Watching the colossal and implosive decline of the once mighty green movement to stop global warming has been an educational experience. It’s rare to see so many smart, idealistic and dedicated people look so clueless and fail so completely. From the anti-climax of the Cluster of Copenhagen, when world leaders assembled for the single most unproductive and chaotic global gathering ever held, the movement has gone from one catastrophic failure to the next.It's not just the Greens, either. While full, equal rights for women has become thoroughly mainstream, the "Women's Movement" has found itself increasingly, and very unpopular:
Only 20% of women are willing to use the word “feminist” about themselves. Only 17% of all voters said they would welcome their daughters using that label.Unions, too:
For the last decade, more than 50 percent of Americans polled have told Gallup that they think unions hurt non-unionized workers.These are the core of the Democratic Party coalition, and they are increasingly unpopular. That's bad news for Democrats, and news that they have yet to come to grips with. In fact, the record of the Democratic Party's successes over the past two decades is that they only win when they conceal their true intentions: Clinton running as a centrist (and then governing from the far left in 1992-1994), and Obama's HopeyChangey "centrist" message two years ago.
But hard core Democrats still think that their party is the natural choice for people who care about clean air and water, for women, and for average working people. It's almost a divide-by-zero error that these groups are rejecting the message, in increasing numbers. A better understanding of history would explain it.
The ancient Greeks worshiped the Goddess Tyche, whose Goddess Super Powers governed luck. The Romans called her Vortumna, from which we get her modern name, Fortuna. She was often depicted blindfolded, holding scales which weighed her worshiper's success. You may have seen her statue at a courthouse, although it's unlikely most people in the building know - or would approve - of its origin.
In the Middle Ages, she was very popularly depicted, especially with her wheel. The four stages of her wheel show anticipation (I will reign), success (I reign), loss (I have reigned), and penury (I have no kingdom). The depiction was explicitly political, explaining the ebb and flow of history with Fortuna as a Gatekeeper. The most famous depiction was in the 13th Century manuscript Carmina Burana, which Carl Orff turned into a song that you've heard:
Some people are heading upwards, some people are heading downwards, but all ride her wheel. The ones heading downwards never like it, and try to apply the brakes.
Consider the 1960s radical. He's at the bottom of the wheel, but has a message with broad appeal: Why shouldn't we have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink? Why shouldn't women be able to work, and get paid the same as a man? Why shouldn't the Working Guy get a fair shake? Our hero - and many others like him - crafted a popular movement that moved him upwards on Fortuna's Wheel. Over the next 30 years, the movement became the establishment. Top of the
Society's social institutions - political class, the church, social mores - all have been used to keep those on top, on top. They still are. Would-be Gatekeepers in the media, or in the University, or in Wall Street or K Street, all use these social controls to try to stop Fortuna's Wheel, and keep them and their friends and families on top. Tactical decisions by our 60's Radical - now in control of The Movement - decisions that gave temporary advantage came at the cost of people who made up the broad, popular support group. Cap And Trade is only the most egregious example, where gasoline needs to go to $9/gallon to meet the goals. A few at the top benefit, the masses are increasingly immiserated by the New Rulers.
The Movement has become The Man. Like everyone who occupies that position, they want to keep it. They try to use their power to act as Gatekeepers of information, stifling opposing views.
But Fortuna smiles her inscrutable smile, looks at the Internet, and gives the Wheel a spin. The Gatekeepers, as you'd expect, are horrified. They see the Internet giving rise to all sorts of competitors, who can now get their message out. As you'd expect, they don't like the competition.
And so you hear a furious reaction. "Deniers!" we hear howled. "Flat Earthers!" "You should all be arrested!"
Or Sarah Palin and the Tea Parties: I can see Russia from my house sneer a whole bunch of folks. She's too dumb to be President, they say.
The problem for the Gatekeepers is that the Internet makes it easy to check things. It makes it easy for information to bypass the Gatekeeper's control - after all, isn't it true that information wants to be free? That the Internet interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it? They look at the lack of Ivy League credentials, and skip past the way Palin redefined the Health Care debate - "Death Panels", anyone? - and how she's picking winners in this election cycle. The Internet lets you watch, and read, and decide for yourself.
Fortuna smiles, and gives her wheel another spin. The Institutions of the Radicals start to descend. It's going to be an interesting few years.