Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Disloyal Opposition

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Remember when Chicken Little warned of an impending apocalypse.

Apparently, we are closer to the apocalypse than we think. Were you to believe Democratic Congresspersons, the media and militant Hollywood the advent of Donald Trump will usher in a new Dark Ages, a time when the light of reason will be snuffed out by the voices of vulgar emotion. Following fast upon the halcyon days of the Age of Obama, the Age of Trump will see jackbooted Nazis running wild across America. It will see a president who does not respect the law or the constitution. It will see a president who seems unable to moderate his thoughts or emotions.

Those who oppose Trump no longer pretend to be the loyal opposition. They tell us that his election was illegitimate, that he is not really their president and that they will become an armed resistance fighting the scourge of Neo-Nazism.

A man set himself on fire in front of the Trump Hotel in Washington yesterday. He wanted to show us how strongly he felt. He wanted to show that he was fighting against the raw Trumpian emotion by showing that his emotions were more raw and more irrational.

An opera singer who was asked to perform at the Trump inauguration was showered with death threats. A Broadway star named Jennifer Holliday was threatened with death and with career implosion. As I said, the world is not exactly awash in rational thought.

Think about it: death threats! We are living in a time where people refuse to respect the opposition, reject the results of an election because their candidate lost and retreat to the trenches to resist—you know, as a few French people did during World War II after they surrendered to the Third Reich.

When Donald Trump suggested during a presidential debate that he might not accept the results of the election, Hillary Clinton rightly denounced his failure to keep faith with America. Now, when members of Congress declare that Trump’s election was illegitimate, they are a profile in courage.

Our current president could not even bring himself to recommend that they attend. One notes, yet again, that the perfectly courtly and decorous Barack Obama has been an extremely divisive president. As someone wrote this morning, how many times did Obama cut deals with Congressional Republicans? And how many times did he stand up for America?

Now, the woman who was in very large part responsible for the Trump victory, that would be Kellyanne Conway, has been defamed by a clown named Samantha Bee for enabling a “pussy grabber”. When did Bee or any other good feminist defame Hillary Clinton for having enabled her husband’s sexual abuse and rape?

Meryl Streep was not speaking truth to power when she attacked Trump at the Golden Globe Awards. She was preaching to the choir. And yet, when she ran through a list of actors who had been born in foreign countries, she managed to single out Natalie Portman by neglecting to mention the nation of Portman’s birth. Streep said that Portman had been born in Jerusalem.

Had she said "Jerusalem, Israel" she would have offended those who were happy to see Barack Obama abstain from a United Nations Security Council vote declaring East Jerusalem and a number of Jewish holy sites to belong to the Palestinians. When she was called out on the slight by Portman’s representatives, Streep backed down.

Those who oppose Trump are not even pretending to be loyal. They are pulling a Colin Kaepernick and refusing to accept the election results. As Hillary herself pointed out when Trump suggested as much, it’s not an act of loyal dissent.

So the new resistance rejects Trump because he is irrational, emotional and unhinged. It does so by being more irrational, emotional and unhinged. They are making Trump look rational and deliberate. One suspects that that was not their goal.

True enough, Trump did not run a very decorous campaign. I expressed my own dismay on more than one occasion.

But, apparently, Trump  did not mean any of it. It was all theatre, all show. If we want to judge Trump, we can examine his behavior as president-in-waiting. We can be distressed by his engagement in Twitter wars, but we can also look at the people he nominated to the cabinet.

Like it or not, most of them are people of achievement. They were nominated on the basis of merit, not to fulfill diversity quotas. Are Trump’s detractors unhinged because he is bringing back meritocracy? Did the American people reject Hillary Clinton on the basis of her demerits?

Obama himself was not elected on the basis of anything resembling an achievement. He was certainly not qualified for the office. And yet, we are all obliged to say that he was the greatest, lest we be called bigots. If Colin Powell had been the first African-American president we would not have had an endless conversation about race.

Cornell West got it right in the Guardian:

The reign of Obama did not produce the nightmare of Donald Trump – but it did contribute to it. And those Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility. 

