America’s Polarization Has Nothing To Do With Ideology Reply

Conservative author George Hawley on why the Left/Right Red/Blue Alt-Right/Antifa tribal civil war is a smokescreen. Economics and social class aren’t the main issues either. Americans largely agree on those issues. My advice to ATS supporters and readers is to avoid being distracted by these “issues,” and keep your eyes on the prize. It is the system that is our enemy, and it is the largely non-ideological but anti-establishment “radical center” we need to reach at this point.

By George Hawley

The American Conservative

Although a seemingly simple concept, the issue of polarization has long frustrated political scientists. A superficial examination of the American political scene suggests an intensely polarized electorate, divided along partisan and ideological lines. Watching cable news, we see competing camps that have few points of agreement, with anger the dominant emotion. Yet a dive into public opinion on questions of policy tells a different story.

In 2004, Stanford University political science professor Morris Fiorina and his colleagues persuasively argued that Americans are not bitterly divided on the most contentious policy questions, that in fact Americans lack true ideological convictions. Their argument today remains as sound as ever.

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George Hawley: Making Sense of the Alt-Right 2

A new book by a scholar of the American right-wing examines the Alt-Right. This is the best and most comprehensive work on the Alt-Right that has been published to date. Available from Amazon. A number of reviews are currently available from mainstream as well as libertarian, far right and far left sources. See here, here, here, here,here, here, here, and here. I recently discussed the Alt-Right myself at a talk given to the H.L. Mencken Club a couple of months ago.

I generally think the future of the United States will be somewhere in between the super optimistic predictions of Joel Kotkin and the super pessimistic predictions of Ellison Lodge in his review of Kotkin. The United States will continue to recede as a global hegemon (a good thing), but will continue to be an economically and technologically highly advanced state. The general society will become increasingly more integrated along racial, ethic, cultural, religious, gender and sexual lines at every level, from top to bottom. However, class divisions will continue to widen and increasingly resemble those found in Latin America. A super diverse society with huge disparities of wealth will certainly generate plenty of social and political conflict. The role of the state will be to manage such conflict by playing off different groups against each other, buying the loyalty of some groups, suppressing others, negotiating settlements between others, and forcing settlements in some instances. Many paleoconservative types have long predicted that the USA will look increasingly like Brazil in the future, and I suspect they are correct in the sense that the USA will be a major economic power that is highly diverse culturally, but with a very high level of class stratification and social conflict.

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