I just refuse that office – that is, the Office of Being Hysterical About Trump and the Mortal Absolute Danger He Poses to All That is Good and True. Trump is what Trump is. Yes, he’s clownish. Yes, he’s vulgar. Yes, he is bringing out some bad elements. But it is not like Trump created the overall situation – that has been created, rather relentlessly, by others over a 50 year or more period. Trump is the result of our national infirmity, not the cause of it.
Over Friday night I watched as Twitter became ever more absurd – to the point where Conservative posters were lauding the likes of Rachel Maddow and MoveOn!. I admit I was shocked by all that – if there’s anything a Conservative should know it is that it is very risky to ally with the left. They’ll take our help in destroying part of us…and then when that is done, they’ll just turn around and destroy the non-left which just helped them out. What I’m waiting for now is for some of my fellow righties – those who, say, hold that “social issues” are bad for Conservatism to emphasize – to simply join up with the left. I’ll be watching and waiting, because I know it will eventually happen. They’ll join, they’ll be lauded by all their swell, new friends…but then the Leftwing Party Line will require EVERYONE to assert a certain false thing as true, and they’ll be caught in a vise…they’ll have to assert what they know is false, or lose all their nice, new friends. My bet is that those who ditch the right over Trump will be found to be willing pawns of the left – if you can’t see who your opponents are, then your opponents will eventually take you over.
This is not to say that all the Trumpsters are with the right – in fact, a very large portion of them are distinctly non-right. They are, in just a slightly different way, as much authortarian Statists as the avowed left. In the end, it matters not to me if you’ve identified foreigners or devout Christians as your “other” that has to be suppressed…that line of thinking always ends badly and I’m absolutely, foursquare against it. Those who want to get the foreigners out or get the Christians out are, in my view, just arguing for different forms of tyranny.
And that brings me back to the vitriol emanating from Trump/Trumpsters and flowing back towards same. This isn’t new, guys. The only thing new about it is that someone is pouring out vitriol and it is being reported on – and it is being reported on because the person doing it has put an “R” after his name. If Trump were running in the Democrat primary you simply wouldn’t be hearing about it (unless it was temporarily needed to ensure that Hillary gets the nomination). What, after all, is the slogan “no justice, no peace” but a threat of violence unless the protesters chanting it get their way, law be damned? And that is one of the more calm and reasonable slogans of the left. “Get in their face”. “Bring a gun to a knife fight”. “The police acted stupidly”. “If I had a son…”. These are rancorous, inflammatory words just as bad as anything Trump has said…and they have encouraged other people on the left to get more and more extreme in their actions and demands over the past 8 years…and all of them are from President Obama…and he’s just repeating what has been said on the left since the 1960’s.
You can’t give those who are anti-freedom so much as an inch. And I was happy to see some people do the right thing on Friday – that is, defend Trump’s right to speak whatever he wants to say. As I’ve said before, I don’t care what a person says – if it ever comes to pass that some words are considered out of bounds, then it is certain that eventually merely stating Catholic dogma will also be out of bounds. I defend everyone’s right to speak for my own sake – and so should everyone else who has the least understanding of what human liberty actually is. And you who read here know that I also condemn asinine speech…while the world as all “je suis Charlie” after the Paris massacre I was saying that it was wrong for Charlie Hebdo to print pictures disrespectful of Muslim beliefs…and also wrong for them to print pictures disrespectful of Christian beliefs (which now they will keep doing – but have decided, out of an abundance of understandable caution, not to print any more anti-Muslim pictures). You should never write, say, print, paint, sculpt or sing anything which is insulting – fine and dandy to launch valid, informed criticism of the beliefs of others, but crude insults are a negation of liberty…but we must allow them because the entirety of the human race is incapable, individually and in toto, of deciding just where the line is between criticism and insult. Once try to do that, and all you’ll do is set up a situation where those who are most easily offended will have a veto over all speech. Nothing doing. Everyone gets to say what they want. Period. End of story.
But on Friday, plenty on the right – including, no doubt, many who were “je suis Charlie” a short while before – were out there applauding the shut down of Trump’s speech. This isn’t about whether or not people should protest Trump – heck, if you want to protest Trump I might even show up for your demonstration. But if you want to shut down Trump, you’re opposed to freedom. Once again: period. End of story. I understand a deep, visceral dislike of Trump – but now that some on the right have joined in the effort to shut down Trump, all the anti-freedom left (which is, these days, most on the left) has to do (and they’ll do it, endlessly, for the next 20 years) is claim that any non-left speech is Trumpism and thus illegitimate. The cure for Trump is to talk about Trump – not to shut him up. Even if you happily then get rid of Trump, you’ll just find yourself in a position where certain speech has been deemed (with your joyful cooperation) entirely illegitimate and where is you defense when your erstwhile allies turn on you and call your speech illegitimate? You have none – you’re naked, and probably alone. Good luck with that.
