Two pieces from the post-Trump cacophony that have me thinking. First, Charles Stross reminds us that playtime is over:
A few years ago, wandering around the net, I stumbled on a page titled “Why Japan lost the Second World War”. (Sorry, I can’t find the URL.) It held two photographs. The first was a map of the Pacific Theater used by the Japanese General Staff. It extended from Sakhalin in the north to Australia in the south, from what we now call Bangladesh in the west, to Hawaii in the east. The second photograph was the map of the war in the White House. A Mercator projection showing the entire planet. And the juxtaposition explained in one striking visual exactly why the Japanese military adventure against the United States was doomed from the outset: they weren’t even aware of the true size of the battleground.
I’d like you to imagine what it must have been like to be a Japanese staff officer. Because that’s where we’re standing today. We think we’re fighting local battles against Brexit or Trumpism. But in actuality, they’re local fronts in a global war. And we’re losing because we can barely understand how big the conflict is.
The second is Nosemonkey’s take on how to market liberalism:
The right is brilliant at coming up with catchy slogans and iconography. It’s why propaganda and aesthetics were such a core part of 20th century fascism. It’s why Goebbels was such a vital part of the Nazi regime. It’s all about manipulation, it’s all about marketing. The truth doesn’t matter?—?the message does.
On the alt-right / far right, the ultimate message is clear: “People who are different to you are making your life worse, and we will stop them.”
On the left / far left, the ultimate message is clear: “Big business is making your life worse, and we will stop it.”
What is the clear message for liberalism / moderates / the centre? “It’s a bit more complicated than that?—?now let me explain at length why the world isn’t black and white, but shades of grey.”
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how we need to work together, when the biggest upcoming problem seemed to be the Richmond Park by-election. One of the messages there was how we’ve all won lots of battles against each other, but then the Tories won the war. Again, I was thinking too parochial. There’s a wider war going on, the one Charles Stross mentions, and while we might not have lost it yet, we’ve taking a pounding in the opening battles and are too busy squabbling about why we lost them to start making plans for the next ones.
So I’m not going to look back and try and fix the past, because that’s just forming another blame-threading circular firing squad when what we need to be doing is working together. The only question those of us who don’t want to be buried under the reactionary wave should be asking is how do we all put it behind us and focus on the future because we’re all fed up of losing and now we can’t afford to lose any more. How do we do that? I don’t know the answer, but i know we need to keep talking to each other, letting people get the confidence to put their ideas out there, and discussing them in friendship and co-operation.
If we’re going to get out of this and win the future, we need to learn that we can’t afford to compromise with the other side, but we have to be able to compromise and find common ground with each other, or they’ll happily divide us and conquer.