1) When America leads, the world is better.[. . .]
2) The terrible presidency of Barack Obama is beginning to be acknowledged.
Following President Trump's order to attack Syria about 63 hours after the Syrian regime seemingly used chemical weapons, even many in the mainstream media couldn't help but contrast his prompt response with Obama's nonresponse to Assad's use of chemical weapons in 2013. [. . .]
Likewise, Obama's do-nothing policies vis-a-vis North Korea are being contrasted with Trump's warnings to leader Kim Jung Un about further testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles and pressure on China's leaders to rein in the North Korean regime.
These contrasts are important for a number of reasons, not the least of which being there is now hope that Obama's star will dim as time goes on.
This will come as somewhat of a surprise to those on the left, but many of us who are not on the left believe that Obama did more damage to America than any previous president -- economically, militarily and socially.
Regarding the social damage, as the first black president in American history, he could have been an unprecedented force for racial healing but instead left America more racially divided than any modern president. In his repeated citing of Ferguson, for example, he helped spread the lie that a racist white Missouri police officer had killed an innocent black teenager without reason (other than racial bias).
He deceived the American people (the "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" assertion and more) in order to pass Obamacare, one of the largest government-expanding programs in American history. He used presidential power in an unprecedentedly authoritarian manner. He showed far more understanding of the Iranian theocracy than of the Israeli democracy. His Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice were politicized in ways reminiscent of corrupt Third World regimes. And he left America fighting a (thus far nonviolent) second Civil War.
3) The interminably repeated left-wing lie that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in cahoots has exploded. [. . .]
4) Another charge made over and over by the left -- the mainstream media, academia and the Democratic Party -- that the Trump election had unleashed an unprecedented amount of anti-Semitism was proven to be yet another left-wing hysteria based on a left-wing lie. [. . .]
In the piss-poor pages of the Rag of Record's op-ed section, for today's date, I found this: ". . .Trump's craziness is proving infectious, making Democrats crazy with rage that actually impedes a progressive agenda."
It is true that the Dems are crazy with rage and that this impedes their agenda. But of course such impedance is a good thing, not to mention the pleasures of Schadenfreude as we watch our opponents melt down.
But Kristof is wrong about the origin of TDS. It does not derive from the Orange Man's alleged craziness, but oozes up from the mephitic recesses of leftists' psyche.
Their bien-pensant bigotry, smug assurance of moral superiority, and Hillarian sense of entitlement received a stinging rebuke on November 8th, and they still haven't gotten over it.
If you are wondering why I didn't link to Kristoff's piece, it is because the NYT webpages are now set up to disallow copying and pasting. No copy and paste? Then no hyperlink. Yes, I know there is a copy-and-paste work-around, but I'm not about to jump through those hoops.
Attributed to Voltaire. "The better is the enemy of the good." Supposedly from the earlier Italian Il meglio è nemico del bene, attested since 1603. (Wikipedia) The thought is perhaps better captured by "The best is the enemy of the good."
In an imperfect world it is folly to predicate action upon perfection. Will you hold out for the perfect spouse? Then you will remain alone. And if you yourself are less than perfect, how can you demand perfection in others?
Politics is a practical business: it is about the gaining and maintaining of power for the purpose of implementing programs and policies that one believes to be beneficial, and for opposing those whose policies one believes to be deleterious. It's about winning, not talking. It's not about ideological purity or having the supposedly best ideas; it's about gaining the power to implement good ideas, ideas that are implementable in the current configuration of suboptimal circumstances. The practical politician understands that quite often Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien, the better/best is the enemy of the good.
The Never Trumpers and the conservative opponents of the American Health Care Act displayed a failure to understand this important principle of practical politics.
Practical politics as opposed to what? As opposed to the effete and epicene political salon talk of Bill Kristol and George Will. Erudite and entertaining but useless in stopping the leftist-Islamist juggernaut.
The main external threat to civilization? Radical Islam. The main internal threat? Leftism. That the latter is in cahoots with the former makes for a nasty synergy. Prager:
Conservatives who voted for Trump believed that defeating the Left is the overriding moral good of our time. We are certain that the Left (not the traditional liberal) is destroying Western Civilization, including, obviously, the United States. The external enemy of Western Civilization are the Islamists (the tens or perhaps hundreds of million of Muslims who wish to see the world governed by Sharia), and the internal enemy of the West is the left. What the left has done to the universities and to Western culture at the universities is a perfect example.
It’s time that angry liberals stop calling every Republican a misogynist, a Nazi, or a white supremacist. On left-wing websites everywhere, these terms are being dispensed like gumballs from a machine. If we really want to take back the country, we have to deal with issues. Name-calling may make us feel good, but it’s not going to change the country. Buckling down and working for your ideas may not succeed, either, for the three branches of government are all moving rightward. But political action has a better chance of succeeding than does slander.
My opinion of Coyne has gone up a notch. But it remains relatively low. Here are my Coyne entries.
Trump is doing well despite obstructionist Dems, deep-state saboteurs, and the nay-saying nimrods of Never Trumpism. The stock market is way up, illegal immigration is way down, and a solid conservative, Neil Gorsuch, is a SCOTUS shoo in.
Add to the list an incitement of interest among lefties in federalism.
Calexit, Bluexit and other secessionisms are just silly and won't happen. United we stand; divided we fall. We can keep the Union together if we practice some enlightened segregation. I have been arguing for federalism for years. We need the political equivalent of divorce. Members of a divorced couple can remain on amicable terms if they severely restrict their contact to what is patently in their common interest, such as the care of children. You get the analogy. It limps, but no analogy is perfect. A perfect analogy is an identity and you can't (fruitfully) compare a thing to itself.
For both historical and philosophical reasons, federalism runs counter to the progressive instinct. Those on the left like government, and their preferred legislature is the Supreme Court. On top of this, the South’s invocation of states’ rights to resist the civil rights movement has tainted the phrase, which many regard as code for “Jim Crow.”
