Radicalizing the opposition: How players outsmart themselves.

I

II

Two-Buttons.jpg

III

Whenever we talk about an extreme collective, what we actually mean is an expensive or greedy collective. Extreme Right means rich people hoarding money, but an Extreme Left means middle class and poor people expecting free money to fund everything for them. Both want things they did not earn, trying to frame it in a moral issue of being their “right.”

And for both, it is never enough. They always have a new cause, grief, and shopping list. It never ends.

These bottomless pits of high-maintenance cabals are not worth the price tag. Rich people aren’t rich because they give money: they exploit, throw pennies, make threats, and then think they owe you as they make outrageous demands. I have seen that up close. They pay less than average, and often nothing at all.

But then you have those on the other extreme: they always want, want, want without making any suggestion about how they will actively obtain it. It is never enough — and how many of this ilk call themselves “activists” but the “active” part never seems to materialize. They will mug all sad-faced for the camera because there isn’t enough money in the world to fund everything they want.

I am not a skinflint. I believe in healthcare and pharmacare. I believe in accessible education. I believe in decent wages and functional working conditions.

But I do believe the entire whole has to contribute in order to keep things progressing. I believe in responsibilities that go along with the rights.

So you have two extremists within any given society and both have the identical mindset. They are always on, and they would demand the same money — and you would receive no goodwill for it. Neither would ever say, “Don’t worry; that’s more than enough. I can do the rest myself.” In modern Western society, it never happens, and there is no reasoning: both see themselves as superior and distrust anyone who makes a mere suggestion. How dare you? Who are you to meddle?

The one who you want to stiff with the bill whether you can pay for it yourself or not.

In a political landscape, a cagey strategist keeps a damper on both. These are hard layers of society, very much like a Dobos torte.

download.jpeg

Both have a sense of entitlement: the rich think they are smarter and are the ones who are doing the hiring. They are not doing all of it, however. The poor, when they work, do the hard jobs and live in the bad parts of town, unless they know how to use a social safety net, and then they do better than it first appears.

But often, both the rich and the poor use the same social safety nets but for different reasons. Many independently wealthy people know that certain kinds of public transportations can be free and they use it daily, for instance, and they use the same service as the poorest. There are free home care service that both extreme groups use. If you know your way around a system, you can literally save yourself thousands a dollars a year.

These safety nets are meant for the poor, but people in mansions use them, too.

So we have a peculiar system in the West where money is thrown around with noway of knowing anything save for the fact that there is never enough.

And there is no end to demands with a passive entitlement.

Look at this propaganda poster, for instance.

51099686_10219157170863786_1410933860958470144_n.jpg

Imagine if parents and students actively went exploring their own strengths and weaknesses, experimented with trial and error, let go of the Zero-Risk Mindset and were willing to fail and learn to find this for themselves.

Imagine having to own up to shortcomings, practicing, failing, and then going back into the ring again.

This propaganda poster literally wants learning by osmosis. Why don’t we just set up an IV and let it drip in your brain as you stare like a dummy on your godphone.

Let some They do all the work for us. This is the reason AI and androids are all the rage: maybe we can just lie on the sofa all day as we get high, sink low, and let someone else live our lives for us.

No one wants to invest. No one wants to take a risk.

But everybody wants something.

And the more, the better.

The political landscape has been stymied because election campaigns are the time where politicians actively bribe people to vote for them. People want those expensive trinkets, and the government promises sunny ways, if only you will give them your vote.

The problem when you bribe for votes, people imagine a Happily Ever After once your are in power.

Traditionally, the class to court was the Middle Class — the soft layer of the Dobos Torte because the hard layers protected them: the poor did the hardest jobs and took the hits, while the rich gave the jobs and took the risks.

So this is the most naive and sheltered class we have — and the easiest to manipulate.

They are the ones who usually do not know about all the social safety nets, let alone exploit them. It is not as if they don’t use them, such as libraries as they are cheaper entertainment, particularly for children, but it is not the same.

Ideally, you want a society with as many Middle Class people as you can muster. They are the most trusting, the least demanding, willing to earn their keep without question, and they are the tax base you have to placate the hard layers as much as you can.

You also want as many rich and poor people to identify as Middle Class as well: it is an obedient mindset that makes people feel good. They make less demands. When you give certain poor graft, you give them just enough to squeeze a reasonable facsimile of the Middle Class lifestyle. It is comfortable enough, and the mindset keeps the peace.

But when politicians are in a tight race, they often get desperate, and they do something strategically off to set off one of the two extremes. For all the talk about Left and Right-wing politics, both sides are the most successful when they place themselves in a centrist position. A Centrist, Middle Class comfort zone ensures the most votes, and the smoothest sailing for any regime. Let people delude themselves into thinking their Left/Right-wing Light means they are informed and out there. Bless their heads.

A panicked politician may often press the wrong button, and then they awaken and mobilize the wrong faction. Kathleen Wynne did this to her own detriment.

The Ontario Liberals were centrist for years, but then slowly drifted increasingly to the Left, where there is already a party in place: the NDP. They are on the edge, and save for one freak term, can never muster enough seats to govern.

