Tag Archives: network politics

Network Politics, Part 2, 0GW/4GW: Christian Conservatives

Note: This is a selection from Network Politics, a tdaxp series.


The Power of the Mustard Seed: Why strict churches are strong,” by Judith Shulevitz, Slate, 12 May 2005, http://www.slate.com/id/2118313/?GT1=6443.

Pre-Modern Politics (PMP), also called 0th Generational War (0GW), is hierarchical and family-based.
4th Generation of Modern Politics (4GP or 4GW) is flat and ideology-based

When PMP and 4GP forces combine, they are very powerful

Judy Shulevitz starts by wondering by stricter faiths — religions harder to observe — have been growing while more licentious churches have been failing

It isn’t easy to explain why some people submit enthusiastically to religious law, especially when you’re talking to people who have never had the slightest desire to do so. Why limit yourself to a “theology of the body,” as the late Pope John Paul II called it, when birth control and stem-cell research promise relief from two of the most painful vicissitudes of bodily existence, unwanted pregnancy and degenerative disease? Why restrict yourself to kosher food, when kashrut relies on zoological classifications that went out of date thousands of years ago?

Then Shulevitz describes a Laurence Iannacconne essay — Why Strict Churches are Strong

According to Iannaccone, the devout person pays the high social price because it buys a better religious product. The rules discourage free riders, the people who undermine group efforts by taking more than they give back. The strict church is one in which members with weak commitments have been weeded out

What does the pious person get in return for all of his or her time and effort? A church full of passionate members; a community of people deeply involved in one another’s lives and more willing than most to come to one another’s aid; a peer group of knowledgeable souls who speak the same language (or languages), are moved by the same texts, and cherish the same dreams.

In exchange for hardship, the worshiper gains fellowship and gets to share in a great future worth creating.

To see the kind of amazingly strong networks it creates, first take a standard family, or “Pre-Modern,” network


Solid lines connect siblings and parents, dashed lines connect in-laws

All of the lines in the chart show first-order relations: brother, sister, mother, father, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law. Even without showing how aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, etc relate, the network is very thick. There are so many connections it almost becomes unreadable.

Now imagine every family member — ever node — being connected with every other one because they are part of the same active church. The cohesion, the control, the rule sets, and the belonging grow exponentially when families are part of the same church.

And now imagine the church isn’t just active, but has an ideology — such as anti-abortion, anti-homosexualism, etc. Graft onto the church’s internet of Pre-Modern networks one 4G network.

This PMP/4GP hybrid is a major reason for Republican success in the United States. It is why the libertarian factions of the party largely tolerated the Schiavo debacle. Because the Religious Right is a large and because of its internets, disproportionately powerful segment of the party. And the Left, with its anti-religious bent, has nothing against it.

Network Politics, a tdaxp series
Introduction: Net-Attacks and Counter-Attacks
Part 1, 0GW / 4GW: Iraqi Sunnis
Part 2, 0GW / 4GW: Christian Conservatives
Part 3, 1GW / 4GW: George Soros
Part 4, 2GW / 4GW: Social Security
Part 5, 4GW / 4GW: John Kerry

Network Politics, Part 1, 0GW/4GW: Iraqi Sunnis

Note: This is a selection from Network Politics, a tdaxp series.


Earlier I described the fusion of Pre-Modern (or 0GW) and 4G nets, using the religious right in America as an example. Combining the will to power of 4G networks with the strength of families, the American Right Christian are exerting their power as never before.

But what if the situation called for going beyond politics? What if the PM/4G networks were ready to kill people?

Welcome to the insurgency in Iraq

First, take a boring family tree:


Three generations are shown, as well as three original couples. At the time of the diagram there are 12 males, of which five are married (more interested in stability) and seven are single (less interested in stability). Now imagine one of the more influential single males joins the insurgency and, drawing on family rule sets (“heeding your uncle,” “protecting the family,” etc.) recruits four others…

A Fourth-Generation network attached to a Pre-Modern network!

So how is this PMW/4GW hybrid defeated? It has the strengths of both kind of organizations, so it is undefeatable?


One option would be to lakota the insurgency. The Lakota Sioux was a violent Indian nation with a history of aggressive warfare. Allying with the United States in several early Indian wars, the Lakota eventually began massacring white settlers and succeeded in ethnically cleansing the Dakota Territory. After the convention war ended, the Federal Government responded with a hellish system of boarding school designed the destroy Lakota Sioux culture. The federal government succeeded. By removing children from their families and placing them in an alien environment that Lakota culture was not adapted to, it obliterated the Lakota ability to make war. While some warriors will remain, the fighting networks are shattered and the Pre-Modern Networks – families – fade away.

Children, Removed from Pre-Modern Net, Under State-Control

The downsides are numerous

  • Violation of human rights
  • Fits some definitions of “genocide”
  • Unlikely democratic Iraqi government will support
  • Unlikely Coalition members will support
  • Unlikely American people will support

In other words, the Lakota Option would be a massive American moral Isolation [PISRR] attack on America. Not a future worth creating.

More attractive is targeted denial of service attacks.

I earlier described a real-life DOS attack. DOS attacks are a form of “node takedown” or “politics of personal destruction” where the goal is to prevent leaders (ironically called “servers,” because they “serve” information) from talking to followers (called “clients”). Instead of America being morally isolated, we morally isolate the anti-Iraqis. Here’s how:

  1. Police capture any insurgent from the clan.
  2. Every single male is taken for questioning
  3. Police determine which single males are opinion leaders. No confessions are accusations are needed. The police only need to know which single males in the family are considered “important” or “honorable.”
  4. Police then launch the DOS attack on the single male opinion leaders. This can be indefinite detention, spreading disinformation that the targets themselves are cooperating, public humiliation (particularly sexual in a conservative society like Iraq), etc. No one needs to be tortured or killed. But the single male opinion network must be shattered
  5. Afterwards, the formerly important and honorable single males are disreputable. They do not attract followers from their tribe or clan.

Taking the same chart used previously, but snipping only the two leaders, we now get…


…A Peaceful Iraq!

Network Politics, a tdaxp series
Introduction: Net-Attacks and Counter-Attacks
Part 1, 0GW / 4GW: Iraqi Sunnis
Part 2, 0GW / 4GW: Christian Conservatives
Part 3, 1GW / 4GW: George Soros
Part 4, 2GW / 4GW: Social Security
Part 5, 4GW / 4GW: John Kerry