Thursday, October 31, 2019

America's Empty Headed Philosopher Kings

If the nation were not riveted to President Trump, and if President Trump did not have to spend half his time dodging and deflecting incoming verbal attack missiles, we might have been paying attention to our philosopher kings, our intellectual and political elites, people who have been running the country... into the ground. By their lights Trump can do no right. By logical extension, they can do no wrong.

Victor Davis Hanson calls them our nomenklatura. (via Maggie’s Farm) They are a guardian class of philosopher kings who have taken control of the government and who will brook no dissent. You might think that they are running on fumes, but it would be more accurate, Hanson suggests, that they are running on credentials.

In that he is echoing a thought often expressed by David Foster of the Chicago Boyz blog, namely that America’s ruling class is defined by credentials, not by achievement or merit. Besides, in a world where diversity has overtaken merit, these credentials are no longer signs of real worth.

Hanson trots out the usual suspects and exposes a gang that cannot think straight. For all of the vitriol routinely tossed at Donald Trump, Americans intellectual leaders has failed to notice that their heroes have feet of clay.

You recall, Hanson reminds us, that serious psychiatrists have accused Trump of being mentally ill. And yet, how often does Joe Biden resemble a man who is suffering some level of dementia. One might even say the same about the hapless and helpless Robert Mueller, a man whose Congressional testimony showed that he was not in charge of much of anything.

As for Biden, Hanson remarks what we all know:

At times, former Vice President Joe Biden is unaware of which town, indeed which state, he is in. He slurs his words often. Biden strings together unconnected thoughts that result in utter incoherence—not alleviated by his near shouting emphatics or fits of pique at reporters.

Sometimes, Biden forgets names, and referents, and appears befuddled generally. His biography is mythical. He cannot address Ukraine and the role of his son, Hunter Biden, because, after all, what would a truthful person say? That the vice president of the United States allowed his wastrel son to become a multimillionaire by leveraging his father’s office with foreign corrupt governments? 

And yet, media enablers continue to claim that Biden merely makes gaffes. If Trump had done as much, they would have been crying out for involuntary commitment... even though they oppose involuntary commitment.

As for Hillary Clinton, she refuses to accept that she lost an election and has descended to trafficking conspiracy theories… the kind that would normally label you paranoid. Of course, she and her minions have been accusing Trump of having done what she and her minions were actually doing. When it comes to corruption, to emoluments, no one beats the Clintons:

And all this from Hillary Clinton, who inaugurated the 2009 disastrous Russian appeasement scheme known as “reset” by pushing a red plastic Jacuzzi button in Geneva, and who was instrumental in green-lighting North American uranium sales to Russian interests, which interests through third parties had donated to her foundation and indirectly paid Russians to interfere in the 2016 election to destroy her opponent?

And the sainted Mitt Romney, a man whose good moral character does not include loyalty, refused to take the gloves off when running against Barack Obama. Now he has made himself a Republican scold, a party of one.

But after the implosion of the once impressive 2016 Republican primary field, Romney assumed the mantle of senior establishment Trump foe. If he played by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules with Barack Obama, he certainly did not with Donald Trump, blasting him frequently as a fraud, con, dishonest, a bully, and greedy—clueless that instead Trump served as some sort of sharp planer that ripped off the thin, shiny mahogany veneer pasted over our particle-board establishment.

And, let’s not forget:

Romney seems to have entered Hillary/Biden fantasyland by admitting to being a “lurker” on social media—one who adopts an anonymous and secret Twitter account (in Romney’s case under the nom de guerre “Pierre Delecto”), to channel and encourage nice stories about himself, and to attack vicariously those who do not share his views or self-admiration.

And, we can examine the records of former Obama administration officials James Clapper and John Brennan. Somehow or other the great minds of the media have not figured out that these holier-than-thou warriors are really trying to stay out of jail.

