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"Turbo-America" is Beginning to Resonate
I'm just as shocked as you are
When I first wrote Turbo-America in April of this year, we were two months into the war in Ukraine and well over a year into the Biden regime.
My intent was to objectively analyze the global situation at the moment that one of the hegemonic USA’s challengers i.e. “revisionist power” decided to call its bluff. My analysis suggested to me that the USA has not only shaken off internal destabilization due to the perceived threat emanating from the non-systemic challenge known as Donald Trump, but that it felt that it was also the right moment to reinforce its global hegemonic position.
Many people insisted that I was wrong and that the USA is getting weaker. Still others agreed with my overall assessment, but highlighted “the energy” that convinced and continues to convince them that something is rotten within the USA, and that it poses an existential threat to it. For the former, I disagreed and continue to do so. For those pointing out “the energy”, I will openly state that such intangibles are real and can never be discounted. The gut doesn’t lie, but we must be able to understand what exactly our gut is telling us.
A criticism that I can accept in total is that it is quite possible that the USA is acting as belligerently as it is at present on the global stage out of a sense of desperation regarding its standing in fear that it is ebbing away. This remains to be seen, but I accept it as a possibility.
N.S. Lyons decided to share some thoughts on my Turbo America argument earlier today:
In the meantime, the shepherd-sage of Croatia, Niccolo Soldo, whose “Fisted by Foucault” has won most hilarious Substack blog name for like two years running, has written one of the more interesting takes I’ve seen on the elections’ broader meaning for the world. His argument is that, with “the Trump presidency a mere speedbump that is now in the rear view mirror,” the ruling oligarchy of what’s been described elsewhere on The Upheaval as the “Extreme Center” has now firmly demonstrated its ability to leverage institutional power to break apart and fight off populist challenges from both right and left. Overall the big takeaway should thus be that:
The US regime is stable and has shook off internal threats to it with ease, while moving against the two big powers that it wants to cut down to size.
Populism of the left or the right does not serve the empire. This is why you, as a populist, right wing American, should view yourself as a citizen of Rome, living on the Italian peninsula some time in between the rule of Emperors Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, unhappy with all of these Levantines washing ashore, transforming the cities stretching from Syracuse on the island of Sicily up to Mediolanum. You are not at the tail end of US Empire, but rather somewhere in the middle (possibly even at its height).
He adds that:
The desire to see yourself at the centre of a tumultuous era, where the end of a regime takes place reflects the psychological condition that I described at the beginning of this essay. It’s no different than the apocalyptic cults surrounding extremist Climate Change activists, or the various “end of the world” sects throughout human history. This is perfectly natural behaviour.
I am sad to report to you that the end of the USA is nowhere in sight, the regime has reinforced itself, and it is now back to business as usual.*
*no regime is permanent, and an Act of God/Black Swan event could create the conditions for real change
I would of course strongly disagree with the idea that we’re not “at the centre of a tumultuous era” – I think the evidence that we’re living through an immense technological, cultural, and spiritual crisis are all around us and accelerating by the day. But I nonetheless agree with his assessment that, for the time being at least, the geopolitical situation has solidified, with the American regime and its global position now appearing to be not only relatively stable but potentially entering a period of unprecedented power.
This is exactly what I tried to get at in The World Order Reset back in April. Geopolitically, the fact that Russia, China, and Europe all seem intent on committing national suicide means that for the immediate future there are no longer any “great powers” that remain capable of effectively challenging American global hegemony. Darth Brandon has managed to stumble, Jar Jar Binks style, into almost complete imperial dominance.
Domestically I suspect this geopolitical supremacy will also have a subtle but powerful effect in helping to further prop up the Center, lending it the sheen of historical inevitability and a façade of moral legitimacy (since nothing seems to make right like might). Meanwhile the economic benefits that will increasingly flow disproportionately to the imperial metropole will make dissent appear even more alarmingly unprofitable to the elite.
We are more likely living through a great centralization of power than its collapse. So yes, we’re in something like a peak imperial (and post-republic) phase, not the crumbling end of empire, yet. And in this context perhaps the ideological upheaval now plaguing the West is simply a function of the ruling imperial elite sensing the time has come where they can finally abandon any restraint in using state power to force their favored cult religio-ideological beliefs on the rest of the world, including on their own wayward provincials.
So Niccolo’s Roman analogy would maybe better be adapted to say that we’re simultaneously at some post-Constantinian point, where the Imperial Center has already converted and all the old temples are being systematically strangled, emptied out, and torn down to make way for the new faith. (Niccolo has a great series of posts reviewing Edward Watts marvelous The Final Pagan Generation, so he knows what’s up).
Also give me a break Niccolo: surely we’re past Aurelius and at least well into Commodus?
As mentioned last week, Academic Agent aired a podcast for his tens of thousands of subscribers on YouTube on the subject of “Turbo-America”:
Give it a listen if you have the time. The response has been quite positive.
Turbo-America also grew out of an earlier and just as important article:
This essay, written just shortly after Biden entered the White House, tried to explore in depth my rejection of the idea of a ‘collapsing USA’ that was being argued in many quarters (and still is), suggesting instead that it was TRANSFORMING into something new and even more powerful, that of an ideological state.
Turbo-America was followed up with “Hubris”:
While Trump was in office, my mind was constantly trying to decide whether a post-Trump USA would go after Russia or China first, or whether it would attempt to strike out at both, albeit in different ways. It chose the last option, which indicates hubris.
Many were still unsatisfied with my thesis, so I decided to explain to them using elite theory that the US regime is nowhere in danger of falling apart:
I even dared to make a graphic to illustrate my position as simply as possible:
These four essays explain roughly 95% of what I meant and mean when I say “Turbo-America”.
Many of you are new to my argument, so here it is handed to you on a plate to digest. Maybe you agree with it, maybe you don’t. Maybe you like some bits and don’t like others.
Subscriber Curtis Völkle has done me the honour of turning my “On Heavy Rotation” selection of music into a YouTube playlist. Click here to check it out and lemme know in the comments what you think of it.
One Final Note
I apologize for missing last weekend’s Saturday Commentary and Review entry, but I came down with a nasty stomach virus on Friday, the day I was scheduled to travel (and I still did it, and it was not pleasant). In between constant work, lots of Substacking, and more and more country-hopping, my body demanded that I get some sleep, so I slept the entire weekend to recharge my batteries. We will be back on schedule this weekend (I might make post this weekend’s entry on Friday), despite me continuing to move around the continent over the next week and a half. I appreciate your patience!