James Pethokoukis on the Trump victory, Political Observer comments

Our Man From A.E.I., Mr. James Pethokoukis, shouldn’t throw stones! Any self-apologetic cliche not written here is just an oversight: big government, crony capitalism, competition, creative destruction, registers with the reader his seriousness.

The ignominious failure of a codified Neo-Liberal Utopianism is absent from  Mr. Pethokoukis’ narrative, yet Trumpism is its demonstrative political issue. One ponders the question of Mr. Pethokoukis not paying attention to the Financial Times Party Line of ‘The Rebellion Against The Elites’, as a central animating belief? That Free Market faith as failed,  an inevitable, if incorrigible thought, outside the ken of the ‘Free Marketeer’. The unimaginative comparison between Trump and Reagan isn’t empirically evident, but his argument is on firmer ground, or more in tune with Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, and its collective resentments, and the persistent belief in a 5th Column, that was the foundation of Nixon’s whole career.

Trump as politician is simply a vulgar amplification of the ‘character’ he played on his long running NBC Side Show, if such a vulgarization be within the realm of the possible? He is an American version of Peron, a Caudillo: the strong man. His proclamation of ‘give me your vote, I’ll know what to do’ sums up his ‘politics’.

What escapes Mr. Pethokoukis thinking on Trump, and his election, is that 49.6% of voters did not cast their vote for either Trump or Clinton: that expression of disaffection, of nearly half the voters, is testament to the loss of political legitimacy of both Parties, Republican and Democrat. A vexed question beyond the comprehension of a Free Market apologist who believes that the Market is the only viable expression of knowledge, a central tenet Hayek’s Economic Theology. But Mr. Pethokoukis surprises the reader with this testament to civic republicanism, contra Hayek.

America does not need a politics that fights over competing retrograde visions. It needs one that transcends them.


Political Observer



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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