America’s Shark Jump

The term “Shark Jump” comes from a show called Happy Days, where after many weak episodes a main character jumps a motorcycle over a shark on water skis.

The moment was meaningful because it meant the show was over, and many dying TV shows have their own versions of the same.

Our country’s Shark Jump was likely the election of Donald Trump as president, but we won’t know for sure for some time.

What I find more interesting about the term is that the shark jump itself isn’t the end. The jump is the moment that people realize it’s over. That’s when they look at each other with the WTF face, and start taking inventory of the last several episodes.

That’s what happened when Trump took the top position in the country.

The factors

Here are the primary factors that indicate we’ve jumped the shark as a nation, which double as arguments that we will never recover.

  1. Everyone feels like a victim. Black people, white people, transgendered people, whoever. They’re all focusing inward on themselves and not thinking about the whole.
  2. There is no middle. The right has become more right. The left has become more left. And the middle is sick of both. But with every volley of vitriol we’re seeing
  3. There are active external campaigns to exacerbate these wounds. I’m going to add links to the notes below, but there are frequent campaigns by countries like Russia to make groups within the United States more angry. Think Weaponized Narrative applied to black folks, the midwest, etc. You can see the fake (and real) news campaigns against Clinton as examples of this targeted at old white people.
  4. The enemy is unified. Russia and China have their own issues, but what makes them powerful is a population with a deep love of their country and a desire to see it survive and dominate on a world stage. America is losing that, if it hasn’t already.
  5. The enemy is waiting. Russia and China are smiling like muggers watching a rich, limping person walking alone at sunset. When we falter, they’ll be waiting with the conviction to take advantage.

Balkanization

The short version is that all these trends point to fragmentation and disintegration of the country.

We fight among ourselves. We demonize each other. We become asian, middle-eastern, hispanic, white, black, native, indian, transgender, whatever. instead of American. The rhetoric becomes increasingly hostile. People start objecting to being ruled by people who are not of “their kind”, whatever they think that means.

People from Mexico don’t like black people. Neither do people from Asia. Many non-asian minorities don’t like asians. Many in the midwest have a problem with non-whites. Then you have the white costal liberals who insist on equality to such a degree that they demand identity politics, which further drives people apart.

That sound you hear is a ripping of the nation’s fabric.

And our enemies love it. They feed on it. They instigate it. And they will benefit from it once the successions start.

Russia’s power is focused around their white people. It’s easy to tell who is “Russian” and who isn’t. China is the same. If you’re not Chinese you aren’t accepted, period. Outsiders might as well be sub-human. We can argue the downsides of this approach all day long, but when it comes to surviving as a country for five or ten centuries it’s a massive advantage.

The trump event

What Trump’s election did was show that the American people are so ignorant that they’re willing to elect people based on emotional tricks as opposed to character and message.

  • Trump lies constantly. Doesn’t matter.
  • He’s outwardly mysogynistic. Doesn’t matter.
  • He doesn’t read books. Doesn’t matter.
  • He doesn’t respect experts. Doesn’t matter.
  • He’s plainly not qualified to perform his job. Doesn’t matter.

He keeps making the noises of bringing back a white middle class, and that’s enough for them. It doesn’t matter that he can’t articulate plans, based on facts, that would actually make that happen.

It doesn’t matter because neither Trump nor the people he’s talking to could even tell the difference between lie and truth on those accounts, because the issues themselves are complex and require you read books and high quality news on the topics.

They’re complex and nuanced, not simple and emotional.

Emotion over ideas

That, ultimately, is the actual reason for the downfall. It’s what brought us the Trumpian Shark Jump. America became a population of idiots. And idiots can be lead around by their emotions.

  • We don’t read.
  • We don’t know history.
  • We can’t tell fake news from truth.
  • We hate everyone who doesn’t look like us because our car salesman leaders told us they’re the problem.
  • We don’t believe in evolution.
  • We reject man-made climate change.
  • We don’t know that Obamacare and the ACA are the same thing.
  • We couldn’t find major countries on an unlabeled map.

We’re a bunch of fucking idiots. And you can’t have idiots and a democracy at the same time. It doesn’t work.

Summary

  1. Trump getting elected was the Shark Jump.
  2. The actual problem was America becoming a nation of idiots.
  3. I don’t see any way to fix it.
  4. Pray for brain drugs and AI to fix our IQ and education problem.
  5. The alternative is America eventually being carved up by world powers who are either dictatorships or evolved democracies with intelligent and informed populations.

Notes

  1. Image from http://www.cltampa.com/news-views/article/20764819/trumps-comment-on-punishing-women-who-get-abortions-has-he-finally-jumped-the-shark.
  2. I am aware that there are internal struggles in places like Russia and China, but the ties that bind them seem far stronger than what we have in America, at least right now.

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I do a weekly show called Unsupervised Learning, where I collect the most interesting stories in infosec, technology, and humans, and talk about why they matter. You can subscribe here.

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