I don’t know what news to believe any more. It didn’t used to be this way. It used to be that you turned on the radio or TV and you got news out of it like you got water out of a tap, or cornflakes out of a Cornflakes packet.
Now we’ve got “fake news”. And one bunch of “news” sources calling other news sources “fake”. According to Donald Trump – who happens to be the newly-elected President of the United States, and pretty much the most powerful man in the world -, the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN and a whole bunch of other US news sources are publishing “fake news”, mostly about him. It’s really a war between the new online media and the old newspaper and TV media, the so-called MainStream Media or MSM. “Don’t believe them!” one bunch yells. “Don’t believe them either!” the other side yells back.
There’s a media civil war under way in the USA. I’m not even sure Trump even lets NYT or WaPo or CNN reporters come to White House press conferences any more. Perhaps he does. I don’t know.
And the two sides inhabit separate realities. In the Trump reality, Trump is a canny businessman who’s going to Make America Great Again. And in the anti-Trump reality, Trump is a sort of Hitler supported by millions of knuckle-dragging American conservative rednecks, who’s going to tear up more or less everything that previous US presidents worked to build.
In many ways, the two realities are an Old Reality and a New Reality. Trump’s reality is actually an old reality. It’s the American reality of the 1950s, when Eisenhower was President. It’s apple-pie America, Chevrolet America, Coca-Cola America, Elvis America, Marlboro America, and Screaming-Eagles America. Trump is attempting a restoration of that America. It’s Brand Name America, and Trump himself is a brand name.
The New Reality is something that’s been slowly eating the Old Reality for the past 50 years or more. It’s environmentalist Green feminist America. And in this new reality, Marlboros give you lung cancer, and so does Coca Cola and Chevrolets and apple pie. The new realists see the old America as something poisonous that needs to be killed, and replaced with an egalitarian, socialist state – much like the EU or the old Soviet Union -, powered by windmills and solar panels, devoid of industry because industry creates carbon dioxide (or maybe just carbon) that causes global warming. The New Reality is also globalist: there are no longer to be separate nations and peoples: we are to belong to a single global rainbow nation.
The Old Realists smoked tobacco and drank beer. The New Realists smoke pot and drink latte. And the New Realists are trying to completely dismantle and expunge the Old Reality. They’re not just trying to stamp out smoking and drinking, but also the nation, the church (all except Islam, maybe), schools, marriages, everything. They’re attempting the complete demolition of an entire culture.
I used to be something of a New Realist. I was a bit of an environmentalist. And a bit of a pot smoker. And a bit Green. And a bit pro-feminist. And a bit socialist. And a bit Europhile. I was an all-round part-time Progressive.
But somehow or other I gradually got disenchanted with it all, and have become increasingly re-enamoured with the Old Reality that I remember from my childhood, when everyone smoked and drank, and flew the flag, and went to church, and got married, and raised kids on apple pie and Coca Cola. I’ve become something of a Conservative.
For I think the Old Reality was better than the New Reality. If nothing else, the Old Reality wasn’t as poisoned as the New Reality, which is full of toxins like tobacco, alcohol, sugar, salt, fat, meat, carbon dioxide, carbon, industry, cars, trucks, radioactive fall-out, chemtrails. The list is endless. It’s no wonder that a lot of people are looking for “safe spaces” in this increasingly suffocating and poisoned world. In the Old Reality, none of these things were poisonous. Now everything’s got health warnings on it.
In many ways, modern populism is a re-assertion of the Old Realities. The Old Reality of separate nation states, separate peoples, separate sexes, separate ownership, in the face of a socialised, homogenised, blended New Reality in which everything is the same. Perhaps it’s a kind of restatement of The Eternal Verities. Of Up being different from Down, and of Left being different from Right, and boys being different from girls, and Heaven being different from Hell.
I think that maybe people have just had enough of the New Reality of transgender bathrooms, gay marriage, and the conformist NewSpeak that goes with it. It once all looked so nice and Green and open. But the New Reality gradually became a prison. Things were much better the way they used to be, back in the 1950s. They weren’t perfect, by any means, but they were better than the poisoned, regulated, censored world we’ve got right now.
I don’t think Donald Trump will ever make America Great Again. I think that era is over. Much like the British Empire is over. And the Roman Empire too. But there might be some sort of restoration, much like there was a Restoration of the king and the old order after the Cromwellian puritan era in England circa 1650. But it won’t be quite the same as it used to be.
There’s a war being fought, between Old and New. Between an old culture and a new culture, all over the world. If the new culture wins, we’re going to be even more censored and regulated than we already are. But if the old culture wins, we’ll again see pubs and restaurants with people smoking cigarettes and drinking beer and eating meat and fat and salt and apple pie covered in double cream, before getting back into their gas-guzzling Chevrolets and driving off in a cloud of smoke.
But that’s just a guess.