Twitter’s Love Fest With …… NATO?

In a bizarre new chapter, the latest headline coming from social media reads, “Twitter Says It Purged Dozens of Accounts for ‘Undermining Faith in NATO‘.” The company’s explanation? The perpetrators had “ties with Russia.”

Why would a leader of the woke movement go to bat so assertively for a military organization? When Twitter shuts down accounts – and consequently free speech – it typically asserts social justice or other allegedly noble motives. Why NATO? Why now?

Two categories of justification characterize social media’s typical cancellations. In one, technicalities are cited: “Twitter prohibits the use of our service to distribute content obtained without authorization.” This was the excuse presented when they buried the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story.

The other justification is loosely defined as “preventing hate speech.” This one comes closer to a values assertion. It has been paraphrased as “we don’t want to be this kind of country.” While they rarely explain their motives thoroughly, the values Twitter promotes are aligned with ideas like community, the commons, and compassion.

Woke beliefs reside along a specific range of the political circle. And like all partisan movements, wokedom answers two fundamental questions. So, while it leads with progressive values – practically yelling them at every opportunity – the impact of its power answer now comes across louder. Social media’s efforts to control the flow of information using centralized structures have become a primary characteristic of the movement.

This exposes a fault line within a movement that would like to be known for its inclusive values. We can be certain that many members do lead with their conscience. But the leadership is now focused on top-down political control. And their motivations can no longer be hidden.

In this regard, the social media monopolies are following in the path of the Democratic Party. Its leadership – represented by the DNC – purportedly supported the citizen throughout the twentieth century, as demonstrated by its working class policies. In the early twenty-first, however, their policy objectives have moved much closer to those of the Deep State and its allies …… including the military.

This shift in position was driven by tactics. As entrenched national bureaucracy grew, it wielded more political power, despite claiming to be “non-partisan.” The DNC then had to move toward centralized policies because alliances were more effective there.

Twitter, Facebook and related companies occupy a location on the circle that’s quite close to (if not exactly aligned with) the position of the DNC. While they’re relatively new players in the game, their position is ages old. They know who their comrades are. They’re creatures of centralized power.

So it should come as no surprise that social media is acting on behalf of NATO. The military organization is actually much closer to Twitter’s political position than are the more values-oriented members of the woke movement.

This presents a problem for those whose consciences have drawn them toward woke beliefs. Should they continue to support centralized power? Or is there a better way to accomplish the societal improvements they seek?

Why the Citizens are Losing the War

This week witnessed two important actions that drew only slight notice. The first was a series of Eric Weinstein tweets directed at Jack Dorsey. The second was a mass email sent to Gab members by Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba. Both efforts tell us what’s right – and wrong – with their nascent movement.

Weinstein’s tweets attempted to call out Mr. Dorsey’s opaque algorithms that shadow ban citizen-empowering voices. Torba’s goal was similar: to rally “populists” toward new methods of action.

Both men are enlightened and erudite representatives of their positions. And both show the courage of their convictions. But there’s a difference between recognizing a problem and building an effective solution. They’ve completed Part A. There is no plan for Part B.

Their common theme centered on Big Tech’s disingenuous controls. But neither could separate his left-right leanings from the larger issue at hand. Weinstein’s tweets read like the plaintive pleas of a liberal jilted by a fellow member of the left. Meanwhile, Torba’s quite accurate comments about centralization were mixed with unproductive exhortations about his Christian beliefs.

Neither man was able to visualize today’s conflict with the required accuracy.

For example, social media wields influence at the behest of its enablers …… the DNC, Deep State, globalist CEOs, and related groups. None of those players functions as a free-standing entity. Each operates within an alliance that works to concentrate power. Their agenda sometimes leans liberal, but the far larger goal is control.

What Weinstein and Torba are missing is this: The primary conflict of our era is Centralized Power against Decentralized Power. It’s a significant shift from the previous era, where liberal values squared off against conservative values.

Each of these Fundamental Questions – Power and Values – drives a society’s decisions in different epochs. Torba and Weinstein have nobly stepped forward to lead today’s conflict, but they’re like generals fighting the last war. Left-Right divisions are now secondary.

