Re: The Coup against Donald Trump
Started reading Baldwin's "The Fire Next Time" for no good reason today, and found he has a similar ability to get around carefully constructed edifices of Reason and bring the floods and eddies of emotion to the surface. I don't think it's possible to understand White Nationalism and Anti-Semitism without having that gut feeling of "us" and "them" accessible. Not to say that Trump's victory is all about such other-ing, or his continued popularity with his base, but so much of American politics and social relations have been driven by them over the decades that I refuse to believe any narrative which omits the raw emotional power of such evil forces. Baldwin repeatedly makes the point that life in white America will continue to be about self-delusion and pretend innocence until we face what slavery and segregation did to us: what monsters it released and what complicity lurked behind myths of stability and order.
To tame that chthonic horror requires more than just Wokeness. It requires understanding in fairly gruesome detail how cooperation makes civilized society and modern affluence possible, and how giving in to fracturing Us and Them narratives not only is being used by manipulative commercial elites but destroys the foundations of prosperity.
I'm not sure I am up to diving into this complexity at the moment, but armed with Baldwin's boldness I will give it a try. On one level I really, really agree with this. The Left Brain processes of legitimacy and rational order have clearly gone too far in terms of dismissing even the goals embodied in simple religion. Anyone who knows Mennonites, for example, can't help but be impressed at the power that devotion brings to human idealism. To try to reduce that to self-delusion, in favor of gaping at Game of Thrones and sneering at the Kardashians because "everyone makes their own choices" is to plunge into a self-delusion far more desperate in its soul. If we are not saved by love, we are not saved at all - reason may build the house, but it is not a home until it is inhabited by love. And as far as anyone can tell, that happens in the Right Brain, in processes deeper than anything reason has penetrated to (and can only make space for by fighting off fear).
Yet I find myself rejecting the specifics of opting simply for "balance". There is renewal happening on many fronts, from the dramatic acceleration of standards of living in Asia and Latin America to the educational progress coming from reconciliation methods and the luxury of focusing on all the students, not just the most successful ones. Reason is a mighty force, capable of solving problems that inchoate longings merely react to with frustration and eventually violence. "Yes, we can!" is the right spirit, but it has to be anchored in confidence based on understanding. The long recession, and its depredations on public services, combined with the job losses in manufacturing that have undermined small town economies and the devastation of the latest drug epidemic, have shifted a fundamental balance toward fear. However, fear isn't the only Right Brain mode.
You have been sounding this note regularly, and I tend to find it appealing. The combination of people within the "fortress" explaining, and those outside dialoguing with tolerance, has made great strides. I hold out hope that it will succeed further.