But Mr. Trump’s election may be occasioning a welcome rethink, especially among Democrats who understand they have lost far more than the White House. For all the attention to Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote victory, Democratic influence over state legislatures is now reduced to Civil War levels. In this environment, some progressives appreciate that they might have more to gain from a federalism that empowers minorities—sexual, racial, political, whatever—in locales where their views dominate.
One concern is whether lefties can learn to control their totalitarian instinct. I am not particularly sanguine about that. So keep your powder dry.
Saturday morning I heard for the third time Dr. Jasser speak. One of the questions I put to him was: "How many American mosques foment political or Sharia-based Islam?" He praised the precision and relevance of my question, preferring it to the question, "How many American mosques foment terrorism?" Jasser's answer to my question was 80%. To which my response was, "And there you have the problem." Jasser agreed.
I was pleased to hear that Jasser supports Trump (not without reservations) and opposes the Left's mendacious phrase "Muslim ban" in connection with Trump's recent executive orders anent a moratorium on immigration from six Muslim countries. (Note to lefties: moratoria are by definition temporary.) He thinks Saudi Arabia and others should have been on the list.
I was also pleased to hear Jasser oppose the Left's identity politics. He mentioned Black Lives Matter in this connection.
The good doctor is for plain talk as against the obfuscatory rhetoric of Obama and Hillary: not 'violent extremism' but 'violent Islamism.' He described the Egyptian Brotherhood as a terror group. If I heard right, 20% of Syrian refugees are sympathetic to ISIS.
Douglas MacKinnon makes the case. After a stinging assessment of George W. Bush, MacKinnon has this to say about Obama:
Next, the American people got a president who was inserted in the protective and unquestioning bubble of political correctness at about twenty years of age, who kept his grades, his transcripts, his SAT scores, his IQ and much of his early life a state secret, and who had virtually no real-world work experience. At least none that was not handed to him on a silver platter.
Purely because of his lack of real-world experience, coupled with his socialist views on life, he proceeded to decimate our health care system, force millions of Americans into poverty and onto food stamps, create more debt than the combined debt of every president before him, weaken our military to the breaking point, and cause our allies to no longer trust us. All while playing over 300 rounds of golf and squeezing in more vacation time than most Americans will take in a lifetime.
Fortunately for this president who was schooled by some truly reprehensible socialists, Marxists and haters, he and his wife begin their new lives as a former president and former first lady with a book deal valued somewhere between $30 million to $60 million.
As someone who spouts socialism and the redistribution of wealth, maybe he can be convinced to give most of those tens of millions of dollars to the families of the approximately 4,000 murder victims (about equal to U.S. losses in Iraq and more than U.S. losses in Afghanistan) in his hometown of Chicago. Surely he won't forget that he once lectured a hardworking plumber that "when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
. . . and the obstructionist Democrat crapweasels out to subvert the duly elected president. As Horowitz points out, the destructive Dems call themselves the Resistance as part of their narrative according to which Trump = Hitler. A short video with my favorite gun-totin' lesbian, Tammy Bruce.
Julie Kelly explains why she decided to break up with Bill Kristol.
Part of my explanation of the meltdown of Kristol, George Will, John McCain and other nattering nabobs of Never-Trumpism is that the Orange Man is an uncouth interloper who crashed their party and consigned them and theirs to irrelevance.
"The era of empty talk is over," Trump announced in his CPAC speech. And with it the era of Kristol and Co. These yap-and-scribble do nothing boys in their bow ties don't like it; hence their steaming and spluttering.
In his many years in office what has Arizona Senator John McCain done to secure the southern border? Praise him for his military valor in the past. What we need, however, is civil courage in the present. Too much go along to get along, senator.
Part of the explanation for the effete establishment conservatives' hatred of Trump has to do with his personal style and lack of 'class.' He's not one of them. As if 'class' trumps sound conservative actions. Hanson:
Even conservatives sometimes seem more bothered by Trump’s raw uncouthness in service to a conservative agenda than they were by Obama’s sautéed orneriness in advancing progressive hope and change. Years of the Cairo Speech, the apology tours, the Iran deal, the Iraq pullout, Obamacare, record debt and low growth — editorialized by chronic attacks on Fox News, along with “you didn’t build that,” “punish our enemies,” and “I won” putdowns from Obama — never prompted calls for the 25th Amendment like those in some anti-Trump tweets. Is the difference predicated on class, accent, education, tone, appearance, tastes, comportment, or the idea that a shared Beltway culture trumps diverse politics?
[. . .]
The final irony? The supposedly narcissistic and self-absorbed Trump ran a campaign that addressed in undeniably sincere fashion the dilemmas of a lost hinterland. And he did so after supposedly more moral Republicans had all but written off the rubes as either politically irrelevant or beyond the hope of salvation in a globalized world. How a brutal Manhattan developer, who thrived on self-centered controversy and even scandal, proved singularly empathetic to millions of the forgotten is apparently still not fully understood.
Some will say that the Lord works in mysterious ways. Of course, Trump might still blow it bigly. (That is indeed a recognized word.) We shall see.
By the way, Obama got away with his "sautéed orneriness" [brilliant phrase, Victor!] because of the black privilege black politicians enjoy and exploit to the hilt: the race card is used to deflect any and all criticisms as originating from anti-black animus alone. That is why no black pol ever leaves home without it. The race card, I mean.
The Trump haters in their furious incoherence oscillate between calling him
. . . an anti-American traitor and Russian plant to calling him a dangerous, fascistic ultranationalist whose relentless hawkishness is bringing us closer to World War Three. Already there are some days when they mount both attacks at the same time: the hawkish traitor whose Nazi style America First ideology leads him to lick Putin’s boots. The media wants to cast Trump as both Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler; but you can’t give the Sudetenland to yourself.
We like him because he understands that politics is not a gentlemanly debate but war, and because he is uniquely positioned to punch back hard against vicious leftists who obviously see politics as war. I can't say it any better than the great David Horowitz:
The movement galvanized by Trump can stop the progressive juggernaut and change the American future, but only if it emulates the strategy of his campaign: Be on offense; take no prisoners; stay on the attack. To stop the Democrats and their societal transformation, Republicans must adhere to a strategy that begins with a punch in the mouth. That punch must pack an emotional wallop large enough to throw them off balance and neutralize their assaults. It must be framed as a moral indictment that stigmatizes them in the way their attacks stigmatize Republicans. It must expose them for their hypocrisy. It must hold them accountable for the divisions they sow and the suffering they cause.
