10.06.2018 09:37 AM

Two essays on Trump, populism and fascism

These two essays landed in my mailbox on the same cold and dark Fall morning. Both are lengthy, but worth your time. They mirror my mood.

Former Prime Minister Harper’s is the more optimistic take. He acknowledges that Trump’s rise has been “disruptive and dysfunctional,” but he calls it all “benign and constructive,” which is absolutely ridiculous. He suggests we need to proffer policy which mollifies and manages populism. Personally, I think that is highly naïve. You don’t offer sugar cubes to a rampaging bull: you kill it. My book New Dark Ages, out in a few days, certainly takes that position.

Here’s a bit of Harper’s essay:

The manifestation of this unease is a series of new and unorthodox political movements in most of the democratic world. From Brexit to Donald Trump and the “populist” parties of Europe, their success has hit establishment institutions with successive surprises that are provoking reactions leading from confusion to alarm and to outrage.

…These trends represent real costs to real people. Why should we be surprised when, ignored by traditional conservatives and derided by traditional liberals, these citizens start seeking alternative political choices? If policy does not seem to be working out for the public, in a democracy, you are supposed to fix the policy, not denounce the public. But, if you listen to some leaders and much of the media, you would not know it.

Their response is wrong, frustrating and dangerous. Wrong, because most of today’s political upheaval has readily identifiable causes. Frustrating, because it stands in the way of credible, pragmatic solutions that do exist. Dangerous, because the current populist upheaval is actually benign and constructive compared with what will follow if it is not addressed.

He’s a traditional conservative, standing on a shrinking patch of political real estate, and he’s responding to the crisis like traditional conservatives do: by suggesting that the likes of Trump can somehow be accommodated and managed. If the past two years have shown us anything, they’ve shown us how profoundly wrong that view is.

Closer to reality, and closer to my view, is this deeply disturbing essay in The New York Review of Books by Christopher R. Browning. Unlike Harper, Browning does not suggest that Trump and his ilk can be appeased and assuaged. They can’t be.

His view, and mine, is that conservative populism – the polished twin brother of fascism – is fully upon us, destroying every democratic and societal norm we took for granted in the post-WW2 period. His essay is worth your time.

I’ll conclude with this passage from it, which is depressing on a depressing day, but is also no less true for that.

Today, President Trump seems intent on withdrawing the US from the entire post–World War II structure of interlocking diplomatic, military, and economic agreements and organizations that have preserved peace, stability, and prosperity since 1945. His preference for bilateral relations, conceived as zero-sum rivalries in which he is the dominant player and “wins,” overlaps with the ideological preference of Steve Bannon and the so-called alt-right for the unfettered self-assertion of autonomous, xenophobic nation-states—in short, the pre-1914 international system. That “international anarchy” produced World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Great Depression, the fascist dictatorships, World War II, and the Holocaust, precisely the sort of disasters that the post–World War II international system has for seven decades remarkably avoided.

In threatening trade wars with allies and adversaries alike, Trump justifies increased tariffs on our allies on the specious pretext that countries like Canada are a threat to our national security. He combines his constant disparagement of our democratic allies with open admiration of authoritarians. His naive and narcissistic confidence in his own powers of personal diplomacy and his faith in a handshake with the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un recall the hapless Neville Chamberlain (a man in every other regard different from Trump). Fortunately the US is so embedded in the international order it created after 1945, and the Republican Party and its business supporters are sufficiently alarmed over the threat to free trade, that Trump has not yet completed his agenda of withdrawal, though he has made astounding progress in a very short time.

48 Comments

  1. Robert White says:

    Mr. Harper is invariably a short-term thinker and fails to grasp the underlying reason why someone like Orange Jesus made it to the helm of the USA to begin with. First off, one must understand that the Great Financial Crisis ushered in Quantitative Easing-QE on the entirety of the Western empire of banking which was/is completely bankrupt since the fourth largest Investment Bank in the entire world entered Chapter 11 Bankruptcy due to actually being insolvent.

