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Chinese Intellectuals who support Trump, from Peter Myers

Chinese Intellectuals who support Trump; Steve Bannon cf Putin advisor Aleksandr Dugin(1) Chinese Intellectuals who support Trump(2) Sun Liping,  "Trump’s Attack on Political Correctness"(3) Wang Jianxun, "What Trump Plans Is A Return to the ‘American Spirit’"(4) Cui Zhiyuan, Comparing the Ideas of Trump’s Former Advisor Steve Bannon and Putin Advisor Aleksandr Dugin(1) Chinese Intellectuals who support Trump Intellectuals who support Trump15/7/2020New this fortnight:  Chinese intellectuals who support Trump.  I had encountered such people in passing before, and dismissed them as strategic thinkers of the "the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend" variety, in other words, Liberals who hoped Trump would be a thorn in Xi Jinping’s side. But having read Lin Yao’s fascinating piece on "Beaconism and the Trumpian Metamorphosis of Chinese Liberal Intellectuals," and having discussed the issue with the Wall Street Journal’s Sha Hua, who is writing her own piece on the question, I decided to take a closer look.  The three texts translated from Liberal authors offer variations on a theme:  the sociologist Sun Liping praises Trump for attacking political correctness, comparing this attack to the "liberate thought" movement in China in the early 1980s, and suggesting that both represent a return to "normal;"  legal scholar Wang Jianxun praises Trump for restoring the "American spirit," which he defines as "Ayn Rand plus the Bible;" the well-known constitutional scholar Gao Quanxi (together with his colleague Tian Feilong) sees both Trump’s election and Brexit in England as the return of a sensible "Burkean" conservatism, successfully challenging a "borderless" expansion of rights discourse.  The fourth text, by the well-known New Left political scientist Cui Zhiyuan reveals a surprising fascination with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.  No author mentions Trump’s anti-China rhetoric, and all treat Trump’s rhetoric with what to me was a suprising seriousness. and the Trumpian Metamorphosis of Chinese Liberal Intellectuals Journal of Contemporary China(2020), DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2020.176691120 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2020 Last revised: 18 May 2020Yao LinYale University, Law SchoolDate Written: January 28, 2020AbstractThis article examines the puzzling phenomenon that many Chinese liberal intellectuals fervently idolize Donald Trump and embrace the alt-right ideologies he epitomizes. Rejecting ‘pure tactic’ and ‘neoliberal affinity’ explanations, it argues that the Trumpian metamorphosis of Chinese liberal intellectuals is precipitated by their ‘beacon complex’, which has ‘political’ and ‘civilizational’ components. Political beaconism grows from the traumatizing lived experience of Maoist totalitarianism, sanitizes the West and particularly the United States as politically near-perfect, and gives rise to both a neoliberal affinity and a latent hostility toward baizuo. Civilizational beaconism, sharing with its nationalistic counterpart — civilizational vindicativism — the heritages of scientific racism and social Darwinism imported in late-Qing, renders the Chinese liberal intelligentsia receptive to anti-immigrant and Islamophobic paranoia, exacerbates its anti-baizuo sentiments, and catalyzes its Trumpian convergence with Chinese non-liberals.46 This projected paranoia about the 'Fall of Western Civilization' is widely echoed among Chinese liberal intellectuals. Especially since the EU's 2015 refugee crisis, it has become increasingly typical of a Chinese liberal to chide western baizuo for being too 'soft' on Muslim and non-white immigrants -for naively providing multicultural accommodations and 'politicalcorrectness' protections to 'inferiors' and 'barbarians' who are flooding into the 'civilized' world and sabotaging it from within by sheer number. Indeed, after the aforementioned 2017 Harvard talk by Gao Quanxi, his disciple came to his defense by invoking a characteristically beaconist analogy: Professor Gao is without doubt a 'barbarian visiting Rome' who has a deeper recognition of the greatness of Rome, and defends its civilization more fiercely, than native-born Romans, because it is a civilization that reflects his own ideal, something he yearns American and European liberal democracies may have already come to 'tipping points' of demographic suicide, as 'white-European Americans are now less than 2/3 of the American population while Muslims exceed 5% of the European populationConsequentlyEven those who hesitate to take sides are ready to exonerate Trump' manifest racism, deny the role of 'crude "white supremacist" prejudices' in his rise, and assert that it was instead reversely discriminatory 'racial policies (and immigration policies) by the government [in the past] and race-talks by [leftwing] cultural elites' that had inflamed white people's legitimate racial resentment.(2) Sun Liping,  "Trump’s Attack on Political Correctness" Liping,  "Trump’s Attack on Political Correctness"Sun Liping, "The Whole World May Have Missed This Signal: Trump’s Attack on Political Correctness"[1]Introduction and Translation by David OwnbyIntroductionSun Liping (b. 1955) is Professor of Sociology at Tsinghua University and a leading public intellectual in China.  Over the course of his long and prolific career, his research has focused on a wide variety of issues, most related to the question of the effects of China’s economic transformation on China’s society.  He writes as a liberal, as illustrated by his well-known 2009 essay, "The Biggest Threat to China is not Social Turmoil but Social Decay," in which he interrogates the cost of the state’s overweening emphasis on "stability." Several of Sun’s texts are readily available in English translation on the web; your favorite web browser will find them for you.Sun is also a frequent blogger, or WeChat user, and my impression is that the text translated below came from his WeChat channel, although I have been unable to trace it all the way back to its origin; it is widely available on the Internet in any event.Sun’s message is seemingly simple:  American President Donald Trump is attacking political correctness, and this is a good thing.  Sun’s framing of his comment is equally simple:  he was writing a piece about the importance of the "liberate thought" movement to the success of reform and opening in the early 1980s, and realized that Trump was attempting to "liberate thought" in the United States.Most of the rest of Sun’s text reads to me like filler.  His insights into the origins of political correctness are not overwhelming, and are largely limited to his observation that political correctness has become a sort of "ideological shackle" for the United States, limiting freedom of thought and action.  It is entirely possible, of course, that Sun is engaging in the ancient Chinese strategy of "pointing at the mulberry tree but cursing the locust tree ????," or criticizing under cover of analogy.  Arguably, the burden of "political correctness" is much greater in Xi Jinping’s China than in Donald Trump’s America, particularly for liberal intellectuals like Sun. Readers will make up their own minds.TranslationA few days ago, I was writing an essay and was in the middle of this sentence :  "Forty years ago, in the process of reform and opening, how did we break through our ideological shackles, and what prospects did the destruction of our ideological prison open up for this process?"As I was writing this, it suddenly occurred to me that a similar thing is happening right now.  What thing?  Well, yes, it’s Trump and his attack on political correctness.  This is very similar to the movement to liberate thought in our early reform and opening period, that broke through our intellectual shackles.I should note that Trump’s attack has been commented on superficially in the media and by scholars, but the true significance of the attack seems to have been underestimated throughout the entire world.  I’ll put it this way.  If you still don’t understand this, or if you are like some people and talk about this mockingly or sarcastically, then you may well wind up being an object of ridicule yourself.You know that with this attack, a profound change in the social and intellectual culture of the United States may be taking place. And this transformation will have a crucial impact on the future direction of the United States and even on the evolution of the entire world scene.Let me back up and give you a little background to Trump’s challenge. We all know that the United States is a unique country, a country that is both young and mature.  In terms of youth, America was founded only in 1776, which means that its history is only a little more than two centuries old.  Among the great powers of the world, America’s history is the shortest, and we can say that America is a young country.Yet from another perspective, America is a fairly mature country. This maturity is not only expressed in the institutions created by the deep reflections of America’s founding fathers, but also in the fact that in recent years, particularly after WWII, America became the world’s most important leader, or perhaps its sole leader, and in this process accumulated important cultural achievements.  This accumulation is embodied in the results produced by American civilization, but at the same time stands out as a responsibility that America, as an overweening power, owes to the world. From another perspective, however, this accumulation has, by now, slowly turned into a burden, a kind of shackle America has placed on itself, a kind of self-inflicted bondage.An important part of this has been the emergence of the idea of what is called "political correctness."  The strength of political correctness is such that going against it is practically a taboo.  In 2016, when Trump was nominated at the Republican National Convention, he said:  "I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore."  What he said shows the relationship between what Trump plans to do and the destruction of political correctness.And in fact we have seen that in policy-making as well and in his campaigns, Trump has frequently taken aim at political correctness. He stated very clearly that he rejects political correctness.   In addition he links the rejection of political correctness with making America great again.   After the Orlando shooting [in June, 2016], he said:  "I refuse to be politically correct.  I want to do the right thing. I want to straighten things out and I want to make America great again."What is extremely unfortunate is that, at the time, the whole world failed to truly understand Trump’s words and his meaning.  Even today, we are ignoring this signal.Even today, there are still people who see these words as nonsense, as irresponsible, and there were people who predicted that voters would reject someone who opposed political correctness.  In fact, this series of gestures Trump made is extremely important for the United States—I said, for the United States.Above I compared Trump’s opposition to political correctness to the thought liberation in China at the beginning of the period of reform and opening, as both represented a return to normal.  Some friends might find this strange, or say that this comparison is inappropriate. If fact, I am speaking in terms of the role both played, arguing that Trump’s attack on political correctness has a similar significance to the attack on the rigid dogma of the past carried out by the campaign to liberate thought at the beginning of reform and opening period. We can look at concrete examples of how Trump has opposed political correctness.We all know that at the outset, what we call political correctness was basically concerned with issues like equality, and developed out of questions having to do with respect for minority groups, but in fact that is not all there is to it.  In today’s world, things like globalization have largely become something that is politically correct.   Another example is free trade.  Another is the responsibility of great powers, their obligations to their allies, which in the last few years seems also to have become part of political correctness.Of course, there are more and more taboos on topics like immigration, religion, ethnic minorities and other traditional areas of political correctness.  There are even some people who think saying "Merry Christmas" is politically incorrect, and want people to say "Happy Holidays" instead.What does all this mean for America?  America’s burden is getting heavier and heavier, its freedom of action more and more limited. Americans have no choice but to do many things that they don’t want to do, and certain things they should do are neglected out of concern that they will be labeled politically incorrect, or even if they go ahead and do them, they don’t feel good about it.This is why I say it is a lot like the situation in China before reform and opening.  Political correctness has turned into dogma, reducing the country’s range of choices—you can’t do this, you can’t do that—and you wind up passive as the path before you narrows.So what then is the meaning of Trump’s attack on political correctness in the past few years?  I think that is a movement of deep thought liberation.  Certain untouchable taboos from the past have been attacked, a certain number of previously impossible choices have been made.  There is a new standard for judging things, and the range of choices is larger.So we can foresee that deep changes will occur in American society once it goes through Trump’s attack.  We might say that once America has gone through this series of attacks, attacks represented by Trump’s "craziness," the country will become younger, more dynamic. We might even call this experience a process of rebirth.This should remind us that in today’s world, in today’s era, should we liberate thought?  Or shackle thought?  Should we cling to ossified dogma?  Or open a future of limitless choice?  Should we remain chained to taboos, or stride bravely forward once we have broken those chains? Should we decide the fate of our country?  Or should we decide the shape of the world?Notes[1] ???, "??????????????——????????????," originally published, I believe, on Sun’s WeChat channel in early February 2019, and available online, for example here.(3) Wang Jianxun, "What Trump Plans Is A Return to the ‘American Spirit’" Jianxun, "American Spirit"Wang Jianxun, "What Trump Plans Is A Return to the ‘American Spirit’"[1]Introduction and Translation by David OwnbyWang Jianxun (b. 1972) is a Professor at the China University of Politics and Law in Beijing.  His self-introduction from his Linked-In page tells us most of what we need to know about Wang:"I was trained in law and political science, and studied with the late Elinor and Vincent Ostrom at Indiana University-Bloomington [between 2000 and 2006]. My research interests include American constitutionalism, political theory, public choice, Austrian school of economics, and Chinese politics and law. I mainly do my work in the traditions of classical liberalism and conservatism, and almost all of my research has tried to deal with the issue of how to establish and to maintain a free society."The same Linked-In page includes statements in favor of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court, one of which appears to be a letter to the Washington Post.The text translated here is Wang’s reaction to Donald Trump’s inaugural address on January 20, 2017, first delivered orally the following day at the "I Know I Know Nothing Cultural Space" in Xian, a venue described by Ian Johnson in the New York Review of Books as part of his series on contemporary Chinese intellectuals.  Wang’s text was published online five days later on Aisixiang, a major platform for the work of China’s establishment intellectuals.If it is possible to read Sun Liping’s praise of Donald Trump’s attack on political correctness as veiled criticism of the texture of intellectual life in China under Xi Jinping, I cannot read Wang Jianxun’s essay as anything other than a full-throated endorsement of Trump by a dyed-in-the-wool Hayekian conservative who happens to live and work in the People’s Republic.  "There are many animals in the zoo," my grandmother used to say, meaning that the world is a rich and varied place.  That said, I could not find—in a brief Internet search—a similar embrace of Xi Jinping or Xin Jinping Thought by a Westerner.It is well-known that there are many varieties of liberals in China, from left-of-center champions of the little people to right-wing libertarians and ferocious defenders of free markets.  It is nonetheless jarring to read Rush Limbaugh or any of his fellow-travelers transposed into Chinese, particularly since Wang makes almost no references to China in his text and no attempt to explain the relevance of Trump’s agenda to any of the challenges China currently faces.  Elsewhere, Wang has written about China’s necessary transition from dictatorship to constitutional rule, and if one wishes to read the logic of that argument into Wang’s endorsement of Trump and his agenda I suppose it is possible, but the argument barely appears even between the lines.Instead, Wang uses Trump’s inaugural address to endorse what appears to be the entire agenda of the American right:  anti-political correctness, anti-affirmative action, anti-welfare, low taxes, free markets, anti-immigration (or at least illegal immigration), embrace of God and the flag.  Memorably, Wang summarizes the "American spirit" which Trump has vowed to restore as "Ayn Rand and the Bible."  Wang of course has every right to his opinion and to share those opinions with his readers, but his "arguments" will only convince those who already think as he does.TranslationWhat Message Did Trump’s Inaugural Address Send?I did not watch Trump’s inauguration last night in the middle of the night, but today (January 21) I rewatched his inaugural address.  I did not agree with Trump’s critics who called the speech nihilistic, populist, or isolationist, and instead found certain positive points, and to me, the speech was not bad at all.  Even if it was not as good as Reagan’s historic inaugural address, it still contained many points worth noting and appreciating.For example, left-wing intellectuals and critics reproached Trump’s address for its "populism."  Why "populism?"  Because in his speech Trump repeatedly addressed "the people," saying that he wanted to take power away from Washington and return it to the people.  He said this because the people’s power has been in the hands of Washington bureaucrats for too long.  So in fact, in talking about this, he was not appealing to populism, but was instead stressing that institutional politicians pursue their own interests through rent-seeking and improper dealings, and abuse the power given to them by the people. They ignore the voice of the people or a large part of the people.  Trump simply wants to correct this situation.The term "populism» was widely used during his campaign and during the transition period, both by intellectuals and everyday people.  In fact, the meaning of this term is not altogether clear, although at base it refers to any political action taken by the common people against the elite.  To a certain extent, as long as we are referring to popular opposition to the elite, we can call this populism.  Thus in a certain sense, we can say that democracy is classic populism. One-man one-vote, the people as masters.  Could anything be more democratic than this? These days, populism has become a label without any real significance.Those people who criticize Trump for being populist are using the term in a pejorative sense, saying that the common people who voted for Trump did it to oppose the elite.  We saw that during the election, many of Trump’s supporters were middle- and lower-class voters, especially middle- and lower-class white voters; a sizeable percentage of those who had some university education or who did not attend university at all voted for Trump.  Those who criticize Trump use this as proof that Trump’s election was populist.The problem is:  who were Hilary’s supporters?  Many were America’s poor, indeed, the really poor, those who are unable to get by without welfare.  It is strange that if Hilary had won with the support of these voters, it would not have been seen as populism.  Hilary’s supporters were poorer and had lower status that those who voted for Trump, so does it make sense to not call this populist, and instead to say that Trump’s better-off voters, whose annual income was between $50,000 and $250,000, were populists?  It makes no sense at all.If we say that Trump’s inaugural address was populist because it appealed to the people, then are not the first words of the United States Constitution, "we the people of the United States" populist? This is clearly absurd.  We can’t say that everyone who appeals to the people is a populist.  If you don’t appeal to the people, do you appeal to the bureaucrats?  Is not appealing to the people the basic point of a republic?  When Trump used the term "the people" in his address, he was talking to every living, breathing American, which is not to be confused with some Rousseau-like abstraction existing independently outside of the individual or lording it over the individual. [...]The fourth change occurring in the era of mass democracy is that the American intellectual world and the elite of the high tech world have embraced atheism.  