Series

Our bones and architecture…

“Elected officials are derivative thinkers. Politicians never really have an original idea…”

–Rep Ro Khanna (D-CA)

Creative Politics will be spitballing all the usual policy areas (and hitting them in the back of the head with regularity), with a special emphasis on market, community and technology based solutions, not traditional command-and-control, as part of our overall philosophy. Topically, in all likelihood, we’re likely to focus (with one s, New Yorker!) most on basic governance, the electoral system, the environment, education, employment, grassroots globalization, health (not just care), taxes, and technology, though our ultimate apples of accord will be determined by the Creative Politics community and the authors/creators among us.

But we strongly believe that the siloing of concerns into single issues has been a big part of our problem, and that solutions are going to cross not only boundaries between them but between politics and everything else in the world.  So beyond the purely topical, there are a number of ongoing series we hope to run with, refine and add to with your help, and hope you’ll contribute to as authors & thought leaders, including:

Thought Experiments: Einstein imagined riding on a beam of light; we’ll be imagining the health care system without insurance, higher education without student loans, laws the length of executive summaries (rather than War and Peace), a world without money (or Saudi Arabia), and more, in all cases assuming the system in question still has to meet at least the same baseline goals it has today…

The Art of the Deal: Taking great works of art and applying them to politics, sure, we’re all on that page, painting with the same brush, but even more so we want to highlight all the great deals out there to be made, if only the ‘sides’ were talking to each other, and were willing to apply a little creative art…

Talk, Talk, Talk: Lasting creativity and change is going to begin with dialog.  We’ll explore to the point of virtuoistic verbosity what it will take to vault the Knievel-width chasms in our divided country and make convo constructive, both fig and lit, with plenty of Afropop spice notes spliced in: political phrases that belong in time-out, the best responses to classic mindless arguments (that drive us crazy), mantras for our time, emojis we could use, the ultimate clickbait, neologisms (especially positive ones) for our time, and more…

Politicians 2.0: So often we vote as much for the person as we do for the policies they support. What are the qualities we wish our politicians had to equip them–and us–for the rowdy ride ahead? Who are the model 21st century politicians in our midst, and why…?

Call of the Wild: One of the worst ways to start any persuasive argument today is to assert “the thing that distinguishes man from the animals is…” This series will examine natural phenomena that inspire and move us, and how what we see in and learn from them might be applied to the political world…

Domain Expertise:  Richard III was right–it’s often the “little things” that trip us up, a school of below-the-sonar issues that lead to collective drag we can’t account for, or one problem bigger than we realize that ripples out until it washes kingdoms away. Through what you do for a living, no matter what you do for a living, we believe only you know where many of these landmines lie, on the one hand, and where the secret passages and portals are, on the other. We hope/expect to get writers from a wide variety of occupations telling us what would make their profession, and by extension, our country, hum more efficiently and effectively, maybe even save our collective lives. That’s why we decided not to go glib and call this series Domain Masters or, God help us, DomainTricks…

Fixer-Upping: How often do we hear that we don’t need new laws; we just need to enforce the ones already on the books? And how often is that the end of the story, even though it may be true? The reality is that many of our laws aren’t enforced or downright silly because they’ve never been tweaked or updated to reflect actual conditions in the field. Rather than hold them up for laughs, what rules and regs could benefit from being brought into the 21st century (starting with the Electoral College), and what are the best ways to do it…?

Travel Agency: The beauty of our decentralized form of government is that we have thousands of ‘laboratories of democracy’ running experiments every day.  We’ll be identifying local programs we love, and imagining how they could be spread, expanded–even repurposed– across the country. We won’t be stopped at the border, either, in either direction…

Revivalist History: The great American writer William Faulkner once said (in the middle of one of his least known works, even) that the past isn’t dead; it’s not even past. We agree; we think a lot of clues as to what we should do next lie in what we, as Americans have–as usual–forgotten we did before. Zinn only knows, we’ve achieved, and said, some pretty amazing things while under the influence of novelty and change (OK, so we’ve worn more than a few lampshades too)…

Like A Prayer: What would a revival be without a big tent where we can fill ourselves with American faith, what American faith, faith as Americans, means today? More broadly and trancendentally, what it means to *be* American, what values and rituals are implied, and how best to practice what we’ve preached in our policies…

Seeing, Believing: Life has gotten too meta, and too often our policy positions are both strongly and superficially held as a result. In this series, members of the Creative Politics community will share stories of the personal experiences that have led to their most strongly held political beliefs. Let’s get real, friends, and define American faith further in the process…

