July 6, 2017

THE TRAGICOMEDY OF THE LAST MAN:

Trump's Warsaw speech pits western world against barbarians at the gates (David Smith,  6 July 2017, The Guardian)

"Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty," said Trump, wearing his customary red tie. "We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the south or the east, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.

"If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies."

It was not hard to detect the voice of the White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, the nationalist-nihilist who once promised that the Trump era would be "as exciting as the 1930s" and is a student of The Fourth Turning, a book that argues history moves in cycles and America is on the brink of its latest violent cataclysm.

Nor was it hard to see the hand of Trump's speechwriter Stephen Miller, principal author of Trump's inaugural address in January, in which the word "America" appeared even more frequently than "civilisation" did this time, most notoriously as "American carnage".

We so wanted 9-11 to signal a great clash of civilizations, but it turned out only one was involved.  Then we thought maybe the Credit Crunch would give us that economic struggle our grandparents always harkened back to, but W, Ben Bernanke and the UR fixed it with little effort.  And party partisans long to discover in the opposition either communists/socialists, on the one hand, or Social Darwinists, on the other, but instead parties in the Anglosphere are all neoliberal/Third Way.

Folks tend to dismiss the End of History as a boast, without reading the rest of Fukuyama, as he warns that we will be lost with no great challenges left to define ourselves against.

We are the sad generations whose only enemy is so small in number and controls so little territory that they're hard to find so we can kill them from afar; whose society must wrestle with declines in nearly every social pathology; and whose greatest economic challenge is the increasing ability to create ever greater wealth with ever less labor.

It's little wonder fake tough guys are so unbalanced.  

Posted by at July 6, 2017 7:48 PM

  

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