Orion's picture

    Why Trump and Why the Alt Right

    I'm gonna say some things here that perhaps you won't want to hear, especially in a venue like this. I will say it never the less.

    There's a reason why Donald Trump made it this far, why he is gaining in the polls and why he could even win.

    I live in Berkeley, California right now and since living here, I have met several young men, generally in my age range, who are in the same boat. They had been engaged or married (which ended for whatever reason) and found themselves, despite working and accomplishing what they were generally supposed to, alone, isolated and amongst people in the same boat.

    This came off several experiences with women, gays and other minorities in this society in which attempts at empathy were just out right spit on. I dated a girl after my wife passed who was overtly flirtatious, to the point of really overt public displays of affection, who then acted like I had "read the signals wrong" and rebuffed me in ways that even she described as "harsh."

    I will admit that experiences like that, along with seeing almost no couples made of Americans here in Berkeley or in Seattle, has made me trepidacious when it comes to the opposite sex. I have tons of female friends and my wife was Canadian but they have largely been from other cultures. Most social experiences in this country seem to be some sort of countdown to an identity crisis. 

    And so it is that one becomes socially marginalized. Where once these things were low key, I've had so many stereotypes, from having ADHD to being Hispanic to being white privileged to being Jewish, thrown at me in recent years, that I can only imagine how the traditional white male has responded. That doesn't mean I agree with their POV - I'm not seen as one of them - but American society is so exhausted, so myopic and so deranged that it can mold someone in to something ugly.

    This is a big problem of the US left. It has regularly traded identity for solidarity, casting aside the examples of revolutionary politics south of our border for some bourgeois chauvinism that is really only good at finding people to sneer at. While Bernie Sanders made a good run at trying to focus on the issues of inequality that cause all of this, Trump and Clinton ultimately was a succession to identity politics because this society really doesn't know how to go to the meat of things and, I suspect, doesn't want to because it fears what it will find. 

    Despite knowing people abroad who I could very well spend a life with, I feel socially and financially trapped here as well as politically. Customs often screens Americans like crazy and I'm socialized 100 percent as an American. When one is trapped, cornered and finds that pitfalls and mirrors are behind every alleged escape route, they go crazy, whether they are a man, woman, black, white,  Hispanic, Jewish, Asian or whatever. And setting up society like that is why a mad dog made it this far and why you may get a mad dog in office.

    Try a different sort of society and a different approach to other people if you don't like that result. We all helped to make it happen.


    There's a problem I've written on several times here. The fallacy of using one's personal experience to define the whole. No one can know enough people to use it as a gage of the vastly larger population. Reading is the only way to gain information about the much larger American and world population. A poll of just one's friends and acquaintances would be considered too small a sample to be meaningful without even considering the skewed  demographic imbalance.

    While yearly marriage rates have declined slightly and the percentage of the population married has also declined more than half of the population is still married.   "80 percent of Americans are married by age 40. A more general finding shows that 70 percent of people ages 25 – 44 have been married at least once. Women marry at younger ages than men—ladies have a 50-50 chance of being married at 25, and almost three-quarters of us are likely to have married by age 30. Only 61 percent of men will have done so by 30. By age 40, however, the gap closes "

      I don't know your age but statistically speaking the older you are the more likely it is that your age group is mostly married. Most of the people you meet should be married, statistically speaking. If you know so few people who are married you have to ask yourself why your experience is atypical.

    Being atypical is not a flaw nor is it necessarily a problem. Reading has forced me to acknowledge that I am on the fringe of the bell curve on many questions. It's just something we need to be aware of as we try to understand our personal experiences and how they relate to the experiences and views of the larger population.


    Blacks, Latinos, Asians, women, etc. are not responsible for the problems the alt-right use as a source of the anger. If you are a white male with superior morals, mental capacity, etc., you will do well in the United States. If you are not doing well, it is not because some black, Latino, Asian,,or woman took your rightful place in society. Dylan Roof thought that the nine black people he murdered were responsible for his failures in life.

    Factory jobs are gone and wages are stagnant. Minority groups did not create that circumstance. Blacks had to combat homophobia in the black community. Blacks are fighting misogyny in the black community. Gays and women are not the cause of the problems facing the black community. 

    The alt-right does not want to take personal responsibility for anything. That is the appeal of Donald Trump. Trump allows whites to place the blame on minorities and women. He ran a hateful birther campaign and tries to blame Hillary. I reject what Trump and the alt-right is selling.

    From the point of view of our society as the collection of all the environments created by our forms of life, I can see how what you term " bourgeois chauvinism" is a powerful factor in our lives. It is not the case, however, that identity politics has simply enabled the premises and behaviors that demonstrate that power.

    Goldwater sneered at the liberal agenda as being nothing but an attempt to unnaturally promote the fortunes of one group over those of another. Whatever defects there may be in the aspirations of the Liberals, they fundamentally changed our country where all the groups that were kept apart by the apartheid of culture and economic sub regions are being forced, slowly and painfully, to deal with each other in a new commons.

    The Alt Right is just the Old Right claiming that problems created by the new commons can be fixed by removing it. Now that is what I would call some old school Jacobean return to a land of privilege restored with peasants made pleasantly quiet or dead.

    Forget the gloves. Watch the hands.


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