Ideaology: Ideas from everywhere–Newton’s laws of motion, relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos, complexity, Moore’s law, the spread, read option, and triangle offenses, sexual and group selection, the red queen hypothesis, fast thinking, slow thinking, Zen, game theory, the periodic table, diversity, the 80/20 rule, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, big data, osmosis, emergence, genetics, memetics, network effects, Bernoulli’s Principle, complementarity, emotional intelligence, dialectics, the golden spiral, antifragility, semiotics (just for starters)–and how they could apply to and inspire politics and policy…

Incorporation: Ways the government, and campaigns, really could and should run more like a business, what we still do best in the world, even as our leadership in other areas crumbles, by applying real business concepts and principles, not just vague myths like greater accountability or efficiency, especially methods that 21st century businesses are using to revolutionize the economic world, like iteration and productization.

Debates Unlimited: Gourmet food fights re: highly provocative questions, the kind that look really rhetorical but really aren’t–e.g. “Is fraud part of what makes America great?”–that deliberately spill into the virtual aisles as you feed your reactions directly into the fray–no “we blogger, you reader” fourth wall here; a great way to get your toes wet playing with us if you’re ready to create a pen name and have a take, but not sure if you’re ready to write full posts yet. And not just enervating questions, but fresh, if alarming perspectives from the kinds of people who used to show up on college campuses, where there used to be honest no-holds-barred intellectual debate, which were the “safe spaces” for that.  We’d love to get this guy, the self-styled Kremlin Stooge, actually a Canadian who is married to a Russian woman, loves the Russian people, and thinks Vladimir Putin is pretty awesome, actually, on for an Axis & Allies-length asynchronous discussion…

Political Science: At our base, at the fulcrum of the only nation founded by persecuted religious groups and followers of the Enlightenment, science is where everything now hangs in the balance, and we will return to it again and again in topics as varied as restoring faith in expertise and diagnosing diseases in the body politic.

Richard Stands: We all start together, in a classroom, hands over hearts, reciting a simple pledge to each other. And we’ll be spending a lot of time and thought on every possible way to get back there, to the United states.

Bronze Bullets:  There are really no silver bullets in policy, but holding out for comprehensive solutions is often idiologue’s errand; not only is it nearly impossible to get the level of supermajority levels of support necessary to enact them, they’re often riddled with misguided mistakes and miscalculations, almost by definition.  But for many problems, there are one or more simple steps that could and should have ripple effects far beyond their initial impact. We call these bronze bullets and this series will be dedicated to exploring them.

Unpopularity Contests: We’ll be polling you regularly, anonymously if you prefer, to get your darkest, craziest beliefs, the ones you’re sure you’d be excommunicated from your political tribe for, if only they knew, this in expectation of surprising you that you’re not only not alone, but much of what you thought was beyond the shale and the fail can actually make policy that’s no longer afraid to speak its name…

Products We Love:  We’re Americans, so we all love products, and we’re all the descendants of immigrants, so we probably all feel a little guilty about it too.  But what if some of the products we love, in the right hands and conditions, could be used to make society a better place? Here’s to making materialism a thing again, in an increasingly abstemious age…

Real Americans: The phrase “illegal aliens” tells you all you need to know how far we have fallen from the nation of immigrants. Aliens? From another planet? Really? At the same time, liberals look at the Trump-supporting white working class voter they see in their mind’s eye and his rallies and ask: who are we trying to deport again? We want this series to be a beginning of the end of that. For each column, an immigrant and a white working class voter will exchange their life stories by email, then a series of questions they’d like to ask each other. Those life stories, those questions and their answers are what you’ll see, not as one-time color near the end of a newscast on a single network, but as an ever-expanding tapestry of who our country is, really, starting where it’s most torn and frayed.

Youtopias: Our youngest bloggers will be in charge of this one, because we’ve handed the precocious generation a real set of conundra to work through in this world we’re leaving behind. If they want to completely slice through the knot, remake everything in their own image, who can blame them? Utopia has gotten a bad rap because so often the individual spirit gets crushed in the pursuit of its perfection.  One thing’s for certain about the iGeneration: they won’t let that happen. Can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Nyasoso: The first of what we hope will be many podcast series. Nyasoso is a tiny village in Cameroon with an outsized impact on the world, thanks to a diaspora that’s surprisingly typical of modern Africa.  We believe that even as the pace of change accelerates to inhuman levels and information explodes beyond even the multitasking capabilities of Shiva, the 21st century will also represent a return to roots and the hard-won wisdom at the origin of man. To this end, we’ll be visiting with and learning from Cameroonians in the homeland and all over the world via vehicles ranging from savings societies to throwdowns, off-licenses to book clubs, talking drums to top 10 lists.

