The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Glen Reynolds discusses the escalating hostility (not criticism, mind you, outright hostility) directed at Donald Trump and tries to dissect its underlying cause. Sure, Trump is often crude, and his aggressive style definitely rubs people the wrong way, he is dangerously imprecise with his speech, but in many ways, his policies (as distinguished from his style) are not nearly as ominous as his many detractors would have us believe.

Yet representatives from many elite entities in this country—the so-called intelligencia, the arts, much of the GOP establishment, some pundits on the right, all on the Left, almost all of the media, some corporate CEOs, much of the federal bureaucracy, almost all of academia—seem to hope for Trump's failure as a president and have established a narrative of the man as a deranged monster.

Reynolds discusses the reaction of the elites after Donald Trump's upset election victory:
But as Nicholas Ebserstadt notes, that changed in November. To the privileged and well-educated Americans living in their “bicoastal bastions,” things seemed to be going quite well, even as the rest of the country fell farther and farther behind. But, writes Eberstadt: “It turns out that the year 2000 marks a grim historical milestone of sorts for our nation. For whatever reasons, the Great American Escalator, which had lifted successive generations of Americans to ever higher standards of living and levels of social well-being, broke down around then — and broke down very badly.

"The warning lights have been flashing, and the klaxons sounding, for more than a decade and a half. But our pundits and prognosticators and professors and policymakers, ensconced as they generally are deep within the bubble, were for the most part too distant from the distress of the general population to see or hear it.”

Well, now they’ve heard it, and they’ve also heard that a lot of Americans resent the meritocrats’ insulation from what’s happening elsewhere, especially as America’s unfortunate record over the past couple of decades, whether in economics, in politics, or in foreign policy, doesn’t suggest that the “meritocracy” is overflowing with, you know, actual merit.
And there's the rub. The "best and brightest" are slick—they speak well, use precise language withthan 140 characters, are quick to cite precedent (of the best and the brightest who have come before them), tell us repeatedly that their collective insight is significantly more robust than the average citizen's. Their style is impressive. They appear to be everything that Trump is not.

But over the past 20 years, their results have been far less than impressive—an economic meltdown, serial wars, the virulent growth of radical Islam, increased tension internationally, stratospheric national debt, to name only a few things. At some level the people recognized this and rejected their reign in 2016. That was too much for too many within elite entities. Reynolds comments:
The rage of our privileged class is thus about loss of status. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t dangerous. Nations have blown up over less: As [Richard] Fernandez observes, “Suicidal factionalism has torn apart famous nations before, Rome's Crisis of the Third Century being the most famous example. . . . If Trump is overthrown by the Deep State in a year, he's unlikely to be the last. If neither faction will suffer itself to be governed by the other, whoever succeeds Trump can expect his term to be short. America could have its own period of the 26 presidents [Rome had 26 rulers in a very short historical period]. That will be good news for the Barbarians, waiting at the edge of the Baltics, in the South China Sea, and on Europe's borders, ready to move in. Rome's Third Century crisis did not end well. The new normal was not a return to the Golden Age, but the end of it.”

Strong nations can fail when their leadership class, or a part of it, succumbs to pettiness, and places its narrow factional interests above those of the nation. Americans have often assumed that we are immune to such things. Perhaps earlier Americas, with a more disciplined, more patriotic ruling class, were. But today’s America is not. Beware.
If you listen carefully to the elites who are now paraded in front of us via the media, you begin to understand the arrogance, the pettiness, and the outright rage that their loss of status has created. If the imaginary news that is being created to support their cause becomes ingrained, if propaganda, rather than honest critique becomes the norm, if hostile protest, rather than calm dissent over the next four or eight years becomes commonplace, a steady erosion in our culture, our governance, and our country is possible. "Beware."


Writing in a similar vein, the blog, Diplomad 2.0 notes:
At the risk of some exaggeration--but this is a blog, and that's what we do--perhaps we should see Trump as bringer of the new culture to the traditional culture of the traditional Washington elites and their enablers in the universities, Hollywood, and corporate medialandia. There is no doubt that a huge socio-cultural clash is underway. Turn on your TV; you see it. Listen to the debates of people around you; you hear it.

Trump has upended the traditional political culture in a way not seen since, well, I don't know since when; you fill in the date. The left are akin to some sort of American Ibo [a Nigerian tribe (actually, Igbo) discussed by Chinua Achebe in the classic novel, Things Fall Apart] who see their traditional government-based culture threatened, and much of their behavior seems to indicate they, too, are preparing to commit suicide.

After watching some anti-Trump demonstration on TV, a friend of my son's asked these intelligent questions of me the other day, "What has Trump done? Why is he accused of being racist? Why do they hate him so much?" Best as I can tell, I think they hate the idea of Trump. He wasn't supposed to be president. He is not, I guess, one with the body. He has, in short, exposed them as, no other word for it, crazy. Yes, crazy.
Yes ... crazy.

UPDATE (2/22/17):

Still additional commentary by Holman Jenkins:
The saddest part, though, is how quickly Democrats, following their loudest, ninniest voters, have decided to turn Mr. Trump into the Antichrist. One example: In 17 years of Howard Stern interviews, Mr. Trump appears never to have uttered a sentiment unfriendly to gays. He is a lifelong New Yorker. He was a regular at Studio 54. His mentor was a powerful gay attorney. In his convention speech, Mr. Trump offered himself as the defender of “LGBTQ citizens.” Yet many gay activists now join a parade of those pronouncing themselves oppressed by a Trump presidency. Why? Pure cognitive dissonance: Democrats have been busy twisting his admittedly rococo image beyond reason to fit their partisan needs.
The "ninniest voters" have worked very hard to transform Trump into a hard-right crazy and despite copious evidence to the contrary, they believe their own B.S. After all, without that belief, it would be difficult to produce the near-hysterical fervor they evidence (e.g., "fear," "stress," threats to leave the country). Not only doesn't the hard right characterization conform to Trump's past history or his proposed policies, independents and voters in fly-over country view the "#Resistance's" histrionics as unhinged. The anti-Trump forces are in a deep hole and insist on digging further. So be it.