The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger & How to Save It
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018
The Donald Trump presidency will be fascinating for future students of Jewish power and the integral role Jewish academics play in its maintenance. When faced with a man who promised to turn American foreign and domestic policy in a mildly civic nationalist direction, Jews sensed an imminent threat to their comfort and profiteering capabilities in the internationalist world order they had been instrumental in so carefully and patiently constructing. The neutralization of Trump was an important goal around which they could rally Jews and other hostile non-whites, as well as deracinated white dupes (that they didn’t stop once he had been beaten into political submission is evidence of just how threatening his campaign ideas were to them). The “resistance” could be framed as patriotism, liberalism, true conservatism, or progressivism, with only minor changes in vocabulary all the while concealing its actual nature. But those familiar with Jewish behavior could easily see the patterns of themes and targets. And this operation continues, as is the case in the recent book by political scientist Yascha Mounk, a Jew who teaches at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University.
Central to the Jewish conception of the contemporary world and its future is the irreversibility of multiracialism. Presented as both a natural historical progression with some downsides that must simply be overcome and as a wonderful advantage for all those fortunate enough to experience it, it is the foundation of all Jewish critiques of Trump, populism, and Rightist (or even generally anti-establishment) sentiment emanating from whites. All other issues are of lesser importance, no matter how forcefully argued. In this, Yascha Mounk is no different. He believes that those opposed to the rise of populism need to confront three major problems: domestic and international economic policy, “what membership and belonging might mean in a modern nation state,” and “the transformative impact of the internet and of social media” (pp. 16-17). His book is an attempt to explain these problems within the context of what he sees as a tension between liberal democracy and “the rise of illiberal democracy, or democracy without rights, and undemocratic liberalism, or rights without democracy” (p. 14).
Illiberal democracy is Mounk’s term for a country whose majority desires a political or cultural direction that rejects in whole or in part some of the ideas taken as settled by the global liberal elite. The author writes, for example, of anti-immigrant activism in Europe and frustration with the mainstream media in the United States among Trump voters as dangerous precursors to authoritarianism. He is made anxious by strongmen and talk of “the people,” and he finds danger in accusations from populists that their opponents are corrupt or beholden to competing interest groups. Any possible truth to these claims does not concern him. He is only troubled by the fact that they are made. This, of course, taps into the Jews’ deep racial insecurity (it hardly needs to be mentioned that more than one Holocaust reference is made by the end of the first chapter).
The author is far more sympathetic to undemocratic liberalism, which is his term for the collection of governmental agencies, branches, and international organizations and treaties that often violate the will of the people for the sake of what the elite deems to be the greater good. He recognizes that unaccountable bureaucrats who are no longer connected to the localities they are meant to represent create a disconnect between the governed and the governors, but believes that the complexity of the contemporary world requires a class of experts to successfully manage it. For Mounk, the problem with the things that make up the category of undemocratic liberalism (e.g. the European Commission, free trade treaties, and a powerful court system with judicial review) is mostly a lack of honest portrayals of their undemocratic nature, which is wildly misguided on his part, since he is seeking to preserve them: the reason these things exist without much popular objection is because the public has virtually no idea how they work, who is getting what from the various deals, or in what specific ways their will is being thwarted. The author’s arguments for the usefulness of these violations of the will of the people are rather pedestrian; what stands out are the hints of his real agenda in his concluding remarks. He writes that the “shortcomings” of “countermajoritarian institutions like constitutional courts” might be overlooked due to the possibility “that the members of ethnic and religious minorities might become more vulnerable if they were abolished” (p. 96). One suspects that the list of shortcomings could be encyclopedic, and still somehow this one objection would manage to be the paramount consideration.
He also maintains that “liberalism and democracy are both nonnegotiable values” (p. 97). What he has missed – or more likely is simply hoping will just go away – is that much of the populist uprising in recent years has to do with majority populations becoming increasingly aware that appeals to fairness, equality, and minority rights are just deliberate attempts to further dispossess them. And as for liberalism and democracy being nonnegotiable? Surely, as a Jew he knows that everything is negotiable – history included. This renegotiation of democracy is demonstrated in the following chapter of his own book, in which he describes the shifting relationship of citizens towards democracy across the West. Faith in so-called democratic institutions appears to be declining among most people, coupled with a rise in support for radical politics in one form or another among the young. Mounk and others like him can either accept this negotiation honestly as a fact of history, or continue hubristically to insist that the Judeo-capitalist world order is the perfect world system, the end of history, and can continually ignore truth and violently twist and contort human lives until the pain is too great for the masses to bear any longer.