The graphic infra may help clear things up for those of you lefties who are not permanently lost to TDS. I will add that if Trump is not your president, then you are not my fellow citizen. You are a subversive element, and due no respect, if you do not accept our system of government and the procedurally correct outcome of an election.
Many of us believed that President Obama was doing great damage to America. Now we are convinced that he did more damage to America domestically, to America’s position the world and to the world at large than any other two-term president. He left office with racial tensions — many of which he exacerbated — greater than at any time since the civil rights era half a century ago. He left the world’s worst regimes — Iran, China, Russia, North Korea and radical Islamist terror groups — stronger and more aggressive than before he became president. Economic growth never rose above 3 percent, a first for a two-term president. He nearly doubled the national debt and had little to nothing to show for it. Obamacare hurt more people financially than it helped medically, including physicians. More people than ever are on government aid. The list is far longer than this.
Had he lost the election, Trump would be remembered mainly for his ugly words. But having won, he is redeemed by his already long string of ameliorative actions, the latest and best of which has been his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch is the recipient of high praise from many quarters, including the precincts of NeverTrumpers like Robert P. George.
One has to wonder what these NeverTrumpers were thinking and drinking when they fancied that the Republic could survive 4-8 years of Hillary and her destructive SCOTUS appointments, then to be miraculously saved -- by whom? Mitt Romney? Jeb! Bush? But perhaps it is now time to show charity and cease rubbing the noses of the NeverTrumpers in their bad judgment.
I doubt whether any of these prominent NeverTrumpers will publicly confess their errors, but from the columns they are now writing one can see that many of them are coming around.
V. Putin will hack the scoreboard the way he hacked the voting machines in November, tilting the tabulation of the vote in favor of fellow fascist, Donald J. Trump. (Adapted from a Dennis Miller riff.)
This entry from 6 January 2012 bears re-posting in the light of current events. 'Light' indeed. A new day is dawning. Things are looking up. We now have a president with the cojones to take action, and he has. Who would have thought that Donald J. Trump of all people would be the patriot to save the country? The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways. What a week it's been! While conservatives rejoice -- I mean true conservatives, not NeverTrump quislings and jokers -- leftists lose their minds and descend into thuggery showing themselves plainly for what they were all along.
Philosophers hate a contradiction, but love a paradox. There are paradoxes everywhere, in the precincts of the most abstruse as well as in the precincts of the prosaic. Here are eight paradoxes of illegal immigration suggested to me by Victor Davis Hanson. The titles and formulations are my own. For good measure, I add a ninth, of my own invention.
The Paradox of Profiling. Racial profiling is supposed to be verboten. And yet it is employed by American border guards when they nab and deport thousands of illegal border crossers. Otherwise, how could they pick out illegals from citizens who are merely in the vicinity of the border? How can what is permissible near the border be impermissible far from it in, say, Phoenix? At what distance does permissibility transmogrify into impermissibility? If a border patrolman may profile why may not a highway patrolman? Is legal permissibility within a state indexed to spatiotemporal position and variable with variations in the latter?
The Paradox of Encroachment. The Federal government sues the state of Arizona for upholding Federal immigration law on the ground that it is an encroachment upon Federal jurisdiction. But sanctuary cities flout Federal law by not allowing the enforcement of Federal immigration statutes. Clearly, impeding the enforcement of Federal laws is far worse than duplicating and perhaps interfering with Federal law enforcement efforts. And yet the Feds go after Arizona while ignoring sanctuary cities. Paradoxical, eh?
The Paradox of Blaming the Benefactor. Millions flee Mexico for the U.S. because of the desirability of living and working here and the undesirability of living in a crime-ridden, corrupt, and impoverished country. So what does Mexican president Felipe Calderon do? Why, he criticizes the U.S. even though the U.S. provides to his citizens what he and his government cannot! And what do many Mexicans do? They wave the Mexican flag in a country whose laws they violate and from whose toleration they benefit.
The Paradox of Differential Sovereignty and Variable Border Violability. Apparently, some states are more sovereign than others. The U.S., for some reason, is less sovereign than Mexico, which is highly intolerant of invaders from Central America. Paradoxically, the violability of a border is a function of the countries between which the border falls.
The Paradox of Los Locos Gringos. The gringos are crazy, and racist xenophobes to boot, inasmuch as 70% of them demand border security and support AZ SB 1070. Why then do so many Mexicans want to live among the crazy gringos?
The Paradox of Supporting While Stiffing the Working Stiff. Liberals have traditionally been for the working man. But by being soft on illegal immigration they help drive down the hourly wages of the working poor north of the Rio Grande. (As I have said in other posts, there are liberal arguments against illegal immigration, and here are the makings of one.)
The Paradox of Penalizing the Legal while Tolerating the Illegal. Legal immigrants face hurdles and long waits while illegals are tolerated. But liberals are supposed to be big on fairness. How fair is this?
The Paradox of Subsidizing a Country Whose Citizens Violate our Laws. "America extends housing, food and education subsidies to illegal aliens in need. But Mexico receives more than $20 billion in American remittances a year -- its second-highest source of foreign exchange, and almost all of it from its own nationals living in the United States." So the U.S. takes care of illegal aliens from a failed state while subsidizing that state, making it more dependent, and less likely to clean up its act.
The Paradox of the Reconquista. Some Hispanics claim that the Southwest and California were 'stolen' from Mexico by the gringos. Well, suppose that this vast chunk of real estate had not been 'stolen' and now belonged to Mexico. Then it would be as screwed up as the rest of Mexico: as economically indigent, as politically corrupt, as crime-ridden, as drug-infested. Illegal immigrants from southern Mexico would then, in that counterfactual scenario, have farther to travel to get to the U.S., and there would be less of the U.S. for their use and enjoyment. The U.S. would be able to take in fewer of them. They would be worse off. So if Mexico were to re-conquer the lands 'stolen' from it, then it would make itself worse off than it is now. Gaining territory it would lose ground -- if I may put paradoxically the Paradox of the Reconquista.
