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What really causes Trump Anxiety Disorder? Liberals are fighting against an alternate reality

This is not normal behaviour (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

This is not normal behaviour (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)


August 7, 2023   6 mins

Donald Trump stops me sleeping, and I am not alone. The multiply indicted former president’s fans sneeringly call it “Trump Derangement Syndrome”. Psychologists, who since 2016 have seen a rise in people anxious about the state of the world, call it “Trump Anxiety Disorder”. As someone afflicted, I think its essence is disorientation: Trump and his supporters appear to be living in an alternate reality. The Trump phenomenon has not only intensified partisan polarisation, but also highlighted the existence of two different fact-worlds.

At least for me, the cause of Trump Anxiety Disorder is not so much Trump himself, but what his rise, and seeming untouchability, tells us about the impossibility of politics. He exposes our collective powerlessness when we cannot agree on what is true and what is not. This is why Trump’s indictment for conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy to deprive American citizens of their votes is bad news for sufferers: it is another test of whether there are consequences for saying that black is white, and just like the two impeachments, it might well fail.

On the first page of the indictment, Special Prosecutor Jack Smith succinctly sums up the case he wants to make: “Despite having lost [the 2020 election], the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false.” But did he? Trump’s defenders argue that he sincerely believed there had been election rigging on a scale that altered the outcome. Of course, the indictment provides evidence that Trump was repeatedly told none of this was true by Justice Department officials, White House aides, Republican governors and even his own Vice President, who he accused — on Christmas Day, no less — of being “too honest”. But so what? Wasn’t he just Trump being Trump?

One of the problems here is the cognitive dissonance between the deadly serious charges laid against the former president and the manifest lunacy and incompetence of his carnival of co-conspirators, a cast of characters who could be from an Ealing Comedy. It includes Rudy Giuliani, the hair-dye-drizzled host of a press conference that was supposed to be in the Four Seasons Hotel but ended up in a garden supply centre instead, and the lawyer Sidney Powell, so bonkers that even Trump apparently called her “crazy”. With friends like these, Trump was just being what Trump has always been — narcissistic, reckless, gullible, mendacious, believing that the world was what he wanted it to be. He and his acolytes never wink and admit they’re playing a game, but their very outlandishness makes them harder to take seriously.

The indictment hedges against the defence that Trump was just being Trump by freely acknowledging that, like every American citizen, he had the right to lie. It focuses instead on what he did — trying to overturn the election by appointing fake electors and such like — not on what he thought. But, his defenders will argue, if the election really had been stolen, his efforts to prevent the ratification of Biden’s victory, even down to encouraging an armed crowd to go to the Capitol on January 6, were entirely reasonable. His lawyers will insist that their client was acting on the basis of “advice of counsel” from the constitutional lawyer John Eastman, presumed to be one of Trump’s as-yet-unnamed co-conspirators. Eastman apparently provided advice that Vice President Pence could delay the formal counting of the Electoral College votes on January 6. Assuming a trial does eventually take place, all it will take is for a single juror to think that, on balance, Trump was just “exploring options” and trying to make sure the election was “fair”, and he will be acquitted.

This leaves the United States in a horrible impasse. There is no outcome that will not intensify the stress on the American political system; the stakes have now been raised once again. “To support Trump is to support sedition and violence,” ran a typical piece in the liberal Atlantic. “We face in Trump a dedicated enemy of our Constitution, and if he returns to office, his next ‘administration’ will be a gang of felons, goons, and resentful mediocrities, all of whom will gladly serve Trump’s sociopathic needs while greedily dividing the spoils of power.” The Trumpites respond in kind. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who back in January 2021 blamed Trump for the violence at the Capitol, tweeted: “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America. It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him.”

As an author of books about the American Civil War, I find this language eerily familiar. Especially disconcerting is the way that each side mirrors the claims of the other, believing that their opponents pose an existential threat to the republic. In the 1850s, a majority of Northerners came to believe that Southern slaveholding politicians and their allies represented a grave threat to their system of government, while white Southerners feared that they were losing their country. In fact, the differences between the politics of the mid-19th century and today are profound, and the tendency of today’s liberals to compare themselves to anti-slavery campaigners is often self-serving. But what matters is how people think and speak.

There is no precedent for a president being indicted for these kinds of crimes. None has ever before tried to overturn an election, however ineptly. But in another sense, politics in the US has often, rhetorically, been on the precipice. And while the specifics of the Capitol riot of January 6 were entirely new, the resort to violence was definitely not. The January 6 rioters liked to think of themselves as part of a revolutionary tradition that went back to 1776: that violence against the government is legitimate and sanctioned by the Founding Fathers. They were not entirely wrong about that. “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, a sentiment that was entirely characteristic of him.

Political violence has, in truth, been at least as quintessentially a part of the American political tradition as the supposedly miraculous peaceful transition of power: from the rural rebellions of the 1790s and the white suppression of black voters during Reconstruction to the long tradition of labour and civil rights resistance. When in the aftermath of the January 6th riot, Joe Biden issued a statement claiming: “The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are,” he was only half right. It is true that the US has a long tradition of peaceful, ordered, rational politics, but Trump keeps me awake because he is the latest, and perhaps the most dangerous, reminder of America’s darker, and no less potent, political tradition.

In an important book published in 2020, the political scientists Suzanne Mettler and Robert Lieberman identified four recurrent threats to American democracy: political polarisation, excessive executive power, conflict over who belongs in the political community, and high levels of economic inequality. What is new about the current state of the US, Mettler and Lieberman argue, is that for the first time all four of these threats are in play at the same time.

In the 1790s, there was intense political polarisation, with Jefferson’s and Adam’s supporters each convinced that the triumph of the other would mark the end of the brief experiment in republican government. In the Thirties, mass unemployment and widespread poverty raised profound questions about the viability of the American system. At various times, in the 1890s and again in the Sixties, conflict over who should be included in the political nation threatened to tear the country apart. And anxiety over excessive executive power — a tyrant in the White House — roiled politics in the eras of Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.

But in all these previous moments of crisis, there were also steadying forces. In the Sixties and Seventies, for example, racial conflict and fears of an over-mighty presidency were contained because the two parties did not represent alternative sides in the conflict. Today, extreme partisan polarisation of a kind not seen since the 1790s makes the instability caused by the other three threats exponentially worse.

Mettler and Lieberman gamely end their book on a positive note by quoting Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg urging Americans in the middle of the Civil War to “be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced” and that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom”. Fair play to them: it is always worth returning to Lincoln, for he made the case for democracy as an ongoing struggle better than anyone else has ever done. But at Gettysburg in 1863, there were still another two years of bloody war ahead, a war that was the ultimate example of the breakdown of normal politics. It is not an encouraging precedent.


Adam Smith is Professor of US Politics & Political History at Oxford University. His specialism is the American Civil War.


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J Hop
J Hop
11 months ago

So Democrats spend four years lying about the 2016 election being stolen saying Trump was an agent of Putin to undermine the 2020 election, then turn around and say Trump denying 2020 is illegal? Then you complain about people not seeing the obvious?!?
Yes, we are living in different realities. Mine is the real world, yours is a clown world, and I say this NOT being a fan of Trump. Maybe he’s guilty, but to charge someone with something you have been blatently doing for years and then have people NOT understand why people are flabberghasted by this is just.. I just can’t anymore.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

“to charge someone with something you have been blatently doing for years”

There was a video I saw once about the democrat reaction to Trump 2016, titled 19 minutes.
It wasn’t 19 minutes long. It referred to the time gap between Trump being sworn in as a legally and lawfully elected president, and the first headlines on the liberal media on how he had to be kicked out.

Hypocrisy doesn’t explain it, it’s bordering on mental sickness, extreme delusion and an utterly self centred world view.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Did the out-going President make any of these claims or attempt to pervert the electoral process in any way, in 2016?

Last edited 11 months ago by Laura Pritchard
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

Yes – Hillary Clinton claimed the election was stolen – Trump wasn’t legitimate, the Russians hacked the election, etc. The irony is of course that the entire Steele dossier that was the supposed basis for Russian collusion came from the Democrats and was personally approved by – wait for it – Hilary. So when Trump says the election was stolen he likely believes it – when Democrats said it in 2016 they were lying – they knew Russian collusion was a hoax.

David Jory
David Jory
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Not just approved by Hilary,but the dossier was paid for by the Democrats.

David Jory
David Jory
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Not just approved by Hilary,but the dossier was paid for by the Democrats.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago

The president in 2016, Obama, was not a candidate. Hillary Clinton was no longer even a member of his administration. There was, however, a fairly well publicized attempt to ‘appeal to the conscience’ of Republican electors to change their vote, which is technically legal in some states. Hillary Clinton did not participate in this herself as far as anyone knows, but it was rather beyond the pale of what most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Then of course there was the whole Russian interference angle which is still disputed. What Trump did was much worse. Not disputing that, but this is how escalation happens. One side pushes the guardrails a bit, and then the other goes a little bit further in retaliation, and the cycle repeats. I hope Trump is defeated in 2024, not because I actually think he’ll destroy the country, no one person, even the President has that power, but because I think his victory might result in even more escalation from the other side.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

You don’t think a democrat victory backed by a corrupt media and establishment institutions and a zillion self-righteous ‘serious’ academics like Adam, will lead to ‘even more escalation’?

