Marianne Williamson: America needs a Philosopher King
The Democratic challenger talks to Flo Read about her personal crusade for peace
Marianne Williamson, the bestselling self-help author and former Democratic primary candidate, is back in the race to become US President. She is due to announce officially tomorrow, which will make her the first Democrat to put their name in the ring for 2024, before even Joe Biden. In 2020, Williamson (a total political unknown at the time) vied for the progressive vote, but lost out to the better-known Senator Bernie Sanders. Yet since then she has grown a loyal following of young voters who call themselves the ‘Orb Gang’ in reference to her New Age spiritualism. Can a new generation of American voters take her to the White House? I spoke to her from the UnHerd studio to find out.
Williamson is on a crusade to cure the sickness in the soul of America, which she defines simply as economic disparity. The Left-Right dynamic playing out in the culture wars is, she says, an artificial creation used to distract from this class problem. To do this, the American system will have to undergo a radical overhaul. The President should be the psychic centre of America, she tells me, a philosopher king rather than a technocrat. I suggest that her nemesis Donald Trump was perhaps the closest to this ideal that the country has come in a few decades, like him or not. Williamson agrees: “Trump was a thought leader but his vision for America was a dark one.” In a 2020 televised debate she offered to meet his darkness on the ‘battlefield’ with the powers of light.
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I wonder if she believes Biden has lightened any of the “darkness” of the Trump years. Williamson says that he has, but enabling Americans to survive an unjust system versus ending an unjust system is what separates Biden from a true progressive. Popular mistrust of establishment systems is a symptom of this reluctance to make radical change. Mainstream media and the government are currently like an “alcoholic family system” where both parents are compulsive liars and the child becomes reasonably paranoid.
So where do the disenfranchised get their leadership? Alternative self-help gurus like Jordan Peterson, I suggest, are booming for exactly the reasons Williamson is outlining. She puts this down to a lack of critical thinking, another sign of a sick society. I wonder if she sees the parallels between her effect on young liberals and Peterson’s on young conservatives.
The issue of Ukraine will inevitably become one of the key talking points of the primaries. After pledging to set up the ‘Department for Peace’ (a department dedicated to demilitarising foreign policy) in 2020, I wonder if Williamson would end aid to Zelensky’s war effort. That would be a disaster, she argues. In Ukraine “the disease is already full-blown” and the “imperialistic misadventures” of the US in NATO can be simultaneously acknowledged while committing to rebuff Putin’s imperial ambitions. I push her on what her red lines would be. She is less metaphorical on this: “no boots on the ground” and “no blank cheque”.
In 2020, Williamson’s New Age language and religious zeal were roundly mocked in the press. She is still determined, it seems, to keep spirituality at the heart of her campaign. There used to be a vibrant religious Left, she reminds me, but it has become increasingly secular in recent decades. Williamson believes that Right-wing religiosity is too often used to cover up deeply un-Christian values whereas Christian morals like environmentalism or anti-racism are enacted by Leftists under the name of social justice.
The recent partisan clashes around Roe v. Wade complicate this, I suggest. On abortion, the progressive Left has doubled down on the ‘no debate’ mantra, but for agnostics on the issue this comes across as morally troubling. Williamson says that this is a sticking point for her. She feels that the “mean girls” from her own side have shut down conversation about the ethical question of abortion, which she believes should be a free choice but one that deserves philosophical gravity.
I end by asking her about her detractors, who dismiss her as an unserious candidate or a peddler of ‘woo’. These very same people, she responds, go to yoga and say affirmations only to mock her for bringing these ideas to politics. Rather than New Age language, this is the language of the contemporary present as opposed to the establishment past. Whether America is ready for it is another question.
“Williamson believes that Right-wing religiosity is too often used to cover up deeply un-Christian values whereas Christian morals like environmentalism or anti-racism are enacted by Leftists under the name of social justice.”
Disagree. Leftists use “social justice” to cover up their hateful and/authoritarian desires. “Anti-racism” is a good example of leftists manipulation of language, taken in the literal sense almost everyone would agree with anti-racism, but what the leftists practice is not anti-racism, the most vocal “anti-racist” leftists are the most racist people amongst us.
The last thing the US needs for president is another stereotypical privileged leftist who spends her time on twitter calling her opponents white supremacists.
More than 600 philosophers signed the disgraceful open letter against Kathleen Stock. The last thing any nation needs is a philosopher king.
R.Craven PhD Philosophy.
Of course there is little danger of Williamson ever becoming president. But she is not dumb, nor as extreme as many, including me, might have assumed. I really enjoyed her intelligent comments and reflections, many of which I even agreed with.