All this raises an uncomfortable question for people who have no use for PC’s agenda, and who value the freedom to think for themselves. How do you respond to someone who is determined to smear you for your alleged bigotry regardless of what you think and why? How do you win an argument against someone who willfully changes the meaning of words, maintains that the truth is completely relative, and feels perfectly justified in accusing virtually anyone of the gravest moral failure?
If our opponents are going to accuse us of being evil-minded bigots, regardless of what we say or think, then what’s the point in bothering to convince them otherwise?
Enter the right-wing postmodern antihero. Unlike just about every other presidential candidate who ran on the Republican ticket, Trump grasps our postmodern culture intuitively, and put it to use with devastating effect.
[Paleo] Liberalism -- which was anti-left, pro-American and deeply committed to the Judeo-Christian foundations of America; and which regarded the melting pot as the American ideal, fought for free speech for its opponents, regarded Western civilization as the greatest moral and artistic human achievement and viewed the celebration of racial identity as racism -- is now affirmed almost exclusively on the right and among a handful of people who don't call themselves conservative.
The left, however, is opposed to every one of those core principles of [paleo] liberalism.
[Samuel] Huntington is most famous for arguing in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order that the post-Cold War world would not be defined by the universalization of liberal values but by ethnic frictions within nations and civilizational clashes between them (the most volatile fault lines, he said, were between the West and Islam and the West and China). Even more prescient, at least as far as the United States is concerned, was Huntington’s 2004 book, Who Are We?, which described “nationalism versus cosmopolitanism” as the central dividing line in American politics, with immigration as its focal point.
Huntington identified two forms of cosmopolitanism—neoconservatism, popular on the right, which promised to bring America’s values to the world, and multiculturalism, popular on the left, which promised to bring the world’s values to America—both of which he attacked as destructive and unsustainable. The 2016 election campaign was one long demonstration of how right Huntington was, and how blind were his liberal and neoconservative critics who had no idea of the forces building in American politics.
The neocon mistake was to imagine that our superior system of government could be imposed on benighted and backward peoples riven by tribal hatreds and depressed by an inferior religion. The folly of that should now be evident. One cannot bomb the benighted into Enlightenment.
The mistake of the multi-culti cultural Marxists is to imagine that comity is possible without commonality, that wildly diverse sorts of people can live together in peace and harmony. Or at least that is one mistake of the politically correct multi-cultis.
Along comes Trump. Whatever you think of the man and his ostentation, self-absorption, slovenly speech, occasional feel-ups of members of the distaff contingent, and all the rest, he is a powerful vehicle of a necessary correction away from both forms of cosmopolitanism/globalism toward a saner view.
Donald J. Trump, the somewhat unlikely vehicle of a necessary correction. Without course correction the cliff is up ahead to be approached either by Donkey Express (Hillary) or more slowly but just as surely by Elephant (Jeb! and colleagues).
So how does the Left respond? In their usual vile and thoughtless way by the hurling of such epithets as sexist, Islamophobic, xenophobic, racist, fascist . . . you know the litany. According to Chris Mathews of MSNBC, Trump's inaugural speech was "Hitlerian."
The alacrity with which these leftist bums reach for the Hitler comparison shows the poverty of their 'thought.'
Addendum. Tony Bevin writes:
In your post you write:
The neocon mistake was to imagine that our superior system of government could be imposed on benighted and backward peoples riven by tribal hatreds and depressed by an inferior religion. The folly of that should now be evident. One cannot bomb the benighted into Enlightenment.
This is of a mind with Milton Friedman's observation about the Euro. He noted that one cannot impose a common currency that is not supported by a common political will [emphasis added by BV]and gave the Euro 10 years before it became extinct.
I think he (and you above) are correct. Friedman may have only been wrong about the timeline. By the way, the Euro, which consistently traded at about $1.33 is now down to the $1.02-$1.05 range and Deutsche Wealth management expects it to be about $0.85 toward the end of this year. With Brexit, Italexit and other countries beginning to discuss the possibility of leaving the EU, is the beginning of the end near? We shall see.
Commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning, one of the great traitors of our time, is finger-in-the-eye willfulness. Obama took 28 years off the sentence of a soldier who stole and then released through WikiLeaks almost half a million military reports, plus another quarter-million State Department documents.
The cables were embarrassing; the military secrets were almost certainly deadly. They jeopardized the lives not just of American soldiers on two active fronts — Iraq and Afghanistan — but of locals who were, at great peril, secretly aiding and abetting us. After Manning’s documents release, the Taliban “went on a killing spree” (according to intelligence sources quoted by Fox News) of those who fit the description of individuals working with the United States.
What a wonderful legacy! Some people have a negative net worth. Can one speak of a negative legacy? In these waning hours of his (mis)administration, let us reflect on the foolish and destructive things Obama has said and done the better to savor the change and hope that tomorrow will usher in. Remember Arizona Senate Bill 1070 from 2010 and the lawsuit former Attorney General Eric Holder brought against the State of Arizona? Here are my posts from that time in case you want to refresh your memory over that outrage. Image credit: Lisa Benson.
After all, no one would confuse Trump with a religious man. Robert Tracinski's explanation strikes me as correct:
The strength of the religious vote for Trump initially mystified me, until I remembered the ferocity of the Left’s assault on religious believers in the past few years—the way they were hounded and vilified for continuing to hold traditional beliefs about marriage that were suddenly deemed backward and unacceptable (at least since 2012, when President Obama stopped pretending to share them). What else do you think drove all those religious voters to support a dissolute heathen?
Ironically, a pragmatic, Jacksonian populist worldling such as Donald J. Trump will probably do more for religion and religious liberty in the long run than a pious leftist such as Jimmy Carter.
Mr. Carter famously confessed the lust in his heart in an interview in -- wait for it -- Playboy magazine. We should all do likewise, though in private, not in Playboy. While it is presumptuous to attempt to peer into another's soul, I would bet that Mr. Trump is not much bothered by the lust in his heart, and I don't expect to hear any public confessions from his direction.
