In the not-so-distant past the people you're talking about had a sense that their government was made up of people like them only a bit better. Now elites are people who left to go to elite colleges and got nice jobs in places like NY and DC. This is a huge problem for American
— Kevin Douglas (@KevinSDouglas) April 23, 2018
This is exactly wrong. The government today looks much MORE like America than it did in, say, 1960 or 1970. Far more diverse. https://t.co/jZfCEKmdNm
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) April 23, 2018
The 1980s I remember were a mean, dishonest decade. People of color, then women, then not-strictly-heterosexual people had fought during the previous many years to make inroads on the “natural” assumption of White Male Hegemony, and — with the help of scientifically-minded nerds — made enough progress that the White Men and the ones who
parasitized loved them felt besieged. The 80s were a noisy, hypercolored backlash that did its best to assert that White Men were Capitalism (rich, powerful, entitled) and Capitalism was, in every way, the Best of all possible worlds…
The backlash was good for illicit drug distributors, weapons dealers, synthetic fabric manufacturers, megachurch christianist marketeers, and the tiny coterie of media people “celebrating” the greed-is-good Gordon Gekko / Oliver North sellers of junk finance and overpowered weaponry. But then all the bubbles popped, and those of us who preferred to live outside a media phantasy of the 50s (1950s, 1850s, 1650s, depending on whether we’re discussing sociology, economics, or philosophy) kept right on pushing forward.
I have to believe that the current Trump-centered unpleasantness is an idiot child’s recreation of the culture Lord Smallgloves remembers from the days when he was young and (comparatively) rich and fit and in his milieu. Catherine Rampell, in the Washington Post:
Ever since he unveiled it on the campaign trail, President Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” has prompted an obvious question: When exactly was this mythical period when America was last great?
At last we know the answer: the 1980s.
When it comes to aesthetics or general world outlook, the Greed Is Good decade was clearly Trump’s formative period.
Wanna look classy? Slather your residence in gold, spangle it with chandeliers. Wanna convince strangers that you’re important? Pretend to be on the cover of Time magazine, still the greatest honor a person can achieve…
But Trump’s ’80s ethos is more than merely cosmetic. It affects his, and his party’s, most significant policies as well.
Take the GOP economic agenda, which has not been updated in (at least) 30 years.
Supply-siders still run the show, championing tax cuts as a growth elixir while conveniently ignoring their track record. All Trump and his cronies seem to remember is that there was this one time when Ronald Reagan cut taxes, and then . . . the economy grew.
They seem to have missed the role that monetary policy and the business cycle played in that mid-’80s growth spurt. Not to mention all the other changes in tax rates over the past century, in both directions, that reveal no discernible relationship between tax levels and long-term growth…
Somehow the Party of Ideas stopped coming up with them circa, oh, 1987. The question is: Why?
Well, arguably, this is what happens when you’re no longer advised by experts, of any political persuasion.
One core function of social science research is to measure and document consequences of policies, both intended and unintended. And not surprisingly, it turns out we’ve learned a lot in the past few decades about drugs, crime, poverty, the economy, international relations and all manner of other issues.
Over several decades, Republicans have become increasingly hostile to expertise, a hostility that blossomed into outright denunciation last year. Rather than consulting people who’ve researched any of this stuff, or even read any of that research, Trump prefers to craft policy based on things he vaguely remembers reading, perhaps in a tabloid, some 30 years ago…
The backlash didn’t last back then (although it sure seemed like it was gonna go on forever) and it won’t last this time, either. Our job as the “Immoral Minority” (I still have my pinback, somewhere!) is to keep pushing forward, remembering that the caterpillar can’t return to its cocoon.
ETA: Speaking of toxic reminders of the 1980s…
At this exact moment 32 years ago (1:23:40am local time, Saturday April 26), Chernobyl's Unit 4 nuclear reactor—in Pripyat, Ukraine —exploded and partially melted down during an unauthorized and poorly-designed safety experiment, releasing ~369 million curies of radionuclides. pic.twitter.com/JUUvZ5EXey
— Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) April 25, 2018