The common man

“Nothing has yet been said of the great body of the people, of those who held the ploughs, who tended the oxen, who toiled at the looms of Norwich, and squared the Portland stone for Saint Paul’s. Nor can very much be said. The most numerous class is precisely the class respecting which we have the most meagre information. In those times (circa 1685) philanthropists did not yet regard it as a sacred duty, nor had demagogues yet found it a lucrative trade, to talk and write about the distress of the labourer. ”

Excerpt From
The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 1
Thomas Babington Macaulay

The attraction of Donald J. Trump to the “base” is reportedly unprecedented.  For those of us looking on, the allure is at times disturbing. The alliance between the likes of Trump (with his golden toilets) and the oft-times comic masses is inexpressible. Upon analysis the governance putatively derives from the comingling of a soap box orator and the perceived danger or hardship of the audience. This is said to be the domain of the rabble-rouser or troublemaker. The nutrition of the acknowledgement by the demagogue feeds what seems to be a gluttonous herd focussed solely upon its perceived perils. Whatever the magic of the union it presents a formidable alliance for anyone in its path. Time and again, logic and morality have given way to selfishness and gullibility. Meanwhile it is clear that the human bulwarks supporting these airy projections are deriving their own superlative perquisites which seldom have any coincidence with the common man.

Given the American apocryphal history of support of the tired and destitute of the world, it smacks of unpatriotic to doubt the bona fides of the masses as they endeavour to Make America Great Again. The debate surrounding political choice and the well being of the country rapidly becomes less than dynamic as the boundaries of everything narrows with one objective in mind; namely, back to the good ‘ole days of being White, Christian, Middle-class, complacent and quiet. Whatever may be said for or against either side of the aisle in this on-going debate, I am constantly persuaded not by magnanimity or beneficence; rather by the practical acknowledgement that improvement of any class of society is a benefit for all. There is the opportunity to turn the advantage of numbers to our credit rather than to our opposition. The perceived simple solution of building a wall for example is nothing more than trite metaphor by a man who sounds almost illiterate. He has proven himself to be mendacious to the first order. The ignorance of his supporters on this point is incontrovertible evidence of mutual disregard for truth. Small wonder the Republican Party is mired in disrepute.

“The more carefully we examine the history of the past, the more reason shall we find to dissent from those who imagine that our age has been fruitful of new social evils. The truth is that the evils are, with scarcely an exception, old. That which is new is the intelligence which discerns and the humanity which remedies them.”

“The general effect of the evidence which has been submitted to the reader seems hardly to admit of doubt. Yet, in spite of evidence, many will still image to themselves the England of the Stuarts as a more pleasant country than the England in which we live. It may at first sight seem strange that society, while constantly moving forward with eager speed, should be constantly looking backward with tender regret. But these two propensities, inconsistent as they may appear, can easily be resolved into the same principle. Both spring from our impatience of the state in which we actually are. That impatience, while it stimulates us to surpass preceding generations, disposes us to overrate their happiness. It is, in some sense, unreasonable and ungrateful in us to be constantly discontented with a condition which is constantly improving. But, in truth, there is constant improvement precisely because there is constant discontent. If we were perfectly satisfied with the present, we should cease to contrive, to labour, and to save with a view to the future. And it is natural that, being dissatisfied with the present, we should form a too favourable estimate of the past.”