But what profiteth it to confess one's lust when one supports the destructive Dems, the abortion party, a party the members of which are so morally obtuse that they cannot even see the issue of the morality of abortion, dismissing it as a health issue or an issue of women's reproductive rights?
I am surprised at how hard-hitting this is. But the punches land right on target.
From the first time I saw Mr. Obama, his First Inaugural, I said to myself, “This is a classical tyrant” and wrote an article to that effect. Now, a classical “tyrant” is not some brutal beast. Rather, he is popular, suave, smooth-talking, and ruled only by his own musings. He arises in a democracy when its citizenry have largely lost touch with natural being.
Mr. Obama’s notion of America was that into which he wanted to change it. The America of the Founders or the tradition did not much interest him. Indeed, this America was what had to be changed to make the world safe for the America that he was out to re-found, one that looked pretty much like himself. And, to give him credit, he succeeded in many ways. His Muslim and community organizing backgrounds were both traditions that had almost nothing to do with what we once understood to be Western civilization, with its unique American gloss.
[. . .]
I will pass over his religious views. His is a popular leftism that identifies religion as politics. Catholics were slow to recognize the efforts Mr. Obama made to identify religion and positive law. No leeway was left. Religion could not stand in the way of social “progress.” Who could have imagined even a decade ago that the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion traditions would be under fire for holding back the social engineering that Mr. Obama and his friends foisted on the country’s embassies, laws, military, healthcare, medicine, schools, environment, and even in the food we can’t eat.
But is there nothing good that this still relatively young man accomplished? The comedian Jack Benny was once famously confronted by a robber who insistently demanded, “Your money, or your life!” To which Benny replied, “I’m thinking! I’m thinking!” Mr. Obama has made it necessary for us to recall a whole order of being that was relentlessly overturned step by logical step. Do I think that this countrywide recollection is taking place? “I’m thinking! I’m thinking!”
Oikophobia is an irrational fear of household items, surroundings, and the like. Political oikophobia is an irrational aversion to one's own country, culture, traditions, and countrymen. I suggest we call the opposite political oikophilia, an irrational love of one's own country, culture, traditions, and countrymen. This distinction 'cuts perpendicular' to the xenophobia-xenophilia distinction. Thus,
Political oikophobia: irrational aversion to one's own country, etc. Political oikophilia: irrational love of one's own country, etc. Xenophobia: an irrational fear of foreigners and the foreign. Xenophilia: an irrational love of foeigners and the foreign.
Clearly, one can be an oikophobe without being a xenophile, and an oikophile without being a xenophobe.
Trump Derangment Syndrome takes the form of political oikophobia in many. Glenn Reynolds supplies examples. Here is one:
Ned Resnikoff, a “senior editor” at the liberal website ThinkProgress, wrote on Facebook that he’d called a plumber to fix a clogged drain. The plumber showed up, did the job and left, but Resnikoff was left shaken, though with a functioning drain. Wrote Resnikoff, “He was a perfectly nice guy and a consummate professional. But he was also a middle-aged white man with a Southern accent who seemed unperturbed by this week’s news.”
This created fear: “While I had him in the apartment, I couldn’t stop thinking about whether he had voted for Trump, whether he knew my last name is Jewish, and how that knowledge might change the interaction we were having inside my own home.”
When it was all over, Resnikoff reported that he was “rattled” at the thought that a Trump supporter might have been in his home. “I couldn’t shake the sense of potential danger.”
Here is a second example:
In fact, another piece on reacting to the election, by Tim Kreider in The Week, is titled "I love America. It's Americans I hate." Writes Kreider, “The public is a swarm of hostile morons, I told her. You don't need to make them understand you; you just need to defeat them, or wait for them die. . . . A few of us are talking, after a couple drinks, about buying guns; if it comes to a fascist state or civil war, we figure, we don't want the red states to be the only ones armed.”
“A vote for Trump,” Kreider continues, “is kind of like a murder.” Though his piece concludes on a (slightly) more hopeful note, the point is clear: Americans, at least Trump-voting Americans, are “pathetically dumb and gullible, uncritical consumers of any disinformation that confirms their biases.”
And a third:
And in a notorious Yale Law Journal article, feminist law professor Wendy Brown wrote about an experience in which, after a wilderness hike, she returned to her car to find it wouldn’t start. A man in an NRA hat spent a couple of hours helping her get it going, but rather than display appreciation for this act of unselfishness, Brown wrote that she was lucky she had friends along, as a guy like that was probably a rapist.
Clearly, these three people are topically deranged: they lose their mental balance and the boat of brain capsizes into irrationality when the topic of Trump obtrudes. This is not to say that they cannot negotiate the world sensibly in other ways: they are not globally deranged. Nor is it to say that everyone with objections to Trump the man or Trump's policies and appointments is deranged topically or globally.
The phrase 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' refers to a real phenomenon and is justified by this fact.
Lockheed Martin Corp.’s chief told President-elect Donald Trump it’s close to a deal with the Pentagon to lower costs “significantly’’ for the next production lot of its F-35 fighter jet and will boost hiring at the Texas factory where the advanced aircraft is made.
People have been complaining about defense contractors' bilking of the government for decades. Should a screw cost $37? What's it made out of, gold? A coffee maker $7,622? A toilet seat $640? (See here.)
Finally, some action. But for action you need a man of action. A man who can't be bought. Not another lawyer turned career politician. Not another member of the cozy political class who goes along to get along. Someone with the wherewithal to be independent, a maverick politician, if you will.
You lefties ought to like that Trump is sticking it to yuge corporations and saving American jobs. So to you nattering nabobs of negativism I say: give the man a chance, a year or two. If he goes fascist we'll take of him.
Could I present liberal-left ideas in such a way that the reader could not tell that I was not a liberal? Let me take a stab at this with respect to a few 'hot' topics. This won't be easy. I will have to present liberal-left ideas as plausible while avoiding all mention of their flaws. And all of this without sarcasm, parody, or irony. Each of these subheadings could be expanded into a separate essay. And of course there are many more subheadings that could be added.
