Josh Lowe, socialist staff writer for Newsweek, has recently filed a few short blogs following President Trump’s ongoing trip to Europe—with a special emphasis on his widely-deemed-to-be-successful first stop in Poland. Lowe writes, condescendingly:
“It was part Polish history lesson, part foreign policy address, part full-throated call to “defend the West” (whatever that might mean), [and] you’d be forgiven for finding it a little confusing.”
Wholly in line with the slant of the outlet employing him, Lowe’s attempts to sublimate a vague bias—in this case, a feigned confusion—onto the reader are a bit too obvious. What is the premise from which he writes backwards? While regular Newsweek readers may indeed be much more suggestible than readers of independent publications, Lowe’s intellectual dishonesty comes off as either the typically voguish self-loathing of fashionable liberals, or something worse: an ignorance inexcusable for a journalist.
Who’s afraid of a polish handshake every now and then?
After all, has Lowe missed the ongoing terrorist attacks, nuclear armament of rogue nations, increasingly destabilized Middle East, trade wars, waves of violent migration, and hollowing out of the industrial capacity of the Western population base? What could be confusing about a call to (metaphorically) defend the countries and alliances that make up the (metaphorical) West, as opposed to a (metaphorical) call to defend some other (metaphorical) compass direction? Does Lowe not consider himself Western in his values? If not, why not? He continues:
“Trump: ’The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.’
Translation: Trump painted the external struggle against threats like violent extremists as being tied to an internal struggle to defend supposed ‘Western values.’”
Again, it’s not clear what rhetorical work Lowe expects the word “supposed” to do here, but of course the rote, baseless, and blathersome questioning of the Western tradition is, oddly and sadly, a stylish accessory of the righteously-unwitting-PR-functionary-posing-as-journalist class. Are the great universities of England and Europe no longer steeped in the Western values that built and animated them—and that they have indeed been tasked in upholding?
And wait a minute. . . didn’t Lowe go to Oxford—an utter bastion of the “supposed” Western-tradition-as-such?
“Trump’s affirmation of U.S.-European ties was wrapped into an account of Western civilization’s superiority that will go down very well with the more hard-right sections of his support base.
Europe and America, Trump said, are great because they celebrate ‘ancient heroes,’ ‘write symphonies,’ observe ‘timeless customs,’ ‘cherish inspiring works of art,’ defend ‘the rule of law’ and ‘empower women as pillars of our society.’”
I don’t know, man. That still all seems like great and normal stuff to want to cherish—I, for one, fucking love symphonies. . . who would disagree?—and the fact that Newsweek would frame these ideas as particular to a “hard-right base” is pretty much hard-wrong.