Trump’s “Rigged” system is just: Kant versus Heidegger
First we need to define what the rigged system is. Trump’s usage of the word seemed to straddle a few connotations. I understood him to mean that the political system was corrupt not only by money but by elites in power and then of course, the media bias. Yet, I think there is underlying or larger meaning encompassing our culture in general. A culture that has been created gradually with built in values or what I like to call mythologies that are already to be taken for our culture. The current political split points to obvious and larger cultural discrepancy.
One could say that those that voted for Trump feel they have been living in a cultural “bordel de merde” as the French would say, a rigged system created by the elite. Yet, this seemingly incoherent and almost paranoid mindset that we are living under, and created by some elite class is what a liberal, cosmopolitan, international, and even western enlightened intellectual lives and breaths. This drastic split needs to be deconstructed and radicalized.
To follow my argument one must first believe, like I do, that philosophical ideas created years ago and argued by our philosophical heritage, far from the populace of their time, have profound effects years later. Think for one second how Marx’s abstract thinking on the industrial revolution, labor relations and capital gradually filtered into the minds of people like Lenin or Mao, and the framers of our Constitution were well read scholars of the European and Greek thinkers. The originators of those ideas came to affect other thinkers, the arts, media, political leaders (both tyrants and moderates), culture and it’s corresponding values, and ultimately the laws of the respective countries.
If you accept that premise then…
Let’s introduce Kant as one of the primary originators of our current enlightened western cultural tradition. Further, I need to reduce his voluminous philosophical tracts to his idea of what was required for a moral and civil existence: “Reason.”
In order for us to live morally and civil lives we need to reason correctly and we cannot reason while at the same time living with such things as prejudices and superstitions. We need to escape from our limited perspective, our traditions, historical context, language, cultural mythologies, our cosmologies and even our religion, otherwise we are not able to think rationally nor ever be able to sustain a moral civil society. In sum, we need to renounce all that which places us within a time, a location, a tradition in order to think clearly, fairly and without bias. That would be the ideal and form of pure reason.
Then along comes Heidegger and says no, we can never escape our condition, our place, our history, our culture and most importantly we NEED all those things in order to reason correctly in our world. We need to acknowledge our limited perspective but knowing full well that not only have we have not escaped it but it in fact it’s essential and necessary for our thinking and for us to reason correctly. Reason can never be divorced from the human element of existence.
In contrast to Heidegger our Western civilization is a Kantian culture. At the level of many of our professors and college educated populace our mythological oxygen(in so far as it is not acknowledged but lived within), we are the enlightened ones. This mythology is what those claiming to be experiencing a “rigged” system are describing in less philosophical terms. This mythology, of a typical let’s say cosmopolitan, liberal, and/or citizen of the world, takes as given the necessity for non-fixed perspective, nor a nation, nor even a tradition, since those prevents us from being fully reasonable and empathetic to the world. This then turns out in practice to create an undertone, if not an ideology, of moral and cultural equivalences with the multitude of other cultures, even if they do not reciprocate with a form of disembodied transcendent reason or our western enlightenment.
I think the rest of the world’s populace, as in non-western enlightened traditional societies (or to those that aren’t cosmopolitan nor have been moral and cultural enlightened by western education) must view this western idea of moral and cultural equivalencies as not only misguided, wrong, idealistic but even possibly devious. Their heavily balkanized, non-cosmopolitan view of their standing in the world and their cosmology, mythologies and ultimately religion are downright sensible if not reasonable.
Now, you can understand why your daughter or son might be off to some other part of the world to help out starving children or chastise corporations for self-interested behavior. Long live our idealistic youth, the products of our Western Enlightenment!