Abortion. We liberals believe that a women's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy is a very important right that must be upheld. We are not pro abortion but pro choice, believing that decisions concerning a woman's reproductive health are ultimately her decisions, in consultation with physicians and family members and clergy, but are not the business of lawmakers and politicians. Every woman has a right to do what she wants with her body and its contents. While we respect those who oppose abortion on religious grounds, these grounds are of a merely private nature and cannot be made the basis of public policy. Religious people do not have the right to impose their views on the rest of us using the coercive power of the state.
Voting Rights. We liberals can take pride in the role our predecessors played in the struggle for universal suffrage. Let us not forget that until the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution on 18 August 1920, women were not allowed to vote. We liberals seek to preserve and deepen the progress that has been made. For this reason we oppose voter identification laws that have the effect of disenfranchising American citizens by disproportionately burdening young voters, people of color, the elderly , low-income families, and people with disabilities.
Gun Control. We live in a society awash in gun violence. While we respect the Second Amendment and the rights of hunters and sport shooters, we also believe in reasonable regulations such as a ban on all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Marriage. We liberals believe in equality and oppose discrimination in all its forms, whether on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. For this reason we support marriage equality and same-sex marriage. Opposition to same-sex marriage is discriminatory. As we become more enlightened and shed ancient superstitions, we extend the realm of freedom and equality to include more and more of the hitherto persecuted and marginalized. The recognition of same-sex marriage is but one more step toward a truly inclusive and egalitarian society.
Taxation and Wealth Redistribution. We liberals want justice for all. Now justice is fairness, and fairness requires equality. We therefore maintain that a legitimate function of government is wealth redistribution to reduce economic inequality.
Size and Scope of Government. As liberals we believe in robust and energetic government. Government has a major role to play in the promotion of the common good. It is not the people's adversary, but their benefactor. The government is not a power opposed to us; the government is us. It should provide for the welfare of all of us. Its legitimate functions cannot be restricted to the protection of life, liberty, and property (Locke) or to the securing of the negative rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Jefferson). Nor can it be restricted to the securing of these and a few others: people have positive rights and it is a legitimate function of government to ensure that people received the goods and services to which they have a positive right.
Health and Human Services. A decent society takes care of its members and provides for their welfare. The provision of welfare cannot be left to such institutions of civil society as private charities. It is a legitimate state function. People have positive rights to food, water, shelter, clothing, and health services. These rights generate in those capable of satisfying them the duty to provide the things in question. It is therefore a legitimate function of government to make sure that people get what they need.
Capital Punishment. We liberals are enlightened and progressive people. Now as humankind has progressed morally, there has been a corresponding progress in penology. The cruel and unusual punishments of the past have been outlawed. The outlawing of capital punishment is but one more step in the direction of progress and humanity and indeed the final step in implementing the Eight Amendment's proscription of "cruel and unusual punishments." There is no moral justification for capital punishment when life in prison without the possibility of parole is available.
The Role of Religion. As liberals, we are tolerant. We respect the First Amendment right of religious people to a "free exercise" of their various religions. But religious beliefs and practices and symbols and documents are private matters that ought to be kept out of the public square. When a justice of the peace, for example, posts a copy of the Ten Commandments, the provenience of which is the Old Testament, in his chambers or in his court, he violates the separation of church and state.
Immigration. We are a nation of immigrants. As liberals we embrace immigration: it enriches us and contributes to diversity. We therefore oppose the nativist and xenophobic immigration policies of conservatives while also condemning the hypocrisy of those who oppose immigration when their own ancestors came here from elsewhere.
Today's Arizona Republic sported a headline containing the phrase 'election hacking.'
How about a distinction? It is one thing to hack into DNC servers and John Podesta's e-mail. It is another thing to hack into a voting machine. So I ask: what is the justification for talk of election hacking?
Let's assume that, contra Julian Assange's asseveration to the contrary, the Russians did the hacking into the DNC servers. Let's also assume that Vladimir Putin was aware of this and approved of it. What might his motive have been? The going 'wisdom' before November 8th was that Hillary was ashoo-in. That was the opinion of all the top commentators. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Putin's motive was to get some dirt on Hillary to use against her when she became president.
So it is far from obvious that the Russkis were trying to influence the U. S. election, let alone tilt it in Trump's favor. Why would they want Trump in office, an alpha male they could reasonably expect to put someone like 'Mad Dog' Mattis in charge of the Department of Defense?
And then there is the utter hypocrisy of the Dems and some Republicans who are suddenly horrified at our lack of cyber-security when they didn't seem much exercised over far, far worse such breaches over the last eight years.
Let's see this 'election hacking' nonsense for what it is. It is nothing but a shabby attempt by sore losers to delegitimize and obstruct the incoming president.
Also, some blame for the hack must be laid at the feet of the DNC and Democratic officials such as Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for their wanton disregard for securing their own email system.
NOTE TO MR. PODESTA: Using “P@ssw0rd” for your password is not really a password. It is more like a “welcome” sign.
Yet, somehow, it was President-elect Donald Trump who seemed to be on trial during Thursday’s Senate hearings.
[. . .]
Chief among the intel honchos is bald and bespectacled Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. This most highly trusted top spook can be trusted to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth — except when he is lying.
Most famously, The Clapper was asked during a 2013 hearing by Sen. Ron Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
“No, sir,” The Clapper responded, only to be exposed as a complete liar within months.
Our privileged, college-educated left — what Joel Kotkin calls the gentry liberals — feels that its preeminent position in American society is under threat. And people care a lot about status.
What’s more, the people who seem to be lashing out the most are, in fact, just those gentry liberals: academics, entertainers, pundits, low-level tech types, and so on. As journalism professor Mark Grabowski reported, another academic texted him on election night: "Oh my God! We will be the ones ostracized if he wins."
Maybe we shouldn’t “ostracize” people based on whether their candidate wins, but in a way this professor was right: A Trump victory is a blow to the status of the people who thought Hillary Clinton was their candidate — one that they feel even more deeply because gentry liberals, having been raised on the principle that the personal is political, seem to take politics pretty personally.
