The main idea of this book is to demonstrate that there is real and clear danger of America moving to authoritarianism, but it does not come from Tramp and his supporters as media and other leftist groups claim. It comes from already deeply established and continuously growing tyranny of experts. At the same time Tramp, as of now, is the important protection force against this authoritarianism.
- Freedoms, Rights, and the Liberal Ideal
Here author briefly reviews contemporary state of western countries and paints picture of increasing dominance of non-elected government and quasi government entities controlling everything and pushing aside old methods of society management – politics. This development has created a political backlash in form of multiple movements, with Tramp being somewhat a leader of one of them. Author discusses how liberal movement moved from promoting individual freedoms to suppressing them in the name of other individuals’ “rights”. Then author defines his understanding of authoritarianism: “Authoritarianism simply means governance legitimated by demands for deference to authority. “ and supports his point by discussing difference in how America entered wars in early and late XX century – the first after long political discussion and in accordance with constitution via formal declaration by Congress, while latter mainly via discussions between experts, unclear and poorly defined “use of force authorization”. So in reality these developments amount to substitution of sovereignty of people by sovereignty of experts.
- The Rise of the New Authoritarians
This starts with the list of what good liberals did: women and minority rights, voting rights, and so on. Author also notes that liberals could and did act under authoritarian rule and actually were quite successful in liberalizing such rule. After that author reviews history when liberalism was an ideology of individual rights, protecting the individual from government power. However they have somewhat difficult relations with democracy often referring to courts or to authoritarian power to achieve their objectives, unachievable via ballot box. Until recent times liberals in America had place in both political parties protecting rich against masses and expropriation as the republicans and middle class and poor against rich as democrats. However now liberal coalition pretty much rid of middle class and as of now combines rich, professionals, and poor, all of which highly depend on government for transfer resources to them from middle class. Author discusses here mainly USA and UK politics, including liberal support for immigration.
- Liberal Authoritarianism in a Global World
This chapter looks at the global liberal coalition mainly protecting interest of professionals who have education, skills, and established positions valuable on the global market so they promote power of international organizations, free trade and so on even if it is detrimental to masses in their own countries who cannot compete on the global market with much cheaper labor from developing countries.
- The Passion of Donald J. Trump
This chapter about the Donald as representative of national movement that is currently developing in many developed countries that aims to protect such people who are on receiving side of liberal world order. Author also reviews old populist movements like Bryan’s anti-gold movement and compare it to Trump, noting however that they are quite different in their philosophy. He also reviews some typical liberal paranoid attitudes: Trump=Hitler, racist, mercantilist, and so on. Author also reviews a very specific case of women not supporting Hillary, which seems to be unexplainable for liberals.
- The Populist Purgative
In the last chapter author looks at the big picture of Angle-American traditions that include all three: conservatism, progressivism, and liberalism, noting that the two main powers are really conservatism and progressivism, with real liberal being somewhat swing vote that from time to time give advantage of either of these powers. At the end author refer to Churchill and his famous quip about democracy that was actually quite powerfully reflected in Churchill political career as initially member of Liberal party, who become conservative leader only after this party folded. Author ends with Churchill’s point that liberalism will not be killed, but it would not be dominant either, always remaining kind of intermediary.
MY TAKE ON IT:
I think that there is way too much confusion about all these political terms. In reality “conservatives” or “right” are not trying to conserve current political arrangement, but rather trying overturn advances made by “progressive” or “left”. Liberals lost any connection to ideas of individual liberty and they are busy trying to restrict this liberty with their political correctness, censorship, and suppression of freethinking in any place where they acquired power: media, education, and corporate boardroom. All these labels become somewhat meaningless, hiding real passion and objectives of all these movements, which come down to the following few arrangements:
- Who will decide how to allocate available resources and produce new ones
- Who will decide which behavior is acceptable and which is not
- Who will decide how to use violence and coercion by governments
All these issues have hugely important consequences mainly because they impact how much and what kind of resources will be produced and how they will be used. Progressives and supporting liberals (American meaning) were successful in taking key positions in the society, but it resulted in severe limitation on productivity and freedom, without which possibility of innovation and prosperity is questionable. The resulting backlash was inevitable with or without Trump. Whether it will be the same yo-yo movement that America experienced for the last century or we’ll move in some new direction remains to be seen.