I am starting to notice an increasing belief by many that as the world becomes more chaotic, we need stronger leaders and a heavier hand in managing the country’s direction. This thinking is entirely backward. People are becoming less restricted by borders and can take their business, friendships, and communities online. That’s not something we can manage.
Politics affects life at the margins – it is the micro, not the macro. The more significant, global trends changing the world cannot be affected by a vote. America is where it is today much more because of globalization, the development of the internet, and other technologicial improvements, than anything Reagan or Clinton did. It will be the same in 2050, where the changes in America will have had little to do with who we vote into office in 2024 or 2028, just the way that where we are today has little to do with 1988 or 1992.
So if the world is changing in ways that are primarily outside of our control, shouldn’t we focus on the things we can control? The things we can change with a vote?
Well… If what you want to accomplish politically goes against the larger macro ways that the world is changing, it will not work.
The digital age really started in earnest last year, in 2020. Everything else was just a prologue. We understand this to a degree. Most of us acknowledge that, for example, remote work will continue to increase in popularity. What that actually means though is that physical borders are becoming less important than ever. Where you are physically located means less and less, and we’re only at the start of that. Physical borders are breaking down.
Yet, at the same time that physical borders are becoming less important, many of us are becoming increasingly desperate to push the country into the mold of our desired political beliefs. And those two things are at odds with one another.
Think about this.. Political rules, laws, programs, regulations, influence, whatever, are the equivalent of societal borders – attempts to box society into a particular future. And at the same time that physical borders are breaking down, the consensus seems to be that we need stronger societal borders.
I think these two views are incompatible.
The breakdown of physical borders and societal borders are caused by the same inevitable force – the natural progression of the digital age. Nobody is going to be able to ‘choose’ how the country should develop. It’s just going to happen for reasons that are bigger than what we have control over. When we think about what we want to achieve politically, we should keep this in mind.
Keep thinking about this idea of borders, both physical and societal. They are both are breaking down. It’s time to embrace the borderless nature of the digital world, not try to reign it in. You can’t fight the larger forces at play. Instead, you have to learn how to adapt your philosophy to the changing world.