From our side of The Big Ditch, it looks like The Other Guys’ political party is imploding. Suddenly, everything they do is wrong. Their political initiatives, like the impeachment of President Trump, leave them worse off than when they started. Their presidential nominating process is a shambles marked by incompetence, generational splits, geographic splits, oligarchs stepping up and literally buying their way onto the stage, and worse. For all their diversity rhetoric, they are now down to an all-white cast. By this time next week they could also have an all-male cast. They aren’t even who they say they are.
Perhaps the reason it looks to us as though their party is imploding is that their party is imploding. Which raises the interesting question: why? And why now?
Let me suggest that the reason is that their world view is not compatible with having an Internet in their environment. If an Internet is present — which it obviously now is — The Other Guys will eagerly put it to use to destroy themselves. That won’t be their intent, but as we’re seeing, that is what will happen. They can’t help themselves. As President Obama might have put it, it’s who they are.
So who are they? I’m referring here to people who hold what Thomas Sowell calls The Unconstrained Vision. This does not map exactly onto “liberal” or “left wing” politics, but it’s close enough for government work. If you’re unfamiliar with Sowell’s work in this area, here is a one-page description of how Our Guys differ from The Other Guys. My assumption throughout is that the Democratic Party is, in general, composed of people who hold the Unconstrained Vision. What label they attach to themselves doesn’t matter.
These people have certain behaviors and characteristics that, for the most part, Our Guys do not share. For example, it is a common observation that The Other Guys are, well, snooty. They think very highly of themselves. They are smarter, more educated, way mo better in every way than we deplorables; just ask them. Partly because of this, they tend to want to live only amongst their own kind. We find them clustered together in college towns and urban settings where it is actually feasible for them to never encounter a Republican in their daily life. Many of them actually have this as a goal. We also see that, left to themselves, they will create quite rigid closed societies where there can be no dissent from Generally Accepted Narrative Principles. From campus speech codes to “cancel culture” to Hollywood blacklists, we observe zero tolerance for dissent, or indeed any freedom of thought.
Enter the Internet. Now people who don’t want to hear any dissent from their views, who only want to associate with those who share their politics, can virtualize their lives, spanning vast geographies and creating virtual communities of enormous size… in which no one ever questions The Narrative. Inside the Internet Hive Mind of those with the Unconstrained Vision, it is possible to believe that everyone agrees. Because everyone does. Even if they don’t.
By contrast, those of us who hold the Constrained Vision don’t even think about things like that. In moving across the country, we wouldn’t spend two seconds on whether there would be Democrats in our new neighborhood. We also wouldn’t worry about whether the next person we hired shared our politics. We don’t care. The Other Guys care. Which leads to the other interesting thing about the Internet. Unlike the Other Guys, we wouldn’t use an Internet to isolate ourselves from dissent. But we could use it to escape from the Other Guys’ hive mind.
The Internet atomizes media. No matter how diligent The Other Guys have been about making sure no Republicans have found employment in a particular media outlet, we can start another outlet thatfast and go around them. And there are no physical distribution issues; The Washington Post and Joe Blow’s blog are both one click away. They can’t shut us up.
Our vision, the Constrained Vision, has led us to use the Internet to expand our reach, to make more friends, and to defeat any attempt at censorship with a work-around. We have used it to make serious dents in The Other Guys’ carefully-crafted cultural hegemony. As we look at the Democrats’ failed impeachment effort, we see that they were unable to drive support past the 50% point. We now drive the other 50%. This is new. And it is huge. And it isn’t going away.
By contrast, The Other Guys are driven to use the Internet to build ideological bubbles where they need never hear a discouraging word. Their polls will always favor them. The public will always agree with them. And everything they say is correct. This creates what the engineers call a runaway servo… a motor that is being commanded to spin faster and faster and faster, until it burns up.
We are watching the Democratic Party burn up. They are completely out of touch with the country around them, but they can’t tell because they never see or read anything that doesn’t reinforce what they are doing. The best part is, the reason this is happening to them is inherent in who they are; in their world view. They cannot coexist with an Internet.
But we can.