Long before Donald Trump’s malignant narcissism plunged the United States and the world into a hall of mirrors, thought leaders like Christopher Lasch warned about an emerging psychic assault on humanity and a breakdown of culture.
About a century ago the Western world entered an age of artificial substitutes, technical ingenuity, mechanical products, technological values, and accelerating motion. The watchword of that age was objectivity – a highly illusive standard for both leaders and the led. In particular, the notion of objectivity deeply affected the emerging mass communications industry, which before long was serving as one of the most powerful tools of global social management.
Many far right groups continue to believe in some sort of conspiracy aimed at destroying their "way of life." Specifically, they remain united by a fanatical fortress mentality and the belief that their rights as individuals are under attack. Taken together, these threads provided a template for the Tea Party and Trump-ism.
While most people want to reduce nuclear and environmental threats, many also believe that neither climate change nor arms proliferation can be reversed through political channels alone.
Anarchists have been tarred for a century as subversives, bomb-throwers, terrorists; deluded utopians at best. But no "ism" is more misunderstood, purposely distorted or entwined with America's traditions of self-government and free speech.
George Washington could hardly be called naive about the use of military power. Yet, in his presidential farewell address, the general-turned-political leader issued a warning that would be wise to reconsider since the United States began pursuing a foreign policy based on preventive war and a crusade to spread democratic capitalism worldwide.