Richard Rorty’s prediction about the rise of a “strongman” is going viral on social media. It is perhaps quite ironic that twenty years ago, a leftist philosopher predicted the rise of a personality identical to the president elect Donald J. Trump.
In 1998, Richard Rorty published “Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America”, describing the breakdown of the left-wing coalition. He warned that as democratic institutions would begin to fail, the workers would realize that governments were not going to help them. The job insecurity will be on a rise and the workers would feel isolated. They would realize that the middle classes would also not come forward to help them. At such a point, Rorty wrote, “something will crack.”
“The non-suburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for – someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots.”
The old philosopher’s prophecy seems to be coming true with the success of the 45th president of the United States of America. The people have chosen him as the “strong man” as described in Rorty’s prediction.