The other day I was reading The NY Times opinion and editorial pages. These have been the work of pretentious mediocrities for some time now, but it has gotten worse, It was mind-boggling to find virtually every opinion piece playing the same note- that Trump will be a dictator, destroy democracy, etc. The issue here is not Trump and what we think about him, but rather the lockstep monotone groupthink that too many people are uncritically swallowing.
This is literally a party line that was also echoed in mainstream magazines, as though someone gave a signal and everyone followed. It is really rich to hear cries and “warnings” about the ominous return of Trump by supposed professionals who have lost any capacity to think independently or objectively. These are stupid people who fancy themselves accomplished seers that never get past their navel.
What is clear is that there really are no mainstream publications left that are even nominally independent of any consequence., so it is hilarious to hear that Trump is a threat to the “free press” when it basically doesn’t exist anymore. In the past there was at least some diversity in publications, with alternatives to this cabal, mainly due to the presence of the founding owners. But once departed they all degenerated into the same corporate media structures that now dominate the “news” and there is little to distinguish one from another. As a result you have a bunch of well-versed ideologues who are otherwise abysmally ignorant of the real world, and having such people control the flow of information has lead to an ever-increasingly dumbed down public. But that is how they want it; they want to control the agenda with skewed information, along with the direction of things.
What is even worse is that there is no single sinister figure or group behind the scenes to expose. It is rather a shared mindset that is so governed by ideology and narrow-mindedness that it predetermines the same judgements and conclusions they all make. This is the sort of obtuseness they are constantly projecting on others, when they are the worst practitioners. These are people who should know better, but having been cranked out by radicalized “higher education” they have learned nothing, lacking even the critical thought capacity of ordinary people with simple common sense, which is why they have lost all credibility with the public. But it doesn’t matter to them because they are myopic enough to think that what is important is what is floating around in their bubble. In other words they are more concerned with validating and pleasing their peers than any sort of actual “journalism.”
Contrast this with other countries, including most of our allies. In the U.K. for example, there is a rich variety of publications that reflect the full political spectrum, along with special interest publications that exceed ours in quality beyond all measure. In the rest of Europe there are a variety of publications that are generally affiliated with, or sympathetic to various political parties. In truth that is the historical norm, and effete notions of journalism above it all has never existed here apart from the mid-twentieth century period. Our newspapers in particular were started by political partisans with opposing points of view, usually contemptuous of whatever other side there was. This goes all the way back to the founding of this country with figures like Jefferson and Hamilton, with even more vitriol than we see today. But here they have use of the phantom of “journalism” to cover their ideological monopoly.
Everyone is for “democracy” based on their own interpretation of it, and while people may express devotion or concern about it, they for the most part have far more immediate concerns, like how they are going to get by, feed themselves and their families, have a home, basic transportation, all the necessities of life, as well as a little left over for discretionary spending. When inflation has driven prices and credit card debt up, it is the latter that gets cut off first, and they are not at all happy about it. People who are affluent enough accept higher taxes and prices because they have more than enough left over for their pleasurable pursuits, but most people today do not have that luxury. Still the media may be shocked at the extent to which the public could care less about their free press/free speech mantra (that they have themselves disregarded) when faced with basic standard of living questions: food, shelter, transportation, health care, spiritual matters and at least some recreation. If they are provided with that, if their living standard is uplifted at the cost of freedoms mostly exercised by the elite that they themselves have no real means of enjoying, they will opt for safety, security, a brighter future for themselves and their families over anything else. The resultant choices between an affluent life and vague principles should be clear.
That is why totalitarian or even mildly authoritarian regimes have failed; not because of the repression, supposed lack of freedom, etc. which really only matters to those who have the luxury of meddling in politics. They collapsed because they failed miserably to deliver for the people. That is why communism failed, and why the Chinese regime’s grip on power is more tenuous than we realize because they can only maintain legitimacy as long as they can deliver. People easily forget that even Hitler was quite popular in the early years because his government did deliver for the people before stupidly going to war and degenerating into hideous mass murder. People making words just don’t seem to understand that actions speak louder than words, or that the every day reality people face is what determines their outlook and preferences.
So those who are so fearful of Trump have thrown everything at the man and nothing sticks, and the more they rage this way the more they are tuned out. They still don’t get the big picture. They created the pathway for Trump in the first place, and it is the incompetent, self-serving rotten elite that have made his rise possible through their miserable failure to get virtually anything right. While I doubt that the doomsday retribution scenario they envision will ever be realized, and may in fact be more reflective of their own guilt in mismanaging all the privileged affairs they have had control of, they sure as hell deserve it.