    Since the 08 Bear Stearns & Lehman Brothers implosions on Wall Street the global economy has been deflating at a log normal rate of deflation which has necessitated IMF, World Bank, & BIS involvement to attempt bringing the global Central Banking Model back to a growth model that resembles pre-08 financial equilibrium within & between sovereign nations & markets. Unfortunately, the model that the Central Banks were operating on since 1945 and the post-World War Two Economic System has been rendered defunct due to the repeal of the 1930s era Glass-Steagall Act and we are now faced with a world whereby the Western empire of banking has become redundant in the face of the worldwide deflationary economic pressures that have been wrought by the Greenspan era of Central Banking.

    What happened was & is mathematically evident to all throughout Economics & Mathematics. Mathematicians like Professor Emeritus Benoit Mandelbrot were first to articulate the post-Lehman ‘Misbehaviour of Markets’ and the deflationary pressures thwarting recovery. Other scientists like Robert Shiller have consistently presented with similar conclusions but the so-called industry ‘professionals’ have sought entirely different solutions in terms of the political realm with the ushering in of P.T. Barnum II which is…”The Duck”.

    The Duck was ushered in to stir up volatility and rewrite the post-WW2 global agreements that served to ameliorate war in Europe pre-WW2 now that Economic Deflation has imperiled post-WW2 agreements. In brief, proto-Fascism has been purposely brought in to create volatility politically & economically within the Western Banking System & political sphere. The European Union architecture is failing all EU countries as their Debt-to-GDP increases and in a deflationary environment there is no possible way for the EU to survive which necessitates a revision on the entire EU Model that is now known worldwide to be unworkable as is the current Economic Model that the USA is operating under with respect to USD currency.

    Macroeconomic considerations are paramount to understanding why people like Steve Bannon are covertly attempting to rewrite the political rulebook for the European Union and USA going forward.

    Orange Jesus is merely the carnival barker the USA has at center stage to boost the great unwashed masses into political frenzied behaviour that creates the optimal conditions for full blown Fascism to take hold worldwide once again.

    I fully agree with your sentiment here, Warren. We are in for rough times ahead to be sure.

    RW

    • Norman Vincent Peale says:

      Mr. White is definitely exhibiting the signs of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Using reasoned thinking to project a future where people aren’t free. Wake up! Few people could get a job in New York 5 years ago anyway as a Canadian, we don’t have free mobility and Trump is just more crass about helping his voters over that of other countries. All this language about Pre-World War 1 is just the surface understanding. This globalization trend is not what it appears, neither is economic nationalism. These trends are directions, not destinations. Real politicians and insiders know this, hence Harper’s interpretation.

      So what would Mr White be writing about if Hilary Clinton was president? Probably not much at all because everything is amazing under Hilary Clinton. The fact that consumer confidence is up, economic and business cycle upswing. Europe is sedated etc. I think, we’re all secretly having a lot of fun with our doom-and-gloom thinking. The Economist has been talking about Greece, Italy and Ireland for a decade. Doom and gloom is what we crave, in the media and sitting in our crummy office jobs, hundreds of desks in a row.

      It’s a click-worthy narrative, to try to stick Fascism to Trump. But it’s like Ignatieff saying Harper was anti-democratic. It just doesn’t get the vote out, folks.

      When you read Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now and Roslin’s Factfulness you will be reminded that this is the best time to be alive EVER, in human history. You’re great grandparents bathed sparingly and tilled the land to make Canada happen. History cannot and will not EVER be able to REPEAT ITSELF. Thankfully. It’s not possible, there are echoes, but you need to separate the signal from the noise, folks. It just ain’t that bad right now! I just Skyped with my parents half-way around the world…HOW ARE your investments looking?

      Take note that what Trump is doing is not that scary, We want to it be scary because it draws eyeballs to advertisements AND also WE can TAKE power BACK. Fascism is Not in our future. It’s just not persuasive because we aren’t in Austria and this ain’t 1933.

