2.7.16

RECLAIMING THE AMERICA THAT WORKED.

Retired financial advisor Jim Ruth explains, to Washington Post readers, "I hate Donald Trump. But he might get my vote."  It's about achieving a state of good repair in the culture, something that much of his birth cohort was complicit in destroying.  "Members of this new silent majority, many of us front-wave baby boomers, value hard work and love the United States the way it was."  Probably better to help with the restoration, rather than hope for people who never experienced it, to attempt to build a functional public culture from scratch.  "The only pleasure the new silent majority has taken throughout this primary season has been watching progressives marinate in their own righteous indignation." That marinade has turned rancid, as I shall argue once the holiday is past.  If you could confine it to Cambridge and Madison and Hollywood, that might be tolerable.  But the rot is everywhere.  "In our view, the thought of four to eight more years of a progressive agenda polluting the American Dream is even more dangerous to the survival of this country than Trump is."  Naivete, good intentions, policy failures.  Dangerous, indeed.  Thus the Trump candidacy just might be a protest vote that works, despite Mr Trump's shortcomings as Gray Champion.

There's a longer meditation at The Right Geek that will reward careful study.
I agree wholeheartedly that Trump is not fit for our country's highest office. But if we engage in a little bit of self-examination, I think we'll find that our own views are also, in some way, driven by fear. I think we fear that if Trump is permitted to fly the Republican banner, that will kill any chances of conservative principles ever being thoughtfully reconsidered. Moreover, we fear that the coarseness of the Trump campaign is reflecting a decadence in our own society that, if it's further encouraged, will never be reversed.

Maybe it would be better if we openly acknowledged this fear instead of putting on the facade that we are wholly rational, which makes the Trump backers feel like we're lording our intellectual superiority over them instead of listening to what they have to say. [And now that I've mentioned it, we should also thoughtfully consider where Trump's backers might be coming from and not simply dismiss them as simpletons.]
That's Mr Ruth's point also: not all Trump voters are knuckle-draggers. (Nor, to be clear, are all knuckle-draggers Trump voters, but I digress.)  Ultimately, though, it's about lifting the burden of bad ideas (which have metastasized from Cambridge and Madison and Hollywood, to our disadvantage.)
The classically liberal values that once formed the bedrock of our society are under constant – and vicious – assault by a faction that yearns to control what we do, say and think. This faction has successfully harassed perceived malefactors out of their jobs; argues for the abandonment of our rights to free speech, free association, and self-defense; and feels absolutely no shame in doing either. What will become of us if we let these social justice warriors get their way?

It can be argued defensibly that, of all the battles we must fight, removing the social justice left from power and restoring our civil rights in our academic and creative spaces is perhaps one of the most important battles of all.
Thus Mr Trump's strongest selling point. He refuses to be "politically correct," by which he means indulging in the euphemisms by which ignorance becomes strength and perversity becomes normal.
Many people believe that Trump is usefully nudging the Overton Window further right – that he is the catalyst that will start a necessary preference cascade – and they are willing to back him on these grounds. Could this be just as principled a position as ours? Yes, I think so. Free speech does matter.

Now for my last thought: Over the past eight years, our elites have displayed nothing but naked contempt for ordinary Americans and their values – aided and abetted, of course, by our current president, who clearly despises both our religiosity and our attachment to the Constitution and the principles it represents. And no – I don’t know that we can survive yet another president who perpetuates this oikophobia. Something will explode. If you keep kicking the dog, eventually the dog is going to turn around and bite – and the results will not be pretty.

The descriptions I’ve read of various rallies reveal that Trump approaches our “flyover” citizens in a much more respectful, affirming way. He constantly tells his (mostly rural and working class) supporters that he loves them and the America they represent. And yeah – I tend to think it’s all a show and that Trump is a clever manipulator. But we don’t actually know that for sure. We can’t read Trump’s mind, and we don’t know his true endgame. Thus, it is just as defensible to hope that he’s being genuine. And it’s defensible to back him because you want to encourage our political leaders to drop their snooty-ass attitudes and start treating their American neighbors like full-fledged human beings instead of incomprehensible Others.
Reality, which is emergent, tends to be socially conservative,  And the snooty-ass gentry have, inter alia, erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance; declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatever; and excited domestic Insurrections among us.  And they fret about the Incomprehensible Others thinking of torches and pitchforks.  It is the Right of the People to Alter or Abolish.

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