Summary: America entered a new era in 2016. The facades crumbled, revealing the true nature of America’s Left and Right. Their lies, the war against us (the big middle), and their madness. What comes next, how we react to this news, will reveal our nature.
Years ago, Chet Richards (Colonel, USAF, retired) told me that America’s hopes for reform rested with an alliance of the middle majority against predictors on the Left the Right. I following the lead of political scientists, disagreed — since much of US public is has centrist views only by averaging their extreme left and right beliefs (see WaPo articles here and here).
Time has proven Chet right and me wrong. Powerful elements on the left and right are moving against the rest of us. Worse, both have gone bonkers. This has put America on the fast track to disaster, although we cannot foresee details of the end. We trapped between them, like children with no team to choose — bewildered by the increasingly odd events around us.
We’re immersed in fake news, fake facts.
Our opponents on the Left and Right have seen our gullibility, and quote logically exploit it. The Right has done so more effectively. They have ensnared their followers in webs of fake history, fake economics, fake quotes, and fake news. Trump’s serial lies are the apotheosis of decades of the Right successfully building an audience that prefers pleasing lies to harsh truths.
The Left got into the game late, but has moved quickly to catch up. Their five decades of exaggerating (or ignoring) scientists’ work to create nightmares of doom for humanity — or the world — including a decade or so of exaggerating or misrepresenting the IPCC’s work about climate change. Their denial of climate scientists’ work on what they call the “pause”.
The election of Trump has pushed much of the Left into a delusional state (examples here, here and here). The scale of exaggerated claims are difficult for me to imagine, let alone take seriously. Trump has a perverted attraction to his daughter. Trump is Hitler. The Republicans are Nazis. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is the American Gestapo, per Erik Loomis (assistant professor of history at U RI). My favorite is “The American Gestapo and Its Slave Labor Force.” The exaggerated, even fake, stories about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ contacts with Russians (details here), Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee (details here), and the entire complex of Trump-Putin conspiracy theories (see this devastating deconstruction in the liberal NY Review of Books).
The Left and Right attack the middle.
The Left under Obama (and, if elected, Hillary Clinton) have run a long campaign to change American culture. Their Social Justice Warriors have grown increasingly bold in their attacks, confident they know what is best for us (examples here).
Their other tool to change America was massive immigration — almost an open door policy (see these posts), now at the levels which produced broad opposition in the 1920s, and laws closing the door until it reopened in the 1960s. That is a bipartisan policy, both Left and Right united against us. As are the massive increase in domestic surveillance, the war against whistleblowers, the expansion of the security services (and erosion of our domestic liberties), and perpetual foreign wars.
Now the Right has gained power at all levels of US government, and has begun to move boldly to roll back the New Deal and restore the Gilded Age. Stripping health care from tens of millions of Americans. Weakening vital regulations protecting us from Wall Street Banks, gun manufacturers, and polluters. Soon will come the next waves of tax cuts for the rich (financed by debt and cuts to services to the rest of us).
Conflict in the Trump era.
Madness to the Left. Madness to the Right. How to choose? The Republicans are waging outright attacks on us. The Left is staging often violent protests in the name of identity politics, open borders, and abortion — now featuring masked rioters.
Our passivity, apathy, and gullibility got us into this hole. More of the same will allow Left and Right to fight over us, with the winner ruling America. The smart bet looks to be on the GOP. A few more victories at the State and they can reshape the Constitution (control of one more State gives them the ability to call a Convention; five more lets them pass amendments).
This all goes back to our core problem: our unwillingness to bear the burden of self-government. The politically active people are those on the extremes. While the rest of us sleep, America is falling like the Roman Republic. The clock is running; time is not our friend.
For More Information.
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Recommended books about the weakness of the Republic.
Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism by Wolfgang Streeck.
Democracy and Populism: Fear and Hatred by John Lukacs.