      So get a grip and hire *Warren for your therapy sessions.

      *Elizabeth Warren

      • Robert White says:

        Last election I was rooting for Dr. Jill Stein and NOT Hillary Clinton. Since that election I have switched political parties and I am now a Liberal due to the onslaught of proto-fascism & The Deplorables(tm).

        Ms. Clinton’s policy stance towards the Russian Federation is/was intolerable to me after the Ukraine fiasco.

        For the next electoral round I will root for anyone but Cheeto & the Koch Brothers Inc.

        P.S. I cannot afford to read books as I am on Anti-Social Assistance and they don’t believe in allowing ‘welfare’ recipients to purchase books on the subsistence doled out.
        Heck, the last time I bought a book was Jane Mayer’s _The Dark Side_ post-George ‘Dubya’ Bush Torture Regime & WTC 1, 2, & 7 controlled demolition.

        Steven Pinker is an elite Ivory Tower aristocrat that has never experienced poverty in his entire lifetime. Screw the rich wealthy Ivory Tower aristocrats as they no nothing about real life.

        RW

  2. Angel Martin says:

    “..the unfettered self-assertion of autonomous, xenophobic nation-states—in short, the pre-1914 international system. ”

    This is a major error, and any analysis based on it is very questionable.

    In fact, the international system that collapsed in August 1914 was Globalism 1.0
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/29/the-world-today-looks-ominously-like-it-did-before-world-war-i/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.25a1368fced8

    (a minor quibble would be that the European combatants in WW1 were empires, not nation states. It’s a distinction that excites people like historian Tim Snyder. I think it is more of a minor intellectual weakness).

    • James Smith says:

      I noticed that too. Margaret Macmillan has a similar observation to what you’re saying in her book the war that ended the peace.

      • KmmF says:

        There is always a counter-argument.

        MacMillan was predicting doom in 2009 when she was at Oxford doing a guest lecture about Paris 1919. Arguing that reductions in global trade leads to war. Well, sorry but in 2018 global trade is accelerating even with these negotiation tactics around tarriffs ’cause the business cycle is in an upswing, stocks are appreciating like crazy. If we all listened to Paul Krugman (who was probably trying to persuade voters to vote Clinton) we would have sold all our stocks before the election just before a massive surge….

        Just make sure that we don’t start to believe our own rhetoric? Is that’s what’s happening here?

        Thought experiment: If North Korea finalizes a Peace Agreement, how will we spin the toilet paper president as being a Fascist regime then?

        This is just like…the German-USSR pact of 1939….wrong!
        If North Korea signs this deal, it means we were wrong again!

        Learn from the toilet paper president, learn from his persuasion and channel it for good.

  3. Tom C. says:

    Before the American election there was a weird triumphalism. Lena Dunham gloated: “How are you feeling about the extinction of white men?” Hillary Clinton simply wrote off red states as “deplorables”. It was assumed that women would vote as a unified bloc and install Clinton. As it turned out, pale-skinned men weren’t quite extinct.

    Seeking softer targets, the Resistance has now set its sights on “white women”. 5 October 2018, Linda Sarsour (leader Women’s March) harangued cadres outside the Supreme Court: “Senator Susan Collins is a traitor to women in America, and her legacy will be one of many white women who have upheld white supremacy and the patriarchy since the founding of these United State of America…Will you 53% of white women come to the right side? The one that is pro-women and pro-choice and pro-immigrant and pro-people of color?”

