Shares in taste-making are in free fall. But every time a new batch of journalists get canned and ad revenues break new record lows, it seems like another publication pops up that’s another flavor of communist. They say they’re the voice of something, those increasingly nervous men who mark the free space on their intellectual bingo cards by ruminating about how “late capitalism” should be ending any day now.
Don’t worry. Their preferred state of affairs requires the constant application of political energy, and so getting everyone to clap their hands and believe is more a matter of survival than success. The sweaty impulse toward managing memes isn’t power, it’s compensation for power-insecurity. Anything but the audience’s undivided attention is foreboding; someone could be headed for the exit any minute.
“But this wasn’t deliberated!” is the pearl necklace that they clutch for when folks start shuffling out. There’s a cottage industry of thinkpieces complaining about the latest guy who packed up and left without a proper explanation. Seeing the other team scoring points by whining to the referee, right-wingers think it will work just the same for them, and so we have the court jester known as the conservative media. Until he realizes that the referee is playing for the other team, that poor clown will exist to be the object of routine humiliation.
It’s empowering to realize that the referee isn’t neutral after all. More empowering than that is realizing that no points worth scoring require his approval. The zero-energy state of things — the place where everything ends up after the dam breaks and all movements have spent themselves — is our friend. Politics is a tug-of-war for public opinion that isn’t worth being drafted into. Even if you win, the mechanisms of the world won’t churn much differently. The invention of the transistor has already lapped the Russian Revolution in terms of historical importance.
The end of consensus in media seems to track with the end of consensus in government, the end of the end of history. What we are seeing, first in India, then in Britain, and recently in America, represents the acceleration of a trend 70 years in the making. Since 1945, when the forces of liberal democracy (and communism) stood triumphant and there were less than 50 sovereign states on the planet, the world has fragmented at a pace unmatched since the bricklayers on the Tower of Babel put aside their vain construction project and headed for the hills — the Almighty having confounded their consensus-making abilities. Today there are around 200. And short of new states, new forms of negotiated sovereignty are appearing throughout the world. This process shows no signs of slowing down.
We’re not here to be the voice of anything. We’re interested in what happens in the ever-growing space where voice is irrelevant. Jacobite‘s purpose is to observe currents that are easy to miss because their existence doesn’t rely on being announced through an activist’s megaphone. You’re invited to come along for the ride.
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