Fear and Trembling: letter to an American friend


“Part of me is going to miss liberal democracy.”

Dear friend,


I continue to be amazed and not a little alarmed by how rational people, such as yourself, are themselves seriously disturbed  about Trump. [That was an awkward phrase.] I see it on Boards that I sit on, I see it in some friends. They are really concerned, such as I have not seen since Reagan’s days.


See the above cartoon from the New Yorker; it captures the angst. I say to myself:  “This is the United States. They change King and Prime Minister at the same time. They change the direction of government and the arbiter of social mores at the same time. Not my system but you  would think they would have grown used to it  after 230 years.”

And my response to the thought is : “Apparently not”.



As to this being the last hurrah for Republicans for a while, I think not. [Please understand that everything I say at all times these days is preceded by a serious caveat: I could be wrong]


The Republicans are being invaded by Trump and possibly by his followers. This may mean that the white working class (and like-minded) may find a home in the Repos. The old adage of the Democrats was that the American working class would  vote Democratic if they could only see their interests properly. Such a view needs adjustment. Before Trump, many American working class people were voting for Republicans because Republicans were talking to a broader range of moral issues than the merely economic; issues of loyalty, country, solidarity, and the sacred. These are issues that the Democrats abandoned, leaving them able to talk about only two axes of differentiation: procedural fairness (or its absence) and equality (racial outcomes, income) versus inequality. I borrow this analysis from Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind in its entirety.

I cannot sufficiently praise Haidt’s book for its analysis of how societies evaluate issues.

Now, with Trump, the Republicans are talking a language of fairness of outcomes, as well as patriotism, inclusion, unity and God. The equality of man under God, not the inequality and oppression of groups; the equality of Americans as patriots, not the inequality of who needs special toilets, special legal privileges, and special status. It is a powerful language of equality in unity, and it has nothing to do with the dollar.

On top of that,  Trump is telling the American people that he is looking out for their interests, in a way that the previous three, maybe four, Presidents have not.


When the Reagan revolution began, the move was to crush communism and deregulate the economy, and open international trade. Both succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. In so doing, it appears that the social and economic interests of the elite prospered, of whom most seem to be Democrats, with Republicans a well-represented minority in the coastal elites, as well as those who draw upon government for sustenance. So it was a coalition of the state-dependents and the elites versus the middle classes. (Roughly speaking).


Forty years later, what needs doing has changed (or not, depending on your politics). The country at large seems to have felt that, for there to be a United States, a country at all, certain processes of social and demographic change had to stop, be slowed, or be reversed. These are racial and demographic in part, but so is everything else in society.


Right now I am watching the elites (of which we are members) having a conniption fit, but for whatever reasons, probably of temperament, I am unable to be greatly disturbed at the change. In fact I am watching with some amusement the incredulity of elite opinion in Brexit-land and in the United States as the masses speak through their imperfect prophets, Farage and Trump.  People who think themselves better do not like to be told they are wrong. No one likes to be told they are wrong; I don’t.  But the tones of outraged privilege emanating from all quarters of elite opinion (The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Washington Post etc.) allow for some questions as to who is the true upholder of democratic values?

Is the Smaller cartoon right?

Am I missing something important? Is liberal democracy under attack?

Or is it just the whining of left-wingers and the privileged when their cultural and political hegemony is overturned? In short, have we just seen an important election in which liberal democracy worked? And the elites do not like it one bit.

Until further evidence is  available, I shall remain confident that one flawed President has been replaced by another flawed President, of different policies,  and that the system is holding.


As always, best regards and good luck in your projects



“I said, ‘Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women,’

but the media took that totally out of context.”


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Nicola Timmerman

I would feel more sympathy if they showed some sign of recognizing they were wrong and dishonest and using a double standard to judge Trump and the Clintons. But no, they are doubling down in their contempt for Trump and his supporters.

Dollops - Eric Doll

One flawed President replaced by another? You say this in the sense that we are all sinners, one hopes. There is absolutely no basis for comparison of the real-world experience and intentions that Trump brings to the office and those of the first affirmative-action President.

Bill Elder

I think the root cause behind the tantrum taking at the outcome of popular will through democratic means is a symptom of a disease that has been metastasizing in America since the 50s – call it what you will, social justice vigilantism or neo-bolshevism, but the bottom line is cultural Marxism has an inbred contempt for democracy UNLESS they control the outcome – make the rustics vote until they get it right, then get rid of this messy voting business. If they do not respect ALL democratic outcomes we have a problem which can only end one way, and that isn’t the peaceful and orderly transfer of power from one regime to another.

As for the idea Trump is the champion of the working class, I believe this to be fact – the working class of either voting persuasion has been thrown overboard by their respective old line parties – the Dems abandoned them in persuit of globalist overlords agendas and the GOP rode them like tax mules to finance their endless war based economy – they became sick of bi-partisan exploitation and went to a populist solution.

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