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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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by Laura Pritchard
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

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

David Jory
David Jory
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

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

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
8 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
9 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 9 months ago by Laura Pritchard
Robert Harris
Robert Harris
8 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
9 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Very well articulated. Thank you!

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Very well articulated. Thank you!

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by Marcus Leach
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Agreed

Terry M
Terry M
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Agreed

Terry M
Terry M
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

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

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

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

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by Marcus Leach
Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Wow….I am impressed…EXACTLY!!

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

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


Last edited 9 months ago by Ian Barton
Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Farage. 😀 😀 😀 😀

Last edited 9 months ago by Laura Pritchard
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Farage. 😀 😀 😀 😀

Last edited 9 months ago by Laura Pritchard
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 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
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

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

Ticiba Upe
Ticiba Upe
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Wow….I am impressed…EXACTLY!!

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

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


Last edited 9 months ago by Ian Barton
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

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

Daniel P
Daniel P
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Threatened. And his actual actions?

michael harris
michael harris
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Threatened. And his actual actions?

Rick Frazier
Rick Frazier
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Dominic A
Dominic A
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Andrew F
Andrew F
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Too true, Julian.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Too true, Julian.

Dominic A
Dominic A
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Andrew F
Andrew F
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by Steve Jolly
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

RFK Jr. is their worst nightmare.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
9 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

RFK Jr. is their worst nightmare.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 9 months ago by Steve Jolly
Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
9 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.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
9 months ago

Democrats are scared that Trump is a threat to American democracy.
He has to go. They will fabricate evidence of Russian collusion. They will produce absurd claims to try to stop Trump’s election of Supreme Court judges. They will invade the Capitol and disrupt congress meetings and have to be arrested in their hundreds so proceedings can continue.
But they would never use dubious methods to increase the number of votes, even if they spent a large part of 2020 changing the voting rules to make that very thing much easier.

For example, witnesses for mail-in votes?
‘Minnesota eliminated the witness signature requirement for its primary, and this has been extended for the general election, too.
The witness requirement was waived for the primary in South Carolina, and a federal judge ruled on Friday that it will not be required for the general election either, citing how severe the pandemic is as the reasoning.’
And, of course, states changed the laws so that mail-in ballots would still be counted , even if there was no postmark and it was received days after the election.

But despite changing the laws to make voter fraud legal, there was no voter fraud. How could there be? It is not fraud if it is legal.

In fact, there was not a single case of voter fraud in the entire 2020 election. Not one! Fancy that! The election was ‘the most secure in history’.

Last edited 9 months ago by Steven Carr
John Croteau
John Croteau
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

More blacks “voted” for Biden than Obama. Right. Anyone with common sense knows what travesty was pulled on the American voting public. Just like COVID having zoonotic origins despite originating two miles from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. How do you reach common ground on “truth” when obvious realities are disputed?

John Croteau
John Croteau
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

More blacks “voted” for Biden than Obama. Right. Anyone with common sense knows what travesty was pulled on the American voting public. Just like COVID having zoonotic origins despite originating two miles from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. How do you reach common ground on “truth” when obvious realities are disputed?

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
9 months ago

Democrats are scared that Trump is a threat to American democracy.
He has to go. They will fabricate evidence of Russian collusion. They will produce absurd claims to try to stop Trump’s election of Supreme Court judges. They will invade the Capitol and disrupt congress meetings and have to be arrested in their hundreds so proceedings can continue.
But they would never use dubious methods to increase the number of votes, even if they spent a large part of 2020 changing the voting rules to make that very thing much easier.

For example, witnesses for mail-in votes?
‘Minnesota eliminated the witness signature requirement for its primary, and this has been extended for the general election, too.
The witness requirement was waived for the primary in South Carolina, and a federal judge ruled on Friday that it will not be required for the general election either, citing how severe the pandemic is as the reasoning.’
And, of course, states changed the laws so that mail-in ballots would still be counted , even if there was no postmark and it was received days after the election.

But despite changing the laws to make voter fraud legal, there was no voter fraud. How could there be? It is not fraud if it is legal.

In fact, there was not a single case of voter fraud in the entire 2020 election. Not one! Fancy that! The election was ‘the most secure in history’.

