Taibbi's piece We need a New Media System and the general realization that we are in essentially an era of upheaval similar to that of the introduction of the printing press and the reformation brought me to a realization.
Namely, that politics is just one more way that people differentiate their product. Since basically anyone with the determination and requisite intelligence can acquire mastery these days thanks to the internet smashing the monopoly of the elite institutions.
In retrospect, this should shock nobody; after all the elites themselves have already fully embraced this institution. Faux News and MSLSD are pretty much patient 0 in that regard. What's new is that pretty much everybody is having to choose one side or another not for sincere ideological reasons, but because it works to build your audience. Alex Jones' Infowars has built what may be the best produced media organization on the planet on the backs of "Pay-triots" who buy political vitamins. An entire ecosystem of service providers and vendors has erupted around this, and the left is beginning to catch up with a shamelessly grifting set of influencers as well.
This is fundamentally what is behind the rise in LARP fake radicalization, where everybody is competing for how hard they can beat their chest for their tribe. Eventually this is leading to real radicalization as the inevitable happens when idiots take the grift seriously instead of seeing it as glow-in-the-dark horse manure. Like with the FBI terror provocateurs in the GWOT, people will catch on eventually but this is cold comfort to those caught up in the crossfire until then.
As always, it's a sort of pendulum of history much like the tug-of-war between centralization and de-centralization. Too much emphasis on mastery and a saturated labor market means politics is your best bet for differentiation.
That said, mean reversion is looming. Worldwide birthrate collapse due largely to these same digital tools enabling the optimization of hypergamy worldwide shall cure this problem as surely as birthrate collapses shall also be self-correcting.
The value of the common worker will rise, making them become far more viable reproductive partners. Similarly, ability will command even more of a premium, making luxury branding elements such as political alignment once again less meaningful. The major destabilizing forces confronting the world will fix themselves given time, as the old adage "the cure for high prices is high prices" always holds true. One can be forgiven for seeing a divine hand in such long-term stability engendered by our own human nature.
It is grim to consider that perhaps Stalin realized that in the long term the best way to raise the power of the worker was to liquidate astonishing quantities of them. This of course failed due to a globalized labor market which wasn't going along with the program, and so the Russian worker suffered and gained nothing. Today there is no escape from the demographic collapse; the genie is out of the bottle and cannot be put back inside. We have but to ride out the results until new equilibrium is reached.