For Douglass, the fundamental principle at stake was not the rule of law, but the natural rights of the individual. After all, the rule of law is not worth loving for its own sake, but rather because we deem it to be a crucial safeguard of our rights. The rule of law, in Douglass’ words, “is for the protection of rights” and when it fails to serve this function, it undermines its own legitimacy.
Donald Trump did not create the world of “alternative facts.” Rather, the possibility of his election is the culmination of twinned processes: the dismantling of representational democracy in the U.S., and the de-realization of politics. From the point of view of the elites who rule us, the real problem with Trump is the risk his fascist agenda might foster the resurrection of the people as an oppositional, anti-elite political power.
From the intelligent design movement to claims the biotech industry plans to reengineer the human species and the environmental movement is using (non-existent) climate change as an excuse to usher in a totalitarian world government, paranoia has driven the creation of alternative science—“paranoid science”—which functions as part of the Christian Right’s alternative reality.