Last edited 9 months ago by Steven Carr
Christian Moon
Christian Moon
9 months ago

What persuaded me about the 2020 “steal” was Patrick Basham’s article, Reasons why the 2020 presidential election is deeply puzzling. This is an extract:

‘Current tallies show that, outside of a few cities, the Rust Belt swung in Trump’s direction. Yet, Biden leads in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin because of an apparent avalanche of black votes in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee.

Biden’s ‘winning’ margin was derived almost entirely from such voters in these cities, as coincidentally his black vote spiked only in exactly the locations necessary to secure victory. He did not receive comparable levels of support among comparable demographic groups in comparable states, which is highly unusual for the presidential victor.

We are told that Biden won more votes nationally than any presidential candidate in history. But he won a record low of 17 percent of counties; he only won 524 counties, as opposed to the 873 counties Obama won in 2008. Yet, Biden somehow outdid Obama in total votes.’

I would like to have the whole article argued line by line, but that is never going to happen is it?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

Of course all those irregularities are precisely the point. And the reason that close to 50% of the country believe the election was stolen is precisely because these irregularities were never investigated and the elites have simply continue to say “move on, nothing to see here”. Now it could well be that the irregularities were not sufficient to alter the election, but in the absence of a proper investigation which the courts refused to allow to take place owing to lack of standing (i.e. not sufficient time to try the case before the certification deadlines), many people believe that the election was a mess. And simply recounting votes doesn’t do any good if those votes are fraudulent.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

This, of course, is the whole crux of the matter. Unfortunately, the courts refused to allow cases to proceed owing to lack of standing, based on the fact that there wasn’t enough time to complete this until the certification deadlines came to pass. This is obviously a truly Kafkaesque situation. The net result is that close to half the country believes the election was irregular and probably stolen (which wouldn’t exactly be the first time in US history).
Now whether the irregularities in those 3 states was sufficient to swing the election the other way is a whole other matter. But what is for certain is claiming that recounts and so-called audits failed to show anything up is nonsense. It was not the counting of the votes that was at an issue, but rather whether a significant number of votes was fraudulent.
Personally, what boggles the mind is how Biden could have garnered far more votes than Obama (a truly charismatic character for better or worse) while not being able to attract more than about 20 people at any of his very small number of rallies and spending most of his time sitting in his basement uttering complete gibberish and eating ice cream. Trump, on the other hand, was attracting overflow crowds to his rallies. Just a little weird. But perhaps, in these days of cognitive dissonance, where every small variation in the weather is equated to global boiling, perhaps it is not impossible, especially if sufficient people have been appropriately brainwashed and are no longer capable of critical thinking.

michael harris
michael harris
9 months ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

The only plausible neutrally stated explanation is that the Democrat political operatives and their financial and media backers focused their efforts on 3/4 states, Pa, Mi, Wi, Az. In fact 3/4 cities, Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, Phoenix. Ignoring Oh and Fl, swing states that swung towards Trump (or did their efforts not work there?) They also made little effort, naturally, in very safe states (Ca and NY the largest) which also moved slightly towards Trump.
The real question is this. What was the nature of those special efforts. They are trumpeted in the Time Magazine long article that describes the ‘protection’ of the vote and the ‘saving’ of the election. But the precise ways in which the votes were ‘harvested’ are never spelled out. Were they legal? Constitutional? Licit but smelly?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

Of course all those irregularities are precisely the point. And the reason that close to 50% of the country believe the election was stolen is precisely because these irregularities were never investigated and the elites have simply continue to say “move on, nothing to see here”. Now it could well be that the irregularities were not sufficient to alter the election, but in the absence of a proper investigation which the courts refused to allow to take place owing to lack of standing (i.e. not sufficient time to try the case before the certification deadlines), many people believe that the election was a mess. And simply recounting votes doesn’t do any good if those votes are fraudulent.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