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

You don’t think a democrat victory backed by a corrupt media and establishment institutions and a zillion self-righteous ‘serious’ academics like Adam, will lead to ‘even more escalation’?

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

Yes – Hillary Clinton claimed the election was stolen – Trump wasn’t legitimate, the Russians hacked the election, etc. The irony is of course that the entire Steele dossier that was the supposed basis for Russian collusion came from the Democrats and was personally approved by – wait for it – Hilary. So when Trump says the election was stolen he likely believes it – when Democrats said it in 2016 they were lying – they knew Russian collusion was a hoax.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago

The president in 2016, Obama, was not a candidate. Hillary Clinton was no longer even a member of his administration. There was, however, a fairly well publicized attempt to ‘appeal to the conscience’ of Republican electors to change their vote, which is technically legal in some states. Hillary Clinton did not participate in this herself as far as anyone knows, but it was rather beyond the pale of what most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Then of course there was the whole Russian interference angle which is still disputed. What Trump did was much worse. Not disputing that, but this is how escalation happens. One side pushes the guardrails a bit, and then the other goes a little bit further in retaliation, and the cycle repeats. I hope Trump is defeated in 2024, not because I actually think he’ll destroy the country, no one person, even the President has that power, but because I think his victory might result in even more escalation from the other side.

Robert Harris
Robert Harris
10 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I think you should delete the words “bordering on”. Moreover, if my memory serves me well, I recall that many members of the left-wing fraternity were swearing that they would impeach Trump even before he had been sworn in.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Did the out-going President make any of these claims or attempt to pervert the electoral process in any way, in 2016?

Last edited 11 months ago by Laura Pritchard
Robert Harris
Robert Harris
10 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I think you should delete the words “bordering on”. Moreover, if my memory serves me well, I recall that many members of the left-wing fraternity were swearing that they would impeach Trump even before he had been sworn in.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Very well articulated. Thank you!

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Yes it is very odd. And I say that as a non American centrist.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

I think TDS was evidenced most starkly when Sam Harris unravelled during his interview with Konstantin Krisin – when he said “At that point Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in his basement, I would not have cared,” Harris said in a clip which has been viewed more than 3.2 million times on Twitter. The end of Sam Harris’s reputation.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Would any candidate on the political left take seriously, even for a moment, the idea of standing down, so as to save those on the right from suffering a hissy fit?

R S Foster
R S Foster
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

…furthermore, the US system empowers political appointees at Federal, State and Local level…which in some ways has great merit, and is certainly more clearly democratic than the UK system of a (supposedly!) neutral class of government officials serving each side of the argument with equal diligence..?
…but in current US circumstances of vicious antagonism and visceral hatred, does mean it is very easy for the losers to accuse the winners of dishonest practice…and equally easy, in contested circumstances…to give “Your Guy” the benefit of the doubt a bit too readily…
…I don’t think the Election was “stolen”…but I do wonder if the outcome would have been different if the “establishment” in some places had been from the GOP, not True-Blue Democrats…

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

“to charge someone with something you have been blatently doing for years”

There was a video I saw once about the democrat reaction to Trump 2016, titled 19 minutes.
It wasn’t 19 minutes long. It referred to the time gap between Trump being sworn in as a legally and lawfully elected president, and the first headlines on the liberal media on how he had to be kicked out.

Hypocrisy doesn’t explain it, it’s bordering on mental sickness, extreme delusion and an utterly self centred world view.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Very well articulated. Thank you!

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Yes it is very odd. And I say that as a non American centrist.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

I think TDS was evidenced most starkly when Sam Harris unravelled during his interview with Konstantin Krisin – when he said “At that point Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in his basement, I would not have cared,” Harris said in a clip which has been viewed more than 3.2 million times on Twitter. The end of Sam Harris’s reputation.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Would any candidate on the political left take seriously, even for a moment, the idea of standing down, so as to save those on the right from suffering a hissy fit?

R S Foster
R S Foster
11 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

…furthermore, the US system empowers political appointees at Federal, State and Local level…which in some ways has great merit, and is certainly more clearly democratic than the UK system of a (supposedly!) neutral class of government officials serving each side of the argument with equal diligence..?
…but in current US circumstances of vicious antagonism and visceral hatred, does mean it is very easy for the losers to accuse the winners of dishonest practice…and equally easy, in contested circumstances…to give “Your Guy” the benefit of the doubt a bit too readily…
…I don’t think the Election was “stolen”…but I do wonder if the outcome would have been different if the “establishment” in some places had been from the GOP, not True-Blue Democrats…

J Hop
J Hop
11 months ago

So Democrats spend four years lying about the 2016 election being stolen saying Trump was an agent of Putin to undermine the 2020 election, then turn around and say Trump denying 2020 is illegal? Then you complain about people not seeing the obvious?!?
Yes, we are living in different realities. Mine is the real world, yours is a clown world, and I say this NOT being a fan of Trump. Maybe he’s guilty, but to charge someone with something you have been blatently doing for years and then have people NOT understand why people are flabberghasted by this is just.. I just can’t anymore.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
11 months ago

It’s interesting how a professor of US politics and political history does not turn his attention to the egregious corruption of the Democratic Party.
The Watergate scandal involved a bungled attempt to tap phones at the Democrat campaign office, and Nixon lying about his knowledge. Hillary Clinton commissioned and paid for a fake dossier of lies about Trump which connected him with Russia, fed it to her friends in the FBI and CIA who used it as a basis to spy on the Trump campaign and knowingly falsely persecuted him for three years, alleging he was only elected through Russian corruption of the 2016 election. That apparently, doesn’t worry the professor.
Trump’s first impeachment was based on a telephone call in which he asked Ukrainian officials to investigate the now obvious corruption of Joe Biden and and his son Hunter in relation to selling Biden’s political influence to the oil company Burisma. On camera Joe Biden boasted that he threatened to stop $1 billion going to Ukraine if the authorities didn’t remove the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma for corruption. That apparently doesn’t worry the professor.
When the Supreme Court had it’s judgment on abortion rights leaked, mobs descended on the homes of the Justices, seeking to intimidate them in to changing their ruling. An assassin armed to murder a justice was arrested. Despite clearly being a serious criminal offences, Democrat appointed Merrick Garland refused to intervene to protect the Justices and Democrat politicians refused to condemn the intimidation of Supreme Court justices. Apparently that doesn’t worry the professor.
From the position of the British legal system the US system in which criminal prosecutors and judges are political appointments is a disgraceful anathema. When added to that, the fact that jurors are being recruited from an electorate biased towards the political position of the prosecutors and judges, the corruption of the system is self evident. Now Trump is had charges brought against him by a Democrat prosecutor, presided over by a Democrat judge and the pool of jurors with be overwhelmingly Democrat voters. But that doesn’t worry the professor.
Trump has said and done many stupid things. I sincerely wish he would go away and DeSantis have the nomination. But Trump’s actions were just dumb. In comparison, with “Russiagate” and the current persecution of Trump, the Democrats have corrupted and weaponised the FBI and CIA against their political opponents while ignoring the crimes of the likes of Hiliary Clinton and Joe Biden They have allowed the intimidation of Supreme Court justices.
Trump did dumb things. Bringing hundreds of thousands of people to Washington was dumb. Crowds are unpredictable and the chances that some morons would get out of control was high. But Trump was never a threat to democracy; within hours Biden’s presidency was certified. But a political party that has corrupted and weaponised the FBI, CIA and its elected prosecutors and judges against its political opponents while protecting its representatives from criminal charges, and allowed the intimidation of Supreme Court justices, is a threat to US democracy
A would encourage the professor to stop being a dumb partisan and to actually start thinking.

Last edited 11 months ago by Marcus Leach
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

This is well said – and you’ve not mentioned numerous accusations leveled at Trump that were false but which Biden now does to applause from the same people. Trump was the ‘tyrant’ because he reversed Obama’s executive orders… Biden actually defended his student loan forgiveness plan with a straight face in the Supreme Court! Trump was accused of ‘politicizing the law’ but the left has worked overtime for seven years now to invent new legal interpretations to shoehorn in political conduct they don’t like.
I couldn’t stand Trump in 2016, but watching the liberal establishment lose its mind – the hypocrisy, the double-standards, the deliberate mischaracterizations, etc. – earned him a lot of sympathy in my book. He’s still dull-witted buffoon with the outsize ego typical of a billionaire, of course.
What’s so sad is that America must be in thrall to the 30% of the Red electorate that likes his bravado, and the 30% of the Blue electorate that derives their self-worth from being morally superior to him. I think if he’d handled the 2020 campaign with just a smidgen more political intelligence, he’d be nearing the end of his second term and we’d be about to turn the page on this chapter of American history.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Agreed

Terry M
Terry M
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

the Blue electorate that derives their self-worth from being pretending to be morally superior to him
FIFY

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Agreed

Terry M
Terry M
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

the Blue electorate that derives their self-worth from being pretending to be morally superior to him
FIFY

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

All this! Yes, long gone are the days of critical, objective academics. They are all now puppets of the propagandists, moulded by groupthink and cowardice, terrorised into staying in line under threat of losing their livelihoods. We need a real intellectual revolution in this country!