Can either side of this new battle – centralized or decentralized – be considered inherently good or categorically evil? Many examples show the damage wrought by overly-concentrated power: Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Saddam’s Iraq. Likewise, too much decentralization leads to chaos, as Somalia shows. The question America faces today is one of balance: can each side keep the other in check?

It’s clear that the elites are not being held in check. No citizen-empowering alliance counters today’s centralizing coalition. Instead, decentralizing voices “on the left” still naively address monopolistic figures “on the left” as friends. But Jack Dorsey is not their friend. Neither is any figure associated with the DNC. Meanwhile, on the right, activists like Torba don’t separate their religious beliefs from the society’s move away from liberty. This conflation of power with values has hamstrung efforts to build citizen-empowering coalitions.

Weinstein could easily undercut Twitter by becoming a prominent voice on Gab or Parler. But Torba has dis-invited liberals by mis-associating Christian values with free speech. Neither person will develop into a effective leader until he draws better distinctions between his adversaries and his allies.

A Q’Anon sequitur?

John F. Kennedy’s assassination spawned one of the modern era’s earliest (and most long-lived) conspiracy theories. It wasn’t the first, however. Kennedy’s predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, produced an earlier theory when he warned of dangers presented by “the military-industrial complex.”

The media mechanisms weren’t yet in place to counter-punch with some story about Ike’s early onset dementia.

The dynamic has changed, however. Narrative managers now respond effectively to each new conspiracy …… creating intimidation. Therefore, unconventional ideas are introduced cautiously today, with the caveat: “I am NOT a conspiracy theorist, but ……”

Conspiracy theories are typically addressed on a case by case basis. A scenario gets floated. The credentialed class fights back. Meanwhile, the sheer quantity of allegations continues to grow …… Roswell. A Bilderberg cabal. The origins of 9/11. Obama’s birthplace. Q’Anon.

These conspiracies all have similar structures: each follows a pattern. For this reason, instead of looking into the specifics of any one belief, it’s more productive to assess the phenomenon as a whole. A “General Theory of Conspiracy” is required.

For example …… despite assertions that its believers are irrational, every alleged conspiracy involves logic: the weapons of choice are proof and disproof. This connection is significant because it indicates what’s missing from the discussion: conspiracies rarely involve questions of the conscience or the heart. Therefore, the combatants are aligned along the power axis …… the home of logic and reason.

Similarly, the lead suspects in any conspiracy theory are always entities that are intertwined with centralized power. Sometimes, particular individuals are alleged to be engaged in illicit activities, as in #ClintonBodyCount. More often, institutions like the CIA or FBI are accused of some cover-up. Other times, allegations focus on global collusion, like the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset”.

In contrast, those who generate the theories typically come from nondescript origins. Alex Jones and Mark Dice are examples. (Ike is a possible counter-example to this pattern, though he was the last president to be a champion of the common citizen.)

Crucially, two opposed characteristics of the power axis are at the heart of these conflicts. First, the top pole always favors opacity. Its inhabitants believe information should be “classified.” Few participants are placed on the “need to know” list.

In contrast, a hallmark of the bottom pole is transparency. Its inhabitants believe that everyone should have access to all public information.

This explains why conspiracy theories have been more prevalent in recent decades. As power gets concentrated in fewer locations – like Wall Street, Washington, Silicon Valley, Beijing, and Brussels – information impacting the public good has become closely held. This causes commoners to connect dots where few are to be found. They try to figure out what’s going on …… and to spread the information.

The power axis separates two regions of reason. Both sides are logical, but they take opposite approaches to the sharing of public data. Conspiracy theorists might be wrong in some cases …… or many. But they’re not irrational. And neither are their opponents. Conspiracies are a battle of opacity versus transparency.

I’d like to buy a consonant, please.

Linguistic gymnastics run rampant among the elites. The statements coming from Washington are increasingly nebulous. Are beltway players trying to clarify their positions …… or to obfuscate them?

The latest example comes in the form of a headline: “Dozens of Former Anti-Trump GOP Officials Discussing Formation of “Center-Right Breakaway Party'” Let’s dig into the Sajak-esque constructions of language contained in statements like this one ……

The story states that about 120 anti-Trump government officials – all Republicans – have participated in a zoom call to discuss forming a new faction of the GOP (or perhaps a new party altogether) to run on a platform of “principled conservatism.”