This, of course, is the whole crux of the matter. Unfortunately, the courts refused to allow cases to proceed owing to lack of standing, based on the fact that there wasn’t enough time to complete this until the certification deadlines came to pass. This is obviously a truly Kafkaesque situation. The net result is that close to half the country believes the election was irregular and probably stolen (which wouldn’t exactly be the first time in US history).
Now whether the irregularities in those 3 states was sufficient to swing the election the other way is a whole other matter. But what is for certain is claiming that recounts and so-called audits failed to show anything up is nonsense. It was not the counting of the votes that was at an issue, but rather whether a significant number of votes was fraudulent.
Personally, what boggles the mind is how Biden could have garnered far more votes than Obama (a truly charismatic character for better or worse) while not being able to attract more than about 20 people at any of his very small number of rallies and spending most of his time sitting in his basement uttering complete gibberish and eating ice cream. Trump, on the other hand, was attracting overflow crowds to his rallies. Just a little weird. But perhaps, in these days of cognitive dissonance, where every small variation in the weather is equated to global boiling, perhaps it is not impossible, especially if sufficient people have been appropriately brainwashed and are no longer capable of critical thinking.

michael harris
michael harris
9 months ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

The only plausible neutrally stated explanation is that the Democrat political operatives and their financial and media backers focused their efforts on 3/4 states, Pa, Mi, Wi, Az. In fact 3/4 cities, Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, Phoenix. Ignoring Oh and Fl, swing states that swung towards Trump (or did their efforts not work there?) They also made little effort, naturally, in very safe states (Ca and NY the largest) which also moved slightly towards Trump.
The real question is this. What was the nature of those special efforts. They are trumpeted in the Time Magazine long article that describes the ‘protection’ of the vote and the ‘saving’ of the election. But the precise ways in which the votes were ‘harvested’ are never spelled out. Were they legal? Constitutional? Licit but smelly?

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
9 months ago

What persuaded me about the 2020 “steal” was Patrick Basham’s article, Reasons why the 2020 presidential election is deeply puzzling. This is an extract:

‘Current tallies show that, outside of a few cities, the Rust Belt swung in Trump’s direction. Yet, Biden leads in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin because of an apparent avalanche of black votes in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee.

Biden’s ‘winning’ margin was derived almost entirely from such voters in these cities, as coincidentally his black vote spiked only in exactly the locations necessary to secure victory. He did not receive comparable levels of support among comparable demographic groups in comparable states, which is highly unusual for the presidential victor.

We are told that Biden won more votes nationally than any presidential candidate in history. But he won a record low of 17 percent of counties; he only won 524 counties, as opposed to the 873 counties Obama won in 2008. Yet, Biden somehow outdid Obama in total votes.’

I would like to have the whole article argued line by line, but that is never going to happen is it?

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
9 months ago

What a supremely naïve, pompous and confused essay. It is undeniable that the US is in the middle of a second civil war, and that the nature of that war is information. But it’s not being played out as a battle between truth vs. lies. Trump is neither a hero or the Antichrist. It’s in the interests of both “sides” to convince people that this is the only choice of perspective. Anyone willing to open their eyes wide enough and think critically can see that the weapons we are dealing with are different cages of propagandised sound bites designed to trap and pull people further and further into purposely designed unrealities. Powerful people retain power by persuading the plebs that there are different sides to be chosen and fought for (a version of the Hegelian dialect). The truth is, the battle is between “us” (regular people) and “them” (those who hold power). Trump is not our friend. Biden is not our friend. Putin is not our friend. Zelensky is not our friend. Musk is definitely not our friend. Anyone with a lot of money and power is invested ONLY in keeping the status quo, and they do that by making us fight amongst ourselves. The more people start to understand what is really going on, the more likely we might see the rise of a modern Peasants’ Revolt. Already the public are fighting back and winning against CCTV surveillance and parking fines. It’s a impressive start. The most critical fight must be against Digital ID. If they succeed in implementing that, it’s game over until the Internet is destroyed and we enter the post-digital age.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
9 months ago

