I have been wondering about this since the election. GOP public intellectuals fled Trump like scalded cats after the election and it doesn’t look like any of them are coming back. What does this mean from a social physics perspective? Can a political movement survive totally bereft of intellectual and scientific support? Historically communist and fascist movements have rejected scientists and intellectuals, indeed even imprisoned or killed them. If you wonder where Patterico, Ed Morrissey, Allahpundit, Iowahawk, etc have gone you can find them sleazing around PopeHat’s TL sometimes (without expressing a nanoparticle of remorse for causing the Trump Event with decades of abject pandering to the GOP base.) George Will has entirely left the building.
Here is a convo between Ross Douthat and David Frum, and even Ross cant manage to squeeze out anything better than Trump has only caused a fall of two steps, rather than the header off the landing we were expecting.
DOUTHAT: That’s fair, but if the danger was taking a header off the landing, and instead we’ve just rolled down a step or two, I’m not going to apologize for feeling a provisional relief.
Pretty weak support for Trump– hes not as bad as we feared he would be…yet.
This however is spot on.
FRUM: Your use of the word “unilaterally” casts a useful clarifying light on what may be the foundation of our disagreement. Let me be very clear what I do not mean by “Trumpocracy,” at least not yet: Caesarism. The authoritarian-nationalist system Trump is building is not being built against Congress, but with Congress — and even more, with Republican Parties at the state level. The big reveal to Republicans in the second Obama term, continuing now into the first Trump term, is that you and Reihan Salam and Ramesh Ponnuru and Henry Olsen and other “reformicons” were right on the politics of Paul Ryan-style conservatism: Such politics simply could not prevail in a free and fair democratic contest.
And there is the rub– culture evolves. Republican ideology is less appealing every year– the Cambrian explosion in Machine Learning and Robotics is going to fiercely favor a younger, more educated workforce. Educational attainment is a definitive marker for anti-GOP voters. The GOP simply has no recourse but to cheat.
I get really bored when the “rationalists” at SSC cite the Iterated Prisoners Dilemma as “proof” that defectors will fail. From a text book, The Calculus of Selfishness, by Karl Sigmund:
My hypothesis is that the GOP AllD strategy has invaded the previous bipartisan, cooperative, reciprocal AllC strategy– the normative state of the US democratic republic. But given evolution of culture and society in the US…what alternative does the GOP have?
This is true.
FRUM: Instead, they [the GOP] concluded: “What if we shaped the electorate to be a little more friendly to us? Might our formerly unpopular ideas prevail then?” The G.O.P. is complicit with Trump because he delivered a success that finer leaders and better methods could not deliver. Trumpocracy is the fusion of Trump’s authoritarian instincts with the G.O.P.’s plutocratic instincts in the context of a country trending in very different directions.
As American society trends more diverse, more feministic, and most importantly– more educated, there is no future for a GOP that constantly looks backwards and basically has no intellectual class to promote its ideology. Much like the Know-Nothing Party, the GOP is doomed to extinction.