The leaks and tweets from the call contain a wide selection of linguistic gummy bears ……

…… this is a “new, independent” faction of the GOP.

…… they’re standing up to parts of their party “threatening American democracy.”

…… committed to “truth, reason, and the founding ideals.”

…… committed to “our values.”

…… “adheres to the constitution.”

Such vague statements can be momentarily assuaging, but they contain few conceptual nutrients. They’re harmful when they form too large a part of our daily diet. These benign-sounding concepts seem like ideals we should believe in, but clear definitions are rarely produced.

For example …… which parts of the constitution are they talking about? Do they support constructs like corporate personhood, which was never addressed in the founding document? Were their conservative “values” ever noted in it? What are their views on today’s bloated interpretations of the Commerce Clause?

And what about concepts like “truth” and “reason”? Are they asserting that their “nativist” co-Republicans lack the capacity for those qualities? Have they defined what makes a nativist morally or intellectually unpalatable?

These ideas are rarely clarified by the purveyors of political speech.

More information can often be derived from looking at an initiative’s point person than can be gleaned from its well-rehearsed script. That figure usually leads with their credentials, which can be sold more effectively than the vague message. Typically, a ringleaders’ curriculum vitae is a crucial first argument for a cause’s legitimacy.

In this case, the lead salesperson is “former CIA officer Evan McMullin”. His papers are presented in three words: Central. Intelligence. Agency. He’s joined by others with similar resumes, including several “former high-ranking members of the Homeland Security Department”.

Despite describing their platform in ambiguous language, this group’s credentials define them precisely. They’re not centrists. They seek control of centralized power.

Centrist versus Central. Distinguishing an -ist from an -al can be enlightening ……

Is anything inherently wrong with a centralist position that leans conservative …… as opposed to today’s Washington, where mainstream centralism now leans liberal? No. The problem lies not with a position itself, but with any lack of balance between opposed regions of the circle. Too much decentralization and too much centralization are equivalent threats.

To sort through such issues – and to re-build balance in our society – the American people must understand the true positions of those who seek to lead. Unfortunately, Mr. McMullen and friends have failed to describe theirs with clarity.

Defining the Undefended

Two of the most maligned movements of recent years are homeschooling and vaccination choice. Their advocates are frequently disparaged by mainstream media. So, why do these groups get singled out?

Both movements share common characteristics with other groups that favor decentralized power. In fact, related grassroots initiatives like permaculture, self-sufficiency, new urbanism, and others, are best understood as parallel components within a larger “meta-movement.”

This leads to a revised question: why are members of the other initiatives left largely alone while the homeschooling and vaccination freedom proponents are often attacked?

An answer is provided by their adversaries. Homeschooling presents a threat to teachers unions and their allies in the Department of Education. Similarly, vaccination skeptics question products produced by pharmaceutical companies: behemoths with deep influence in the halls of power. This manifests as diametric opposition on the political circle ……

Though their situation is unpleasant, anti-vaxxers and homeschoolers might be fortunate. The big kid on the block doesn’t like them, but at least he considers them a threat. In contrast, many of the parallel movements remain largely unacknowledged by powerful forces. It might feel like a blessing to the groups being left alone. But is it really?

Mohandas Gandhi – another occupant of the circle’s lowest pole – once observed: “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” His quote describes a set of state changes that move a given situation, in increments, from one paradigm to another. Political energy ratchets up in each shift, until the conflict comes to a boil.

Nassim Taleb (yet another low pole member) attempts to harness this spectrum whenever he publishes a new book …… by actively antagonizing his critics. Agitated detractors then become effective marketing agents.

Charles Marohn, founder and CEO of Strong Towns, recently experienced a shift along this continuum. His organization – aligned with the new urbanist movement – has produced insightful analysis for more than a decade, much of it debunking orthodox economic doctrines like infrastructure spending and suburban sprawl.

Marohn flew under the radar for years, but was eventually noticed by powerful natural adversaries high up on the circle. They’ve now lodged formal complaints against his engineering license, not because of any lapse in professional judgement (Marohn no longer practices in the field), but because he endorses innovative approaches that could eventually threaten their entrenched financial interests.