What a supremely naïve, pompous and confused essay. It is undeniable that the US is in the middle of a second civil war, and that the nature of that war is information. But it’s not being played out as a battle between truth vs. lies. Trump is neither a hero or the Antichrist. It’s in the interests of both “sides” to convince people that this is the only choice of perspective. Anyone willing to open their eyes wide enough and think critically can see that the weapons we are dealing with are different cages of propagandised sound bites designed to trap and pull people further and further into purposely designed unrealities. Powerful people retain power by persuading the plebs that there are different sides to be chosen and fought for (a version of the Hegelian dialect). The truth is, the battle is between “us” (regular people) and “them” (those who hold power). Trump is not our friend. Biden is not our friend. Putin is not our friend. Zelensky is not our friend. Musk is definitely not our friend. Anyone with a lot of money and power is invested ONLY in keeping the status quo, and they do that by making us fight amongst ourselves. The more people start to understand what is really going on, the more likely we might see the rise of a modern Peasants’ Revolt. Already the public are fighting back and winning against CCTV surveillance and parking fines. It’s a impressive start. The most critical fight must be against Digital ID. If they succeed in implementing that, it’s game over until the Internet is destroyed and we enter the post-digital age.

Chris Wagner
Chris Wagner
9 months ago

Hopefully your confession about your own (self-admitted) Trump derangement syndrome was therapeutic for you, but it was far from convincing on this end.

And I say this as someone that has never voted for him nor ever will.

Chris Wagner
Chris Wagner
9 months ago

Hopefully your confession about your own (self-admitted) Trump derangement syndrome was therapeutic for you, but it was far from convincing on this end.

And I say this as someone that has never voted for him nor ever will.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

Maybe it is the times we live in, but I find most academics to be as disingenuous as politicians: They just use longer sentences.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

Maybe it is the times we live in, but I find most academics to be as disingenuous as politicians: They just use longer sentences.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago

Ultimately Trump happened to you for the same reason that Brexit happened to the British metropolitan class: you got too greedy.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago

Ultimately Trump happened to you for the same reason that Brexit happened to the British metropolitan class: you got too greedy.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago

For a Professor of history, Dr. Smith is remarkably loose with the facts. He states “even down to encouraging an armed crowd to go to the Capitol on January 6”. How far can one go down an altered reality to state this. The crowd was NOT armed. The only person killed was a veteran, Ashley Babbit, who was shot by a black policeman at point blank range because he panicked and yet he never suffered the consequences. Just imagine if it had been a white policeman who had shot a black woman at point blank range.
The good professor should realize that there are more guns in the US than people, and had the crowd been armed, the halls of congress would have been torn down brick by brick just as the Bastille was on July 14, 1789.

Incidentally, the footage within Congress showed that the protestors were in fact very peaceful and were led around by a compliant police. That’s why Shaman man was let out of jail because in fact he was wrongfully prosecuted.
As for Pence, he really was a coward. He should have refused to certify the election until such time as all irregularities were properly and fully investigated and those investigations were completely above board. Failure to do so has led to a situation that has divided the country.

Last edited 9 months ago by Johann Strauss
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

The ‘policeman’ concerned was one Lt Michael Byrd, whom I gather was subsequently decorated for gallantry!

Incidentally it was Ms ASHLI BABBITT.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Mr. Strauss, I challenge you, Mr. Stanhope, and anyone else that thinks this event was mostly peaceful to watch these 5 minutes of video “highlights” from January 6th, 2021. Judge for yourself. A mere 5 minutes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnHIJkZZAs

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

It may come as a complete surprise to you, but in an earlier life I had considerable experience of dealing with “full on violence”, as we know call it, against a number of recalcitrant peoples.

Well, thanks for the clip but I actually thought that this was a pretty low grade riot! Actually more reminiscent of an unruly English football crowd. Lets say 3 out 10.

Where were the plethora of petrol bombs, the myriad of rocks, stones mixed in with bottles of acid? Ultimately backed up by high and low velocity gunfire? Plus the hordes of screaming, decidedly ugly, foul mouthed women? Where also the retaliatory rubber bullets, CS gas and Water Cannons, Searchlights, Sirens etc?

All in all NEITHER side looked like it could “knock the skin of a rice pudding” as ‘we’ would say.

Finally I note that they clip of ‘hero’ Lt Michael Byrd, shooting unarmed Ms Ashli Babbitt at point blank range and in cold blood had been omitted! Why?

