1/20/17. Wall Street Journal
The Promise of President Trump: Shelby Steele
‘Mr. Trump’s special charisma is that he seems to function entirely outside the framework of today’s cultural liberalism.’By
Photo: Rita Steele Perhaps the greatest problem with post-1960s liberalism is that, in the end, it is always driven by dreams. No matter the circumstances, it always sees the way ahead in idealisms that are static rather than dynamic: “equality” in which injustice is anything less than perfect parity between all people; “diversity” that is color-coded and optically correct; stressless “spaces” of social and moral perfection. This liberalism was born of the shame America came to feel after acknowledging in the 1960s its history of racism and sexism. The essence is a longing for innocence against the accusations of history. If the intentions were good, the actual practice has been disastrous. The War on Poverty, the Great Society, affirmative action, political correctness—all this failure reveals a stopgap liberalism of expedience that sought only the fastest route back to moral authority and thus to power. Beyond this it was all dreams and self-congratulation.Mr. Trump’s special charisma is that he seems to function entirely outside the framework of today’s cultural liberalism. I hope he will not be a “redemptive” president, as his predecessor longed to be. There should be no posture of contrition, no undercurrent of apology, when he discusses social inequities. Inequality is a fact, a problem that will—fairly or unfairly—require pragmatic solutions and something close to heroism in those who suffer it. No government can change this.