A few days back, a reader suggested that this site’s perceived antagonism towards America’s incoming commander-in-chief may end up marginalizing a portion of the Heisenberg Report’s audience.
The implication was clear: if the site wants to maximize clicks (i.e. make money) and expand its readership (i.e. make more money), the author (me) should adopt a more conciliatory tone towards Donald Trump.
That’s nonsense. And not the part about giving Trump “a chance.” I’m happy to give him his due. I’m certainly not going to be leading a picket line in front of Trump Tower any time soon. But the notion that clicks count more than expressing one’s convictions isn’t an idea I can get behind. Indeed, I doubt if readers who disagree with my position would want me to pander to them. If they do, then they clearly don’t understand that the best way to strengthen your own convictions is by subjecting them to scrutiny.
To me, Donald Trump represents an existential threat to Western democratic ideals – his bombastic rhetoric and blatant disregard for anything that even approximates decorum is an affront to Americans’ sense of civility and integrity. That’s my story and you can damn sure expect me to stick to it until the President-elect gives me a reason not to.
That said, there’s certainly a lesson in Trump’s victory just like there’s a lesson in the rise of populism and the resurgence of nationalism in Europe. Yes, there are lessons, and liberals will have to either heed those lessons or risk the destruction of a progressive agenda that very nearly relegated competing political agendas to the annals of history (where they belong).
Multiculturalism, progressivism, and a continual push towards a more globalized, interconnected society wherein individuals identify as “human” and not as “Americans,” or “Russians”, or [fill in the blank] is not just the best way forward, it’s the only way forward. If those who support this agenda fail to learn from the events of 2016, then society may well lose its way. And it’s by no means clear we’d find our way back.
With that in mind, consider the following excerpt from a great piece out Friday over at FT:
In Greek tragedy, hubris inevitably leads to catastrophe. Many fear that we are now enacting just such a tragedy, with the hubris of liberal western elites giving way to global meltdown.
Since 1989 elites in the west have come to believe in the “end of history” narrative, according to which liberal democracy and free market capitalism have won over all rival social systems, and the world is therefore bound to become a global community managed through free markets and democratic politics. Pockets of heresy may endure — but, because they will suffer from poverty and violence, they will eventually see the light, open their borders, and liberalise their markets and politics.
However, since the global financial crisis of 2008 people all over the world have lost faith in the liberal recipe, and in 2016 even voters in the UK and the US rejected it. No wonder western elites feel disorientated. A bit like the Soviet elite in the 1980s, they do not understand how history deviated from its preordained course, and they lack an alternative prism to interpret reality. Disorientation causes them to think in apocalyptic terms, as if the failure of history to come to its envisioned happy ending can only mean that it is hurtling towards Armageddon.