Hegel

Georg Hegel (Wikipedia)

After 9/11, there was a massive push from our citizens to quickly put “boots on the ground” in Afghanistan. My first gut reaction was: this won’t end well.

After Germany fully opened its borders to immigrants from Syria, I thought: there’s going to be push-back.

No, I’m not a political scientist, and I don’t try to predict the future. But, I did major in Econ. & Political Science, and I try to observe human behavior. What I’ve seen time and time again is what’s called the “Hegelian Dialectic.”

Georg Hegel was a monumental German political philosopher. He formulated a theory that says this: there’s behavioral momentum to do X; later, there’s a counter-reaction; then, the two forces combine and settle on a middle road.

You see this often with entrepreneurship and venture capital investing. There’s a new flavor of ice cream perceived as “hot.” Then, it’s perceived as “dead.” Then, there’s a bounce back. Think of ad. tech., which has gone through numerous momentum shifts over the past decade: up and down, up and down.

The key in VC is to buy low and to sell high. And, to realize that reality is usually in the middle: things aren’t as great as they were during the peak, and they’re not as bad as they seem during the nadir.

I’m thinking of all this as we get ready for the two political conventions. This will be an election process bordering on the interesting, infuriating, and comical, at least, for me.

When the President was re-elected in 2012, I wrote (here) that the U.S. was undergoing a massive transformation: the “male white vote” was mattering less and less. I didn’t then think of the Hegelian Dialectic.

But, it’s now obvious to me that Donald Trump’s rise among older working-class white males (and, others) is partially due to a reaction: females and non-whites helped re-elect an African-American President.

In that perspective, Trump is a natural outcome. If it were not he to champion an anti-immigrant stance, there would be someone else. This is all about the counter-reaction that has taken place. It’s why the “Make America Great Again” moniker really appeals to certain people, who likely desire a return to a white-and-male power structure.

It’s a bit self-centered to quote from your prior blog post, but the text below still represents how I think four years later:

My two cents is that this country will become more difficult to govern. We used to be homogeneous. We no longer are. I think that’s a good thing long-term. Short-term, though, the conflicting agendas will make it more difficult to compromise.

I know that’s probably not a view that you want to hear, but that’s my honest opinion. It just means we all have to compromise more in politics.

Yes, we have to learn to compromise. That will be the key factor in our political climate going forward.

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