Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Berning Trumpeters vs The Establishment

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Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Logg » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:14 pm

Has this been posted here yet? A fascinating read.

https://www.thenation.com/article/this-political-theorist-predicted-the-rise-of-trumpism-his-name-was-hunter-s-thompson/

An excerpt:

Most people read Hell’s Angels for the lurid stories of sex and drugs. But that misses the point entirely. What’s truly shocking about reading the book today is how well Thompson foresaw the retaliatory, right-wing politics that now goes by the name of Trumpism. After following the motorcycle guys around for months, Thompson concluded that the most striking thing about them was not their hedonism but their “ethic of total retaliation” against a technologically advanced and economically changing America in which they felt they’d been counted out and left behind. Thompson saw the appeal of that retaliatory ethic. He claimed that a small part of every human being longs to burn it all down, especially when faced with great and impersonal powers that seem hostile to your very existence. In the United States, a place of ever greater and more impersonal powers, the ethic of total retaliation was likely to catch on.

What made that outcome almost certain, Thompson thought, was the obliviousness of Berkeley, California, types who, from the safety of their cocktail parties, imagined that they understood and represented the downtrodden. The Berkeley types, Thompson thought, were not going to realize how presumptuous they had been until the downtrodden broke into one of those cocktail parties and embarked on a campaign of rape, pillage, and slaughter. For Thompson, the Angels weren’t important because they heralded a new movement of cultural hedonism, but because they were the advance guard for a new kind of right-wing politics. As Thompson presciently wrote in the Nation piece he later expanded on in Hell’s Angels, that kind of politics is “nearly impossible to deal with” using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favorite tools of the left.

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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Higgs Bossom » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:26 pm

I think that is pretty on point. See hardhat construction workers cracking skulls for Nixon as more of the same. The Berkeley types also helped politicize the military officer corps. 40-50 years ago the officer corps were not very partisan and mostly apolitical. Then the Berkeley types kept the military from recruiting at many universities. Now, the officer corps is overwhelming Republican. The two are related.

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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Logg » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:42 pm

Higgs Bossom wrote:I think that is pretty on point. See hardhat construction workers cracking skulls for Nixon as more of the same. The Berkeley types also helped politicize the military officer corps. 40-50 years ago the officer corps were not very partisan and mostly apolitical. Then the Berkeley types kept the military from recruiting at many universities. Now, the officer corps is overwhelming Republican. The two are related.


Great points.

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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Shavenhead » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:10 pm

Fear & loathing in Amerikkka.
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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by section8 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:54 pm

The Berkeley types also helped politicize the military officer corps. 40-50 years ago the officer corps were not very partisan and mostly apolitical. Then the Berkeley types kept the military from recruiting at many universities. Now, the officer corps is overwhelming Republican. The two are related.


How many universities, besides UC Berkeley, have banned campus recruiters?

The two are related but there's many factors that have had a greater influence, and the officer corps isn't particularly politicized. It certainly leans republican, as the enlisted ranks do, but compared to any number of republican-heavy industries I don't think it is, and overt political activity is frowned upon and can lead to very bad things if you engage in it.

I think the end of the draft had a far greater influence, for example.
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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Higgs Bossom » Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:29 pm

For a start I found this article:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2 ... -usmi.html

Five of eight Ivy League schools including Columbia uninvited the military's Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC program, after that war. "I recognize that there are students here who have differences in terms of military policy," Obama said during the forum at his alma mater Sept. 11. "But the notion that young people here at Columbia or anywhere, in any university, aren't offered the choice, the option of participating in military service, I think is a mistake."

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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Higgs Bossom » Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:47 pm

Here is another. It is also a little dated like the other article I linked. I bet it is even more pronounced now than just 4 years ago.

http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/05/do ... epublican/

Indeed, there has been a conservative drift among U.S. military officers since the draft ended. In a 2009 survey of 4,000 Army officers, Heidi Urben, an active-duty officer and doctoral candidate at Georgetown University, found that between 1976 and 1996, the share of senior military officers identifying itself as Republican jumped from one-third to two-thirds, while those claiming to be moderates fell from 46% to 22%.


So to review, the US currently has a militarized police state with an armed forces led by an increasingly, not just Republican, but conservative/right wing, officer corps. Throw in an authoritarian president with a compliant congress that has a weak, dysfunctional, and ineffective opposition . . . maybe someone else can come up with a positive trend line out of all this. I personally can't see this ending anyway but badly. Or, things will get worse before they get better. I certainly don't see an easy way out.

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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by section8 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:58 pm

I'm not arguing there isn't a conservative or republican tilt. I've seen that first hand and it wasn't a surprise.

I don't think the fact that a handful of universities got rid of their ROTC programs is a significant factor. At all. You could probably convince me that the campus bans are a symptom of a wider societal issue though.

The second article you linked to kind of backs me up with the first sentence you quoted. The problem isn't conservatives taking anything over since the draft ended, it's that liberals no longer feel they need to show up.
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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Higgs Bossom » Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:10 pm

section8 wrote:The second article you linked to kind of backs me up with the first sentence you quoted. The problem isn't conservatives taking anything over since the draft ended, it's that liberals no longer feel they need to show up.


Yes, that is the point I was trying to make. My criticism is not with conservatives. The Berkeley type liberals, similar to the modern left college liberal types, like to shut out opinions of those that they disagree. The head in the sand approach or like a child putting his head under the covers to make the monster go away. Now, in part, that liberal approach has helped lead to a more conservative officer corps. Liberals have done the same with their political approach to ignore large swathes of the country. That approach has helped usher in a far more conservative politics as well. There is no moderating force when the left refuses to engage the right. All those staunch Red States have moved further to the right because there is no opposition.

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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Annotated » Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:14 pm

The article (and Thompson) is simply putting current terms onto an age-old human dynamic.

Nothing really prescient here.

It's like one of those quotes you see by some old bugger complaining about the new generation that seems so apt, then the punchline is that it's from 1745.
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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Logg » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:45 am

section8 wrote:
The Berkeley types also helped politicize the military officer corps. 40-50 years ago the officer corps were not very partisan and mostly apolitical. Then the Berkeley types kept the military from recruiting at many universities. Now, the officer corps is overwhelming Republican. The two are related.


How many universities, besides UC Berkeley, have banned campus recruiters?

The two are related but there's many factors that have had a greater influence, and the officer corps isn't particularly politicized. It certainly leans republican, as the enlisted ranks do, but compared to any number of republican-heavy industries I don't think it is, and overt political activity is frowned upon and can lead to very bad things if you engage in it.

I think the end of the draft had a far greater influence, for example.


I took Higgs' point about the ROTC in a broader 50-year context. My understanding was that as a direct result of the antiwar and student movements of the late Sixties, the ROTC ended up enjoying a greatly diminished role on campuses in general starting around 1969-70; in more than just a few cases being removed from campuses altogether, but I could be wrong about that total number.

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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Moethebartender » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:06 pm

Interesting article Stu, thanks for posting that.
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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Unwashed_Pom » Fri Dec 23, 2016 5:24 am

The Berkeley types, Thompson thought, were not going to realize how presumptuous they had been until the downtrodden broke into one of those cocktail parties and embarked on a campaign of rape, pillage, and slaughter.


They might have been downtrodden in the immediate aftermath of the war but by the late sixties Barger and co. were organized thugs living it large.

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Re: Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels, and Trump

Post by Unwashed_Pom » Fri Dec 23, 2016 5:26 am

And probably on the door at those very same cocktail parties.

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