Anti-vaxxers, homeschoolers, and Strong Towns members are further along on Gandhi’s energy continuum than their peers in the larger meta-movement. This causes an inversion of the question posed earlier. Instead of asking “why have particular citizen-empowering groups been singled out?” it would be more productive to ask what the related movements must do to get noticed.

To achieve success, the proponents of decentralized power will need to move past the “ignore you” stage of their development. “You win” might be defined as a new balance of power with centralizing forces, or as some other set of goals. Either way, change won’t arrive until conflict is confronted …… and political energy increases.

Guess-working the Gamestop Gambit

The significance of recent trading in highly-shorted GME stock was immediately grasped by several of America’s remaining honest journalists, including Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi.

Unfortunately, Greenwald’s reference to “the amorphous and trans-ideological politics driving both the Reddit uprising and the reaction to it” falls far short of a coherent systemic understanding. His comments show how Americans – even the most astute among us – are failing to interpret the political landscape with anything approaching accuracy.

To resolve this dangerous limitation, commentators will need to embrace a premise they might find unpalatable …… that an adequate understanding of the political paradigm can never be developed through words alone. Instead, the first step in any serious political analysis is the visualization of a properly constructed spatial model.

The term trans-ideological lies at the crux of Greenwald’s blind spot. It reflects our human penchant for adding length to a description when we don’t quite understand its pattern. Sporting seven syllables, this word’s definition is particularly fuzzy. We can only assume that Greenwald asserts a Nietzschian framing: “beyond left and right”.

It’s not wholly incorrect to use a term like “trans-ideological.” But to pair it with the term “amorphous” is to confess no knowledge of an alternative. A better model does exist, though.

For example, neither party in the Gamestop dispute is energized by issues regarding values …… the traditional battlefield between left and right. They reside instead, as Greenwald correctly notes, in the field of rational endeavor. This orientation toward the practical concerns of business and finance causes conflicts about power ….. not about values.

The two main combatants in the Gamestop conflict do take diametrically opposed positions. The financial oligarchy sits at the top of the political circle, while the Redditors reside near the circle’s bottom pole. This reflects an ordering of positions more consistent with the majority of recent American conflicts ……

The hedge funds might, or might not, function as the apex predators of today’s financial hierarchy. But they do rely on an understanding of (and exert influence on) today’s highly centralized system of banking, trading, and regulation. In contrast, the Reddit group relies on emergent self-organization, with citizens free to act as individual agents.

This gets to the crux of a misunderstanding that vexes even the most insightful observers in America today. Yes, it’s true that wallstreetbets members might lean slightly to the left or the right. But their primary loyalty isn’t horizontal; it’s vertical. They proudly practice a citizen-empowering politics.

The unacknowledged tendency to frame disputes as left versus right remains entrenched in mainstream thinking, even as some pundits attempt to form language describing another dimension. Values explanations might have been adequate in the past. But they’re counterproductive today, when the machinations of top down power dominate.

To assess the twenty-first century’s political crisis in terms of left and right – without clarifying their relationship to top versus bottom – is a conflation of the highest order. It’s a mistake from which recovery will be difficult, if not impossible. An alternative framing must be considered.

Not So Fast ……

It appears that the rightful ruling class, led by Joe Biden, has retaken control of the beltway. We’re free to exhale. And exhale again. But before anyone hyperventilates, we should explore how today’s turmoil is actually structured ……

The sighs of relief represent a thought: “the left is back in charge.” When you look closely, however, the nature of this new regime has been poorly defined by our media because the most astute criticisms of “the left” are currently coming from …… “the left.” Glenn Greenwald isn’t exhaling. Neither is Matt Taibbi. Bret Weinstein still holds his breath, hoping YouTube doesn’t banish him.

If an accurate political spectrum could be reduced to simple phrases, one statement would be: “There are two ‘lefts’ in America.” And this “other left” understands all too well that they’re being targeted by resurgent power brokers from Silicon Valley, DC, and Davos. Their worldview has too much in common with the conservatives now under attack.

Imagine, for a moment, being herded from a train at Auschwitz. You find yourself in a second group in line for the “showers.” Would it provide any comfort to you if some business adversary from your previous life was in the first group? This is the kind of question these liberals are forced to ask themselves about recently de-platformed conservatives. Who, exactly, is my adversary?

