American Society and the Stretched Rubber Band

Despite America's ingenious system of government that allows for all viewpoints to have a voice and seek representation, people's tolerances of one another and of government today are being stretched to the limit – just like a rubber band about to snap.

If we imagine the entire population of America contained in a giant rubber band resting on a table of ideas, this analogy begins to make sense. A rubber band, in its natural state, is unstretched, with zero stored energy.  We can view this state as the status quo in American society.  In this scenario, those who have the most political and ideological influence congregate in the middle of the rubber band.

Many groups have found their home here.  In terms of political orientation, these are the people in the center-right and center-left; in terms of class, these are white-collar workers, including those on Wall Street, corporate lobbyists, and most politicians; and, in terms of our institutions, these are the news media, union organizations, and the two major political parties.  Flying under the radar of the masses, these groups wield enormous political power in a cozy system, in which one side receives political favoritism and the other reaps the cash.

Even in its unstretched state, the rubber band still moves gradually over time, largely unnoticeable in the present moment.  This happens when frontiersmen, a minority of the population that settles not in the middle, but rather on the rubber band's boundaries, make small, incremental changes that influence policy and usher a society into its future generations.

Throughout American history, these people have been rebellious American colonists, abolitionists, communists, civil rights activists, hippies, feminists, etc. — all of whom, at some point in time, were considered extremists.  These are the people responsible for change — change that spans the length of many generations and shifts the Overton Window of acceptable ideas.

When the rubber band moves, those on the opposite boundary of the rubber band can see and feel the wall pushing back on them, as their views fall outside the Overton Window.  They may accept the movement or attempt to resist it but can only halt it completely with the numbers and strength to match their opposing ideologues. Either way, counter movements have an important effect on the rubber band as a whole — that is, by giving it tension.

This tension can be healthy insofar as it spurs rational debate and leads to positive changes.  However, the tension that brewed during the Obama years and fermented with the rise of Trump has now risen to a fever pitch, stretching the rubber band to its limit.

As a result, the societal fabric is eroding in a manner surpassed only by the outsnap of the Civil War and the onset of the Great Depression.  The actual snapping of the rubber band would symbolize such events.

The question remains: what exactly is driving this tension?

Many of the frontiersmen of change throughout history are the groups that have contributed most to the rubber band's current position on the table.  These groups all fall under the umbrella of the Progressive movement — a movement that blossomed under President Theodore Roosevelt and has persisted for over a century.

Throughout history, the character of the Progressive movement has been about fighting for the rights and the welfare of the underprivileged, mistreated, and unequally represented members of society, which it has done up until recently.  However, the intensity of tension in America today is a result of the Progressive movement's transition into a functionally Regressive movement (a term coined by Maajid Nawaz) that's tangential and even counter to the principles that the Progressive movement once held.

The Regressive movement represents a shift in emphasis from economic justice to social justice.  Its leaders and followers devalue some of our most basic freedoms — mainly freedom of speech — in an effort to eradicate bigotry in all shapes and colors.  It virtue-signals to those in society who Regressives think are helpless pawns of a broken system, blaming native-born white Americans for creating and maintaining institutions that are inherently racist and sexist.

Regressives have been successful in fostering a censored, politically correct environment in politics and entertainment.  They've accomplished this by resorting to character assassinations, engaging in identity politics on the basis of one's external traits, deplatforming media and entertainment personalities, and rioting in the streets in order to enforce their new code of ethics and engrain their postmodern ideology into the fabric of American culture.

Naturally, this oppressive behavior has led to a counterculture that rejects what Regressives laud and embraces what they hate.  This includes distrust of the media elite, which is intentionally dishonest, self-censoring, and heavily biased; a desire to promote patriotism and protect national heritage; and, most importantly, a yearning for politicians to fire from the hip and not worry about the laws of political correctness that devalue freedom of speech.

This brings us to President Trump, who may appear like a buffoon whose presidency is a fluke.  However, his ascendency is no accident — Trump correctly identified this counterculture as a sleeping giant waiting to be riled up.  He not only voiced the opinions of many Americans who feared retribution upon speaking their minds, but also gave these Americans a unifying voice on the political scene, allowing them to push back on the rubber band with an equal counter force and gain representation in the Oval Office.

As such, the fate of America's culture is the tug of war that's stretching the rubber band to its limit.  Moreover, the nature of this stretching is particularly toxic, because Americans are divided over more than just ideas.  They're divided over their own identities: white vs. black, men vs. women, native-born vs. immigrants, etc.

Therefore, it's nearly impossible to reach across the rubber band and engage the opposition in a civil, rational debate that could change hearts and minds.  In other words, it's nearly impossible to return people closer to the middle of the rubber band and thereby ease its overall tension.

Unfortunately, at this rate, the rubber band may just need to snap.  Such an event doesn't imply Armageddon.  America was resilient enough to endure the Civil War, which is a time in American history when we can say the rubber band actually broke.  Although many Americans on both sides died, the end result was something we cherish today: the abolishment of slavery.

Although there's no way to predict the aftermath of a snapped rubber band in today's climate, it could again lead to the creation of a new rubber band — one that is stronger and able to continue moving across the table of ideas in a way that improves America and facilitates the progress and happiness of its people.