As it happens, no one much cares about holding them to account:

Before Trump, both John Brennan and James Clapper, respectively CIA director and director of national intelligence, lied under oath to Congress—and paid nothing for doing so. Or rather their past prevarications became good CV items for the new fake news industry. From them, we respectively once learned that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was largely secular and that jihad was a mostly a non-violent expression of personal growth and discovery. In their world, drones never hit bystanders, the intelligence agencies never spy on Americans, and the two of them never lied under oath. Both leveraged their past service and security clearances into lucrative cable TV analyst contracts—and often editorialized about ongoing investigations in which they were either knee-deep or of which they later became targets.

How did we go wrong? Hanson offers this explanation:

We have confused credentials with merit—as we learned when Hollywood stars and rich people tried to bribe and buy their mostly lackadaisical children into named schools, eager for the cattle brand BAs and without a care whether their offspring would be well educated. 

Graduating from today’s Yale or Harvard law school is not necessarily a sign of achievement, much less legal expertise. Mostly, entrance into heralded schools is a reminder of past good prep school grades and test scores winning admittance—or using some sort of old-boy, networking, athletic, or affirmative action pull.

Being a “senior” official at some alphabet government agency also means little any more outside of the nomenklatura. Academia, the media, and entertainment industries are likewise supposedly meritocratic without being based on demonstrable worth. Otherwise, why would college graduates know so little, the media so often report fantasies as truth, and Hollywood focus on poor remakes? Take all the signature brand names that the Baby Boomers inherited from prior generations—Harvard, Yale, the New York Times, NPR, CNN, the Oscars, the NFL, the NBA, the FBI, the CIA, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, and a host of others. And then ask whether they enhanced or diminished such inheritances?

A country over $22 trillion in debt, with an open border, an existential conflict with China, and a West in cultural and demographic decline, for two years was told falsely that Donald Trump supposedly knew of a meeting in advance at Trump Tower, that James Comey would supposedly testify that he never told Trump he was not under investigation, and that Trump would soon be indicted, resign, or impeached. The amount of elite energy spent replaying the embarrassing progressive 2016 loss and trying to abort the Trump presidency before the 2020 election, remember, was the product of our best and brightest, the top echelon of our law enforcement and intelligence communities, and our most esteemed political and media elite.

They are defending their turf, their territories, their reputations and their livelihood. The one thing that they can never accept is that the curtain will be drawn back, revealing them to be impostors. They will never forgive Donald Trump for refusing to pay them proper obeisance.


trigger warning said...

"[Romney is] a little like the father in one of those 1950s or '60s sitcoms that terrorized and comforted a generation of children from non-functioning families."
--- "Miss Peggy" Noonan, WSJ token sockmuppet, 2011

From Ward Cleaver to Pierre Delecto. :-D

What say you, Miss Peggy? And where are Statler and Waldorf when you need them?

David Foster said...

Thanks for the mention. Related to the nomenklatura, there is a great book, 'Red Plenty' about the Soviet Union's central economic planning efforts as seen by those on the front lines of the economy. I reviewed it here.

UbuMaccabee said...

But we do have a philosopher-king! Our de Crèvecoeur, the scourge of Stanford, the Cincinnatus of Selma: Victor Davis Hanson. May he live another hundred years.

Sam L. said...

"They are defending their turf, their territories, their reputations and their livelihood. The one thing that they can never accept is that the curtain will be drawn back, revealing them to be impostors. They will never forgive Donald Trump for refusing to pay them proper obeisance." They will be fortunate if he does not send them all to jail...or outer, WAAAAAY OUTER, Mongolia. With one threadbare blanket.

Sam L. said...

Those "Philosopher Kings" were "Philosopher Frauds". NOT, however, VDH.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Willard Romney is a loser, in every sense of the word. Accomplished? Yeah, sure — good resume stuff. But what does that matter when you’ve clearly demonstrated you have no spine?

I cannot stand the man. He’s lookin’ for respect from all the wrong places.

Anonymous said...

Great summary, quotes, and comments. It is truly amazing,living in an age where the corporate media flat out lies with straight faces and the "intel agencies" are working to bring down the president and nullify American votes. Whomever wrote this political thriller -- Sure hope the hero wins in the end!