As usual Mr. Douthat points in many directions to ‘explain’ Trump and Trumpism. But the starring role in this melange of pop culture references, and a foreshortened potted American history, in its most usable shorthand version, is the naming of ‘Liberals’ and the ‘Left’ as the central actors in his turgid melodrama: this line of argument being a permanent garnish to the ex cathedra pronouncements of Our Man From Opus Dei . The ‘Liberals’ have not simply ceded their political territory to the ‘Left’, but are its callabos, in the demonizing of the exemplars of American Political Virtue, a selected list of the Left’s villains is provided. Absent from Douthat’s list of American Heroes are Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, not speak of other less well known moral/political actors, although the ‘Christian Abolitionists’ do garner a mention.
Yet Douthat’s moralizing argument, about the centrality of the Liberal/Left moral/political nihilism elides from a potentially honest conversation, the fact that the 2008 economic catastrophe, and the codified Neo-Liberal Reforms, and the death of the notion of a Self-Correcting Market, are the watershed of that failure. Aided by the political actors of that Neo-Liberalism, the New Democrats and Republicans, who were the active agents of change that ended in catastrophe.The question of how the failure of that Neo-Liberal thought collective’s ideas, and political practices, contributed, or even paved the way, for Trump remain conveniently outside of the hectoring Douthat intervention. Mr. Douthat is too busy using the shibboleths of an American Catholic Conservatism to do battle with the perpetually heretical ‘cosmopolitan liberalism’ in thrall to a mendacious ‘Left Intelligentsia’.
Who Are We? https://nyti.ms/2kADOyH