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Because the footage is biased toward the rioters wrongdoing, and shows much of the worst of it (though not what some wanted to do, thankfully). Understandably so, but also worth pointing out. A legitimate point on your part but becoming a bit of a reductive fixation for you I think. Not as much of the story as you seem to suggest, but the shooting of Babbitt was tragic and unjustifiable, I agree (I watched it too, I think on the same day it happened). But do you contend that the members of the mob calling for the heads of Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi, from inside the Capitol, didn’t mean it?
I’m surprised that given the circumstances and location you wouldn’t bump it up it to at 5 or 6 or more, but at least you’ve “upgraded” it from “fracas”. Thank you for indulging me. My respect.

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The ‘body count’ was far too low to give it any more than 3 at most, in my opinion.

As personal aside these things were also much more fun if conducted after dark!

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Interesting to know that in an “earlier life” your malevolent or sadistic side was put into real-world practice. Much more fun huh? Wretched.
Surprised? Not really. A bit sickened and negatively impressed by your evident glee in violence or death directed in the direction(s) you approve, here and elsewhere on these boards.
*But I have a menacing and even a malicious streak in me too (hope no one’s noticed). And since it’s kind of my policy now–if not always my practice–I’ll continue to look for the upside in your perspective, enjoying your historical “fun facts” and caustic wit when I can.

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

You have to make the best of things in this life however grim they maybe.

For example you may either take say Wilfred Owen’s view of The Great War, or indeed that of Ernst JĂŒnger, which is almost diametrically opposed to it.

I happen to prefer the latter. There is nothing malevolent or sadistic about it, it is just a question of morale and making light of adversity, however you can.

Finally, and I do not wish to be rude, but until you have actually been in the situations that I have, you are in no position to judge.

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Nonsense. I can judge your glee, and eagerness, and lack of forethought or regret (as expressed, I can’t see within or through you, of course). And I do.
You judge all sorts of historical and present-day situations and people with something equivalent to an up or down vote. In many cases you haven’t comparable experience or demonstrated evidence as to how you would act either. And yet you judge. Nor would you tend to imagine you were not in a position to do so, I suspect. Right?
That said, “sadistic” was a bit far in this instance, I admit. I can’t quite read your tone nor see how much you might be winking, if at all, in digital text. But you did refer to the fun of violence and one-sidedly express grief for Ms. Babbitt while minimizing the living heck out of every other real and intended menace on Jan 6th.
A deliberate, cheeky provocation from my point of view, Mr. Stanhope, however important and knowledgeable you may be.
Then again, to be more fair you often do provide historical perspective and insight, not merely “fun facts”. And your wit can be cheerful or fun, not merely mean or “caustic”.
I hope you are doing well. I’ll turn my evaluating and pleading gaze to others now. And maybe look in the mirror too.

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

A skilful attempt to sidestep the Ashli Babbitt issue but I must reiterate that that was far and away the most appalling event perpetrated on the 6th January.

For an Officer of the State to blatantly kill in cold blood an unarmed, hysterical woman, inside the haloed Capitol Building and to do it on film, requires maliciousness of a very high order indeed. For the State then to reward him for ‘gallantry’ almost defies belief!

Suffice to say had Lt Byrd attempted that stunt inside the Palace of Westminster he would be facing many years confinement at His Majesty’s Pleasure, as we say.

What I and no doubt you to may also find odd, is how many people seem to completely jettison their moral compass over certain issues or individuals.

Ashli Babbitt being a prime example, but also the names Trump, or over here Farage, seem to drive people apoplectic with rage and thus sadly demean themselves.

As an aside, unlike many Americans, you seem to have understood our use of irony, no doubt some of your possibly ill spent youth was squandered over here?

Finally you upbraided me for using the word “fun”, when dealing with ‘civil disobedience’ etc.
It was idle of me, and I should have qualified that remark by saying it was ‘exhilarating’ and thus fun, particularly when you are young and without a care in the world.

Well better stop boring the rest of UnHerd, but let me say how much I have enjoyed our convivial chat!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Sidestepping you say. You are foregrounding that single wrongful death–though all lives matter of course–to the point of monomania. Rather like the histrionic fools who made George Floyd’s wrongful death (about which I recall you were dismissive to say the least) into an excuse to riot and wail in the public square in sackcloth and ashes for months.
If you must assign your brand of irony to your sceptered isle alone, you can chalk it up to my study of English Literature and years in Canada where the queen, and now the king, are still on the money. Also, while I remain capable of gullibility and scoldish outrage in my 50s, I am not insensible to instruction yet either.
And must say I don’t think one has to be an obtuse or puritanical American to be a little bristled or brushed back by some of your breezy self-exhilarations.
But at least you are sharp, independent of mind, and far from humourless. Cheers.

