America 3.0, Richard Fernandez and Prophets Without Honor

Outside in pointed us to this column by Richard Fernandez (nee “Wretchard”) from the other day.

“Opportunity”:

If people go their separate ways such a divorce would be an astonishing defeat for the Left. For the first time since 1917 it would be giving up its claim to guide the entire in order to settle for parts.  As late as 2016 it was possible to imagine an America led to a “progressive” future by Hillary Clinton;  an EU guiding all of Europe to a similar destiny and the G20 taking the whole world to the same destination.  Indeed everyone told they were fated to follow an Arc of History.  Yet after Brexit, Trump and G-Zero it is no longer possible to visualize this outcome.  A blue-red division would confirm the failure to create a “progressive” world. No conceivable rollback will ever put Humpty Dumpty together again.

While this would be bad for the political ambitions of the Left, the people on the Left may actually benefit.  The alternative to the gloom doom scenario is to recognize that we may in fact be on a pathway to a new American century, a new epoch of world prosperity.  Except that it will be a different America and a different globe.

As I commented, this reminded me of the book America 3.0 by James Bennett (The Anglosphere Challenge) and Michael Lotus (aka “Lexington Green”).

I think it’s a good and informative read, but if you have no desire to get the book, the authors published an excerpt/summary at American Enterprise Institute.

America 3.0 came out over four years ago, before I was fully “NRx” but well on my way, and I think I first heard of it on Instapundit. Glenn Reynolds (who also wrote the preface) did a number of positive posts on the book. I started writing about it on a previous blog, but at the time I was puzzled at how little traction the book was getting on the “Outer Right.” I wrote, I commented, and with one or two exceptions, the reaction was, “Meh.”

I wasn’t really sure why the negative reaction, or just plain lack of it, but three guesses; 1) Too “mainstream,” doesn’t fit into Moldbug’s worldview” (I’d been reading Moldbug for a year or so by mid-2013); 2) Too optimistic, “Don’t even try to tell me that Progs aren’t going to succeed at bringing on the Gotterdammerung! What fun will the future be without some shit burning down?” and, related; 3) Too unrealistic, “DC will never, ever give up a scintilla of power over states, localities and every grain of sand, and Boomers will never, ever take a benefit cut!”

Experience of the last 100 years is, indeed, enough to make one cynical and suspicious of optimism about the evolution of government, but I think to be fair to the authors of America 3.0 we should review a few of their specifics (from the introduction and Chapter 1, much of which is available free on the Amazon “look inside”):

America 2.0 was, in many ways, great in its day. But it is over. The technological and economic changes we foresee are already happening, or about to happen. The government sector is in a state of decay reminiscent of the Brezhnev period of the Soviet Union, with apparatchiks with no new ideas repeating the same clichés and the same failed policies, seemingly unaware that their system is doomed…

We have a long way to go before we replace the twentieth century state and economy with their successors. It is too early to pick an end date for America 2.0, which will only become apparent in hindsight…

NEW MORNING

It is 2040…The Social Payments Resolution Fund is still making payments to [Boomers] , but most of them had accepted the lump-sum termination payment of 2028 during the Third Fiscal Reform…

The new manufacturing revolution has been instrumental in keeping material wants cheap…New England (minus, of course, New Hampshire) was the first to set up a multistate authority to take over their portion of the federal health care system…

As a result of the Reforms, the United States now has 71 states, none of which have more than eight million inhabitants. These have arranged themselves into a series of state compacts, and special-purpose agreements between compacts, so that the Northeast and Great Lakes areas form a network with relatively high taxes and levels of government supplied social services…

The Texases, as they are now called, since they exercised their right to divide into five states, form their own compact…

[N]umerous shareware programs are available for the standard house-printing machines…

The war on drugs is long over…

Decentralization encourages the “Big Sort” as families seek out the kind of communities they want to live in…

I think that’s enough to give you the overview without copyright violation. It is optimistic, though the authors acknowledge that pain that will happen during the transition…a transition which in 2013 they claimed had begun to stir, and which I think is farther along in some ways than they may have anticipated, just four years on.

I hope you have the time and inclination to read the book, for there is certainly a lot more to it than in my overview. It’s funny, but recently I have several times on Twitter read something that moves me to recite the words of Jesus (Mark 6:4-6):

A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

It seems to me that Bennett and Lotus haven’t gotten the long-term honor that they merit from the various flavors of the Right: Patchwork, Tech-Cap, Traditionalist communities of the like-minded; all are explicit or implicit in America 3.0 and the authors give what I think are excellent historical, practical reasons for their vision of the future.

I think the book is prophetic. Perhaps the transitions will be messier and bloodier than the authors envision, but they deserve a lot more honor on the Right than they have gotten to date.

