Whose White House?

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-10-21-01-amI’m glad I’m not an American voter. There’s a tendency as November 8 approaches to adopt a kiddie-pundit, adversarial and almost desperately black and white yes/no voting booth philosophy, so much so that the deeper arguments, the ones that really matter, get lost in a welter of junk media; baby food for the masses.
I suppose myself to be quite ‘liberal’, embracing a worldview based on notions of liberty and equality, more or less. Whereas classical liberalism emphasises the role of liberty, social liberalism majors on equality, so, for me classics trumps social libertarianism every day and twice on Sundays. Liberals generally support ideas such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality and international co-operation; fine and laudable precepts, loaded as they may be with politically slippery cautionary tales. However, in its modern form liberalism has contained within it an intrinsic tendency towards extreme relativism, which in turn has historically led to two types of nihilism. The first was a “brutal” nihilism as expressed in Nazi and Marxist regimes; Mao did not come to power in a vacuum. Leo Strauss wrote in ‘On Tyranny’ that these ideologies, both descendants of Enlightenment thought, tried to eradicate all traditions, history, ethics, and moral standards and on the resultant tabula rasa forcibly replace them with an iron fist under which nature and mankind were subjugated and conquered. The second type, a “gentler” nihilism as expressed in Western liberal democracies was a kind of value-free aimlessness and a hedonistic “permissive egalitarianism”, which everyone can see has penetrated to the core of  European and American thought. His view was that 20th century relativism, scientific pre-eminence, historical criticism and nihilism were thus all implicated in the deterioration of modern society, bringing us to a political impasse clearly demonstrated by the Clinton/Trump tickets of choice. Trump calls out the house divided in terms of the fear it generates and the notion of extreme regime change resonates with the masses. Clinton has Machiavellian tendencies and people don’t trust her.  I wonder whether societies are really capable of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force. Whose White House will it be?


One thought on “Whose White House?

  1. …and now we know. Social media leverage has done its worst and now we have neo-Nazis behaving unspeakably on the one hand and on the other schoolchildren waving anti-Trump placards in the streets. Nobody seems to have taught the postmillenials how to lose gracefully.
    Time for everybody to take a deep breath and calm the fuck down.


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