…about this choice for “Person of the Year” by Time:
For those who believe this is all for the better, Trump’s victory represents a long-overdue rebuke to an entrenched and arrogant governing class; for those who see it as for the worse, the destruction extends to cherished norms of civility and discourse, a politics poisoned by vile streams of racism, sexism, nativism. To his believers, he delivers change—broad, deep, historic change, not modest measures doled out in Dixie cups; to his detractors, he inspires fear both for what he may do and what may be done in his name.
But after that, Time actually says something I think is basic, important, and not always recognized:
Yet [Trump’s] victory mirrors the ascent of nationalists across the world, from Britain to the Philippines, and taps forces far more powerful than one man’s message.
We can scarcely grasp what our generation has wrought by putting a supercomputer into all of our hands, all of the time. If you are reading this, whether on a page or a screen, there is a very good chance that you are caught up in a revolution that may have started with enticing gadgets but has now reshaped everything about how we live, love, work, play, shop, share—how our very hearts and minds encounter the world around us. Why would we have imagined that our national conversation would simply go on as before, same people, same promises, same patterns? Perhaps the President-elect will stop tweeting—but only because he will have found some other means to tell the story he wants to tell directly to the audience that wants to hear it.
What is emerging may not be the foe the Left fears. But it is conscious and therefore they are afraid: because the Left knows what they themselves would be capable of to others. Perhaps they are right to be frightened. As Ken Watanabe noted in Godzilla, nature often creates one monster to destroy another. Monsters are bad for everyone.
Still the old frameworks may be missing something important. As Dilbert’s Scott Adams notes in his blog all the old ploys are failing because they have unintended consequences in the 21st century that may not have had in the last. Consensus is no longer adequate for pronouncing on the truth and bureaucracies are no longer capable of enforcing edicts from on high.
…Exclusivity which was once an advantage has been supplanted by connectivity. Once connectivity rules there can be no Elect…
…[T]he emerging challenge to the Left will consist not of something like itself, but different from it. They have been conditioned to expect a like of themselves because that is what 19th and 20th century technology could support. What they [are] unprepared for is something disinterested in its vanities or the insusceptible to its old categories; something now viable because there is now the technological means to support it.
It’s not just the Left, either, that doesn’t know what to expect. We know what we hope for—at least in general terms—but we don’t know what we will get. No one does, and that’s nothing new. We go forward into the future as best we can.
Fernandez’s essay is entitled, “Suppose It is a Black Swan?” Black swans are neither bad nor good, they are “either” or sometimes “a mixture of both.” What they are is unpredictable.