The Anglophone Crisis Of The 21 Century


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The Roman Empire had its Crisis of The Third Century and it appears as though the Anglophone world has it’s own political crisis in the 21 Century. Three of the five major English speaking democracies currently have very fucked up political systems. Two out of the five — the United States and Great Britain — definitely seem to be careening towards some sot of potential breakup.

If I was smarter — and, maybe, wrote for Vox or Foreign Affairs — I could give you a lengthy explanation of why this is the case. But I’m just some hayseed rube in the rural part of a flyover state, so lulz, I don’t know. I have no idea what is wrong with Australia, but I do have some sense of what’s wrong with the UK and especially the US.

The UK’s problem seems just as existential as the problems the United States faces. The UK is pretty much the lone multi-ethnic state in Europe and it current has a very late Austro-Hungarian Empire vibe to it. It’s very easy to imagine the country breaking up into its constituent states and that will be that.

The US, meanwhile, is a bit more complicated. The US has the choice of autocracy or civil war before it and we just haven’t gotten to the point in that particular process where I can game out which one is going to happen. I have the general sense that the US is going to drift peacefully into some sort of “lite touch” autocracy until we elect an autocrat who is a bit too power hungry for their own good and then we either have a popular revolt or things get really, really dark.

Anyway, the point is — outside of New Zealand and Canada, the entire Anglophone world is in far more turmoil than one might think. The English speaking world is in a simmering, long-term political crisis with no ready solution.

The US and the UK, specifically, are in serious trouble. All I can say is the next few years may be far, far more dramatic on a geopolitical level than we could possibly imagine.

MAGA Fascist Form Follows Function


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I talk to my far more conservative relatives about the dark path that MAGA is leading us down and a recurring defense they use is sort of, “Oh, that would never happen.” This, in large part, is a function of the extensive permission structure that’s been built up specifically to allow conservative people who are turned off by MAGA to turn around and vote for Trump anyway.

And, I have to admit, that while Trump is definitely “autocratic friendly” in the end, he was just too dumb and lazy to follow through on his more extreme anti-democratic rhetoric.

I feel, however, that anyone who lulzes the dangers of MAGA, ignores how on an systemic level, the Republican Party is now hell bent on establishing a “blood and soil” white Christian ethno state in the United States. Political history teaches us that form follows function and, as such, once MAGA inevitably comes to power again that what Trump only talked about in the past is going to become a reality.

The autocratic forces at work in the United States are just too strong. Historical determinism would suggest that there will come a point when all my dystopian hellscape scenarios are going to come true. And that’s when I wonder how my conservative relatives are going to react.

What I think is going to happen is they will become, at last, “Good Germans.” They will generally be pleased with how they can finally sleep tight at night because MAGA has eliminated any possibility of them being “canceled” simply for being conservative. Any excesses on the part of MAGA will be justifiable because the boarders will be secure, abortion will be illegal and elections “secure.”

I, being an anti-MAGA loudmouth, see things dramatically different. What is nothing more than an abstract for my conservative relatives is very concrete for me. I have no idea what the specifics of any of this will be, but the case could be made that at some point President Pompeo or President Cotton will purge the media in some way and then weaponize the existing ICE infrastructure.

As such, it’s very possible there will come a moment when my conservative relatives will be required to weigh their personal needs with my political transgressions in this new, dark MAGA fascist era. I’ve already told at least one of them to just turn me in. I know that sounds hysterical right now, but I’d much rather be turned in by my Good German relatives than have them beg me to shut up for the sake of the family.

It’s just not going to happen.

I often weigh how long, exactly, it might take for this “form follows function” concept to turn us in to what MAGA wants us to be –an Americanized version of Putin’s Russia. I struggle with this because it’s very possible that for some time after we become an autocracy, MAGA autocrats won’t really touch the one thing that would make people sit up and take notice: the First Amendment.

For some time, they would likely be quite content to weld hard power via law and policy and laugh at Twitter liberals who freak out at this or that autocratic thing that has been implemented. A lot of how this would actually go down depends on the personality quirks of whichever autocrat in waiting happens to finally ascend the throne.

But, my rough estimate would be we would gradually grow more autocratic and then suddenly get REALLY autocratic. My guess right now is this would happen when the MAGA fascist leader we finally elect demands a Constitutional Convention to “pass a balance budget amendment.” They will get their convention, then it will turn around and enshrine MAGA into law for good.

