What was "Restoring Honor" really about? (Maybe not what you think)

Here is a question. Was Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally on August 28th about November 2?   In other words, was the context of the rally in terms of the 2010 mid-term elections?

Now, you might say, “That is a trick question.   It was not about politics.   Glenn said so.”

I believe you would be correct but probably not for the correct reason.   If I am right (and I believe I am or I wouldn’t be writing this) and if I can communicate clearly in this article,  I believe a light will go off in your head before you finish reading it and you will see the rally in a very important and new way.    But first, indulge me for a minute while I lay an important foundation for the discussion.

Imagine there is a pond, a small pond only 30 square feet in size.   In the corner of that pond, there is a lily pad that is 1 square foot in size. The lily pad starts to grow and each day it adds 1 square foot in size.   On what day will the lily paid cover the pond?   The answer is easy; on the 30th day. On what day will the lily pad cover half the pond?   Again, the answer is easy, on the 15th day.

Now imagine the same pond with a very small lily pad in the corner.    This time, each day, the lily pad doubles in size and on the 30th day in covers the entire pond. On what day does it cover half the pond?   The answer is on the 29th day because it doubles in size each day.    So, on the 29th day it covers ½ the pond and doubles the next day to cover all of it.    Was your first thought that it covered half the pond on the 15th like the first example?    For many people, that is the case.

Now, imagine that lily pad is a problem we face.   In the first scenario where it adds 1 square foot a day, on the 15th day, we have as much time left to solve the problem as has passed already; that is, 15 days.   We see the problem and we sense that it is pretty serious since it covers half the pond.    “That’s OK”, we say, “Because we have 15 days to solve it”.

Here is the issue.   The problems we face today are more like the second scenario.   The one where the pond is half covered on the 29th day.   The big problem is that we think it is the 15th day because that is how we think.    We think we have 15 days to fix it but then we wake up on the next day, the 30th day, and the pond is completely covered.    The problem has overtaken us and we can’t understand what happened.   We thought we had so much time.

Our problems are like the second scenario,  that is,  exponential in nature but our solutions tend to be like the first scenario,  that is,  linear.   It has always been so but we never noticed because exponential problems look and act linear when we are moving slowly.   The change came with the technological and communication revolutions in the last 30 years.   Suddenly, our exponential problems started acting exponential but we didn’t realize it.   We still thought they were linear.   This disconnect has caused confusion and fear.

Back to Glenn in a minute but let’s talk about November 2.    In the short term, November 2 is like the 30th day.   The political landscape in America is at the 29th day on a small time scale – say less than a year.   I believe November 2 will be the 30th day on that scale.   I have included a picture of an exponential curve below and how it changes over time – say the 30 days in our pond example.   For the 1 year political scale,   I believe we are at the 29th day, as indicated in the bubble.   See how steep the line is at the 29th day?   Think of steepness as activity.   The steeper the line, the more that is happening.   This is true for both problems and solutions.


Have you noticed that some people are concerned that the Republicans will win in November but then they will do what they have always done and move back to the center?    For many, that thought it discouraging.   It is like a 30th day solution but a 31st day defeat.

In fact, that is exactly what I believe will happen.   But, take heart, because I believe there is a bigger scale.   A scale that is 4 to 6 years in length. On that scale, we are not on the 29th day.    We are on, say, the 21st day.   That solution is also exponential. In the chart below,  I have put an arrow where I think we are on the 4 to 6 year scale. Again, think of the slope of the curve as the amount of activity.


Now, notice the line is not as steep at the 21st day as it is at the 29th day.   In other words, less is happening.   This is always the case with both problems and solutions.   So, what is happening at this “21st” day? Let’s look at the primaries.   If Murkowski of Alaska ends up losing to Joe Miller, she will be the seventh Congressional incumbent to lose in a primary this year.   Note, there are quite a few incumbents in State races that lost as well.   Seven is a lot but it is not a whole lot.    I believe it is what we would expect for the “steepness of the curve” on the 21st day.

But what about 2012? Or 2014?   What “day” will those be? I don’t know exactly but I believe they will be moving up the curve approaching the 29th day.    If I am right, it won’t matter if the Republicans do what they always have done – move back to the center because 2012 will be the 24th day and 2014 will be the 26th day.   How many incumbents will lose in 2012?   In 2014?   I believe the slope will continue to increase and the activity will continue to increase.   I believe there will be more incumbent losses in 2012 and even more in 2014.

Will 2016 be the 29th day? Could be. At some point in the next 6 years or so,   I believe we will see almost all of Congress either truly repent or lose their seat.   In other words, the 29th for Congress is almost complete replacement.

Does that sound crazy?   You might say, “Yes”.

If you want some science behind the claim, you can read CIC and Complexity but there is a reason it sounds crazy.   The reason is that it is really hard to see the problem or the solution on the 15th or even the 21st day.    Let’s go back to our original scenario, the second one, where the lily pad doubles. If it covers half the pond on the 29th day, do you how know big the lily pad is on the 15th day?   I did the math.   The answer is about 1/10 of a square inch.

That doesn’t look like that big of a problem, does it?   But that is when you need to start fixing it.

Finally, let me talk about the “Restoring Honor” rally.    I believe Glenn has identified a third trend on an even bigger scale than the short term or medium term political scales I talked about above.   On that scale, say, a 20 year scale, I believe we truly are on the 15th day.    The problem is apparent but not particularly clear.

I think people were surprised by the size and passion of the rally for one of two reasons.   Because we are on the 15th day, Glenn’s rally may look like a solution without a problem.    Or, it could easily be construed as a 21st or 29th day solution to a smaller scale event.   Look at the media coverage.   They don’t really know what to make of it.   They are confused and fearful.   They can’t understand how Glenn got that many people to show up.   Even O’Reilly didn’t think there was even a chance 100,000 people would attend.   That is not surprising given the problem and solution are both exponential but the old media and government (especially the old media and government) tend to be linear thinkers.

Another rule I have found is that the larger the scale, the more fundamental the issues.    In other words, short-term problems and solutions tend to be very specific and identifiable.   Longer-term problems and solutions tend to be more general and based on fundamental principles.    That is what I believe Glenn is onto.   His solution is one that addresses the fundamental question of who we are.

We have been moving away from our traditional roots for a long time but that has accelerated in the last 30 years.   It has accelerated as we moved up the curve and the curve got steeper and the activity increased, just like the graphs above.   We are on or around the 15th day.   We have the time to fix it.   It doesn’t look like a huge deal to a lot of people.   After all, it only covers 1/10 of an inch of the pond.   But now is the time to start before we start to move up the curve and it gets too steep.   Before the 29th day because then, we will be out of time.

One more thing;  if we truly are at the 15th day, then all the problems we have seen so far only represent 1/10 of a square inch of the pond.   In the next 15 days, we will be exposed to the rest.   I believe that is what Glenn is referring to when he says a storm is coming like we have never seen.

Glenn Beck is proposing an exponential solution to an exponential problem and he is proposing it on the 15th day, when the problem doesn’t look that big.   In fact, most people don’t even see it.   But many do.   The people who attended the rally do, even if they can’t quite put their finger on it.

We can solve this fundamental problem.   Glenn is right in the solution he proposes and there is enough time left to change.   So, now you know why I say that the “Restoring Honor” rally really isn’t about the November 2 elections and,  if I have achieved my goal,  you have hope.

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