To really appreciate the fix we’re in, imagine an entire nation of Donald Trumps.The classrooms have been like that in too many places for a long time already. You want baiting, scapegoating, sneering, just tune in to opinion radio or television or a culture-studies class.
Anarchic classrooms filled with child bullies flinging insults at kids cowering in corners. Marauding adults in a 24/7 frenzy of baiting and scapegoating. Everyone feeling they have license to attack everyone else — journalists, women, immigrants, Muslims, companies, political leaders, foreign nations. Just make sure to laugh as you’re hurling the sneers and mockery. If you’re tweeting, finish off with an exclamation point.
It's a little too late for the Mature Adults to engage in sober reflection and the issuance of policy papers. That has been business as usual, and it hasn't worked too well. Former Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal regular Peggy Noonan recognizes what's really at work. Think of it as the Mature Adults having to check their privileges.
The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.Thus, when Mr Trump refers to the ruling class as stupid people, or when Mr Sanders goes after hedge fund managers, there's more to it than policy failures (and there are many.) Her thesis is that the mockery is permissible among the ruling class, and one ruling class privilege was to mock with impunity. No more.
What marks this political moment, in Europe and the U.S., is the rise of the unprotected. It is the rise of people who don’t have all that much against those who’ve been given many blessings and seem to believe they have them not because they’re fortunate but because they’re better.That last line might generalize too much. The "racism" smear is still comfort for Democrats wishing their way past Trumpmania, and perhaps among transnational Euroweenies. There has been, however, discontent among the unprotected for some time. It might have emerged first among the Republicans, in the form of the Tea Party. But the conventional wisdom, to use Nick Gillespie's words at Hit and Run, is "cartoonish and self-evidently phony and overblown." And, pace Ms Lawrence, the political media are part of the protected class. Thus, suggests Chris Lehmann at The Baffler, they're part of the problem.
You see the dynamic in many spheres. In Hollywood, as we still call it, where they make our rough culture, they are careful to protect their own children from its ill effects. In places with failing schools, they choose not to help them through the school liberation movement—charter schools, choice, etc.—because they fear to go up against the most reactionary professional group in America, the teachers unions. They let the public schools flounder. But their children go to the best private schools.
This is a terrible feature of our age—that we are governed by protected people who don’t seem to care that much about their unprotected fellow citizens.
And a country really can’t continue this way.
In wise governments the top is attentive to the realities of the lives of normal people, and careful about their anxieties. That’s more or less how America used to be. There didn’t seem to be so much distance between the top and the bottom.
Now is seems the attitude of the top half is: You’re on your own. Get with the program, little racist.
The media wants to be treated, much like our lawyers and hedge funders, as a group that merits unquestioned deference in our top-heavy political economy.The lawyers, who have everything tied up in process or converted into a Federal case. The hedge funders, who get themselves caught up in rational expectations bubbles. The media, who sit around under pictures of the Capitol forever talking about the same things. Check your privilege, pressies.
At present, the discontent of Republican leaning voters, and Reagan Democrats, is more evident. But the Democrats' turn is coming, suggests Chicago's John Kass, a man with much experience with corrupt Democrats.
Trump's arguments about Iraq resonate with the Republican voters. And that's a dramatic shift among the rank and file, coming only over the past few years.Perhaps sooner, if the senator can flip some of the superdelegates.
The anger you see on the Republican side will hit the Democrats in the next election cycle. As much as I'd hoped, I think it's too early for that kind of revolt this year. The liberal media ripped on the GOP for having so many candidates running for president, but it is the Democratic Party that has insulated itself against democracy.
All those millennials feeling the bern for Bernie Sanders will soon realize that Clinton and the Democratic Party have already rigged the game with all her superdelegates and Wall Street cash.
But that's in the next cycle.