Macho posturing and a scepticism built on nothing… yeah, that’s a facet of contemporary politics. June 6, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Writing about contemporary politics – in particular the Brexit debate and the rise of Trump she laments a ‘hyper-masculine’ and macho posturing that seems to have become all too common in political discourse, and not just in terms of online engagements but in relation to actual political activity. How else to explain the (for most of us) all too resistable rise of Boris Johnson or that of Trump? There is a parading of ignorance as a functional virtue.
But it goes deeper. She notes a depressing exchange on Radio 4 where:
… [a] school-leaver … who said he would take “no lecturing” from the treasury, then confidently admitted he had not acquainted himself with the facts and figures.
The point isn’t the school-leavers scepticism. It is that it is a scepticism built on nothing. It’s a good thing to question the Treasury, or the IMF or whoever. But it has to be a questioning based on engagement, not an abdication of or celebration of an abdication of engagement.
Let’s put it another way. There’s no getting around the fact that economic activity in this state is strengthening. And while there’s a strong element of truth in the contention that there’s a disparity between urban and rural areas, east coast and west, there are solid signs that it is picking up all over. But one has to have an acquaintance with the facts to also note that unemployment rates are lower in part due to emigration. That those figures are lower too due to numbers in ‘training’ etc. That there are many factors that feed into the picture. So yes, improving, strengthening, but far from the utopian situation some present it as. And all this has to be contextualised in the whittling away of state provision and services across the last decade or so.
Only engagement with that allows one to construct useful or telling counter-arguments to governing narratives. And more importantly, there’s no inevitability about this aspect of contemporary politics lasting indefinitely. Anything but. Putting Brexit aside, due in part to its unique characteristics, it will be educative to see how Trump fares in the national contest in the US. There was already a hint of a push-back last week from the US media. At the least he should expect more. Perhaps the toxic blend of know nothingness will falter in the face of some genuine critique.