Autonomy for Red America, Part 1
Autonomy is separateness, but it is also self-sufficiency. Physical separation won't eliminate the need for institutions required to sustain Red Americans.
In biology, an ecosystem is a complex of living organisms and their interrelationships with their physical environment within a particular unit of space.
In American politics today, the ecosystem of the Right is no less complex and interwoven. It consists of interrelationships between many basic types of personalities or institutions: journalists and media outlets; a variety of pundits, from intellectuals to popularizers; think-tankers and single-issue experts; gonzo meme makers, shit-posters and one-liner humorists; elements of the traditional political sphere, like politicians and donors—and, thanks to the democratizing power of social media—the millions of ordinary, politically-aware people who like, comment and subscribe in order to keep the ecosystem afloat and growing.
Social media upended hierarchies for information, entertainment and expertise, catapulting thousands of previously marginalized voices to fame on the strength of their content. It allowed them to be content creators or curators themselves, to various degrees.
In short order, Americans took to this decentralized and participatory information universe, which toppled the old “televisual” model of broadcast by a relatively small caste of credentialed or connected voices with relatively circumscribed points of view. Not everyone builds a large audience or following as an influencer or pundit, but the ability to engage with likeminded others on social media greatly democratized political conversation globally.
As the power of these social networks became evident, though, radical leftist ideology came to displace a commitment to free expression in the Big Tech networks’ Silicon Valley offices. Even as they’d promised greater openness and political participation through the development of social networks and technology, the powerful cultural milieu of Blue America pushed them toward control and censorship of their political opponents on their now monopolistic and ubiquitous platforms.
The events of 2020 revealed this leftist turn against free expression had reached the non-tech parts of corporate America, as well. During the summer’s Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots, millions of Red Americans watched in helpless horror as nearly every large company they’d encountered or patronized—including most of the most ubiquitous companies long assumed to be apolitical—rushed, in a moral panic, to signal their fealty toward BLM and the most radical racial politics.
In fact, the larger the company (and the larger their base of customers likely to oppose the corporate virtue signaling), the more likely they were to release denunciations of American society as rife with “white supremacy,” and to make donations to radical racial, anti-white charities.
These decisions startled many who believed that large corporations were loath to insult the sensibilities of half of their customers, and indicated that, finally, political ideology had trumped the bottom line. In other words, Red Americans saw that these companies no longer wanted their business. More than seventy-three million of them voted for Donald Trump in 2020, in no small measure as a defiant protest against what they understood to be a threat to their way of life that is larger than politics.
The Autonomous Moment
For decades, Americans would tell pollsters that they believed the country was headed in the wrong direction. The results were merely understood to be a reliable gauge of a president’s popularity, and they could change dramatically with an improving economy.
Today, though, for the first time in more than a century, there is a growing, grim recognition on the part of many that any change in direction would be futile—that some kind of calamity awaits the United States: separation, civil war, national divorce, or any manner of dramatic systemic collapse.
We’re in this place because we no longer agree on what the American regime is, was, or should be.
Gradually, as resentment and radicalization increase, the trend toward physical separation from one another will intensify. People will migrate to states where they are surrounded by likeminded citizens.
Unfortunately, this can only go so far. The interconnectedness of our modern world—cultural, technological, political, and economic—ensures that geographic distance will not be enough; many of the mechanisms that facilitate American life in 2021, like banks, large corporations and Big Tech, seem committed to waging war on Red America.
Autonomy is separateness, but it is also self-sufficiency. As physical separation alone will not eliminate the necessity for these institutions required to sustain Red Americans, replicating these institutions is imperative.
The immediate future will see the emergence of a new, ideological alternate economy to service conservatives and other American dissidents from woke ideology who are looking both to express themselves politically and culturally—as well as to support businesses which are not explicitly at war with their political and religious beliefs, their cultural heritage, and even their race.
The first place where an alternate, autonomous Red economy was formed on a widespread scale was Silicon Valley. Until now, only relatively high-profile and controversial individuals had been de-personed. They had been prevented from participating the public policy conversations using Silicon Valley’s now-ubiquitous social networks; using services like dating and ride-sharing applications; and accepting payments, donations, and even banking.
In the aftermath of the contested 2020 election, the component parts of what has been called “the Cathedral” of Blue hegemony are finally visible to millions of Americans as they array their forces against dissenters, extremists, and even domestic terrorists: namely, them.
The deplatforming of Parler was a watershed moment, as conservatives realized they would, in short order, become more than just political dissidents out of power for a presidential or Congressional term or two. Parler’s ability to do business—provide conservatives a social network free of onerous ideological censorship—was destroyed by a cabal of larger businesses on which it depended. These decisions from Apple and Amazon Web Services, most prominently, were coordinated and ideological.
Silicon Valley’s willingness to destroy Parler effectively silenced the voices of the 10 million users on its platform. The turn toward increasingly rigid ideological censorship at micro-blogging and link-sharing sites like Twitter and Facebook has created space for smaller competitors dedicated to free expression, like Locals, Gab, Parler, Telegram and others.
In addition, alternatives to Silicon Valley photo- and video-sharing platforms like YouTube and Instagram have also begun to take shape, as more Americans realize their time on platforms owned by a Big Tech committed to censorship will come to an end—probably sooner rather than later.
The issue was suddenly far larger than participation in a social media network. By the start of 20201, millions of Americans understood, correctly, that massive, politicized near-monopolies had both the ability and the willingness to destroy their businesses by suddenly and capriciously denying them basic services.
Not only that: these companies would do so on a massive scale. The final months of the 2020 presidential campaign saw social media companies willing to suspend massive numbers of ordinary people for posts that were politically inconvenient to the Democrats’ narrative, and censor mainstream news sources like the New York Post which provided news threatening to do the same.
Today we find ourselves in a unique position, and one that is full of opportunity.
Autonomy for Red America is essential to any possible solution to the current crisis of the American regime. Even working within the confines of today’s politics and the most limited conservative imagination—for example, a strategy to win Blue states in a landslide, and recapture the levers of federal power and, even more fancifully, societal institutions—depends, in large measure, on Red America’s self-sufficiency from Blue America. This self-sufficiency of Red communities in the United States is of paramount concern, regardless of any political outcome in America.
What will follow here at Late Republic Nonsense is an outline of several elements to consider and create. Stay tuned.
On the Turntable
This is a killer record that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. McCoy Tyner’s collaboration with Bobby Hutcherson, Time for Tyner (1968), adds the brilliant vibraphone player into the mix of a post-Coltrane Tyner trio. Drummer Freddie Waits and bassist Herbie Lewis play the roles of Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison while maintaining their individual voices.