by Shelt Garner
America is an unsettled place at the moment. We all sense that we’re careening towards a dark future, a momentous event of some sort that would start within the next 18 months.
But there are a lot of theories about what we should compare modern American to. Some people point to the collapse of the multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of WW1, while people like me see a closer analogy to the state of affairs with the French Ancien Regime in the days leading up to the French Revolution.
I just don’t see a comparison to the Austro-Hungarian Empire being adequate to explain what’s going on in the United States at the moment. The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed because it was a bunch of small nations fused together. The United States, meanwhile, has a very clear sense of national unified national identity that is being frayed by a combination of a growing sense of white nationalism and more economic agency for women.
I do think that we face not one, but three main possible futures starting in late 2024, early 2025.
The first, most obvious, option is we peacefully slide into some sort of MAGA-themed autocracy. About 1 million smug, wealthy liberals leave the country and there is a total re-alignment of the post WW2 liberal global order as the United States leaves NATO and South Korea and forms an alliance with Russia, Turkey and Hungary.
The second, less likely option is Biden wins and Trump, in an effort to avoid going to prison, freaks the fuck out and starts to rant about the need for a National Divorce. The country implodes into civil war. WW3 happens in conjunction with this and about 1 billion people die.
The third, far less likely option is a French Revolution type situation when Trump’s tyrannical, erratic behavior grows so unbearable to enough people that there is some sort of collective uprising against MAGA. The country breaks apart, but only in conjunction with the broader effort on the part of Blues to re-unite the country under a Third Republic. All of this might happen in the context of the U.S. Military stepping in at some point, as well.
But, in general, the issue is a number of macro trends are all heading to a conclusion around the same point in the future. What’s more it’s possible that we may be heading towards something akin to a “Petite Singularity” that would involve AI eliminating an unpreceded number of jobs a very short amount of time.
All of this is, of course, very speculative. Anything can happen in the future. I totally misjudged what happend with Trump in 2020. I can’t predict the future, but that doesn’t stop me from being….alarmed.