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Monday, March 07, 2016

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Dr. V, This is a pretty logical analysis. It is also troubling all the way through in that we are measuring "awful" and crude with an accumulated knowledge of our nation's history, values and promise. Your final short paragraph is the unfortunate duty we have...to take a stand. A small thing that bothers me about taking a stand- when do political moderates ever take a tough stand on anything? Libertarians can, conservatives can, even liberals can. But moderates? Probably not in their nature.

What makes you say the left has been anti-religion since 1789? I certainly know the left is anti-religion now and has been for several decades, I just don't seem to know enough history to have thought it went back that far.

"What matters for our latter-day Thrasymachus is to win, whatever the cost."

I guess that could be true of Trump himself, though I don't have any reason to believe that he is not also or partly motivated by a real moral concern for the wellbeing of ordinary Americans screwed by elites in control of both parties. However this claim about his supporters seems untrue:

"much of the admiration and support for Trump reflects a dark side of human nature, namely, the tendency secretly to admire supposed tough guys and 'winners,' and to have contempt for 'losers' many of whom 'lose' because they are reasonable, civil, conciliatory, and concerned for the common good"

At least I don't know how anyone could know this. Another possibility is that "much of the admiration and support" (or almost all of it, even) reflects a different set of traits of millions of ordinary Americans: (a) awareness that the system is almost totally corrupt and bent on exploiting and dispossessing them, (b) a healthy wish to stand up to their oppressors, (c) a moral conviction that those who are currently 'winning' are traitorous scum. My sense is that "much" of the support has to do with a-c, and not an amoral will-to-power. Indeed, if the people who support him were just motivated by an amoral worship of power and 'winning' why would they not support the GOP establishment and media and academics who in fact hold far more power than Trump or his followers? Why would they have first begun to support him, at a time when everyone was (reasonably) confident that he had no chance? Why not cheer on the media-corporate-academic overlords? Of course, Trump is not really as much of an outsider or an underdog as he would like people to think. But the fact that his supporters tend to view him that way, and like that image, indicates that they are not just interested in 'winners'. And don't they tend to view themselves as 'losers' in the current system? I think your characterization of "much" of his support here is at best unmotivated. It's like the NYT suggesting that his supporters are crypto-fascists. Maybe. But another possibility is that they are just regular patriotic Americans who rightly feel disenfranchised and silenced and despised.

It also seems pretty dubious that Mitt Romney is an example of someone who loses in politics because he is "reasonable, civil, conciliatory, and concerned for the common good". Conciliatory, yes. But is that a good thing when those with whom he is conciliating are hate-filled Leftists and corrupt crony capitalists? Was Romney showing "concern for the common good" when he actively supported affirmative action back in 1994? When he did nothing to denounce Obama's amnesty for illegals? It's not clear to me that Romney has ever shown much interest in the white working class and poor people who constitute the Republican base, and the heart of America. Nor is it clear that he truly cares about these people. And remember that Romney was quite happy to have Trump's support last time around -- when all the same evidence of Trump's character was available -- and, worse, Romney now disowns Trump in part because "he's lost time and time again", because Trump's claim that "he's not a loser" is supposed to be false. Trump is really a loser, says Romney, and that's one reason why he, Romney, will not support him. Not to mention that these comments flatly contradict the glowing praise he had for Trump back when he thought he could be useful: "Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works, to create jobs for the American people", etc.

Romney is dishonest, incoherent, unprincipled. Not a totally empty suit, but more than half empty. This is hardly an example of someone who loses because of his principles and goodwill. Say what you will about Trump, but it's not credible that he's worse than the realistic alternatives, if the best the mainstream can offer is someone like Romney.

Jacques,

Considering all the comments you have made over the last few months, there is something about you that makes me nervous. I get a whiff of anti-Semitism from your direction. I half-expect you to out yourself as a Holocaust denier, a white supremacist, or something equally extreme. When we discussed patriotism you seemed to embrace the absurd view that patriotism is justified solely by the fact that one's country is one's own.

You come across as a blind partisan who can't see or won't admit the negatives of a man like Trump. A rather unphilosophical attitude I should think. You think women shouldn't be in the professions or in politics. When I criticized black tribalism, you proposed an opposite white tribalism instead of seeing that we must get beyond tribalism altogether.

When I argued for the importance of toleration, you attacked that too, claiming that any admission of anything good in OLD liberalism puts one on a slippery slope that inevitably leads to hard leftism.

While you can't see anything bad in Trump, you can't see anything good in MLK.

I am left wondering whether you and I share any common ground except opposition to the Left.

Hi Bill,
I'm sorry if I seem that way to you. I am neither a holocaust denier, nor a white supremacist, nor any of those other 'extreme' things. Not as far as I can tell, anyway. In fact -- if it makes you feel more at ease -- my own family is partly Jewish. I do regard it as a pretty obvious fact that the organized Jewish community is not a friend to the white Christian majority in America or Europe, and has not been for a very long time, if ever. The Jewish elites have been very aggressive in pushing for policies that are fatal for host societies and are never demanded of Israel. Often prominent Jews are quite open about the fact that they think these terrible policies are just 'good for the Jews', and therefore good simpliciter; it never occurs to them that they owe some consideration to the interests of the white people in the Anglosphere who have been so very, very good to the Jews as compared with almost every other host society in history. Every single Jewish organization pushes mass immigration and multiculturalism and other anti-white policies, for example. Though of course many individual Jews are not involved in this, and many non-Jews are also pushing for these things. There is no vocal or organized Jewish opposition to this destructive and anti-western agenda. Is it 'anti-semitic' to be angry about this tendency? If that's anti-semitic then a 'whiff' of anti-semitism is surely in order, if we care at all about protecting the west from deadly threats. But it's not fair to use the term in that way. It's like Leftists calling anyone who criticizes black criminality a 'racist'. If Jews changed their behavior, or just admitted more openly that their interests are not always perfectly aligned with the interests of the west, allowing for an honest dialogue, I would drop my complaints. Instead, of course, Jewish organizations and elites will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who is even mildly critical of their behavior.

I don't think that I've really said some of the things you attribute to me here. For example, I'd be very surprised if I'd said that "women shouldn't be in the professions or in politics". And I think it's also a bit unfair to say that I "can't see anything bad in Trump" or that I "can't see anything good in MLK". Have I ever said there was nothing objectionable about Trump, for example? I think what I've always said is simply that, under these very dire circumstances, I don't _care_ much about his negative traits, and I'm very happy that (whatever his shortcomings) he is serving as a focal point for a long, long, long overdue realignment in American politics.

Similarly, my position on 'tribalism' is not quite as simple or 'blind' as you seem here to be thinking. On that issue, I claim that some kind of white tribalism is natural and healthy -- at least in the current situation where whites must share their societies with countless other groups who are often viciously and stupidly tribalistic. And since I doubt that others are going to 'get beyond tribalism altogether' in the foreseeable future, I think it would be very foolish for just one tribe to deny its own identity and interests; this would be unilateral disarmament in a very dangerous world. But in the abstract, I'm happy to allow that a tribe-less world might be best. Not sure about that. All this to say that I don't think I'm as 'extreme' as you think I am.


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