By Jason Michael

Neo-Conservativism has been shaken, but not by the work of the malcontent victims of the system it has created. It has been challenged from within its own power-base, by power-hungry wolves that have no fear of losing their means of existence.

It is difficult to escape the profound sense of rupture and trauma that both the election of Donald J. Trump and the vote for Brexit in the United Kingdom have visited upon us. Something that is not easy to define – our security in our Western liberal democratic structures – has been shaken, leaving us in compounded collective shock. On both sides of the Atlantic the revolution we have long hoped for has begun, but the opening shots have not been fired by the heroes we have sought. Rather they have been fired by antiheroes the likes of Trump, Nigel Farage, and Boris Johnson.

Our Goliath – the political and economic neoliberal consensus – has been rocked by personalities who are themselves members of the same social class as the governing neo-conservative élite. This coup d’état wasn’t even effected by the élan of that increasingly dominated fragment of the dominant class, but by a fragment of the dominant class itself that mobilised the popular support of the disaffected proletariat by appealing to its hatred of the dominant class and its anxieties around the social and economic consequences of the political status quo.

This is an establishment civil war that has exposed the reality that the contending parties of our liberal democracies are but opposing factions of the ruling élite, and that there exists within each party conflicting elements of that same governing cadre. Our present turmoil is then something of a war in heaven, a battle being fought among the gods of the hegemony.

How this may be understood from below – where we live – is as the final blow to the salesmen, the end of the illusion that the non-producers have pre-eminence in our society and therefore the divine right to rule. Of this Will Ferguson has something to say:

Funny, isn’t it? How the people doing the selling always get an inflated sense of their own importance. How they start to feel more important than the people who grew the actual cotton or wrote the actual books.
– Will Ferguson, Hustle (2009)

This is a conflict among the salesmen – the non-producers – for pre-eminence and power that threatens the very means by which we, the producers, live; peace, security, and freedom. Above a certain altitude of wealth all such worries become extraneous. The billionaire class secure these necessities with the wealth we, the workers, have made for them. It is we who must bargain with them to ensure these things for ourselves.

Now, of course, that this insurgency within the ruling class has gained power with the support of a compliant fragment of the dominated class the salesman has shed his old skin once again, and we – the outvoted – have lost our bargaining chips, the game has changed fundamentally. This is what strikes at that thing that is not easy to define that has been shaken; the rules that govern our place in the liberal democratic structure have altered – and this is frightening.

The John Birch Society on Donald Trump

Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)

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