I am not a fan of the Trump style. However, he was the first candidate since Reagan to hold up a mirror to politicians of both parties & the MSM to expose their hypocrisy & arrogance. His view of the US was not, therefore, dark; rather he was exposing decades of darkness to the light. This resulted in never ending attempts to disable his public/political abilities. What’s the darkness he exposed? The insidiousness of the administrative state, abusive policies that have Balkanized us by hyphenating everyone, buying those groups off with spending programs and the list goes on.
I enjoyed this interview, although my sense was Flo warmed to her guest and perhaps didn’t push her as hard as she could have on many issues.
I doubt Williamson will make much headway in this race, but here’s the issue she mentioned that resonated with me: it’s time America focused its considerable resources on its own population and expend fewer resources trying to police the world and meddle in other nations’ affairs. I suspect there’s much grassroots support for that idea.
50 years ago Marianne Williamson net worth was likely $0; today she is worth almost $2.1 million.
In 2018 alone she earned $650,000.
She is 67 years old.
Most older people own more assets and have greater annual incomes than most younger people
In other words, this nefarious ‘theft’ (her word) of trillions of dollars of wealth is the growth in assets and income of older, high-skilled workers benefiting from globalization over the last 50 years.
BTW, the idea of ‘Philosopher Kings’ came from Plato who was an elite aristocratic, held slaves and thought free speech was a bad idea (especially from poets, artists and actors).
I have not listened to this silly person yet, will later – only a Politician who is a ‘Democrat Progressive’ to me means a solider of destruction. And so if one is that, and trying to reach high office, then it must mean they wish to destroy that which is good and decent, and free – and replace it with that which is evil, degenerate, and oppressive.
This is a existential war, one where the Conservative values of Classic Liberalism of the Enlightenment are to be destroyed – the ones which brought us Freedom, End of Slavery, Democracy, Rule of Law, Justice, universal education, Religious freedom – basically summed up in the USA Constitution and Bill of Rights – all coupled with and based on the principals of Christian Intellectualism, love of art, science, industry, prosperity, and Mostly – Rights Tied To Responsibilities and Duty.
The Liberal Left, rather than coming from the Christian ethos, which brought us all which is best in the world, come from the Nhilos and wicked philosophy of Post-Modernism, that philosophy from Wiemar Republic, the Frankfurt School.
This is a creed of the existential Oppressor-Oppressed, a Manichean religion where all who fail did so because all who succeed have oppressed them. The oppressors have taken that which should have belonged to the oppressed, held them down, and live by exploiting. The oppressed are the ‘Good’ wile the Oppressors are the ‘Bad’. It is a Zero Sum world to them, any who have more than another must have that by injustice; or all would have, and be, equal.
So their politics are about their twisted sense of Justice – and that means taking from the successful, repressing and punishing them, and giving to the unsuccessful, as that is their right.
Neo-Marxism in fact. Classic Marxism is proletariat workers, oppressed by Capitalist. The Capitalist uses his ownership of the means of production to oppress the Prols and take the fruits of their Labour. BUT the thing is – it is $ is all. A proletariat may become rich and become a capitalist, and a Capitalist many lose all and become a Prole.
Neo-Marxism is based on fixed characteristic from Birth, Sex, Race, Ability, Nationality, sexual identity , Class. One is for ever either oppressed or oppressor based on these innate characteristics. ”Intersectionality” This is neo-good vs Evil. Your ‘Identity’ is all. It is the religion of racism and other isms, and all need punishment or reward based on that. What you are ‘Inside’ does not matter, only your identity, and then how closely you believe in this religion of radical progressive Liberalism.
It is both re-distributive, And, punitive. As success by ability and drive is meaningless because oppressor and oppressed are based on Original Sin, or good, of Identity.
A remarkable Byzantine Bureaucracy is then built on this. Government becomes the largest force in society as it tries to correct this injustice by economic and Equity programs, by re-education and spreading this atheist religion. The successful must pay for this redistribution, and all advantage be given to the Oppressed at the expense to the oppressors.
This is the sick philosophy and world of the Progressive Liberal. It is sheer pathology and will cause greater suffering and decay than any creed the world has ever seen. The punishing of duty, ability, morality, and hard work, and rewarding of the opposite.
You absolute nervy jerk. Stop commenting on material you haven’t read or listened to. Not cute, not acceptable.
I think you will appreciate this, its on topic for your post I think, and I went from reading here to this so, I came back, it’s a very long and very interesting article though:
Kevin McCarthy republican: ‘Not least, he agreed to set up a committee on what is being called the “weaponization” of the federal government.
It held its first meeting last week. The panel said its task would be to look at “the politicization of the FBI and DOJ and attacks on American civil liberties”….
…….. Democrats are already decrying the committee…
So much in this article, twitter files covered too:
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