Monday, July 15, 2024
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Trump, a bulwark against the totalitarian tide


BERNIE Sanders will be the Democrat nominee for US President and will lose. 

The Nevada caucus has given him a momentum that I imagine cannot be stopped. 

He is the candidate whom Trump is praying will oppose him, if he does pray, which I somewhat doubt.

It would be a disaster were Bernie to win. For everyone. He’d fail and later someone more Left-wing might succeed. 

But I cannot imagine him winning, unless the Chinese virus creates a financial crisis like the one in 2008. Even then I don’t see Americans trusting him to solve such a crisis.

Why do I follow American elections? Because they matter to the world and because they are riveting, thanks to the primaries.

Mike Bloomberg made a big mess of his first debate. He is no more a Democrat than is Bernie.

Joe Biden is a safe, folksy Democrat party hack – and old enough to remember when the Democrats were the party of the working class – which are reasons for Democrats to like him. He never had a vision and was always unfocused but his lack of focus nowadays might be incipient senility. He is not going to win and by standing got in the way of other, better moderates.

By contrast Donald Trump is widely loved – by maybe a quarter of Americans, which is a lot. 

Why do evangelicals vote for the Donald? The answer is obvious. He is appointing judges who construe the law as it is written. He is not going to introduce laws they hate. He turned out, despite having looked like a Democrat, to be a Republican after all. He is a barricade thrown up against the march of progress. After him, who will protect Christian civilisation?

As Andrew Walker says in the National Review: ‘The constant criticism of religious conservatives’ voting en masse for Donald Trump never comes with a suggestion of better alternatives.’ 

The alternative is much worse. Reagan called universities islands of totalitarianism in a sea of freedom, but now totalitarianism is flooding into every workplace. American conservatives are advised never to discuss politics at work and not to go on social media. One American conservative blogger I read yesterday advised conservative men to work for themselves.

Rod Dreher has written a very worrying article about a book he is writing on lack of freedom of speech in American universities. He says: ‘It should tell us something that not a single academic from a former communist country that I interviewed for this book was willing to speak using their own name – this, in the Land of the Free. Why not? Because they were afraid of facing professional consequences for speaking out against identity politics and the “social justice” regime.’

One of those to whom he spoke told him that she is researching into the ways in which multinational corporations undermine the nation-state: ‘She said that wokeness in corporate America is a weapon used by white-collar professionals to weed out competitors for increasingly scarce jobs. She said, “People find ideological purity tests useful to weed out people who compete for jobs you cover. Progressive forces are completely allied with globalist capitalism.” 

She also said that people have no idea how vulnerable they are to this mindset, because of social media. “You will not be able to predict what will be held against you tomorrow. You have no idea what completely normal thing you do today, or say today, will be used against you to destroy you. This is what people in the Soviet Union saw. We know how this works. This is why people like me are so upset today. I’m so glad you’re writing this book. Thank you for calling me and letting me vent.”

‘She also said that she can’t stand Trump, but has come to see him as the only obstacle between herself and total progressive madness.’

That remark reminds me of A E Housman’s one great poem, Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries:

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth’s foundations stay . . .

This is no surprise to me. Unlike immigration, homosexual marriage, feminism or very many other things, you’d suppose Brexit would be a matter on which you could take either side without losing friends or, in extreme cases, your job (millions of Left-wingers voted Leave, after all), but it is not.

British friends of mine who are university lecturers kept it a close secret that they voted Leave. A Cambridge student told me in 2016 that 85 per cent of undergraduates voted Remain and the rest kept very quiet about it. My 17-year-old nephew said the same about his classmates except he put the Remain proportion higher.

Donald Trump is insufferable, a preposterous braggart and habitual liar, adulterous, lazy and ignorant. He has lowered American standing and respect in the world a lot in very many ways, though outside Europe and the Anglophone countries he gets more respect than Obama, but he has done a lot of very good things too. His tax cuts have made the world economy hum. He, almost alone, is thinking rationally about defence and illegal and legal migration, he is undermining the EU and trying to do something useful about China. 

Perhaps most important of all, he is buying time (eight years, I expect) for the whole world to think about how to deal with the Left-wing authoritarianism that is engulfing it.

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Paul Wood
Paul Wood

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