The political rise of Donald Trump crosses the economic strata of American democracy – and more to the point, democratic politics. Rich and poor march his drumbeat. His campaign is utterly devoid of trans-historical ideas.
Donald Trump’s diverse constituents
He has fashioned an alliance of the rich, the poor, and the middle class. Cementing this alliance of the washed and unwashed multitude is fear, a more or less unconscious fear that America may succumb to the enormous and mysterious threat of Islam and Islamic imperialism.
Most American academics have been relatively silent about the ogre of Islam because their jobs and their smug moral relativism have induced them to be silent about evil. Besides, evil is foreign to their upbringing and to the material well-being they expect from America’s enormous technological accomplishments. This silence about evil is also manifested in America’s timid or politically correct leaders. Ditto Israel.
It is politically and morally awkward to denounce and warn against any evil without proposing some means of combating it, and by force if necessary, which may entail self-sacrifice.
The supreme value of modern democracies is “security.” This is especially true of those are whose strategic advisors, and diplomats emphasize the pacific academic doctrine of “conflict resolution”.
The great democratic weakness: moral relativism
This doctrine is rooted in multicultural moral relativism or equivalency. The policy makers of our consumer society avoid judgmental postures, which may disturb the comfort of bourgeois complacency. Silence about evil is not very demanding, and it’s safer. Indeed, and nothing is more important to bourgeois democratic politicians than “security.” This applies to Benjamin Netanyahu as well as to Barack Obama.
Heroic ambition and architectonic statecraft belong to another era, which had a different distribution of good and evil, hence a different outlook on war and self-sacrifice. Our secular age is one of denial and hedonism.
Triumphant secularism requires obscurantism in the media as well as in the classroom. This makes possible a vast army of Internet scribblers whose megabytes, like a black hole, emit no light distinguishing good from evil, or right from wrong.
Hence, no intellectually stimulating ideas or trans-historical truths are to be expected from the domain of democratic politics, which domain exhibits the passions, not the reason of man. Trump should do well in this era, which is also a reflection on his rivals.◙
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