When it comes to politics, it should be of no surprise to anyone that we're in uncharted, nonlinear territory now.
Weaponized social networks have seized control of the political process from the traditional political parties and their media gatekeepers. They are in charge now and, more importantly, they are rapidly evolving. Getting more powerful with each passing day.
Here's a good example of how that evolution could could quickly (nearly overnight) go non-linear and plunge us into civil turmoil.
One of the weaponized social networks I'm currently covering is a loosely connected network built on a newly emergent consensus morality (#metoo, etc.). A consensus that it uses to successfully wield social, and increasingly, political power.
This moral network recently expanded with the addition of the #neveragain movement, after the Parkland shootings. In the past, a movement like #neveragain would be focused on gun control through changes in government legislation. Now that it's part of this weaponized moral network, that focus is going to change.
Why? This weaponized network isn't interested in just changing legislation. It's far more ambitious than that. It wants to change everyone's behavior and it is building the means to do it. Here's how.
As we've seen with #metoo and the doxing of #altright, this network is strongest when it personalizes its attacks. It does this by using the network to discover, document, and then punish the behavior of specific individuals for violations of this consensus morality. So, even if something isn't illegal or within your rights as an individual, you will still get publicly slammed.
For example, if you say something considered hate speech online (Jack Murphy is a good example), you will lose your job and access to society (in his case: coaching his son's Little League team). Or, if a rumor of workplace harassment puts you on a list, you will get fired or (at least) socially ostracized.
With this in mind, how will the moral network personalize attacks against people who own guns legally?
- They won't do it by discussing it on the TV talk show circuit or pushing new legislation. The members of this network have already lost faith in that process.
- They will do it by establishing strict moral limits on the capacity of an individual to commit acts of violence. You can already see this new 'consensus' emerging. A growing sense that anyone who owns a gun is immoral, unsafe, and a threat to society.
- With that goal mind, the network can get working on the next step: shunning gun owners en masse and disconnecting them from society until they recant.
At this point, this doesn't seem possible, without legislation to back it up. However, that can change quickly. This effort gets teeth, and the capacity to impact millions of people simultaneously, through a list. A list of gun owners. A list built in part using leaked/stolen government data and through the reporting of friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and more. A list that is potentially stored in a blockchain for durability and enhanced with rumors (statements or pictures of people on the list that makes them look dangerous). With this list in hand, network members would then turn up the pressure on individuals:
- Employers would refuse employment or fire individuals who own guns, in the name of workplace safety, at the urging of other employees.
- Parents would put pressure on schools to ban the parents who own guns from attending school functions or put in place extra security at schools targeting children living in gun owning households.
- With pictures and and a little open source facial recognition software, anyone on the list could be IDed by anyone with a smart phone.
Get the picture? In short, everything from getting access to a building to renting an apartment to getting a date could get very hard for reputed gun owners to do nearly overnight.
All without legislation or government regulations.
Scare you a bit? It should.
PS: For more on topics like this, check out the Global Guerrillas Report