Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

The resistible rise of You-Know-Who


Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century AmericaAchieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America by Richard M. Rorty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If for no other reason, you will want to read this book for its explanation and gloomy prediction— in 1998, 18 years before the event —of the sudden emergence of Trump in what we thought was a mature democracy:
It’s largely because (Rorty argues) the Left in the U.S. has become so pre-occupied with cultural issues (identity, sexism) and global rather than local issues that it has lost its historical connection to and advocacy for our own working class, giving little or no attention to (for example) trade union struggles, while the rich have continued skewing the system to make themselves richer.
“At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, the postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here…”
Or like Bertolt Brecht’s satire, “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.”
There’s much more to Rorty’s argument, well worth reading.

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