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Start planning the revolution! In real life and in sci fi
David Brin   Feb 16, 2017   Contrary Brin  

First items you all have probably heard by now - news that Donald Trump’s senior staff all use the same RNC email server that mysteriously disappeared 22 million messages during George W. Bush’s administration and one that U.S. intelligence services believe was compromised by the Russians at the same time as the DNC’s. The Trump campaign hammered Hillary Clinton for her using a private email server, during her tenure as Secretary of State.  Also five members of DT’s staff turn out to have been registered to vote in more than one state.  Ah, consistency.

But onward…

 
For all of the drama surrounding the Million Women Marches , the upcoming March for Science as well as cabinet appointments and critiques of the inaugural address, it is important to recognize that little is achieved by preaching to the choir. Urban wailing will be dismissed as Blue State Noise, unless some crucial factors change.  The factors that empowered the Republican Party to control all three branches of the federal government, plus two-thirds of the states... all with minorities of the vote in every 21st Century election except 2004. The hard lesson: simply having 60% of Americans on your side is not enough to win.
 
That will require a multi-front approach, and demonstrations rank way down the list, along with righteous petitions, late night comedian sketches and grand statements by celebrities. (Madonna, please go away? You're not helping.)
 
Far more significant will be efforts, led by former president Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder to confront electoral cheats, like gerrymandering.  Indeed, I wrote recently about how liberals should start practicing judo, by accepting Trump’s demand for a commission to investigate electoral fraud.  A call that is now echoed in this article on Salon
 
== The only thing that will make a real difference ==
 
But most important of all will be one simple thing – chipping away at the Confederate coalition.
 
(And let there be no doubt of that terminology, when nearly all of Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments hail from Olde Dixie! My assertion, that we are in a later phase of the Civil War, has been proved.)  
 
Among the lessons of the recent election is that the confed-coalition, while effectively deployed, is razor thin. Hence the goal should be simple. Peel away just a few more millions of the sane or partially sane. Just a few will do it.

If the Fox coalition can be pared to -- or below -- one-third of the electorate… if we can draw away from the madness those decent and sapient American conservatives who still believe in facts and science and competitive enterprise… then the edifice collapses. These “ostrich” conservatives" have been in denial for decades, clinging with endearing loyalty to a movement that long ago was hijacked by monsters and that has betrayed them at every level.

Urge them to ponder Ronald Reagan, who famously in the 1970s said "I didn't leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party Left me."  We can argue over whether his justification made sense, at the time. But it makes for a great paraphrasing, that should make your ostrich wince. Urge him or her to jump off the train wreck, because:

"You aren't leaving the Republican Party; The Republican Party left you."
 
Oh, it won't be easy. They may have to be coaxed out of their holes, one at a time. And that means you might actually need to listen to your own ostrich a bit, as well. But one by one, that is what will make the biggest difference. Conservatives who at last accept the testimony of all facts and reason — that their movement has gone mad. And that whirring sound is Barry Goldwater, spinning at 5000 rpm.
 
== Ostriches are starting to lift their heads ==
 
Oh, most of the truly-sapient ones have already fled, like all the scientists, teachers, journalists, economists, doctors and every other knowledge profession warred-upon by Fox. 

As for those who remain, many of them, like George “the Worst American” Will, still cling to the mantra incantation that “Yes, my side's gone crazy... but... but at least liberals are just as bad!”  - thereby concocting rationalizations for otherwise-intelligent folks to keep watching hypnotic poison on Fox. 

(Again, set your calendars to remind you monthly about the Fox Boycott.) 
 
Delusional obstinacy is a primary attribute. Hence, it is especially noteworthy when one of the master-poisoners awakens, pulls his head out of the hole of denial, then speaks up for his country and civilization, as — (and I shudder to speak it) — Glenn Beck has done.
 
Yes, Glenn Beck, who railed that George Soros must be a master world oligarch manipulator, because Soros personally “toppled eight foreign governments!”  Beck, whose chalkboard incantations convinced millions of nodding dittoheads that the rise of oligarchy is all the doing of liberals and that he (Beck) was the primary heir of Martin Luther King. 
 
Only now Beck proves that he has one hallmark of sanity… the ability to notice a precipice under his own feet. And Beck confirmed this - a bit - in his make-up session with Samantha Bee
 
 Now, can rising ostriches actually get others to lift their heads? Hold that thought. Soon, I will speak of the one thing that can and will save the Union and our revolution: the Year of the Colonels.
 
== Sci Fi predicted it all ==
 
Wowzer: both Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley’s Brave New Worldare back in the best seller lists, for obvious reasons. 

