Illusion of Representation: The Politics of Metamodernism


“The illusion of leadership and sustainable disbelief are the hallmarks of the performance art of politics.”

By Irwin Ford
Bobby Jindal (below) Republican Governor of Louisiana.

Metamodern Politics. The Illusion of RepresentationThere are many illusions that Americans accept without question: The illusion of the liberal media; the myth that socialism means governmental control over every aspect of our lives and the illusion that American politics is truly representational. Like George Carlin said, “They call it the American Dream; ‘cause ya’ gotta be asleep to believe it.”

America has become a vivid example of yet one more civilization in decline. There are those who are aware, do their homework and go further than any sound-bite has gone before. But they seem to be vastly outnumbered. This has to do with the multi-pronged attack against enlightenment and reason which is being perpetrated on our society and has been since the 70’s.

We are taught (if we are fortunate enough to have any government or community citizenship classes left in our high school curriculum), that there are fundamental principles on which our nation was built upon. Those of which have always been, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

They teach us the value of capitalism, as if it were a form of government, and the freedom and opportunity allowed by a free market economy. They talk about representation, the Bill of Rights and freedom of speech. All of this provides us with some insight to forward into our decision making process. But here’s the problem:

We have a two party system whose parties at one time had very different values and priorities. Each served their prospective constituencies with some integrity. Up until about the mid-seventies much of that began to change and a heavy handed tip of the scales to the right and moneyed interests was underway. By the stroke of Midnight on December 31, 1979, the veil of convoluted corporate chicanery had fallen upon us. The illusion of representation became ever more prominent.

By 1978 money had become speech and all bets were off for campaign finance reform. By the 80’s corporate monopolies were declaring open season on both the government and the citizenry. The corporate lifestyle was becoming ingrained and Reagan was the answer. After that both parties merged closer to the “center” for lack of a better word; but their center must have meant the “Corporate Center”, as now many of Americans are being forced to the fringe.

Leaping ahead into the metamodern, we are compelled to listen to speeches about change and what made America great. Not much else is heard as far as what we’re going to do to make that change, but we sure as hell like to talk about it. The Republicans continue to vote for their candidates and the Democrats do the same; and at times for no other reason than they’re registered as Democrats or Republicans and that’s the way it is.

“Elected magistrates do not make the American democracy (democratic republic) flourish; it flourishes because the magistrates are elective.” – Alexis De Tocqueville on American politics.

And here we are. We have conservatives preaching about open markets and smaller government and liberals preaching about governmental oversight and Climate Change. Since the Democrats are no longer representing the best interests of the working class, then Climate Change will have to do. And since the Republicans no longer work in the best interests of small businesses anymore, then blaming everything on Big Government and the Democrats will have to do.

Neither side is effective in the any interests of anyone other than their corporate cronies or the squeakiest wheel from the conservative Christian demographic. We’ll spend an inordinate amount of time on issues so trivial that the bigger picture is always overlooked by both sides, or clouded by the malignant cancer of special interest, i.e. Citizens United, self-imposed wars on terror and drugs, etc. And we Americans just tolerate it and keep on keepin’ on.

We’ve kept on keepin’ on to the point of total compliance with a two party system that has betrayed the institutions they stand for as well as the people they have sworn to represent. The sway of power and influence has tipped the scales so far in the favor of the elite that instead of a Representative Democracy, what we’re left with is corporatocracy or an Oligarchy. And here we come right back to the beginning: the myth of representation in metamodern politics.

How does any liberal, left candidate who has sat on a board and lobbied for multinational corporations convince Americans that she’s got any middle class American worker’s back? And how does any conservative, right candidate say with a straight face that big government is the problem when they’re the reason big government is making the decisions it makes? After all, it’s been decided on more than one occasion by our Supreme Court that our access to free speech and representation is directly proportionate to the amount of money we have in our bank accounts.

Compound that with the fact that whatever “capitalism” the business class is talking about hasn’t been practiced or protected in any true sense of the word, by anyone in government or big business for at least the past thirty years. As they have failed in representing the economic theory of capitalism correctly, how can we expect to get any integrity with representation in politics or economics?

And the conservatives are wondering why socialism is becoming attractive in politics to so many Americans these days. I imagine if they knew what socialism really was; maybe they wouldn’t be so afraid of it, or at least be able to share an intelligent conversation about it for a change. And if they ever practiced true capitalism with free representation, then maybe the best of both worlds could finally be realized.


Metamodern. Arts is a political and philosophical think-tank, the purpose of which is to contribute to a fundamental shift in society – in a Nordic and eventually a global context. This societal shift is based upon a set of political-philosophical changes of perspective, from the modern to the metamodern society. It entails qualitative developments of society in a culturally and politically progressive, green direction. The think-tank Metamoderna does not work towards “more of the same” as in today’s society, but rather, towards a new kind of society.

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