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Also, to my knowledge, nobody has yet been tried and put in prison for setting fire to the Federal Courthouse in Portland during the BLM riots. Although some of the armed rioters were arrested, half of them were set free again by a left wing district attorney.
The author speaks of Trump “encouraging armed crowds” going to the Capitol. I agree, it was reckless of Trump to assemble a crowd on January 6th, and telling an unpredictable bunch of people to (“peacefully”) walk to the Capitol, but I wasn’t aware that the crowd was armed, and didn’t see any evidence on TV. The leaders of these so-called Patriots looked more like a costume party, strange bearded men and a Sharman “armed” with an American flag.

Last edited 11 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Pah! Is that all you have? (Joking before the lynch mob descends.)

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I would encourage the professor to stop being a dumb partisan and to actually start thinking.

You raise a very good point. I taught for six years in US academia and avoided these kinds of professors like the plague. They are so utterly convinced of their own moral superiority that I can only describe it as some kind of religious zeal.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

“ It’s interesting how a professor of US politics and political history does not turn his attention to the egregious corruption of the Democratic Party.”

You say “interesting”, I say completely consistent.

James 0
James 0
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

“[I] woukd encourage the professor to stop being a dumb partisan and to actually start thinking”

*sigh* You’re American, aren’t you?

I can tell from the self-serving righteous anger when someone has the temerity to attempt speak objectively about your basket-case of a country.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I too wish Trump would stand down, and let de Santis take the helm. But Trump is there by Democrat design. It’s Smith’s crowd who put him there

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

This is well said – and you’ve not mentioned numerous accusations leveled at Trump that were false but which Biden now does to applause from the same people. Trump was the ‘tyrant’ because he reversed Obama’s executive orders… Biden actually defended his student loan forgiveness plan with a straight face in the Supreme Court! Trump was accused of ‘politicizing the law’ but the left has worked overtime for seven years now to invent new legal interpretations to shoehorn in political conduct they don’t like.
I couldn’t stand Trump in 2016, but watching the liberal establishment lose its mind – the hypocrisy, the double-standards, the deliberate mischaracterizations, etc. – earned him a lot of sympathy in my book. He’s still dull-witted buffoon with the outsize ego typical of a billionaire, of course.
What’s so sad is that America must be in thrall to the 30% of the Red electorate that likes his bravado, and the 30% of the Blue electorate that derives their self-worth from being morally superior to him. I think if he’d handled the 2020 campaign with just a smidgen more political intelligence, he’d be nearing the end of his second term and we’d be about to turn the page on this chapter of American history.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

All this! Yes, long gone are the days of critical, objective academics. They are all now puppets of the propagandists, moulded by groupthink and cowardice, terrorised into staying in line under threat of losing their livelihoods. We need a real intellectual revolution in this country!

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Also, to my knowledge, nobody has yet been tried and put in prison for setting fire to the Federal Courthouse in Portland during the BLM riots. Although some of the armed rioters were arrested, half of them were set free again by a left wing district attorney.
The author speaks of Trump “encouraging armed crowds” going to the Capitol. I agree, it was reckless of Trump to assemble a crowd on January 6th, and telling an unpredictable bunch of people to (“peacefully”) walk to the Capitol, but I wasn’t aware that the crowd was armed, and didn’t see any evidence on TV. The leaders of these so-called Patriots looked more like a costume party, strange bearded men and a Sharman “armed” with an American flag.

Last edited 11 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Pah! Is that all you have? (Joking before the lynch mob descends.)

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I would encourage the professor to stop being a dumb partisan and to actually start thinking.

You raise a very good point. I taught for six years in US academia and avoided these kinds of professors like the plague. They are so utterly convinced of their own moral superiority that I can only describe it as some kind of religious zeal.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

“ It’s interesting how a professor of US politics and political history does not turn his attention to the egregious corruption of the Democratic Party.”

You say “interesting”, I say completely consistent.

James 0
James 0
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

“[I] woukd encourage the professor to stop being a dumb partisan and to actually start thinking”

*sigh* You’re American, aren’t you?

I can tell from the self-serving righteous anger when someone has the temerity to attempt speak objectively about your basket-case of a country.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I too wish Trump would stand down, and let de Santis take the helm. But Trump is there by Democrat design. It’s Smith’s crowd who put him there

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
11 months ago

It’s interesting how a professor of US politics and political history does not turn his attention to the egregious corruption of the Democratic Party.
The Watergate scandal involved a bungled attempt to tap phones at the Democrat campaign office, and Nixon lying about his knowledge. Hillary Clinton commissioned and paid for a fake dossier of lies about Trump which connected him with Russia, fed it to her friends in the FBI and CIA who used it as a basis to spy on the Trump campaign and knowingly falsely persecuted him for three years, alleging he was only elected through Russian corruption of the 2016 election. That apparently, doesn’t worry the professor.
Trump’s first impeachment was based on a telephone call in which he asked Ukrainian officials to investigate the now obvious corruption of Joe Biden and and his son Hunter in relation to selling Biden’s political influence to the oil company Burisma. On camera Joe Biden boasted that he threatened to stop $1 billion going to Ukraine if the authorities didn’t remove the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma for corruption. That apparently doesn’t worry the professor.
When the Supreme Court had it’s judgment on abortion rights leaked, mobs descended on the homes of the Justices, seeking to intimidate them in to changing their ruling. An assassin armed to murder a justice was arrested. Despite clearly being a serious criminal offences, Democrat appointed Merrick Garland refused to intervene to protect the Justices and Democrat politicians refused to condemn the intimidation of Supreme Court justices. Apparently that doesn’t worry the professor.
From the position of the British legal system the US system in which criminal prosecutors and judges are political appointments is a disgraceful anathema. When added to that, the fact that jurors are being recruited from an electorate biased towards the political position of the prosecutors and judges, the corruption of the system is self evident. Now Trump is had charges brought against him by a Democrat prosecutor, presided over by a Democrat judge and the pool of jurors with be overwhelmingly Democrat voters. But that doesn’t worry the professor.
Trump has said and done many stupid things. I sincerely wish he would go away and DeSantis have the nomination. But Trump’s actions were just dumb. In comparison, with “Russiagate” and the current persecution of Trump, the Democrats have corrupted and weaponised the FBI and CIA against their political opponents while ignoring the crimes of the likes of Hiliary Clinton and Joe Biden They have allowed the intimidation of Supreme Court justices.
Trump did dumb things. Bringing hundreds of thousands of people to Washington was dumb. Crowds are unpredictable and the chances that some morons would get out of control was high. But Trump was never a threat to democracy; within hours Biden’s presidency was certified. But a political party that has corrupted and weaponised the FBI, CIA and its elected prosecutors and judges against its political opponents while protecting its representatives from criminal charges, and allowed the intimidation of Supreme Court justices, is a threat to US democracy
A would encourage the professor to stop being a dumb partisan and to actually start thinking.

Last edited 11 months ago by Marcus Leach
Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
11 months ago

The threats to our democracy are entirely within the party that wants to ban political speech, weaponize law enforcement and intelligence agencies against their political opposition, and use disadvantaged minority groups to enact state control of the economy.
This party has recklessly spent astonishingly high amounts of borrowed funds, much of which was given to their constituents, most of it wasted on needless, useless things. This sent inflation soaring, as well as putting us in even greater risk from debt.
They’re the real threats to democracy. Let’s be honest about this. They’re the ones pushing fake news stories, exaggerated panics, and ridiculous tales of “far right extremism,” including such groups as Roman Catholics, parents at school board meetings, and traditional Republicans as “dangerous, extremist insurrectionists.”
They are living in an alternate reality, that’s almost entirely false, and they are themselves pushing divisive, radical, dangerous agendas.

philip kern
philip kern
11 months ago

I agree with all this except the word ‘entirely’ in your first line. Both parties have allowed unconstitutional realignments of power. GOP senators seem just as willing to pass the buck (executives orders, etc.) rather than cast a vote for something that might appeal to less than 100 per cent of the people in their state. When legislatures won’t legislate, the executive and judiciary step in along with 10s of thousands of bureaucrats.

philip kern
philip kern
11 months ago

I agree with all this except the word ‘entirely’ in your first line. Both parties have allowed unconstitutional realignments of power. GOP senators seem just as willing to pass the buck (executives orders, etc.) rather than cast a vote for something that might appeal to less than 100 per cent of the people in their state. When legislatures won’t legislate, the executive and judiciary step in along with 10s of thousands of bureaucrats.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
11 months ago

The threats to our democracy are entirely within the party that wants to ban political speech, weaponize law enforcement and intelligence agencies against their political opposition, and use disadvantaged minority groups to enact state control of the economy.
This party has recklessly spent astonishingly high amounts of borrowed funds, much of which was given to their constituents, most of it wasted on needless, useless things. This sent inflation soaring, as well as putting us in even greater risk from debt.
They’re the real threats to democracy. Let’s be honest about this. They’re the ones pushing fake news stories, exaggerated panics, and ridiculous tales of “far right extremism,” including such groups as Roman Catholics, parents at school board meetings, and traditional Republicans as “dangerous, extremist insurrectionists.”
They are living in an alternate reality, that’s almost entirely false, and they are themselves pushing divisive, radical, dangerous agendas.

Max Price
Max Price
11 months ago

Shop fronts were boarding up their windows right across the country for the 2020 election in case Trump won. They feared political violence from the Left not the Right.

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
11 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

That Time.com piece in February 2021 about fortifying the election admitted the Left had co-ordinated street riots ready to kick off across the country on the word of command from the Democrat leadership.
https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/

Emre S
Emre S
11 months ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

I don’t think this article got the attention it deserved. It’s pretty much a public admission of a national conspiracy to influence the election result.