But then, recall that all Americans are weaned on legends of Suspicion of Authority (SoA). Nearly all of the propaganda issued by Fox and alt-right portrayed their side as the brave heroes, resisting plots by nefarious elites to turn America into Oceania. Sure, nearly everything they said was lies – and not one of the things they claimed Barack Obama would do in office came true, or ever even crossed his desk. 

Never mind that, right now. I want you to look at what you have in common with your ostrich! but look to the common, underlying mythos! The same, identical theme of Suspicion of Authority or SoA

Sure, the "authorities" they hate are scientists, journalists, economists, doctors and every other knowledge profession... but the undercurrent is the same, and you can start there. (See also The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters, by Thomas M. Nichols.)
 
If you understand the shared impulse… romantic belief that YOU are in-the-know and part of a heroic-historic resistance movement, defending freedom against scheming elites… then you will better be able to reach out to those frightened, quaking ostriches. Especially, you can ask:
 
“Are you really more afraid of scientists, journalists, teachers, doctors and every other knowledge profession, and think they are plotting against your interests, more than the oligarchs who are re-establishing feudalism? The lords who ruined freedom for 6000 years?  Really? You trust them over scientists? Teachers? Doctors?”

== It boils down to Sci Fi! ==
 
But science fiction is pertinent to our crises today.

Here’s a novel that dives straight into the worst case scenario… that our current Phase Eight of the American Civil War might suddenly go deadly hotTears of Abraham, by Sean Smith is an action-packed page turner, that's also thoughtful about loyalty, honor, courage and what it takes to be American, especially when the chips are down. Those chips tumble as the U.S. spirals into a violent frenzy of our recurring civil war — a fate we can avoid, helped by warnings like this one.

Only... how can it be avoided, when the Rasputin who is actually in charge of our destiny seems to want destructive chaos?  I'll comment more about this later, though it is as scary as any novel. 
 
In sharp contrast to Tears of Abraham is a very different depiction of near future civil war written by one of Steve Bannon's favorite authors, Empire, by Orson Scott Card, whose fiction almost always extols demigods and mutant chosen-ones while dismissing any chance that democracies, institutions, and open citizenship might ever, ever work.  In Empire, Card portrays civil war brought on by liberal do-gooders and too much open accountability. The victor – whom we are supposed to admire, reveals that he had manipulated the entire thing, in order to transition America – like Rome – from a foolish republic into a confidently overwhelming empire. And we are supposed to cheer.  Well, Scott is good at that, getting millions to sob admiration toward demigod, chosen-ones in his Ender universe.
 
My own The Postman has an ironic role in all of this. The novel is experiencing a sales surge as folks realize that my “Holnist” characters are alive! With major roles in the new administration. That cautionary tale – whose moral and heart  elements were faithfully conveyed in the film (even if the brains weren’t) – is a both a warning and a tribute to the stunning power of the very thing Card despises… citizenship.  And yet I have to tell you that, disturbingly, I also get fan mail, now and then, from fellows who blithely call themselves Holnists!
 
What…?  How…? Well, it’s simple. A good writer gives his villains strong lines. He conveys how they are likely to speak, giving voice to their best rationalizations and justifications. In this case… well… maybe I did too good a job.
 
Worrisomely on-target is a novel by my friend Gregory Ness - Antioch - that combines hard SF with fantasy and fretful observations on a new American Civil War and dark age. “In 2025 the U.S. disintegrates into angry mobs fueled by social media and misinformation. The once great nation turns away from science and tech in an effort to protect entrenched interests and preserve economic stability. Scientists are killed or exiled and laws passed to regulate innovation. … An American biologist’s dreams take him back to the Great Library of Alexandria where he witnesses the birth of western civilization. During the day he watches its disintegration.”

In the near future I will post about Robert Heinlein and his eerily on-target predictions from 1953, that are coming true before our eyes.
 
Yes, let us explore SF scenarios! And be stirred or chilled. And yet. Let us remember. There is nothing more inspiring than our present and ongoing revolution. The one sparked by Ben Franklin and his lads. A militantly-moderaterevolution that was  designed to be ongoing, as each generation pushes forward, not only profiting from a flat-open-fair-competitive-cooperative system, but also taking on injustices that their own parents took for granted.
 
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We are an ongoing revolution! And if we fail – as Athenian democracy failed – the oligarchs will make damn sure it isn’t tried for another 2000 years.
David Brin Ph.D. is a scientist and best-selling author whose future-oriented novels include Earth, The Postman, and Hugo Award winners Startide Rising and The Uplift War. David's newest novel - Existence - is now available, published by Tor Books."



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