    For a liberated woman, ironically, Sarsour is a puppet of radical cleric Siraj Wahhaj. 2017, Sarsour before Islamic Society of North America: “My favorite person in this room, that’s mutual, is Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who has been a mentor, and motivator and encourager of mine, someone who has taught me to speak truth to power and not worry about the consequences, someone who has taught me we are on this earth to please Allah, and only Allah, that we are not here to please any man or women…”

    Who is Siraj Wahhaj? 1969, Jeffrey Kearse joins Nation of Islam, changes his name to Jeffrey 12X and preaches that “white people are devils.” 1978, after Elijah Muhammed dies Kearse becomes Wahhaj and switches to Sunni Islam; studies at Umm al-Qura university, Mecca (originally College of Sharia). Wahhaj advocates stoning for adultery and cutting off hands for thievery. Wahhaj is one of 170 people identified by US Attorney Mary Jo White as “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. August 2018, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Wahhaj’s son, is charged with abuse of a child causing death – the grisly end of an Islamic exorcism gone wrong. Prosecutors allege Wahhaj trained children to commit school shootings. These men are the great heroes of Linda Sarsour’s Women’s March.

    Clinton, Dunham, Sarsour et al. are fomenting a race war to cleanse the land of white devils. Ethnic cleansing is a nasty business; those that engage in it must be prepared for its vagaries. Thursday, to the delight of progressives, Marie Le Pen’s daughter was hospitalized after a savage beating. There are open calls for murder and mayhem directed at the 53% white women. Still, despite these extortionate measures, dutifully lining up behind brainwashed devotees of Siraj Wahhaj is not an option for many women. It would be unsurprising if 53% rose to 70%. And then?

  4. Gord Tulk says:

    Harper is pretty much bang on.

    Conservatism is on the rise in every country on earth – the populists are taking some of the conservative positions on the social, rule of law side (no president in recent history has supported the constitution as firmly as president trump has) while moving to towards the centre on things like trade and fiscal matters.

    This is a great and important trend.

    • Fred from BC says:

      I agree. Harper’s position is the same thing I’ve been saying here since Brexit. The liberals are responsible for the rise of populism, and their only response to it so far is more of the same tactics and strategies that got them into this trouble in the first place.

      Yeah, sure…keep “resisting” Donald Trump with all your might (how’s that working out for you so far?). You’ll just continue to firm up his base, and your despicable smear tactics will only turn more and more people away from your side. I just read another article in a US publication by a life-long “Latino Democrat” who says that he will be voting Republican for the first time in his life in response to the Kavanaugh fiasco; apparently the Democratic tactics reminded him too much of his native country (one of the central American ones) where they don’t respect the rule of law and the “innocent until proven guilty” doctrine.

      It’s ironic, isn’t it, that the people closest in ideology to fascists are actually the ones who identify as ‘progressives’?
      Think about it: government controls business, government controls the news media, no freedom of speech, no freedom of thought…

  5. PK says:

    It’s fascism. We live in a fascist society. We live in a society where they eaves drop on neighbors, make random accusations to impact private citizens – where propaganda that entertains bad taste is foisted on the population to the benefit of bigots – in a time when you have to measure your comments afraid that offending a bigot will impact job applications – this is fascism that we live in today, and although out prime minister is a progressive – the rot of bigotry, ignorance, and backwardness enabled with modern communication technology – well they are the Nazis all over again, they’re entrenched, networked internationally, and the impact they have on the society is to destroy it – The cheapness, dishonesty – heard it from somebody who was there – the propaganda is the same shit the Nazis used back then and if as a society we don’t do something to counter this they will destroy all the benefits of the free world.

    • PK says:

      So severe that i am afraid the next generation, kids born today – if this continues unabated they won’t have a free society – hell we don’t have one now – they foisted this hyper-moralism (completely immoral, in real terms, to use nazi propaganda tactics and illegal surveillance as a means obstruct lives) on us as a rational to manufacture frenzy and fear and suspicion of everybody who has an informed opinion – They target people as individuals who stand out, and show promise – sick fucked up whacked out garbage – and what they need the most they won’t have anymore because the assholes behind this garbage want to privatize your health care.

    • Pedant says:

      “the propaganda is the same shit the Nazis used back then and if as a society we don’t do something to counter this they will destroy all the benefits of the free world.”

      You’ve just described radical Islam.

