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America’s establishment still sneers at the Right Four years on, political hacks remain uninterested in why Trump connects with so many voters

America's 'deplorables' remain misunderstood. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

America's 'deplorables' remain misunderstood. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images


October 20, 2020   7 mins

Hillary Clinton’s book about 2016 was called What Happened — no question mark. As a standard of post-mortem incuriousness, it set the tone for what we’re seeing now. The way to rope that dope Donald, the Harris-Biden campaign still seems to think, is to remind everyone that he failed to condemn white supremacy”, and to effectively double their opponent’s publicity reach by focusing all the messaging on Orange Man Bad. Well, it worked last time


In recent weeks, the big tech platforms have been trying to clear the underbrush of fake news. This time, the theory goes, we just need to get our message out. After all, Hillary only spent a billion dollars on hers.

What happened — the deep story of an America coming apart — should have been the point of departure for wide-ranging introspection from the losing side, yet from the New York Times down, many have instead become convinced that they alone hold the reins of decency, and that they will be judged by history simply on how well they re-state their class shibboleths to each other.

It is from within this prison of valour that Andrew Marantz conducts his entertaining interviews with the new online Right in Anti-Social: How Online Extremists Broke America — just released in paperback.

Marantz is a New Yorker staff writer. (It shows.) From 2011 on, he followed many of the social media outriders who seemed to clear the way for Trump. People like steroid-loving Twitter blowhard Mike Cernovich, who laundered conspiracies about ‘sick Hillary’ into the news cycle; needy semi-cranks like vlogger Laura Loomer; anti-PC-as-performance-art vulgarians like Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes; ballsy bandwagoneers like alt-lite crumpet Lauren Southern; and occasionally real nasties like the anti-Semitic podcaster Mike Enoch, who, in one of history’s great acts of cognitive dissonance, was eventually expelled from his own movement for having a Jewish wife.

By Marantz’s mirror they’re a charmless bunch: vain and along for the ride. A Proud Boy deliberately farts in an elevator. McInnes spoils for a fight. Cernovich sponges off his wife while writing Pick-up Artist blogs. At the DeploraBall, the Trump inauguration party for the alt-ish Right, everyone seems more interested in comparing their Twitter follower counts than in talking politics.

These are the people hotwiring the attention economy, Marantz contends. As he lays out to billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, in a chance meeting in a corridor at the DeploraBall, the idea that the cream always rises is a fiction. Shit floats. And social media is ultimate proof of that.

The implied premise — that racism is a contagion that is taking over America  — is not one Marantz wastes any time questioning. To the New Yorker set, the problem’s obvious: a bunch of yahoos got ahold of Reddit and Twitter accounts. Thus, America’s out of control id can only be contained by pruning the worst elements off the internet, because otherwise ordinary dupes will be dragged ever-rightwards.

Lately, this trope has become its own micro-genre. Who could forget the New York Times’ celebrated Rabbit Hole podcast, in which a young man watches some anti-feminist YouTube videos, then gets into Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, gets a job, does nothing, harms no one, but is saved from his radicalisation by watching yet more YouTube videos — this time of hip young Marxists on ‘BreadTube’ (Communism never being responsible for any historical carnage)?

In this world view, Trump is portrayed as the ur-yahoo: in 2011, he hijacked the attention economy with the birther slurs, and thus set the verbal and moral template for the likes of Milo Yiannopolous to go for attention above all, to grab the mic and say into it all the dirtiest words they could think of.

But this is only a shallow why. These people also rode in on the currents of social frustration that had been submerged pre-social media. On the opposite side of the aisle, so too did the likes of Alyssa Milano, the often bizarrely hyperbolic Twitter-famous actress who popularised the #MeToo hashtag. Is she just a different kind of attention hijacker?

“Gradually,” Marantz writes, “reluctantly, I admitted to myself that institutions can also have significant upsides
 it’s possible for a thing to be uncool and also necessary.” The reluctant censor always cuts such a comi-tragic figure — a bit like Michael Palin’s sympathetic crucifixion administrator in The Life Of Brian. Still, he heads to Reddit HQ, to argue that the platform should delete subreddits like r/TheDonald. But it’s already too late — Cernovich has triggered the libs once too often, and Trump wins.  

