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DAVID BRIN's Polemical Judo

© David Brin, 2019

Read the first and second chapters here, and the final chapter at David Brin's blog Contrary Brin.

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Are we in phase 8 of America’s 250 year civil war?

If so, the Union has a problem with its generals, who keep getting lured into grunt-and-shove combat, on ground chosen by the other side. The possibility of using agility — winning political battles with the shifting dexterity of jiu jitsu — never occurs to Democratic politicians or strategists.

Sure, talk show hosts milk each day’s outrage for humor, indignation and ratings. But does anyone consider ways to get off the hoary, insipid "left-right political axis" and maneuver in three dimensions? Amid the latest tweet-storm and news-grabbing stunt, what pundit ever steps back to ask "Hey, what actually just happened?"

Across today’s fast-changing political landscape, we’ll try to do that, exploring —
how to slash the bonds (or lies) holding their coalition together. (The very thing they do to us.)
confront our neighbors not with familiar chasms, but commonalities. Things both you and they know to be true.
counter the all-out war against facts and all fact-using professions, including science and "fake news" and the men and women of the "deep state" who stymied Hitler, Stalin and bin Laden.
use outcomes to demolish comfy Fox-narratives — e.g., that conservatives are the practical ones — by proving Democrats are way better against deficits, at engendering a healthy economy and even at fostering open-creative-competitive enterprise.
go after the two traits our red neighbors find appealing about Donald Trump — his brash bully-bravado and the way he enrages the people they most hate.
use the one method that always corners them. A trick that makes a few opponents stop, think and reconsider... while sending the rest fleeing in panic and shame. And much more.

Scan the Table of Contents! Polemical Judo ranges from electoral cheating to the economy; from saving the planet to troubles with Russia and China; From conspiracies to racism, to forging a Big Tent Coalition.

Yes, we’ll explore "exit strategies" — impeachment, indictment, the 25th Amendment and all that (skip to Chapter 16, if it’s all you care about). But I hope you’ll also try on some ideas from Lincoln, FDR, MLK and the Greatest Generation. Because those brave geniuses fought earlier battles for us. And they won.

Even if the arrogant reach of this volume offends, I hope you’ll mine it for those tactics. There’s not much at stake, after all... except America, the Enlightenment Experiment, and possibly our one chance at the stars.

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table of contents or more about Brin's novels

table of contents

Chapter 1: Introduction — The Need for Judo Polemic (plus Zingers in case you’re TLDR to read the book.)
Chapter 2: Fundamentals — Underlying Beliefs that (Nearly) All Americans Share
Chapter 3: Profiles In Judo — Invoke The Greatest Generation, Adam Smith, Jonas Salk, Lincoln, Heinlein and... AOC

Chapter 4: End the Cheating First
Chapter 5: The War on All Fact People
Chapter 6: Credibility? How Often the Right Has Just Been Wrong
Chapter 7: Oh, the Conspiracies!
Chapter 8: Poison and Antidote — Blackmailers, Henchmen and Whistleblowers
Chapter 9: America’s place in the world, Part 1: Pax Americana and the Rise of China

Chapter 10: Government is the problem?
Chapter 11: Economics — No, you don’t get Adam Smith... and Other Rationalizations
Chapter 12: Unreliable Allies: Overcoming Splitterism
Chapter 13: Can We make a Deal? "What Would Adults Do?"

Chapter 14: Our 250 Year Family Feud — "Phase 8 of the Civil War?"
Chapter 15: Hammer Their Macho With Wagers! And The Name an Exception Challenge
Chapter 16: Exit Strategies — Impeachment, Indictment, the 25th Amendment and all that

a brief intro to science fiction author DAVID BRIN

To learn more, visit his books page, or see his "about me" page or detailed biography.



David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More

shorter fiction

Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More

Contrary Brin blog

Since 2004, David Brin has maintained a blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future — themes his science fiction and nonfiction writings continue to explore. Learn More

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Who could've predicted that social media — indeed, all of our online society — would play such an important role in the 21st Century — restoring the voices of advisors and influencers! Lively and intelligent comments spill over onto Brin's social media pages. Learn More

DAVID BRIN scientist


David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More

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Brin's non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, continues to receive acclaim for its accuracy in predicting 21st Century concerns about online security, secrecy, accountability and privacy. Learn More

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Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More

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Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was cited as one of the top 10 writers the AI elite follow. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More

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All the Ways in the World to Reach David Brin

an ornery, contrary BLOG, and other insightful wormholes!

Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's incendiary posts on science, sci-fi and politics and its engaged, opinionated community poke at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate — and infuriate. See for yourself, and if you like — subscribe for more.

Questions? Concerns? Email DAVID BRIN at mail@davidbrin.com


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