Where did that come from?

Jon Evans has some advice: So you think you elected an autocrat. He seems to be a bit confused. One of the first things to do in a circumstance like he poses is to check one’s perceptions. Where did the idea come from? Is it accurate? Unless and until you have an accurate picture of the situation any effort to deal with it is likely to be as flawed as the perception itself.

In America, for instance, it seems reasonable to expect life to get measurably worse over the next four years for visible minorities, LGBTQ people, women who seek autonomy over their own bodies, etc.

Why is this reasonable? From the point of view of many, this ‘reasonable to expect’ describes what has happened — history — over the last eight years and that history was the reason to create a change in order to put in place a corrective course.

…but maybe the most important thing is to include them in your communities, both online and off. Social media gets a lot of flak around elections, much of it justified, but it is also a crucially important substrate that people can use to band together and support each other when times get tough.

This is no time to get all People’s Front of Judea, or to write off anyone and everyone who disagrees with you as a monster. Note that the same people who say “everyone who voted for the other side is racist and cannot ever be associated with under any circumstances” also often say “everyone’s racist, it’s just a matter of degree, it’s implicit in the system in which we live.” Be very careful who you call an enemy. More us-and-them polarization is exactly what the autocrat wants.

This begs the question of who it is that is excluding others, who it is that is trying to “write off” the opposition, who it is that is branding people by affiliation without basis and who is citing specific behaviors. We can see this in the last campaign where one side was crying “unfit” based on created extrapolations while the other was citing specific breaches of national security. It can be seen after the election when the ‘unfit’ side is trying to deny the results with riots, false allegations and other acting out, and paid rioters who did not even vote.

I’ve been arguing for some time now that the whole concept of a world partitioned into nation-states makes less and less sense. 
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That means making a point of extending community and governance projects across borders. That means getting into Bitcoin and the other major cryptocurrencies, as the only true world currencies. That means doing your best to defend Internet (and other) freedoms around the world, where they are under concerted attack, by building decentralized systems that exist orthogonally to nation-states.

Unfortunately the tech industry has been more focused on delivery apps for privileged hipsters than systems and networks that strengthen communities and create new tribes.

Which is it? Is the community a local tribe or a trans-national aggregate? The global community idea needs to carefully inspect the history of the League of Nations and its complicity in WW II. The federalist ideas in the U.S. government need to be compared to the common technology advice to build complex systems out of small redundant parts. How can “strengthen communities and create new tribes” fit into this idea of a global community? Much of the strife we ever see is when the concept of tribe and locality become sufficiently strong to overwhelm a proper consideration for the broader community. This is visible everywhere from inner city gang violence to the Muslim radicalism. The U.S. immigration history has shown how this conflict can be eased in the dual accommodation of assimilation coupled with respect and honor of heritage. Many ‘tribes’ have become a part of the U.S. while still celebrating their roots. Some ‘tribes’ – notably blacks and Muslims – have not.

The conflicts between individual, tribal, national, and global identities are not solved by imposing homogeneity much as they are not solved by fostering exaggerated identity. Individuals need to be able to choose to which tribe they belong. They need to be able to choose their associates. They need to have their rights protected as much as they must respect the rights of others. In this regard, the U.S. also shows how it can be done. Capitalism and federalism are both based on these concepts of individual freedom of expression and participation within the constraints of the greater society. Much of the strife visible now is about whether to minimize or maximize those ‘constraints’ of the greater society. Do we trust the individual in aggregate or a government in isolation? Where should the balance be?

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