The day after the election, Marantz’s Facebook feed is full of people posting the same prescient section from the philosopher Richard Rorty’s Achieving Our Country. Written in 1998, Rorty claimed that the gap between the masses and the elite was widening, and foresaw a US dictatorship by 2014:

“Something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for. . . . One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion.  All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back.”

Rorty popularised the idea of ‘vocabularies’: that civilisations speak to themselves in a unique argot which structures their consciousness. “Europe did not decide to accept the idiom of Romantic poetry,” Rorty wrote. “Or of socialist politics, or of Galilean mechanics. That sort of shift was no more an act of will than it was a result of argument. Rather, Europe gradually lost the habit of using certain words and gradually acquired the habit of using others.”

 

Here, society is portrayed as a system that self-hypnotises. Repetition and expansion of ideas bends the possibilities for thought, and so what we prune and what we nurture counts for a lot. The ‘arc of history’ is still a thing in Rorty’s view — but it must be consciously bent by us in a positive direction.

On the back of Rorty’s argument, Marantz would like to say that we shouldn’t be shy of discriminating: there are always better and worse takes. And on that he’s entirely right. But it’s in the words ‘us’ and ‘positive direction’ that the sleight-of-hand lies. Who’s us? What’s positive? Marantz’s DC lawyer friends — whom he finds sat round the living room making their banners to go on the Women’s March — already seem to have their answers.

The problem is that the tussle over elites is seldom about their intellectual horsepower — it’s about their vantage point. In truth, democracy proceeds from something akin to the argument for animal welfare: not ‘can they think?’, but ‘can they feel pain?’

In this regard, one story is particularly striking. The Gateway Pundit is a Trump-loving clickbait blog started by a Midwestern 20-something from his bedroom. But post-2016, they’re invited to send a correspondent to the White House: the barbarians are inside the gates.

Marantz records a confrontation in the briefing room between their correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, and a gang of old school White House hacks, furious at having their turf, and weltaunschung, invaded.

“OK,” she said. “Are you a racist?”
“
No, of course not.
”
“
What are your views when it comes to integration?
”
“
I
’m all for it.”
“
Races mingling?”
Wintrich smirked.
“My boyfriend’s Colombian, so we tend to mingle,” he said.

The irony is delicious. Wintrich might be serially incompetent, intellectually inferior, doing little more than wiggling his bum at the ‘elite’, yet he ends up winning the encounter precisely because the old media have never taken the phenomenon of people like him seriously enough to do their homework, and can only react in their own sclerotic vocabulary: daubing everyone with the same Nazi brush.

Four years on, it’s jarring how little has changed. Establishment political hacks are still regularly baffled to learn that intellectual and political lifeforms exist beyond reforms to Working Tax Credits and the pieties of inclusion. 

Here, the gatekeepers must take their share of the blame. Marantz complains about the Overton Window shifting, yet within a few lines, he’s convinced that Jordan Peterson holding individual rights as cardinal over any form of collectivism is a racist dog whistle: “This is the sort of false equivalence [between collectivisms of the left and right] that would have been staggering just a few years ago.”

Would it? Or is it more staggering that institutionalist journalists have redefined perhaps the core Enlightenment value as a racist dog whistle? Or even that the neologism of the ‘racist dog whistle’ now allows them to claim things without direct evidence? It certainly suggests that any movement of the Overton Window might not all be in one direction; perhaps even that we now have two separate windows. Overton French Doors.

The question of why Peterson has connected with so many remains as uninteresting as why Trump did, or Cernovich does. From start to end of Anti-Social, the answer’s obvious: because half the country is secretly racist and these people give them the cover to express that.  

You might ask which new vocabulary grew up first: the pronoun checks, -isms, phobias and ‘systemic’ iniquities of what is now the establishment Left, or the ‘MSM’-bashing, ‘virtue signal’-despising, ‘SJW’-allergic new online Right? The latter seems the more reactive, in that theirs is a language of negation, of opposing to something already there.

Either way, much as it might be easier to play whack-a-mole censorship, if America is to pull past its present funk, the world of the gatekeepers is first going to have to admit that at least part of the reason that such a gap in the market has opened for the yahoos is because the vocabulary of nice, well-educated New Englanders has accelerated away from the broader population in recent years. Even back at Charlottesvile, “white supremacy” still broadly connoted hoods and crosses. Today, it means Tom Cotton and ill-advised H&M kidswear. “To change how we talk is to change who we are,” Marantz concludes. Quite right.

