This is a repeat from last year. It’s far too simple and it doesn’t get to the heart of what is changing. A year has brought some clarity, but I wanted to first present this as a starting point for a discussion this week.
There seems to be some greater conflict in the world, Everyone has a theory as to where the batle lines are drawn – liberal versus conservative, white versus non-white, Muslim versus infidel, young versus old. Not all of these can be right at the same time, which brings to mind two questions:
What is the “real” conflict? And why is it not obvious?
The battle, if there is a real one, is primarily a matter of general anxiety. It’s an internal conflict within many people who have lost a sense of hope for a better tomorrow. But outwardly, it manifests itself into a battle between stability and chaos – a conflict between the preservation of what order exists and a desire to wash it away in order to make way for something, anything else.
All of this is supposition on my part. I could provide links here and there, but it would give these arguments a color of authority which they do not deserve. There are examples which could be provided but let’s engage in a little brainstorming here. Let’s open up the discussion and see what is happening from a different perspective. Let’s see if this works.
The world is changing. That much is obvious. The conflict at hand is based on whether the change is a good thing or a bad thing – whether it works for us or does not. Anxiety about change in the world is nearly universal and completely natural. But our reaction to it seems to break into distinct groups which have never been well defined.
This is an attempt to define those groups in a way which makes sense.
There is a view that the institutions which make up our world are not functioning properly, or even worse exist only for the benefit of an elite few. This view crosses nearly all demographic, cultural, and even national lines. It is held by rich and poor, black and white, liberal and conservative, and people throughout the world.
It has a prominent advocate in the form of Vladimir Putin. He has successfully portrayed himself to many people as a strong leader in opposition to the Existing World Order. This fairy tale has the advantage of being partially true. The problem, of course, is that all analysis of Russia and particularly Putin must begin and end with its role as a mafia state, existing entirely to serve the Bratva, aka Russian Mafia. Chaos suits Putin well because it creates a fluid situation where his true masters can flourish – the ones conducting cyber crime, trafficking in women slaves and so on.
Chaotics are fueled by outrage, the adrenalized belief that everything is indeed rotten in this world. Stories which feed into this are essential, whether anecdotes ripped from context or simply invented wholesale. Did you hear what “they” are doing now?
Chaotics, generally, believe that every institution in our world is so completely corrupt and devoid of morality that it needs to be swept away. They are largely unconcerned with what may replace it, giving them freedom to form something like a loose coalition across what should otherwise be tricky fault lines.
Often casually referred to as “sheeple” by hardcore Chaotics, many people naturally fear disorder and want little more than to get on with their lives without too much stress. Having at least a few things which they can depend on makes the daily grind of a bizzy life easier to manage. They aren’t interested in upsetting everything, though most see a need for general reform and some kind of progress.
The problem which the Orderly have is that there is no common ground which they share to unite them into one viable force. Throughout the developed world, he political establishment which has existed since World War II has been a contest between which institutions people favor. Conservatives believe that business or religious institutions are sources of strength, whereas liberals favor the role of government, labor unions, and activist groups. These definitions are more than a statement as to which institutions are the best sources of order for the world – they are tribal at their core and often define a personal of identity.
Generally, however, the Orderly have a vague sense that the institutions of the world are a source of strength would be swept away only at great cost. Many believe that stronger or possibly reorganized institutions which cross traditional lines are even more important as the world draws closer together.
With this definition of the relative sides in the general conflict, the actual players and ideologies change based on place and situation. Developing nations often cleave between acceptance of “Western” values or not. Developed nations split over issues of fairness or morality, creating a conflict expressed along those lines. Within any smaller political boundary the division between chaos and order plays out one proposal at a time fueled by one event at a time, making the conflict difficult to pin down.
I propose that it comes down to Chaotics versus Orderlies, which is to say a division between those who are willing to sweep away everything and rebuild civilization from scratch – or not – and those who favor holding on dearly to what is in place now.