May 3, 2018

Walk Down Memory Lane

Jeh Johnson.
Arne Duncan.
Tim Geithner.
Loretta Lynch.
Regina McCarthy.
Samantha Power.
Susan Rice.
Eric Holder.

I really miss seeing all of these names in the news, and knowing that they make decisions every day that effect the lives of American citizens in one way or another.


I'm actually quite pleased to be rid of them, and that a quite charitable accounting of the legacy of President Barack Obama is not really that charitable at all.

Obama Administration Rant Posted by JohnGalt at May 3, 2018 7:11 PM

Fair. All of whom would have just beep promoted to a higher level of incompetence and mendacity in a Clinton Administration. I get it.

And, yet, the victories reinforce the party's move to populism (tribalism from enlightenment values after reading Jonah Goldberg's fantastic "Suicide of the West.")

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2018 1:19 PM

Tribalism is, in essence, socialism. Populism is something different, is it not? The idea that we can have individual rights and share certain values (c.f. individual rights, i.e. liberty) does not lead to de facto tribalism.

What specifically about a muscular resistance to and rollback of anti-American European style socialism (or worse) constitutes the literal "suicide" of the West?

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2018 3:04 PM

The book's point is that the two are similar and similarly destructive to enlightenment values.

Socialism, nationalism, communism, fascism, and authoritarianisms of every stripe are forms of tribalism. The tribal mind despises division. It despises the division of labor and the inequality it inevitably fosters. It despises the division between the religious and the secular, between the individual and the group, between civil society and the state. Whether it takes the form of religious orthodoxy, communist dogma, the divine right of kings, or some variant of "social justice" theory, the same underlying impulse rules: We must all be in it together.

I don't think he's objecting to reducing regulation. (Heh, I have his podcast on as I type, and he just celebrated three administration achievements.) But the #MAGA, wall, protectionist rhetoric is as tribal as anything Marx said. The President actually used the phrase "America First" approvingly. VP Pence celebrated Joe Arpaio's commitment to "rule of law" the other day. There are not conducive to enlightenment values.
And while my use of the term "pluralism" includes all of this, it also includes something even larger. Modernity both requires and creates a plurality of meaning and identity, not simply among the population, but within each and every person. This is in stark contrast to primitive society, where identity and meaning were bound up and inseparable from the tribe.

Goldberg, Jonah. Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy (Kindle Locations 1149-1151). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2018 4:00 PM | What do you think? [3]