Another example that’s been circulating on the Internet comes from YouTube sex-talker Laci Green. When the election was still uncertain, she tweeted: “Regardless of the outcome, we are clearly a *deeply* divided and broken country. So much work ahead to mend, heal, and restore the U in USA.” Just a few hours later, when it became clear that Hillary had lost, she changed her tune: “We are now under total Republican rule. Textbook fascism. F____ you, white America. F___ you, you racist, misogynist pieces of s___. G'night.”
Reynolds' is part of the explanation. Another part is that Hillarians and lefties generally are, most of them, secularists. Religion and its promises are for them purest buncombe. This is it, baby, and this is all she wrote. This is as real as it gets. And yet they are not content to be smiley-faced nihilists with their little pleasure for the day and their little pleasure for the night, to paraphrase Nietzsche's Last Man riff. They want Deep Meaning that transcends the petty particulars of quotidian life. So they seek it in the Political. Not being able to worship something worship-worthy, they succumb to the Idolatry of the Political. They don't realize that the Meaning they seek cannot be found where they seek it.
It is their inordinate and idolatrous commitment to the Political that explains, in part, why lefties 'lose it' when their candidates lose.
TDS really is an amazing syndrome. There is no counterpart of it on the Right.
A good distinction. The Dems used to be pragmatic, but now are ideological. David Carlin makes the distinction and then sketches the ideology of the contemporary Democrat Party:
(1) They [the intellectual leaders of the party] preach a metaphysics: There is no God, at least no God like the God of the Bible; no Supreme Being who created the universe and governs it. And if they sometimes say that they are agnostics, not atheists, their agnosticism is virtually identical with atheism; the two differ in name only.
(2) They preach a theory of knowledge: There is no knowledge other than sense-based knowledge, the kind of empirical knowledge upon which natural science is based. (They pride themselves on their respect for science even though very few of them are actual scientists or philosophers or historians of science.) Thus there is no such thing as Divine Revelation. And there is no such thing as trans-empirical intuitive knowledge – for example, intuitive knowledge of the existence of God, of the immortality of the soul, of the fundamental laws of morality.
Comment: The Dems promote scientism, the epistemology of metaphysical naturalism. The latter, roughly, is the thesis that reality is exhausted by the space-time system and its contents. Scientism is the philosophical (not scientific!) doctrine that all genuine knowledge is natural-scientific knowledge. It is a philosophical doctrine that entails the noncognitive status of all philosophy including itself!
Typically, the proponents of scientism don't see the problems with it; their ideological commitment is dogmatic and uncritical. A particularly offensive example is provided by Senator Barbara Boxer in this brief YouTube video in which she derides philosophy and a philosopher who dares to dissent from the party line on fossil fuels.
(3) They preach a theory of morality, a morality of maximum personal liberty. We should be free to do as we like, and we should tolerate a like freedom in others. Of course certain practical limits must be placed on this freedom if we are to avoid a war of all against all: we should not be free to inflict direct and tangible harm on non-consenting others.
(4) Sexual freedom: While there are many other kinds of freedom, sexual freedom is, so to speak, the keystone of the arch. If sexual intolerance is permitted, many other kinds of intolerance will follow.
Comment: The tendency is to give free rein to concupiscence in all of its forms, without of course admitting that this is what one is doing. Concupiscence? What's that? Do you think that our deep natural concupiscence, excited and maintained by the blandishments of a sex-saturated society, might help explain why the many strong arguments against abortion are simply dismissed unexamined by the 'pro choice' crowd? The existence of a moral issue is not admitted. It is just assumed that the right to an abortion is a woman's reproductive right.
(5) Anti-Christianity: The most influential opponent of the above beliefs and values is Christianity, more especially old-fashioned Catholic and Protestant Christianity. Therefore old-fashioned Christianity must be marginalized, must be driven into a social corner where it can do little or no harm.
Comment: But at the same time, Islam is touted as the religion of peace, and its dangers denied.
(6) Omnicompetent government. There is no problem, not even the problem of controlling the terrestrial climate for the next 10,000 years, that cannot be solved, at least in the long run, by the action of the U.S. federal government. Do we have problems of poverty or crime or education or health or drug addiction or global warming? There must be solution that Washington can find for it – a law, an agency, a spending program, a global treaty, etc.
One of the most effective things a right-thinking individual can do to help bring down the destructive Left is by withholding funds. So let's say you are an alumnus or alumna of the Jesuit Gonzaga University. You get wind of the fact that Melissa Click of Mizzou fame notoriety has been hired there. To express your disapprobation of this egregious abdication of authority on the part of the administration, reply to the next funding appeal with a curt refusal.
David French continues to write good columns for NRO. His latest is about one of Hillary's darlings, Black Lives Matter. But when it came time to act and actually do something in opposition to this movement he calls "poisonous," he refused to support Trump, thereby aiding and abetting Hillary and her destructive leftist race-baiting agenda.
This is a MUST-SEE video. White liberal Berkeley students express an extremely condescending attitude toward black folks, and some blacks reply. (HT and Merry Christmas to J.I.O.) The kids actually think that significant numbers of blacks don't possess ID, don't know how to secure it, and lack access to the Internet.
Should we judge the man by his tweets or his picks? By what he says or what he does? Judging by their content, his tweets are injudicious; his appointments so far are outstanding and show good judgment. Here are Trump's choices for cabinet and administrative slots.
'Post-truth' is a silly buzz word, and therefore beloved by journalists who typically talk and write uncritically in trendy ways. There is no way to get beyond truth or to live after truth. All of our intellectual operations are conducted under the aegis of truth.
Here is one example of how we presuppose truth. People routinely accuse each other of lying, and often the accusations are just. But to lie is to make a false statement with the intention of deceiving one's audience. A false statement is one that is not true. It follows that if there is no truth, then there are no lies. If we are beyond truth, then we are beyond lies as well. But of course lies are told, so truth exists.
I could squeeze a lot of philosophical juice out of this topic, and you hope I won't. I will content myself with some mundane observations.
'Post-truth' is used mainly to describe contemporary politics. The idea is that it does not much matter in the political sphere whether what is said is true so long as it is effective in swaying people this way or that. What is persuasive need not be true, and what is true need not be persuasive. But this has has always been the case, so why the need for 'post-truth'? Is it really so much worse these days?
For the Left, Donald Trump is the prime post-truther, the post-truth poster boy if you will, the prima Donald of the practice of post-truth. Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post doesn't expect him to truth up anytime soon. "Indeed, all signs are to the contrary — most glaringly Trump’s chock-full-of-lies tweet that 'I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.' "
A very stupid example, Ms. Marcus! There is not even one lie in the tweet, let alone a bunch of them. Although verifiable in principle, Trump's tweet is unverifiable in practice. Trump had no solid evidence for the truth of his assertion. Still, it could be true. Don't forget the 'necro-vote' (a word I just coined) and the illegal vote. Trump's epistemic 'sin' was not that he stated what is not the case with the intention to deceive but that he confidently asserted something for which he had insufficient evidence. He pretended to know something he could not know. Very annoying, and possibly a violation of a Cliffordian ethics of belief, but not a lie.
So he didn't lie. What he did was close to what Harry Frankfurt defines as bullshitting in On Bullshit, a piece of close analysis, fine, not feculent, that was undoubtedly more often purchased than perused. The bullshitter doesn't care how things stand with reality. The liar, by contrast, must care: he must know (or at least attempt to know) how things are if he is to have any chance of deceiving his audience. Think of it this way: the bullshitter doesn't care whether he gets things right or gets them wrong; the liar cares to get them right so he can deceive you about them.
So you could fairly tax Trump in this instance with bullshitting. He shot his mouth off in a self-serving way without much concern over whether what he said is true. But why pick on Trump?
Because you are a leftist and thus a purveyor of double standards.
Obama bullshits with the best of them. A prime example was his outrageous claim that 99.9% of Muslims reject radical Islam. It is false and known to be false. (You can check with PEW research if you care to.) Now was Obama lying in this instance or bullshitting? A lie is not the same thing as a false statement. Let us be perhaps excessively charitable: Obama made a false statement but he had no intention of deceiving us because he did not know the truth. (Compare: G. W. Bush was wrong about the presence of WMDs in Iraq, but he did not lie about them: he was basing himself on the best intelligence sources he had at the time.)
But that Obama is pretty clearly bullshitting is shown by the cliched and falsely precise 99.9% figure. The whole context shows that Obama doesn't care whether what he is saying is true. He said it because it fits his narrative: Islam is a religion of peace; we are not in a religious war with Islam; Muslims want all the same things we want, blah, blah, ad nauseam. The difference between this case and the Trump tweet is that we know that Obama was wrong, whereas we don't know that Trump was wrong.
So once again we have a double standard. Trump is 'post-truth'; but Obama and Hillary are not?
A correspondent has just emailed me, completely out of the blue, to tell me that you're a “racist, islamophobe, bigot”. Thought you would like that. 😀
I like it very much except that he leaves out the remaining SIXHIRB epithets: sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, and homophobic. But three out of seven ain't bad.
To understand the Left, you must understand that they see politics as war. Von Clausewitz held that war is politics pursued by other means. But what I call the Converse Clausewitz Principle holds equally: politics is war pursued by other means. I wish it weren't so, and for a long time I couldn't bring myself to believe it is so; but now I know it is so.
David Horowitz, commenting on "Politics is war conducted by other means," writes:
In political warfare you do not just fight to prevail in an argument, but rather to destroy the enemy's fighting ability. Republicans often seem to regard political combats as they would a debate before the Oxford Political Union, as though winning depended on rational arguments and carefully articulated principles. But the audience of politics is not made up of Oxford dons, and the rules are entirely different.
You have only thirty seconds to make your point. Even if you had time to develop an argument, the audience you need to reach (the undecided and those in the middle who are not paying much attention) would not get it. Your words would go over some of their heads and the rest would not even hear them (or quickly forget) amidst the bustle and pressure of everyday life. Worse, while you are making your argument the other side has already painted you as a mean-spirited, borderline racist controlled by religious zealots, securely in the pockets of the rich. Nobody who sees you in this way is going to listen to you in any case. You are politically dead.
Politics is war. Don't forget it. ("The Art of Political War" in Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey Spence 2003, pp. 349-350)
As the old saying has it, "All's fair in love and war." And so it is no surprise that leftists routinely proceed by the hurling of the SIXHIRB epithets.
One soon learns that it does no good patiently to explain that a phobia is by definition an irrational fear, that fear of radical Islam is entirely rational, and that therefore it is a misuse of 'phobia' to call one who sounds the alarm an Islamophobe. Nor does it do any good to point out to those who use these '-phobe' coinages that they are thereby refusing to show their interlocutors respect as persons, as rational beings, but are instead ascribing mental dysfunction to them. Our enemies will just ignore our explanations and go right back to labeling us sexists, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic . . . deplorable, etc.
Again, it is because they see politics as a war to the death.
Leftists that they are, they believe that the end justifies the means. They see themselves as good people, as their 'virtue-signaling' indicates, and their opponents as evil people. So why to their minds should they show us any respect?
To ask Lenin's question, What is to be done? One has to punch right back at them and turn their Alinskyite tactics against them.
"But aren't we then no better than them? We are hen doing the same things they do!"
Suppose A threatens to kill B, shoots at him but misses. B shoots back and kills A. Suppose the weapons are of the same type. Both A and B instantiate the same act-type: shooting at a man with the intention of hitting him using a 1911 model .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
While A and B 'do the same thing,' B is morally and legally justified in doing it while A is not. So there's the difference.
We are defending ourselves against leftist assault, and this fact justifies our using the same tactics that our enemies use.
This helps explain the appeal of Donald Trump. He knows how to punch back, unlike Mitt Romney, Jeb! Bush, and so many other clueless gentlemen who "seem to regard political combats as they would a debate before the Oxford Political Union . . . ."