(I touched on these issues and this book in the early days of this blog in On Implementation and Possible NRx Territories: Alaska. I think those pieces have held up pretty well, despite being positively ancient in Internet Time.)

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17 thoughts on “America 3.0, Richard Fernandez and Prophets Without Honor

  1. Pingback: America 3.0, Richard Fernandez and Prophets Without Honor | Reaction Times

  2. Thank you for this excellent summary. Came across this book a while ago and “bookmarked” it.

    The utility of having ideas like this is that 1: Allows people to imagine. 2: It can serve as the basis of a possible negotiation for working things out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: This Week In Reaction (2017/06/25) - Social Matter

  4. Thank you for this post. Better to be a prophet without honor than never to have prophesied at all. It would be great if we had time to write a sequel or follow-up. I have some ideas but time and money make it hard. I agree that in America 3.0 we had significant overlap with some of the themes on the NRx and even Alt-Right, with our own spin. As to “What fun will the future be without some shit burning down?” — that is a euphemism for “my wife and children dying,” which I do not want. People who grow up in the hard-won eras of peace sometimes have to re-learn what their grandparents suffered through. As Patton said, I have seen Germany, I have seen a destroyed country, and I don’t want that to ever happen to the United States. People who have only seen video games and action movies have no idea what these horrible events are like. I have, because of whatever odd quirk of my personality and family background, spent my entire life reading about war and tyranny, and determined to avoid them, or mitigate them, or not lose if war comes. So despite no military experience and no first hand experience of these horrors, I am sure I have a much greater appreciation of them than most people. Jim Bennett is the same way. We love this country, and we know that our particular brand of personal freedom has roots that go back at least fifteen centuries, possibly far longer, and we want to keep it going. I’d be glad to get in touch directly.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am not surprised that NRx is negative on America 3.0, because nothing about it recognizes the crisis of Modernity. As one would expect from AEI, it is another artifact of homo economicus, the view that there are no problems 3% GDP growth would not solve. It is just Conservative Inc. fantasy talk about an America that no longer exists. They focus on the crisis of entitlement spending. Does anyone really know how the emerging Latino majority is going to want that handled? Driverless cars and 3D printing mean mass unemployment and a super-rich upper class. Think Metropolis. And there is ZERO discussion of atomization and cultural and moral decline.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve asked me to address these points, fair enough. Not sure how much of the book you’ve had an opportunity to read, but I think on many of them the book speaks for itself; my interpretation may different that that of the authors’, one of whom was kind enough to comment above but here goes:

      The “crisis of Modernity” isn’t reversible, and is related to the “atomization and cultural and moral decline” you speak of. America 3.0 posits that all of these conditions will be ameliorated through devolution of power to smaller, local units and geographical self-sorting. The “emerging Latino majority” may well end up in control of state and/or local government in say New Mexico, parts of Texas and California, etc. and then they can give themselves all the benefits they want (and can pay for). As may New England, as quoted above.

      You miss the main thrust of America 3.0 if you think it’s just about Homo Economicus. There is a lot of material that claims that’s it’s the centuries-old family structure and cultural norms of our Anglo ancestors that made the US the unique entity it is, and that it’s family and culture, not just wealth, that will drive these evolutionary changes over the next 10, 20, 30 years or more.

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    • There are many millions of traditional, nuclear families operating quite well in the US as of this minute. The argument is that they will tend to cluster (even more) in the future in their own communities as the nuts, sluts, transkin and so on congregate in other places (big cities). Sure, there are less kids in good healthy families than 50 years ago–but they are going to win, generationally.

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      • And there will be millions fewer every year that passes. Tinder, porn addiction, heroin, you name it. Every damn perversion is right there in your smartphone. You cannot protect family and you cannot wall your kids off from it.

        The argument that FAMILY will result in America self-sorting into functional and disfunctional communities respected by Washington is just complete fantasy. Really, do you think a President like Obama would accept that? Why would he when he has all the guys with guns?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Because giving people false hope it is not just misguided, it is wicked. The more I study this book, the more convinced I become that it is an artifact of the pre-Trump Conservative Inc. network, the formal characteristics of which is to anesthetize Republican voters so the Kochtopus can suck them dry before the collapse comes. Every damn word of this book is “tax this” and “tax that” and “no taxes.” The same damn AEI crap we’ve been getting for years. Really, the problem with America is that tax rates are too high? How often is the GOP going to try to milk an issue that was last salient in the late 1970s? Then we get to the great Saxon “nuclear family” in America. Have these guys been divorced? Tell me how great the “nuclear family” is after going through that. The elephant in the room is that you have two generic white guys who’ve learned to live like Englishmen, like the rest of generic white people in America. Who cares how many centuries back you can go with your historical analysis. Are the people in 2040 even going to be the same people?

    Liked by 1 person

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