Emre S
Emre S
11 months ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

I don’t think this article got the attention it deserved. It’s pretty much a public admission of a national conspiracy to influence the election result.

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
11 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

That Time.com piece in February 2021 about fortifying the election admitted the Left had co-ordinated street riots ready to kick off across the country on the word of command from the Democrat leadership.
https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/

Max Price
Max Price
11 months ago

Shop fronts were boarding up their windows right across the country for the 2020 election in case Trump won. They feared political violence from the Left not the Right.

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago

This is NOT complicated. It is actually quite easy to understand. And the author should stop with the innocent, virtuous, reasonable, victim act.

Prior to Trump the DC consensus, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley did all they could to undermine the middle class in the US. Outsourcing. Offshoring. Bringing in H1B’s and illegals to compete for the jobs that were not offshored or outsourced. They bailed out banks with tax payer dollars while allowing waves of foreclosures. And that list is just getting started. The democrats abandoned the middle and working class for campaign donations, stock tips and jobs for relatives from Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Then the democrats aligned with the sanctimonious educated snobs in NY, MA and CA etc to not only mock the losses in fly over country but to mock the values and character of the people who live there.

Trump, as Michael Moore pointed out, was the biggest FU in history, sent by all those alienated by liberal elites and tired of getting screwed over by the DC consensus, to give them a kick in the shins and change some policies.

Then, the adminstrative state, the FBI, IRS, CIA, DoD, State Department and the rest, the never Trump republicans, the democrats, proceeded to try and use every dirty trick they could, from the Steele Dossier and Russian Collusion to multiple impeachments to undermine the man they had sent to kick them in the shins. In short, the elite were having none the FU sent their way and they were not gonna listen. In fact, they were gonna double down.

Then, those same people proceeded to mock and humiliate the people who voted for Trump. Four years plus. Everything from Deplorables to Fascists. This despite the fact that these same people calling them these names, despite puffing themselves up as experts, have FAILED repeatedly at EVERYTHING they have done and they continue to fail while refusing to change and to top it off put a mentally incompetent crook in the White House who then proceeded to use his office to strong arm the media and social media to censor those who questioned him or his policies.

The morons put all those voters in a position where they are tied to Trump, linked to him by the disdain of the same people. THAT is why Trump’s numbers go up with each new indictment. Each indictment is essentially an attack on them too, just as the impeachments were. Just as the resistance was. Now the continued incompetence of the elites, their arrogance despite their failures, their authoritarian behavior, may well see Trump elected again.

Ticiba Upe
Ticiba Upe
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Wow….I am impressed…EXACTLY!!

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Very very well stated. What is extra scary is that this author is a professor and doesn’t understand what is actually going on. Also scary is he is in a position of influencing young minds.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

US/Trump = UK/Farage.
.
The myopic liberals will never learn …

Last edited 11 months ago by Ian Barton
Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Farage. 😀 😀 😀 😀

Last edited 11 months ago by Laura Pritchard
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

It’s quite possible the UK’s globalist controlled two party system will eventually lead to Prime Minister Farage one day.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Farage. 😀 😀 😀 😀

Last edited 11 months ago by Laura Pritchard
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

It’s quite possible the UK’s globalist controlled two party system will eventually lead to Prime Minister Farage one day.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Another way to put it is that Trump has become a symbol of resistance as much as a politician – the attacks just give him a halo.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Great story, but unfortunately unrealistic one.
Trump will not be allowed to win.

Ticiba Upe
Ticiba Upe
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Wow….I am impressed…EXACTLY!!

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Very very well stated. What is extra scary is that this author is a professor and doesn’t understand what is actually going on. Also scary is he is in a position of influencing young minds.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

US/Trump = UK/Farage.
.
The myopic liberals will never learn …

Last edited 11 months ago by Ian Barton
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Another way to put it is that Trump has become a symbol of resistance as much as a politician – the attacks just give him a halo.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Great story, but unfortunately unrealistic one.
Trump will not be allowed to win.

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago

This is NOT complicated. It is actually quite easy to understand. And the author should stop with the innocent, virtuous, reasonable, victim act.

Prior to Trump the DC consensus, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley did all they could to undermine the middle class in the US. Outsourcing. Offshoring. Bringing in H1B’s and illegals to compete for the jobs that were not offshored or outsourced. They bailed out banks with tax payer dollars while allowing waves of foreclosures. And that list is just getting started. The democrats abandoned the middle and working class for campaign donations, stock tips and jobs for relatives from Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Then the democrats aligned with the sanctimonious educated snobs in NY, MA and CA etc to not only mock the losses in fly over country but to mock the values and character of the people who live there.

Trump, as Michael Moore pointed out, was the biggest FU in history, sent by all those alienated by liberal elites and tired of getting screwed over by the DC consensus, to give them a kick in the shins and change some policies.

Then, the adminstrative state, the FBI, IRS, CIA, DoD, State Department and the rest, the never Trump republicans, the democrats, proceeded to try and use every dirty trick they could, from the Steele Dossier and Russian Collusion to multiple impeachments to undermine the man they had sent to kick them in the shins. In short, the elite were having none the FU sent their way and they were not gonna listen. In fact, they were gonna double down.

Then, those same people proceeded to mock and humiliate the people who voted for Trump. Four years plus. Everything from Deplorables to Fascists. This despite the fact that these same people calling them these names, despite puffing themselves up as experts, have FAILED repeatedly at EVERYTHING they have done and they continue to fail while refusing to change and to top it off put a mentally incompetent crook in the White House who then proceeded to use his office to strong arm the media and social media to censor those who questioned him or his policies.

The morons put all those voters in a position where they are tied to Trump, linked to him by the disdain of the same people. THAT is why Trump’s numbers go up with each new indictment. Each indictment is essentially an attack on them too, just as the impeachments were. Just as the resistance was. Now the continued incompetence of the elites, their arrogance despite their failures, their authoritarian behavior, may well see Trump elected again.

Oliver Barclay
Oliver Barclay
11 months ago

Of course we can’t agree on reality – we never could. The left has a fundamental misreading of the human race based on emotion and empathy, which is I guess noble, but catastrophically misplaced. Leftism doesn’t help the people it claims to – eventually the money runs out. It often benefits the intellectuals that promote it though, which makes it obvious why they promote it so heavily.
Trump was one of those people who challenged the fundamental lie that is leftism, and deep down, that is why they hate him and why he keeps intellectuals awake at night. The rest is just fluff, despite Trump being his own worst enemy at times.

AC Harper
AC Harper
11 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

Trump challenged the political machine and threatened to ‘drain the swamp’. He had to go if the cosy arrangements for the elite to continue. It’s not unlikely that his current legal charges are part of preventing him from running again.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
11 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Threatened. And his actual actions?

michael harris
michael harris
11 months ago

Stymied at every turn, often by his own advisers. Derailed by covid. Hounded by fake impeachments.
His main achievement…destruction of the Bush and Clinton dynasties. For that he must pay!

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago

The elites understand that, this time, he’s gonna blow it all up. Donald Trump IS an existential threat to the establishment. Listen closely to his second term policies — term limits, etc. The swamp will dry up and blow away in the wind.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

No it will not dry up etc bullsh*t.
Trump is not be allowed to win.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

No it will not dry up etc bullsh*t.
Trump is not be allowed to win.

michael harris
michael harris
11 months ago

Stymied at every turn, often by his own advisers. Derailed by covid. Hounded by fake impeachments.
His main achievement…destruction of the Bush and Clinton dynasties. For that he must pay!

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago

The elites understand that, this time, he’s gonna blow it all up. Donald Trump IS an existential threat to the establishment. Listen closely to his second term policies — term limits, etc. The swamp will dry up and blow away in the wind.

Rick Frazier
Rick Frazier
11 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

One thing Trump never did was punch below his weight. He didn’t put down the average voter who refused to support him. Democrats took a big swipe at his supporters by calling them, among other things, deplorable. I think that swipe did more to get him elected than anything else.

Yes, I suspect none of the charges he now faces would have seen the light of day had Trump made it clear he would not be running again. His worst characteristics simply prevent him from getting out of the way. I agree with those who claim Trump is now the gift that keeps on giving for the Democratic Party. My recommendation for the author: lighten up professor and get some sleep.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
11 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Threatened. And his actual actions?

Rick Frazier
Rick Frazier
11 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

One thing Trump never did was punch below his weight. He didn’t put down the average voter who refused to support him. Democrats took a big swipe at his supporters by calling them, among other things, deplorable. I think that swipe did more to get him elected than anything else.