Then things are really going to get shitty for people like me.

Yet, I’m sketching out things that will likely happen at some point between now and, say, 2041. Of course, there is the other option, which is we have a civil war and after we bomb the hell out of each other, we sort things out and gradually go back to the way things were. But that would be a tragedy and I’d prefer not to go through that hell.

Anyway. Good luck, guys.

Slouching Towards Trumplandia: Trump Remains An Incredibly Dangerous Political Force


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It’s easy for Twitter liberals to dismiss Trump as political has been and fool. But once you stop looking at him on a personal level and begin to understand that he’s seen as something of a political totem for alarmed white middle-class conservative Christians, you begin to realize how dangerous he remains.

These white middle class conservative Christians see Trump as a flawed fighter for “real America.” They’re worried, on an abstract level, about the browning of America and how fast America is changing on a social level. Of course, they just look at people like me when I point out that they’re really afraid of losing power. They don’t look at it in those terms. They just know how Trump makes them feel and everything else is rationalization.

But wait, it gets worse.

Now that Trump has shown the way, the Republican Party on a systemic level now has wrapped itself not just with the flag, the Bible and the Constitution, but Trump himself. MAGA has metastasized within the Republican Party to the point that Trump is the Republican Party and the Republican Party is Trump. This has happen to the point that Trump has done his job. Even if we magically ended his political career somehow, there are literally a dozen other would-be Republican autocrats waiting in the wings to finish the job Trump started.

Each of them has their personality quirks, but their goal would be the same — to ensure white conservative Christian rule for generations to come.

And, to be honest, given how the Democratic Establishment and the MSM are not taking any of this all that seriously, I think in the end our liberal democracy will die not with a bang but with a whimper — it will simply become conventional wisdom that the only way a Democrat can become POTUS is if Democrats also control Congress.

Given that Republicans are actively suppressing the vote and gerrymandering, this type of synchronicity will grow increasingly difficult to accomplish. People will grow disillusion with voting altogether. In the end, the media with be purged and Republicans will demand a Constitutional Convention to “pass a balanced budget amendment.” This reasoning will be a ruse, of course, and they will enshrine MAGA into the Constitution.

Given what I have to work with at the moment, this definitely seems the ultimate endgame for the United States. We will find our Putin and he will serve for decades. There will be the occasional protest, but nothing will come of it. The existing ICE infrastructure will be weaponized and people like me will start to get pushed out of windows because we refuse to fucking shut up.

But this hasn’t happen yet. The case could be made that there is a 50/50 chance that during the final transition to autocracy, a lot of people on the center-Left who are oblivious to all of this will suddenly get woke. This is when we come to our other possible scenario: civil war.

I’m growing to believe this is far less likely than I once did. For there to be a civil war, one of two things would have to happen. One, MAGA would need to strike too early. This might happen if Trump got his “win” in Arizona via Cyber Ninjas sham recount and he was able to force MAGA state legislatures to attempt to “nullify” the Biden Administration. The other way would be an unexpected “Great Man (or Woman)” who would step in a just the right moment to defend our dying liberal democracy and help us fight back the cold, dark waters of tyranny. Call this the Lincoln Option.

I just don’t see either one of those happening. We’re going to gradually, then all at once, turn into a white Christian ethno state. At first, things won’t really change that much and we’ll still have the trappings of a liberal democracy but as the years grind on form will follow function and in about 20 years we’ll wake up in Trumplandia.

Prove me wrong.

So, Could Trump Become Speaker Of The House?


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


Could Trump become Speaker of the House? The short answer is, of course, yes. But it’s a lot more complicated than you might think. The rumor we’re hearing now is he would run for a House seat so he could get the job. But that’s kind of besides the point.

Given that Trump has some serious autocratic inclinations — even if he is really fucking lazy — it would be far easier for him just to demand being named Speaker should House Republican win the chamber. (Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the Speaker have to actually be a House member.) It’s kind of a historical gimmie that they will, so it’s very possible that Trump will really screw over his lapdog Kevin McCarthy by stealing a position that should rightfully be his.

