Ding-Dong: The Final Post
Note: This short post has been waiting in the queue for over two years. “The time has come,” the Walrus said, to release it and move on to something new.
We launched Red Team Journal in 1997 concerned that a lingering hubris infected the U.S. military post-Desert Storm. We viewed honest red teaming as one possible antidote. A lot has changed in the past two decades, and while we still think the U.S. military needs honest red teaming, the problems we now must consider seem (at least to us) so much broader.
What problems? In short, just about everything—we don't believe that the United States (or the West as a whole) can sustain its overall quality of life without a major rethink, whether we define this quality of life economically, socially, politically, or in some other way.
We started detailing some issues with supporting arguments and evidence. We then realized how long this would take (it deserves a book), so what follows is just a list of interrelated issues with phrases appended to each. We use phrases from both sides of the widening cultural divide, so don't be alarmed if one or two of them rattle your Weltanschauung.
The system we call "society" is more fragile than we care to admit. Power grid. Massive "cyber" dependencies. Pandemic. Peak oil. WMD.
The system is over-leveraged. Government debt. Private debt. Perpetual war. The costs of empire.
It's too discordant. Wealth gap. Fake news. Gun violence/control. The deep state. Global warming. Panopticon. White privilege.
We're remarkably materialistic and wasteful. Throw-away consumerism. Intercontinental garbage shipments. The Pacific trash vortex.
We're on the cusp of radical technological changes unlike anything we've seen yet. AI. Robotics. Genetic engineering.
We've lost all sense of proportion. Social media. Celebrity news. Road rage. Black Friday.
So much possibility intertwined with so much vulnerability and frustration—it’s not a time for polemics and rigid, either/or thinking.
We'll close this iteration of RTJ with Ariel's Song from The Tempest, which seems fitting:
Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change,
Into something rich and strange,
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,
Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.