A precise model of allies and adversaries is needed. But even a loose model would expose the fallacy of labeling today’s Washington power regime as “left” …… because the incoming administration is closely allied with authoritarian groups.

For example, the deep state’s alphabet agencies, featuring actors like James Comey and John Brennan, cant be categorized as liberal or conservative. They’re creatures of centralized power. Similarly, Biden’s ascendance was aided by Republican stalwarts like Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, and Fox News hosts. This wing of their party also asserts top-down control.

So, the image of “the left” being back in charge is deeply flawed. It’s based on a limited visual conception of the system. The only debate it allows is, “How far right – or left – are the players?”

The new regime doesn’t represent a victory of “left” over “right.” Instead, it exhibits a resurgent “top” against a newly-wounded “bottom.” The top of the circle does include slight orientations toward the left and right. But so does the bottom.

The discontented – labeled above – consist of libertarian conservatives and citizen-empowering liberals. They’ve been unable to join together into a political coalition thus far.

The top-of-circle actors do see the powerful potential of such an alliance, however. And they’re making every effort to shut down discourse within the lower quadrants. In its place, they promote a carefully constructed narrative: legitimate players have retaken their rightful roles.

But the elites have resorted to authoritarian tactics in their effort to regain power. They rely on disciplined coordination between left and right-leaning “centralists” who sit high in the circle’s upper quadrants. And they can only thwart their conservative adversaries by inflicting collateral damage on citizen-empowering liberals.

Election 2020 was Axis versus Axis

Our November 3 trip to the polls seems like a long time ago due to the intensity and unprecedented nature of the subsequent disagreements. But the underlying structure of that contest should not go unnoticed because it differed, in significant ways, from previous longterm trends. It tells us much about the shifting outlooks of the major political parties.

For example, Joe Biden’s “battle for the soul of this country” was a values-based statement, which the DNC leveraged to level charges of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny against its opponents …… while presenting itself as a bulwark against those bogeymen. The party’s goal was to keep public discussion aligned with matters of conscience. Its policy assertions were built on a foundation of morality.

In contrast, the Republican campaign slogan – “Keep America Great” – rehashed Trump’s combative 2016 focus on jobs, tariffs, and immigration. It’s policy platform sought to restrict political discussion to the power question. This tentatively populist approach reflected a shift from the party’s pre-Trump era, when centralizing tendencies were pursued behind closed doors, but downplayed publicly …… a position the Romney wing still endorses.

Thus, both of the 2020 campaigns emphasized the language of one Fundamental Question, while downplaying language from the other. This resulted in each party playing offense on its favored axis; then reacting to the opponent’s accusations on the other.

The non-emphasized axis still surreptitiously contributes to both parties’ agendas, though. The Democrats ask us to look the other way as they rely on power tactics like tech monopoly cancellation, media gaslighting, and deep state ambushes. Meanwhile, the Republicans quietly place pro-life judges on the bench, and pursue get-out-the-vote operations in the evangelical community. But this values orientation is kept under the radar.

When we step back toward a wider perspective, it becomes clear that neither party wants to align itself with an accurate, balanced paradigm. Instead, both seek the short-term advantages created by nasty name-calling and myopic talking points. Neither will address the realities of a complex worldview because an honest approach could compromise the instant gratification of an electoral victory.

How much longer can the republic withstand these short-sighted, winner-take-all tactics?

Can a Currency Be Partisan?

We typically regard the word partisan from a perspective of left versus right. But it can also refer to upper versus lower. Partisans near the top of the political circle are characterized by centralized control. Those near the bottom believe in emergent organization, created through citizen interaction.

The circle moderates between two fundamentally different axes. The upper and lower poles create one, while the left and right poles create another. The vertical concerns itself with power (specifically, top down organization versus bottom up systems). The horizontal addresses our values choices …… which feature a conflict between liberal and conservative (aka: maternal and paternal).

Every position on the circle is partisan. The conventional approach to this term is inadequate, therefore, because it fails to address whether an entity is vertically partisan, or horizontally partisan.