Now, the ominous implication of all of this is the reason Trump would want the job is so he could short circuit the Constitution by leading an impeachment charge against Biden and Harris so he could be come POTUS via the line of succession. This is a classic late-stage democracy play by a would-be autocrat. I will note, in passing, that the very thing we were always afraid the Republicans would do if Speaker Nancy Pelosi ever found herself in a position to become president –challenging the Constitutionality of the Presidential Secession Act — Democrats might do in this situation. Though, come to think of it, SCOTUS is now full of MAGA hacks, so lulz.

As such, we need to take this possibility seriously. It’s very easy to imagine Trump becoming Speaker, impeaching both Biden and Harris and then ranting hysterically about MAGA needing to “protect the 2nd Amendment” in such a way that there’s enough political violence across the country that the Senate convicts both Biden and Harris simply to protect the nation from a civil war.

I say this only because MAGA is now American fascism. It’s an Americanized version of the Nazi Party in 1933. The only thing stopping Trump from doing any of this is he’s extremely lazy and — and stupid. So, I can come up with all the hysterical dystopian political hellscapes I want to, but in the end, Trump could be so fucking lazy as to bungle even something as obvious as this.

So, I dunno.

Known Unknowns Of Trump’s Belief He Will Be ‘Reinstated’ By August


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I have gamed out in pretty explicit detail on this blog my fears about what might happen this year should Cyber Ninjas “prove” that Trump “won” Arizona. It doesn’t matter that the whole thing is a fraud and a sham done to further Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him — all he needs is a win, any win and he will hysterically say he is still “really” president.

Oh, now take a deep breath.

The crux of the crisis we may be facing is…then what? Trump’s popularity outside of the violent MAGA personality cult is seemingly at a historic low. And, yet, even at this nadir, Trump’s devotees are still a solid 20-30% of the electorate. Given that political science tells us it only takes an organized 5% of the population to take over a country, if Trump really leans into his bonkers belief that he has to be reinstated, well, we could be fucked.

Logically, Trump taking the sham Cyber Ninjas “win” and running with it to make surreal declarations about his return to the presidency would have him laughed off the public state. Or, at least, would be ignored to the point that the only place he can rant about it in public is OAN, NewsMax or FOX News. And, yet, this is Trump we’re talking about.

The Republican Establishment lives in abject fear of Trump because they’re afraid that if they don’t kowtow to him, he will bolt the party, taking a huge chunk of the Republican Party with him. As such, his hold over the Republican Party is near Hitler over Germany in early 1945 levels. It’s very easy to imagine that Trump might pull off one last hat trick and get elected Republicans across the country to entertain his insane rantings to the point that they convene some sort of conventions to study the idea of “nullifying” the Biden Administration.

Or something. Whatever method they picked, it would happen spontaneously and, at first at least, be done to “own the libs” and provoke a lot of ridicule from said libs. My fear is, all of this will turn pretty serious — and dark — pretty soon when suddenly what started off as a joke turns into a secession crisis.

As an aside, this does make one wonder which state might be the first to actually jump off the cliff for Trump and attempt to secede from the Union. There are so many to choose from. South Carolina seems the one to have some sort of historical reason for doing it for obvious reasons. But, of course, its large minority population would never stand for it. Then there’s Texas, which likes to think it has one foot out the door already. But while hysterical Texas Republicans talk a good game, the state is shifting blue too fast and it’s difficult for me to imagine them actually pulling it off. That leaves the small population, lily white plains states. I could see maybe Montana, Idaho, Montana or South Dakota being the state to break that particular glass.

And now we come to the part I don’t know what to expect — is it even possible that MAGA will “cross the Rubicon” and follow the Dear Leader towards the path of actual disunion?

That very important element of this dystopian hellscape scenario I simply can’t figure out. It’s possible, I guess, that Trump will finally saunter into political irrelevance when he demands he be “reinstated” or the Biden Administration be “nullified” and…nothing happens. Or, put another way, Trump’s power outside the MAGA base evaporates when this happens. Meanwhile, within the base, the fact that this didn’t happen will be see as yet another grievance to be thrown onto the funeral pyre.

So, I dunno. It really could go either way. Which, unto itself, is rather dark and disturbing. When the richest, most powerful country in the world has a 50/50 chance of a severe political crisis within days or weeks, that does tend to make one sit up and take notice.

A Theory About Why Democrats Are So Bad At Defending The Republic


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The Republican Party is now a “violent cult,” and, as such, they’re hell bent on an existential level, on forcing us to the breaking point. The Republican Party is involved in an extended, existential power grab. A lot of people like me are looking at the actions of the Democratic Party and struggle to understand why they’re so limp wristed.

