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The RESTORATION Project (11:56)
Integrate the Extremes
INTRODUCTORY NOTE: The following is an experiment in meta-level or integrative politics. There are many smart ways to go about cultivating a developmental, transpartisan politics but this one present some interesting opportunities. I have called it the “Restoration Project” and added “11:56” to distinguish it from other projects that might also use the same magnificent word.
THE RESTORATION PROJECT (11:56)
Political change must be preceded by the emergence of a political spirit. Although real changes to our lives are downstream from more advanced voting processes and economic models, none of that matters unless we have the shared energy and spirit to mobilize toward those changes. Therefore a distinct ethos & aesthetic must be produced in sufficient quantities in order to begin occupying a “share” of the culture. Our mood and style must be clarified before either policies or candidates are considered. Otherwise we have nothing by which to evaluate those candidates and policies. It would be a sad, Pyrrhic victory if we selected a winning political candidate who did not embody the authentic spirit of our party. The political spirit of the Restoration Project has three key qualities: transpartisan, anti-centrist & antifragile.
The political spirit we need today must be transpartisan. Although the majority of our proposed systemic upgrades are strongly aligned with the authentic progressive left, we cannot (and should not) succeed without the emotional flavor of conservative ruralists & populists. We will never make significant headway against the overwhelming bureaucratic, political, corporate and media forces unless we are stabilized, strengthened and enriched by leading-edge conservative populism. The goal of meta-politics is to establish a new center at a higher level. That requires that we enfold aesthetic and atmospheric element from both “ends” of the political spectrum.
The political spirit we need today must be anti-centrist. Establishing a new center means that our chief adversary is the existing center. Moderate, compromised, incrementalist, middle-way politics has been in control for a long time — trading off between its pretend conservatives and its pretend liberals. The “status quo” of modern politics is the enemy of both pre-modern and post-modern value systems. Despite the virtues of liberal modernity, it is aggressively and intentionally inhibiting vital national progress and it cannot fix itself. It co-opts the rhetoric of ruralists & cosmopolitans, hillbillies & hippies, academics & instinctualists. By defining the “sides” it maintains bipartisan control of the corporate and military apparatus of the state while repelling all attempts to advance the nation according to the popular intelligence of the people. We want to balance both ends of political polarization against the center and both post-modern and pre-modern instincts against modern instincts (not because we don’t value them but because they are massively dominant and sabotages the predecessors and successors). The notion of a party that appeals to all ‘memetic tribes’ overlooks the fact that liberal and conservative centrists are massively in control of modern institutions, hidden behind conventional political alternatives and aggressively disposed to move against anyone who represents the populist or progressives interests of the citizens. If you do not prepare to fight them then you will lose — because they are prepared to fight you on all fronts while claiming to be the custodians of your values. Since we need a contrast, an enemy, in order to do politics — we choose centrists. They have demonized radicals on both sides, now let the edges demonize the center. This hyperbolic language in no way suggests that we will throw out sensible modern virtues and institutions but they must be significant de-centered and reduced in their control over how society and the economy functions. Our slogan is: integrate the extremes.
The political spirit we need to today must be antifragile. We must be aggressive, open, good-humored, able to embrace and spin any public shadow narratives that arise against us. We are the opposite of fragile Woke politics and fragile White Nationalism. We do not mind giving or receiving offense. Immediate public and media reaction does not determine whether something was successful or not in the long term. We are ready to lean in and double down. If it is not causing a confused stir then it probably doesn’t have the power to lead the nation. We must create politics that are ready to black swans and accumulating dangers, but to begin with we must ourselves become relaxed and confident about being called names or creating public disturbances. This is important because the standard modern “liberal” playbook will ask us to relinquish power because we (or our allies) are controversial, not nice, potentially regressive, etc.
The propaganda aesthetic of The Restoration Project is to integrate very left & very right symbolism. It does not compromising between them or market to any one of them on their own. We are not interest in where moderation goes — which is always back into the current power structure. We want HOT and COLD combined at the expense of TEPID.
The notions of RESTORATION and RESTORE are common to both environmentalists & traditionalists. Whether you want to get back to the authentic roots of the Church or back to the authentic roots of the Worker’s Movement. It is human nature to imagine possible realities as if the represents a return to actual past conditions and therefore we will emotionally exploit this transpartisan aesthetic opportunity.
There must be a balance between “symbolic emphasis” and “conceptual expansion.” Our aesthetic is balanced when it provides symbolic emphasis for mythic-membership minds and inclusive, contextually-aware concepts for post-formal minds. The balance is between two qualitative different forms of emphasis.
Examples of this form of thinking:
You can see that the underlining favors the rural, patriotic, localist and conservative emotional base while the general concept or rubric favors the cosmopolitan, ethically-engaged, intellect.
IMAGINE Jack Daniels whisky & a healthy piece of kale. IMAGINE a guy with a handgun protecting the solar panels in the back of his beaten up truck. IMAGINE the transgender’d daughter of a wholesome Midwest family leading the pre-dinner Christian prayer. IMAGINE the advertisement says: “If you don’t love the Post-Office, then you don’t love AMERICA.” IMAGINE green replacing blue on the American flag. IMAGINE John Wayne gardening organic mushrooms. IMAGINE baseball on Mars. The ethos of the Restoration Project is specifically engaged in the integration of incongruous opposites. It is the future and the past working together to overcome the present.
IMAGINE that was an actual politic ad?
We expect everyone to be unhappy with this line of messaging. It is good if people have uneasy feelings or philosophical complaints about this aesthetic. Integrating the extremes against the center will inevitably offer something attractive and repulsive to everyone. Nobody gets everyone they want. We are explicitly opposed to targeting single value-groups or trying to land in the middle muddle between “sides”. It is not mark against us that we work with people whose ideology you hate. Working with people is not an endorsement of those people. Guilt by association is self-destructive “puritan” scheme that thwarts your own ideals. To work with the “other side” is an attempt to use them in order to open wedge into the future AND to create a politics that reaches beyond people who “understand what WE think is true”.
Long before a universal Christian Church was established in the Roman Empire, there was a long public campaign of incongruous symbolism. The new sect was both Jewish & Anti-Jewish, both Peaceful & Rebellious. Their symbols indicated a disquieting combination of Death and Eternal Life. This upset many people and intrigued many others. Eventually this ethos changed history and summoned forth a slew of legal, economic, military and educational changes that were vetted by the agents of this unfamiliar but rising ethos.
Let’s take a risk…