This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism

You might not think of him as a political theorist but Hunter S. Thompson certainly was (among a great number of other things). In the process of researching his infamous Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Thompson came face to face with what he called 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.

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.

Sound familiar?

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