Saturday, July 30, 2016

Some Good Articles on Trump

See here:
Michael Lind, “The Neocons Are Responsible for Trumpism,” The National Interest, March 7, 2016.

Rod Dreher, “Trump: Tribune of Poor White People,” The American Conservative, July 22, 2016.

Michael Lind, “How Trump Exposed the Tea Party,” PoliticoMagazine, September 3, 2015.

Michael Lind, “Donald Trump, the Perfect Populist,” PoliticoMagazine, March 9, 2016.
I was particularly struck by Dreher’s article here, which describes the real and terrible experience of white working class Americans, the catastrophe of neoliberalism, and the vicious, elitist snobbery and hatred of the working class.

In fact, the title of this article says it all:

Yes, this is probably how a lot of poor white voters in America destroyed by neoliberalism and demonised by cultural leftism see Trump, even though Trump would have much less to offer them than a decent social democrat capable of making a clean break with the worst aspects of cultural leftist nonsense.

I’m on Twitter:
Lord Keynes @Lord_Keynes2


  1. "even though Trump would have much less to offer them than a decent social democrat capable of making a clean break with the worst aspects of cultural leftist nonsense."

    A decent social democrat? Those are endangered species, soon to be seen in a museum of political history. Just like hippies became yuppies, the social democrats became neoliberals. In Europe you can tell they are social democrats by the labels only. They were nowhere to be heard during the austerity madness. The way I see It, only the so called "politically incorrect outlaws" Farage, Le Pen, Trump etc are against the neoliberal order. Syriza for example is playing the Clinton "I do what I can within the constraints we have, not all left ideas are realistic" game.

  2. Interesting interview with Glenn Greenwald on the media trying to undermine Trump (and other topics):

    'The media has used Trump as this kind of once in a lifetime threat, like Hitler, and there is this kind of moral exercise that you engage in when you say, “If I were a German in the 1930s, what would I want history to have recorded that I did? I would want history to record that I did everything I possibly could to stop Hitler.” I think that is now translating into everything and anything goes when it comes to stopping Trump. I think journalists are now of the mindset where they are saying, “Anything we can use against Trump, we can.”'

    1. There is also the unintended effect of free publicity. And Trump thrives on demonization, he's like a fish swimming in the waters of mania.

    2. "Right, but that’s the proper critique of Trump, not that Trump is this traitor agent of Putin. I worry when we start to implement the rhetorical foundations against any questioning of NATO, or any advocacy of reducing our belligerence towards Russia.

      I think it is important for journalists to stand up and say: “With all this groupthink, we should slow down a little bit. Some of what you are saying is not supported by the evidence, a lot of it is kind of hysterical”—without having your own loyalty being questioned. Do you see that being created, this kind of stampede, journalistic stampede, that feels almost like 2002, where not very much dissent is permitted?"

      The fact we've "intellectuals" like Glenn Greenwald spreading this message is precisely the problem. This problem has the potential to cause millions of deaths in Europe. It's VERY nice that western journalists have finally started to deal with it. Hopefully we're still in time to save the ship.

  3. It's the contempt more than anything else. It is unrelenting.

    I think there are a lot of people, especially but not wholly on the American left, who actively want a class society. The Morlocks have been identified.trump is the only politician who doesn't treat these people like something he scraped off his shoe.

  4. In the regressive Leftist world there are the "good poor" and the "bad poor." Good poor people are non-European (white). The bad poor people are of European extraction. These people are bad because they have oppressed other people due to white privilege and the white power structure in traditionally Euro-dominated areas.

    This narrative makes no sense when you realize that:

    1. There is a long history of European/white elites acting against the interests of the majority white working class within their own countries. Hence you had political conflict between whites of different economic classes. There was never an all-encompassing white power structure that included all whites, not even in the racist American South where poor white farmers and workers were also disadvantaged by the rule of the plantation owners and other members of the ownership elite.

    2. The modern neoliberal elite is multicultural in ideology, even if whites are still disproportionately represented in positions of power and wealth. The neoliberal elite is not dedicated to maintaining a power structure defined by race but a power structure defined by wealth and possibly also professional/managerial credentials. If you have the wealth (or at least certain professional/managerial credentials) you can enter elite circles whether you are white, black, Asian or Hispanic.

    The fact that individual racist cops, judges and politicians exist is not proof of a racist white power structure. Instead, they are examples of system malfunctions, which is why stories about racist officials make headlines. I doubt the existence of racist officials made the news in the Jim Crow South where racism really was part of the official power structure and its laws and ideology.

    Regressive Leftists have a strong attachment to identity politics so they cannot see why their ideas about white privilege sound ridiculous and insulting to working-class whites. In the wacky world of the regressive Left, the son of a white factory worker in the Rust Belt has more privilege than the son of a black millionaire business tycoon.

  5. Dreher is interesting. It's tragic that his crowd nominally say that:

    " So much of what passes for contemporary conservatism is wedded to a kind of radicalism—fantasies of global hegemony, the hubristic notion of America as a universal nation for all the world's peoples, economic theories that are utopian and ruinous..."

    When they are against debt-financed government expenditure and constitutionally wedded to neoclassical ideas that are utopian and ruinous.

    1. Conservatism is pretty much a dead end. There is a major disconnect between the is and ought in conservative rhetoric, and I mean by that paleocon, I won't even consider the neocon stuff, which isn't really more than a bunch of interventionist foreign policy positions. While they talk a lot about the same things which the reasonable left takes for granted, the solutions they find are nothing but the same old small state and fiscally tight positions of the Old Right, that is the same anti-Keynesian dogma taken up by libertarians today. A lot of focus on individual personal responsibility, never focusing on systemic problems and as usual not seeing the forest for the trees. That's why LK astutely noticed that "they stole our economics", conservatives act as a kind of intellectual parasites, they just sit there and "borrow" the talking points from the left and turn them into political propaganda.

  6. Great points vizor. I especially agree that conservatives have a bad habit of complaining about moral decay and social dysfunction, especially among the poor and working class, but if somebody argues for reforms to help rectify these problems they just fall back to their usual small state positions. Many conservatives like the social conditions that prevailed after World War II (strong families, male breadwinners, etc.) but they don't like the policies that fostered those conditions.

    So much of conservatism is just a rehash of Victorian politics. Bemoan the dysfunctional state of the poor and working class under a crushing, oppressive economic system that works against their interests and in the interests of a small elite of wealthy people, but shout down anyone who proposes systemic reforms and policies and label them communist troublemakers.

    The conservative answer is the same as before: hector the poor about their bad morals while ignoring or downplaying the role that the elite has in rigging the system in their favor and against the broad mass of the population.

    Unfortunately, many so-called progressives engage in the same behavior these days, so it is no wonder that many working-class people are attracted to Trump, who has a different message other than “you are an immoral loser and deserve what you get.”