"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Friday, March 18, 2016

Electoral Politics–The Will Of The People Or The Manipulation By The Few?

The liberal press has become more and more dismayed, discouraged, and angry about the rise of Donald Trump; and columnists have attacked him for his racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, and downright hatred.  They assume that he and he alone is responsible for the rise of an ultra-right electorate far more conservative than even the most ardent Tea Party supporter could have imagined.  Building on European concerns that he is a greater threat to world peace and security than ISIS or Global Warming,these progressive critics  have been ceaseless in their intemperate attacks.


Daniel Goldhagen in Hitler’s Willing Executioners debunked the Great Man myth of history more completely than Tolstoy ever did.  The Germans had to have known what Hitler was up to regardless of his attempts to disguise the Holocaust.  It was too important, too widespread, too horrific for the common man to be ignorant.

Some German observers have said that the people did not know.  Hitler was too clever in hiding the truth, too persuasive and patriotic in his appeals, and too managerially competent in his distribution of horror for them to know.  Nonsense, said Goldhagen.  Of course they knew; and the German people were not only complicit but enablers.  Hitler could not have existed without them.


None of this is to suggest any comparison between the Nazis and Donald Trump; but only to suggest that the American people are the ones responsible for his rise in favor, not Trump alone.

Tolstoy was perhaps not the first, but perhaps the best recognized critics of The Great Man Theory.  Napoleon lost the Battle of Borodino because his valet forgot to bring his gum boots to camp; and as a result the Emperor caught a cold, was horribly congested on the day the French attack was to begin, and could not think straight let alone strategically.  As a result, he lost the battle.  The valet in turn cannot be held responsible for the Emperor’s cold but his wife who, because she was carrying on with another man caused the valet to be distracted.  The wife was distracted because….and on the guilty lineage goes.


Yes, of course, noted Tolstoy.  Napoleon was a superior military strategist and leader.  There were good reasons for his prominence and place in history.  It was simply arrogant and ill-informed to assume that he, rather than the thousands of men who made up his army or the millions of intersecting, banging random billiard balls that made his disastrous (for the French) decisions possible.

Shakespeare also understood that there is an ineluctably predictable and cyclical march of history.  No matter how brilliant the English kings about whom he wrote nor how canny their wives and courtiers, history repeated itself without fail.   It wasn’t Richard III, John, or Henry VIII who determined history, but the millions of collective although random actions. of their minions and subjects which did.


So why the excoriation of Trump?  Why vilify him and characterize him as as a latter-day Nazi dictator?  He like every other powerful and influential figure in history is first and foremost a product of his times; and who, without the support, applause, and adulation of the people would be nothing.
Donald Trump is smarter than most, more in tune with the zeitgeist of early 21st century America, and ambitious and savvy enough to translate that understanding and cultural feel into power. 

The latest polls indicate a neck-and-neck race between Trump and Hillary Clinton for the race to the presidency (2016).  If they are correct, then half the voters in America – 50 percent – espouse the politics, policies, and sentiments of Donald Trump.  Or put another way, half the American public feel the same resentment of progressive policies, political correctness, pusillanimity in foreign affairs, abusively interventionist government programs, and ignorance about right and wrong as the candidate.

Which came first?  The public.  Donald Trump came along at the right time.  He shared the public’s concerns, but had access to a national stage that they did not.  It was a perfect confluence of public opinion and ideal spokesman for it.

Rejecting Donald Trump is to reject half of the American electorate.

Despite progressives' apparently tolerant claim - “I disagree with what you are saying but defend your right to say it”; but refuse to admit that “You may be right”, they are dismissive of  religious and secular conservatives who do not share their views.  Anyone who rejects gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, affirmative action, or a silencing of religious expression is retrograde, socially illiterate, and downright ignorant.

They condemn Donald Trump and by easy and facile extension, condemn the tens of millions of Americans who support him.

The middle class has long been a target of Eastern  liberals.  Their insular family values, fundamental Christianity, and patriotism have always been suspect and dismissed.  Only the internationalist, secular humanist, and progressive perspective of history are legitimate.  Human society – despite the evidence of history to the contrary – is progressing; and it is only the ignorant, uneducated, and socially primitive middle-class, middle-American and middle-browed are slowing it.

Donald Trump for these political elites is no less than an evil incarnation; an embodiment of all the regressive, anti-liberal forces abroad.  His distorted anti-progressive ideals and the dark side of the unwashed have combined in a perfect storm.  Prejudice against the masses and their spokesman are one have been united.

Nonsense.  Democracy is healthy, abundant, and working just fine.  It is only those who are unhappy with what it has produced who are having fits.

If there is a problem, Donald Trump is not it.  It is the legions of passionate supporters – who know quite well what they are getting – who are responsible for his ascendancy.  Criticize him if you will, but place the blame on the those who think he is The Answer.


Liberalism is taken for granted by progressives.  It is the only political philosophy worth noting.  It may have taken a few hundred years for it to mature as a doctrine, but it has been embraced by American and Western Europe, there is no end to its influence.  God favors those who criticize ‘The Troglodyte Right.

Not so in America Beyond the Coasts.  It is liberalism which has failed the aspirations and profound convictions of most Americans.  In fact liberal democracy is on the run.  Everywhere from the Middle East to Eastern Europe voters are turning to more fundamental ethnic, religious, and sectional allegiances to define their politics.  The chaotic, undisciplined, self-serving ‘diversity’ of the United States seems outlandish at best, and frightfully dangerous at worst.

It is time to acknowledge the Donald Trump phenomenon for what it is – not the creation of a delusional maniac, but the expression of a majority of Americans.

Get over it.

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