Sunday, July 5, 2020

Did Trump Break America's Brain?

We live in a time that calls for Tom Wolfe. We need a political satirist who can call out the fake intelligentsia on Park Avenue and hold the mirror up to their follies.

Alas, Wolfe is no longer answering his calls, so we turn to Matt Taibbi, a very talented writer and thinker, one who has a finger on the pulse of an America going stark raving mad.

To render the moment, you need a certain command of language and you need a healthy amount of pure cynicism. Because what is happening is completely nuts.

For the record Taibbi comes to us from the American left. For the record, it doesn’t really matter.

He encompasses, not just the madness of it all, but its utter and complete stupidity:

It’s the Fourth of July, and revolution is in the air. Only in America would it look like this: an elite-sponsored Maoist revolt, couched as a Black liberation movement whose canonical texts are a corporate consultant’s white guilt self-help manual, and a New York Times series rewriting history to explain an election they called wrong.

Much of America has watched in quizzical silence in recent weeks as crowds declared war on an increasingly incoherent succession of historical symbols. Maybe you nodded as Confederate general Albert Pike was toppled or even when Christopher Columbus was beheaded, but it got a little weird when George Washington was emblazoned with “Fuck Cops” and set on fire, or when they went after Ulysses S. Grant, abolitionist Colonel Hans Christian Heg, “Forward,” (a seven-foot-tall female figure meant to symbolize progress), the Portland, Oregon “Elk statue,” or my personal favorite, the former slave Miguel de Cervantes, whose cheerful creations Don Quixote and Sancho Panza were apparently mistaken for reals and had their eyes lashed red in San Francisco.

True enough, the New York Times seems to have descended into terminal dementia-- perhaps it’s a way to prepare for what the Times is hoping for: a Biden presidency.

Taibbi notes the decline and fall of the Times:

The New York Times, once the dictionary definition of “unprovocative,” suddenly reads like Pol Pot’s Sayings of Angkar. Heading into the Fourth of July weekend, the morning read for upscale white Manhattanites was denouncing Mount Rushmore, urging Black America to arm itself, and re-positioning America alongside more deserving historical parallels in a feature about caste systems:

Throughout human history, three caste systems have stood out. The lingering, millenniums-long caste system of India. The tragically accelerated, chilling and officially vanquished caste system of Nazi Germany. And the shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based caste pyramid in the United States.

When Taibbi talks about the people who run the country, he could well be talking about the deep state. Surely, he is onto something when he suggests that all the hoopla about the revolution is a way to disguise the fact that these solons have made a mess of the country. Note that he does not distinguish Republican and Democrat deep state operatives:

The people who run this country have run out of workable myths with which to distract the public, and in a moment of extreme crisis have chosen to stoke civil war and defame the rest of us – black and white – rather than admit to a generation of corruption, betrayal, and mismanagement.

It predates Trump, but the American economic model more closely resembles an oligarchy than a free market:

By 2016 Americans had lived for a generation under an economic model dominated by huge transnational companies that sold weapons into holocausts of urban violence, rejoiced in addiction to opiates or carcinogens as a revenue model, bled virtually all the savings of the American middle class (targeting minorities especially) through a succession of speculative bubble schemes, and relentlessly lobbied to be exempted from taxes, environmental laws, criminal penalties, and even their own business errors, through bailouts approved by the “politicians” they sponsored in both parties.

Interestingly, Taibbi explains clearly the rationale for the Trump presidency:

About those “deplorables”: the populist fury that drove the Trump campaign was obviously not rooted in concern over police brutality, and just as obviously Trump was using gross racial rhetoric to drum up support. I wrote about this repeatedly covering him in 2015-2016.

But he did stress other themes. In hunger to suck up discontent of every stripe, candidate Trump complained about everything from the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies (“the lines” around states prevented competition, he said half-coherently) to the “obsolete” mission of NATO, to “nation building” abroad (he pledged instead to “build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow” at home), to NAFTA to the Fed to, yes, Most Favored Nation trading status for China.

And let’s not forget Trump’s wish to pull a few troops out of Germany, a reward for Germany’s refusal to pay its fair share of NATO dues and its willingness to be dependent on Russian gas. Think of it, Germany is making itself dependent on Russia while it is whining about how we are not going to defend it. As you know, the deep state and all of its Congressional toadies are up in arms about reducing our troop levels in Germany. 

Taibbi suggests that Trump broke the brains of America’s elite intellectuals. It make a lot of sense, if you listen to America’s elite intellectuals:

The best explanation for these sudden reversals in rhetoric is that Trump broke the brains of America’s educated classes. Like Russian aristocrats who spent the last days of the Tsarist empire flocking to fortune-tellers and mystics, upscale blue-staters have lost themselves lately in quasi-religious tracts like White Fragility, and are lining up to flog themselves for personal and historical sins.

In desperation to help the country atone for their idea of why Trump happened, they’ve engaged in a sort of moon landing of anti-intellectual endeavors, committing a generation of minds to finding a solution to the one thing no thinking person ever considered a problem, i.e. the Enlightenment ideas that led to the American Revolution.

America’s intelligentsia has lost faith in American, has lost faith in democracy and has lost faith in republican government. They want to erase American history, the better to pave the way for a new world order, defined by more diversity.

The same pols and pundits who not long ago were waving the flag for wars and insisting that American-style democracy was so perfectly realized that it made sense to bring it to all the peoples of the world, by force if needed (think Friedman’s hypothesis of a borderless utopia of forced wealth creation called the Golden Straitjacket), have now reversed course to tell us our entire history needs to be wiped clean.

Everything is a lie now. CNN even put “Independence” in quotes when describing the holiday today (i.e. “Reexamining ‘Independence’ Day”). This will end with Wolf Blitzer, dressed in a dashiki, pulling the switch to dynamite the Statue of Liberty.


David Foster said...

In the Holy Roman Empire ('neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire'), there was a small group of people called the Electors. They, and only they, got to choose who the next Emperor would be.

We have a class of people today who consider themselves the Electors, and their rage is largely about the fact that Trump was chosen as President without their vetting or approval.

Anonymous said...

As an aside, Tom Wolfe and Matt Taibbi share birthdate, March 2nd.

Sam L. said...

Matt left out The WaPoo's efforts alongside the NYT.

"Taibbi suggests that Trump broke the brains of America’s elite intellectuals. It make a lot of sense, if you listen to America’s elite intellectuals:" They were already broken. Trump just showed how much they were broken.

The Left are eating themselves. Works for me!

Giordano Bruno said...

I love Trump. He amuses me. He’s a certain type of man leftists cannot fathom. He’s so superficial that he is deep.