memes for our political knife-fight


DAVID BRIN's Polemical Judo

purchase Polemical Judo


Amazon.com US: trade paperback

Amazon.com US: Kindle ebook


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.

... plus tactics, tactics, tactics that you’ve never seen before. They might — or might not — work. But shouldn’t someone at least try some of them?

Note: this is just volume one! Rushed out for a crucial election year. More chapters will emerge, as months pass. (And feedback from readers will be heeded; we’re all in this together.)

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.

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

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.

book sales

purchase Polemical Judo


Amazon.com US: trade paperback and Kindle ebook

Amazon.ca Canada: paperback

Amazon.co.uk UK: paperback and Kindle ebook


Apple iBooks

Apple iTunes US: iBook and audiobook (unabridged)

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble US: paperback


Smashwords US: ebook

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

David Brin in the world

Brin's science fiction and fact

  • Brin's science fiction novels
  • his shorter fiction
  • articles, interviews and essays about politics
  • articles, interviews and essays about our 21st century ideas and inspirations
  • film & media queries

    Queries about film or media rights to any DAVID BRIN books or stories can be addressed to his film agent:
    Vince Gerardis
    Created-By Agency
    email: rightsqueries@gmail.com
    (with cc: to David Brin)

    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 author


    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

    social media influencer

    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

    transparency expert

    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

    speaker & consultant

    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

    future/tech advisor

    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

    other points of departure

    visit other pages on this website

    pages about DAVID BRIN

  • latest news and activities
  • information about DAVID BRIN
  • public speaking and consulting & popular topics
  • speaking/consulting references and testimonials & a list of past appearances
  • print and podcast interviews
  • video interviews and talks
  • Brin's presskit and complete biography
  • traditional media and social media
  • Brin quotes and frequently asked questions
  • pages about BRIN's science fiction

  • Brin's novels and books
  • Brin's short stories and novellas
  • all about Brin's uplift universe
  • a selection of book reviews
  • Brin's special-order books for sale
  • Brin's advice for new writers
  • Brin reviews sci fi films — including The Postman
  • a compilation of great sf books to read
  • recommended sf films
  • science fiction that teaches
  • BRIN's nonfiction explorations

  • privacy, security, accountability and transparency
  • designing and crafting our amazing 21st Century
  • predicting and projecting our near and far future
  • leading and following our politics and economy
  • keeping track of changes in science and technology
  • scanning our sky for habitable (inhabited?) worlds
  • Contacting BRIN

    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


    facebook followers and fans

      join me on Facebook


    twitter followers

      join me on Twitter


    quora followers

      join me on Quora

    get on the Brin newsletter!

    DAVID BRIN newsletter sign-up

    subscribe to David Brin's newsletter and keep up to date on his books, signings and appearances

    pinterest boards

    DAVID BRIN Pinterest

    share David Brin's pins from these Pinterest boards and share the word about science and science fiction


    J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley

    "If enough people read Brin's book [The Transparent Society], or are brushed by the currents of thought in represents, then it may turn into a self-negating prophecy: a warning of dystopia that by virtue of the horror it paints helps avoid that horror. That was the function of George Orwell's 1984. That is an honorable role for anyone's book."

    Rob H. Bedford, SFFWorld.com

    "I would consider Existence to be a triumphant, epic Science Fiction novel on many levels. It stayed with me after I set it aside for the day, continues to simmer in my mind now that I've finished reading it, and has opened up a gateway to Brin's novels I'd wanted to enter for a while. Brin achieved an excellent gestalt of character, big ideas, and narrative energy."

    Oliver Lewis, Improbable Ltd., London

    "David, thank you so much for sparing the time not only to join us over the last two days, but also in giving a masterful introduction. Throughout, I had your words of tolerance, diversity, and eccentricity foremost in my mind. More than that, I was grateful to hear someone remind us, particularly the entertainers, of how our communities often come to the aid of neighbours in need. That's much more of the world I want to live and imagine."

    John Arquilla, Naval Postgraduate School

    "David, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to share your thoughts with so many from around our community. The buzz has been outstanding, with many requests for the trons to your slide deck. I was particularly struck by how so many of the themes you identified so long ago — back when we were first in touch — so accurately glimpsed what was coming. Kudos!"

    final thoughts ...

    ... for this page, at least ...

    why be polemical?

    DAVID BRIN quote
    DAVID BRIN quote
    DAVID BRIN quote