November 18, 2019
Author: Chilton Williamson
After 1945 when the GIs returned stateside, went to college on the federal nickel, entered into holy matrimony, moved out of the cities into developing suburbia, and began to breed, the suburbs took a beating for the next two decades from the cultural critics, most of them of a leftist and even an anti-American persuasion. The suburbs, they charged, were the most American part of America and therefore the worst. Affluent but without culture save in the mass sense of the word, philistine, smug, plastic, mindless, ignorant alike of the natural realities of rural life and the human and artistic ones of the metropolis, they suffered as well from what Mencken in the 20s had called the libido for the ugly. The assault by the sophisticated classes, such as they were and are in America, was unkind, but well-deserved. Suburbanites, America’s only native zombie class, belong neither to the living nor the dead. But they existed then, as they do now, in their many millions, and unfortunately in politically strategical regions of the country. This was true in the Eisenhower years, and it remains true today. To paraphrase the New Testament, can anything good come out of suburbia? The answer, after seven decades, remains no. (With a single exception that comes instantly to mind: Ernest Hemingway from Oak Park, Illinois.) Suburbia remains the Dumb Lobe of the national brain, and thus, given its affluence and influence, a major force for stupidity in national politics. The premier example of this stupidity is the resistance of the suburbs to the current President of the United States: a political genius whose instincts, personal eccentricity, and flamboyant unconventionality are just what the United States States is in need of in its long day’s journey into night.
To understand Donald Trump, his meaning, his achievement, and his crucial importance to the future of his country requires imagination, a quality the American upper-middle classes lodged in the intellectual wasteland of suburbia from Chappaqua to Palo Alto has always conspicuously lacked. Its female component offends in this respect more even than its male half, having added to the Protestant-American tradition of female niceness (expressed by what a century ago was called “Moral Uplift”) the smug superiority they have acquired in the colleges and universities whose infantilized curriculum they take for an education, and a commitment to the self-blinding and unsexed feminism they have absorbed by osmosis in a postmodern culture that considers masculinity of the non-metro sort to be “toxic.” In a sclerotic society whose chief characteristic and besetting sin has always been the Puritanical repression of a free imagination and the stifling middle-class conformity that Tocqueville foresaw for America, Donald Trump is naturally viewed by half the population as a dangerous disturber of the peace, the enemy of everything that is proper, ordered, acceptable, and expectable in American politics and government, and thus in a President. This, by liberals and “progressives” in a country that has historically prided itself, in the history books especially, on its pioneering spirit, its love of novelty, and its “irreverence”! The explanation for the apparent paradox is that liberalism in the postwar decades, here as in the other Western countries, has been the philosophy of the Establishment, which continues today to represent itself as the cutting-edge party against establishmentarianism and conservatism, which it insists is un-American. By exposing liberalism, progressivism, and the Democratic Party as the true establishment–the conservative machine committed to preserving its own power, its status, and its wealth against the interests of the popular majority–Trump has revealed the fraud. Worse, he has mocked it, and dissed its leading lights, its representatives, and its defenders openly and with brazen humor. He has committed what in the liberal Establishment’s view is one great ongoing act of lèse-majesté, and they will never forgive him for it.
Instead, they accuse him for being un-presidential, inexperienced, naÏve, incompetent, and a national embarrassment whose careless unconventionality humiliates the United States and discredits it in its relations with the rest of the world. In this they are simply and obviously wrong. Trump is as “presidential” seeming as any Chief Executive this country has had since the presidency of John Quincy Adams. For one thing, he is all-male (which further discomforts “educated” liberal women married to metrosexual husbands by comparison with whom Trump seems to them afflicted with a case of “toxic” masculinity). It is a fact that has not been lost on chiefs of state the world over.
Ever since George W. Bush’s first administration, the unofficial neoconservative brains trust has been an enthusiastic proponent of “Schumpeter’s gale”–what Schumpeter himself referred to as “creative destruction.” In one sense, The Donald is the greatest creative destroyer America has ever known. It is a question whether he arrived too late, or too soon, in the White House to get the job done, properly, and for good. One way or another, it is hardly his fault. What matters is that the man is here now, hard at work assaulting and exploding the reputations, pretentions, hidebound practices, usurpations, prerogatives, inflated egos, and the pieties of the imagined professionals: the party politicians, the perennial hacks, the permanent bureaucrats, the campaign managers, the pollsters, and the so-called Deep State.
No wonder shopping mall suburbia– male and female–can’t abide him. It loathes and despises President Trump because he is far too good for them. They don’t deserve him.
Sixty-three million other Americans do.