In virtually all American universities, most professors are left-wing intellectuals, who support the Democratic Party and Hilary.  Many are card-carrying atheists who say that they don’t believe in religion or in God.  If most university intellectuals are left-wing, then the students they turn out will naturally be left-wing as well.  Why is it those who are well-educated, especially those with advanced degrees, all support Hillary and the Democrats? Well, there’s no surprise here, it’s because they all received a left-wing, atheist education.Why are things this way?  Because intellectuals naturally believe that they sympathize with the weak, and always nourish ideals of cherishing the world, of saving the country and the people.  They believe that society is unfair and that their ideals can solve all of the world’s problems, get rid of all of the world’s evils, that they can save the entire world.  So they put forward all sorts of utopian ideals.  They worship equality and even believe that equality is more important than freedom, so that if they cannot obtain equal freedom, they would prefer equal slavery.Many elites in the high tech world believe that through scientific advances, mankind can completely conquer nature, can conquer everything, and can realize any kind of impractical dream.  In their view, nothing is impossible, and they obviously do not believe in the constraints God imposed on man, nor that there are limits or frontiers to rational thought.  This kind of tendency is expressed extremely clearly in the American intellectual world, the high tech world, the universities, and the Ivory Tower.During this campaign, Trump expressed his zeal for Christian beliefs, and earned the universal support of Christian leaders and their followers.  This is a very important sign.  This sign is telling us that the American people want to return to Christian beliefs, they want to say no to the challenge of atheism.How important is religion to America?  If you watched the direct broadcast of Trump’s inauguration ceremony yesterday, religion was extremely important, not just moderately important.  Before delivering his inaugural address, he first took an oath.  What oath was this? With his left hand on the Bible, Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts read the text of the oath to him.  Why this book?  If his hand were on a different book, would Trump respect the oath?  Of course not, because that book would not be sacred.  Why does he swear an oath to God and not to a cat or something else?  Because God is sacred, omniscient, omnipresent, transcendent.  He is invisible, untouchable, and lives in the hearts of the people.The fifth change occurring in the age of mass democracy is the unfettered spread of "political correctness."  For the past century, "political correctness" has been everywhere, not only in political life, but also in social life, and people do not dare utter politically incorrect things in public.  All people must rigorously observe the principles of political correctness, and absolutely cannot in any circumstance express any prejudice toward minorities, women, or any vulnerable group.  For example, if in the course of his research someone discovers that blacks on whatever scale do not measure up to whites, he cannot publicly say this, even if it is true, otherwise he will be in trouble, and this is particularly true for politicians.People not only cannot discriminate against minorities but in institutional settings have to practice anti-discrimination, for example the affirmative action that everyone knows about.  In university admissions, if a white student and a black student have the same grades, then under certain circumstances they have to select the black student.   This is even true sometimes when the black candidate is slightly weaker.  They explain that this is because blacks suffered unfair treatment in the past, and the education available to them is inadequate, and now we will rectify the situation through these measures.The question is:  is anti-discrimination itself discrimination?  If it is, is it fair?  It is clearly not fair.  No one can argue that it is not discrimination.  No matter what you call it, no matter how you justify it, this kind of policy arrangement is discriminatory.Why can we not accept discrimination against black people, but we can accept discrimination against white people?  Why can’t I go to university if my grades are better than his?  Some people say that the grandfather of the grandfather of a black person suffered discrimination at the hands of the grandfather of the grandfather of a white man, so we have to redress this historical instance of discrimination.  But the white person says, what does any of this have to do with me?  I have never discriminated against him, so you should blame the grandfather of my grandfather for the discrimination, and not ask me to assume responsibility for it.If your parents commit a crime, and I arrest you and hold you responsible, do you think is this okay?  Of course not, because this is absurd.  All the more because you have no idea if it was really the grandfather of my grandfather who discriminated against the grandfather of your grandfather, right?There is no doubt that historical discrimination was terrible, but if you want to redress the terrible wrongs of that discrimination, you can’t use anti-discrimination, because this produces new discrimination and harm, a result that is exactly that of historical discrimination. Two wrongs cannot be mutually erased, and two wrongs do not make a right.  Does this seem complicated?  Not at all, but affirmative action measures are currently being employed in America and in many European countries, and are universally accepted.Many Chinese would accept this as well.  But in my view, no matter what name it goes under, no matter what bad outcome it is attempting to redress, discrimination is discrimination.  You cannot defeat discrimination with another form of discrimination.  All this does is to create another wrong.The situation now is that discrimination against minorities is not only not permitted in public, it is also prohibited in private enterprises. If I open a private company, and choose to hire only white people and not blacks or other minorities, current laws view this as discrimination.  If when I’m hiring I decide to select only people who are taller than 5’7", or people who don’t smoke cigarettes or who don’t drink alcohol, is this discrimination?  Am I breaking the law?  This is a private company.  If you don’t like it, then don’t apply for the job.   In fact, most companies will not do their hiring this way, because they don’t need to, they have to pass the test of the market.  If they recruit people this way, they will not recruit outstanding talent, they will be squeezed by the competition, and they will pay a price."Political correctness" also means that you absolutely cannot discriminate against homosexuals, otherwise you are in big trouble. The year before last, the Supreme Court issued a decision accepting the legality of gay marriage.  I feel that this is a huge change in American history and even in all of Western history, one that deeply betrays the Christian tradition.  In Christianity, marriage is between one man and one woman, but now it can be two men or two women and we have to accept it.So maybe we could go further and a person could marry an animal? Could three people marry?  Five people?  One man with many wives?  One wife with many husbands?  Where is the limit in the definition of marriage? Is there one?  If there is not, they we can make up our own definition.   This is frightening, and will constitute a serious challenge to social tradition, morality and ethics, to family as the basic unit of society, to the education of children.  But all of this is supported by the left, by the Democratic Party.After Trump was elected, many people expected that he would change this situation and bring America back to the traditional view of marriage relationships as recognized by Christianity.  One might say that Trump’s election represents a direct challenge to political correctness, because he feels that political correctness has gone too far and is putting in danger the entire social order and traditional American values, and it is time for a change.In sum, the election of Trump, this "sage," is absolutely not an accident, nor is it the result of populism, but is instead the result of these five changes occurring in the past century.  In other words, these five changes constitute the deep social roots of Trump’s victory.What Changes Might America Expect after Trump’s VictorySo, what changes might America expect following Trump’s election?  In other words, what impact might Trump have on America?  Although he has just taken office and his concrete policy choices remain unclear, we can still make a few predictions on the basis of his campaign program and the positions he took on certain issues.The first possible change is a major tax cut.  He has already said that he wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%.  This signals Trump’s decision to return America to prosperity, because he knows that American prosperity relies on private enterprise and on capitalism, and only after cutting taxes will companies be more dynamic, creating more wealth for the people.The second possible change is that manufacturing will return to America.   In his inaugural address, Trump emphasized that he wanted Americans to "buy and sell American, and hire American workers."  In supermarkets in today’s America, you can hardly find American-manufactured products, most of which are Mexican and Chinese (which are fewer now), Vietnamese, Bangladeshi.  With all of these products pouring into the United States, how can Americans not lose their jobs?Trump says that we must bring manufacturing back to America.  So, how to attract them?  One reason these companies left America was, relatively speaking, American taxes were too high, and revenue collection very strict, along with other practices that were not favorable to business.   By contrast, the destination countries to which American firms relocated offered special conditions such as three-year tax exemptions for foreign firms, tax-free land allocations.  Trump’s policy of reducing taxes aims to reduce the pressure on enterprises so that they will return to America and make money.At the same time, Trump once again highlighted the importance of the free market, and promises to reduce government intervention. Government intervention has been a cancer on the market economy over the past century, and prior to the 19th century, the American government basically did not enter into economy activity.Now, however, you can see the government’s presence in all aspects of economic activity.  For example, if you want to open a hair salon, people who work there will need a permit, like a driver’s license, in the absence of which they can’t cut clients’ hair.  Although we know that America remains a model of capitalism, this kind of regulation of the economy is omnipresent when compared to the situation a century ago.   During Trump’s mandate he will work hard to reduce government intervention in economic life.Nonetheless, this is difficult, and what he can accomplish in four or eight years is fairly limited, because there are already too many vested interests in the present system.  Why, in his inaugural address, did Trump say that power should go from Washington back into the  hands of the people?  Why is there so much interference in economic activity? Because there are countless lobbying groups and bureaucratic interests that seek rents and other benefits from regulation.Rent-seeking behavior permeates economic life, and Trump, as a businessman, is completely aware of this.  He has been in business for a long time, and knows the areas in which government has gone too far, where there are too many hands in the till, where interference in economic life is excessive, where innovation has been dampened.  He will change these things.The third possible change is an important change in immigration policy.   Trump will continue to welcome legal migrants, but wants to limit illegal immigration.  There is no doubt about this.  America will remain one of the world’s most open countries, but will have policies that more strictly limit illegal immigration, including deportation for some illegal immigrants, not allowing them to remain in America consuming American welfare benefits.The fourth possible change is to change or get rid of Obamacare.  On his first day in office, Trump signed an executive order weakening Obamacare, which was seen as a first step toward an eventual elimination.  This is an extremely wise decision, since Obamacare requires a huge financial investment, and will tank the American economy.  Trump prefers to stress the individual’s responsibility for his health, as well as the use of commercial insurance to provide medical insurance to reduce the fiscal deficit.The fifth possible change is that the Supreme Court will become conservative again, thus weakening the impact of "political correctness."  On affirmative action, there are some things that Trump can do, but to a large degree, he must rely on the Supreme Court and the decisions of the Supreme Court justices.  We can predict that, moving forward, changes in the Supreme Court will include a return to conservatism.At present, Trump can name one Supreme Court justice, and if he serves eight years, he could perhaps name three or four.  This will rewrite the history of the American Supreme Court.  At present, the balance between conservatives and liberals on the Supreme Court is roughly four to four, so if Trump can name from one to four justices, we can imagine that future court decisions on gay marriage, affirmative action, and abortion will bring America back once again to its conservative tradition.Many actions and decisions of the Obama era were unbearable.  Aside from the ruling on gay marriage, Obama also signed a "toilet order," which allowed students in public schools to choose the toilet they would go to on the basis of their own gender identity.  In other words, even if you are a boy, if you think you are a girl, you can go to the girls’ toilet.   This is so frightening and absurd!If you can act on the basis of what you consider your gender identity to be, that means that you can change the gender that nature or God gave you.  If today you think you’re male, tomorrow you can think you’re female, and the day after that you’re male again, then all of society will sink into confusion, disorder, and fear.  Conservatives are very worried that this might happen, but Trump, with the help of the Supreme Court, may be able to make some headway.The sixth possible change is a renewed emphasis on the importance of Christian beliefs in America’s society and politics.  We have seen that many of Trump’s picks for his Cabinet, including the Secretary of Education, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, are all devout Christians.  There is no doubt that Trump will reverse the trend toward atheism.   The Secretary of Education is also a leading proponent of school choice, and I predict she will have an impact on public education.Trump Wants to Return to the Traditional "American Spirit"One sentence can sum up these six possible changes:  Trump wants to see the return of the "American spirit," and will emphasize once again the importance of the American tradition.What is the American spirit?  To put it simply, it is capitalism and Christianity, or to put it another way, Ayn Rand and the Bible.  Who is Ayn Rand?  She was a Russian immigrant novelist and philosopher, and wrote novels such as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.  She created a school of philosophy called objectivist philosophy, and has been seen as the greatest defender and champion of American capitalism and free markets.  Her work has influenced countless American entrepreneurs.The American spirit is the desire to arrive at a perfect blend of capitalism and Christianity.  To an important extent, Trump is a follower of Ayn Rand and a believer in and champion of capitalism, as well as someone with great respect for Christian beliefs.  On the one hand, the American spirit stresses that you must achieve success through your own efforts, and at the same time you must recognize the limits of your rationality, and recognize the importance of religious beliefs in purifying your own soul.  Bringing these together is the American spirit and the American tradition, and what Trump plans to do is to return to the American spirit.Notes  [1] ?????????????"????," published online on Aisixiang, Jan. 25, 2017.(4) Cui Zhiyuan, Comparing the Ideas of Trump’s Former Advisor Steve Bannon and the Legendary Putin Advisor Aleksandr Dugin Zhiyuan, "Comparing Bannon and Dugin"Cui Zhiyuan, "Comparing the Ideas of Trump’s Former Advisor Steve Bannon and the Legendary Putin Advisor Aleksandr Dugin"[1]Introduction and Translation by David OwnbyIntroductionCui Zhiyuan (b. 1963) teaches Public Policy Analysis and Comparative Politics and Government at the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University in Beijing.  He is a well-known member of China’s New Left and has published extensively—in Chinese and in English—on intellectual and practical alternatives to neoliberal capitalism.  As one measure of his activism, Cui took a leave from his Tsinghua position to serve associate director of State Asset Management Committee of Chongqing government from 2010 to 2011 to be part of Bo Xilai’s ??? (b. 1949) "Chongqing experiment."  This experiment was widely celebrated at the time as representing a successful "third way" between capitalism and socialism.  One of Cui’s discussions of the Chongqing experiment (and a good example of his style of writing and thinking) is available here.The text translated here was initially published on Cui’s weekly "Experimental Government ??????" WeChat channel, and then subsequently reposted on Cui’s Aisixiang page, a major platform for establishment intellectuals, on February 23, 2018.  Although Cui’s style is often somewhat febrile, the awkward repetitions and unclear references in this text suggest that it was written very quickly; the text has an "oh my God it’ Friday and I still have to write that blog post!" feel to it, and I will take it for what it is.The argument Cui is working toward is that populism and economic nationalism represent a worldwide movement against neoliberal capitalism, and the success of that movement opens up a greater space for China’s "One Belt-One Road" initiative.  But what fuels the text is clearly Cui’s fascination with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, and to a lesser degree Aleksandr Dugin, a supposed member of Putin’s brain trust, because both men, like Cui, are searching for alternatives to the current neoliberal order.Bannon is Cui’s chief focus because, unlike the rest of the American elite, he recognizes China’s importance, both in economic and geostrategic terms.  Of course, in the United States, Bannon is seen as a China hawk and a proponent of American and Western strategies that will constrain China’s rise, but this seems to be of no concern to Cui.   Cui’s presentation of Dugin is sketchier.  Dugin appears to be an ultranationalist, but Cui manages to praise him for suggesting that Russia  "must establish a unique Russian model."As is often the case, this text reminded me just how present the details of American (and to a lesser degree, European) political and intellectual life are in the thoughts of Chinese intellectuals.  Cui is clearly free-styling here, but he is following the West more closely than Western intellectuals could possibly follow China (this is partly linguistic, but mostly ruled by power dynamics—the best and the brightest of the Western world rarely do Ph.D.s in China).  I also had the sneaking suspicion reading Cui’s text that he would really like to be Xi Jinping’s Steve Bannon (and avoid being fired).TranslationA Critical Understanding of Bannon and Dugin Will Help to Perfect the China DreamBoth Bannon and Dugin, the subject of today’s discussion, are economic nationalists and political populists.  Economic nationalism and political populism are reactions against neoliberal globalization, and are a world movement.Examples of the impact of this movement include the recent failure of Merkel’s coalition government in Germany, an occasion that marked the first time since 1945 that a right-wing party in Germany crossed the 5% threshold, below which entry into parliament is not permitted by German law.  Brexit in England is still facing the unresolvable problem of the Irish border.  All of these issues are closely linked together, because before becoming Trump’s advisor, Steve Bannon had many close links with conservative parties in England.  He also has a website that broadcasts his personal opinions (Breitbart News), and he set up a branch office of Breitbart in London for the specific purpose of championing Brexit. "Economic nationalism" and "political populism" are a backlash against "neoliberal" globalization, and are also part of a world movement, as reflected by the failure of Merkel’s coalition in federal elections and the difficulties in the Brexit negotiations.The "China Dream" and "mankind’s community of common destiny," proposed by China, are closely linked.  