I’ve had a good run with predictions. Some of which you can find on older posts on this very site. 2022 also started with a big fail when the Russian invasion of Ukraine I thought was a front for being too quagmire-prone was actually be given the go-ahead. Whelp, got the second part of that right anyway. But I figured it might be good to lay out a list of ones I am feeling for 2023. I will start with my less-certain predictions and as we descend my feelings will be more certain. So I will feel less ridiculous getting the first few wrong than the later ones.
The Ukraine War will continue through most if not all of the year:
This seems a pretty easy call on base, but the specifics are almost impossible to suss out beyond it. Both countries have committed to the long haul officially, though Russia’s internal unity is harder to read than Ukraine’s. It seems like further escalation could occur but also possible that just the right equilibrium has been found to keep it simmering and localized as is.
The reason war is chosen upon, wisely or not, is to roll the dice. Its a declaration that present trends are not good enough and can only be rectified with the introduction of a chaos element. This conflict is still in a chaos element and so is hard to read outside of my assumption that it will last through most of the next year if not into the one after that. I would like to be wrong about this one, however. Even worse, this situation will likely lead to the worsening of economic warfare on Syria, because Beltway Lanyards see the issues as connected via Moscow. Incorrectly.
China will NOT invade Taiwan:
In 2023 China will still lack the logistical and military capability to pull off such an enormous conventional amphibious invasion as an attack on Taiwan. This does not mean there might not be further Taiwan strait crisis (or South China Sea naval actions elsewhere) or an economic blockade of the island. But Beijing quite simply won’t be able to launch a large scale conventional operation with its present force dispositions. Alternatively, if they try to do this soon it will go very, very poorly.
Republican internal meltdowns will be hilarious:
I neither know nor care what happens between DeSantis and Trump, but I do know Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lauren Boebert are already threatening to have a hair pulling catfight on the floor of the House. Its funny because I usually refer to them as the same person- a totemic hot mess at the bachelorette party by the name of Bloberta Gogurt. But right now all the signs are in for a very funny internal political struggle between pro and anti-Trump factions. The fact that Kevin McCarthy is an exceptional doofus with zero charisma will only add to the fun.
2022 Was Peak GenderTrender for the U.S. and 2023 will be Peak GenderTrender for the U.K.:
Though many have yet to come around to it, I have long held that 2020 was Peak Woke overall. People being locked inside plus (quite justifiable) protests against extremely violent and often corrupt police departments peaked our present Postmodern Protestantism moment. But that also showed that trendy causes attract bizarre attention seekers, perpetual victims, and a media obsessed with fashion and not with substance. Since then there has clearly been a backlash to wokeness growing. One I am happy to have personally contributed to (see Woke Imperium, my so far best work in the think tank world and a product of 2022). Does this cascade of events remind you of anything else? Perhaps the star cause of wokeism today?
An unhinged activist culture took over gender identity issues (separate issues to sexual orientation and increasingly separate from its own past activism) which was over-represented in tech and culture commentary. This created an unsustainable bubble where the media narrative was out of step with the public. It has also led to hubris among a group of activists who live completely high on their own supply which in turn has led to big backlashes that would be impossible to imagine even two years ago. Additionally, many who once saw trans and nonbinary rights as indistinguishable from gay rights are seeing the differences, as the one was about legally achievable victory conditions and the other, it is increasingly apparent, has titled far into the realm of ideological declaration and trendy self-ID. In 2022 the overreach of censorship and discourse policing for the sake of the feelings of TQplus has clearly led to the pendulum to swing back in the US-though it has only just started to do so. With the recent adoption of Scotland’s new self-ID law, the UK will in turn peak next year. Cancelled journalists taking heretical views of the Judith Butlerian Jihad like Jesse Singal will probably be at least partially vindicated. The obvious drooling that for profit pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic surgery industries show at new prospects will only further increase this effect.
This was always a poor cart to pin the horse of Anglo-Leftism too, and so the lefts cultural power will likely decline along with the cause it made most central to its activism. Hopefully opening up space for unions rather than students to be the driving force of a future left.
After his inevitable removal from ”””’power””””’, Juan Guaido will go the way of Saakashvili:
No further need to really elaborate on this one. Post prime politicians with no power or reputation to speak of end up as itinerant hipsters in Brooklyn and/or gadflys in other countries. The only reason this does not apply to Liz Truss is because she still, somehow, has a seat in Parliament. (P.S. Truss is also the recipient for my Lolcow of the Year Award, congratulations on somehow even beating Bolsonaro). One thing that can be said about Guaido, he unintentionally made some great PR for Maduro.
OneDnD will Rival the Galactic Starcruiser in terms of corporate entertainment fiasco:
I don’t particularly care if OneDnD is 5.5 or 6 Edition. No table top role playing fan worth their salt is going to stick around for a company that seeks to add microtransactions and digital tracking to everything. TTRPGs are best played in person. And if they cannot be, at least made different from the video game experience.
OneDnD is not officially being released until 2024. Also, 5th Edition has attracted an enormously soy (sorry, there really is no better way to describe it) fan base. This means many people are there because of the game’s cultural popularity in twee podcasts and via Stranger Things. (Of course, the edition being played in that show is 1E, the one superior edition to 5E, but nevermind that). These are a captive audience and terrible role players, so they can be relied to stay as the bad PR and corporate vultures continue to devour this property. The real players, however, will abandon in droves. This will include a disproportionate amount of DMs who know systems. The company will then have to hire for pay dungeon masters with no direct connection to many of their players who inevitably will have to run the game via some kind of corportate check list to compensate for their lack of organic connection.
Much as the Galactic Failcruiser has become 2022’s albatross around Disney’s reputation with its fans, the unfolding drama will harm OneDnD even before its official release. The popularity of retro-clones (I am hoping many of the ones of 1E specifically here) and alternatives systems (I have recommendations should you need them) will explode. This is unambiguously good for the hobby as a whole, but will leave Dungeons and Dragons with a core fan base of people better left walled off from everyone else too. It will be a prison for redditors and pic crew avatars.
The funny thing is that Wizards of the Coast already tried this, if to a much lesser extent, with the roll out of Fourth Edition back in 2008. What they learned then was that no one wants TTRPGS to be video games. We already have video games for that. While any immediate descendant of 5E is easier to keep story-focused than the over-mechanical 4E, a homogenized corporate experience for the kitchen sink approach of 5 is likely to only please the kinds of people who are going to ditch it for a proper electronic game anyway and/or regular improv group. As they realize the long term costs of these types of services are actually a worse deal, this will exacerbate the problem
Alternatively, the mess might be so intense that WotC scraps or massively changes their plans last minute. The feedback already is so negative. This still counts as a corporate entertainment fiasco, however, and thus the prediction still holds.