I pretty much nailed all my predictions for 2021, in particular I wrote about right-wing extremism:
I fully expect Trump, unconstrained by the people that surround him in the White House today, to become even more unhinged and try to inspire even more violent acts of terrorism."
I wrote that two weeks before Jan 6th.
I also wrote about the roots of that violence as a loss of power:
And the majority of these were from leftist groups, in an age when the country had started to take a turn to the right. My theory is that the political violence is a reaction from people that know the popular opinion has turned against them; it was leftists during the 70s and it will be right-wingers, nee Trumpists, in the 2020s.
This great article in the Atlantic takes a deeper dive, and puts a finer point on the roots of the violence:
In the CPOST polls, only one other statement won overwhelming support among the 21 million committed insurrectionists. Almost two-thirds of them agreed that “African American people or Hispanic people in our country will eventually have more rights than whites.” Slicing the data another way: Respondents who believed in the Great Replacement theory, regardless of their views on anything else, were nearly four times as likely as those who did not to support the violent removal of the president.
Pape drew an analogy to Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, at the dawn of the Troubles. “In 1968, 13 percent of Catholics in Northern Ireland said that the use of force for Irish nationalism was justified,” he said. “The Provisional IRA was created shortly thereafter with only a few hundred members.” Decades of bloody violence followed. And 13 percent support was more than enough, in those early years, to sustain it.
In my 2021 article I quoted from Time: The Bombings of America That We Forgot to point out the violence that left-wing extremists had visited upon America as they were losing power:
In a single eighteen-month period during 1971 and 1972 the FBI counted an amazing 2,500 bombings on American soil, almost five a day.
I don’t expect things to improve in 2022, in fact, I believe they will only get worse.
For example, if the GOP does win back the House in the mid-terms you can fully expect them to dismantle the Jan 6th committee and do their best to expunge any memory of that day.
But there’s a chance they may lose, and I know this is a real concern for the GOP because I keep seeing them emphasize how “the opposing party always wins the mid-terms”, anticipating a loss they are priming another “stolen election” narrative. Imagine Jan 6th style attacks, but this time at a dozen state houses across the country.
Similarly, you might hold out hope for Trump being jailed for offenses in NY, and while that would stop him from be able to hold rallies, the faithful will only point to his incarceration as political oppression, and no doubt that will be used to feed their fear and violence.
Omicron looks like it will be the last major wave of Covid as it becomes an endemic part of everyday life.
The massive effort spent on fighting Covid will provide benefits for years to come as it accelerated mRNA development by a decade or two, pushed even more R&D into anti-virals and cytokine storms, and will probably trigger a whole new wave of students that want to go into related fields of study. But we’ll have to wait for those benefits, 2022 will be mostly focused on mopping up the mess.
Over the last 40 years an incredibly efficient international trade and transport system has been built. The problem is that “efficient” is the opposite of “robust”, and in the face of Covid the lack of robustness came to the surface.
I expect that over the course of the year that bottlenecks will be resolved, but I don’t hold out much hope for concerted efforts to increase the robustness of the system, which is unfortunate, as global warming will only increase the chances of further disruptions going forward.
Global warming won’t get any better in 2022. We’ll see incremental improvements in solar cell efficiency, and battery storage, and many more EVs will roll off production lines, but barring some breakthrough in fusion energy or the eruption of a volcano large enough to affect the climate (which would bring along its own set of problems), I only see us spending more time and money on accommodating climate change, ala supply change disruptions I alluded to above.
Don’t get me wrong, the incremental improvements are the way we win on the long run, but in the short run I expect the effects of global warming to only get worse.
Remember: 2021 was the coldest year on record for the next 100 years.
The same will be true for 2022.
Happy New Year!