I love raining on parades, and I’ve been accused once or twice of being a reflexive contrarian. But I can’t bring myself to hate on “America” all that much today. It’s not because I entertain a tiny sparkle of patriotism or hope for the Union. I don’t. This regime is dying, and everybody knows it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an “Evil Empire”, the “Great Satan”, or those “Damn Yankees”. It’s not the enemy because it’s not capable of standing in our way, or in anybody else’s way. As we speak, “America” is being trounced by impoverished and illiterate nomads, and our own failure to trounce it here at home lies squarely in our own lack of vision and mobilization.
This Fourth of July, allow me to put the “meh” in America. Loyalty to it belongs in the past, a past where it was arguably synonymous with our identities and worthy of investment of our hopes and dreams. But opposition to it also belongs in the past, a past where the state of technology dictated that this administrative district would define our daily lives, experiences, occupations, hobbies, identities, and subcultures. This government is no longer capable of devising the Interstate Highway system and utility infrastructure; it’s struggling to maintain the ruins of what already exists. This government is no longer capable of fighting world wars; it’s retreating on every strategic front. It’s no longer capable of stopping domestic dissidents, either.
John Engelman’s recent article at Alternative Right, “What Will the Future be Like?” explored George Orwell’s proposition that politics is a relatively simple function of military technology…
Orwell thought weapon systems determined government. He wrote that when the battlefield is dominated by weapons that are expensive and difficult to master societies and governments are authoritarian and hierarchical. When the battlefield is dominated by inexpensive weapons that are easy to learn how to use, democracy has a chance.
Eisenhower shared a similar foreboding in his landmark farewell address.
Both George Orwell and President Eisenhower were more correct than incorrect about the incipient danger of the monolithic military-industrial complexes which dominated and controlled the world up until just about 1984. But like those feisty Velociraptors in Jurassic Park, life is gradually finding a way around these expensive and complex military technologies, …and the vast and complex institutions they entail. Terrorism is one such development, empowering lone individuals or small cells with little resources to inflict quantifiable damage on military-industrial superpowers. Improvised Explosive Devices are another example, targeting the supply networks and vulnerable infantrymen along those supply networks rather than the US military’s invincible doomsday contraptions themselves.
The Internet and related technologies have broken the institutional monopoly on the dissemination and framing of information. Bitcoin and related technologies now threaten to subvert the globally centralized monetary order. An institution as massive and sprawling as the United States government was an optimal locus of power in the 20th century, but will not be agile enough to face the challenges of the 21st century. More nimble tribal collectives and social networks will become the loci of power and social change in the decades to come.
It will actually matter once again which religious denomination or social clubs you’re affiliated with, because they’ll replace the military-industrial complex as the source of jobs, welfare, entertainment, and even public infrastructure investment. In other words, the normal and natural human condition will re-emerge after having been suppressed for generations. Packing and sorting humanity into arbitrary administrative districts, like slave drones in a sci-fi flick, has been the dream and goal of the cosmopolitan oligarchs in command of the vast military-industrial super-states, but they’re rapidly losing the leverage to manifest their dystopian scheme.
America will remain #1, at least in the telecommunication country code database. It’s going to stay put for many decades to come, on elementary school wall maps and on identification cards for traveling, but that’s despite the paradigm shift away from it. United States citizenship is rapidly dwindling from a cardinal marker of one’s identity down to mere administrative trivia. It’s been happening for decades and is pretty much a done deal, though White Americans in flyover country are only beginning to suspect that perhaps the vast mobs of foreigners and minorities aren’t eagerly assimilating into their Anglo-American social fabric as they other waves of immigrants before had done. They’ve brought their own fabric, and founding stock White Americans are merely one patch in an AIDS quilt of alien identities spanning the continent.
There’s nothing stopping us from forgetting about tearing off our own little patches and working toward a better future for our families and communities. “America” can’t help us do that, and “America” can’t stop us, either.