On reading ‘Strangers in their own land’ by Arlie Russell Hochschild

Neoliberalism and the self-harm faithful

Cutting the Gordian Knot [Part IV]

Hochschild admits that the majority of people she spoke to when researching her book are – or, more importantly, feel – marginalised. Life has become a complex tangle of uncertainties. It’s a knot that bars them from full and meaningful participation in their society. It ties them down. They used to be important, they were valued. The knot immobilises them.

Trump spoke – falsely, I’ll say – to these people. That is why they voted for him. Why they would vote for him again in 2024, should he run.

Alexander the Great thwarted the challenge of the Gordian Knot not by untangling it; he used his sword to cut the knot. He did not – strictly speaking – solve the problem; he indicated that it was a problem which did not in fact exist. To him.
Tea Party adherents might say Alexander was innovative; they may well compare Trump with Alexander the Great. Trump is cutting the knot in which the Alt Right sees their world enmeshed…

How is he doing this? With his promises of draining the swamp [the perceived morass of political regulation and governance], of building the wall [debarring immigrants, salvaging the country for those who had of course usurped it from the native Americans, but hey, let’s not ‘do’ history], and of making America great again [restoring the world these marginalised people think they’ve lost], Trump pragmatically promises to cut the knot.

Not to untangle it.

It’s an intrinsically violent act.

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