The American Dystopia Didn't Begin With Trump

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Darrell Delamaide via,

Dystopia is here. It’s not just the “imagined place” of the dictionary definition or a future state of dystopian novels. It is very real and right now, at least for those of us trying to follow national politics.

And it’s not just Donald Trump. It’s Barack Obama, it’s Ted Cruz, it’s the New York Times, it’s Breitbart News. It is an alternate universe detached from the world we live in but intruding into it in painful and dangerous ways.

It is a media narrative of political conspirators colluding with a dictatorial archenemy, of an intemperate and delusional leader overturning the institutions of democracy, of a “deep-state” resistance to constitutional authority.

It is a dystopia of rampant hypocrisy, where obstructing legislation, supporting a law-enforcement official who strays beyond the limits of his authority, or boycotting a president’s appointments is evil and undemocratic until it’s your party that wants to do it.

Two dystopian classics have shot back to the top of best-seller lists because the media suggest the authoritarian surveillance societies they portray have arrived. The 1948 novel “1984” and the 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” are touted as descriptions of where we are headed under Trump.

While the author of “Handmaid,” Margaret Atwood, and the cast of the Hulu miniseries based on it see a Trump administration as the realization of the misogyny depicted in the novel, it’s obvious the U.S. is not about to become a Puritanical theocracy like that in the book.

Critics on both the left and the right dispute the media meme that “Handmaid” is a depiction of the Trump era.

Irish feminist Angela Nagle writes in the left-wing Jacobin magazine that it is neoliberal market forces that are oppressing women, not an imaginary theocratic state.

“The real-world dystopia for the majority of women in the age of Trump is not that they are being forced to have children by a repressive traditionalist state,” she wrote last week, “but that they’re being compelled not to by far more insidious forces, and those that do are financially and socially punished at every turn.”

We are ruled by myths, she continues, but not those in the miniseries. “The mythologies of our age in the West are not enforced by repressive theocratic regimes,” Nagle says, “but by the market command to be free, to be creative, to be flexible, to love what you do for even the most uninspiring of jobs.”

Right-wing media critic Brent Bozell also takes issue with “adoring” coverage of the series in the liberal mainstream media. “This is why conservatives tend to laugh when liberals rail against the scourge of ‘fake news,’” Bozell wrote last week in Townhall. “There is no faker news than the notion that America is on the precipice of a Puritan patriarchy under President Donald Trump.”

As for Big Brother watching us, a la George Orwell’s “1984,” it has become quite clear that the surveillance state made its greatest strides under Obama, though previous administrations had done their part to implement it.

Obama’s most enduring legacy may be the establishment of the modern U.S. surveillance state,” Penn State professor and Internet privacy advocate Sascha Meinrath wrote in the Christian Science Monitor as Obama left office. “During his eight years in office, Obama has dramatically expanded the reach of U.S. government surveillance, with scores of new revelations of previously unknown surveillance initiatives continuing to regularly come to light.”

Meinrath criticized Obama’s “schizophrenia” in calling upon his fellow citizens to reform surveillance laws and protect privacy even as he unilaterally expanded surveillance by granting “sweeping surveillance powers” to 17 government agencies through an executive order as he left office.

In fact, the hagiography about Obama that began when he first set his sights on the presidency and continues in full force now is an important component in our dystopia. The mythmaking by and for Obama does not square with the experience many people had during his presidency.

The controversial new biography, “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama,” by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Garrow claims that many of the people and anecdotes in Obama’s best-selling memoirs are fictional and serve the purpose of creating the myths around him.

He quotes a psychologist to the effect that “someone’s life story ‘is more like a personal myth than an objective biography, even though the subject believes the story to be true.’”

Garrow concludes in a highly critical epilogue that Obama’s pursuit of his ambition to be president became the dominant characteristic of his life. “While the crucible of self-creation had produced an ironclad will, the vessel was hollow at its core,” Garrow says in a much-quoted judgment.

Of course Obama supporters leapt to his defense. New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani calls Garrow’s biography, which runs nearly 1,500 pages, “a dreary slog” and labels the epilogue “a condescending diatribe unworthy of a serious historian.”

In keeping with Washington’s trench warfare, this comment prompted Bozell, in another column, to snort, “As for Obama’s outright lies and evasions, Kakutani offered the conclusion you might expect from a political party commissar,” Bozell writes. “For reliable history, ‘Go back to Obama’s own eloquent memoir,’ she says. In other words, ‘the myth shall set you free.’”

Ultimately, the dystopia of this media narrative has little to do with the world most of us live in — we can hardly recognize it. We do have real problems, however, and it would be helpful if politicians paid attention to them instead of chasing shadows in Washington.

