Day 151: Found Them

Day 145: Humans After Humanity

This New American Life
I write this in a booth waiting for my current delivery order to be prepared in an empty restaurant that ten years ago would have been crowded. The music is a soft bossa nova and the kitchen while busy is careful to avoid clangs. The decor is standard a medium brown stain colors the wood and the carpet is green and clean. A mother and her retired son are the only other customers. She is dancing while waiting for the spring rolls to arrive. The owner hands me a thai tea on the house while I wait. I can’t help but worry for the fate of America. I can’t help but wonder where do we go from here.
The internet has redefined what and why we eat. It’s less about what we like and having haunts we return to but posting from the current trends to be considered a cool kid. Even those who do not post on social media still Google and Yelp their choices based on the impression that the best rated by those apps have more value experience wise for their dollars. The hive mind that is social media causes attention inequality and narrows culture especially food culture.
Speaking of the Hive Mind. What do we talk about when we say we shouldn’t give someone a platform. As in the current uproar over Megyn Kelly interviewing Alex Jones, a man who has been paid to spew filth since my childhood. He long ago built his alternative media platform and give a place for wayward views. He helped Trump win without a doubt and his org Infowars will have white house press credentials. He doesn’t need an interview on NBC but NBC and those who oppose his views do need these kinds of interviews. Darkness cannot be allowed to fester. Pre-internet denying mainstream outlets was a good way to slow repulsive thought but now mainstream media is one if the last shared spaces in American life and is more effective as a means of exposing. 
The tendency of the internet to drive conformity from food and fashion trends to preventing public discourse is disconcerting to say the least. Humanity’s story is one driven by innovation through diversity not just the kind on a college application check box. How much have we lost? What will it take next?
-E.C. Fiori

Day 117: A Balancing Act

We’ve been getting emails from loyal audience members asking why Radical Centrists has been so quiet over the past week. Surely the waterfall of Trump related news and fiascos of historic proportions is decent fodder for articles, no? Well intelligent reader, you’re right, but we here at Radical Centrists like to offer something of a unique perspective from the partisan back and forth. And frankly, there have been many fine think pieces about The Comey Affair, the Russia disclosure, the WannaCry pandemic, and Jeff Sessions single handedly refusing bi-partisan support for sentencing reform in the criminal justice system.

At long last though, I think there is an argument that should be much more out in the open among democrats- mostly, how to react during and after the fallout of The Comey Affair. The idea of impeachment isn’t over the horizon, but in plain view as Trump continues to stumble through interview and conflicting statements over his apparent obstruction of justice. So what now?

One camp believes that Democrats should be as obstructionist as possible, throwing sand in the gears of legislature until, for example, a special prosecutor is appointed- basically give Republicans a taste of what they did for the past 7 years with Obama. Hey, two can play at that game, and the stakes are a lot higher now. Obamacare didn’t lead to death panels, the great depression was averted, we got out of Iraq… it’s almost hard to remember now why Republicans hated Obama so much.

The other camp feels that we should rise above, and that impeachment is impossible without the cooperation of Republicans in the House and Senate. Remember- impeachment is a political decision, not a legal one (which is exactly what Nixon meant when he said “when the president does it, it’s not illegal”).

If you had asked me two weeks ago when we were talking about Republican legislative policy, I was firmly in the former camp. Healthcare and their insane “tax reforms” would throw millions even further into feudal serfdom, hoping our corporate castles will provide protection when the storm comes. Resistance means more than just bearing witness.

Now though, more and more republicans are starting to feel that Trump’s very existence is anathema to their agenda (which, of course, he is). What has changed is that business as usual in government now could very well lead to Trump’s removal. Before, business as usual hurts our countrymen. Now, it could bring down the American Caligula. We Centrists shouldn’t make the mistake of hindering that.

-Jack Delaney

Day 95/96: Late Socialism

France has long been the highlight of the socialist argument. Now with the party’s largest postwar failure, the limits of the socialist ideology has been shown. They have long heralded the notion of late capitalism, only to be survived by it.
Most have yet to grapple with the loss of the left and the right. It isn’t hard to understand when viewed within the context of who I refer to as “Marie Antoinette Socialists”: people from the top 20% who went to college and work as “young professionals” (workers who don’t create products as much as “value”. These roles require a strong capitalism to exist). They support hand outs to feel better about their own status. They favor system reform in any area that doesn’t require major change for them. This democratic socialism needs an open market while largely blaming that same market for any imperfection. On the reverse is blue collar workers on gov support whether farm subsides or disability/unemployment. These sons of Jefferson vote against the programs that support them in the name of freedom. They have skills that have real value outside of the market. Things people would need without the existence of dollars. It is foolish for the Gender studies professor to mock their mechanic for not understanding how the world works. They are the modern wolf being held by the ears. 
The left and right as relevant terms only continues thanks to hypocrisy of a sort. As more subjects fall off the spectrum, social issue divides become increasingly played up. As the amount of homophobes decreases to the size of the LGBTQ community, the larger middle plays referee between two minorities. This is at some level a distraction from perhaps the largest shift in work since the dawn of agriculture. 
The digital revolution will be the end of work as a source of living. Yes even for lawyers despite their smirk otherwise at reading this. Judge Watson has analyzed your interpretation of past court rulings within the framework of all legal thought ever recorded before you finish the sentence. Defendants will want a lawyer who can do the same. Computers are the professional professionals, the most knowledgable experts who don’t need a tie to hide their souls. I don’t mean that as a slight against lawyers but as an argument against those who believe human creatively to be permanently unique. Time makes John Henrys of us all. 
Just as the New Deal bought society into the industrial age, we need a new social contract that accounts for the state of the world as it is. 
-E.C. Fiori

