-Via Marginal Revolution: Joshua Mitchell at Politico: ‘Donald Trump Does Have Ideas, And We’d Better Pay Attention to Them‘
‘Michael Oakeshott, an under-read political thinker in the mid-20th century, remarked in his exquisite essay, “Rationalism in Politics,” that one of the more pathological notions of our age is that political life can be understood in terms of “principles” that must be applied to circumstances. Politics-as-engineering, if you will. Republicans themselves succumbed to this notion, and members of the rank and file have noticed. Republicans stood for “the principles of the constitution,” for “the principles of the free market,” etc. The problem with standing for principles is that it allows you to remain unsullied by the political fray, to stand back and wait until yet another presidential election cycle when “our principles” can perhaps be applied. And if we lose, it’s OK, because we still have “our principles.” What Trump has been able to seize upon is growing dissatisfaction with this endless deferral, the sociological arrangement for which looks like comfortable Inside-the-Beltway Republicans defending “principles” and rank-and-file Republicans far from Washington-Babylon watching in horror and disgust.’
I can understand why people want to be left out of the fray, as I mostly do, too.
Trump clearly appealed to American national greatness in order to get elected (Make America Great Again), as well as to many people who’ve seen a decline in living standards, and who are wondering just where future opportunities will come from. The lack of trust in institutions is deep and often justified in our country right now, the populist resentment wide, extending quite beyond party politics.
Trump pretty clearly saw an opening on immigration early on in the election (this blog prefers something like the melting-pot), and he pushed the immigration hot-button regularly, through countless speeches, establishing himself in the race on this issue alone.
He then broadened his appeal in attacks on other Republican candidates and the party establishment, the Democratic establishment and the Clinton machine, our top-heavy regulatory State and the current administration, as well as the media more generally. He attacked people, and personalities, often as much ideas and policies.
To my mind, the continual overreach by the Left under an activist President (identity politicking 24/7) has a lot of emperors wearing little clothing.
Onward we go.
-Yeah, but it’s Vox.
-Minogue, Kenneth. Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. (Pg 111).
Works pretty well for me:
‘We may sum this up by saying that the more the style of what used to be called politics becomes theorized, the more political problems come to be reintrepreted as managerial. Working out the least oppressive laws under which different and sometimes conflicting groups may live peaceably together is being replaced by manipulation and management of the attitudes different groups take towards each other, with the hope that this will ultimately bring harmony. In other words, in the new form of society, human beings are becoming the matter which is to be shaped according to the latest moral ideas.’
And maybe 80’s synth-funk will make a come back someday, but until that day, you can see how the stuff is made: