Trump’s insistence that a martial response is required reflects an inability to think about collective action outside the realm of war and the nation state.
The danger lies in seeing Trump or Brexit as an aberration, rather than a reaction to and by-product of liberalism. The received wisdom is that liberalism is somehow virtuous and inherently good. But this formulation makes it impossible to understand why politicians saying openly fascistic things are garnering wide support in supposedly principled liberal democracies.
Democratic states have only ever existed as an ideal – an abstraction more malleable than is often acknowledged and a form of government utterly incompatible with capitalism. ‘We must make our choice,’ warned the American jurist Louis Brandeis, ‘[w]e may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.’ There can be no compromise because between the two because the concentration of economic power is inherently undemocratic.