just a few updates. And this radical centrist is looking for some way to extend the American Experiment, without it falling apart.
People doing their thing on the Internet cast a plethora of disparate forces that are fragmenting our nation. The new political arrangements will have to reflect these changes or we’re toast when the jihadis figure out how to penetrate whatever remains of our moral fortitude.