Yes, I suspect none of the charges he now faces would have seen the light of day had Trump made it clear he would not be running again. His worst characteristics simply prevent him from getting out of the way. I agree with those who claim Trump is now the gift that keeps on giving for the Democratic Party. My recommendation for the author: lighten up professor and get some sleep.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

So your reality is a clean split in which everyone on one side of a binary left-right divide misreads humanity according to two abstract nouns: emotion and empathy.
That seems to leave the opposite qualities of rationality and distance for the group known as the right, or perhaps The Right.
So no emotionality on the right then. Hmm. And which qualities–if you had to choose–are nearer to the heart and message of Jesus, empathy or distance, passion or rationality?
*Perhaps those of you among the swarming downvoters who profess to, or do believe in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth–putting aside supernatural questions–can tell me whether he embraced or rejected compassion/empathy or emotion/passion, if you had to vote up or down, according to your own reading of the Gospels.
Jesus weeps.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I’m sure you use his words to say whatever you want him to say.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

I’m responding to his exact words. Only one side is framed. No definition is provided for Leftism, and no definition is even imagined for Rightism–it is self-justified, in an echo chamber. But dissent is still permitted here, once the heavily-downvoted, triggering comment goes into 12-hour timeout.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

I’m responding to his exact words. Only one side is framed. No definition is provided for Leftism, and no definition is even imagined for Rightism–it is self-justified, in an echo chamber. But dissent is still permitted here, once the heavily-downvoted, triggering comment goes into 12-hour timeout.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I think the poster you are replying to is not necessarily describing all left-leaning people, just those that are so invested in their own mode of thinking that they no longer view those with different political opinions as decent human beings, but rather as gullible idiots at best or fa***sts at worse.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

That’s fair and I should remember that not every understood nuance can or must be specified. But the actual content of the post reads like a one-sided, slam-dunk victory lap in front of a home crowd. Which, if not great, is no big deal. Both sides do it, and I should pick my bones of contention more judiciously, to say the least.
I’m strongly opposed to blanket denunciations from both Right and Left but it occurs to me that I don’t need to keep repeating that in different ways as if it will put a stop to the practice. And I shouldn’t denounce or mock those who disagree. Putting myself on “time out” for the remainder of the day (it is still early morning here). *unless people reply to me and I can’t resist–does this computer HAVE an off button??
Thanks for the welcome note of perspective.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Brave of you to try AJ, but Unherd BTL has turned into an echo chamber. Very few want to live outside the herd.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Overall yes. But good-faith exchanges between differing points of view sometimes break out. Less so than a year ago though. Going away for the day in earnest now. “Loudly agree or bicker amongst yourselves”. Thanks, Dominic.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I disagree that Unherd BTL has turned into an echo chamber. I find it a fascinating place, full of interesting debate. What commenters will usually unanimously agree on, however, is objective truth. For example, the truth about biological sex. There are other unequivocal truths. But there are many heated debates when people voice opinions, and they are not always predictable. A person with the highest-rated comment on one post might find themselves massive down-voted on another topic. The discussion BTL is often more interesting that the article that provoked it!

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Yes, that’s often still true. Depends on the subject I guess. Definitely not happening on this page – it’s all the problem is the left and the saviour is Trump. Weird.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

You need to read more of the comments more thoroughly. I don’t think there are that many Trump fans amongst the commenters, just a lot of awareness that those who loathe and fear him are often guilty of the very “crimes” they accuse him of.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

I agree that Trump fans are probably a minority among commenters. But there is a great deal of semi-reflexive contrarianism and skepticism about any consensus or received view here (something I share in some measure). Of late the echo chamber facet of the site manifests more and more in opposition to anything perceived as left of center or elite-sponsored. Granted there are always at least a few dissenters, and probably many others holding their typing fingers back once the piling-on starts, as it often does. Never a total echo chamber though, and sometimes not at all.
Your point about the targeted and volatile nature of support for or opposition to specific commenters is an excellent one.
It is possible to say something unpopular, in a rude way, get voted into quarantined oblivion one day, and then be applauded and given dopamine doses of digital likes the next day, or even elsewhere on the same board (not that I care one way or the other).
Not that one’s perceived errors or transgressions are forgotten, but most here are very forgiving, willing to take a fair look at the next thing you present. Otherwise, I’d have been labelled online-persona non grata and voted off the BTL island long ago.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

I agree that Trump fans are probably a minority among commenters. But there is a great deal of semi-reflexive contrarianism and skepticism about any consensus or received view here (something I share in some measure). Of late the echo chamber facet of the site manifests more and more in opposition to anything perceived as left of center or elite-sponsored. Granted there are always at least a few dissenters, and probably many others holding their typing fingers back once the piling-on starts, as it often does. Never a total echo chamber though, and sometimes not at all.
Your point about the targeted and volatile nature of support for or opposition to specific commenters is an excellent one.
It is possible to say something unpopular, in a rude way, get voted into quarantined oblivion one day, and then be applauded and given dopamine doses of digital likes the next day, or even elsewhere on the same board (not that I care one way or the other).
Not that one’s perceived errors or transgressions are forgotten, but most here are very forgiving, willing to take a fair look at the next thing you present. Otherwise, I’d have been labelled online-persona non grata and voted off the BTL island long ago.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Because most problems in human history were caused by the left.
Are you going to deny it?
I have no problem with democratic left but current left are basically Communists under cover of voke rubbish.

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

“..most problems in human history were caused by the left. Are you going to deny it?”

I’d say that any such claim is dubious and overly simplistic. It’s surely a horrendously complex issue, with no agreed boundaries, definitions. To take just one point what is left, what is right? Some claim that fascism is actually left wing, whilst others make the exact counter-claim, e.g. that Soviet/Communist systems as played out in the real world are forms of right wing authoritarianism. The pendulum swings continuously – the Democrat party used to represent the right wing, and the Republican, the left. Most on the right wing now accept practices and attitudes that were once seen as far left; similarly on the left, accept things that were once the prerogative of conservatives.

My personal belief is that the left/right divide is not static, and really not so useful; the far left and the far left actually resemble each other quite closely (extreme wokists and anti-wokists are bad fellows and bed fellows) I believe in hybridism, centrism, that which is, over time, with due care, in the fat part of the bell curve. A blend of welfare-ism with laissez-faire, rights balanced with obligations etc.

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

“..most problems in human history were caused by the left. Are you going to deny it?”

I’d say that any such claim is dubious and overly simplistic. It’s surely a horrendously complex issue, with no agreed boundaries, definitions. To take just one point what is left, what is right? Some claim that fascism is actually left wing, whilst others make the exact counter-claim, e.g. that Soviet/Communist systems as played out in the real world are forms of right wing authoritarianism. The pendulum swings continuously – the Democrat party used to represent the right wing, and the Republican, the left. Most on the right wing now accept practices and attitudes that were once seen as far left; similarly on the left, accept things that were once the prerogative of conservatives.

My personal belief is that the left/right divide is not static, and really not so useful; the far left and the far left actually resemble each other quite closely (extreme wokists and anti-wokists are bad fellows and bed fellows) I believe in hybridism, centrism, that which is, over time, with due care, in the fat part of the bell curve. A blend of welfare-ism with laissez-faire, rights balanced with obligations etc.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

You need to read more of the comments more thoroughly. I don’t think there are that many Trump fans amongst the commenters, just a lot of awareness that those who loathe and fear him are often guilty of the very “crimes” they accuse him of.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Because most problems in human history were caused by the left.
Are you going to deny it?
I have no problem with democratic left but current left are basically Communists under cover of voke rubbish.

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Yes, that’s often still true. Depends on the subject I guess. Definitely not happening on this page – it’s all the problem is the left and the saviour is Trump. Weird.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Overall yes. But good-faith exchanges between differing points of view sometimes break out. Less so than a year ago though. Going away for the day in earnest now. “Loudly agree or bicker amongst yourselves”. Thanks, Dominic.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I disagree that Unherd BTL has turned into an echo chamber. I find it a fascinating place, full of interesting debate. What commenters will usually unanimously agree on, however, is objective truth. For example, the truth about biological sex. There are other unequivocal truths. But there are many heated debates when people voice opinions, and they are not always predictable. A person with the highest-rated comment on one post might find themselves massive down-voted on another topic. The discussion BTL is often more interesting that the article that provoked it!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I understand. The US is politically and ideologically split in two and I fear that its binary ‘them and us’ mindset is being adopted abroad.
I for one would definitely like to put away the distinctions between ‘left’ and ‘right’ thinking and explore the individuals and groups who are keen on widening and profiting from this ‘split’. It no longer seems like a healthy difference of opinion between political sides, but a concerted effort to divide and conquer the citizenry.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Too true, Julian.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Too true, Julian.

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Brave of you to try AJ, but Unherd BTL has turned into an echo chamber. Very few want to live outside the herd.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I understand. The US is politically and ideologically split in two and I fear that its binary ‘them and us’ mindset is being adopted abroad.
I for one would definitely like to put away the distinctions between ‘left’ and ‘right’ thinking and explore the individuals and groups who are keen on widening and profiting from this ‘split’. It no longer seems like a healthy difference of opinion between political sides, but a concerted effort to divide and conquer the citizenry.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

That’s fair and I should remember that not every understood nuance can or must be specified. But the actual content of the post reads like a one-sided, slam-dunk victory lap in front of a home crowd. Which, if not great, is no big deal. Both sides do it, and I should pick my bones of contention more judiciously, to say the least.
I’m strongly opposed to blanket denunciations from both Right and Left but it occurs to me that I don’t need to keep repeating that in different ways as if it will put a stop to the practice. And I shouldn’t denounce or mock those who disagree. Putting myself on “time out” for the remainder of the day (it is still early morning here). *unless people reply to me and I can’t resist–does this computer HAVE an off button??
Thanks for the welcome note of perspective.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Leftists are terrible people. When you’re involved in conservative politics you meet people who appear to be leftists but who aren’t – they’re just loathsome people who seem out of place because the Left is the natural home of all sh!tty people. It’s easy to believe that vile people are attracted to the Left as a form of social camouflage, but that’s not the case. Leftists engage in negligible self-reflection. All of their analysis is outward-facing and their ‘conscience’ involves little self-recrimination and is mostly another tool to attack others. Only a Leftist can lie, cheat, steal and murder and feel morally superior. You cannot shame a Leftist – they really are a different type of human. 
The manner in which Leftists are incapable of understanding others is akin to autism. The incessant Leftist invocation of Hitler’s second coming is not merely good politics – they believe it because every Leftist is a violent extremist, from the wettest ‘liberal’ to the most addled anarchist. The Left will never understand that people who are different to them aren’t champing at the bit to open concentration camps and massacre their neighbours – because that is what every Leftist wants (for the greater good, of course. And someone else will do the dirty work, obviously).