      Why do you think populist parties (I prefer to call them parties that their own citizens’ interests first) have become so popular, particularly in Europe?

      Well done on shoehorning in an incoherent Nazi reference so early on.

      • doconnor says:

        Islamic extremists and far-right radicals are, of course, similar to each other.

        • Pedant says:

          Well then, why do most people on the Left have nothing bad to say about radical Islam, and in fact they wanted to criminalize opposition to such extremism? Why did Chrystia Freeland go on US television and say that it’s offensive to criticize honour killings?

      • PK says:

        Well, it’s what I hear from people who were occupied by Nazis. Manipulating and misleading folks into a state of hate and frenzy leads to terrible things. Doesn’t matter where it comes from, one will never rationalize the other – extremes that suffocate the society and individual thought, and that attack objective truth lead to terrible things. Ever read lord of the flies?

        • PK says:

          Are you okay with mistreating minorities? A lot of people would like to do that – you okay with that if they all want it? Alright with burning witches – they all wanted to do that – or interning Japanese – a lot of people liked that one too. You alright with that stuff since they all wanted it?

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Pedant,

        And who pray tell, through Operation Cyclone, armed the Sunni Mujahideen in Pakistan? Reagan. Through the ISI that eventually gave birth to Bin Laden.

  6. Gilbert says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, the American economy is performing well. Of course some will say it all started under Barack Obama or because the global economy has recovered, but nevertheless, I think President Trump deserves some credit.

    • Robert White says:

      With all due respect, Gilbert, economic collapse is always a precursor to war. Proto-Fascism is a precursor to full blown Fascism and without monopoly supremacy & superstructure of USA Hegemony controlling competing superpowers we will evidence full blown Fascism & the corollary Thermonuclear ‘Hot’ World War Three.

      P.S. If you believe that the US Economy is doing well you should read ZeroHedge or any other day trading blog.

      RW

      • Norman Vincent Peale says:

        I mean, that’s just, you know, your opinion man. Put some money on it. Pull all your investments out of the market.

        Actions speak louder. The economy is always about to collapse when the wrong people are in power.

        • Robert White says:

          I have been following the advice of The Royal Bank of Scotland since they advised their investors to SELL EVERYTHING about five years ago. I’m down to my last few bits of furniture and a few necessary mechanics tools so I can fix my over twenty year old car. And I have no skin in the game as I wait patiently for Mr. Powell to crash the NYSE & Long Bond Market as he raises Benchmark FED Reserve Interest Rates closer to normality. After he crashes the markets we will be going back to QE Infinity which is why the RBS said to SELL EVERYTHING.

          And I have never had any investments in my lifetime aside from a Residential Building Lot which I sold about seven years ago. No PMs or stocks either.

          Poverty is not for sissies!

          RW

    • Fred from BC says:

      You’re not mistaken. The economy *is* doing well, unemployment is lower than it has been in years and foreign investment is booming along with the stock markets. Liberals hate all of this. Trump’s approval rating keeps climbing (albeit slowly) and the Republican mid-term outlook has actually improved thanks to the Kavanaugh thing.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Fred,

        What’s your view on the following: what if anything will happen to the Trump economy if business tax cuts remain permanent while personal income taxes inevitably rise again in 2026-27?

        Is it not a truism of economics that A + B = C? Which option will Trump prefer? Massively defunding government programs leading to economic chaos or bringing calamity on even more quickly by making personal tax cuts permanent? There are no good options here.

        Without sustainable and predictable revenue streams for government, we are one step away from total economic collapse and financial ruin. Not to mention the boomerang effect that will take all of us down with the United States.

        Trump thinks this is Hoover’s America and for that reason, he is a naive and dangerous fool.

        • Fred from BC says:

          “What’s your view on the following: what if anything will happen to the Trump economy if business tax cuts remain permanent while personal income taxes inevitably rise again in 2026-27?”

          Your inclusion of ‘inevitably’ is a personal opinion, designed to heavily bias the question and akin to the disingenuous “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” tactic.