As he took office in 1974, President Gerald Ford said, “Our long national nightmare is over,” describing the 26 months between the arrest of the Watergate burglars and the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

When and how will we end this current nightmare?

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SofaPapa's picture

"Ultimately, the dystopia of this media narrative has little to do with the world most of us live in — we can hardly recognize it. "

This quote sums up my current state of mind.  I honestly feel zero connection to the story being sold.  We live in completely different countries.  I only fear - as so many do - that when these two countries (the population of the US and the elites of the US) meet again, it will not be in reconciliation but in full multi-sectarian (10 subsets? 100?  1000?) battle.  And that is going to be very ugly.  For now, can only try to keep our heads down...

Troy Ounce's picture


The divergence of reality started with dishonest money: the divergence of price and value and with that the current situation in which any risk for any action has been anaesthetized.

Students can study till eternity; tbtf companies can get unlimited money and the State can spend as a drunken sailor without any consequences.

Assisted by morally reprehensible accountants, the politicians and the banker fucked it up big time.

This lack of consequences for stupid actions, born out of the absence of honest money is the basis for the current dystopia

It started in 1913 but culminated on August 15th 1971.

It is important to learn from stupidity, to experience the consequences and to get up and do it better next time. Our life needs to be harder, tougher but I do not think think society agrees with me.


AltRight Girl's picture

The American Dystopia is what Washington DC is all about.

Trump just gave it a simpler name... The SWAMP

Donald Trump, Seth Rich and the Gangster Culture that Permeates Washington

Chupacabra-322's picture

I've come to the conclusion, that we're are Governed by Children & Psychopaths.

And, these Psychopaths Goals are to get everyone, or at least most of us Killed.

The open in your Face, absolute, complete Tyrannical Lawlessness is reigning Pure Evil HELL on Earth.

Dystopian Times my friends.

MalteseFalcon's picture

"David Garrow claims that many of the people and anecdotes in Obama’s best-selling memoirs are fictional and serve the purpose of creating the myths around him."

This is obvious just from the few actual facts that are available regarding Barry Soetoro's background.

"Barak Obama" was created from thin air.

Any attempt to actually discover exactly who Obama/Soetoro was is still blocked.



Old Hippie Patriot's picture

Puppets, because they are pedophile baby killers, who are  blackmailed by an even more evil, devil worshiping, elite.

Killdo's picture

the divergence of reality started with religion - the original (and evolving) enforcer of fraud - and the original totalitarianism

lil dirtball's picture

Look, Ma! They're drainin' the swamp!

Oh, you poor Trumptards. What an ass-blasting.

Hugh_Jass's picture

Is that like what the doctor said at your drug test?


Ignatius's picture

Instead of continuing to post this articles, you know, "It's bad out there. It's bad and it's getting worse...," ZH might consider posting articles and nailing down what we do know? 

Money Boo Boo's picture

I'm thinking vegetable oil, whip cream, duct tape and a giant black dildo would be a good start for the USA! Go Team! Get the Ream you deserve......

Nice Try Lao Che's picture

What we KNOW is that jews have a KUNG FU GRIP on the balls of the 'power nodes' of:


- Banking





francis_sawyer was on here over 7 years ago trying to talk sense into all of you people, but got roundly REJECTED (not by the PEOPLE ~ but by the stooges of the TYLERS)... If his observations were in ERROR, let somebody come here now and describe, in detail, how things are either BETTER/WORSE, or, more likely THE SAME AS THEY EVER WERE (notwitstanding the account deletions before, now, or after).


34x's in fact (and the count is still ongoing on those account deletions)


Anyway, that's what we KNOW.

Ignatius's picture

An important part of the story, but not the whole story.

SofaPapa's picture


If you meant to say "what we do now" (typo?), I think to the best of everyone's ability, we go Galt.  Don't fight head on.  Head on they love.  It justifies them and gives them the self-importance they crave.  No.  Withdraw.  Do everything within reason to form networks that are as local as possible and out of their reach.  A process, not an event.  Until they are irrelevant, they win.  Withdraw energy from their system and watch it rot, just as it is doing.  This is taking a long time, but if we don't go up in a nuclear fireball, we'll get there.  We're already well along the road.

Alananda's picture

Be the seed.  Germinate, sprout, and grow.  Bear like, true fruit.  Repeat.

Start small, organically, grow larger.

Accept those who come to you, who pass the test at your gate.

Gently and firmly, encourage those without hope, without anything to offer, to look elsewhere.

Nice Try Lao Che's picture

Oh yeah ~


& NEVER borrow money at interest from counterfeitters, &, reject your government who is run by those same counterfeitters and borrowing money (in your name), for the benefit if those interest collecting counterfeitters...