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

The Leftists(!!!) you describe do exist but they are mostly just voices in your head. Or perhaps unwelcome shadows in your mirror. They are about as common or representative as the stereotypical gargoyle-far-far-right-conservatives you seem to think all people on The Left find under every rock and in every vote they don’t like.
To be clear I am not a Leftist. Or will this forever war to the death no longer allow for any kind of a middle lane? I am an extreme moderate or radical centrist, a little to the left of the current national center as I perceive it , but not in every way. For example, I care about old books and old music and old traditions, and would not “cancel” or overthrow them without extreme cause, nor try to improve them more than incrementally and with attentive caution, in most cases. There will always be liberals, centrist, and conservatives, as well as people who are on the far fringes. No side or point on the spectrum–autistic or sociopolitical–holds all the good marbles.
Many of us could stand to be less willing to believe that the loudest fringe voices are representative of the prevailing view on the Other Side of a question or perspective. And to stop treating every thought, opinion, or even belief we have like unassailable truth. More people on “all sides” need to practice true self-reflection and self-correction. I’ve gotta go get busy with that and other things myself now.
Where are you? How are you? Have a blessed and self-reflective day, sir.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Really?
It was not me who cancelled my, former, friends for voting remain or believing covid bulshit.
It was other way round.
It is not the right which wants to impose views on people.
It is the left which wants us to believe in gender nonsense or that climate policies work or that mass immigration of low IQ savages from incompatible cultures nto the West is beneficial.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Why do Republican state legislatures pass severe and mother’s-life endangering abortion restrictions without putting it to a general vote, or require textbooks to mention the upside of slavery except to impose their views on people? (Would you object to a textbook that called the Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression” or promoted a Lost Cause romanticism? Given the extremity of your Right views already expressed, I genuinely wonder)*
Wouldn’t you like to forcibly impose your racialized worldview–“low IQ savages”–on people if you could? From an historical perspective, I guess Euro-descended peoples did open themselves up to some criticism by inhabiting, then seizing the ancestral lands of other peoples, savage or not, often enslaving them and working them to death in mines and other brutal labor or converting them to the outward faith in Jesus on pain of death. Perhaps that’s allowable when those you are exploiting for lucre are mere savages. And after all, their souls did/do need saving. Or maybe they should be glad to have even sniffed the Glories of Western Civilization from an ignorant near-distance. I’m not saying our shared civilization (Western Culture) was uniquely brutal in any way, I don’t believe that. But there ought to be some effort toward living up to the universalism of the high Enlightenment and US Constitution, although those values were largely aspirational at the time and still are to some extent. That doesn’t mean open borders or campaigns of eternal apology and compensation, but it shouldn’t mean essentializing tribal/racial/class antagonisms either, on either side of the question.
You express little no charity, kindness, or complexity of any kind here, but imagine you have a conclusive hold on the correct path: a path littered with anger and contempt. Good luck with that.
If your characterization of what happened between you and your former friends is accurate, I’m sorry that happened to you. Is it possible you were offensive or inconsiderate in any way yourself?
The Tories have had the upper hand since 2010 and Brexit was narrowly approved, but on these boards there is no sense of victory or having any cultural sway among the mostly right-leaning, leaver commenters here. Do you blame Labour , hard-Awokened youth, or institutional elites for the state and direction of the country, but not the Tories or the finance crowd? Just wondering.
I hope Britain doesn’t become as hostile and divided as it is here. I think the long-covid disruption and other recent events have made most of us a little more impatient, hostile, and unhinged than our baseline average, at least much of the time. That’s my excuse.
*Probably not a very pertinent question because you’re British. Forgive me for placing my remarks in the context of the US and the Americas. Or don’t, your choice.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“I hope Britain doesn’t become as hostile and divided as it is here.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Michael Tarling recently said he would ‘happily fill the room with carbon monoxide’ in response to people who were meeting to object to a proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone. The American fondness for England is charming but misguided.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

I admit I hadn’t heard that. That’s brutal and evil. I hope there was major pushback and some form of public rebuke for Tarling. I was influenced by commenter Julian Farrows worry that the UK was “importing” US social and political hostilities. I confess a certain remaining fondness for England but am no longer a starry-eyed anglophile.
I do think these UnHerd comment boards have gotten more contentious as more Americans like me (though I was born in Canada) have flooded this website BTL over the past year. And while I usually mean well I don’t exempt myself on that perceived trend either.
If you haven’t visited the States recently and have interest in visiting…maybe wait until things cool down a little. I’m 52 and the national discontent and vitriol is easily worse than at any previous time since I moved here in 1978.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

I admit I hadn’t heard that. That’s brutal and evil. I hope there was major pushback and some form of public rebuke for Tarling. I was influenced by commenter Julian Farrows worry that the UK was “importing” US social and political hostilities. I confess a certain remaining fondness for England but am no longer a starry-eyed anglophile.
I do think these UnHerd comment boards have gotten more contentious as more Americans like me (though I was born in Canada) have flooded this website BTL over the past year. And while I usually mean well I don’t exempt myself on that perceived trend either.
If you haven’t visited the States recently and have interest in visiting…maybe wait until things cool down a little. I’m 52 and the national discontent and vitriol is easily worse than at any previous time since I moved here in 1978.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“I hope Britain doesn’t become as hostile and divided as it is here.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Michael Tarling recently said he would ‘happily fill the room with carbon monoxide’ in response to people who were meeting to object to a proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone. The American fondness for England is charming but misguided.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Why do Republican state legislatures pass severe and mother’s-life endangering abortion restrictions without putting it to a general vote, or require textbooks to mention the upside of slavery except to impose their views on people? (Would you object to a textbook that called the Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression” or promoted a Lost Cause romanticism? Given the extremity of your Right views already expressed, I genuinely wonder)*
Wouldn’t you like to forcibly impose your racialized worldview–“low IQ savages”–on people if you could? From an historical perspective, I guess Euro-descended peoples did open themselves up to some criticism by inhabiting, then seizing the ancestral lands of other peoples, savage or not, often enslaving them and working them to death in mines and other brutal labor or converting them to the outward faith in Jesus on pain of death. Perhaps that’s allowable when those you are exploiting for lucre are mere savages. And after all, their souls did/do need saving. Or maybe they should be glad to have even sniffed the Glories of Western Civilization from an ignorant near-distance. I’m not saying our shared civilization (Western Culture) was uniquely brutal in any way, I don’t believe that. But there ought to be some effort toward living up to the universalism of the high Enlightenment and US Constitution, although those values were largely aspirational at the time and still are to some extent. That doesn’t mean open borders or campaigns of eternal apology and compensation, but it shouldn’t mean essentializing tribal/racial/class antagonisms either, on either side of the question.
You express little no charity, kindness, or complexity of any kind here, but imagine you have a conclusive hold on the correct path: a path littered with anger and contempt. Good luck with that.
If your characterization of what happened between you and your former friends is accurate, I’m sorry that happened to you. Is it possible you were offensive or inconsiderate in any way yourself?
The Tories have had the upper hand since 2010 and Brexit was narrowly approved, but on these boards there is no sense of victory or having any cultural sway among the mostly right-leaning, leaver commenters here. Do you blame Labour , hard-Awokened youth, or institutional elites for the state and direction of the country, but not the Tories or the finance crowd? Just wondering.
I hope Britain doesn’t become as hostile and divided as it is here. I think the long-covid disruption and other recent events have made most of us a little more impatient, hostile, and unhinged than our baseline average, at least much of the time. That’s my excuse.
*Probably not a very pertinent question because you’re British. Forgive me for placing my remarks in the context of the US and the Americas. Or don’t, your choice.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“I care about old books and old music and old traditions, and would not “cancel” or overthrow them without extreme cause, nor try to improve them more than incrementally and with attentive caution, in most cases.”
Look at what you’ve written. You believe you have the right to “improve” literature and music! But only with “extreme cause”, obviously. lol, lmao even.
Even the ‘good’ sort of Leftist gets in line behind their craziest coreligionist sooner or later. It doesn’t matter how sensitive, cultured and thoughtful they are – much to my surprise. I refer only to real people, not the phantoms haunting the sh!tlib imagination (your rude patriarch Orangeus Rex and his MAGAts). One wonders just how much more censorious you will be a decade from now.
Thank you so much for your interest in my wellbeing. On Friday the North African security guard at my local ‘grocery store’ handed me a bag of pastries as I was leaving. We often talk about perfume and he regularly anoints me with whatever perfume he has with him. Other shoppers must be quite confused. I recently sprayed him with a little Casbah by Robert Piguet, an intense fragrance which takes me back to al Buzuriyah souk in Damascus. As you know, perfume is a much more important part of life in MENA than the West. The new Mission Impossible film was great fun and had some interesting messages about men and women working together. In London you’ll notice young women are wearing pink blazers and miniskirts, presumably under the influence of Barbie. A very positive development – women look wonderful in bold colours. And it’s always satisfying to cook for people you love. In spite of the atrocious weather it was an excellent weekend. Yourself? One hopes you have at least one normal or conservative acquaintance with whom you can speak freely. It’s been my experience that Leftists are astonished there are people they can be truly open with – that being impossible among their own kind.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

