In a surprising Blitzkrieg campaign Donald Trump swept past two political dynasties and set himself up as the new king in his own Trump towers. Simultaneously hundreds of tribes gathered in the Dakotas and chanted “water is life” to protest how they had been steamrolled by both dynasties. If battle lines are already drawn, who will emerge victorious?
Black Ships and Black Snakes
The dominant cycle of the last two thousand years has been “might makes right.” Cannons were brought on black ships to Japan to force them to open up to Western liberalism. Black snakes are referred to in Lakota prophesies, and used to refer to the oil pipelines that are snaking south to encourage the fossil fuel economy. Some folks think that if enough force brought to bear the protesters will be scattered and broken.
Historically this has been correct. In conflicts technological superiority almost always wins. There will always be protestors of any system, but they will only become winners when they have created a system that is better and more robust than the previous one.
So many kings. Hard to choose just one.
One dynasty after another?
Curiously, the modern search for democratic rule and principles was born out of a corrupt and defunct dynastic system. Who could argue that the same isn’t true today? No matter where you look on the spectrum you find oligarchs primarily concerned about the needs of other oligarchs and attempting to find as much lock-in as possible.
In many ways Trump himself represents an honest phase of this same trend. Rather than a fake attempt at perpetuating Clinton and Bush dynasties and calling it democracy, Trump fans openly call him “God Emperor.”
Probably it’s high time that we simply admit that democracy as we used to know it is dead.
What was democracy supposed to do?
Sadly too many people talk about “democracy” as a system without going back to first principles and thinking about the problems that democracy was meant to solve. For example, democracy was setup to enable the pursuit of happiness and preserve individual freedoms.
Due to their own near catastrophic experience the designers of the United States created not only a single government, but multiple tiers of protection. Constitution, for example, enshrines local militias as a localized way of creating resilience in the case of exploitation. Fault tolerance has been built in for the non-optimistic scenarios.
While the redcoats marched in line the American rebels hid behind trees. In other words, they swarmed. The ability of these units to rapidly organize and disrupt the classic methods of warfare is something that in modern strategy has been called the OODA loop by genius John Boyd.
Roughly speaking, this means rapid iteration and rapid feedback without any middlemen. It means constant technological improvement. It means finding asymmetrical approaches and high leverage points to achieve ends. It also means intelligent and strategic resource sharing and coordination in service of a larger vision.
They look small but they grow fast
Game of Thrones gets real
I expect the Game of Thrones to intensify and get increasingly violent. Dynasties don’t go down without fights and, its increasingly clear that the rules that everyone was theoretically playing by are being abandoned one by one.
Personally, I wouldn’t worry so much about who is on the throne. I’d think more about finding out who has dragons and making sure you are on their side. Not being particularly close to the epicenter might be a good option too.