I think if we are going to see a soft civil war or a revolution from within, it will look a lot like what we are seeing with nationalist parties across the Continent. The first wave will be less than professional politicians demonstrating the power of popular discontent, followed by a second wave of real professionals who take control of those new parties and lead a reform movement. This is not so much a revolution or revolt, as a process of internal reform tapping into popular will to overcome internal resistance. It’s not exactly how democracy is supposed to work, but it is not a terrible result if it leads to peaceful change.
There’s good reason to be pessimistic about this possibility. We saw how the Austrians rigged their election and a lot of people suspect this US election could be loaded with shenanigans. Even if Trump overcomes the Clinton crime machine, he will most likely face a ruling class unified against him. In America, we may have crossed the Rubicon in the 1990’s when it became clear that the ruling class could no longer police itself. Their inability to purge their ranks of the Clintons was a sign that the rot had reach a point where reform is no longer possible.
That leaves popular revolt. Certainly voting for Trump sends a message, but messages need a sender and a receiver. If the people on the other end refuse to acknowledge the message being sent, then it’s not really a message. The Olive Branch Petition was the last ditch effort by the Colonist to avoid a breach with the mother country, but the King’s refusal turned it from a message to him into a message from him. That message was clear to the colonials. They could either submit unconditionally or prepare for war. A Trump win followed by a unified refusal by the political class to cooperate would also be clear message.
What we are seeing with nationalist insurgencies in the West is they are running into the massive power that comes from owning the mass media. A little girl skins her knee and there is a news team there to blame Trump in a four hour TV special. Hillary Clinton is caught running a pay-for-play scheme and no one can be bothered to ask her why she went to the trouble of installing an illegal e-mail system in her bathroom. Even the most cynical and savvy insurgent campaign cannot get past this problem.
It may be that the custodial state has reached a point where rebellion is no longer possible. Or, it may simply be that the method of revolt will have to adapt to the modern age. If the rulers no longer have the consent of the governed, then the governed will have no reason to voluntarily cooperate. Perhaps the cord-cutting movement is one of those acts of rebellion that makes sense only in a mass media age. Publishing the private correspondence of rulers, obtained by hackers, is certainly a very modern form of rebellion.
Whether any of it works is open to debate.
True. But first we’ll have to agree on what “works” is going to mean. If it begins and ends with putting the heads of the ruling class on pikes, well, that’s one thing, and is simple enough. But if it means restoring Constitutional government and re-establishing individual liberty, well, that’s a good bit tougher, more complex…and, well, less likely, if we’re to be honest with ourselves about it.
Then again, it could also mean redefining a successful insurgency as one which cripples the Ruling Class’s ability to truly rule as thoroughly as they’ve crippled our ability to resist or revolt. And in that case, we’ve simply redefined victory as stalemate, and will have to wait around until a more vigorous and enlightened populace comes along to liberate us.
Gee, wonder how that will work out for us.
Update! Dang it, forgot the link. Fixed, with my humblest apologies.