The community of common destiny is not the same as neoliberal globalization, and the globalization of economic nationalism and political populism are not the same as the China solution ????.  For this reason, as we continue to develop and perfect the China solution, deepening our critical understanding of the viewpoints of Bannon and Dugin is crucial.Bannon’s Theory of "The Error of the American Elite" and the "China Model"What is the Error of the American Elite?After Bannon left the White House in August of 2017, many commentators argued that his influence had not in fact diminished, but perhaps increased, because now he could speak his mind.  My feeling is that China’s leaders take Bannon seriously.  Last month made a speech in Hong Kong, following which Wang Qishan ???[2] (b. 1948) sought him out to have a talk.  Bannon subsequently gave an interview in Japan, and the Japanese journalist asked him what he had talked about with Wang Qishan.   Bannon replied that the talk was private and he could not disclose the contents of the discussion, but he did note that they discussed the question of populism.  This, he disclosed, and populism is very worthy of discussion.People of Kong Zong’s ?? [??  reference unclear] generation are perhaps extremely familiar with Russian history and have certain feelings about it, and they will be aware that the Decembrists, including Tolstoy, said that they were populists, meaning that populism in Russian history only circulated among the people.  Even Tolstoy said that the word was not pejorative, as it is today.  And it is true that today we tend to give it a pejorative meaning.  In fact, I think the question is more complicated.  The basic meaning of populism is to be opposed to the elite.  Bannon argues that the American elite has always been wrong.  He argued that "Xi Jinping’s speech at the 19th National Party Congress should be a wake up call to America.  By 2035, China will be the world’s largest economy and before 2050 will lead the world."Bannon believes that in the Nixon era, the American elite made a serious error in not correctly understanding the link between China’s economic growth and freedom and democracy.  He further insists that the error of the Clinton and Bush eras was "bringing China into the world, giving China most favored nation treatment, bringing China into the WTO." "The norm-based post-war international order was built by the Americans and their allies after the war.  But the real world structure, the real international order, came with the collapse of Communism, and China will become a very dynamic part of that."  This is Bannon’s viewpoint.In Bannon’s view, the China model is still the so-called "Confucian commercial authoritarian model."  "Trump believes that the current rivalry with China is a result of the error of the American elite. This was not a minor error but a basic strategic error, which put America, the West, as well as Japan and America’s Asian allies, at a genuinely huge disadvantage."  Bannon particularly emphasizes that political populism and economic nationalism are a world movement.China is the Link between British and American populismAt present, the world movement of economic nationalism and political populism is gaining momentum.  Bannon said "In 2013, I was in London for something, and sensed the direction that the Brexit experiment was going.  At the time I thought that, in terms of American politics, the situation in England was like a canary in a coal mine, in the sense that at England began to prepare for Brexit, what we were seeing was something very much like populism."  Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, on the day after the Brexit vote, said to the BBC that if there were no platform in London to circulate pro-Brexit opinion, then Brexit would go nowhere.  Here he is talking about the important platform that Bannon’s website represented for England.Bannon mentioned a book that has just been translated into Chinese--Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance.  This is an important book for understanding the popular base behind Trump’s election.Hillbilly Elegy explains the sociological basis of the Trump revolution, explaining that the wages of America’s lower classes have been declining over the past few decades  The book points out that "The link between British and American populism is China.  Chinese manufacturing has defeated and destroyed the British industrial center in the Midlands, and has destroyed the American Midwest.  The elite pretends not to see what is happening, but the workers see where the plants are going and what is happening with jobs."The MIT economist David Autor analyzed 2971 American counties to test the relationship between Chinese imports and the percentage of the population voting Republican, and found that there was indeed a positive correlation.American policies are decided by the elite, but the workers pay the consequences.  Now we can understand how, after Trump came down the elevator in June of 2016 and gave his speech at Trump Tower, he leapt to the number one spot in popular opinion by promising to do all in his power to make America great again.  Research by the 2015 Nobel prize winner Angus Deaton and his wife, Anne Case revealed that between 1999 and 2013, the death rate of non-Hispanic white middle-aged men in the United States increased significantly.[3] This is a very important reason for the dissatisfaction of the lower rungs of the white working class or middle class. The cause of death included lung cancer and many suicides.Three Important Points about Trump’s PoliciesIn Bannon’s overview, there are three important points to Trump’s policies.  The first is to stop large-scale illegal immigration to the United States, the second is to bring manufacturing jobs back to America—this is also the point of Trump’s recent tax cuts—and the third is to limit foreign wars.  The United States needs to review and make decisions about these wars that they have been fighting for 15, 16, 17 years.  This is what the Thomas J. Watson Research Center called the 5.6 trillion dollar wars.  And it is not only a question of 5.6 trillion dollars, but of the huge opportunity costs entailed. This is not just a question of money, but also the 7,000 dead and 52,000 injured young Americans.  This is how Bannon understands the characteristics of Trump’s three key policies.  Whether Trump can in fact carry them out is another question, but the articulation of the policies has already had a certain impact.One Belt One Road Integrates Three Regional Political FactorsBannon argues that America’s hawks have always blindly believed in "America first," and have not paid enough attention to China’s rise, which is the greatest crisis America is facing at the present moment. What is especially interesting is that Bannon has his own understanding of China’s One Belt-One Road strategy.  In his view, there were three threat regional political theorists in the 19th and 20th centuries, who shaped the lay of the land for two centuries:  Sir Halford John Mackinder (1861-1947), Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), and Nicholas J. Spykman (1893-1943).  He argues that the boldness of the Chinese strategy is to combine the regional elements of the theories of these three.As Bannon sees it, One Road accords with the theory of Mackinder and One Belt with that of Mahan.  