Richard Rorty’s 1998 prophecy

This 1998 quote by the philosopher Richard Rorty, in his book Achieving Our Country, is being widely circulated on the Internet.   It seems prophetic.

[M]embers of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported.

Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty

Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

At that point, something will crack.  The non-suburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots.

A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here may then be played out.  For once a strongman takes office, nobody can predict what will happen.  In 1932, most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic.

One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out.  Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion.  [snip] 

All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back.   All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.

I was unable to find a copy of the book in my local library system nor a low-cost copy on the Internet.   Some articles about the Rorty quote also mention this—

After my imagined strongman takes power, he will quickly make his peace with the international super-rich.

That also seems prophetic.

LINKS

The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism by Chris Hedges for Truthdig.

Richard Rorty’s ‘Achieving Our Country’ Predicted Trump Win in 1998 by Megan Friedman for Cosmopolitan.

‘Something will crack’: supposed prophecy of Donald Trump goes viral by Edward Helmore for The Guardian.

Richard Rorty predicted election of Trump-like figure in 1998 by Ben Mathis-Lilley for Slate.

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One Response to “Richard Rorty’s 1998 prophecy”

  1. ashiftinconsciousness Says:

    Wow.

    Like

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