Thursday, January 26, 2017

King Trump and Tocqueville - #NewVersailles

I know it's all been King Trump stuff lately, but I find it endlessly riveting/completely terrifying. Under the hashtag #NewVersailles, I've been watching the various ways in which Trump operates within a court culture, rather than a bureaucratic culture. I intend to write up about the classic "problem of counsel" this will create when things go wrong.

Here's the latest:
Courts can, I guess, be a reasonable way to organize government function in theory, assuming the right monarch at the core. But this core, here, is rotten.

Teen Vogue, aka the voice of the Resistance, published a good piece on the Women's March and Tocqueville, the 19th-century French writer on America. Tocqueville was interested in the American avoidance of tyranny, even as Andrew Jackson took the presidency. Williamson, the author of the article, writes:
Autocrats see social mobilization — regardless of content — as a threat, and individual rebukes as tolerable. As Tocqueville notes, “A despot easily forgives his subjects for not loving him, provided they do not love one another.”

If the protests this weekend are to be effective, we will have to do more than demonstrate opposition to Trump. We will have to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to one another through organized political action.
Onward. We are the majority.

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