In fairness, West criticizes Obama for not being sufficiently leftist. With that caveat in mind, we agree with him that the failure of the Obama presidency lies not only in the man but in the cheerleaders who bowed in idolatrous obeisance to everything he did.

You would think that they would be slightly embarrassed to have abandoned their rational and critical faculties. You would be wrong.

Most of Trump’s appointees are apolitical; they have not sworn allegiance to a political party. Most are not ideologically inclined. Most are rich, meaning that they are not in it for the money or even for the fame. Or to prepare themselves for future office.

You can argue against them, but you should also admit that they are for the most part competent executives who know their stuff and who have relevant experience. None of them are likely to allow themselves to be pushed anyone.

Of course, the Clinton campaign wanted to run against Donald Trump. So did most members of the elite media. (As they say, be careful what you wish for....) Trump had been a Democrat all his life and was surely an amateur. Now, however, he is morphing into a Republican. Writers on the Powerline blog have suggested, reasonably, that the unhinged leftist attacks on Trump are going to push him further to the political right.

Were you to ask yourself why people voted for Donald Trump you could conjure up many answers. The state of the economy must be near the top of the list. The American people, exception made for a privileged few, are not doing very well.  For our purposes today, I would reiterate another point, one that I have made on occasion. The Trump candidacy was a reaction against cultural tyranny, the culture tyranny of political correctness. It pervades the media. It is taught as gospel truth in our schools and offered up as propaganda by the entertainment business. It was the guiding light of the Obama administration.

What else did it mean that Obama commuted the prison sentence of transgender icon Chelsea/Bradley Manning? Committing treason was for nothing when it came to Obama’s empathy for the suffering of Pvt. Manning. All the people who were massacred by the Taliban on the basis of the intelligence information that Manning leaked… of no consequence. The real war was against political incorrectness.

And, Obama also commuted the sentence of a terrorist named Oscar Lopez Rivera, a man who had been responsible for dozens of terrorist bombings. None of it mattered because he was a hero to Puerto Rican people. As we know ethnic identity must always trump loyalty to the nation.

Many people voted for Trump on nationalistic grounds. He was for America, not for any faction. People wanted to assert pride in their country after having undergone a presidency that did everything it could to diminish same. Apparently, people believed that the tyranny was so pervasive that they wanted it to be bulldozed. Anyone who owes his job or his career or his college acceptance to identity politics is obviously threatened by a return of national pride and especially by a return to meritocracy.

But, those who live in the politically correct bubble have no interest in rational debate or deliberation. They feel what they feel and that’s all they need. They do not know and do not want to know that their deeply held opinions make no sense. That’s why they are so emotional.

It makes no sense to imagine, as Gen. James Mattis was asked at his hearing, that having more women in the combat infantry will not detract from military effectiveness. And yet, Mattis felt constrained to follow the party line—that being the notion that there is no real difference between men and women—lest he ignite a firestorm among politically correct Democrats.

The Obama administration has fought a culture war. The enemy has been white males. And, of course, that great beacon of Judeo-Christian civilization— Israel.  Surely, Obama felt like a weakling when seated next to a man who fought as a commando against terrorists. Obama’s petulant displays of anti-Israeli sentiment gave us a hint.

White males were the enemy of the Obama administration. Everyone else was welcome to join a political coalition of the aggrieved and the oppressed.

That this coalition did not turn out to vote for Hillary Clinton was the most unkindest cut of all.

To be more precise, it’s all more about ideology than about being oppressed. Culture warriors will immediately defame any member of an aggrieved class who seems to have sympathies toward his or her oppressor. A woman who does not buy into feminist ideology is not a real woman. An African-American who does not support the ideology is unacceptable and must be shunned as an Uncle Tom.

The Obama years saw America descend into a Cultural Revolution where  you were not judged according to the content of your character but according to the political correctness of your beliefs. As I have occasionally noted, it was a war against a state of mind. Such wars tend to count among the worst and most divisive.

This morning the New York Times offered an article about Mao Zedong’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution… the gold standard in pogroms.