A lot is going on as to why this is the case. One is, as the Republican Party grows more deranged and alienates people, the people the Democrats represent are large and diverse. This makes it more difficult for Democrats to have a cohesive, potent counter-message to Republicans who have an entire propaganda infrastructure designed to tell their faithful what to think at any particular moment.

But, I also think on a systemic level that Democrats know that if they play dirty like the Republicans that such behavior will only accelerate our current drift towards the existential choice of civil war or autocracy. Democratic leaders would rather delay the inevitable by playing dead than risk forcing the issue sooner than it would happen anyway. So, I guess, in a sense, Democrats are engaging in a form of political appeasement.

I don’t have a ready answer for that. The reason — I hate violence and it’s not like I want a civil war, either. And, yet, there’s a part of me that would rather we at least put up a fight against the autocratic leanings of Republicans. But I’m gradually coming to believe that the center-Left just doesn’t have it in them to do what is necessary to stop the United States from slipping into autocratic managed democracy.

In the end, MAGA Republicans are going to be just too much for people who believe in “the American way’ of liberal democracy. ICE will be weaponized and I’m going to get pushed out a window.

But no fate but what we make, as they say, so, lulz, who knows?

The Agony And The Ecstasy Of The Clusterfuck Of 2024


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m not saying I can predict the future, but it’s pretty easy to see that as the book The Fourth Turning suggests, something pretty fucking huge is going to happen “before 2025.” The thing about catastrophe is if you’re lucky, in the end ,there is some sort of redemption. It doesn’t make it “worth it,” because it’s a fucking avoidable tragedy, but it does at least force people to pick a direction, any direction.

As such, the impending 2024 global catastrophe at least will slice the Gordian Knot of a number of systemic issues that have been brewing for some time now. If we come out the other side and the “good guys” win, then huge swaths of problems that we currently see as immutable and intractable will be solve in a rather abrupt manner. If the “bad guys” of MAGA win, those same problems will be solved as well, albeit in the exact opposite manner.

I don’t think enough people realize how dangerous 2024 is going to be for the entire world. It will be a pivotal moment in human history given it’s difficult not to imagine WMD being used not just internationally, but domestically as well. There’s a real chance that America is going to bomb itself into oblivion in some sort of nuclear-tipped civil war.

But the specifics of such an event are extremely murky right now because I just don’t know who would be leading the two sides and what their strengths and weaknesses might be. All I know right now is the United States’ political system is unprepared for the passions of another presidential cycle and the whole thing is going to unravel either into a violent civil war or a decent into autocracy. There will be no middle ground. We, as a nation, will be forced to pick a fate and everyone is going to have to pick a side. The choice will be stark and terrifying when it happens. There’s a reason why, “May you live in interesting times” is a curse.

A lot of things we worry so much about now will be looked back upon as comical. It’s difficult to be offended at every little slight when you’ve lived through a civil war where 20-30 million people have died. And, alternately, if we turn into an autocracy, you’ll be so worried about avoiding ICE agent thugs that the notion of “cancel culture” will seem rather quaint.

If you want to be hopeful, you can say at least there’s the chance for a “renewed American Covenant” if there’s a civil war. That is, of course, is if there’s a clean ending. If it’s murky, then the United States will split into two nations that absolutely hate each other. Though, I have to note that it’s possible that the entire map of North America might be redrawn in the event of a Second American Civil War.

It’s difficult to imagine that Canada (and NATO) wouldn’t get drawn into a Second American Civil War if it actually happened.

The point is — you have about four years to prepare for a Second American Civil War and / or World War 3. Millions may die. The old order will end and something new will arise from the ashes. It’ll either be a New Dawn or a dystopian hellscape.

No fate but what we make, as they say.

Preparing For The 2024 Cataclysm


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m not smart enough to give you any pithy words of advice about how to prepare for what I believe will be the massive clusterfuck of 2024-2025. There are plenty of books out there like “On Tyranny” that give you basic, practical steps you can do over the coming years.

For my part, I’m working on a novel that I hope is just enough of a success that it allows me to get the fuck out the country before 2024 rolls around.

But, for the moment, that’s being rather delusional, so what I believe is now a near-absolute future history fact — the 2024 choice between autocracy and civil war is probably going to get me just like everyone else.

