The US Policy Environment and Political Climate Change
Weathering the Shit Storm of Duopoly Denial
America has strong features of both freethought and anti-intellectualism. These correlate to America’s paradoxical roots in both enlightenment principles, on one hand, and justifying slavery and genocide on the other. I would argue that anti-intellectualism has held sway in political culture since the 60's social (r)evolution, climatically calcifying itself in the election of Donald Trump. It is not that liberals have not exercised power at various times, but the unending cold war thwarts genuine peace. Marginal progress has been made, where we should have made large strides forward.
The political theatre of the current situation aside, the most declarative examples of backwards policy are the war-on-drugs and institutionalized climate denial. They are entrenched structures and provide cash flows for the deep state and criminal networks. These examples should illustrate most obvious cognitive dissonance of “the system,” such that no one would disagree. Most people can see through the illusion on some level, regardless of their politics. and most are also trapped by some other aspect of “the matrix.”
Ultimately, these clusterfucks of policy are the prosecution of human rights and dignity, to squeeze unearned profit, to the extent of co-opting institutions to cripple democracy and society both physically and mentally. Proving and addressing these antinomies of public policy should the top priority of think tanks. Believe it or not, we have the answer. The war-on-drugs and climate denial were solved before they were invented.
US Policy Environment
The current policy environment is undergoing upheaval, and not exclusively due to the tumultuous 2016 US election. This poses many risks, but also opportunities. US politics has had a degenerative element for its entire history, which has led to the current collapse of trust in media, political, and economic institutions. In a word, this element is “denial.”
Denial of America’s original sins and false consciousness. Whereas the commentariat scramble to identify proximate causes of social problems, the systemic causes are ignored and suppressed, and as such are not adequately addressed in public policy. Denial appears to be the most conspicuous factor of the decadence of the status quo. There is ample proof of the systematic denial of climate science, and therefore the elephant in the room is denial, more so than climate change itself. “Climate change” is a dead metaphor, so its time reporters stop asking the President about it. It’s an eco-crisis requiring immediate acknowledgment, disclosure, direct action, and political evolution.
Given the gravity of the situation, it is highly ironic that environmentalism as a movement is marginalized, rather than being the norm. After all, everyone lives in some sort of environment, whether a building, ecology, or social milieu, and we should all want it to be comfortable and sustainable. Yet more conservatives than liberals are explicitly against the very concept of ‘environmentalism’ because it has been largely the mantle of the Left. This also ironic as political conservatives should be bound by some ethic of conservation which also applies to nature.
TATO argues that ‘climate denial’ is but the exemplar case study of a broader pattern of denial and political polarization. The point is to pin down the concept of a scientific fact and worldview, so we have a benchmark and consensus for political discourse. The second most notable case being the failed ‘war on drugs.’ This culture of denial is the policy environment in which we find ourselves, where the greatest social issues are tackled only superficially, and organized violence against innocent people becomes a feature of the status-quo.
By definition, one would think that ‘think tanks’ would be at the forefront of knowledge production on these issues. Perhaps on some issues they are. However, the ‘truth conditions’ for think tanks to produce unbiased and egalitarian outcomes is virtually non-existent now, such that some of the most powerful think tanks and media organizations are merely lobbying fronts for special interests, perhaps even unbeknownst to themselves (hence denial).
The “race to the bottom” for global knowledge is spearheaded by multinational corporations in the context of profit-maximization, rather than by global civil society for equitable outcomes. While there are socially responsible corporations, the general corporate worldview advanced is one political cynicism and techno- optimism that is not substantiated by sociological or ecological reality. That is to say, the current globalist agenda is pursued at the expense of social consciousness, and in many cases, through the co-option of it. The exact nature of the ‘globalist agenda’ is up for debate,but fundamentally it is about the spread of capital, and TATO can clarify the competing views and narratives, to address the big picture of globalism.
Many conventional think tanks are demonstrably partial and have been increasingly corporatized under neoliberalism, undermining their function as progenitors of objective thought. Our role is in part to compel corporate social responsibility in the marketplace of ideas, with a program of capitalist “absolution” as a system-wide process of truth and reconciliation. The central social problem identified by TATO is how all-important abstract (systemic) issues such as climate change and the “war on drugs” become obfuscated, mystified, and marginalized through market forces and cognitive biases, in turn producing self-defeating abstract wars (stateless, faceless) of attrition against populations and the environment.
This status quo is exacerbated by our constant crisis of epistemic authority, where public trust is eroded, the mainstream media is corrupt and misinformative, and knowledge is instrumentalized at the expense of truth. The problem is in fact over-determined by a nexus of causal factors. In response, we seek to simplify the meta- crises in order to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio in civil discourse to correct these aberrations at the root level.
Political Climate Change
There is concurrently a global climate crisis and identity crisis. Political boundaries are socially constructed and tentative, yet their reification locks public consciousness into national matrices. The solution is ‘political climate change,’ a permacultural shift in the status-quo where environmental imperatives merge, humanist policies align, and cosmopolitan values spread, into a mature and responsible civil discourse and political agenda. Although ‘climate change’ is a popular catch-all term, TATO considers it a misnomer and euphemism for human pollution and ecological devastation, which serves to mask the decades-long systematic suppression of this knowledge from public policy.
The storied metanarratives of the alt-right populist coup and the entitled old-left’s crony diplomacy will continue to tighten in a Gordian knot until they are cut off by the new center emerging. Political progressives are being shot down in the crossfire of ideological warfare, and this is akin to Hobbes’ leviathan punching itself in the face. The correct path forward is for individuals on the left and the right extremes to abandon their wings, let go of their birdbrain beliefs and dogmas, and embolden a true political center. Neither Trump nor Clinton networks can fix the problems they simultaneously create in their double dealing and double standards. The correct path will activate historically disenfranchised independent voters to participate and achieve political climate change. The true way is through mediation and conflict resolution of war and politics together. #Metanoia
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