11 Feb 2016

In 2016, the Peasants Are Revolting

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Ian Tuttle describes the repulsive dynamic driving the largest percentage of voters in the current election.

[E]nvy sells. And make no mistake, that is what Sanders is selling. After all, socialism is inevitably a politics of envy: Wealth is by definition finite, so more in your pocket means less in mine — and if I have less than I want, it must be your fault. Because Sanders has no room in his cramped understanding of the world for the complex interplay of free economic actors, he must default to simplistic moral explanations — Greed!: of Wall Street bankers, pharmaceutical companies, and America’s 536 billionaires — and simplistic solutions: to wit, frog-marching Goldman Sachs executives down Fifth Avenue and divvying up their stuff. They’ll have less, so you’ll have more. …

Unlike Sanders, Trump has no determinate position on any matter of public policy, but that’s of little importance. He is not pitching a movement; he is pitching himself. His promise is not any particular slate of policies; it’s Donald Trump writ large. An America with Trump at the helm is one in which America “wins,” like Trump wins; makes good deals, like Trump makes good deals. In Donald Trump’s America, everybody gets to live a little like Donald Trump. This is at least partly why Trump’s supporters are so vicious toward his detractors: The latter threaten their chances to live bigger.

It’s envy, en masse, on both sides. Somebody else has it (cheaper tuition, cheaper health care, business-class tickets, a Mercedes, &c.), and I want it. Under Sanders, top-hatted Uncle Pennybags will do the perp walk; under Trump, we’ll put the screws to Beijing and Uncle Pennybags himself will cut me in on the deal; but in either case, I get what should’ve been mine all along. And all for the low, low price of a vote. Those who believe that politics is little more than personal psychodrama played out on a grand stage might be closer than usual to the truth this election cycle. Neither Trump nor Sanders, despite their claims, is ushering in a revolution. They are ushering in a politics more petty, vulgar, and low — more animated by voters’ base inclinations — than any in recent memory. If New Hampshire is any indication, voters are not about anything so high-minded as constitutional government or national security or racial justice or even “hope and change.” They’re about me getting mine, by hook or by crook. Free college, free health care, and winning. This election is the Gollum-cry of the masses: WE WANTS IT.

3 Feedbacks on "In 2016, the Peasants Are Revolting"


We don’t wants it. We want a wall. We want mass deportations. And we want a ban. For starters.


Why earn it if government will just take it away from you?
Why earn it if government will give it to you for free?
And the media can’t figure out why economic growth is so low.


You’re aware of the Cloward–Piven strategy. I view Trump and Sanders as raw, stupid democracy overloading itself with the logic of its own attempts to live at the expense of others. Hopefully, it will precipitate a crisis that could lead to a replacement. Democracy cannot heal itself. Mencius is right. So we can crash slow and long or fast and hard, but we are going to crash. Some of us would like to be alive to rebuild a better society after the Progressives rationalize our current one to death.


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