Kinda simple actually ~ If you say it 3x in a row like BEETLEJUICE, you'll get kicked off of Zero Hedge & conveniently buried down the memory hole until the next thread comes along... (unless, of course, you rather CHERISH your stature as a long time contributer of wisdom & knowledge... & therefore SAY NOTHING... & thereby ~ soldier on ~~~ spewing, with the confidence that your immaculate TENURE, which everyone naturally anticipates with baited breath, because your NEXT PEARLS OF WISDOM surely hold the keys to the universe, will somehow... somehow... get them to the next thread where GoldblumJackoffheimenstein is either advising the President on something, or telling you how you NEED to invest your money)...

AnimalSpirits's picture

Unfortunate the situation has come to this, but you make a valid point. It does appear that the most efficient strategy is to secure survival within decentralized, local networks. Perhaps it's too late to confront the status-quo and prevent the coming tsunami.

So discouraging, though - it's a shame. I would have thought people would have used their numbers to address/change the situation by political means. I was naive.

bloofer's picture

One of the key sources of State power is the diminution of "social power"--where people take care of each other and communities take care of their own. This why one of the key strategies of the State is the breakdown of society at all levels. The State doesn't want strong, able men and women who work and sacrifice to take care of their families, or strong communities that take care of their own. It doesn't want self-sufficiency at any level.

Restoring "social power" as much as possible is a good line of attack--though you can see that government is hard at work making these goals economically impossible or impractical.

AnimalSpirits's picture

I honestly believed it was all about knowledge - if people were made aware, then surely they would react. But no, knowledge doesn't seem to be enough to spring people into political action. Some are actually looking forward to a Mad Max scenario.

Yes, government is making it difficult, yet some people are taking to the streets. The problem is they're challenging petty issues while ignoring the big parasites: Deep state, Fed etc. 

We cant' know how dire things will become, but how realistic is it to assume one is safe in a bunker or even a self-sufficient community. Won't there be masses of psychos loose ready to kill and take over any bunkers or communities? Won't the gov just force everyone into Fema camps? 

I don't know the future and maybe I am reading too much doom info, but I maintain that NOW is when we are the strongest to confront the status-quo - not when we are trying to survive after SHTF.

Why allow our society to return to life as 100 years ago in order to take action - we will only be weaker at that point.

eishund's picture

conclusion. most sheep are only interested in their grass. how much grass they can accumulate for themselves. there is an invisible forcefield that protects them from reality. grass incidentally is a weed.

AnimalSpirits's picture

how much grass they can accumulate for are right and it isn't the finest side of human nature.

invisible forcefield that protects them...I would call it blind greed. They're killing the cow to eat today when they could have had milk for years to come.


SofaPapa's picture

A perfect example of government working hard to destroy our ability to control our own destiny:

It's sickening, really.  There is no such thing as a pure strategy; there will have to be resistance at certain levels; never accept their narrative.  That's the key.

Tristan Ludlow's picture

Right, just withdraw. That method still resulted in pregnancies.  


So when the government does not like your withdrawal and forces you to participate, then what?

Kyanite's picture

If you withdraw your participation as a group of people... instead of gathering weapons to hit empty cans around the yard while pouting like a group of hopeless pussies, then you would realize how withdrawing your participation is the only way forward.

At some point, you have to WANT to get out of the pool of diarrhea!

serotonindumptruck's picture

As with many such doom and gloom articles posted at ZH, I typically expect to gain more comprehensive insight from reading the comments, rather than any actual substance that might be found in the OP. 

We all live in a dystopian world.

Yeah, I get it.

This OP needs to learn the age-old lesson that brevity is the soul of wit.

bloofer's picture

I don't think anyone has any suggestions along those lines.

I honestly think the best option is to continue truth-telling, to continue to show an example of rational and critical thinking, and to challenge these myth-based belief systems, of whatever kind, wherever you encouter them.

In other words, whenever you have the opportunity, try and teach people to think.

Troy Ounce's picture


Why would anyone think? .Gov thinks for you. Risk is gone remember.

Food stamps, housing subsidies, study loans, liar loan mortgages, super low interest rates, gov. Jobs....everything not think. No reason for reason to learn...we will take care of you.

illuminatus's picture

Unfortunately there is no cure for stupid, or greed.

Solio's picture

Pedos aren't leaders; they are criminals of the worst kind.

Kyanite's picture

These two got away scott free.

Everyone focused on the Prince of Pederasty, Alefantis, instead. 

HRH Feant2's picture

I haven't watched the Handmaid's Tale on Hulu but I have heard John Wells talk about it on his show ( I read the book many years ago. It reminded me of some Mormon utopia run amok.

So the author and the cast are saying this is a way to depict Trump? WTF? Uh, Trump wasn't president in 1985 (the year the book was published) and I doubt Atwood (who is, or was, a Mormon based on the viewpoint presented in her book) knew anything about Trump back in 1985.