          (if you want to ask me a question, Ronald, at least make it an honest one, okay?)

          But leaving that aside, it really will depend upon how well Donald Trump has managed the international trade issues and tackled the problem of bloated, inefficient government.
          If his solutions work, everything will be better than ever. If they don’t, the next President will undo all his changes and put everything back as it is.”Total economic collapse” is just a Democratic scare tactic.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Fred,

            Do you concede the point that Reagan raised taxes many times as a component towards a balanced budget and deficit reduction? So did GHW Bush, his regrets aside.

            Clinton also raised taxes and ran individual year surpluses. No president has actually balanced the budget. That’s why I used that word inevitably. To me that amounts to rational fiscal policy.

          • Fred from BC says:

            “(if you want to ask me a question, Ronald, at least make it an honest one, okay?)”

            I apologize for that one, Ronald; I suspect that you were only repeating a question you’ve come across and are thus not responsible for the exact wording of it. You’re one of the more thoughtful and respectful posters here and don’t deserve that kind of response (unlike some of the obvious trolls, slightly disturbed hardcore leftists and even the whining ‘cry-bullies’ who have recently taken up residence here).

          • Fred from BC says:

            “Do you concede the point that Reagan raised taxes many times as a component towards a balanced budget and deficit reduction?”

            Sure, he raised some taxes…but he lowered others even more; according to everyone who has ever done the math, the overall effect was lower taxes. The marginal tax rate in the US is supposedly lower now than when Reagan took office.

  7. Lou says:

    While it is true that Harper’s view may be idealistic and has optimism that democracy will survive, it truly is the left side in the USA that is fostering the potential explosion. They have cast aside the basic tenets of liberal democracy and created a generation of followers that the believe that redemption is beyond certain people and they should be eliminated by any means possible. I suggest they read the text of JFK’s Berlin speech to see just how inhuman and intolerant they have become. The label of Fascist is being used far too often. But improperly. The true and real Fascists are the new left.

    • Art says:

      It always amazes me how you right wing types always get things backwards. Remember if you will that Islamic terrorists, white supremist and their like are all Conservatives. To call the left, or normal people as I like to call them, fascists is ridiculous.

      • Jack says:

        Its called gaslighting and its the basis of new right-wing conservative politics.

        Once you go so far off into the deep end, as the vast majority of conservatives have in the past four years – particularly during Obama’s time in office and with Fox News fomenting lunacy – you fundamentally begin to forget what normalcy looks like.

        Right wing politics demands legitimacy, and in order to achieve that, it requires that the mainstream is pulled into arguments on their turf and not where the rest of the mainstream resides. When the mainstream gets sucked into absurd debates that are fundamentally based in false premises, it only cements the right-wings sense of self-identity.

        People like Lou project their own characteristics onto those who criticize them because its the only way for them to reconcile the chasm between the truth and their bullshit.

    • James Smith says:

      Poppycock!
      You are in fact arguing black is white. It is the Republicans who have not acted in good faith since Nixon.
      The Democratic Party since Clinton has become what the Country Club Republicans once were. Obama reached out far too many times to Republicans only to be rebuffed. In fact soon after BHO was elected the Republican brain trust (sic) met & agreed on a long term plan to NOT work with the president. May I point out Obamacare was basically Romney care & was still opposed. The Republicans sat for a year & didn’t confirm Obama’s SCOTUS pick & call the other side being hyper partisan.

      • Lou says:

        Really. One of Colbert’s writer tweeted that “at least we destroyed his life” . We. Think about that. Read that again. They will turn on anyone that does not meet the “purity test” . Andrew Sullivan, Bill Mahar. Now Facebook because an executive had the gall to support his friend of 20 years. These people have been whipped into such a blind rage that they will eventually hurt somebody. And then what. It’s the republicans that own all the guns.

        • doconnor says:

          The purity test is not trying to rape a women.

          • Fred from BC says:

            No evidence necessary, right? Just the allegation?

