His latest essay argues that Trump supporters are flag-waving nationalists, not sheet-donning racists. He winds up,
Trumpism represents not a monstrous perversion of modern politics, but an expression of some of its most blandly familiar features.
Mick Jagger sang, “He can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.” Let us abbreviate “he can’t be a man” as HCBAM.
Nationalism is HCBAMist toward citizens of other nations, and Friedman would like to talk Trump supporters down from that. But people who take great pride in their opposition to Trump have become HCBAMist toward Trump supporters, and Friedman would like to talk them down from that.
I fear that HCBAMism is very much a part of human nature (recall my recent post on politics as religion). Friedman says that just because behavior is instinctive does not make it right.
We can drop our arbitrary group attachments for rational reasons.
Yes, but a more pessimistic outlook is that when we drop our arbitrary group attachments we then pick up other arbitrary group attachments that have the same consequences, or worse.