Saturday, November 19, 2016

Negation and skipping classes

I share Arnold Kling's enthusiasm for Martin Gurri's The Revolt of the Public. Here is Kling's review. When you read the book, try to keep in mind that it was published in 2014. I hope the author made many bets on the recent election. I expect he would have bet on a Trump win -- and made a lot of money. That does not mean I see Gurri as a fan of Trump.

There is little I can add to Kling's review. Gurri writes about recent political protest movements in Egypt, Spain, Israel and the U.S.  He notes, "Like their brethren in Spain and Israel, the OWS [Occupy Wall Street] protesters were energized primarily by the force of their repudiations. They made no demands, but felt free to accuse. The objects of their loathing -- a predatory economic system, a corrupted government, a society ruled by money -- united them in a way that common goals did not. They spread the notion that the top 1 percent of Americans tyrannized the bottom 99 -- and that they, a handful of white, middle-class youngsters, represented the vast American public, the people in revolt. OWS injected these once-marginal attitudes into the mainstream, where they became fodder for liberal politicians. The romance of condemnation, in my judgment, has become the most conspicuous feature of Obama's mode of governance ..." (loc 1904 on Kindle).

More negation and protest than demands. Post-election, young people protest Trump by boycotting their college classes. What's to lose? If they still graduate, do most of them care about missing a few lectures?  Any bets that most of them are not from college majors where hard content is taught? Or perhaps they can get academic credit writing papers on what all makes them feel bad. Do not bet against it.

Read Gurri's book.