            Yup, you’re a ‘progressive’, alright…

        • James Smith says:

          Yup you’re Poppycock generator is set to 11. When, pray tell, did comedy show participants carry more power than the 70 & 80 year olds in charge of all the levers of power in the USA? Crybaby Kavanaugh did his own rep in. As for your “put that keyboard down, someone might get hurt” comment, that’s the acme of newspeak, or just more Poppycock take your pick.

  8. Patrick says:

    Believing that one is living in fascist times and being mistaken is almost indistinguishable from believing this and being right. It depends almost exclusively on how you feel about events. I used to think that we could count on facts to confirm or disprove the “is this fascism” test. But as we are all learning, people can rationalize and normalize a shocking amount of behaviour. I remain unconvinced that “conservative populism” is the correct term to describe what’s going on. What I do know is that it’s growing like a virus to the detriment of healthy independent thought and civic societies everywhere. Whatever “it” is, this is the great challenge of our lives going forward.

    • Fred from BC says:

      There is one unequivocal test that can be taken to answer the question of whether or not you really live in a ‘fascist’ country.

      It’s just one simple question: are there free and democratic elections held in your nation where you are able to vote your so-called ‘fascist’ leader out of office? If yes, then you *don’t* live in a fascist country.

  9. Jim R says:

    Didn’t (yet?) do the full reads of either Harper’s or Browning’s essays, but AFAICT they’re not mutually exclusive and are IMO both bang on.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      The left and right are as usual both hypocritical. This isn’t a game of pin the tail on the donkey. Right and left wingers are equal opportunity candidates when it comes to totalitarianism. Think Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Pinochet and a legion of others both past and present.

      Both the left and right give birth to these regimes that get elected and then quite happily move to abolish free and fair elections. How predictable…

  10. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    I also believe that Trump cannot be managed. But it would be sheer folly to fight Trump on everything. Nation-states must engage forcefully with his administration but wisely pick our battles.

    We have to deal with Trump. Harper is not unreasonable in saying that what could potentially follow might be infinitely worse. Our national security requires that we address the matter of Trump in a constructive fashion, to the greatest extent possible.

    • Fred from BC says:

      That’s what the adults in the Democratic party have been saying all along (along with the CPC). It may not be as ‘fun’ as confronting, smearing and insulting him…but at least it has a chance of working.

      (and, you know, has the added benefit of not making you look like a bunch of whiny, petulant children throwing temper tantrums…so there’s that…;)

  11. Pedro says:

    thanks for the entertainment, Warren and all your commenters. Much of it was better than a lot of the duck twaddle talking-heads-speak I hear on the commentary (yes, I’ve heard there is a difference between commentary on the news on the CBC) on much of our vaunted, objective Canadian media. (Evan Solomon and his cadre of “guests” has turned Question Period, the show into Monty Python) At least here on your site it’s at least like the philosophers’ football match. Pace frateres!

    • Pedant says:

      CBC’s despicable treatment of Maxime Bernier should be enough to convince its few remaining non-leftist supporters that it’s time to defund. The CTV and Evan Solomon are not funded by taxpayers so I couldn’t care less what they say or do.

  12. Miles Lunn says:

    I don’t think Harper is totally off. Trump cannot be tamed but amongst the 46 percent who voted for Trump, you have two groups: Hard core Trump supporters who you cannot win over and rightly should be exposed for who they are and soft Trump supporters who can be persuaded. We want to move the latter group away from Trump and massively demonizing them will just turn them into hardcore supporters. Otherwise we should listen to their concerns and try and move them away from supporting Trump.

    On Brexit, I think that was inevitable as the EU made a huge mistake in both expansion and deeper integration. It should have been either an expanded EU but with fewer decisions made at the EU level or a deeper integrated one but with fewer countries. When you have 28 different countries you aren’t going to get the same level of consensus that you would with 15 or 6 as they originally had. I think former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt’s idea of a core and periphery EU is an interesting one and should be considered allowing deeper integration for those that want it while looser ties while still remaining members for those at the periphery. EU’s one size fits all meant there would be unhappiness and something like Brexit was a matter of if not when.