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Salve!
Well we can certainly agree on the demise of the late, and very strangely lamented GF!

Another absurdity as I now recall was that on that fateful day, the 6th January another Capitol Policeman died. At the time it was claimed he had been beaten to death with a large fire extinguisher! Subsequently he was given a quasi full-state funeral, his catafalque lying directly beneath the Capitol Dome itself, whilst the ‘Queen of Botox’, otherwise known as Nancy Pelosi* oversaw the mawkish proceedings!

Later it emerged, somewhat quietly, that the said Policeman had died of natural causes! Oh dear!

Well I think we may have to move on to how the Romans ran their astonishing ‘Extortion Courts’, just to add some light relief!

Vale!

(* Where on earth did she come from?)

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

See you on the “eternal” next board, sir.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

See you on the “eternal” next board, sir.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Salve!
Well we can certainly agree on the demise of the late, and very strangely lamented GF!

Another absurdity as I now recall was that on that fateful day, the 6th January another Capitol Policeman died. At the time it was claimed he had been beaten to death with a large fire extinguisher! Subsequently he was given a quasi full-state funeral, his catafalque lying directly beneath the Capitol Dome itself, whilst the ‘Queen of Botox’, otherwise known as Nancy Pelosi* oversaw the mawkish proceedings!

Later it emerged, somewhat quietly, that the said Policeman had died of natural causes! Oh dear!

Well I think we may have to move on to how the Romans ran their astonishing ‘Extortion Courts’, just to add some light relief!

Vale!

(* Where on earth did she come from?)

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Sidestepping you say. You are foregrounding that single wrongful death–though all lives matter of course–to the point of monomania. Rather like the histrionic fools who made George Floyd’s wrongful death (about which I recall you were dismissive to say the least) into an excuse to riot and wail in the public square in sackcloth and ashes for months.
If you must assign your brand of irony to your sceptered isle alone, you can chalk it up to my study of English Literature and years in Canada where the queen, and now the king, are still on the money. Also, while I remain capable of gullibility and scoldish outrage in my 50s, I am not insensible to instruction yet either.
And must say I don’t think one has to be an obtuse or puritanical American to be a little bristled or brushed back by some of your breezy self-exhilarations.
But at least you are sharp, independent of mind, and far from humourless. Cheers.

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

A skilful attempt to sidestep the Ashli Babbitt issue but I must reiterate that that was far and away the most appalling event perpetrated on the 6th January.

For an Officer of the State to blatantly kill in cold blood an unarmed, hysterical woman, inside the haloed Capitol Building and to do it on film, requires maliciousness of a very high order indeed. For the State then to reward him for ‘gallantry’ almost defies belief!

Suffice to say had Lt Byrd attempted that stunt inside the Palace of Westminster he would be facing many years confinement at His Majesty’s Pleasure, as we say.

What I and no doubt you to may also find odd, is how many people seem to completely jettison their moral compass over certain issues or individuals.

Ashli Babbitt being a prime example, but also the names Trump, or over here Farage, seem to drive people apoplectic with rage and thus sadly demean themselves.

As an aside, unlike many Americans, you seem to have understood our use of irony, no doubt some of your possibly ill spent youth was squandered over here?

Finally you upbraided me for using the word “fun”, when dealing with ‘civil disobedience’ etc.
It was idle of me, and I should have qualified that remark by saying it was ‘exhilarating’ and thus fun, particularly when you are young and without a care in the world.

