This Quartz article about a billionaire's club called Sineidesis ("conscience") comes at the question of "what in the world is happening" from an unusual variety of perspectives. Is this part of a 16-year cycle of Rep/Dep shifts? If you look at that cycle more carefully, do you have to make up pre-Galilean epicycles to make it fit? Is this 476 A.D. Rome, or the French Revolution? Are we in the middle of a vast shift in the tides of globalism? Can a consortium of civic-minded billionaires force private capital to take over where the U.S. government leaves off in battling hotcoldwetdry and making the world safe for Big Bird? More to the point from my perspective, can they find a way to get ordinary citizens and workers invested in their aims out of enlightened self-interest? Are we lurching between authoritarianism and populism, and if so which one are we leaving, and which are we heading for?
The author fails to light on any particular convincing explanation, but I did appreciate the acknowledgement that institutions with an appearance of solid eternity have often been known to melt away almost overnight, if their foundations become brittle, narrow, and unpopular. It's as though the consent of one's fellow human beings persistently mattered, no matter how certain one may be that he is acting in their own best interests, which they're too ignorant to understand.
I was sorry to find the article ending with a snooty little dig at fake news. The author assumes that anyone not taking the establishment press at face value must have lost its allegiance to Truth, as backwards an assessment as I can easily imagine. Does no one realize that if you lie long enough, people who care about truth will find other ways to satisfy that thirst? I struggle with the idea that the press does not know it is stuffed with liars, and yet they clearly do lack this self-awareness. It's the only way they could conclude that "people don't care about facts any more."