I re-read "Is Enron Overpriced" every now and then because McLean is a very fine writer with a clear, effortless voice and a flare for weaving facts into a compelling narrative. And because ours is a world in which many emperors wear no clothes but can convince us they’re robed in the finest silks. Also because there will always another Enron out there, lurking just beyond our unexamined assumptions and our greed.
There's no such thing as wisdom anymore because there's no longer enough time for information to develop into wisdom like fine wine, or a diamond. Societal changes and tech advancements ultimately destroy the knowledge our species once knew as wisdom—replacing it with acumen, expertise, skill, “hot takes,” and trend spotting.
How culture war works is obvious. It weaponizes beliefs. It's about not thinking too much. It’s about staking claims on complex issues as if our own lived and immediate experiences were enough. Culture war doesn't have or need a reading list. It can't be complex. The simpler the better. Thus we're all culture warriors because we’re all pissed off about something, and being pissed off now is its own kind of deep, unshakable truth. Conversations with people who disagree with us don’t matter. Data shows those people aren't part of our lives anyway.
The 241 to 194 advantage House Republicans have over Democrats was seemingly a sure deathblow to the signature achievement of the last administration. Indeed, the GOP was complacent with no help at all from Democrats. But Republicans’ range of likely to pass alternatives arrived with what I call a "Ryan's Choice."
"Producing goods and services is only possible because of the nexus of transactions, networks and ideologies that we think of as global capitalism. Ideology conditions us to believe that the real economy makes the virtual economy possible. However, the reverse—that our sense of a “real” economy is only possible because there’s a “virtual” economy that circulates capital through it—has been true at least since the advent of digital transactions and probably since the transition from the Bretton Woods version of the gold standard."
A more “open-ended” narrative that political operatives and the media have a more difficult time managing is that the “Russia, WikiLeaks, and the Election of 2016” story is itself a small part of a larger narrative about America’s particular historical moment.
The decline of fossil-fuel based (post)industrial economy is a much more likely threat to complex society than the nuclear war that rapidly simplifies Mad Max's world.