Size matters. It’s not big or small that works but the right size. Are we the right size? What is the right size? It depends.
Here is probably the most positive political vision to appear in America in a very long time. This is the future:
California Is the Future
Trump is the last gasp of the conservative era and will bring down Republican rule. What’s coming next is in California…
Not everything in this first section of a larger work is accurate but it is simple enough to feel correct. It is obvious that the Trump disaster is the final gasp of the past as typified by the Republican party’s descent into dementia and corruption over the last forty years. At the same time it is blatantly obvious that the capitalist based economics and semi-representative governmental structures are collapsing. They have become steadily more difficult to prop up and are unsustainable. We are all looking for what is to replace them and how will that replacement be accomplished. Right now it looks very dark. We have a failed government led by a moron who gained power on the basis of racism and ignorance. Not a model for a bright future.
Because the structures are failing it has been very obvious that the two party political system has devolved into a two headed disaster. Much of the country is lost in an ugly fantasy land of imagined past glory crippled by declining hope and poor education. The most we can say is that there will be a long period of suffering and little chance that a significant potion of the American population will be able to even understand what is happening. That almost always results in very bad choice and mindless reactionary attitudes. But can California save the country?
I don’t think so. But California is the future. It’s just not a simple process of following a paint by numbers template. While the article presenting California as the future has clearly identified the critical changes that have made this true I think the changes are far larger and more profound and size is a key factor.
At least for the US a solution to the near complete national dysfunction is primarily the result of a minority who have become so bogged down in the past that they cannot see reality. In those cases it becomes hopeless to reconcile differences or to even attempt collaboration. This was well covered in the California experience. There is no longer room for what was once the conservative US party but has become a self destructive dogmatic force for bigotry and denial of reality. At the same time there is no longer room for simplistic liberalism or the ingrained patterns of the Democratic party. Both are based on old attitudes that are no longer relevant to the 21st century in the grip of climate disaster and the critical transition to sustainable life and sharing of planetary resources. In short the old political debate was on forms of control of the means of production with a shared goal of increasing production endlessly. Sustainability has replaced production and sharing has replaced greed. Petrochemical funded financial systems based on growth are no longer viable.
The critical change is consolidation of power in the hands of a truly democratic society that understands the balance between private markets and public services. At a metropolitan, state or even regional level this can be achieved with sensitivity to the diversity of people and concern for local environmental and cultural assets. At a larger scale this is not possible. Hence the failure of the federal system of government as a functioning polity as shown by the total collapse of the US Congress.
We no longer need large scale sovereign entities. We need directly democratic regional entities that are flexible, adaptive, and able to support populations with great diversity. And those populations are now intimately linked by social media without particular regard for geography. Our communities, whether geographic or virtual, can now link directly to other communities with shared interests, assets, or needs. Virtual citizenship is a completely new concept that allows close alliances without large national infrastructure. This will coexist with more traditional geographic citizenship for local resources and services. This could well diversify over time created a dense matrix of communities and sources of services.
Think about it. Why support an old, rigid political infrastructure that is only an impediment to flexible growth. California is very much the future but a future that no longer needs the old nation-state of which it was a part.