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Radical Centrism and the Demolition of Democracy

Radical Centrism and the Demolition of Democracy

Given the news–all of it, all the time, anymore–and the general malaise with which the country seems afflicted even as we pretend to move past the COVID-19 pandemic, I think that we have an issue worth addressing here: the government's trying to fuckin' kill us, isn't it?

Not all of us, and not all at once. But it's becoming apparent that even with the supposedly steady and moderate hand of Joe Biden at the wheel, the United States is falling apart. And even if you took any comfort in Uncle Joe, there's only a short time left with him before we face another presidential election and another potential round with the Big Orange, or some other rubber-masked fascist. It may not feel like it, but this is, to me, a discrete threat from what we usually talk about on here. Up to this point, I don't think that I've conjured the cliché threat of Big Brother, after all. But siblings, I think we're getting there. Biden–and, to be clear, any democrat that ever gets elected–wants to expand police forces by 100,000. The right wing at this point may not want to do that, simply because they want to disband the FBI or whatever, but they'll hire on all the ex-cops and goose-steppers they can to fill the gap. What I'm getting at here, is that there's no electoral process that's going to come close to staunching any wounds. No party is coming out of the woodwork with big, new ideas to save us, and even if the out and out fascists are kept at bay, whoever does take office is going to swoop in and finish the job.

Radical Centrism

The sliding electoral scale in this country has been off-kilter for years, but even if what I meant here was the textbook definition of centrism, I don't look to that political alignment with any lost favor. That said, a centrist in this country is a hair left of shaking hands with Ron DeSantis. A centrist in this country is Liz Cheney, who, in case you weren't familiar, is anti-abortion, anti-federal support for green energy, anti-federal education standards, and pro-repealing Obamacare. Whoever the Forward Party puts...forward is likely to be a big-government centrist with a ballcap spun backwards and a desire to cut regulation just like most everyone else. And while people like Liz Cheney, Chuck Schumer, and Adam Schiff have done what they can to hold literal traitors accountable, I don't think that these folks are actually able–or even willing–to save the ship.

Radical centrism, which I think is what we're going to see out of the median government apparatchik, is just dangerous in a different direction. Radical here, to be clear, means a willingness to raze institutions in order to achieve aims. And yes, I'm radical–you probably are, too. I'm not using it as a pejorative. I'm using the term to accurately describe a political phenomenon that's going to put boots through our doors. A radical centrist is someone who is going to come to the table with fascists and neolibs alike to agree that we must save the economy no matter how many people it kills.

The government has long been and continues to be subservient to the economy, which means it is owned by banks, by business. There is nowhere you can look and not see evidence of this: our courts have stated that police have no duty to protect people; we live under a literal ruling which states corporations are people–but ones worthy of care; lobbyists propose and often out-and-out draft the legislation being put forward by Congress; banks, industries, and businesses receive bailouts while we're promised a pittance; we are told to work, to go into the office, to forget about masks, to forget about a virus that killed over a million people in the US (and is still killing thousands every week), to ensure that we make our bosses money.

As we trudge toward the worsening effects of climate change on one side and the gaping maw of fascism on the other, a radical centrist government prioritizes the false idea of calm, of progress. Where the radical part comes into play is that this narrative dooms us a day at a time. Expect legislation that sounds as though it's doing important work but is in reality closing doors of opportunity for progress, like the big electric vehicle lean that Biden has going right now. While on its surface electrifying the US's vehicles sounds like a good idea, the time at which that was an actual solution has passed. Going electric for the United States' 284 million vehicles means a massive amount of rare earth metals have to be mined–largely from poorer, global south countries–and the production of these new vehicles (only about 1% of our vehicles are currently electric) will blow quite a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. It's not actually going to benefit the environment. Who it does benefit, though, is every automotive CEO, everyone who's buried the public transportation sector in this country, and every boss who chose showing up over remote work. Your investment in this future vehicle helps to guarantee this way of life, and probably you're going to have to have this vehicle because you have to go to work to live.

Pieces of social progress may break through–but they will amount to little in the face of losses at the state level, and they will serve only to continue that narrative of calm. Meanwhile, as always, the other hand of the government is giving the police a bigger gun, carving out another tract of land for oil and gas, forgiving the failures of some industry or other that continues to poison us. This country is an oligarchy, and that fact is not changing under the watch of centrists.

How to Prepare

We haven't talked about ground-level preparedness in a minute, and that's because the subject is sort of saturated for me. I've talked about storing food and water, securing your home and keeping your situational awareness high. We've talked about gardens and guns. And I've blown the horn for assembling a community of the like-minded as often as I can.

I suppose that what this project has been about for the last little while is preparing you mentally for collapse. Not that it's around the corner, because it probably isn't. But that it is coming, and any attempts to dissuade you or convince you otherwise are likely in service of those who benefit from your labor and complacency. Look: I enjoy not thinking about these things. I like vegging out, playing video games. And time spent not thinking about doom can absolutely be restorative. But it can't be your default just because you got a raise at work or a shiny new car. It can't be your default because the person you liked most got elected. I assure you that even if we have a good year, or two, or three, the greater trend is toward the worse. The math just doesn't check out any other way.

So before all the doors close on us, we should remember that where we are now and where we're headed are not where we want to be. Whatever color hat the next president wears, chances are they won't have your best interests at heart. They will be focused on keeping you distracted while shoveling you into the great engine of the American economy, and that engine is destroying the planet.