As I said in the title, I’m not going to allow myself to get worked up over Trump – in the United States in 2016 after 50 years of our political life being poisoned by anti-freedom fanatics, Trump is just a ripple is a rather noisome ditch. I’d like to drain the ditch – but the plumbing contractor necessary for the job can’t include those who filled the ditch and made it nasty. I had a little debate last night with a very dear friend who is pretty darned liberal – but we’re friends and it’s all ok. After all, if Justices Scalia and Ginsburg can be friends, anyone can be friends across the political aisle. I will, actually, accept help in restoring freedom from anyone interested in the project – but it has to be an all-in sort of thing. Not even the slightest dissent from liberty. I don’t care if you are in favor of a completely socialist society – if you are also bound and determined that everyone shall be free to say and think what they want, then I’m on your side as far as that goes. But if you are in favor of the most Conservative policies imaginable but harbor even the least trace of a desire to suppress “bad” speech, then you are no ally of mine. Freedom first – because if I have that, then eventually (I believe) my views will prevail…but even if they don’t, then at least I’ll be able to safely be entirely out of step with everyone, and that is ok, too.
On the one hand, Trump largely should be able to say what he wants. He dances awfully close to the line on incisive speech sometimes, but outside the times he tells people in the audience to smack protesters, he should be able to talk all day, no matter how repulsive I find things he’s saying.
On the other, he’s incredibly anti-free-speech for anybody who wants to talk besides him. He threatens to get specific people arrested for nonviolently protesting him, talks about how there should be consequences in general for protesting, and talks about widening libel laws and making it easier to sue news publications for huge amounts of money.
The cynical part of me wants to just say that means he deserves it, but there really is something to be said for the distinction between what he wants to do and what the protesters are doing. They also have a protected freedom to try to shout him down, even if I think that’s not really the right way to handle it. And since they are not a government entity, they are not capable of taking away his first amendment rights. Trump, on the other hand, has specifically promised to try to try to restrict people’s actual first amendment rights.
So I don’t think what the protesters are doing is right, and any of them protesting violently are obviously in the wrong legally on top of ethically, but Trump himself remains the biggest threat to free speech out of the whole lot of them anyway. It’s important to not forget that as he whines about freedom of speech after any of these occurrences.
Shouting down a person is never an act of freedom – it is an act of a tyrant, be it one person on a podium or a thousand people in the street. Anyone who shouts another down has merely conceded two things:
1. The person being shouted down has a good argument and
2. The person shouting down has no argument, at all.
When you have a fanboy mentality, as so many of the Trumpbots have, and Trump tells these people that he approves of their violent acts, he creates a John Hinkley kind of scenario, in which unbalanced people may act that way to gain his approval. When he praises these kinds of acts, either overtly (even if he backtracks on that later) and offers to pay the legal fees of at least one attacker—one who is unrepentant and who said he would like to shoot protesters instead of just punching them—I think he has narrowed the gap between incitement and merely inflammatory rhetoric.
Combined with his other rabble-rousing, it is awfully close to true incitement of violence.
He also adds to the perception that his appeal is to the mob. You can’t be a rabble-rouser without a rabble.
I tend to draw the line at speech that incites others to riot, and much of Trump’s speech certainly borders on that. Out of one side of his mouth he claims (in last Thursday’s debate) to be non-violent, while out of the other side of his mouth claiming to want to punch someone in the face. Those of us who have studied history, particularly the history of the 1930s, can see the parallels. And no, I’m not comparing Trump to Hitler, but what we’re witnessing could easily be a prelude to a new rise of Fascism, and not necessarily by Trump but by someone with much more evil intent deciding to latch on to the rage that he seems to have awakened. I could easily see a more Hitler-like individual (no one in particular in mind) toward the end of a Trump first term saying something like, “Trump promised to get even with “the Man” and failed. I won’t fail — trust me.” I think this has been building for quite a while, maybe even as long as a decade or two, and it just took the divisive polices of the Obama administration to finally ignite it. We could easily be looking at a long, hot summer, and perhaps a replay of 1968.
