[Marxism] Fwd: David Runciman · Is this how democracy ends?: A Failed State? · LRB 1 December 2016

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Nov 26 07:04:56 MST 2016

Meanwhile, the real long-term threats faced by American society will 
continue unaddressed. By fixing on the risks of direct political 
violence, we set a low bar that Trump will be able to clear with 
relative ease. The truly destructive violence of American society takes 
place under the surface and often passes unnoticed by all except its 
victims. It is the violence of a prison system that incarcerates and 
disenfranchises significant segments of the adult population, especially 
young African-American men. It is the epidemic of white-on-white 
violence that is estimated to have cost the lives of nearly a hundred 
thousand Americans since 1999 and yet has remained more or less 
invisible, until noticed by the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton in 
a paper published in 2015. These deaths are the result of self-inflicted 
violence, either suicides or drug and alcohol overdoses (‘poisonings’ in 
the language of the report), particularly affecting white Americans 
living in the parts of the country that voted overwhelmingly for Trump – 
the South, the Appalachians, the Rust Belt. People in these communities 
are far more likely to kill themselves than they are to kill others, and 
they are dying younger than their parents did, a trend that is unique in 
a developed society. Trump’s victory might provide the victims of this 
epidemic with superficial respite – including the chance to direct some 
of their self-loathing outwards – but it will do little to address the 
causes of their underlying hopelessness. America is a society where many 
working-age people have given up and others have had their chance for a 
decent life taken from them by a violently punitive criminal justice 
system. If it is failing, it is failing here. When the Trump bubble 
bursts, there won’t have been a reckoning with this reality. But there 
will be an ever greater sense of betrayal.

full: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n23/david-runciman/is-this-how-democracy-ends

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