Wynne started cribbing from Andrea Horwath’s playbook during the last election, doing very dicey things, such as Basic Income. She did it in NDP territory of Hamilton, and if she hoped to sway votes, it gloriously backfired.

All she managed to do was radicalize the Left in the province, and then they got greedy.

Once emboldened because they got something from the centrist Grits, they weren’t grateful, and they certainly didn’t show respect to the party who gave it to them and suddenly switched their vote: they figured a more leftist party would up the ante and give them even more.

In this case, “free” (taxpayer-funded) dental care.

The Liberals were wiped out, and the NDP surged to become the official opposition. To steer too far into strange territory was a de facto admission that they were wrong all this time, and were swallowed up by the radicalized element.

The problem was that there was not enough votes to sustain a NDP victory: those in the centre who did not become infected with radicalization voted in the opposite direction, and it was the Conservatives who won the majority, and then took away all those gains the left had from the Liberal regime, making them even more radicalized in the bargain, figuring the louder and angrier they are, the better chance they have of forcing people to give them things. So far, it has been a recipe for marginalization. Basic Income was taken away, and the hotbed for cultivating leftist politicians — Toronto City Hall was slashed to almost half.

Had Wynne kept in the middle, she had a better chance to retain power, by trying to woo the hard left, she lost her centrist votes and did free campaigning for her rival as her other rival sailed to an easy victory.

The Federal Liberals are in a very similar bind these days, and this was not the time to have the problem brought on by SNC-Lavalin, a company that cut its Canadian workforce by over half in less than a decade, but threatened to march itself in the UK, even though Brexit is looming over Britain.

The scandal was exploited by the press, which was an odd thing to do: with an election year this year, the federal Liberals promised newspaper owners free money to bail their incompetent asses out of a jam.

But they harped and harped on it, and then the scandal took a life of its own out of their hands.

And with much backtracking, justifying, and misreading the signs, many stories right now are trying to tie things up — the Prime Minister pretended to be sorry as he blubbered another sorry to something unrelated to his own actions, so let’s all calm down.

Too late.

What the scandal has now done is radicalize the right. It is not quite the same as the Wynne case, but a group has been radicalized nonetheless. It doesn’t matter if the press reports on it or not. The Grits let this wound bleed for a month. It doesn’t matter what happens with SNC-Lavalin anymore. It doesn’t matter what the PM says anymore. It doesn’t matter what deceptive propaganda the government tries to spew to pretend there is job growth instead of retraction because housing is tumbling, the bank of mom and dad has run dry, and Alberta is having meltdown. The damage is done.

The right have now been radicalized, but so have those the fiscal far-right — those with money and clout. The Grits did the unspeakable and lifted a curtain just enough for the Middle Class to see that the laws in this country apply to everyone but the rich who write the laws and take the graft.

And they will do all that they can replace that clumsy regime with one that knows how to do things behind an iron curtain will reassuring the jittery middle class that those things will never happen again. They will be greedy about it, too because for the rich, it is never enough. SNC-Lavalin keeps getting in all kinds of trouble with the world because of it, but it never stops them from asking for more than before, and the government happily obliges.

Whoever wins the election, the first order of business being dealing with those who put it out the scandal in the first place.

While the Grits are getting more distracted by other things, the dynamics of this election have altered.

A extremist fringe has been awakened. It will cost them, because contrary to first appearances, Justin Trudeau did not take the Grits to the Left or keep them Centrist: he shifted them to the Right.

He legalized pot, and that is, in theory, supposed to make entrepreneurs rich. Extremely rich. It is the reason why so many politicians invested heavily in those businesses in the first place.

And why we are seeing a push to open the gates to legalized heroin and to lower the age to 16.

Notice how it is never enough.

By demoting a minister to appease corporate interests, Trudeau didn’t help empower a female: he humiliated her on a global scale to let the rich white boys skirt some consequences, even though they have been pulling out of these country and never seem to learn their lesson, no many how many times they get nabbed.

That means the wealthy will push harder, not retreat. The NDP don’t get the nuances and their core is to the left. The Grits are trying to go Right, and while they are willing to play the game, they suck at it, causing scandal in their wake.

It is a hot mess, and one a centrist regime often finds itself in. They are not a radical centre where the point is to foster and grow a core with ways other than electoral bribery. A radical centrist, unlike the garden variety centrist, pushes toward a Complete Risk Strategy. No gambles. No sure things. No status quo. No predictability. Just risk.

This creates an active arena where rigs to keep things static cannot work. There are no hard and soft layers. There are no rights without responsibilities. Rules are turned over until they break, and then they fragments are studied. There is no complacency. While the Fourth Medium — the Internet — is sedentary and encourages in-groups and staying in place, a radical centre seeks media that encourage movement, connection, and exploration.

And no They to beg or Them to blame. It Us. It is Matriarchal. It is not about narratives. It is about finding the deepest truths of the university, getting to know and cherish them with our every revelation, right before we unleash that truth to pave new paths ourselves.

Without fear or anger.

It is a balance, and we need that balance for all people to prosper…