Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Trolling of the American Mind - The New York Times

The Trolling of the American Mind - The New York Times
by Ross Douthat

This is actually the most straightforward and sensible piece I've seen by Ross Douthat.  The big question is why was the 2016 election so close?  Why did millions switch from Obama to Trump?  Why were they not repelled by Trump? Why am I repelled by photos like that above of white crowds pledging allegiance?  Because to me the ritual has become the embrace of hostility and mean spiritedness - divisiveness and resentment masquerading as solidarity.   - gwc

"The bottom line is that liberal mandarins in the West — not just in America — face a hard choice when it comes to the populism that gave us Trump, Brexit and right-wing parties and governments in Central and Eastern Europe. Should this re-emergent nationalism be conciliated and co-opted, its economic grievances answered and some compromises made to address its cultural and moral claims? Or is it sufficiently noxious and racist and destructive that it can be only crushed, through gradual demographic weight or ruthless polarized mobilization?

The Russia fixation, at its worst, is a way to make the second choice without admitting that you’re making it — to pretend that in trying to crush your fellow countrymen you’re really fighting traitors and subversives and foreign adversaries, to further otherize the domestic out-group by associating them with far-off Muscovy.
Trump’s election was, indeed, a sudden shock in a long-running conflict. But it does us no good to pretend the real blow came from outside our borders, when it was clearly a uniquely hot moment in our own cold civil war."

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