Thursday, July 28, 2016

Revolution Has Come. . . though not the one you expected . . .

As Einstein said (in his Aphorisms for Leo Baeck):

The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny, however, is alleviated by their lack of consistency.

I am forced back to this elegant summary again and again. I know there are people who object to calling ignorance and stupidity by their real names. Though they'd nod yes that a rose by any other name is a rose, they think it unwise to switch from flowers to ignorance and stupidity.

I hope the ignorance and stupidity bump known as Trump flat-lines sooner rather than later.

And what about the notion, heard on in the media often — on NPR, just this afternoon — that Trump supporters are rebelling against the liberal elite? I am a liberal, yes. Elite? Elite how?

Want to see my tax returns?

Or does elite mean valuing information and knowledge instead of running on the sick combustion of ignorance, hurt, and rage?

I won't be undercut by being called, implicitly or openly, a member of the liberal elite. I am as entitled to my opinions, which I hold as fiercely as any Trump lover even though my views are, I hope, contaminated by a dollop of information, education, and reason.

Dirty words to some.

The phrase "liberal guilt" once had meaning, back in the day when certain people, some of them paralyzed by the Cold War, shied away from opposing segregation and the War in Vietnam — shied away, in short, from putting bodies, and if I may say so, minds and souls, on the line, as John Lewis, and others, memorably did.

Those days and situations are over. The catch phrase "liberal guilt" gets no traction, not with me. You won't catch me feeling guilty about what I call my liberalism. If anything, I feel my own brand of rage, at a candidate and his supporters who might break the United States, and so much that is good about it, and who will never be able to own or repair the damage.

I know there are those who think four years of Trump would all but guarantee the "political revolution" we don't seem to be having now. Such folly, such historical uninformed inanity. Fact is, we are having a political revolution. It happens to be the one led by Donald Trump.

Just because it isn't the revolution you may have longed for and idealized, doesn't mean it isn't a revolution, too.

It is.

May it fail.


  1. Heard an interview of the guy who wrote "Listen, Liberal". He makes a good case for the notion of a liberal elite, i.e. the "meritocracy", the belief that your worth is commensurate with how well you did in school and how high your GS rating is. To have everything run by highly educated people squeezes out the contributions of the "poorly educated", whom Trump is embracing. Maybe there's something to redistributing some of the power to the non-professionals. Then there's a review in this week's New Yorker has a review of several books about Rousseau's ideas comparing them with today's rebellion against the liberal, or at least well educated elite. It's all interesting.

    I'm for common working people, too.

    Wouldn't you cop to having an elite education?


    1. >Wouldn't you cop to having an elite education?

      Yes, but with provisos. I didn't come from money, as the saying goes. My father was a dry cleaner in Bed-Stuy, my mother a home-maker, housewife.

      I was the first in my family to go to college, and though I did go to an Ivy League school, I scholarshiped through it. And much of my education was of the sort you get when you're as much an activist, as I was, against the War in Vietnam, as a student.

      Still, I don't deny I gained something that stays with me from exposure to good books and some smart profs.

      (Parenthetically, yes, the piece on Rousseau was interesting; he was a complex cat.)

      Something about being asked to "cop" to having had an elite education bothers me, the implication being it makes me less entitled to my opinions than those who didn't go that route. Reminds of the guilt I was supposed to feel for not serving in Vietnam. I was and am guilt-free on that score. And I am guilt-free about having acquired a rough map of history that I still work at refining.

      One more thing: during my days on the left, one was expected to adopt a party line and to avoid any semblance of independent thinking. That sort of fundamentalism is still prevalent on the left and the right. I'm over it.

      If being called a member of the liberal elite is supposed to make me apologetic or diffident about hating and fearing what Trump represents, well, I don't think so, just fuggedaboutit.