To get out of the mess we’re in, we need a new story that explains the present and guides the future, says author George Monbiot. Drawing on findings from psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology, he offers a new vision for society built around our fundamental capacity for altruism and cooperation. This contagiously optimistic talk will make you rethink the possibilities for our shared future.
Roy Mooreism was distilled Trumpism, flavored with some self-righteous moralism. It was all there: the aggressive ignorance, the racial divisiveness, the disdain for governing, the contempt for truth, the accusations of sexual predation, the (just remarkable) trashing of America in favor of Vladimir Putin, the conspiracy theories, the sheer, destabilizing craziness of the average day.
.. Most of the party remains in complicit silence. The few elected officials who have broken with Trump have become targets of the conservative media complex — savaged as an example to the others.
.. This is the sad logic of Republican politics today: The only way that elected Republicans will abandon Trump is if they see it as in their self-interest. And the only way they will believe it is in their self-interest is to watch a considerable number of their fellow Republicans lose.
.. In the end, the restoration of the Republican Party will require Republicans to lose elections.
.. It will require Republican voters — as in Alabama and (to some extent) Virginia — to sit out, write in or even vote Democratic in races involving pro-Trump Republicans.
.. victory for Republicans will look like: strategic defeat
.. Trump and his allies are solidifying the support of rural, blue-collar and evangelical Christian whites at the expense of alienating minorities, women, suburbanites and the young. This is a foolish bargain, destroying the moral and political standing of the Republican Party
.. It is the emergency method for Republicans to detach themselves from Trump, create a new party identity and become worthy of winning.
.. Trump’s Republican opponents will not be to blame. It would be Trump and his supporters, who turned the Republican Party into a sleazy, derelict fun house, unsafe for children, women and minorities.
.. A healthy, responsible, appealing GOP can be built only on the ruins of this one.
Trump’s core constituency covers about 39 percent of prospective voters; and this raises certain questions about whether this percentage is coextensive with the entire “people.” Do the 4 out of 10 college students who would silence “hate speech” (that is speech from the Right) belong to “the people”? Do the 60 percent of those polled in a recent CNN survey who disapprove of Trump’s criticism of NFL players who took to their knees during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, belong to this mystical whole known as “the people”? What about the more than 60 million individuals who gave their votes to Clinton in our most recent presidential election? Do these voters belong to “the people”? If not, why not?
.. The Revolt of the Elites by Christopher Lasch—a work that tries to dissociate “the people” from the vile, transnational “overclass” that Lasch blames for the decline of the family and a traditional sense of community. Lasch studiously ignores a major reason that the entertainers, authors, and other celebrities whom he deprecates have done so remarkably well. It’s because “the people” adore them and their cultural products and have made them what they are. Without Lasch’s “people,” the overclass that he despises would not be prospering.
.. Lasch, a defender of settled communities, typically holds up as his paradigm a mid-twentieth century working-class family, featuring very traditional gender roles. Lasch’s ideal mommy packs a lunch pail for his ideal blue-collar dad, who goes off to work in a factory.
.. By contrast, most of those who I hear celebrating Trumpian populism—like Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich on Fox News—are not about to restore “the people” as they used to be, or at least how they were perceived to be
.. Our self-advertised populists do not therefore attempt to take us back to mid-twentieth century communities, lest they be accused of praising the bad old times. In any case, Trumpian populists have different priorities. For example, Hannity and other pundits on Fox News want to mobilize their viewers against the Democrats and in favor of Republican political candidates.
.. Reading Breitbart, one gets the impression that their staff’s understanding of populism is simply to support Trump at every turn, except when Steve Bannon decides to break ranks (such as on DACA).
.. These would-be populists were disciples of Strauss’s student, the late Harry Jaffa, or in some cases of Jaffa’s student Charles Kesler at Claremont University, and are promoting their trademark views about the United States as a propositional nation founded on natural rights theory. Jaffa combined his view of America’s founding with obligatory worship of certain democratic statesmen and heroes, including Lincoln, Churchill, and Martin Luther King Jr. For more than 50 years, “West Coast Straussians” have been feuding with more mainstream Straussians, who are centered mostly in Chicago or else on the East Coast. Not surprisingly, this second group of sectarians has come to be known as “East Coast Straussians.”
.. I would be delighted if these websites simply stated some of their signature positions, such as criticizing judicial activism, without claiming to represent an entity called “the people.”
.. All that seems left of populism, a movement that arose in late 19th century America among rural and small-town populations, are a political style and distrust of elites. Unlike those who today appropriate this identity, American populists historically desired to return all domestic politics to the states and to create public utilities.