Helen Gao explains how it was. See if any of it sounds familiar:

Cultural Revolution trauma differs from that related to other horrific events, like the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocidestudies have noted, in part because in China, people were persecuted not for “unalterable” characteristics such as ethnicity and race, but for having the wrong frame of mind. Constant scrutiny of one’s own thinking and actions for signs of political deviance became a necessity for survival that sometimes carried unbearable weight.

Since no one knows anyone else’s frame of mind, the night riders of the thought police used the Cultural Revolution to settle scores:

Fickle political winds turned attackers into targets overnight, causing people to label one another class enemies less out of ideological conviction than out of revenge or pressure to toe the right line. The blurry distinction between perpetrators and victims makes collective healing by confronting the past a thorny project.


Ares Olympus said...
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Ares Olympus said...

This is what comic Scott Adams has said for months, basically all the Obama derangement syndrome of the Right has now been released, and a new Trump derangement syndrome has replaced it. So before Obama used to be a Kenyan born Muslim married to a black man, trying to make us all bake cakes for gay couples, and now Trump is the bully bullshitting maniac he presented himself to be during 18 months of campaigning in front of frothing crowds.

And I admit I don't understand the hype over the Russian interference while whatever it was, there was no evidence of election fraud, except of course for the 3 million illegals who voted for Clinton but now Trump doesn't care about those illegal votes since he won. So those 3 million are free to vote again at midterm elections, since we're not going to spend any resources to catch them.

And for my own well-being, I don't feel any particular fear that I'll end up any worse off than anyone else for whatever Trump or the republicans do.

And course we know what they're liking to do - cut taxes hugely for billionaires (I mean job creators), and raise spending on pork projects in their congressional districts, and cutting programs that seem to support democratic leaning districts, and make some patriotic military moves like parades and fly overs and drop just a few more bombs than President Obama and maybe a few more troops on the ground in various token battles that we can't lose. And the deficits will fly back up near 1 trillion dollars per year, but it'll because we're "creating jobs" by giving money to billionaires. Oh, and maybe we'll reduce the deficit like selling off federal lands and assets to states for $1 whom will then sell off the same lands and assets to private companies who will upkeep them, and ask for subsidizes to develop them for private gain, and add tolls and fees for the public to have access to them. Oh, and cut "job killing regulation" and allow markets to regulate themselves. That's the real secret to an efficient economy.

So it all looks good, except when the economic crisis happens, and deficits explode from $800 billion to say $3 trillion a year, and again, the Republicans will make the same sorts of "stimulus" as a Democratic president would make, and they'll say they're just fixing Obama's bad economy, and keep up that argument as long as it works.

And then people will slowly get tired of that, tired of all the crony capitalism at work, and the scandals that will come out in the next 2-8 years, and the Demcrats will win a landslide victory of the presidency and the House and the Senate majorities by 2024, no matter how incompetent they are in the next 8 years at being the disloyal opposition.

I admit economic crisis is my real fear, since it is real and unavoidable, but war is the tougher one. I wonder how many years of health care subsidies we could have offered to the middle class for the $2 trillions wasted in Iraq?

What I'm sure about is Trump loves to find scapegoats, so calling people pigs and stuff is no problem, but starting "easy wars" that'll be done in 6 weeks often becomes 50 year occupations, if we really want to fix another country. And we may not be "broke" for having 19 trillion in federal debt, but any war an American president starts now better have a 6 month escape plan.

On the other hand, fear is so powerful, as the freaking out liberal now show, that surely even a modest terrorist attack in an American city, that'll enable a president to do almost anything.

Anyway, I'm just glad I have no responsiblity for outcomes. I knew GWB was trouble, but sometimes people just need to see what happens when you pay for two major wars on a tax cut. It's hard to predict, so we have to run experiments forward, just in case magical thinking works.

Sam L. said...

Don't forget, Ares, that Obama is responsible for the last 8 years in Iraq. Also, I haven't noticed much in the way Of Obama derangement syndrome.

Anonymous said...

What's become of America?

dfordoom said...

In fairness, West criticizes Obama for not being sufficiently leftist.

And he's quite right. Obama isn't even remotely leftist. He was the most right-wing President in living memory.

Anonymous said...

Just how did this happen?

Karl Marx: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

Political Marxism: Tragedy

Cultural Marxism: Farce.

Unknown said...
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