There are three reasons the author believes the “past stability of democracy” (p. 135) has been threatened: social media, economic hardship, and the decline of monoethnic nations. His discussions are dull and predictable: He wonders whether social media will help democracy by enabling good political activism like Black Lives Matter, or whether it will hurt democracy by “giving populists the platform they need to poison our politics” (p. 141). Though social media allows ordinary people the ability to bypass the traditional information gatekeepers of the old media, some people are good and some people are bad, and bad people on social media are bad. As for the economy, he reminds his readers that they are fortunate to live in a time of abundant wealth, but acknowledges that there are problems and that people are not optimistic about the future. And, of course, multiethnic nations cause all sorts of hardships and anxieties for natives, but because the movement of foreigners across borders just cannot be stopped for some reason, “citizens have to learn how to live in a much more equal and diverse democracy” (p. 181).
Mounk proposes solutions in the last part of his book. He begins by suggesting that nationalism be domesticated, and repeats the tired Andersonian drivel about nations being imagined communities. The “arbitrariness of nations,” as he refers to it, is directly related to his Jewishness: “When my grandfather Leon was born in a small shtetl close to Lviv in 1913, it belonged to the Hapsburg Empire. Over the century since, it has appertained to Poland, to the Soviet Union, and to Ukraine” (p. 195). That there was and is something deeper to the history and peoples of Lviv than as merely a territorial unit of empire is obvious, and that this repudiates his claim regarding the arbitrariness of nations rather than bolsters it somehow escapes him. Nevertheless, he admits that “nationalism seems destined to remain in the twenty-first century what it was in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries: the most defining political force of its time” (p. 199). And here we begin to see that the author is smart enough to recognize that the elites have put their grasp for power at risk by being too radical in their open attempts at cultural and national deconstruction. By “domesticating nationalism,” he really means toning down the assault on majority cultures just enough so the globalist juggernaut can continue its pillaging and subversion without impediment from angry populations.
After lambasting Donald Trump’s supposedly inflammatory rhetoric and undemocratic language on the campaign trail, America’s long history of “racism,” and what he believes is the odd concept of a nation defining itself by its people, Mounk suggests that those who whine about such things as cultural appropriation in hopes of highlighting racial inequity are doing a disservice to democracy and liberalism. Why? Because it suggests that there are cultures that are not mongrelized, facsimiles of authentic identities: “. . . far from celebrating the way in which different cultures can take inspiration from each other, the opponents of cultural appropriation implicitly assume that cultures are pure” (p. 204). The liberal/Leftist attacks on free speech also concern him, despite his admission that “[s]ome utterances really don’t have any value” and that the “the world would be better . . . if they could be reliably banned” (p. 205). Despite his own statements, he actually fears what would happen if “the dean of Southern Baptist University, the mayor of Hereford, Texas, or indeed the press-bashing president of the United States were to gain the right to censor utterances they dislike” (p. 205). At least we now know that Mounk would like to ban some speech. Can anyone say that about his examples of potential authoritarians?
Mounk then calls for an “inclusive patriotism,” which will “facilitate a real sense of community among all citizens and ease lingering fears about future immigration” (p. 210). To do this, he proposes further anti-discrimination laws; changing certain social conventions, such as removing names from job application materials (p. 211), and making sure that schools are even more racially integrated. But the author does find it reasonable to expect such things as female genital mutilation and domestic violence by Muslims to be punished. To not do so would be to “sell minority groups short” (p. 213). He is even willing to acknowledge that it is reasonable to limit the numbers of immigrants and remove those who pose a threat in order to “calm, rather than to fan, ethnic tensions” (p. 214).
To fix the economy – which, like most elites, he assumes is far more important in individual political decisions than it is in actuality – he argues that Western governments should provide better health care, raise “effective tax rates for the highest earners and most profitable corporations” (p. 220), crack down on offshore tax havens, and enhance welfare protections. These are perfectly reasonable suggestions, and many, if not most, populists and other Rightists would agree wholeheartedly, with certain caveats. His attempt to address the housing crisis, however, is to encourage governments to build more public housing, lessen the power of towns and villages “to veto developments in their jurisdictions” (p. 226), and introduce land value taxes so that landowners have an incentive to develop their land. This would clearly be an environmental tragedy and a demographic disaster for all remaining majority white communities, a fact that is surely not lost on Mounk. And in order to boost productivity and reduce inequality, he believes governments should invest more in education and that teachers should “spend much more time on one-on-one coaching, on leading small-group discussions, and on facilitating collaborative work” (p. 229). He does not explain how this will work in an increasingly racially-integrated school system with increased numbers of foreigners. Perhaps the author should visit a large public university and an inner-city high school in California to get an idea of how his ideas work.