George’s Restaurant & Tavern:  All this thinking can work up a healthy appetite. At the OG George W’s inn at virtual Mt. Vernon, you’ll be able to make and chow or swig down the hottest (be sure to blow) constitutional fare, every recipe with one or more political twists and turns, all poll-tested in our kitchens to insure they’re gaffe-free.

The Spiricorps Chronicles: God’s gone corporate, and he’s got a deep bench of the greatest thinkers in history to help him sort out where to come down on every issue.  But the Lord believes in doing things until they are thoroughly finished (that’s what yieldeth the true glory), so we expect the chronicles will rapidly expand to include political fiction series, powerful stand-alone shorts, political poetry slams, collaboratively written screenplays, and more.

Swan Songs:  A black swan is an event that lies outside normal expectations, and that includes the term itself.  When you hear someone excuse themselves for missing something because it was “a black swan,” it only shows they don’t get it: life in the 21st century is all about seeing the swans before they seize you.  That’s what this series will be about–finding them and turning them back into ducklings.  Example: all of the Internet is backed up on magnetic tape that’s made by only two companies, both located in Japan, along with plenty of earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear power plants: what could go wrong?  These pieces won’t help you sleep at night, but they might help your grandkids to…

Songlines & Perfect Pitches: Playlists for every political mood, purpose, and occasion, pitches for political movies and exhibits we’d like to see, creative political research we’d like to see carried out, more or less…

Everyday Civics: The little things we can all do to make the places we live communities again, with a greater spirit of shared purpose, and the tiny ripples of hope we can send forth beyond city limits to form mighty currents capable of sweeping aside the most daunting of obstacles (yes, we still miss him).  As Elie Wiesel once said, “the opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference…”

21st Century Citizenship: Beyond the everyday, we believe that what it means to be a citizen will change dramatically in this century and government will need to evolve rapidly in response.  21st century citizenship will require active participation by all, with special roles for the young and old; 24/7/365 engagement; the blurring of boundaries between governments and the governed; comprehensive civic education integrated into all subjects at all grade levels, including life; increasing expansion of civic responsibility into all areas of life–individual, organizational, political, community, and social; the bold embrace of technology and globalization as positive forces for change.  Forget shareholder value; in this century, it’s citizen value that must be maximized, and we’ll all be talking about how.

Dear Diaries. Living blog posts by Creative Politics community members telling the ongoing stories of what they’re doing to help our nation get to a better place…

21st Century Warfare. According to McDonald’s rule, war between nations will become increasingly rare, but intrastate conflict appears to be on the rise worldwide. Just because we have faith in most Americans doesn’t mean we don’t think there are bad actors that need to be rooted out (doctor rating sites, for example). So we’ll be tagging commupances in waiting and the 21st century tactics required to bring them upance.

Mischief As Making: Small ways to subvert the status quo, light monkey-wrenching that you can definitely try at home, illustrated and with results

Caretography: Every site needs eye candy, right? For CP that means cool cartograms, our own and others,’ enlivened by our highly elastic definition of what constitutes a map, colorful analysis of what they mean, and–unlike others, who forget a thousand words can penetrate cracks in reality that light and sound cannot reach–creative implications for policy, complete with before and afters of these United States if/when our proposed extreme makeovers are complete.

There Ought To Be An App: Technology is going to be key to reinventing the relationship between government and its citizens, but too often politics is stuck in backwaters, congratulating itself on approaches businesses have been using for decades.  Tech is tee-ball for many of our writers, so we’ll regularly be putting out ideas for apps, services, improvements to existing platforms, even potential hardware that would help online politics finally live up to its promise, with enough detail that, if you’re game (or a gamer), we can build together.

Thin Air:  Organizations and/or movements we wish existed, sometimes for real, sometimes just for a laugh, complete with visualizations of what the homepages of their websites would look like.

Freeing Will: From choice architecture to sunk cost fallacies, we’re learning more all the time about all the ways the human mind can be fooled. So why not figure out the ways we can get our fellow citizens to act more in their own interests instead of asking what’s wrong with the states in which they live, or better yet, how to manipulate them into thinking for themselves?  Why not make the best of the intersection of psychology, biology, and politics?

Aaaahhhhh….click the picture to see more of the 50 most beautiful places in this beautiful world of ours…