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Thread: The Abbie Hoffman of the Right: Donald Trump

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    The Abbie Hoffman of the Right: Donald Trump

    The Abbie Hoffman of the Right: Donald Trump

    David Brooks SEPT. 26, 2017

    It has to be admitted that Donald Trump is doing exactly what he was elected to do.

    He was not elected to be a legislative president. He never showed any real interest in policy during the campaign. He was elected to be a cultural president. He was elected to shred the dominant American culture and to give voice to those who felt voiceless in that culture. Heís doing that every day.

    Whatís troubling to me is that those who are the targets of his assaults seem to have no clue about what is going on. When they feel the most righteous, like this past weekend, they are actually losing and in the most peril.

    Let me try to explain what I think is happening:

    After World War II the Protestant establishment dominated the high ground of American culture and politics. That establishment eventually failed. It tolerated segregation and sexism, led the nation into war in Vietnam and became stultifying.

    So in the late 1960s along came a group of provocateurs like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and the rest of the counterculture to upend the Protestant establishment. People like Hoffman were buffoons, but also masters of political theater.

    They never attracted majority support for their antics, but they didnít have to. All they had to do was provoke, offend the crew-cut crowd, generate outrage and set off a cycle that ripped apart the cultural consensus.

    The late 1960s were a time of intense cultural conflict, which left a lot of wreckage in its wake. But eventually a new establishment came into being, which we will call the meritocratic establishment.

    These were the tame heirs to Hoffman and Rubin. They were well educated. They cut their moral teeth on the civil rights and feminist movements. They embraced economic, social and moral individualism. They came to dominate the institutions of American society on both left and right.

    Hillary Clinton is part of this more educated cohort. So are parts of the conservative establishment. If youíre reading this newspaper, you probably are, too, as am I.

    This establishment, too, has had its failures. It created an economy that benefits itself and leaves everybody else out. It led America into war in Iraq and sent the working class off to fight it. It has developed its own brand of cultural snobbery. Its media, film and music industries make members of the working class feel invisible and disrespected.

    So in 2016, members of the outraged working class elected their own Abbie Hoffman as president. Trump is not good at much, but he is wickedly good at sticking his thumb in the eye of the educated elites. He doesnít have to build a new culture, or even attract a majority. He just has to tear down the old one.

    Thatís exactly what heís doing. Donald Trump came into a segmenting culture and he is further tearing apart every fissure. He has a nose for every wound in the body politic and day after day he sticks a red-hot poker in one wound or another and rips it open.

    Day by day Trump is turning us into a nation of different planets. Each planet feels more righteous about itself and is more isolated from and offended by the other planets.

    The members of the educated class saw this past weekendís N.F.L. fracas as a fight over racism. They felt mobilized and unified in that fight and full of righteous energy. Members of the working class saw the fracas as a fight about American identity. They saw Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin try to dissuade Alejandro Villanueva, a three-time combat veteran, from celebrating the flag he risked his life for. Members of this class also felt mobilized, unified and full of righteous energy.

    I donít know which planet is bigger, or which would win an election, but that frankly doesnít matter. All that matters is that Trump is shredding the culture and ending the dominance of the meritocratic establishment.

    He continually goes after racial matters in part because heís a bigot but also in part because multiculturalism is the theology of the educated class and itís the leverage point he can most effectively use to isolate the educated class from everyone else.

    He is so destructive because his enemies help him. He ramps up the aggression. His enemies ramp it up more, to preserve their own dignity. But the ensuing cultural violence only serves Trumpís long-term destructive purpose. America is seeing nearly as much cultural conflict as it did in the late 1960s. Itís quite possible that after four years of this Trump will have effectively destroyed the prevailing culture. The reign of the meritocratic establishment will be just as over as the reign of the Protestant establishment now is.

    Of course Donald Trump is a buffoon. Buffoonery is his most effective weapon. Because of him, a new culture will have to be built, new values promulgated and a new social fabric will have to be woven, one that brings the different planets back into relation with one another.

    Thatís the work of the next 20 years.
    Last edited by Judy; 09-26-2017 at 03:41 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    The "meritocracy" shipped 70,000 factories and millions of good jobs out of the United States while admitting tens of millions of illegal aliens and legal immigrants leaving the USA with $20 Trillion in debt.

    Oh yes, we're going to DRAIN THAT SWAMP as fast and as soon as possible.

    I have to giggle at someone like David Brooks calling Trump a "buffoon" and a "bigot", when he's neither one, as if David Brooks is somehow more educated than Donald Trump. Brooks has a BA in history from the University of Chicago, yes, just a 4 year bachelor's degree in studying the past. Donald Trump has a BS degree in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.

    Seems to me the guy with the business degree in finance knows what to do about the lost 70,000 factories and millions of good jobs to stop this debt and get our finances in order both for our workers and our taxpayers, whereas the guy with the history degree didn't learn the lesson that if you didn't learn from history you're doomed to repeat it, as we have done over and over and over for the past 40 years.

    Heck, David Brooks doesn't even know which planet could win an election. David, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the election was last year and Trump Planet ... won. And yes, he's taking you, the totally failed meritocracy and this stinkin' swamp in DC for the ride of your lives. So hang on tight .... this ride will be running full-speed and non-stop for at least 8 years.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    David Brooks sounds like a typical never Trumper masquerading as a conservative columnist at the New York Mimes...Not worth arguing with IMO.
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