I wonder how many figures in authority right now understand what’s coming down the pike for them.
I just watched a video done by The Young Turks about how cool Emma Gonzales is, and it got me thinking about what’s coming up the pike in terms of thinkers and communicators. Because I don’t think it’s what anyone expects.
I think the assumption is that everyone who’s maybe twenty years old and younger right now will be a bunch of bleary-eyed, illiterate hedonists, with nothing to recommend them except being happy, derpy consumers, driving the pleasure economy into new excesses.
I think we’re getting an early flavor, courtesy of dear Miss Emma Gonzales, of what we’re actually in for. And I don’t think it’s going to be a generation of complacent sheep people.
Because think about the grinder that bred these kids. The last ten or fifteen years has been defined by two things, really.
First defining feature: malignant authorities. Not all of them, but a lot of them.
And the second defining feature: the fine-tuning of the most immediate and effective fact checker ever invented — the internetosphere.
Sure, the internet is mostly full of porn, kittens, and wipe out videos. But that’s not the only thing that’s there.
Because the internet is also a perpetually updated archive of every public document ever made public.
It has always been the business of politics to control information. That’s how you win at politics: by knowing what everyone THINKS that you said and enforcing that until it’s been made into policy.
And back in the days when record keeping relied mostly on people remembering things, the person with the strongest personality dictated what was “true” in history, because he or she could adjust what people remembered by force of personality.
That’s not the case anymore. Hasn’t been for a long time. Richard Nixon was the first president to get kicked in the head by this, I think.
But generations are slow to let cultural shift spread, and the “problem” — from a politician’s viewpoint it’s a problem, anyway — didn’t get into full swing till the record of what they said passed completely out of their hands by the growth of the internet.
Accountability used to be a thing enforced by the illusions of decency and honor. Which is why we got so fucked in the 1930s and 1940s. Hitler played by a completely different set of rules, and nobody who did politics in the old way was ready for it.
Politicians are all about public face. They only want you to remember about them what jibes with the image they want to build their platform on. So the art of politics is controlling what gets published about you.
Which is why Hitler could screw everyone else over. He understood that game, and understood how honesty and decency works, and knew exactly how to lie to game that system.
I’m talking about Hitler, because he invented the modern way of doing politics. Like it or not, every significant politician since then copied his game.
Every significant politician since Hitler learned this lesson: It doesn’t matter what’s TRUE. It only matters what people believe.
Which worked great for them in the fifty or sixty years after the War, because of how information dissemination worked, you see. It wasn’t that hard to track the image you were projecting because information moved at an easy to predict rate.
That was then. And the behemoth that is the business of politics hasn’t noticed a difference, because the behemoth that is the business of politics is inbred and insular, and adopts new ideas poorly.
They should start worrying now, these politicians, because of these kids. Because these kids are not scared of information and what it can do.
The inheritance of this group of kids who are about to take over the world is, on the one hand, a system that is demonstrably dysfunctional, and, on the other, more open access to information than any generation has ever had, if they want to dig for it.
I think what they’re trying to tell us is that they do. That they’re angry about being lied to about so much, that they DO want freedom, and that there is some accountability to be had from getting the facts straight. And they’re rare for a fight because if we’ve learned anything from how things are right now it’s that playing it safe gets you killed. They have nothing to lose, because all of us older folks screwed up everything already.
All you cozy-faced politicians out there who’ve been relying on your ability to be weasels to keep you out of trouble, you guys had better hire a bunch of young kids to get your facts all ironed out.
Because a brooding mass of people with an instinctive understanding for fact checking are angry at you.
They are armed with a complete record of all your hypocrisy, they are armed with the knowledge that you gave them that they are free, and that they can determine their own destinies, like you told them, and they are coming for you.
Dear politicians: you made a monster.
It’s called your grandkids.
Pretty sure you’re screwed.