Monday, May 16, 2016

Trump and the shame of conservatives

I suspect one reason Trump horrifies so many conservatives is not because they suspect he's a closet liberal, but because they're terrified at the possibility he's not just a conservative, but an effective conservative. They would rather lose, and lose big, than have Trump be the model of a conservative victory - loud, obnoxious, offensive and shameless.

First, because Trump is a political actor without the standard chains on; the Chamber of Commerce can't harm him with his base by denouncing him (far from it.) The ADL can't do him harm by wringing its hands and announcing their concerns that Trump is an anti-semite (very far from it.) A conservative is one thing, but a conservative who isn't leashed by mainstream bloggers, Foxnews and CPAC? That's full-blown Frankenstein territory, and it only gets worse when one realizes that Trump's able to crack a rhetorical whip and do some damage of his own. Obama's a belligerent little priss, but even he has chains - they're just liberal chains.

Now, that would explain the fear of Trump at the higher levels - one we're talking about popular bloggers, special interest groups, lobbyists and more. But then why the fear of Trump at the lower level?

I think part of that - not all of it, but part of it - is that they simply don't want success to even be possible in this package. I'm reminded of some of the shit Ed Feser got when he published The Last Superstition - why, he was polemical at times, how horrible. He insulted people! Sure, they were atheists, and nasty ones at that, but... shouldn't we be better than that? Because... well, we don't feel right being polemical. We don't like to insult.

Because insulting is dangerous, and we may get insulted back, and we may well be outgunned. Better to insist it's all out of bounds and hope like hell the referee will step in, because otherwise we're in trouble.

Obviously, I have a different view about that. I like the new political culture, which doesn't deal with BlackLivesMatter by trying to ignore their existence or kowtowing to that idiot Al Sharpton in some hopes of buying credibility with blacks. I'd rather they just be called thugs who should be arrested or who may well in fact deserve a punch in the head, and instead address blacks at large directly. I'd rather see Fauxcahontas mocked openly instead of idiot conservatives pretending that what the people really want to hear is praise of her many accomplishments (Good God she's a woman, and she finegled her way into academia no less) and laughing in her face at her antics is off-limits. I'm willing to live with the new, more upsetting world, especially since the world I was actually getting was as bad anyway, just with the targets limited to my side of things.

I understand that many conservatives do not like this, and want - desperately, frantically, with sweat now pouring from their brows - to go back to the world where being meek was called being noble, and being a coward was called being sensible, and being bland was preferred to being insulting. I'm sorry, but that ship has sailed. We now live in the world where Donald Trump is the most persuasive articulator of patriotism around, and Milo Yiannaopolous gives the best critiques of the LGBT movement, and Vox freaking Day is the one talking sense about culture, not PJ O'Rourke.

I have a feeling these guys are here to stay this time around, so best get used to 'em.


The Deuce said...

The rank and file conservatives who hate Trump, especially ones who have long been opposed to the Republican establishment, really do puzzle me. It's easy to see why establishment Republicans (politicians, bloggers, talking head circuiters, think tankers) hate him. As you said, they've got no control over him, and they really have no interest in advancing any conservative goals, so to them Trump represents a loss of political influence and power, with no real upside. And in fact the conservative goals Trump promises to accomplish - the closing of the borders and curtailment of globalist policy - are anathema to the Chamber of Commerce types, so for them its a total loss, in terms of both insider influence and policy.

But I see a number of regular conservatives who have no inside political influence to lose and who I know would like to see, say, a wall built, flipping out every bit as much. Any positive mention of Trump on Facebook and I'm guaranteed to have a few commenters insisting that he's a radical progressive, utterly indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton, along with the old conspiracy theories that he's secretly working to get her elected.

I really don't get this, or what drives it. It seems plainly absurd to me. If Trump were as radically left as Hillary on a core conservative issue, like abortion or immigration, I could see this claim that he's just as bad as she is. It still technically wouldn't be true given the sheer number of things she's a far-left radical on, but at least I could see why a conservative could conclude that he was so horrible on core issues of such philosophical and emotional import that the rest simply didn't matter. But that's not the case, and I'm pretty sure my conservative friends who have become frantic in their opposition to Trump aren't upset out of a deep and abiding commitment to globalist free trade policies.

A lot of them will focus on Trump's personal character flaws, and admittedly this is the area which I'm most apprehensive about. Yes, he's flipped on a number of things in recent years, including some core philosophical issues (eg. abortion, health care, immigration, etc), and during the campaign he's repeatedly appeared to blurt something out and then quickly "retconned" his position to something more acceptable when the base seemed to balk. Yes, he's philandered and cheated on his wives a lot (and still doesn't acknowledge no wrongdoing) which is a negative character trait and a legitimate reason for suspecting that he doesn't take oaths and promises that seriously. These are all reasons why I advise against wearing any rose-colored glasses and am fairly cynical and tepid in my support of the guy.

The Deuce said...


But "just as bad" as Hillary? Really? How? For starters, just stack Trump's infidelities up against her husband's, and the way she personally destroyed those women who he took advantage of and quite likely even raped. At least Trump's philandering appears to have all been a consensual thing, without the need to ruin anyone afterwards. And if infidelity and dishonesty are the dealbreakers, why weren't these people up in arms over John McCain, who's serial cheating and abandonment of his wife after she was injured in a car wreck was much worse than what Trump has done?

And if Trump is indeed lying about his positions, or isn't really sincere and abandons them once elected, then at *worst* the difference between him and Hillary isn't as great as he's presenting it as being. But that's still no basis for these claims that he's a "radical progressive" and just as far left as Hillary.

It just makes no sense to me. From where I'm sitting, it looks like mass hysteria making mountains out of molehills. Trump is far from perfect, but this idea that he's a uniquely evil affront to conservative principles that must be opposed to the bitter end? And coming from people who have no establishment power to lose? It's just bizarre.

Trump seems to hit deep primal nerves in certain people that drive them to fits of rage. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's what you said here. Maybe, to borrow from Vox Day, there's an element of gamma resentment of alpha success, which is then rationalized as opposition for principled moral reasons. Whatever it is, it's a strange phenomenon.

Crude said...

Who knows. Maybe it was that no one expected Cruz of all people to come so close to the nomination, so having that plan not just derailed, but derailed by a guy who is a loud-mouthed bastard is horrifying.

I do think, among bloggers, there's a hatred of Trump which stems heavily from 'They denounced Trump as a liberal to their commenters, and their commenters by and large turned against them en masse'.