Strangely enough, in his book taking on the New Left godheads like Rorty, Fools, Frauds & Firebrands, Roger Scruton ends on a similar thought. Scruton argues that a key task of the modern Right is simply to scythe through the often obscure postmodern linguistic trifles of its opponents — that nothing can be solved without first arriving at a common vocabulary.

It is only when we have found again the language that is natural to us that we can answer the great accusations that are constantly thrown at our world from the left.

 And it is only when we have found that language that we can move on from the one-dimensional left/ right, with us/ against us, progressive/ reactionary dichotomies that have so often made rational discussion impossible.

Rorty couldn’t have said it better himself. Or could he?


Gavin Haynes is a journalist and former editor-at-large at Vice.

@gavhaynes

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Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

Labour here.
Democrats there.
1 rejected.
1 about to be.
And they will have learnt nothing from either elections.
If you insult whole swathes of the voting public by calling them, racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, etc etc take their jobs and put them overseas, mass immigration with no borders?
Disparaging their culture, their country, their history and at their core them personally .
Essentially make them poorer, insult and demean them and then wonder and complain that they wont vote for your side!
And they consider themselves the good guys, what a nasty joke played on the working classes

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

the nastiest joke being that Labour/Democrats no longer care about class(if they ever really did?)-they lost the class “war” economic argument and have moved on-identity and virtue signalling is much more important-and of course the “working class” are beginning to see throught it -hence Trump-hence the Boris blue wall.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago

The problem becomes easy to understand when you stop thinking of yourself as being noticeably brighter than the other guy. Spending four years at university studying communications or sociology whilst drinking, doing drugs and generally tomcatting around does not constitute an education. Chanting mantras about smashing “white power” does not make you more evolved and voting leftist because you really CARE about other people does not make you a better man or woman. If you can ditch all that claptrap, start from the proposition that the other fellow may have his reasons and start trying to understand them with genuine sincerity, the entire world changes before your eyes.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

‘Chanting mantras about smashing “white power”…’

I think they’re more concerned with smashing white powder, to be honest.

shiroemakabe
shiroemakabe
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

As much as I agree with this, those of us who try, like myself, only find ourselves maligned form both sides. That we keep doing it despite that is how you know we’re sincere.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘The Gateway Pundit is a Trump-loving clickbait blog started by a Midwestern 20-something from his bedroom. But post-2016, they’re invited to send a correspondent to the White House: the barbarians are inside the gates.’

Jealous, much? For a start, all media is now little more than a ‘clickbait blog’. And one might think that one journalist would congratulate another journalist on their enterprise and success. Millions of us are looking for alternatives to the stale, out-of-touch and often downright deceitful MSM that only reports one side of the story.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

To be fair, I think that when the author wrote that particular sentence, he was trying to write not from his own perspective but from that of the establishment correspondents, who no doubt were jealous, much.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Clearly.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And many of us millions have found such alternatives. UnHerd mostly qualifies, as does Spiked Online, Guido, Standpoint, Talk Radio, even Times Radio occasionally; and a couple of new TV stations are on the way in the New Year. Defunding the BBC might help things along. Can’t really see this government acting on that one anytime soon but unilateral action is always possible!

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

Gavin Haynes on form, and a reminder of Vice in its early years when it was fresh and engaging. Perhaps outside the remit of the piece but the psychology of the left/liberals is as interesting as their politics, and closely linked IMO. They see the world in basic, determinist blocs. Their racism (inverted or, like Biden, overt) and their snobbish disregard for ordinary workers (open, never inverted) hint at morally and intellectually weak characters projecting their failures and insecurities onto others. It never seems to occur to them that there maybe rich AND poor Mexicans, dissolute AND diligent black people. There is something of the 1930 eugenicists about these lefties that i find very frightening.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

The eugenicists of the 1930s were indeed lefties, on the whole. I believe Grievous Bodily (sic) Shaw was among their number.

Alex Wilkinson
Alex Wilkinson
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

I really agree with you: leftism is fundamentally a psychological condition, based on low moral development and wilful dis-integrity.

That would be fine if they just weren’t so self-approving and authoritarian with it.

cspschofield
cspschofield
3 years ago

The increasingly Fascist Left has had only a tenuous connection with reality for decades. For one thing, they seriously believe that they are fighting The Establishment, which makes no goddamned sense since they ARE the establishment. For another, when the USSR came apart, and the miserable history of Soviet abuses became a matter of public record, they managed somehow to ignore the whole object lesson.