Despite America's ingenious system of government that allows for all viewpoints to have a voice and seek representation, people's tolerances of one another and of government today are being stretched to the limit – just like a rubber band about to snap.

If we imagine the entire population of America contained in a giant rubber band resting on a table of ideas, this analogy begins to make sense. A rubber band, in its natural state, is unstretched, with zero stored energy.  We can view this state as the status quo in American society.  In this scenario, those who have the most political and ideological influence congregate in the middle of the rubber band.

Many groups have found their home here.  In terms of political orientation, these are the people in the center-right and center-left; in terms of class, these are white-collar workers, including those on Wall Street, corporate lobbyists, and most politicians; and, in terms of our institutions, these are the news media, union organizations, and the two major political parties.  Flying under the radar of the masses, these groups wield enormous political power in a cozy system, in which one side receives political favoritism and the other reaps the cash.

Even in its unstretched state, the rubber band still moves gradually over time, largely unnoticeable in the present moment.  This happens when frontiersmen, a minority of the population that settles not in the middle, but rather on the rubber band's boundaries, make small, incremental changes that influence policy and usher a society into its future generations.

Throughout American history, these people have been rebellious American colonists, abolitionists, communists, civil rights activists, hippies, feminists, etc. — all of whom, at some point in time, were considered extremists.  These are the people responsible for change — change that spans the length of many generations and shifts the Overton Window of acceptable ideas.

When the rubber band moves, those on the opposite boundary of the rubber band can see and feel the wall pushing back on them, as their views fall outside the Overton Window.  They may accept the movement or attempt to resist it but can only halt it completely with the numbers and strength to match their opposing ideologues. Either way, counter movements have an important effect on the rubber band as a whole — that is, by giving it tension.

This tension can be healthy insofar as it spurs rational debate and leads to positive changes.  However, the tension that brewed during the Obama years and fermented with the rise of Trump has now risen to a fever pitch, stretching the rubber band to its limit.

As a result, the societal fabric is eroding in a manner surpassed only by the outsnap of the Civil War and the onset of the Great Depression.  The actual snapping of the rubber band would symbolize such events.

The question remains: what exactly is driving this tension?

Many of the frontiersmen of change throughout history are the groups that have contributed most to the rubber band's current position on the table.  These groups all fall under the umbrella of the Progressive movement — a movement that blossomed under President Theodore Roosevelt and has persisted for over a century.

Throughout history, the character of the Progressive movement has been about fighting for the rights and the welfare of the underprivileged, mistreated, and unequally represented members of society, which it has done up until recently.  However, the intensity of tension in America today is a result of the Progressive movement's transition into a functionally Regressive movement (a term coined by Maajid Nawaz) that's tangential and even counter to the principles that the Progressive movement once held.

The Regressive movement represents a shift in emphasis from economic justice to social justice.  Its leaders and followers devalue some of our most basic freedoms — mainly freedom of speech — in an effort to eradicate bigotry in all shapes and colors.  It virtue-signals to those in society who Regressives think are helpless pawns of a broken system, blaming native-born white Americans for creating and maintaining institutions that are inherently racist and sexist.

Regressives have been successful in fostering a censored, politically correct environment in politics and entertainment.  They've accomplished this by resorting to character assassinations, engaging in identity politics on the basis of one's external traits, deplatforming media and entertainment personalities, and rioting in the streets in order to enforce their new code of ethics and engrain their postmodern ideology into the fabric of American culture.

Naturally, this oppressive behavior has led to a counterculture that rejects what Regressives laud and embraces what they hate.  This includes distrust of the media elite, which is intentionally dishonest, self-censoring, and heavily biased; a desire to promote patriotism and protect national heritage; and, most importantly, a yearning for politicians to fire from the hip and not worry about the laws of political correctness that devalue freedom of speech.

This brings us to President Trump, who may appear like a buffoon whose presidency is a fluke.  However, his ascendency is no accident — Trump correctly identified this counterculture as a sleeping giant waiting to be riled up.  He not only voiced the opinions of many Americans who feared retribution upon speaking their minds, but also gave these Americans a unifying voice on the political scene, allowing them to push back on the rubber band with an equal counter force and gain representation in the Oval Office.

As such, the fate of America's culture is the tug of war that's stretching the rubber band to its limit.  Moreover, the nature of this stretching is particularly toxic, because Americans are divided over more than just ideas.  They're divided over their own identities: white vs. black, men vs. women, native-born vs. immigrants, etc.

Therefore, it's nearly impossible to reach across the rubber band and engage the opposition in a civil, rational debate that could change hearts and minds.  In other words, it's nearly impossible to return people closer to the middle of the rubber band and thereby ease its overall tension.

Unfortunately, at this rate, the rubber band may just need to snap.  Such an event doesn't imply Armageddon.  America was resilient enough to endure the Civil War, which is a time in American history when we can say the rubber band actually broke.  Although many Americans on both sides died, the end result was something we cherish today: the abolishment of slavery.

Although there's no way to predict the aftermath of a snapped rubber band in today's climate, it could again lead to the creation of a new rubber band — one that is stronger and able to continue moving across the table of ideas in a way that improves America and facilitates the progress and happiness of its people.