Navigating Complexity

Using the current US political situation as a map

by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ November 25, 2019

Sometimes you must go backward in order to go forward. But that only works if you know where you are going. Knowing where you are going needs to be a good bit more precise than a general direction. Away from here is not good enough.

The US is at a major crossroads but the immediate road ahead goes off a cliff. Even worse it takes all of us on this planet off the cliff with us. That does not mean that there are not people determined to go over that cliff. Fortunately they are a minority although large enough and noisy enough to be sickening in their self destructiveness. How do we handle that?

Much of the current and growing desperation is the result of obvious confusion in the nation that has been the leader for the last seventy years. But that leadership has disappeared and will not be restored. That reality is a big part of the problem both domestically and internationally.

This is an issue of complexity that cannot be brought down to an ‘either/or’ model. Our human evolutionary default to dyadIc thinking in times of stress, as I have discussed here, no longer works. In fact it is now a serious danger to think in that way. We can see that because the racist, fascist, nationalist disease is focused exclusively on the crudest possible approach to that and it has no future.

Nonlinear complexity is not the end of the world. It is simply what we now have to live with in a rapidly changing reality. This produces something like a multipolar environment with random change producing different and evolving perspectives. So how does this look?

To use the US as the current model with the US political situation as the focus, let’s try to describe the components and perspectives.

Superficially there is the active impeachment investigation of the Trump regime. The perspectives on this include the criminal actions by Trump and his administration, specifically as confessed bribery and extortion at the international level. Under this are a large number of unconstitutional, i.e. criminal, actions that are well known and defined but have not been stopped or punished. A major question is why this has been allowed but there is no clear answer to that. That is a major cause of consternation and confusion. Why did this happen?

The absence of a clear answer to Trump and his party’s criminal actions links to a two arrays of conditions and problems. One array is cultural and political and the other is economic and environmental. These cut across domestic and international areas. This also covers roughly seventy years of history and extends several hundred years into the future.

This can only be made sense of by considering related conditions and problems that seem, now, most closely connected. An important requirement in the current situation is never losing sense of the larger potential connections with their layered causes and effects. As an example let’s look at the political and economic connections in the US that are very most real and concerning.

Broadly we have the well understood problem of capitalism as the cause of massive asset consolidation in a few hands. We know that the acquisition of great wealth works always to protect that wealth. We also know that great, disproportionate wealth, is not compatible with democratic political systems. A minority with a large percentage of all wealth in a state simply buys political power excluding all others.

This, then, links to US culture as racist with a significant element of white supremacy that has become ascendent. While this is understood to be morally wrong and counter productive to successful societies it has provided a large lever for gaining power because of the simplicity of promising white supremacy and ethnocentric policies.

This became a desperately needed and addictive solution for the US Republican Party as they became increasingly irrelevant in the post modern, diverse and fast changing world. The final blow for the US Republican Party was the takeover of the Democratic Party by conservative, neoliberal economics under Clinton. This created a combined, neoliberal center party with the Republican Party becoming an extreme racist fringe.

While this is a minority, even in the US, the implementation of oligarchic rule that represses democratic government needs only a minority to claim ‘popular’ authority by manipulation of the electoral system migrating to minority rule. These are feedback loops.

Oligarchic rule, racism, white supremacy, and ethnocentrism draws like oligarchs together. Ethnocentrism plays across the reaction to social change with diversity in related nations/cultures. This is being triggered by mass population movements caused by increasing climate disaster due to global warming. As a major feedback loop this is presented as population movements without a cause except greed for white wealth by dark people.

This links antidemocratic, racist, and denunciation of science to attack and suppress climate correction in order to maintain the power by manipulation of racist fears in homogenous populations. Another level of cause/effect is the climate crisis as the direct result of two centuries of uncontrolled capitalist materialism. For the human species to survive we must end the production and insertion of carbon in the atmosphere. But this directly threatens the continued consolidation of wealth among the 1% of the population, i.e. the neoliberal planetary oligarchy.

This array of issues, links, and forces has produced the current US situation with Trump acting for oligarchic power supported by two political parties both of which support extreme capitalism, i.e. unlimited production. The key to this is the need to manipulate minority rule by a loose array of oligarchs united by capitalism and the need to justify unlimited resource exploitation and growth.

This explains the link between Trump and Putin, who visualizes himself as the preeminent white supremacist and leader in the international oligarchic elite. Trump as a mentally damaged narcissist must have a power figure to idolize and model. This is a pathological psychology layer that is secondary to the overall array.

Looking at these links and forces it becomes much easier to see that existing Democratic Party candidates for president in 2020 are providing nothing that will address the current precipitous decline into political, economic, and climate crisis disaster. The centrists are advocating blindness to this complex disaster while the traditional progressives, while acknowledging some of the critical problems, are presenting palliatives that will allow the existing oligarchic ruled system to remain in place.

Even the most progressive candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have spent years inside the oligarchic system and have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the impossibility of major change. We are already in the planned push to the center although that will be little different than continuation of the current criminal regime.

We are at the point that only major, structural change will allow us to survive in anything like a world we now available to a significant percentage of the planetary population. The majority of the oligarchy, the 1+%, really don’t care about any of this as they have been told they can expect to buy their way out of the climate crisis by continued consolidation of all assets on the planet. The odds are that they will only delay the thinning of their ranks as climate disasters worsen and food resources decline but that may take another generation to happen.

The general educated population see some to much of this and are appalled at the absence of any solution beyond the palliative ones of improved healthcare and removal of blatant fascism and racism. But, as laid out above, those conditions are the result of a complex historical and international array of causes.

This is the complex mix of conditions that prevents any simple answer. Is the 2020 election a waste of time? Yes, probably either because the criminal oligarchy will, again, manipulate the electoral system with Putin’s help or because a ‘centrist’ Democratic government would fail to make other than superficial changes that will delude the population back into somnolence.

The end of either of those developments will be a spasm of violence and desperation as disasters move around the planet. And that result may be the horror of the final fascist state run by insane warlords in an orgy of self destruction.

Let’s not do that.

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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