Law Decoded: All vs. One and One vs. All, Jan. 22-29

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Every Friday, Law Decoded delivers analysis on the week’s critical stories in the realms of policy, regulation and law.

Editor’s note

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” begins the most famous English-language story of the French Revolution. Though many would disagree with me, I would argue that neither is true of today. Maybe that’s why what passes for revolutions these days is so dependent on memes and lunatic viral conspiracy theories.

That same memetic energy has brought together an unholy matrimony of anarchists, leftists, populists, jilted investment bros, Boogie boys and survivalists, AOC stans, and a dose of antisemitism — the sort of audience that only finds common ground in a colosseum, united in bloodlust, cheering wildly for the death of a hedge fund.

It was the bizarrest of times.

Despite the best efforts of the digital revolutionaries, no Bastille is being stormed — though I would not be surprised if AOC has daydreamed about melting down the Wall Street bull and reshaping it into a working bronze guillotine. But there is no question that this week has been turbulent, playing host to more than its fair share of conflicts between the hoi polloi, arming themselves with digital tools, and institutions. Despite the revolutionary metaphors that have haunted this intro like a spectre reportedly did Europe, I don’t think this shapes out to be quite the battle of good vs. evil that some think. But it’s certainly something. And the memes have, in all fairness, been something else.