03/08/2017

Is Donald Trump the End of History?

Vacation breaks allow us to pause and reflect. Summertime is the right time to take a long perspective. The feel of warm sand under the toes, sublime vistas from mountain trails, all encourage different types of reflection.


Technological advancements have accelerated time. We have difficulty following all the news 24/7. And, quite frankly, can’t we live without knowing: The latest ins and outs of the Trump White House? The latest round of negotiations of the Syrian crisis? Where Doris Leuthard does her shopping? The latest coach of FC Sion? How Angelina Jolie is doing in her divorce from Brad Pitt? Whether it’s time for a Tessinois to be federal councilor? The list goes on.
We all try to take that step back during the break. We promise ourselves that when we go back to the office, we will not be overwhelmed with the day-to-day. The lesson of vacation is that we must spend more time on the long term and less on the immediate.
In a recent conversation, someone suggested that for all the gloom and doom surrounding the Trump presidency, the United States is resilient enough to withstand the current assault on its historic values. The assumption is that Trumpism is a small setback against a longer, positive historical cycle. The argument is that after the 1989 euphoric pronouncement by Francis Fukuyama that capitalism and democracy would be the final organization of societies, and then the opposing rise of populism and authoritarianism, the pendulum would spring back to liberal values in the United States and around the world. The forces of liberalism are too strong to be offset nationally and internationally.
Is this overly optimistic? Is it part of summertime feelin’ good? Or is it a more objective evaluation of longer term perspectives?
The long term will not go away. Despite the overwhelming day-to-day, questions about how we live our lives will be affected by larger decisions. A vote by one man, Senator John McCain, could affect the health of millions of Americans. A rash decision by Donald Trump could start a war with North Korea. A peace treaty in Syria could allow millions to return home. This list goes on as well.
Are we able to see the forest for the trees in our own lives? Politically and scientifically we know we have been influenced by the Enlightenment. We know that our ideas of liberalism were concretized in the French and American revolutions. We know that Newtonian physics and Cartesian logic are the basis of most modern thought. These we all accept one way or another.
Have we moved past the Enlightenment? Are we post-modern? How long term can we see? The more we try to leave the immediate, the more we enter the realm of speculation. For those who are optimistic, that is positive. For the optimists, Trumpism is a mere blip. Liberalism and the Enlightenment are here to stay. For those who are pessimistic, it is the opposite. Trumpism is the tip of an iceberg of national and international decline. We are not only post-modern, we are at the end of Western civilization.
In our personal lives, we are surrounded by trees. Just getting by requires a great deal of energy. Resourcing during vacation only prepares us to better deal with the demands of the immediate. The longer term seems very far away. The outlines of the forest are only a blur, at least until we try to see through the trees during the next vacation.
 

Commentaires

Apropos of the long term and August reading, I would recommend "The Assault on Reason" by Al Gore, 2007. It's remarkable to consider how much of the following ten years (and especially the last six months!) that Al Gore correctly described....

Écrit par : Jack Pogany | 03/08/2017

Dans une vie humaine il y a des périodes dont on reconnait en général le début et la fin. En général, nous sommes engagés dans plusieurs périodes a la fois. Ainsi, lorsque le cours de votre existence vous a amené a Geneve, une nouvelle période de vie a démarré pour au-moins la dimension sociale alors que dans la dimension évolution spirituelle vous n`avez pas forcément eu a passer d`une période a la suivante. C`est pareil pour les nations. Par exemple, dans le cas des États-Unis d`Amérique, il est vraisemblable que les quatre ans (ou moins?) du gouvernement ubuesque de Donald Trump seront une période en soi meme si les historiens auront peut-etre tendance a parler de parenthese. La période Trump prend place dans les dimensions économique, politique étrangere et surtout démocratique, la dimension sociale d`une nation ayant une trop grande inertie pour pouvoir etre facilement marquée par quatre ans de gouvernement. Quoi qu`il en soit, la nation américaine survivra probablement a la période Trump et, si l`on en croit Nietzsche, en sortira meme plus forte sinon économiquement, du moins démocratiquement.

Écrit par : minutus manilianus | 03/08/2017

Je pense au contraire qu'un optimiste voit en Trump le messie, l'envoyé de dieu, l'homme providentiel qui vient accélérer la chute et diminuer la durée de la souffrance. Grâce à lui on va enfin pouvoir passer à autre chose.
http://www.thenewhumanrightsmovement.com/

Écrit par : Pierre Jenni | 09/08/2017

Hé bien, quand je disais qu`on aura vite droit a une affaire pour détourner l`attention du Russiangate et en meme temps faire de Donald un superman. Ses gesticulations viriles contre la Corée du Nord font l`affaire pour l`instant mais dans quelques jours il faudra autre chose car en l`état actuel le Congres n`accepterait probablement pas de lancer une attaque militaire contre Kim Jong-un alors que les missiles tirés de ses sous-marins pourraient pulvériser Séoul et peut aussi une partie du japon. A quoi aurons-nous droit alors? Peut-etre a un gros attentat bidon style nine-eleven qui pourra etre attribué au choix a l`Iran ou a la Corée du Nord pour convaincre le Congres qu`un nouveau massacre est "nécessaire" apres celui déja commis contre l`Iraq? A force de faire le matamore, le Donald finira par croire a ses bluffs et faire des vrais dégats bien historiques.

Écrit par : minutus manilianus | 13/08/2017

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