Mackinder believed that whoever controlled the Eurasian heartland controlled the "world island," and whoever controlled the "world island" controlled the world.  World conquerors like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler, and Peter the Great all understood this point.Bannon points out that "One Belt" is a product of Mahan’s theory, the basic of the strategic plan of the British Empire and later of the United States, which consisted on linking important harbors along important routes together.  Whoever controls the neck of the world island—the harbors—controls the world.  China was the first to bring together the theories of Mackinder and Mahan.  Not many people know of Spykman’s theory, but in fact it is even bolder; his theory was to establish lines of communication from the ocean to the inland to keep the aggressor outside the country.  What China is doing in the South China Sea with its strategy of constant refusal to submit means that the United States and Japan cannot mount a large-scale invasion.The Fate of America is in the Hands of the Little PeopleBannon believes that "The fate of America is not in Trump’s hands, not in my hands, not in the hands of any famous politician or great person, and especially not in the hands of Jeff Sessions (the American attorney general) or those of his colleagues.  The fate of America is in the hands of the little people, those who have been forgotten, the silent people.  Because they have suddenly understood that with the advances in high tech, the Internet, and communications technology, the grassroots movement will no longer be silent."Dugin on the "Russian Model"Getting to Know Dugin:  The Maturation of Putin’s Brain TrustIn 2012, Dugin was widely identified, inside and outside of Russia, as part of Putin’s brain trust.  He played a role in the recent Crimea incident and the East Ukraine incident.   But it is still not clear that he is Putin’s advisor.  Putin never gave him a formal post like the one Bannon had.  Yet beginning in 2012, after Putin used terminology associated with Dugin in a television address, and especially after Dugin published works such as Putin versus Putin, Last War of the World-Island, and Eurasian Mission, he was widely recognized, inside Russia and out, as a behind-the-scenes advisor to Putin.  This kind of informal standing might give Dugin more flexibility in his writing and publishing work, giving him greater freedom of movement.I feel that we still do not understand Dugin well.  I just bought one of his books published in 2017, which discusses the four great fates [?] of Russia since 1989.  In 1984, when Dugin was 22, he was expelled from an aeronautical school because of his criticism of the former Soviet system.  Everyone who has been to Moscow knows Gorky Street, which is like Wangfujing in Beijing, where there is some relatively high-end housing.  When he was 22, Dugin went to a party at a friends’ parties on Gorky Street, where he met the daughter of former Party Secretary of the Moscow municipal committee.  They subsequently lived together without getting married.During that period, he read a lot of books that were very hard to find in the USSR, including works by Heidegger and Nietzsche.  After perestroika in 1985, the daughter of the former municipal activist became a very extreme opponent of reform, and the couples’ ideas developed in opposite directions.  At first, having been expelled from university, Dugin had no degree, but later on he managed to get a doctorate from small university in a republic a long way from Moscow. Finally, in 2012, Moscow State University founded a conservative research center for him.Can we not thus see why Dugin is influential?  Even if Putin has said nothing clear about him, the process of Dugin’s maturation suggests that he might really have influence in Russia.  Dugin says some things more directly than Putin.  For example, on the question of Eastern Ukraine, Putin has always stated that Russia is not involved in military intervention, but is merely providing aid, while Dugin in his articles and books openly calls for Russia to send troops to the region.Dugin:  Russia-Centered EurasianismIn the 1990s, Dugin published a book entitled The Great War on the Mainland, which offered a detailed explanation of his regional political theories, emphasizing a Russia-centered Eurasianism.  The book earned him a great deal of attention.  In 2015, Dugin published Last War of the World-Island.  The reason I say that Bannon cites Dugin is that he noted Mackinder’s world-island theory and used it to explain China’s One Road strategy.  In his 2014 book on The Historical Mission of Eurasianism, Dugin pointed out two great trends in Russia: one is Atlanticism, pro-American and pro-Western Europe, and the other is Eurasianism, and Russia should choose the second one.  He believes that Russia is not really a European country but rather a Eurasian country, and that Russia’s historical mission in this world-island is to chart a new path.Dugin believes that NATO's attack on Serbia was the beginning of a "planetary nightmare" which clearly revealed the true face of the West, as well as how Eurasia would be treated.  For this reason, Russia’s post-9/11 policy of détente with the West was a huge mistake. Consequently, Russia and other Eurasian countries should have no illusions about cooperation with the United States, and should prepare their ultimate positions and choose appropriate strategies.Dugin believes that Russia is living in a cruel world, and has no way to escape this reality.  Russia has only two choices:  to struggle to survive in a multi-polar world, or to accept a unipolar world under US domination, which would lead to the eclipse of Russia.  In Dugin’s view, the contemporary world offers a number of regional political models.The first is the American model, which means absolute American control of the world.  The second is the European model, which is confined to Europe.  The third is the Islamic model, which has a certain universal appeal, but which lacks social and economic plans. The fourth is the Chinese model, which is limited to China.  For a variety of reasons, Russia cannot become a part of any of these models.  Yet Russia can still become an "axis of friendship," as in bilateral relations between Russia and Europe, Russia and the Islamic world, Russia and China.  The core of Dugin’s thinking is that Russia must establish a unique Russian model.In summary, I believe that we must treat economic nationalism and political populism with great seriousness.  The Chinese solutions to globalization are the China Dream and the community of common destiny, not economic nationalism and political populism.  However we might deepen this research, I hope that we can share our results.Notes[1] ???, "???????????????????????," February 23, 2018, .[2] Wang Qishan is China’s Vice-President, and a major player in Chinese diplomacy and relations with the United States.[3] Translator’s note:  Deaton and Case eventually published their research in book form in Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, Princeton, 2020.2