Anyone who read my post yesterday is probably confused by 1) this domain name and 2) my mention of it being my “first post”. This blog is a reboot of my previous site (where the older posts came from). I’m starting over in hopes that it will incentivize me to take blogging seriously again. This post will explain my plans for this blog, and with any luck, convince you to come along for that ride. I had imagined writing a longer and more thoughtful introduction, but events have conspired to force my hand. When in doubt, start.
… one must never allow disorder to continue so as to escape a war. Anyhow one does not escape; the war is merely postponed to one’s disadvantage.Machiavelli, The Prince
For several years, I fell out of the habit of writing regularly. I would occasionally post something on Medium, but mostly I just lapsed into silence (except on Twitter, where I’m rather noisy). Inertia took hold, and the habit of not writing eventually replaced my habit of regularly doing so. I regret this mistake.
Writing clarifies thinking. It also preserves a record of unadulterated and imperfect thought. Reading old blog posts of mine, I get a sense of what was in my mind at the time of writing. I can see specific patterns or beliefs that I’ve since outgrown, but also interesting ideas that I had lost and forgotten. To make up for my sloth, I’ll be writing one post a day for a little while. So much thought has gunked up my brain without being released that it’s time for a core dump.
My main aims with this blog are:
- Capture what I see happening in politics
- Tie these thoughts to ongoing technological trends
Why “techiavellian”? Technology has changed the nature of power and politics so dramatically in recent years that I think we need a new term. Calling the behavior of powerful people today “Machiavellian” doesn’t do it justice. Niccolò Machiavelli would never have predicted the strange technological world we now inhabit. I suspect, though, that he would recognize the human behavior driving it. He would be intimately familiar with the likes of Donald Trump. This should not be read as an endorsement of any particular idea of Machiavelli’s – he’s an interesting character, and this was an available domain name. Don’t worry, I won’t be bending over backwards to force every current event or trend into a Machiavelli quote.
Why now? Technology and politics are evolving at a rapid pace. No one knows what’s happening, but everyone has an opinion about it. There is no historical precedent for this moment. I simply want to lay down my thoughts on these subjects as clearly as I can, and you can decide for yourself whether they’re valuable. To some degree, this is a log of my thinking for my future self.
Why me? To be honest, I’m not the best-equipped for this task, but I’m going to give it a try. I’ve often heard writers say that one should only write a book if it would cause more pain not to write it. This is how I feel about this blog – I sincerely hope that it will be useful to others, but I will continue writing regardless. I may also open it up to contributions from others (DM me on Twitter if this interests you).
Not all posts will combine technology and politics, and some will involve neither. This will merely be the backdrop. I hope that you’ll join me.