What punctilious fault finding. The improvement refers to tradition and institutions, not living artifacts of culture. Good Lord! I admit the phrasing was uncareful but that’s what I get for attempting to field and keep up with the torrent of outrage that comes from suggesting there are better and worse ideas and people on both sides of an over-magnified over-inflated political divide; always have been, and always will be. No side can or should win a full or permanent victory. We need innovation and we need tradition. Carefulness and openness too, etc.
Thank you for, I think, implying that I might among the “good Leftists”, at least on some days (before resuming your blanket tirade). But I am not a Leftist, unless anyone not solidly to the political right earns that easy label from you. The closest single self-label that I accept is Classical Liberal. Are you a Rightist?
I admit that many conservatives tend to be more amenable to open-ended and charitable good-faith exchanges and discussions than most progressives and many liberals–again, I see a real distinction there–in these times of ours. But I wouldn’t say you’ve shown yourself to be one of them thus far.
The rise of the illiberal Left is a real problem, a cultural phenomenon I oppose and am troubled by too. That doesn’t mean that you can simply choose the correct camp, Left, Middle, or Right, and never have to think again, conveniently reducing everything to an all-out binary (or tripartite) ideological war. I mean, you can, but is that wise?
Most of my friends and interlocutors are openminded and tend to be well to the right of the average Californian–in the Bay Area at least–like me. But there are fair-minded respectful people on the pretty far Left too (believe it!), despite the blind spots they tend to have, just like fair-minded people on the Right do–like all of us do. But there is very little open-mindedness or intellectual charity on either fringe. Internet subcultures and manipulative algorithms have made these warring extremisms much worse, both in numbers and amplification.
I’m not saying that you have to agree with me about anything, nor do I imagine I am right about everything. Anyone can observe that I too often act like a know-it-all (trying to quit), but I don’t actually imagine that I know it all. I request that you try to give me the benefit of the doubt, instead of the “doubt of the benefit”. I’ll try to do the same.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

What punctilious fault finding. The improvement refers to tradition and institutions, not living artifacts of culture. Good Lord! I admit the phrasing was uncareful but that’s what I get for attempting to field and keep up with the torrent of outrage that comes from suggesting there are better and worse ideas and people on both sides of an over-magnified over-inflated political divide; always have been, and always will be. No side can or should win a full or permanent victory. We need innovation and we need tradition. Carefulness and openness too, etc.
Thank you for, I think, implying that I might among the “good Leftists”, at least on some days (before resuming your blanket tirade). But I am not a Leftist, unless anyone not solidly to the political right earns that easy label from you. The closest single self-label that I accept is Classical Liberal. Are you a Rightist?
I admit that many conservatives tend to be more amenable to open-ended and charitable good-faith exchanges and discussions than most progressives and many liberals–again, I see a real distinction there–in these times of ours. But I wouldn’t say you’ve shown yourself to be one of them thus far.
The rise of the illiberal Left is a real problem, a cultural phenomenon I oppose and am troubled by too. That doesn’t mean that you can simply choose the correct camp, Left, Middle, or Right, and never have to think again, conveniently reducing everything to an all-out binary (or tripartite) ideological war. I mean, you can, but is that wise?
Most of my friends and interlocutors are openminded and tend to be well to the right of the average Californian–in the Bay Area at least–like me. But there are fair-minded respectful people on the pretty far Left too (believe it!), despite the blind spots they tend to have, just like fair-minded people on the Right do–like all of us do. But there is very little open-mindedness or intellectual charity on either fringe. Internet subcultures and manipulative algorithms have made these warring extremisms much worse, both in numbers and amplification.
I’m not saying that you have to agree with me about anything, nor do I imagine I am right about everything. Anyone can observe that I too often act like a know-it-all (trying to quit), but I don’t actually imagine that I know it all. I request that you try to give me the benefit of the doubt, instead of the “doubt of the benefit”. I’ll try to do the same.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Really?
It was not me who cancelled my, former, friends for voting remain or believing covid bulshit.
It was other way round.
It is not the right which wants to impose views on people.
It is the left which wants us to believe in gender nonsense or that climate policies work or that mass immigration of low IQ savages from incompatible cultures nto the West is beneficial.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“I care about old books and old music and old traditions, and would not “cancel” or overthrow them without extreme cause, nor try to improve them more than incrementally and with attentive caution, in most cases.”
Look at what you’ve written. You believe you have the right to “improve” literature and music! But only with “extreme cause”, obviously. lol, lmao even.
Even the ‘good’ sort of Leftist gets in line behind their craziest coreligionist sooner or later. It doesn’t matter how sensitive, cultured and thoughtful they are – much to my surprise. I refer only to real people, not the phantoms haunting the sh!tlib imagination (your rude patriarch Orangeus Rex and his MAGAts). One wonders just how much more censorious you will be a decade from now.
Thank you so much for your interest in my wellbeing. On Friday the North African security guard at my local ‘grocery store’ handed me a bag of pastries as I was leaving. We often talk about perfume and he regularly anoints me with whatever perfume he has with him. Other shoppers must be quite confused. I recently sprayed him with a little Casbah by Robert Piguet, an intense fragrance which takes me back to al Buzuriyah souk in Damascus. As you know, perfume is a much more important part of life in MENA than the West. The new Mission Impossible film was great fun and had some interesting messages about men and women working together. In London you’ll notice young women are wearing pink blazers and miniskirts, presumably under the influence of Barbie. A very positive development – women look wonderful in bold colours. And it’s always satisfying to cook for people you love. In spite of the atrocious weather it was an excellent weekend. Yourself? One hopes you have at least one normal or conservative acquaintance with whom you can speak freely. It’s been my experience that Leftists are astonished there are people they can be truly open with – that being impossible among their own kind.

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Hitler and Nazi Germany viewed the “Bolsheviks” as an existential threat. That justified anything including genocide. Find a scapegoat and you can rationalize anything against anyone. The only ones who can save us are moderate Democrats like RFK Jr. who can return the party to reality. He’s doing a fine job.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

If you’re looking to be saved by a politician, then God help you. This may surprise you, but the astonishing inhumanity of the bolsheviks in Russia, and communist terrorists on the Continent, played no small role in why people were willing to take a chance on Hitler. White terror follows red.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

If you’re looking to be saved by a politician, then God help you. This may surprise you, but the astonishing inhumanity of the bolsheviks in Russia, and communist terrorists on the Continent, played no small role in why people were willing to take a chance on Hitler. White terror follows red.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

The Leftists(!!!) you describe do exist but they are mostly just voices in your head. Or perhaps unwelcome shadows in your mirror. They are about as common or representative as the stereotypical gargoyle-far-far-right-conservatives you seem to think all people on The Left find under every rock and in every vote they don’t like.
To be clear I am not a Leftist. Or will this forever war to the death no longer allow for any kind of a middle lane? I am an extreme moderate or radical centrist, a little to the left of the current national center as I perceive it , but not in every way. For example, I care about old books and old music and old traditions, and would not “cancel” or overthrow them without extreme cause, nor try to improve them more than incrementally and with attentive caution, in most cases. There will always be liberals, centrist, and conservatives, as well as people who are on the far fringes. No side or point on the spectrum–autistic or sociopolitical–holds all the good marbles.
Many of us could stand to be less willing to believe that the loudest fringe voices are representative of the prevailing view on the Other Side of a question or perspective. And to stop treating every thought, opinion, or even belief we have like unassailable truth. More people on “all sides” need to practice true self-reflection and self-correction. I’ve gotta go get busy with that and other things myself now.
Where are you? How are you? Have a blessed and self-reflective day, sir.

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Hitler and Nazi Germany viewed the “Bolsheviks” as an existential threat. That justified anything including genocide. Find a scapegoat and you can rationalize anything against anyone. The only ones who can save us are moderate Democrats like RFK Jr. who can return the party to reality. He’s doing a fine job.

Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I’m sure you use his words to say whatever you want him to say.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I think the poster you are replying to is not necessarily describing all left-leaning people, just those that are so invested in their own mode of thinking that they no longer view those with different political opinions as decent human beings, but rather as gullible idiots at best or fa***sts at worse.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Leftists are terrible people. When you’re involved in conservative politics you meet people who appear to be leftists but who aren’t – they’re just loathsome people who seem out of place because the Left is the natural home of all sh!tty people. It’s easy to believe that vile people are attracted to the Left as a form of social camouflage, but that’s not the case. Leftists engage in negligible self-reflection. All of their analysis is outward-facing and their ‘conscience’ involves little self-recrimination and is mostly another tool to attack others. Only a Leftist can lie, cheat, steal and murder and feel morally superior. You cannot shame a Leftist – they really are a different type of human. 
The manner in which Leftists are incapable of understanding others is akin to autism. The incessant Leftist invocation of Hitler’s second coming is not merely good politics – they believe it because every Leftist is a violent extremist, from the wettest ‘liberal’ to the most addled anarchist. The Left will never understand that people who are different to them aren’t champing at the bit to open concentration camps and massacre their neighbours – because that is what every Leftist wants (for the greater good, of course. And someone else will do the dirty work, obviously).

