Views of the US from Overseas
They only see the surface
Reading analyses of US politics from abroad is usually frustrating, because the analysts usually only know the establishment version of life in These United States. So it’s telling that two of the non-US sites I regularly visit had almost identical Oh No! pieces this week.
At Quillette: “Dear Americans: Your Politics Don’t Have to Be This Toxic” by Norwegian management consultant Stephan Jensen. He begins:
Watching from afar, the descent of American politics into an orgy of polarisation, institutional decline, and political dysfunction is both worrying and strange.
Jensen thinks the problem is our two-party system that enforces a “liberal” way or a “conservative” way in which everyone is pressured to have liberal opinions on everything or conservative opinions on everything. He wants us to generate a third party that would split the difference.
At UnHerd: “America Needs to Calm Down” by university lecturer Simon Cottee. He begins:
Wherever you look someone is sounding the alarm about how America has been taken over by evil extremists and is going to hell in a handbasket.
Here you have the liberals obsessing about Donald Trump and the January 6 “coup.” And of course the Supreme Court abortion decision. And liberals are worried about children being groomed into “fascist little monsters.”
On the other side chaps like David Bossie is writing that “Democrats are purposefully trying to destroy our country as we know it in their quest to change America into the world’s next failed socialist state.” And conservatives are worried that “Left-wing activists and sexual deviants are ‘grooming’ children into the cult of woke zealotry.”
Cottee doesn’t have a solution. He just thinks that everyone should calm down.
But actually, what I find really interesting is a recent oped by none other than George Soros writing about “US Democracy Under Concerted Attack” from a Supreme Court “dominated by far-right extremists,” and that this is “part of a carefully laid plan to turn the US into a repressive regime.” He goes on to basically parrot what I assume is The New York Times narrative on the Supreme Court and Republicans.
Well, you know what I think. I think that the way to understand all the sound and fury is that is signifies two things.
First, that after a century of confident rule by the educated elite our rulers simply cannot get their brains around the fact that all their brilliant ideas are lying dead on the ground. A nice government-run retirement program? Great, but it’s eaten the budget. Health care for the elderly? Great, but it’s eating the budget too. Civil rights for blacks? Great, but black families are hopeless, blacks are still way behind, and black homicide is about 8 times the white level. And when things go wrong, the human thing to do is to assume malevolence did it.
That’s the way I understand our liberal friends: something has gone wrong, and it must be the fault of the racist-sexist-homophobe Republicans.
Second, that after 50 years of graciously allowing Democrats to run the show from The Great Society to Affirmative Action to DEI and now to turn the economy upside down, because climate change, we deplorables are done.
So what happens next? Well, I am a firm believer in Bismarck, and his line that “There is a special providence for drunkards, fools, and the United States of America.” Only Wikiquote says maybe not.
See, I think that the Biden implosion almost amounts to divine intervention. If the Bidenoids had not done a $1 trillion plus stimulus bill last year, or not put the administrative state to work stopping fossil fuels in their tracks, then we would not be having the total meltdown right now that has Americans worried about:
Inflation - 33%
Gas prices - 15%
The economy - 9%
The point is that, because the educated class has a pretty solid grip on The Narrative, it takes a total blowup of The Narrative to move the needle against the ruling class and create an America that thinks it is Time for a Change.
Even so, as I walked around Green Lake this morning I don’t recall any of the women that I overheard making any complaints about prices and inflation. So maybe the Biden Implosion hasn’t collapsed educated North Seattle yet.
It certainly hasn’t affected Mr. Reflexivity: George Soros.
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