  13. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Two years ago I was not a fan of Trump, and said so here. (I was a fan of Rubio, and I still am.)
    Two years later, I am becoming a believer.
    No president in living memory (64 years for me) has accomplished more good for America, and it’s a long list! “America first” is not merely just a slogan; it’s the first responsibility of a leader, of any nation! And it’s a large part of why he won the 2016 election. I’ll get to the other reason shortly.
    Harper is smack on the money regarding the rise of populism! A brilliantly written and insightful diagnosis of what’s happening across western civilization! Those with whom I shared it agreed wholeheartedly.
    Short version: an increasingly elitist ruling class have ignored the majority of the people for whom they’re supposed to be working for far too long. More to the point, said ruling class has become unaccountable to the electorate. Is there any more stark example of this than the European Union? It’s gotten to point where “experts” almost literally inflict their edicts upon the masses, followed up with condemnation and outright marginalization of every sort imaginable upon those who apparently have even the very nerve to disagree. (See, for example, global warming/climate change. Or immigration. Or taxation. Or, most alarming of late as we are now witness, jurisprudence and the protection of basic rights, such as innocence until proven otherwise.) “Political correctness”, their most preferred weapon of choice, is nothing more than a hammer with which to suppress opposition. We don’t lynch people with ropes any more; we destroy them in the public forum by piling on, generally via all too handy and disturbingly efficient social media. To take recent revelations of Google’s and Face Book’s covert management of the political playing field lightly is at our own peril! Any number of tyrant of the 20th century would have killed (and usually did) for such power over the masses.
    Trump, by every indication, was never supposed to happen, somewhat in the same manner was Ronald Reagan. On election night 2016, the usual suspects of the ruling class and their mouthpieces in the MSM were absolutely certain that they had accomplished his defeat. I remember too well the moping faces in the CNN newsroom, who refused, atypically, to call the election for Trump late into the night almost until the very last vote was counted.
    Trump’s victory was, to put it bluntly, was payback by the forgotten masses of middle America for decades’ worth of neglect, abuse, and marginalization, ever increasingly beyond the pale.
    And in the ensuing two years the defeated Liberal/Left ruling class and their mouthpieces in the MSM have been almost maniacal in their vitriolic, unabashedly hateful and contemptuous desire to restore their self-deemed righteous domination. Which, in turn, has empowered and emboldened those ideological radicals of the far left who now inflict their thuggery and even terrorism in the streets of the nation. Adopting the position of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Liberals/Democrats are playing with fire! For these fanatics care not one wit for traditional Liberal values. They are, by far for the most part, socialists of the Marxist/Leninist variety, and they are motivated, a la the Bolshevik revolution of 1914 Russia. Nor does it get any more reminiscent of the means employed by European fascism of the mid 20th century than Antifa’s abhorrent tactics and behaviour!
    On the plus side, however, Trump has delivered the goods he promised. Manufacturing, which Obama shrugged off as a lost cause in America, is booming. Unemployment is at historical lows, particularly among African Americans and Hispanics, and yes, women. GDP growth is approaching historic highs. I would argue that no president since I can’t remember when has done more for uplifting the hopes and aspirations of the blue collar class through opportunity and a regular pay-cheque than has Trump.
    He is right; America could not sustain the massive trade deficits eternally. China has been raping the trade regime for all its worth for decades! And to a lesser extent, so was Europe. Finally someone with some business acumen (not to mention real balls) stood up for America, as was and always has been the first priority of any president. And lo and behold, other world trading groups are now willing to come to the table and start fixing things, most notably a blatant and destructive imbalance in tariff application. And I could go on and on…
    I want a strong America, for that clearly is in the best interest of, not just Canada, but the entire world!
    Style aside, the guy is delivering exactly that.
    My two cents worth.

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