“The values that have guided the republic since its beginning are no longer taken seriously. Behind them is the cynicism of power and the sale of political power for money.”
The public discourse is heated, the language inflammatory. Philosopher Hans Sluga of the University of California, Berkeley, brings a cool head and rational thinking to his interview about our 45th president, Donald Trump, with Entitled Opinions host Robert Harrison.
Trump has been a real estate developer, a reality TV star, a prolific tweeter, a politician, and has changed his party affiliation seven or eight times. Is he a fascist? Sluga, author of Wittgenstein and Heidegger’s Crisis, warns against easy tags: “We’ve drained this word of much of its specific meaning.” Fascism, he says, “is a form of statism quite different from what we have in America today.”
Is he a populist? That’s not clear, either. “Plutocrat,” the term Aristotle used to describe the rule of the rich, might be a more precise characterization. Sluga says we might turn to the world of real estate to understand Trump’s worldview.
“Plutocrats have interests that any ruler has: to be legitimized, to be accepted by the population.”
Check out other conversations at entitledopinions.stanford.edu