The issue for me is, I’m delusional and stubborn enough to know that should the 2024 cataclysm happen I will face one of two fates: either I get pushed out a window by an ICE agent or I become a part of some sort of real-world-risk-your-life Resistance to the rise of old school fascism in the United States.

Again, let me repeat — I’m well aware that I’m being delusional. But I love to run scenarios and it’s easy for me to imagine a situation where I would find myself in, like, I dunno, the Free State of New York City after the civil war starts and I get noticed by the Commune leaders.

I know I’m being delusional, you don’t have to tell me.

Or, put another way, I have a very specific skillset that would fit in the chaos of any type of massive social upheaval. I thrive in chaos and if things have gotten as bad as I fear they will, then there’s a least a chance I might be given the opportunity to rise to the occasion.

But there’s always the chance that we’ll go the autocratic route, I get noticed by the autocracy and get pushed out a window while caught unaware. We’re just still too far out from 2024 for me to be able to have any sense of which direction the country will go. Make no mistake, however, the country is going to pick a direction. It’s just a matter of figuring out if it’s civil war or autocracy.

I will note also, however, that any number of known unknowns could punt this particular choice down the road again. As I keep saying, we could have a war with the DPRK. Or Elon Musk could kill the trucking industry and cause a complete scramble of our political parties as the far Left and the far Right join forces to go after Big Tech.

One thing is clear, however, enjoy this moment in our history. It’s the quiet before the storm. Either get out of the country while you still can or, I don’t know, begin to think up some sort of practical method to combat the chaos that is going to happen around late 2024.

Good luck.

‘The Fourth Turning’ Predicts A Major Political Crisis ‘Before 2025’


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The spooky thing about the book The Fourth Turning is there is a specific prediction that aligns perfectly with my own thoughts on America’s fate — we’re going to have a severe political crisis of some sort in late 2024 after the presidential election.

Or, put another way, we will have a severe political crisis (second civil war) if the would-be autocrat that Republicans nominate isn’t able to cleanly steal the election and turn us into an autocracy that lasts at least 50 or more years. That specific prediction is enough for me to think the guys involved know what they’re talking about.

One key take away from the big so far right now is the cycle of human history is somewhere between 80 to 130 years. I’ve been toying with a similar idea — that we’ve reached an era where the last people to remember WW2 are dying off and, as such, the idea of the United States as the “essential nation” is being lost as the primary driver of American foreign policy.

As such, we see the rise of MAGA and the idea of Fortress America. If you twin that with the idea that the choice in 2024 is between civil war or autocracy, then The Fourth Turning‘s prediction that “before 2025” all hell is going to break loose jibes up pretty well with that.

We have to begin to prepare for a cataclysmic break with the past in the winter of 2024-2025. If we become an autocracy that pulls all out all our troops from around the world, then I could see WW3 happening at any point after 2025. For me, the issue is the next autocrat is probably going to be a lot less incompetent than Trump and, well, should we not have a civil war, our decent into autocracy will be swift and breathtaking.

All my dystopian hells cape nightmares that I imagined for the Trump Era will just happen four years later.

Trump & The Dog That Didn’t Bite


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It’s pathetic how for four years Trump politically terrorized the United States and, now…nothing. For over four years, we’ve been promised that Trump would be “brought down” by this or that criminal investigation and, yet, for the time being it definitely looks as though he’s going to get away with it all.

This ties in to what I long believed — we simply don’t have the political will to do anything about Trump at all for any reasons.

So, for all of you who want some sort of direct comparison between Trump and Hitler, I think that’s it — the January 6th Insurrection definitely has a Beerhall Putsch vibe to it in retrospect. But, let me be clear — history may not repeat but it does rhyme.

As such, it could be any number of would-be autocrats who aren’t Trump who get to play the role of Hitler in this analogy. But let me be clear — the United States’ political system is rotten to its core. The Republican Party is now an American fascist party.

No later than 2024-2025 — barring something huge like aliens or Jesus coming back — will be when either have a civil war or slip into autocracy at the hands of this or that fascist Republican becoming president one way or another.

Any civil war we have will simply be because Mike Pompeo or Tom Cotton or…you name it…bungles the transition into autocracy. Once we become an autocracy, our autocrat will purge the media, bring home the troops, bring about a flat tax, pick your shitty policy.

But we have about four years. A lot can happen between now and then. I would, however, recommend you get the fuck out of the county between now and then.