*sigh*

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  cspschofield

They must fight the Establishment regardless of who it is – permanent revolution!

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  cspschofield

They didn’t ignore it. They flat out denied it, or, like Eric Hobsbawm, ‘regretted’ that murder was necessary to bring about Paradise on earth. In Britain today we are partly governed by people who, if they had been active in the 1940s, my father and others would have been actively trying to kill in self-defence.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

The left is tragically lacking in self-awareness while comically engaging in projection. The same people who accused Trump of being a dictator-in-waiting stand mute while one governor after another imposes draconian rules restricting movement, or while cancel culture runs amok, occasionally targeting the lefty infidel who dares to stray from dogma.

This part was curious: “People like steroid-loving Twitter blowhard Mike Cernovich, who laundered conspiracies about ‘sick Hillary’ into the news cycle; needy semi-cranks like vlogger Laura Loomer; anti-PC-as-performance-art vulgarians like Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes; ballsy bandwagoneers like alt-lite crumpet Lauren Southern; and occasionally real nasties like the anti-Semitic podcaster Mike Enoch.”
Painting people as caricatures while claiming the left does not get it is a strange take.

alex bachel
alex bachel
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Mike Cernovich is a talented journalist and has been first in identifying important issues. I also do not understand the writer’s contempt for Laura Loomer, Gavin McInnes or Lauren Southern. Each of these have exposed the hypocrisy and stupidity of the progressives. I do not know Mike Enoch so cannot make any comment about him.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

So, one of journos starts to ‘get it’. But, as always with journos and politicians, many years after the rest of us. (They really don’t know who dumb we consider them to be…)

Anyway, Trump up 10 points in Texas in early voting (Crooked Hillary was up 20 points in Texas as this stage and still lost), and he is winning Michigan (home of the truly evil Dem governor Gretchen Whitmer) by two points when Biden should be way ahead at this stage.

And, hilariously, many of the college kids can’t vote because they are all at home in their home state, hiding away due to Covid. Well, that’s where the Dems want them to be – locked up and cowering from Covid.

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
3 years ago

Why is everyone banging on about the Proud Boys? I’m reading plenty of articles about them, but I can’t seem to find actual video evidence that shows more than a dozen of them.

What makes us think these kids are a serious force?

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Taylor

They aren’t. Neither are the white nationalists, about 12 people. Funny that if you follow the links on that piece you see the proud boys protested against the Syrian war and were attacked by anti-fa. The anti fascists are the imperialists.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

“You might ask which new vocabulary grew up first: the pronoun checks, -isms, phobias and ‘systemic’ iniquities of what is now the establishment Left, or the ‘MSM’-bashing, ‘virtue signal’-despising, ‘SJW’-allergic new online Right? The latter seems the more reactive, in that theirs is a language of negation, of opposing to something already there.”

That pretty much sums up why Trump still has a very good chance of winning again.
The “new” Left has adopted a scorched earth policy and when reminded of the obvious, that the good gets burned along with the bad, simply claims it was all bad.
To paraphrase from Papillon Trump’s win was a “we’re still here you bastards” shout from people that refused to be cancelled.
So maybe failing to reach the deplorables was a mistake that brought us Trump?
Maybe we were so caught up in burning down the reminders of slavery we reduced to ashes many monuments that represent pride of where America has been and what America has accomplished?
Maybe in our zeal to destroy racism innocent, well-meaning people were burned too?
Oh no.
Scorched earth was correct – we just have to make sure the fire is hotter this time.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Very small point, but Michael Palin was the crucifixion administrator in Life of Brian, not Eric Idle.

Judith Longman
Judith Longman
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

That’s what he said.

Pat Davers
Pat Davers
3 years ago
Reply to  Judith Longman

I guess the article was slyly edited after the fact.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Judith Longman

No biggie, but changed since this morning.

Did this the other day on here in an article headed, ‘Why I’m Sitting the Culture Wars Out’ or something like that, when the piece went on to give numerous examples that showed the writer very clearly wasn’t, hence later changed.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

A neatly expressed truth from Gavin Haynes piece that could readily apply to our own MSM:
“Establishment political hacks are still regularly baffled to learn that intellectual and political lifeforms exist beyond reforms to Working Tax Credits and the pieties of inclusion.”

