Monday, February 01, 2016

Trump is the liberal antichrist .. and he knows it

Scott Alexander (Slate Star Codex) has an interesting piece which you should read from which the following is excerpted:

"Donald Trump appeals to a lot of people because despite his immense wealth he practically glows with signs of being Labor class. This isn’t surprising; his grandfather was a barber and his father clawed his way up to the top by getting his hands dirty. He himself went to a medium-tier college and is probably closer in spirit to the small-business owners of the upper Labor class than to the Stanford MBA-holding executives of the Elite.

"Trump loves and participates in professional wrestling and reality television; those definitely aren’t Gentry or Elites pastimes! When liberals shake their heads wondering why Joe Sixpack feels like Trump is a kindred soul even though Trump’s been a billionaire his whole life, they’re falling into the liberal habit of sorting people by wealth instead of by class. To Joe Sixpack, Trump is “local boy made good”.
Listening to bien-pensant liberals in the media (TV Channel 4 comes to mind) smugly opining that Trump is crazy, mad, beneath contempt, dangerous, (soon to come: the H-word), it is clear that with Trump we are in the presence of a liberal value-atrocity.

(British liberals are ideological soulmates of their American co-thinkers while the Republican base doesn't find a ready echo here .. this gives the UK media a free run.)

Trump understands the US culture wars better than his critics. He knows what he has to do to rally the "Red Tribe", the Republican base. Trump in a presidential election or as President? For good or ill, that's an entirely differently-badged animal.

We could debate (nobody does) whether Trump's personality and character would make him a good or terrible candidate for the Presidency, but I'm more interested in what motivates liberals to be so aghast about it.

So back to Scott Alexander on why liberals appear to support every group except putatively their own, which they take to be the root of all evil.
"We have a lot of people [...] boasting of being able to tolerate everyone from every outgroup they can imagine, loving the outgroup, writing long paeans to how great the outgroup is, staying up at night fretting that somebody else might not like the outgroup enough.

"And we have those same people absolutely ripping into their in-groups – straight, white, male, hetero, cis, American, whatever – talking day in and day out to anyone who will listen about how terrible their in-group is, how it is responsible for all evils, how something needs to be done about it, how they’re ashamed to be associated with it at all.

"This is really surprising. It’s a total reversal of everything we know about human psychology up to this point. No one did any genetic engineering. No one passed out weird glowing pills in the public schools. And yet suddenly we get an entire group of people who conspicuously love their outgroups, the outer the better, and gain status by talking about how terrible their own groups are.

"What is going on here?"
His answer is this (rather long) essay which you will find unfailingly interesting.

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