America could, under the right circumstances, undergo the bizarre craziness that China went through in the 1960s. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:
The lesson of China’s Cultural Revolution in my view is that once the lid blows off, everything that was linear (predictable) goes non-linear (unpredictable).
There is a whiff of unease in the air as beneath the cheery veneer of free money for almost everyone, inequality and polarization are rapidly consuming what’s left of common ground in America.
Though there are many systemic differences between China and the U.S., humans in every nation are all still running Wetware 1.0 and so it is instructive to consider what can be learned from China’s Cultural Revolution 1966-1976.
China’s Cultural Revolution was remarkably different from the Party’s military-political victory of 1949. Where the political revolution was managed by the centralized hierarchy of the Communist Party (CCP), the Cultural Revolution quickly morphed from a movement launched by Mao into a decentralized mass movement against all elites, including Party and state elites which had been sacrosanct and untouchable.
The Cultural Revolution is not an approved topic in China today, and that alerts us to its importance.
Although ostensibly launched by Mao (as part of his 1966 purge of Party rivals), the Cultural Revolution very quickly devolved into a decentralized, semi-chaotic movement of Red Guards, students and other groups who shared ideas and programs but who acted quite independent of the Party’s central leadership. (In systems language, semi-chaotic dynamics are emergent properties.)
If you examine Mao’s statements that supposedly launched The Cultural Revolution, you’ll find they’re not much different from his many pronouncements in the 1950s and early 1960s, none of which sparked a violent national upheaval. The Cultural Revolution cannot be traced back to Mao’s control or plans; rather, Mao served as the politically untouchable inspiration for whatever measures the local cadres deemed necessary in terms of advancing (or cleansing) the people’s revolution.