Drew
Drew
3 years ago

What a supreme waste of human energy to bloviate – virtually – about this is or that point of useless social etiquette based on this or that virtual writer/poster/professional crank, who do or don’t pose as society’s gatekeeper. Yes, as Richard Weaver said, ‘ideas have consequences’, but this amount of cultural steering from on high is not only useless, it’s counterproductive when applied to the “real” world.

People do not live in cyberspace – yet – and hopefully never. Lives are far more real and complex biological/spiritual acts which require physical PRACTICE. Not tropes. Not commandments. Not secular, yet, psuedo-religious sermons from the visiting ‘left’, ‘right’ or ‘median’ itinerant preachers.

Get offline. Get into your gardens, your fields, your workshops, your practices. Love and nurture your children. Love your husband or wife. Practice the Golden Rule and prepare to meet your Maker.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

I’m glad that you posted that handwritten note to us all in the mail. Worth reading.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Who’s “you”?

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

The democrats are technocrats. They don’t believe in democracy or helping people. They believe in power and domination. If their sales pitch didn’t work last time. They just scream it louder the second time… and ballot stuff.

rod tobin
rod tobin
3 years ago

the right says “come on, lets get on with it”
the left says “lets stop and look to see if we can blame anybody else”

lesterfwilson8
lesterfwilson8
3 years ago

“One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, …. will be wiped out.”

Gains ?- Thats odd. Do you mean Sowell has it all wrong about social and economic change within the black population since the 60’s?

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  lesterfwilson8

Gains in the prison population. To add insult to injury the exception clause in the 13th amendment allows them to be used as slave labor. The progressive state of CA makes full use of this. This is what USA liberalism is in 2020.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago

“One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out…All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back.” [Richard Rorty.] This could well turn out to be prophetic; with the plot-twist that the left will cause it.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

Trump was the first President to give Historically Black Colleges ten years of guaranteed funding. It was one of the first things he did, via an executive order. No other President had ever funded them for more than one year at at time. He has also released from jail some of the (mostly black) prisoners still locked up for non-violent offences as a consequence of Biden’s 1994 Crime Bill. This is one of the reasons why Trump looks likely to more than double his vote share among the black community.

As for homosexuals, Trump was openly in favour of gay marriage before Obama, Biden and Clinton.

Really, the lies and misinformation of the mainstream never stop.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Worst. Racist. Ever.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The racist thing was always nonsense. If someone is ever accused of that when running for office, or whatever, research whether he was accused of it before. In Trump’s case, there’s scant evidence. He was considered a New York liberal for most of the era prior to his political run. Or a old school liberal Republican.

There’s some truth to the misogyny claims but no more than most men of his era.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Why does that invalidate my comment?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

“One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out..
Will that be happenstance or foreseeable consequence? Because the latter is not accidental.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I’d say happenstance. There will always be some who predict dire consequences of present strategies. When proved right, they are revered, when wrong, forgotten or ridiculed. You can’t always change track to please the doom predictors. Having said that, there clearly is potential for Critical Fundamentalism to back-fire and those of us who understand that need to make our voices heard.

Dominic Straiton
Dominic Straiton
3 years ago

It might be time to re appraise colonialism.The British experience of it is without doubt the best thing to of ever happened to the peoples of the world. Its about time those great principles of freedom were reaffirmed for a new generation. Usually it takes war. 1642,1776,1940 etc.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

Surely a much simpler, truer analysis is that in four years and counting, the new aristocracy of the past third of a century (I date them from Big Bang in 1986) – the elites, the ‘meritocrats’ (howling misnomer) – has proved how worthless it is exactly by going in for no real introspection, no self-questioning, no debate about its record in governance.
If today’s ruling caste (the Establishment of schmoozing networking self-serving politicians, senior bureaucrats, their mainstream media shills &c) were reasonable competent persons, their reaction to (a) the British Leave vote, (b) Donald Trump’s election in 2016, (c) populist party gains across Europe in several national parliamentary elections 2017/18, would be to say to themselves ‘Clearly there is a protest element at work here. Large chunks of Occidental society are annoyed. Have we been overlooking something? Have we been getting anything wrong? Or have we been from the beginning of Time entirely perfect?’
That no such debate has ever begun among them tells us all we need to know about how they are an entrenched new aristocracy (lacking the noblesse oblige of some of the older aristocracies), with little real intelligence, no virtue, and very little competence.

