Tuesday, November 20, 2018

“It is what it is”

Horrific crimes can be committed, and tolerated or ignored, be they municipal or international, or environmental, human rights can be dismissed as irrelevant, and ethical and social norms routinely and flagrantly violated, as long as it contributes to what Trump—a pathological narcissist and megalomaniacal menace in the highest office of the land—understands as putting “America First” or “Making America Great Again” (MAGA), both mind-numbing nationalist slogans understood in final reference to a bottom line defined in terms of money (obscene profits at one end, and conspicuous consumption at the other). The President is shamelessly fond of authoritarian rulers around the globe and despotism more generally. Democratic norms, values, and laws are not relevant to this crude and immoral economic calculus. The constitutional rule of law is viewed as an annoying obstacle to MAGA that will be removed once a sufficient number of compliant if not sycophantic federal judges and Supreme Court Justices are found to be wholly deferential to the executive branch. We now have a capitalist plutocracy and kleptocracy, or perhaps better, a capitalist oligarchy, with a thin veneer of democratic and constitutional rhetoric serving to obfuscate the enduring reign of “bread and circuses” among the masses.


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