For most of my occupational life, I have been an IT professional, either as a code writer or network employee/consultant, dealing with business proprietors, accounting controllers, office and plant managers. In other words, I belonged to the grey-collar set on behalf of the white-collar. But in the autumn of my working life, I have doubled as a blue-collar, just in order to put sufficient bread on the table, while flailing in my attempts to establish myself as a no-collar.
But re-introduction into the blue-collar milieu has been a bit of culture shock, although nothing compared to the psychological disarray experienced during a night in 1979 in a bus station in Tétouan (Morocco). In having been so familiar with the relatively cultivated and effete metrosexual ethos of the corporate office, where collaboration was the modus operandi; the hierarchical and masculinist ethos, which still permeates the factory and warehouse floor, was and continues to be disorienting.
I belong to neither milieu, being too Scythian for the metrosexuals, and too cultivated for the masculinists. As it seems to be in all things, I occupy the middle, in a schismatic age which the middle is largely devoid of fellow sojourners, while the extremes are steadily being saturated to the hilt. But I have discovered that it is psychologically destructive to pretend to be that which one is not, even if it results in social isolation and economic denigration.
And like many in the no-class class, I have been trying to comprehend the sociopolitical significance of the Trump phenomenon. Donald Trump himself is less important. As the ethical barometer has precipitously declined these last many decades, the rise of demagogues and demise of free civic self-governing polities has been expected, although not in the form of Trump. It is the supporters of Trump who will endure, well after Trump (likely) self-destructs and/or becomes absorbed into the Borg of Washington venality, who are more historically and prognostically important.
America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.
– Attributed to Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau
While I believe that pompous French reports of American decadence were greatly exaggerated and premature in the 1920s, civilization in America seems to have been but of a Warholian interlude in the annals of history. A nation, noted for its zealous fidelity to anti-intellectualism by one their own, seems to be on the verge of returning to its own past ways, courtesy of a knowledge class which has become equally zealous in its dedication to sophistic deceit and mendacity, intellectual and psychosocial incompetence, and Versaillean cluelessness.
In trying to locate the current state of America on a Roman timeline, to which I am familiar and upon which the American Founding Fathers oft modeled, it would seem that Donald Trump represents a kind of Septimius Severus (193–211). Less than a generation after the end of the Pax Romana (180 AD) and the last great literary work by a pagan Roman (Emperor Marcus Aurelius – Meditations), Septimius would sweep away all remaining vestiges and pretense of republican constitutionalism and herald the age of military overlords and the Crisis of the Third Century (235–284 AD).
Whereas hitherto, the American civil religion would award semi-divine status to Presidents only after they had deceased and proven their mettle; nowadays, the commons grants such Dominus titles upon their leaders while alive; awarding Nobel Peace Prizes by virtue of mere existence, and half-expecting the rise of oceans to slow, and the planet to heal, by mere imperial diktat.
What is reality TV, but a virtual reincarnation of gladiatorial games, which the current Pretender to the Throne has long provided in preparation, (although in truth the Romans furnished such games centuries before Severus)?
It is true that another generation would ensue before that precipitous decline in the life of the mind and culture, economy, and sociopolitical cohesion, within which the effete class would occasionally and briefly re-assert themselves, including that patron saint of all transgenders, pretty boy-girl Emperor Elagabalus (218–22 AD). But for the most part, a class of increasingly barbaric warriors would trample over the venality of the pandering plutocratic effetes.
And that, it would appear, is where America presently is.