This Street Prophets Coffee Hour is brought to you by Prosperity. Today’s article, on the Politics of Inevitability, is part 3 of a 15 in a series about figuring out just what is going on in American politics. It will be about how we got to where we are now. And hopefully present a story of where we should be going. Along the way we will take a look at Russia, the U.S. 2016 Presidential election, Memes and Fiction, Network Propaganda, soft warfare, and cyberwarfare.
This is an Open Thread and all topics of conversation are welcome. What is for dinner? How are you doing? What is on your mind. If you are new to Street Prophets please introduce yourself below in a comment.
Please see Part 1 of this series for an introduction to the religious and political philosophy of Ilyin. And Part 2 of this series introduces the concept of the Politics of Eternity. This is a new term created by Timothy Snyder that he uses to sum up the overall state of the Russian Federation. It is important to note that the term is about how humans view time.
As mentioned in the introduction I believe we need a new language to drive domestic and international politics. As this series develops I will be pointing out new words and concepts that should be substituted for currently contested words.
In an upcoming Street Prophets diary I will be collecting words and concepts and looking for input from Daily Kos users. Here is the link to the diary: Street Prophets Coffee Hour: Crowdsourcing Words & Concepts For The Resistance. Any Suggestions?
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The Politics of Inevitability
To understand this series and the conclusions presented at the end of this series we have to take a look at what the United States did after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Timothy Snyder gives us a new term that he uses to sum up America’s position and actions called the Politics of Inevitability.
Americans and Europeans have been guided through our new century by what I will call the politics of inevitability – a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done. In the American, capitalist version of this story, nature brought the market, which brought democracy, which brought happiness. In the European version, history brought the nation, which learned from war that peace was good, and hence chose integration and prosperity. — The Guardian: Vladimir Putin’s politics of eternity
It all starts with me trying to assert that history matters, that we have to start from history itself and not from the comforting or delusive myths we might have about the past. A politics of inevitability is an idea that’s been pretty widespread in the US since 1989. It’s the view that the past is messy and violent and chaotic but that we’re inching inexorably toward a freer, safer, more progressive world. The future will be better, in other words, because that’s how history works. There will be more globalization, more life, more prosperity, more democracy. But this is just not true. — Vox: "Post-truth is pre-fascism": a Holocaust historian on the Trump era
Inevitability is the mentality that led to the United States into a war in Afghanistan, the second Iraq war, and the expansion of NATO into area formally controlled by the Soviet Union. Inevitability became the key talking points of the Republican party. Because these following points are inevitable they become timeless.
- Deregulation is better
- The market will sort things out
- Technology will have a solution
- Less tax is better
- Worry about tomorrow … tomorrow
In the previous part I have given a number of links to positive reviews of Snyder’s work. For balance I would like to refer to a Nation article By Sophie Pinkham critical of Snyder’s analysis. It is a lengthy essay and worth the read. (Sophie did not convince me to abandon Snyder.)
In The Road to Unfreedom, Snyder’s conspiratorial thinking undermines his own insistence on the importance of individual responsibility. (“Do not obey in advance,” “Take responsibility for the face of the world,” and “Be reflective if you must be armed” were three more of On Tyranny’s “lessons from the twentieth century.”) His belief in a boundlessly cunning Putin, along with his desire to trace many social ills back to a single source, leads him to elide the crucial role played by voters in electing Trump or passing Brexit. — The Nation: Zombie History
In the next part I plan to introduce another historians view of things. I think John J. Mearsheimer’s views on International Relations will give us a perspective to gauge an appropriate response to Russia declaring cyberwar on the west.