Douglas Roxborough
Douglas Roxborough
3 years ago

Am I the only one who hasn’t a clue what this writer is actually saying? Quite apart from the almost entirely American references, the tortuosity (is that a word?) of his argument seems to render it meaningless. Thumbs down from me on this one.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

If it isn’t, then tortoisity maybe?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago

Agreed – First off, the essay is just too-cool-for-school as they say. The jargon, the ‘with-it’-ness renders it virtually incomprehensible. Secondly, although the writer seems to be throwing shade on one person’s purported obtuseness on the left (Marantz), the essay’s focus itself on specific personalities of The Right really doesn’t really illuminate what ‘just folks’ on the Right think either. They are the ones who vote. How about getting J.D.Vance of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ fame tell it like it really is?

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
3 years ago

Maybe you skipped past the headline, but it reads “America’s liberal establishment has learned nothing.” I’m not sure what you expected, but an article about the USA with American references did not come as a surprise to this reader.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

Contemporary “liberal” posture:

I CARE MORE THAN YOU DO.

Therefore I do not need to bother with nuance.

Otto Christensen
Otto Christensen
3 years ago

Haynes has a lovely and clever command of millennial jargon and one could mistake such social media savvy for insider knowledge and insight except after deciphering his expositions crave clarity and point of view. That said the scribe is entertaining, however by the end of the article I am left asking but what do you really think? “To change how we talk is to change who we are” Marantz concluded, presumably that is the Royal We.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago

It’s hardly ‘lovely’.

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago

Presumably this was aimed at an American audience. I haven’t the faintest idea what most of the references mean or who the people are: Marantz, Cernovic, McInnes, Loomer, Southern, Enoch, rabbit Hole, Molyneux, Bread Tube, Yiannopolous, Milano, Gateway Pundit, Overton Window, SJW (wtf?) etc. Too damned arcane for me

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

You mean to tell me that you don’t spend six hours of every day following every twist and turn of the US culture wars? Your life must be so empty…

SJW normally stands for ‘Social Justice Warriors’. However, I have just heard ‘Social Justice Weirdos’ on one podcast, which amused me.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

I don’t recognise many of them but you must surely of got the gist.

Bobiq Elven
Bobiq Elven
3 years ago

If you can’t spell a sophisticated word, don’t use it.

michael harris
michael harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Bobiq Elven

Clearly a word must be sophisticated if it’s hard (sorry, difficult) to spell.

garlandremingtoniii
garlandremingtoniii
3 years ago

When I clicked on this read I was really hoping to read an article that held the lefts feet to the fire. I was hoping to read an article that showed how the Democrats here in America definitely missed what we are about. They didn’t get it then and they don’t get it now. And neither does this writer. Once I got past the part of him attacking Laura Loomer, Mike Cernovich etc, I read two more paragraphs and that was enough. Just more garden-variety far left hack attacks of America’s middle class.

David Parsons
David Parsons
3 years ago

Careful reading of even the small portion of the article you read does not support your conclusions about it, and had you read the whole you might have realised how far off the mark you were in your assessments of the article and its author’s viewpoint.

cjhartnett1
cjhartnett1
3 years ago

This is a decent stab at a key point.
The likes of Robert Reich get CNN type outlets to threaten Trump voters and leaders with some kind of Truth And Reconciliation Commission, a cultural fumigation before we get back to participating in their …well ,Reich.
The stench of arrogance and jackbooted payback is all too apparent, and all the worse for being a coordinated message from the usual Dead Tree Screeners.
About time we decided that there is no reasoning with people who haven’t reasoned anything since Obama covered for Benghazi and IRS raids on Michelle Bachmann etc.
We hate them, we thank J D Vance for his foray among the working classes of the USA.
And you Gavin, although missing key points end with the late, loved Roger Scruton who understood us.
As does Jordan , let the leftiprogs go to the hell they’re stoking even now.

Jerry VP
Jerry VP
3 years ago

In *Achieving Our Country* Rorty also, in contrast, advised for a more patriotic left, and predicted: 1) that the left would get lost in abstruse philosophy sans adopting a moratorium; 2) would find new language for endlessly expressing the trope “power vs the people” (systematic racism?); 3) might carry Foucault’s program of seeing power (as everywhere and insidious) into explicitly naming a “devil” (whiteness?); 4) was starting to favor Maoism; and 5) IIRC questioned the long-term consequences of a shift to identity- over class-analysis. As I read it, the book was prescient in these details and is more of a warning to the left about the left, overall.

