if you imagine the Trump Insurgency as highly effective desert guerrillas, they are currently in the process of turning everything into a desert. The Establishment, optimized for “jungle conflict”, is going to have a hard time
Rather than endeavoring to establish control over the legacy infrastructure, the Trump Insurgency is in the process of destroying it entirely and replacing it with a very different architecture. One that is intrinsically compatible with its own form of collective intelligence.
The Insurgency is engaged in “total war”. They are simultaneously attacking the legacy power structures on multiple fronts (access, business viability and, in particular, legitimacy) while innovating novel approaches to the problem of large scale communications and control (e.g., direct tweets from POTUS). Their intent is not to play with or even dominate the legacy media — but to eliminate them from the field entirely and to replace them with something else altogether.
The Trump Insurgency represents a novel model of collective intelligence in general. It is the first truly viable approach that is connected directly with the emergent decentralized attractor that has been driving technical/economic disruption for the last several decades. This form of governance is structurally incompatible with the legacy media architecture. It is intrinsically dissonant with the kind of top-down, slow, controlled, synchronized approach of the old media. It therefore both must dismantle this architecture and replace it with one that is in synch with its mode of operation and, thereby, benefits massively by hamstringing any collective intelligence that works in the old top-down fashion (i.e., all existing forces currently at play).
My assessment is that the Trump Insurgency has identified the Deep State itself as its central antagonist and is engaged in a direct existential conflict with it.
Normally this would be an easy win for the Deep State. However, I expect this front to be the most challenging, uncertain and dangerous of the war. The Deep State is massive, has access to vast resources and capabilities and has been in the business of controlling power for decades. But two things are moving in the Insurgency’s favor.
First, the Deep State appears to be fragmented. For example, the “Russian Hacking” scenario of the past two months looks surprisingly uncoordinated and incompetent. I don’t know exactly what is going on here, but it is clearly not the product of a unified and smoothly operating Deep State.
Second, it seems highly likely that the Deep State is prepared to fight “the last war” while the Insurgency is bringing an entirely different kind of fight. The Deep State developed in and for the 20th Century. You might say that they are experts at fighting Trench Warfare. But this is the 21st Century and the Insurgency has innovated Blitzkrieg.
If my read is correct, the balance of the struggle between the Deep State and the Insurgency will be determined by how quickly the Deep State can dispense with old and dysfunctional doctrine and innovate novel approaches that are adequate to the war. In other words, is this the Western Front (France falling in six weeks) or the Eastern Front (the USSR bleeding and giving ground until it could innovate a new war machine that could outcompete the Wehrmacht).
If my read of the situation is correct (which, of course, it very well may not be), then the Deep State would be ill advised indeed to undertake any major efforts in the next 12–24 months. For example, an “impeach Trump” initiative, would almost certainly be an enormous strategic disaster. In spite of the apparent strength of the Deep State, the Insurgency’s superior OODA loop would likely result in an Insurgency victory in this fight — and victory here would greatly strengthen the Insurgency’s position. (Can you say “Emperor Trump?)
For those who want to take action, I have three recommendations:
- The Blue Church, the Deep State, the Old Media and all the other aspects of the Establishment are holding you back. Free your mind. This is going to be much harder than it sounds. For most people, if you are under 40, your entire development has taken place within the context of the Blue Church. Many of your deepest assumptions and unconscious values are going to have to be examined with brutal honesty and courage.
- All Collective Intelligence is gated by Sensemaking. Right now, our collective sensemaking systems are in complete disarray. We don’t know who or what to trust. We barely even know how. Find ways to improve your individual sensemaker and collaborate on collective sensemaking systems. This should get easier as the old media and the Blue Church collapse.
- Both #1 and #2 require other people. And, since all of our old ways of collaborating with other people are either suspect or obsolete, you are going to have to learn how to build real faithful relationships the old fashioned way. Get much better at making friends. I don’t mean casual acquaintances. And I definitely don’t mean social network contacts. I mean the kinds of people who ready willing and able to actually care for you — even at risk to themselves. Not because of shared ideology or even shared mission, but because of the deep stuff of human commitment.- Jordan Greenhall