Sunday, 3 March 2019

Rod Dreher: Trump's barbarism is somewhat more obvious than the barbarism of his enemies

Rod Dreher in American Conservative on Friday:
"As I have said here before, I think Donald Trump is in no sense a solution to our crisis, but is in fact a manifestation of it. What is hard for many people — on the political and cultural Left, certainly, but also on the establishment R ight — to understand is that we live in a Philip Rieff world, in which all the Respectable People running the institutions and comprising the societal elites are busily and respectably tearing down the foundations of culture. It didn’t start with them, and it didn’t start in the 1960s — though the acceleration began to pick up then....

"Somebody said on Twitter the other day, I forget who it was, that Trump makes explicit an ugly truth: that this society no longer has norms, and its institutions have rotted from within. That’s putting it more strongly than I would, but not by much. Donald Trump is a barbarian whose barbarism is somewhat more obvious than the barbarism of those who most hate him. We live in bad times. How good men and women live together in such times, indeed thrive in them, is the chief political problem we face."

Is he right?

I certainly see Donald Trump as a barbarian (those well done steaks!) but the other side as very much more barbaric, especially the academics. Perhaps Mr. Trump resembles those barbarian mercenaries whose threnody A. E. Housman wrote.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and the earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.
A Romanian friend of mine says that Vladimir Putin is the best leader that Russia could have at the moment. Donald Trump, with all his very grave faults, is certainly the best president America could have at the moment, out of those on offer in 2016 and presumably in 2020. 

We do not know how historians will judge him, because historians can only judge using hindsight. Much will depend on what legacy he leaves and on whether Trumpian leaders emerge in the USA or Europe. 

What we can say is that unless historians become politically diverse their judgment will be severe for ideological reasons, but if the historians remain uniformly opposed to him for these reasons then he will have failed.


  1. I certainly see Donald Trump as a barbarian but the other side as very much more barbaric

    I don't see much difference between them. Trump in practice stands for the same things. He's rabidly pro-immigration. He pursues the foreign policy that the neocons tell him to. He's an extreme social liberal who regards traditional morality with contempt. He's pro-homosexual. He's not just unwilling to fight the Culture War on the side of the forces of light. He is actively on the side of the forces of darkness.

    The only difference is that Trump is more crass about these things. Maybe that would be a good thing if it made people realise just how degenerate American society has become. But I don't think it will. Our civilisation is like Rome. We just don't care how deeply we sink into the cesspit. We seem to be no longer capable of noticing the stench.

  2. Trump is a vulgarian surely?

    Calling him a barbarian is over the top.

    But I agree with your Romanian friend.

    Who out of the 2016 lot would have made a better president?

    1. You mean the same Rand Paul who announced he will vote against the emergency order for the border crisis?

      “I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress." Sez the same guy who has consistently voted for more and more deficits?


      "We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn’t authorize it. If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing," the same Rand Paul who didnt speak out against all of Obama's "emergencies"?


    2. I second that. However, how strong is Rand Paul, and how willing is he to pick a fight? A mature, smart individual may not receive the support of the masses, the same way a clever, self confident, much less intelligent man can.

    3. Who out of the 2016 lot would have made a better president?

      When it gets to the point where someone like Trump is the least horrible option it's a pretty good indication of a political system that is broken beyond repair. A political system that can be guaranteed never to deliver the policies needed to restore society to health and sanity.

      What's interesting is that it's not just the United States. Other western countries have quite a variety of different political systems. There's the British Westminster system, there's the Australian Washminster system, there are the bizarre systems in place in Germany and France, there are proportional representation systems in countries like Sweden. And every single one of these systems has failed.

      Which suggests that any attempt to "reform" such systems is doomed to failure.

      It's the whole notion of representative democracy that seems to be at fault.

    4. You make a good point about systems failing but not because democracy doesn't work. Trump's victory shows that the system is much more democratic than anyone imagined. The problem is political elites hopelessly out of touch with stagnant living standards and much more importantly the effects and meaning of mass immigration.

    5. Trump's victory shows that the system is much more democratic than anyone imagined.

      The big problem with representative democracy is not the voting part. As far as the voting part is concerned I agree with you. The voters can elect a candidate who promises to do what the people want. But that candidate, once elected, will betray the voters' trust every single time. So your vote ends up being a waste of time.

      The representatives in a representative democracy are never held accountable for failing to keep their promises. Ever worse, they are never held accountable for failing to even try to keep their promises. When was the last time a leader in a representative democracy was sent to prison for making false promises in an election campaign?

      Look at the politicians who have destroyed the West. Heath, Blair, Thatcher, Cameron, Major in Britain. Johnson, Reagan, Bush I and II, Clinton in the U.S. Fraser, Hawke, Howard, Rudd, Turnbull in Australia. How many spent time languishing in prison cells for the damage they did to their societies? It's not just that they're not held accountable for failure. They're not held accountable for the deliberate malicious trashing of their own societies.

  3. hahaha.

    Trump as vulgrian! Trump a barbarian! hahaha. If so, at least, he's OUR barbarian (normal american citizen not living in coastal technocrat MSM enclaves).

    US with Hilary as President? Can you imagine the conversations we'd be having otherwise?

    We'll see on how he is viewed in history. I am old enough to remember how Truman as wrote of as a low class politico. Similar for the martyred Lincoln. Don't you euro weenies consider him a dictator who needlessly started the american civil war? hahaha to all you euro weenies.

  4. Americans do indeed have dropping living standards. Passing tax cuts for the richest Americans will not help the poorer ones very much.

  5. Lincoln did needlessly start the American civil war and marked the end of the American republic.

  6. But still your point is a very good one. He was traduced in the press as Donald Trump is. Ronald Reagan was too and we know what happened to Nixon. That might have been an FBI plot, as I blogged a while back.