Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 9, 2009

Futures Tutorial Part 17: Politics


In the Army 21 study this was a slide on Military Science.  In the late 9os I made this about ‘Politics’  to make it relevant for the Virginia futures “analysis”.

Interesting that the watershed event predicted – based purely on history – came along and happened.  9-11 was a temporary unity.  It had dissolved by November 2004.   The looming Depression will create more divergence, not unity, even though it is a watershed event. 

There will be two strong – and opposing – narratives on why we are in a Depression.  The Puritan Liberals will say its Bush’s fault, capitalism’s failure, and blame assorted scapegoats, like greedy bankers, evil Republican legislators, regulations and regulators owned by lobbyists.   The political message for the Democrats will be about government spending, government control of private business, class warfare taxing, etc.  The Conservative narrative – which may or may not be the actual Republican response – is to cut spending, cut taxing, let the mortally wounded businesses die, and reform entitlements. 

The comments on the need to communicate on the lower right are for Conservatives only.  Liberals don’t have a hostile media enemy.

If you scratch through issue by issue for the essential questions being argued, the peeling of the political onion opens up the culture war.  Our third civil war (ACW I 1775-1783, ACW II 1861-1865) 1962-Present.

Despite the changes in the technology and complexity of politics in this era of change, the fundamentals remain profoundly simple.  The big ideas either push towards freedom and opportunity with stability and security or not.  The struggle for most politicians – whether the are Puritan Liberals or Establishment Republicans – is about power and money.  Money and power.  Read Shakespeare and the Bible.



  1. JAB –
    Thanks for all you effort in assembling the Futurist craft for others to emulate. In the early 80’s my graduate thesis looked at elements of societal change as a foundation for assessing impact of arms transfers on regional stability. Using the methods of difference equations, I was able to model the notion of acceleration (rate change in velocity) in three major societal foundations – place, governance, and tradition. I used this to estimate the impact of technological change on society and the estimation of threat (and response) between regional competitors. My advisor, Col Tom Clark went on to publish parts of this later in his career. See for the article.

    Like you so aptly describe in your series, the range of possible outcomes is wide – the probable outcomes are limited by our imagination and willingness to critically mine our past for enduring truths. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for catching up on the Future’s Tutorials. I need to finish the series. I tried your connection, but it didn’t work.

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