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

Agreed, and if it’s true we never agreed on reality and humanity got along OK for those thousands of years, why is it that we’re expected to agree now?

AC Harper
AC Harper
11 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

Trump challenged the political machine and threatened to ‘drain the swamp’. He had to go if the cosy arrangements for the elite to continue. It’s not unlikely that his current legal charges are part of preventing him from running again.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

So your reality is a clean split in which everyone on one side of a binary left-right divide misreads humanity according to two abstract nouns: emotion and empathy.
That seems to leave the opposite qualities of rationality and distance for the group known as the right, or perhaps The Right.
So no emotionality on the right then. Hmm. And which qualities–if you had to choose–are nearer to the heart and message of Jesus, empathy or distance, passion or rationality?
*Perhaps those of you among the swarming downvoters who profess to, or do believe in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth–putting aside supernatural questions–can tell me whether he embraced or rejected compassion/empathy or emotion/passion, if you had to vote up or down, according to your own reading of the Gospels.
Jesus weeps.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

Agreed, and if it’s true we never agreed on reality and humanity got along OK for those thousands of years, why is it that we’re expected to agree now?

Oliver Barclay
Oliver Barclay
11 months ago

Of course we can’t agree on reality – we never could. The left has a fundamental misreading of the human race based on emotion and empathy, which is I guess noble, but catastrophically misplaced. Leftism doesn’t help the people it claims to – eventually the money runs out. It often benefits the intellectuals that promote it though, which makes it obvious why they promote it so heavily.
Trump was one of those people who challenged the fundamental lie that is leftism, and deep down, that is why they hate him and why he keeps intellectuals awake at night. The rest is just fluff, despite Trump being his own worst enemy at times.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
11 months ago

If you read Gaetano Mosca’s The Ruling Class you would have noted that a good ruling class promotes from the lower classes, not least because they need to know what’s going on below the top drawer. So they won’t get blindsided by some local yokel like Trump.
The fact that our US ruling class was completely blindsided and deranged by the Trump presidency and the movement he leads shows, to use a Brit phrase, that our ruling class is not fit for purpose.
I suggest that Adam Smith watch the movie American Friends about an Oxford prof being completely blindsided and deranged by a couple of American babes back in the olden time.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

Excellent post. The political elite in the west is no longer fit for purpose. That’s why you get Trump in the US and the AfD in Germany.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago

It does seem like while there is intense, continuous screeching about sexism, racism, pride, etc etc, the real conflict point here is class.
Whether Trump or Brexit, the real problem is.the lower classes getting uppity and exercising their democratic rights.

Ticiba Upe
Ticiba Upe
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

It’s always been a class war….if the lower class blacks would recognize that they are not alone and that lower class whites, etc. have the same problems, they would recognize it. But God forbid that the actual cause be identified…so much easier to say racism or sexism….

Deborah Grant
Deborah Grant
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Yes, there’s no snobbery worse than intellectual snobbery and it’s rife all over the western world.

The half of the younger population who went to university think that older people are inferior to them. That view is wrong – at least in Britain, where in 1970, only 10% could go to university: 5% of women and 15% of men. Nowadays that doesn’t mean that the extra 40% nowadays are more intelligent than the 40% who didn’t go. Far from it, those people have lived and worked through a lot (and have paid taxes for a long time). It actually makes a lot of them wiser and far more able to put fluctuations in world events into context in a way young people can’t yet do. The hard left relies on the votes of inexperienced people.

Demonisation of anyone right of centre is ignorant. There are always different ways to achieve what everyone wants, which is an end to poverty, a safe world and clean air.

All that said, I’ll never understand Trump’s appeal. It’s plain weird – and he IS a destabilising influence in the world.

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago
Reply to  Deborah Grant

If you don’t recognize Trump’s appeal, despite all his character flaws, then you’re probably one of the elites. It isn’t just age. Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, Graham, etc. are not spring chickens.

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago
Reply to  Deborah Grant

If you don’t recognize Trump’s appeal, despite all his character flaws, then you’re probably one of the elites. It isn’t just age. Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, Graham, etc. are not spring chickens.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Bingo.
That what it is about.
Lower orders stopped believing that globalisation, mass immigration and multi culti nonsense is good for them.
So top orders threw lefty grads in crap subjects few bones to chew on.
Gender, climate emergency, love all immigrants etc.
So they forget that wages are xrap, house prices exorbitant.

Ticiba Upe
Ticiba Upe
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

It’s always been a class war….if the lower class blacks would recognize that they are not alone and that lower class whites, etc. have the same problems, they would recognize it. But God forbid that the actual cause be identified…so much easier to say racism or sexism….

Deborah Grant
Deborah Grant
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Yes, there’s no snobbery worse than intellectual snobbery and it’s rife all over the western world.

The half of the younger population who went to university think that older people are inferior to them. That view is wrong – at least in Britain, where in 1970, only 10% could go to university: 5% of women and 15% of men. Nowadays that doesn’t mean that the extra 40% nowadays are more intelligent than the 40% who didn’t go. Far from it, those people have lived and worked through a lot (and have paid taxes for a long time). It actually makes a lot of them wiser and far more able to put fluctuations in world events into context in a way young people can’t yet do. The hard left relies on the votes of inexperienced people.

Demonisation of anyone right of centre is ignorant. There are always different ways to achieve what everyone wants, which is an end to poverty, a safe world and clean air.

All that said, I’ll never understand Trump’s appeal. It’s plain weird – and he IS a destabilising influence in the world.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Bingo.
That what it is about.
Lower orders stopped believing that globalisation, mass immigration and multi culti nonsense is good for them.
So top orders threw lefty grads in crap subjects few bones to chew on.
Gender, climate emergency, love all immigrants etc.
So they forget that wages are xrap, house prices exorbitant.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

That is why I started following Matt Taibbi. He was writing for Rolling Stone about the election in 2015 and was the only mainstream journalist who wrote about Trump supporters as actual individual people and who recognized that something new was happening. The entire rest of the MSM was just laughing at the idea that a bunch of red neck yokels could achieve anything. I mean – they don’t even have university degrees.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago

Indeed. I’m not so naive that I expect a ruling class to be benevolent and righteous. I’d settle for being lorded over competently, in a way that benefits me even tangentially. What we have now is a ruling class that seems both completely inept, while simultaneously maintaining an air of superiority and contempt toward the masses (basket of deplorables, clinging to guns and religion, don’t care about the % who don’t pay taxes, etc.), and embracing policies that benefit foreign citizens at the expense of the domestic working class. They are right to be afraid of Trump, even though he’s a con-man and a fraud of a populist. They should be more afraid of the next Trump, who might not be a bumbling incompetent. If I were them, I’d be using my wealth to build a bunker to hide in when the other shoe finally drops.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Jolly
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I am not sure either the US or UK have a “ruling class” or even a definable “establishment” anymore. Back in the 1950s both had cohesive establishments of a few hundred individuals mostly selected from the products of the Ivy League or Oxbridge whose collective view had enormous impact. Today it is more diffuse with far more individuals, companies and groups seeking influence. I suspect some of the increased incoherence and ineptitude that you comment on flows from this change. The “autistic arrogance” of the well educated and affluent is real but I suspect it is a separate if equally disagreeable phenomena.

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

RFK Jr. is their worst nightmare.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I am not sure either the US or UK have a “ruling class” or even a definable “establishment” anymore. Back in the 1950s both had cohesive establishments of a few hundred individuals mostly selected from the products of the Ivy League or Oxbridge whose collective view had enormous impact. Today it is more diffuse with far more individuals, companies and groups seeking influence. I suspect some of the increased incoherence and ineptitude that you comment on flows from this change. The “autistic arrogance” of the well educated and affluent is real but I suspect it is a separate if equally disagreeable phenomena.

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

RFK Jr. is their worst nightmare.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

Excellent post. The political elite in the west is no longer fit for purpose. That’s why you get Trump in the US and the AfD in Germany.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago

It does seem like while there is intense, continuous screeching about sexism, racism, pride, etc etc, the real conflict point here is class.
Whether Trump or Brexit, the real problem is.the lower classes getting uppity and exercising their democratic rights.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

That is why I started following Matt Taibbi. He was writing for Rolling Stone about the election in 2015 and was the only mainstream journalist who wrote about Trump supporters as actual individual people and who recognized that something new was happening. The entire rest of the MSM was just laughing at the idea that a bunch of red neck yokels could achieve anything. I mean – they don’t even have university degrees.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago

Indeed. I’m not so naive that I expect a ruling class to be benevolent and righteous. I’d settle for being lorded over competently, in a way that benefits me even tangentially. What we have now is a ruling class that seems both completely inept, while simultaneously maintaining an air of superiority and contempt toward the masses (basket of deplorables, clinging to guns and religion, don’t care about the % who don’t pay taxes, etc.), and embracing policies that benefit foreign citizens at the expense of the domestic working class. They are right to be afraid of Trump, even though he’s a con-man and a fraud of a populist. They should be more afraid of the next Trump, who might not be a bumbling incompetent. If I were them, I’d be using my wealth to build a bunker to hide in when the other shoe finally drops.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Jolly