“If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?” - Sam Harris
I am completely deflated. All air has gone out of me since watching the electoral college counter tick over the 270 mark for Donald Trump today during my fourth period class at work.
It changed me. My outlook is different. The world and the people in it don’t look the same.
My immediate reaction was to post an article from the Washington Post describing how Trump embodies the postmodern value set and this election was essentially a victory for that camp over reason, truth, evidence, facts, and logic.
The American people have clearly stated with their vote that reason and truth are no longer relevant or meaningful. Instead, brute force via identity politics is what matters most and America’s identity was clearly shown.
We are white, male, and fearful. We dislike others and actively berate them. We don’t care about the problems of the world and even try to undermine them by devaluing scientific evidence through aggressive and angry rhetoric.
None of these identity traits are hopeful. There is no love or even faith.
Instead, a complete subjectivism has taken over that gives only “our” identity relative importance. And it has won.
This identity of rage and fear doesn’t know how to make these terrible feelings of anxiety go away and has elected a leader who promises that “only he can fix them”. We have given him and his party complete control over the entire government. The executive, legislature, and judiciary once the supreme court is fully stocked.
This is the same exact situation that gave rise to national socialism. A rabid nationalist movement based on identity politics mixed with a charismatic leader who had a complete plan to fix it - i.e. socialism.
F.A. Hayek described this path beautifully and eloquently as The Road to Serfdom. It is a road paved by a gradual encroachment of freedoms by the “fixer”. Freedoms that have already been threatened in much of Trump’s rhetoric, such as those of the press or religion.
This will not end well and I no longer see it as responsible for liberals to continue to stand by passively and quietly. In our angst over political correctness, decency, respect for others, and the fact that we liberals have made our home on the left, the same place postmodernism has sprung from, we have been paralyzed into a large group of bystanders that have just empowered the most dangerous president elect in US history. And he used the far left’s weapon of postmodern rhetoric to do it.
In much the same vein that 9/11 blasted us into a world that clearly demonstrated an entire group’s complete lack of respect for our values and a willingness to use violence to meet their own ends, this election should result in a similar awakening in us of the very real truth that our facts and progress do not matter to a large group of our fellow citizens. People we thought we understood because they look like us and speak the same language.
If we value our ideals of liberty, love, justice, decency, diversity, dignity, and incremental betterment, then we must admit that we may need to fight for them with tools beyond the ones we are accustomed to using.
As the quote from Harris points out above, we can’t use evidence or logic to combat this group of people’s beliefs. This is a war of ideology and values and persuasive rhetoric will need to be used with brute force and aggression. The many marginalized groups may depend on it for their defense. Doing nothing is not an option if we genuinely care about them and our future.