Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trump's win and some insights from the coverage of the 2016 elections

Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the United States of America. Coming close after the surprise Yes vote in the Brexit referendum in the UK, this was yet another shocking blow to the established liberal order in general and the rule of globalised elites in particular. 

Whether Trump won due to running a racist, xenophobic, misognynistic campaign or whether he won because he listened to and spoke about the economic anxiety gripping parts of "White" America is going to be debated long and wide. And whether Liberal elites should try to listen to these anxieties rather than mocking these Americans through Late Night comedy shows is another question that will be discussed for a long time to come.

The Alt-Right, Breitbart and what have you, came into prominence as having become a significant part of the Trump campaign. When they began to get featured in the mainstream media, I found this part from Ross Douthart's piece back in April particularly noteworthy:
But while reactionary thought is prone to real wickedness, it also contains real insights.... Reactionary assumptions about human nature — the intractability of tribe and culture, the fragility of order, the evils that come in with capital-P Progress, the inevitable return of hierarchy, the ease of intellectual and aesthetic decline, the poverty of modern substitutes for family and patria and religion — are not always vindicated. But sometimes? Yes, sometimes. Often? Maybe even often.
Both liberalism and conservatism can incorporate some of these insights. But both have an optimism that blinds them to inconvenient truths. The liberal sees that conservatives were foolish to imagine Iraq remade as a democracy; the conservative sees that liberals were foolish to imagine Europe remade as a post-national utopia with its borders open to the Muslim world. But only the reactionary sees both.
Talking of Liberal utopia, Mass Immigration has been and is going to be in the foreseeable future probably the most hotly contested cultural ( & economic ) issue in my opinion. This post in titled Who Belongs, provides an often easily felt but rarely articulated understanding on how native populations look at immigration. It refers to comments from someone called Michael Ignatieff.
What is driving this surge in anti-immigrant populism in Western politics?
"what we’re seeing is, in part, an ideological split between cosmopolitan elites who see immigration as a common good based in universal rights, and voters who see it as a gift conferred on certain outsiders deemed worthy of joining the community."
This disagreement, he said in an interview, has animated much of the backlash against immigration that is described as “uncontrolled” and a threat to receiving communities. These disagreements over “who belongs,” he said, will “define the 21st century.” …
Now talking of global elites, written in September, well before Trump's unlikely win, Mathew Continenti had explained in this piece titled The Politics of Disassociation,  Why populism, nationalism, and tribalism will outlast Trump and Clinton. In the piece, he quotes another article by John Marini and this paragraph is very instructive:

Those most likely to be receptive of Trump are those who believe America is in the midst of a great crisis in terms of its economy, its chaotic civil society, its political corruption, and the inability to defend any kind of tradition—or way of life derived from that tradition—because of the transformation of its culture by the intellectual elites. This sweeping cultural transformation occurred almost completely outside the political process of mobilizing public opinion and political majorities. The American people themselves did not participate or consent to the wholesale undermining of their way of life, which government and the bureaucracy helped to facilitate by undermining those institutions of civil society that were dependent upon a public defense of the old morality.
Finally, among all the post Trump win analysis pieces, I found this piece by Ed West in The Spectator to be most fascinating - especially the ending.

"How do people who like both equality and diversity square this contradiction? On the most part they don’t, because as Damon Linker observed recently in The Week, they have come to view any attachment to the local and real over the global and abstract as morally deviant:
Underlying liberal denigration of the new nationalism — the tendency of progressives to describe it as nothing but ‘racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia’ — is the desire to delegitimise any particularistic attachment or form of solidarity, be it national, linguistic, religious, territorial, or ethnic… cosmopolitan liberals presume that all particularistic forms of solidarity must be superseded by a love of humanity in general, and indeed that these particularistic attachments will be superseded by humanitarianism before long, as part of the inevitable unfolding of human progress.
Is it any surprise then, that across the western world the centre-left is sleepwalking to irrelevance? The proposition nation is a noble concept, and one against which the white identity politics of the Alt Right is hard to morally articulate, but it is very much a utopian one, and certainly something that has never been tried before in a democracy. Liberals boast that demography is on their side, which it certainly is, but when they achieve their goal they might not like what they have created. The more utopian dreams fail the more virulent its believers tend to become towards opponents, but it doesn’t solve the existential contradictions. As a child, I remember a superpower tried changing human nature to create a paradise on earth; that didn’t work out too well."

PS: This Youtube video rant by Jonathan Pie, that has gone viral is absolutely brilliant :)

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