For example, if a position is near the right or the left poles, it orients toward values: the partisanship is horizontal ……

Similarly, positions near the top or bottom poles orient toward power. They must be regarded as vertically partisan ……

Every American makes a choice about their personal values and about their power preference. Therefore, a position on the circle can represent a single person. But large aggregations of people can also form an entity that holds a position on the circle. The Federal Reserve is one such organization. It attempts to sit on the top pole of the political spectrum …… a difficult location to hold.

Since all positions on the circle are partisan, then, by definition, the Federal Reserve’s position is included. It has long claimed to be non-partisan, however …… an assertion that could only be true if left and right were the sole metrics defining partisanship. But the Fed’s position on the circle makes it vertically partisan: central banks wield centralized power.

This begins to address the question posed above: Can a currency be partisan? The answer is revealed when you open your wallet. The dollar inside is called a “Federal Reserve Note.” Therefore, it resides at the top of the circle …… formed in the image of its creator.

A contrasting set of currencies can be found at the bottom of the circle, where precious metals and cryptocurrencies reside. They too are partisan.

Max Keiser, a prominent Bitcoin investor, had this to say about the cryptocurrencies: “Bitcoin is a protest against fiat money, central banks, and authoritarianism.” “We made our own money. It has nothing to do with the state.” He describes a concept diametrically opposed to the dollar; an instrument engaged in citizen empowerment.

Notice that no currencies are found near the left or right poles. They reside only at the top and the bottom. Money is power: it’s politics run vertical.

Conflict has always existed between competing currencies. And this dynamic has affected the stability of societies throughout history. Today, everyone blames America’s dysfunction on the partisan political parties in Washington DC. Perhaps we should also consider the partisans in our own pockets.

Note: For a related reference, see the recent post Centrists and Sasquatches.

Visualizing the Assault on Free Speech

Democratic Party elites and their allies smell blood, and they’re now accelerating the suppression of open debate. Amazon’s suspension of Parler brings the conflict into a new stage. How long until telephone carriers pick a side?

This situation can be confusing if you’re interpreting events using the outdated left-right model. But the dynamic makes more sense on an accurate paradigm.

Three principles lead to an understanding of the current attack: (1) Proximity of Positions, (2) Diametric Opposition, and (3) Neighborhood Alliances.

The DNC is posited below as the primary driver of the ongoing effort to muzzle opponents. But readers are free to assert a different (and perhaps deeper) driver instead, like The World Economic Forum, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, deep state actors, or another group.

No matter who leads the effort, this group – including tech monopolies, legacy media, entertainment activists, and academic elites – occupies a particular region on the circle. By definition, their proximity of positions causes them to think and act in unison.

Every position considers the opposite side of the circle to be an existential threat. Therefore, each position seeks to limit the political power of its cross-circle adversary. In this case, by the principle of diametric opposition, the lower right quadrant is a primary target of recent attacks ……

It’s often difficult for the lower right quadrant to participate in political coalitions because positions near the Citizist Pole favor emergent incrementalism and sometimes-chaotic self-organization. Nevertheless, they represent a resilient, persistent opponent to the centralizing liberals.

As a side note, Donald Trump is not a member of the lower right quadrant. In fact, it’s difficult to pin down his actual location because, like most politicians, his often-contradictory statements make him a moving target. But the DNC has correctly identified him as the symbol of an emerging threat to centralist hegemony: if they can remove him from the conversation, they can cut off one avenue of citizen-empowering communication.

But this doesn’t explain why many liberals are also having their accounts cancelled or demonetized by social media. These citizens aren’t even lukewarm supporters of Trump, but the DNC faithful still consider them to be a significant threat.

The explanation comes from the principle of neighborhood alliance: nearby locations tend to support their neighbors. Therefore, entities sitting high in upper left quadrant intuitively understand that the lower right quadrant could form a coalition with its lower left neighbors. Twitter, Google, and friends have placed a high priority on disrupting communication between these groups.

The centralizing liberals are less concerned with evangelical conservatives just now, since they’ve effectively “softened the target” for many years. But this is the first time the upper left quadrant has attacked fellow liberals on its own side of the circle.

In the near future, expect to witness increased efforts to compromise, co-opt, or demonetize voices like Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Jonathan Haidt, John McWhorter, Caitlin Johnstone, and Joe Rogan …… among many others.

Note: two recent posts shed additional light on the above discussion. You can read them here and here.