Graff von Frankenheim
Graff von Frankenheim
3 years ago

They haven’t learned anything because their sense of selfworth is entirely tied up with their belief system. Force them to change their beliefs and you take away the prime support for their sense of superiority. They can’t afford to learn anything from reality.

JEAN RANC
JEAN RANC
3 years ago

Would Unherd be so kind as to hire Roger Scruton to do a simultaneous translation of Gavin Haynes work into “natural language” so that those of us over say age 29, can understand what he’s writing? Thank you.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  JEAN RANC

Somewhat difficult, as he’s dead.

Jonathan Barker
Jonathan Barker
3 years ago

Meanwhile some/many of Roger Scruton’s admirers are openly sympathetic with the Golden Golem of Greatness – he who on a day to day basis makes a complete mockery of everything that Roger Scruton advocated

Stephen Carter
Stephen Carter
3 years ago

Starting to give up with UnHerd. I just read a piece by Tanya Gold and had no idea what she was going on about and now this one is equally unfathomable. Really than trying to be too clever can they please write clearly and get to the point.

V Dan
V Dan
3 years ago

Nice piece but if you’re going to use a gigantic foreign word make sure you spell it correctly. weltanschung is spelt with a double U as in weltanschuung

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

Great review by Gavin. Re “Trump is portrayed as the ur-yahoo: in 2011, he hijacked the attention economy with the birther slurs”, Gavin doesn’t give sufficient credit to Trump for the event that in a sense launched his political career. Obama had churlishly refused the quite reasonable demands that he produce his long-form birth certificate for years. There was never any serious doubt that he was born in Hawaii, but his pig-headed refusal to produce the document made people think he had something else to hide. When Trump made it an issue he suddenly produced it. It turned out there was nothing incriminating in it, but Trump had shown what an irresponsible twit Obama was, wasting federal government legal resources for years fighting demands for the long-term birth certificate when he should have released it immediately. Oddly enough, the woke media in North America, including Canada’s major radio network, CBC Radio, have tried to slur Donald Trump Jr as the leader of a birther conspiracy directed against Senator Kamala Harris, although there is nothing to support such an accusation. It shows just how badly Trump Derangement Syndrome has infected this continent.

Will D. Mann
Will D. Mann
3 years ago

The liberal, college educated demographic is growing, while those whose values predispose them to support Trump are shrinking.

Something similar is happening in the UK.

Paul Savage
Paul Savage
3 years ago
Reply to  Will D. Mann

Did you set out to prove the author’s point about the establishment left’s willful blindness and snobbery or could you simply not help it?

Drew
Drew
3 years ago
Reply to  Will D. Mann

Higher “education” is about to implode. It is mostly a demonstrably, useless pursuit in its present format.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

People with all sorts of degrees leave collage and a year or so later start training as plumbers and electricians…all they have acheived is to substitute five years or so of compounding wealth for 5 of draining some away.

Drew
Drew
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

Yessir. You’re talking to a terminally degreed tradesman. (Not tradesperson. Not trades’he/she/it’!)

I’m embarrassed by my misspent youth in the academy. Fortunately that time was in the 80’s when a ‘degree’ or two didn’t cost an arm and a first born child. Plus your soul!

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

Arthur Rowe’s blue & white army!

dehavilland
dehavilland
3 years ago
Reply to  Will D. Mann

It is the Trump (US) & Brexit (UK) supporting plumbers making six-figure as opposed to running-up-debt-whilst-getting-a-gender-studies-degree types who are on the ascendancy 😀

Zhirayr Nersessian
Zhirayr Nersessian
3 years ago
Reply to  Will D. Mann

College educated but lacking intelligence as well as the ability to think freely. Education and intelligence are no longer positively correlated. AT all. The landslide you are about to witness in November will give us assurance that all is not lost

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Will D. Mann

Ah, the credentialed demographic, with its existentialist angst over first-world problems, mountains of debt, and inability to look up from the iPhone. That liberal demographic changes its viewpoint when it realizes that it is now responsible for funding its grandiose ideas.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Will D. Mann

I guess that will be why they were destroyed at the GE in December. There is a good chance that the same will happen in the US.