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Trump's Presidency

Between White Supremacy and Objectivist Capitalism

Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] S [/yt_dropcap]teve Bannon is undoubtedly one of the greatest influences on the erratic policies of the man who currently sits in the White House. Those who follow the political news closely know Bannon as a conservative Catholic Crusader of sort, a white supremacist out to save Western Civilization from Islam and Sharia law. When looked at close quarters, it sounds more like the language of White supremacy and less like the language of the Christian gospels, to be sure. Less well known are his views on modern capitalism.

Bannon’s vision of capitalism comes quite close to that of an aspiring kleptocrat who would probably define it as “knowing how best to fleece investors, workers and consumers. That plays quite well for the puppet view of business and reality, the one who wrote “The Art of the Deal.” They both think of it as “enlightened” capitalism. To their way of thinking, it’s a win-win situation, in as much as it works well for both the exploiter and the exploited.

But there is a problem. The American political system still has two other branches besides the executive: the judiciary and the legislative, and Trump cannot yet rule by fiat; that may come a bit later. For the moment Bannon and Trump need to deal with a Republican-controlled Congress, which under the leadership of Paul Ryan, is more devoted to Ayn Rand’s “Objectivist” unregulated capitalism than to Bannon’s “enlightened” capitalism. Ryan is proud of having grown up reading Rand’s philosophy and sees no problem in also considering himself a good Catholic. In that attitude toward Catholicism the two are alike.

So, it is not exactly correct to say that only the ignorant white working-class voted for Trump. It includes the likes of Paul Ryan, college educated. But what is intriguing is that those educated fellows reject Bannon’s “enlightened” capitalism. What they wish to do is gut social spending, reverse progressive taxation, and deregulate business.

Given that there are a number of racists in Congress, as well, they have found little opposition to their anti-immigrant laws and the weakening of civil rights promulgated, so far, by executive order. After all, “objectivism” when translated into policy is implicitly racist: the reductions in social spending affect mostly the poor and the minorities who are mostly public sector employees and beneficiaries of program serving the poor and the underprivileged.

There seems to be harmony between White Supremacy and Objectivistic Capitalism, but it is deceptive. A point of tension is health care. Ryan wants subsidies for those with insufficient income pruned as much as possible, if not completely eliminated. Elimination remains the ultimate goal. Not a very Christian vision, to be sure.

Bannon, on the other hand, knows, even by personal experience, that whites have expensive medical problems, despite the fact that their claim to be the superior race.” So this heart-less pruning operation has to proceed carefully, or there might be a terrible backlash at the polls in 2018 and 2020. Consequently Bannon has been advising Trump not to support Ryan’s proposals too enthusiastically; pretend to do so, but let them die on the grapevine.

There is another bone of contention: infrastructure. The GOP’s traditional inclination is to spend money only on the military and law enforcement. Trump and Bannon, on the other hand, wish to introduce temporary construction jobs to rural white communities: new bridges, roads, repairs. The Republicans, while not rejecting those outright, are demanding an offset: deep cuts in expenditure benefiting the poor, mostly non-whites. That, however, may not be a sufficient offset against a trillion dollar’s worth of infrastructure.

There is a place, however, where both sides agree, there should a brutal and uncaring decimation, namely the “Administrative state,” or the government employees that supervise the economy. If deeper cuts are needed it may become problematic in as much as they may infringe of white folks’ quality of life.

So, the Caligula presidency finds itself between a rock and a hard place. The dilemma is especially acute when it comes to the President’s Russian connections, a problem that simply will not go away. Did Trump illegally collaborate with Russia’s interference in the US presidential elections? Should impeachment proceedings be initiated?

Some Republicans are resisting a non-partisan inquiry into the Russia matter. They are mindful of the fact that had the Republicans controlled Congress during the Watergate scandal, Nixon might have survived it. Trump, far from admitting anything, is doubling down with his Obama wiretap fantasy, another rabbit to throw to the media and create distraction.

Trump and Bannon probably already suspect that Pence and Ryan are now waiting in the wings. Nevertheless, the above delineated struggle between Congress and the White House, which has been going on mostly behind the curtain, is now surfacing with the heated discussions around health care.

The saddest thing of all is this: whether Bannon’s or Ryan’s social philosophy prevails, most Americans will have to suffer, if not immediately, in the long run, unless they are willing to raise the stakes against those who reject a more humane perspective on government. That possible outrage may be the only consoling silver lining on an horizon gathering dark menacing clouds.

Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.

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Trump's Presidency

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