It’s a recurring cultural theme: If one feels he has little to lose because the rules of the game are arrayed against him, obeying the rules — the niceties, those norms — becomes far less important. Shouldn’t understanding this be the most “common” piece of “common” sense?
This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson, by Susan McWilliams (The Nation)
In Hell’s Angels, the gonzo journalist wrote about left-behind people motivated only by “an ethic of total retaliation.” Sound familiar?
… It has been 50 years since Hunter S. Thompson published the definitive book on motorcycle guys: Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. It grew out of a piece first published in The Nation one year earlier. My grandfather, Carey McWilliams, editor of the magazine from 1955 to 1975, commissioned the piece from Thompson—it was the gonzo journalist’s first big break, and the beginning of a friendship between the two men that would last until my grandfather died in 1980. Because of that family connection, I had long known that Hell’s Angels was a political book. Even so, I was surprised, when I finally picked it up a few years ago, by how prophetic Thompson is and how eerily he anticipates 21st-century American politics. This year, when people asked me what I thought of the election, I kept telling them to read Hell’s Angels.