According to the author, the decline of industry has led to the rise of identity politics – which, of course, really only means white identity politics. He writes:
When people lose high-paying, unionized jobs they do not just lose their footing in the middle class; rather, they also stand to lose a whole set of social connections that structure their lives and give them meaning. As an “earned” identity slips out of their reach, they are likely to default to an “ascriptive” identity–making their ethnicity, their religion, and their nationality more central to their worldview (pp. 232-33).
The elitism, materialism, and condescension of this claim is typically Jewish. Unfamiliar with the networks of meaning to be found in actual working-class lives, and unable to relate to authentic and deeply-rooted ties to a territorially-based community, all the Jew can see is a competing racial collectivity that must be pathologized. And even if we assume that race, ethnicity, and nationality are not central or even meaningful to the worldview of workers outside of economic downturns, why must there be a return to a prioritization of meaning through employment? Following a discussion of the differences in senses of community between the factory worker and the typical Uber driver (the former providing a strong sense of community, while the latter not), Mounk writes that “a new sense of pride in a very different kind of mass employment is needed” (p. 235). It doesn’t occur to him that the problem might not be the work or work environment at all, but the community in which the work takes place.
The last chapter in his section on solutions is entitled “Renewing Civic Faith,” and, for those who have been paying attention, it will be come as no surprise that the first part encourages private companies to crack down on “hate speech” and “fake news.” But part of the reason for the rise in such things in the first place – as well as the spread of “conspiracy theories,” he suggests – is that the public has increasingly lost faith in politicians, and that governments have become less transparent. Though this is a problem far more complex than space allows in his book, he really does not offer much to his readers other than suggesting that the influence of money be reduced in politics. He also worries about the state of education, in particular the university system: people are no longer familiar with basic civics, while university educations “leave many students feeling that a disdain for our inherited political institutions is a hallmark of intellectual sophistication” (p. 249). When this happens, the world gets . . . another American President beholden to Israel without the guts to close the border and start mass deportations?
In his concluding chapter, aptly entitled “Fighting for Our Convictions,” Mounk, like other Jewish authors, who have been made very nervous by the rise of white political consciousness ends with more or less explicit calls to violent action. He writes, “If I wait for imminent danger to figure out what risks I am willing to take, I am likely to lose myself in the one moment that truly counts” (p. 265); “If we are to do the right thing at the decisive hour, we need to be willing to make a real sacrifice” (p. 265); “We can take to the streets to stand up to the populists” (pp. 265-66); and, “Nobody can promise us a happy end. But those of us who truly care about our values and our institutions are determined to fight for our convictions without regard for the consequences” (p. 266).
We see in this book the same things we see in other “age of Trump” literature, especially that of Jews: fear of white identity politics, anxiety provoked by nationalism, calls for restrictions in some form or another on free speech, the insistence on the inevitability of a multiracial future, the unquestioned acceptance of globalism, and calls for active resistance framed in such a way that any reasonable person could easily interpret them as being suggestive of violence. These people are hiding nothing. They tailor their words for different audiences, but the message is the same. Fortunately, the message is not only built on lies and deceptions, but is tedious and trite.
Though the author demonstrates little of the panic of some other authors, one gets the distinct sense that these people are trying every tactic they can, hoping to connect to impressionable minds, and that this is just another such approach. This book contains nothing more than an argument for a marginal de-escalation in the pace of the Judeo-capitalist steamroller. The author merely wants to maintain the status quo for as long as possible – and that always means suppressing dissent. And in the West, that always means white racial consciousness. The only concern shown for the white majority is how to keep them placated as their communities are torn apart by immigration, how to keep them silent when they get angry, and how to keep them from feeling racial solidarity in the face of overwhelming hordes of hostile foreign races swarming into the countries of their ancestors without their consent. Mounk would rather whites find meaning in the name of the company on their paychecks than in something as profound as their race, their nation, or their religion. Although he is far from alone in this sickness, he is also not alone in his intellectual bankruptcy and soullessness, and others will realize this far sooner than he and his fellow subversives think.
 Francis Fukuyama’s praise of the book is quoted on the back cover.
 It must be mentioned that the author engages in a deliberate attempt to smear American Renaissance and Vdare here. In a paragraph concerning the 2016 presidential election, he writes:
Many of the stories fabricated and disseminated on portals like Vdare, InfoWars, and American Renaissance were so far-fetched or gory that it was difficult to see how anybody could believe them. “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President,” one headline screeched. “Bombshell: Hillary Clinton’s Satanic Network Exposed” another proclaimed (p. 145).
Unsurprisingly, when one checks his citations, one sees that those stories were not from either Vdare or American Renaissance.
 See Donald Thoresen, “Imagined Objections: Deconstructing Anti-Nationalism in Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communites,” Counter-Currents, January 18, 2018.