Despite his ranting and twittering about making business great again, the most notable venture Trump-the-Crook has spawned is a vast industry of research, thinking, and hyperventilating about why roughly one in three Americans think he’s achieving something worthwhile.
A blogger named Andrew Sullivan is a Brit who’s lived most of his adult life in the US crusading for gay rights and for preaching for Christianity to be our guide in these times of trouble. Recently he did us the favour of conducting a tour (in New York magazine) of Trumpist intellectuals who think they know what plagues their fellow citizens.
Sullivan starts with a professor of government named Charles Kesler, who said that ‘beneath the veneer of constitutional democracy, we are actually governed by an elite of experts, bureaucrats, pundits, and academics who ignore the majority of the American people.’ I was with him that far, but then he added: ‘Anyone – anyone who could challenge this elite’s power was therefore a godsend.’
Kesler believes that ‘democracy is exercised best at the local level, in accord with the “unenlightened” views of the citizenry.’ But today, he reckons, political correctness is ‘reeducation camp for the millions of defective Americans who are products of racism, sexism, classism, and so forth…’ And there is good evidence that millions of Trumpsters hate ‘political correctness’ itself, meaning progressive reviewing of past and present injustices, more than they hate immigrants, or the other subsets of the community whom they see as benefiting from liberal social policies.
Next on Sullivan’s tour was a slick dude named Curtis Yarvin, who blogs as Mencius Moldbug, who has proposed that to stop the US government implementing sinister ‘scientific public policy in the public interest’ the USA needs not just a tyrannical president but also ‘the liquidation of democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law, and the transfer of absolute power to a mysterious figure known only as the Receiver, who… will abolish the press, smash the universities, sell the public schools, and transfer “decivilized populations” to “secure relocation facilities”.’
Sullivan is warning those of us who are unplugged from the alt-right world that this is well within the zeitgeist of the new right community, and of the White House.
He also warns that the American elite’s ‘reduction of all resistance to cultural and demographic change as crude “racism” or “xenophobia,” only deepens the sense of siege many other Americans feel’. Think here of Obama’s ‘they cling to their religion and guns’ and Hillary’s ‘deplorables’.
And that insight resonates with what’s been happening in France these past few weeks, where daily protests of the gilets jaunes continue, and continue to be sensationalised by the press and disdained by politicians. Into this mix has come a young novelist Édouard Louis who says the demonstrators are like his own family – they are furious with governments that both ignore and exploit them. Louis’s book about growing up poor and ignored in rural France has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and he has recently spent time in America, where he saw a similarity between his community in France who look for politicians who care about them, regardless of whether they are ‘left’ or ‘right, and the many Trump voters who voted previously for Obama.
Bannon is right – it’s the patriarchy stupid
Back in Trumpland, the president’s former national security advisor Stephen Bannon revealed his overarching vision last year when he was watching women on the Golden Globe acting award show wearing black to protest powerful sexual predators.
‘It’s even more powerful than populism,’ Bannon yelled at the TV. ‘It’s deeper. It’s primal. It’s elemental. The long black dresses and all that – this is the Puritans! It’s anti-patriarchy… If you rolled out a guillotine, they’d chop off every set of balls in the room.’
He’s right that it’s about the patriarchy, specifically, demolishing it, along with the unrepentant colonialism and racism in which most patriarchs we know have been nurtured. Among his favourite patriarchs are the anti-Pope Francisco forces inside the Vatican, called the Legion of Christ, which was founded by a pedophile. In 2014 Bannon told a Vatican audience: ‘We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict,’ against Muslim jihadists and #MeToo feminists.
For Bannon, this is a battle of epic proportions.
Beyond the epic is the existential – the end of climate as we knew it, aka global warming. Our own children are demanding control of the environments in which they will live their lives, and every day, everywhere we look we all see rising tides of plastics, antibiotics, industrial chemicals, mine tailings, and 57 million other toxins we’ve been throwing Away. Away has come back around to engulf us.
So, as we sail on into another trip around the sun, randomly numbered 2019, we the people need to save ourselves, because salvation sure ain’t coming from our leading men in parliaments, the Congress, the White House, or the corporate boardrooms across the globe.
♦ Phillip Frazer feels a summer breeze coming up the little round hill not far from coorabellridge.com.