Well better stop boring the rest of UnHerd, but let me say how much I have enjoyed our convivial chat!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

(My longer reply may or may not post within twelve hours, but my central points: Making light of or playing up others’ adversity, and in a one-sided way, is a bit different than resilient pluck. And while we should all forbear to judge harshly, lest be we judged accordingly, you judge past and present situations and people quite freely, whether you have any equivalent experience or evidence of how you’d act or not. I feel entitled to respond to your sometimes gleeful or cheeky tone, and your deliberate provocations. Though I probably shouldn’t. I hope you are well and I’ll turn my judgmental gaze elsewhere now. And maybe check the mirror too.) *first reply posted

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Nonsense. I can judge your glee, and eagerness, and lack of forethought or regret (as expressed, I can’t see within or through you, of course). And I do.
You judge all sorts of historical and present-day situations and people with something equivalent to an up or down vote. In many cases you haven’t comparable experience or demonstrated evidence as to how you would act either. And yet you judge. Nor would you tend to imagine you were not in a position to do so, I suspect. Right?
That said, “sadistic” was a bit far in this instance, I admit. I can’t quite read your tone nor see how much you might be winking, if at all, in digital text. But you did refer to the fun of violence and one-sidedly express grief for Ms. Babbitt while minimizing the living heck out of every other real and intended menace on Jan 6th.
A deliberate, cheeky provocation from my point of view, Mr. Stanhope, however important and knowledgeable you may be.
Then again, to be more fair you often do provide historical perspective and insight, not merely “fun facts”. And your wit can be cheerful or fun, not merely mean or “caustic”.
I hope you are doing well. I’ll turn my evaluating and pleading gaze to others now. And maybe look in the mirror too.

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

(My longer reply may or may not post within twelve hours, but my central points: Making light of or playing up others’ adversity, and in a one-sided way, is a bit different than resilient pluck. And while we should all forbear to judge harshly, lest be we judged accordingly, you judge past and present situations and people quite freely, whether you have any equivalent experience or evidence of how you’d act or not. I feel entitled to respond to your sometimes gleeful or cheeky tone, and your deliberate provocations. Though I probably shouldn’t. I hope you are well and I’ll turn my judgmental gaze elsewhere now. And maybe check the mirror too.) *first reply posted

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

You have to make the best of things in this life however grim they maybe.

For example you may either take say Wilfred Owen’s view of The Great War, or indeed that of Ernst JĂŒnger, which is almost diametrically opposed to it.

I happen to prefer the latter. There is nothing malevolent or sadistic about it, it is just a question of morale and making light of adversity, however you can.

Finally, and I do not wish to be rude, but until you have actually been in the situations that I have, you are in no position to judge.

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Interesting to know that in an “earlier life” your malevolent or sadistic side was put into real-world practice. Much more fun huh? Wretched.
Surprised? Not really. A bit sickened and negatively impressed by your evident glee in violence or death directed in the direction(s) you approve, here and elsewhere on these boards.
*But I have a menacing and even a malicious streak in me too (hope no one’s noticed). And since it’s kind of my policy now–if not always my practice–I’ll continue to look for the upside in your perspective, enjoying your historical “fun facts” and caustic wit when I can.

Last edited 9 months ago by AJ Mac
Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Strange how BLM scumbags burning buildings or worse are never part of the narrative?
Encouraged by current leaders of “Democratic” party.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

That’s a very general, unsubstantiated claim. Which Democrat leaders “supported” it and how? Certainly each side, “R” and “D” alike, has their preferred bad actors, who seem to them incomparably less to blame than the Other Side.
I don’t support or defend any of the 2020 riots and violence connected to the George Floyd protests. But should every Jan. 6th forcible vote-cancellation attempt story need to “whatabout” BLM?
There’s plenty of self-serving narrative on both sides, whichever story’s your favorite.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

That’s a very general, unsubstantiated claim. Which Democrat leaders “supported” it and how? Certainly each side, “R” and “D” alike, has their preferred bad actors, who seem to them incomparably less to blame than the Other Side.
I don’t support or defend any of the 2020 riots and violence connected to the George Floyd protests. But should every Jan. 6th forcible vote-cancellation attempt story need to “whatabout” BLM?
There’s plenty of self-serving narrative on both sides, whichever story’s your favorite.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The ‘body count’ was far too low to give it any more than 3 at most, in my opinion.

As personal aside these things were also much more fun if conducted after dark!

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Strange how BLM scumbags burning buildings or worse are never part of the narrative?
Encouraged by current leaders of “Democratic” party.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago