More on Thiel’s Girardian machinations at the Business Insider:
On a deeper level, perhaps Trump fit into Thiel’s grand historical plans. Here was a man who would disrupt the runaway mimesis caused by globalization, which encouraged people around the world to compare their lives to everyone else’s.
The thesis is certainly neat.
Previous (extended) ruminations on the topic linked here.
Calm realism from Shadi Hamid:
I could try to explain what I think our nation is, but I can no longer be sure if tens of millions of my fellow citizens would agree. But I cannot simply take solace in the fact that soon there will be more non-whites and therefore more people who share my ideology. This is a recipe for more conflict, not less. […] Well before Brexit and the rise of Trump, Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev wrote that “threatened majorities — those who have everything and who fear everything — have emerged as the major force in European politics.” They feel threatened in the United States as well; the only difference, perhaps, is that they do not have everything but still fear everything. Yet as demographics inexorably shift, both the perception and reality of this “threat” will only grow. Unless something changes, American politics will continue to collapse along ethnic lines.
Girard in contemporary politics (insightfully explored):
In one of his seminars, Thiel made the political stakes of his concern with scapegoating more explicit, making reference to Occupy Wall Street: “The 99% vs. the 1% is the modern articulation of this classic scapegoating mechanism. It is all minus one versus the one.” The central task of controlling what Girard calls the “victimage mechanism,” for “founders” like him, is to deflect collective violence from themselves. Gawker, on the other hand, seemed to specialize in identifying targets for that violence, or at least for collective online vituperation – and those targets often belonged to the capitalist “founder” class, although many debated whether Gawker at times abandoned its proclaimed commitment to “punching up.” Crushing Gawker was not simply an attack on a particular organ of scapegoating that had offended Thiel, but an attempt to disarm a certain politicization of scapegoating in a digital world given over to it.
(The entire piece is excellent.)
Good catch. He doesn’t exactly quote the MAP, but he gets comically close.
So the world’s first Left Accelerationist regime was destroyed in a frog-cataclysm. One for the history books.
Peter Burfeind on religious disappointment:
Christianity’s decline in the West gave way not to atheism, but to political expressions of faith, particularly totalitarianism.
Everyone’s seeing that now.
Oh, wait …
Trump made big gains among blacks. He made big gains among Latinos. He made big gains among Asians. The only major racial group where he didn’t get a gain of greater than 5% was white people. I want to repeat that: the group where Trump’s message resonated least over what we would predict from a generic Republican was the white population.
(UF full-sentence emphasis.)
Scott Alexander is so sane it’s actually annoying.
Badiou is not amused:
I don’t say that there is nothing at all on this [Left] side. We know new riots, new occupation of places, new mobilisation, new ecological determination and so on. So, it’s not the absence of all forms of resistance, protestation — no, I don’t say that. But the lack of another strategic way, that is, something which is at the same level as the contemporary conviction that capitalism is the only way possible. The lack of the strength of the affirmation of another way. And the lack of what I name an Idea, a great Idea. A great Idea which is the possibility of unification, global unification, strategic unification of all forms of resistance and invention. An Idea is a sort of mediation between the individual subject and the collective historical and political task, and it’s the possibility of action across and with very different subjectivities, but under the same Idea in some sense. […] … the general and strategic domination of globalized capitalism, the decomposition of classical political oligarchy, the popular disorientation and frustration, and the lack of another strategic way — compose in my opinion the crisis of today. We can define the contemporary world in the term of a global crisis which is not reducible to the economic crisis of the last years, which is much more, I think, a subjective crisis, because of the destiny of human beings is more and more unclear for themselves.
Anybody interested in the racial dynamics of Trump-era American culture and politics should find much of interest in this. It might be the closest thing to an insightful center-ground perspective on what has been happening to be turned up yet.
Greenwald on the recent awkwardness:
… opinion-making elites were so clustered, so incestuous, so far removed from the people who would decide this election — so contemptuous of them — that they were not only incapable of seeing the trends toward Trump but were unwittingly accelerating those trends with their own condescending, self-glorifying behavior.
As Donald Trump’s shock election victory reverberated around Silicon Valley late on Tuesday night, some high-profile technologists were already calling for California to secede from the United States. …