Once you have been on this side of the great divide for a while, you end up in another place that is not obvious when you first make the journey. That is, you look on at conventional politics with a bemused detachment. Since it is obvious to you that it is all theater, you wonder why some of them put so much effort into the performance. Why does Elizabeth Warren, for example, feel the need to carry on like the champion of the little guy over GameStop? What is the point of this charade?
It could be that her script writers and directors have told her there are tribes on the Left that need to see this show. Maybe they think the Bernie Bros are starting to wise up about what is happening and need a booster shot. It is not as if she is going to follow through and do anything about the shenanigans. Even if she wanted to, she lacks the authority and she has no influence over those who do have authority. The SEC and FBI laugh when they hear a politician demand anything from them.
We live in a country where the FBI can manufacture evidence in an effort to overturn a presidential election and nothing happens. Thus far, one guy was charged with faking evidence to a FISA court. He confessed, as he was caught red-handed, but he received less than what drunk drivers get these days. He is a hero to the Bureau, because he took his pinch like a man. He kept his mouth shut and he learned the two greatest things in life. Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.
In the case of GameStop and the shenanigans surrounding it, the players are not punks doing small crimes like that FBI stiff. These are shot callers who bankroll the political system and control the economy. They already own dingbats like Warren and Ocasio-Cortez, so they have no fear of them. They probably have them on mute as no sober man would want to listen to those two for more than five minutes. Their prattling on about this issue is pointless.
This is the reality that has been brought home over the last decade. The election of Trump was that last desperate attempt by normal people to shake some sense into the managerial class, so they would start enforcing the rules again. Even people on this side of the great divide held out hope that this would be a wake-up call and the Overton window would slide this way, allowing for discussion of the root causes of the current crisis in the American Empire. None of that happened.
All you have to do is look back at posts here from a few years ago. Look at the comments and you see familiar names holding out hope that the investigations into the FBI would become a catalyst to reform. Even the most jaded on this side of the great divide had some hope. Not puppy dogs and rainbow hope, but the sort that thinks the people in charge will sense their interests are at stake and they will adjust out of self-preservation or maybe as a way to gain some advantage.
This is one of those changes for which we have no precedent. All of a sudden, we have a significant number of people who look at convectional politics as a joke. Instead of being angry and banging away on social media or sending off an e-mail to the nearest Republican, millions are just detaching from it. Outrage theater can only work if people are engaged in the system. We are in the midst of a great decoupling, where millions detach from the system and attach to independent systems.
In the past, the political culture provided for both satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the current policies. Those who were happy would get to see people inside the system being happy, so they could mimic them in their happiness, getting the same dopamine hit as if they were actually benefitting from the policy. Similarly, unhappy people could find a performer in the system being angry and outraged. They would mimic that behavior to get the satisfaction of feeling wronged.
Those of us fully decoupled from the system no longer get those neurological responses from the performers in the system. Their outrage and gloating strike us as ridiculous and bit absurd. A goofy old dingbat like Elizabeth Warren barely has comedic value. Watching her is like watching a 1970’s comic in a denim suit telling Nixon jokes. Similarly, Ocasio-Cortez is just a reminder of why you are glad you are no longer on Twitter. Millennial dingbats are a dime-a-dozen.
What we are seeing is a great decoupling. The shuttering of the social media sites to tens of millions of people breaks the connection. Many have ended up on Gab, connecting to a different social dynamic. Others are heading to other places like Telegram, connecting to boutique communities. Some will no doubt re-attach to Conservative Inc., but there is not much there to offer the person looking for a way to express their unhappiness.
The political system that has evolved to this point has counted on greater and greater engagement at increasing levels of emotion. What happens when those dials start moving the other way is unknown and unconsidered. When tens of millions shrug and laugh at the pleas from Conservative Inc. or mock the phony rage heads from the chat shows, how does the system respond? Turn up the volume? Send their crazies back out to poke people with sticks like they did last summer?
A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.
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