Slave to popular morality: why Trump has to have this fake ...

Ideas

Slave to popular morality: why Trump has to have this fake culture war

ANALYSIS | His economy is tanking, so the president talks up a storm. Just don’t believe everything you hear

Tim Stanley

The culture war is fake. It’s what Karl Marx might call an “epiphenomenon”: a symptom of a disease, but not the disease itself. If there hadn’t been a pandemic, if we hadn’t been locked down for more than 10 weeks, do you seriously think there would’ve been riots? If the economy hadn’t sunk, if Trump wasn’t tanking in the polls, do you think he’d be up Mount Rushmore talking about “angry mobs” and “far-left” fascism?

In 2016, Trump said he’d “Make America Great Again” when, by some standards, it was already quite good. Now he promises to “Keep America Great” when it’s objectively in the toilet. Do not believe everything you hear.

Including the reviews. Journalists called Trump’s Rushmore speech “inflammatory”, “divisive” and “racist”. They can’t have read it. He praised Lincoln. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr. He name-dropped Jesse Owens, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Muhammad Ali. He talked, as he often does, about love and equality, and a lot of his language would’ve once been considered boilerplate Americana, just like his choice of location...

This article is reserved for Times Select subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Times Select content.

Times Select

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.