Friday, February 10, 2017

Trump's intellectual revolution

Isegoria finds a fascinating article (at Politico, of all places) that paints Steve Bannon as perhaps the most interesting man in Washington, D.C. - at least intellectually:
But if Bannon has been the driving force behind the frenzy of activity in the White House, less attention has been paid to the network of political philosophers who have shaped his thinking and who now enjoy a direct line to the White House.

They are not mainstream thinkers, but their writings help to explain the commotion that has defined the Trump administration’s early days. They include a Lebanese-American author known for his theories about hard-to-predict events; an obscure Silicon Valley computer scientist whose online political tracts herald a “Dark Enlightenment”; and a former Wall Street executive who urged Donald Trump’s election in anonymous manifestos by likening the trajectory of the country to that of a hijacked airplane—and who now works for the National Security Council.
Woah!  Readers not familiar with the concept of the "Dark Enlightenment" (and who are a glutton for punishment) will find this idea explored in a dozen or more posts here over the last 5 or 6 years.  It sets the stage for understanding Politico's article on what is really an intellectual revolution.  I'm kind of stunned to find this at ground zero of the Trump White House.

My take is that this is very, very bad news for the anti-Trump side.  All of the intellectual action for at least a couple of decades has been on the other side from them:
And thus we see described all we need to entirely understand Thomas Friedman's oeuvre: "adequately predictable".  While I disagree with much that is in the book (in this, I clearly benefit from knowing the history of the last 50 years, which Galbraith could not), this is a tour de forcewhich is an absolute pleasure to read.

It's also brought into sharper focus some of the things I've written in the last year, The Long Tail of the Internet and the Election of 2010, and especially The intelligence of the Political Class.  Really, all of the posts containing the line The dinosaurs smell a change in the air, and roar their defiance.  It's really all about a class that has lived comfortable and adequately predictable lives, now struggling in a suddenly unpredictable world.
And who are now finding that this intellectual revolution is at the center of the Trump revolution.

There's a lot to read in all these links, but this is big, big stuff.  I must say that I am more impressed with Donald Trump today than I was yesterday.  He doesn't think small or conventional thoughts, and it doesn't look like he surrounds himself with those that do.


perfidy said...

Saw that this morning. Trump's chief strategist reads Moldbug! That is so beyond awesome that I can't even begin to process it.

Glen Filthie said...

"...I must say that I am more impressed with Donald Trump today than I was yesterday.  He doesn't think small or conventional thoughts..."

Yes, you obviously ARE an intellectual, my friend. But - for us ignernt red necked kadiddlehoppers, the hicks and rubes in flyover country... that has been obvious to the rest of us for quite some time. :)

STxAR said...

Your blog has become much more important for me to read over the last several weeks.

Thank you for the pertinent info. You are a definite "Must Read" in my mornings.

Borepatch said...

Perfidy, glad to see you around!

Glen Filthie, I'm a little hesitant to wear the term "intellectual" given how debased the term has become lately. But this bit about Bannon says more stronger than anything I've seen before that Trump means to kill the beast, not tame it.

What is best in the world? To crush your enemy's ideology, to see it driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of his Professors ...

STxAR, glad this is interesting to you.