Day 87: Spineless and Rotting

The Atlantic had a great piece of Google’s failed library today. It is a troubling read that really shows the serious cracks in modern society. 
As you may guess most of the books published are forgotten, not just because of quality (even Shakespeare has had periods out of favor). Google developed tech to scan masses of books in a way that freed them from their fragile woodpulp bodies. This in theory gave out of print, rare books a chance to be found. 
People sued as they are known to do and in the lawsuit an idea was born. As the ownership of many books was questionable. An entity would be created to manage the funds from any sale of a book in question. The money would fund research into ownership or if owner known be able to be claimed. 
People became upset again because Google would get money for footing the initial bill and maintain the book depository. Despite owners being able to set the price of their books, many claimed the ownerless ones should be free. Once again Leftists crushed a deal for a better future. Even though the plan had a clause to grant access to public and university libraries. It would have created a counter point to the monopoly Amazon has on digital books. 
Google is a monopoly in its own right controlling almost 50% of digital ad sales. Its name is literally the current slang to look something up. But this library wouldn’t have created a new arm for the monster rather the opposite. It would have been a version of the Rockefeller libraries that taught the greatest generation. 
Instead the opponents of the library wanted the government to pay for and manage the database. The same government shut down by partisan infighting. The same one sinking the middle class. The one that went nuclear over cabinet picks. The one that poisoned Flint. Thats the real problem with the left, the only solution is the government when the country was founded on the opposite. 
We live in an age where individuals or groups of non-state actors can connect and act in ways greater than any traditional government actor. While our democratic republic is well positioned to protect our rights from encroachment even from itself (checks and balances), it isn’t or designed to be the final word in our lives. We are free to be moral without its permission. Now I fear we may have lost an important innovation in saving literature.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 10

The False Dimitris, Time of Troubles, Making the Apolitical Political

It’s Monday and with Monday comes a new hot liberal article that E.C. Fiori and myself have been inundated with questions about. It pertains to a possible trial run of a coup at the highest levels of government by Trump’s inner circle.
I knew that in the days after the inauguration the left would be ripe for conspiracy theories, and lo and behold, here comes one after the first truly brutal act from Trump’s cabal.
How much evidence is there for this plot? Not as much as I would like to be honest. Are the purges in the state department and manic consolidation of power real? They are, but point me to a single kleptocracy that hasn’t done the exact same thing. I thought the voting public was clear on what Trump would be doing when he got behind the Roosevelt desk.
This, perhaps, is where both the left AND the right got Donald Trump wrong. The left took him literally, but not seriously. The news cycle would begin and end with mocking his ideas as foolish and impossible. The right took him seriously, but not literally. Among millennials, the large majority of votes in his favor were the fabled “culture” vote, where the empowerment of a candidate makes no policy sense, but has a desired effect in the wider popular culture. The idea was that he is serious about change, and will say anything to get the elite liberal media oppressors enraged. Let’s sit back and watch the show. But the show goes on, and now we increasingly live in Trump’s world.
So where is all of this going? First, people will believe almost anything in times of fear and uncertainty. This includes people on the left and it includes conspiracy theories.
Second, what is a radical centrist to do in this climate? Catalogue the actual crimes of the new administration, starting with the worst. And no, it is not the Muslim ban, idiotically unhelpful and un-American as it certainly is.
No. It is the making of the apolitical, political. Steve Bannon getting a permanent seat on the National Security Council is so incredibly dangerous, that I can’t help but wonder if the “Muslim ban” was designed to fail as a cover for this outrageous power grab. The reason aids to the president are almost never allowed to participate in such meetings (or often attend) is because the security of our nation should never even hint of a political leaning. This is something new.
It is up to us now to take Trump literally and seriously. We’re 10 days in.
-Jack Delaney

Day 9

The Serpent’s Tongue: In Praise of Kellyanne Conway

It is currently the favorite pastime of over half the nation’s voting population to condemn, scorn, laugh, and generally degrade a single woman: Kellyanne Conway. This excludes the amount of joy her many media appearances and statements have given non-U.S. citizens, but for the sake of brevity, let’s put the number at 62.5 million people.

But have we, the scornful masses, ever taken a step back and asked how she does her job? She was given the impossible task of successfully running a presidential campaign, and even worse, consistently deal with gaping logic flaws, insane scandals, and indefensible political positions. Yet she has handled her lot in life with an amazing amount of grace.

She attends not only Fox and Friends, but some of the hardest, most blatant left leaning shows, like Bill Maher. He assembles a panel with the sole directive of nuclear annihilation, and yet time and time again she returns.

That is because she is someone who does not gain satisfaction from the ideological debate, or from the foisting of a candidate she believes in. She is the kind of political operative that adores the pageantry of it all, the performance, the “pivot”.

It is these psychotic adrenaline junkies that Trump has surrounded himself with: people cut from the same orange cloth as he. Once Sean Spicer gets the boot the press will have to find a way to starve her of the thrills she seeks. The clock is ticking.

-Jack Delaney