Diagnosing Donald Trump

January 21, 2018 – Over the course of the last twelve months, both laymen and experts have sought to diagnose Donald Trump. They have been asking again and again after each one of his many bewildering tweets: What is wrong with the man psychologically?

I am interested in another kind of diagnosis. My question is what Trump’s elections means politically: Is it an aberration or does it signal a tectonic shift in our political landscape? I am inclined to the latter view. We appear to be drifting into some kind of plutocracy – and that not only in the United States. The many weaknesses of the democratic system of government seem finally to be catching up with it. But plutocracy can take many different forms – think of the Dutch Republic of the 17th century, on the one hand, and Suharto’s Indonesia, on the other. So we need to consider what kind of political system we are moving towards. My answer, in short, is that we see the coming of a nihilistic techno-plutocracy. I ask myself, however, whether that will be a new stable political order or only a step toward the end of politics altogether in the way that Hannah Arendt once conceived it. click here

My attempt at such a diagnostic view at our political situation is meant to explore the possibility of a different kind of political thinking – different from traditional political philosophy with its eyes on abstract norms and principles. Where the tradition asks: What is the best form of government? What are the principles of justice? I want to explore the political realities from the ground up in order to find out what needs to be done. (See Politics and the Search for the Common Good.)



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