I read the book when it came out, but the story reminds me more of the Clinton crime machine, DC insiders, and the deep state than of Trump. The Clinton's rule by force, by exerting raw power and intimidation to get what they want. As I recall that was the basic premise of the book, a deep state that was hidden from everyone but the privileged, the elites, that went to private parties with hookers, and blow, and booze because they were the annointed ones. They held the reins of power and you did what they said or else. People were tools, to the people in power in the Handmaid's Tale.

August's picture

Take all your own worst failings, and project them onto your perceived enemies.

It's happened before... duh.

ThanksIwillHaveAnother's picture

We are in a mix of The Matrix movie and the 1984 novel.  

Let it Go's picture

While the doors are open it seems Washington remains "closed for business" and nobody has seemed to notice or care. It is difficult to believe the productivity of Washington could drop any lower, and while our elected officials busy themselves with calling for further investigations and making promises of getting to the bottom of this America putters along on autopilot. the article below takes a look at this sad state of affairs.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

It certainly didn't...

But he's proof that it WILL NOT CHANGE and CAN NOT CHANGE as long as he continues to maintain the "status quo" and does what he is told!

Centerist's picture

It could change if everyone just primaried out the incumbents.  That would be a good start.

Pft's picture

The dystopia has been 100 years in the making. I pick 1897 for the start but you could easily choose 1913-1917, 1933, 1948, 1963, 1973-74, 1979. When Orwell wrote 1984 it was not a prophecy it was the plan. He was in British Intelligence after all, and London was the heart of this dystopia and still may be via its influence and agents in DC, Wall St and Tel Aviv

2001 was simply when the dystopian worlds arcitecture was completed. What has followed is simply lifting the veil on the world as it is starting with some controlled demolitions which were a symbolic demonstration of the end of the illusion we lived in. Its been slow to sink in because people dont want to believe.

The surveillance has always been there. Media control and propaganda. Ditto. Deep State. Yup. Now its just about conditioning people to the new reality till their historical amnesia makes it the new normal. Presidents like Trump and Cheney (not Bush) provide the shocks to open the eyes. Obama was just to give us a breather although the work continued (screwing you with a smile and making you like it).

Welcome to the End of History

Lost in translation's picture

Every night I have the same, recurring dream that I'm an extra in the cast of Blade Runner.

But then I wake up, eat a few tangerines, make some cà phê sua dá, and drive off to the job. I feel better, until...

...I look around and realize that it wasn't a bad dream: I'm living on the set.

peippe's picture

The Dystopia started when america accepted $600 to go 'shopping'

when an idiot gave you $600 to go shopping to save 'merica-you did it, 

so maybe blame the douche in the mirror.

If you are too young to remember, good for you, you're somewhat innocent in all this.

bloofer's picture

Irish feminist Angela Nagle has it right:

“The real-world dystopia for the majority of women in the age of Trump is not that they are being forced to have children by a repressive traditionalist state,” she wrote last week, “but that they’re being compelled not to by far more insidious forces, and those that do are financially and socially punished at every turn.”

I don't, however, believe that it is primarily "neo-liberal market forces" that are the primary culprit. A more important culprit is that women have been taught for generations to view children and family life as a burdensome degradation, and men have been taught for generations to view all forms of personal responsibility as anathema. To care for others, to work and sacrifice for others has become unthinkable. The ladies have been taught that a "Sex in the City" lifestyle is more gamorous and desireable. I don't actually know what the men think, though it kind of appears they've been taught to view marriage and children with horror.

williambanzai7's picture

I believe we are living within an extended episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants goes to Washington

Peruserdude's picture

You can stand and watch the entire shitstorm unfold or spend quality time avoiding it.

Buster Cherry's picture

The dystopia began November 23, 1963

Kyanite's picture

I'd say it began in 1781 with this event.

Then it really got rolling in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act.

ds's picture

"the world we live" ? You mean the US or maybe the Western World. Please do not be presumptious that the World outside of US orbit on your dystopia or even Geroge Orwell, etc. The world has civilizations and cultures longer the history of US. The world has to deal with and adapt to the economic and military power of US. These powers undergird one Tribe that has got into its head that it is their God given right to be the master tribe. All these are diminishing.

Paradoxically, the values of the US Tribe are not abandoned by many global tribes. US hegemonies of $, oil, etc protected by technological and military mights are still ideals. They belong to many globa tribes with US as the epic center. Please do not conflate these global vested interest and values with a divided Tribe who happens to be in the US territories with their dystopia. 

The baton of progress for the species need not be in the hands of a weak tribe. Epic Center US with its many meccas of progress should stay but its many present inhabitants with their hang-ups are irrelevant. Get you acts together. The master tribe status has to be earned.