Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Black Swan of Nations' Lifecycle

A New York Times' Opinion piece today has a fascinating analogy about international affairs.  That being that when ideas and norms are excepted as truths and non-malleable, change comes suddenly and unexpected.  It is like a balloon which holds all expectations, until it suddenly, violently, does not.
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from clipart.com
The examples they gave were British Rule of the Irish, the French Rule of Algeria and the Soviet Rule of non-Russian parts of the old USSR.  How all of these were accepted at the time as unchangeable, but are seen in retrospect as untenable.  This particular article then moves on to the discussion of a 2 state solution in the middle east (which they claim is not possible, despite everyone's commitment to the idea of it.
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But what I found amazing here is the idea.  The idea that institutions, like balloons, may have a tensile strength, and ability to stretch that looks infinite, until it pops.
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There are (at least) two institutions in America that seem stretched to their limits.
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The first is the idea of a United States of America.  Much like the USSR, we can't really imagine what would make a dissolution occur, or what it would look like.  But maybe we have stretched the balloon to the limit.
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A more likely, second idea, to me is the Republican party.  I say this as no insult to my Republican friends.  And there are many local and state (and some national) Republicans who want to govern- and then there are some very local (school board) and national Republicans that are not interested in governing at all.  They are only interested in anti-governing.
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They won't accept science or evidence if it disagrees with their viewpoint, which is also common in Democrats when dealing with things like education spending.  But it has become a mantra, an entrance criteria to the Republican political hierarchy (NOT to being a Republican supporter - but to being a Republican Politician) to be violently anti-science*.  
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We treat the country and the two political parties as permanent.  Which they both are - unless they pop.


* In the 2012 Republican debates NOT ONE candidate would admit to believe in evolution.  At all.  NOT ONE.  None believe that man has a hand in Global Warming.  A Majority of them don't believe that Barak Obama was born in Hawaii - because there is some giant government coverup beginning in the 1960s to put a Kenyan in the White House.

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