…..but what we’re witnessing could easily be a prelude to a new rise of Fascism
Considering the current trend on college campuses where the left shuts down free speech, and the most recent inquiry by the AG to seek ways to silence “climate deniers”, I would argue that Fascism already exists.
Agreed, but not yet on a massive scale. People on college campuses live in a somewhat unique bubble and have no means of pushing back against those who would shout them down. That’s not the case with those of us out here in flyover country.
Agree that incitement is criminal – as in, “if you incite, you really should go to jail” – but I have a strict definition of it: it must be an actual command to immediately go and do some violence. Given such, “I’d like to punch him” and “bring a gun” are not incitement…inflammatory, but not incitement. It is very much the case that I’d prefer a different set of social parameters for debate…but as I pointed out, we’re 50 years into the sewer here. My main thing here is to ensure that I can keep speaking, at all.
I agree, Trump may be only paving the way for more aggressive tyranny to come. The problem is, he is at this time splintering the conservative movement, which may be so damaged by him that it will not be there to fight back against his excesses and those of his successors.
There may be a sliver lining to Trump’s candidacy, which would be that he could be used as an object lesson. “See, there are people who lay claim to conservative identity because they identify with some issues that have been linked to the politically conservative, but in fact they are not true conservatives because they have been willing, if not eager, to toss aside the Constitution in favor of tyranny as long as it is done by their chosen tyrant. Political identity not just what issues you think are important, but how you think the blueprint for governing our country should be structured, and the Trump supporters are proof of this.” It may lead to a more coherent and understandable definition of conservatism, which is based not on the flavor of the month regarding those evidently quite fluctuating issues and values but on actual adherence to the Constitution.
In 2008, the GOP offered up the very mild mannered John McCain who refused to personally attack his opponent Barack Obama, while at the same time Obama was instructing his followers to “get in the face and argue” with their opponents and “if they bring knife, we will bring a gun” because “Philadelphians love a brawl”. According to the media, this was acceptable rhetoric.
In 2012, the GOP offered up a very mild mannered gentleman and arguably one of the most decent and civil human beings to ever run for POTUS in Mitt Romney, and again he refused to take cheap shots at his opponent, while Obama and the left painted Romney to be an animal abuser, sexist and high school bully. And according to the media, this was acceptable rhetoric.
Also in 2012, the Democrat leader of the Senate Harry Reid blatantly and knowingly lied about the GOP nominee on the Senate floor and again, according to the media, this was acceptable rhetoric. Also throughout the last 7 years, Obama has blatantly and knowingly lied to the American people over many of his policies and failures including ISIS, Libya, the ACA, climate change, blacklivesmatter movement, etc, and on not one single instance has the media held him to account. The current front runner for the Democrat nomination has blatantly and knowingly lied to the American people over emails, Libya, the Clinton Foundation, etc, and on not one single instance has the media held her to account.
What we are witnessing is the Clerisy circling the wagons to protect their position and power, and enflaming the emotions of the ignorant leftist masses to do their dirty work. While the media and the Democrats warn of Trump, it is the elite left, the current Democrat party, and their mindless followers who pose the single greatest threat to this country.
What he said!
It is a large pity that it took Trump, of all people, to rip the lid off the leftwing Political Correctness which has crippled the ability of non-left people to question the left.
It is good to keep in mind that the left has decreed that using the words and phrases “States’ Rights” and “Individual liberty” are racist code words…they’ll soon, in the wake of Trump, decree that to call for any sort of border controls is racist, as well. But this sort of thing has to be punched back against, and twice as hard. Trump is what he is but I’m not about to allow my ability to speak the truth to be silenced because Trump is an ass. The left wants to use Trump as a catch-all against all non-left speech – we can’t let them do that.
Trump poses a danger to the country though I agree it is less than that posed by either Bernie or Hillary. But his greatest danger is to the conservative movement.
It took a long time for people to start to catch on, to start to realize the dangers the nation faces as we drift (or in Obama’s case rush) toward undermining the Constitution and establishing so many policies and agencies which become more and more entrenched it may be impossible to root all of them out, if we ever do make the decision to fight for a Constitutional model as our blueprint for governing the country.
Until Trump’s campaign, there was a tacit understanding that conservatives were fighting against, among other things, the hijacking of legislative powers by the president, which is the first big step toward absolute tyranny. Now, however, the conservative movement has been effectively derailed, neutered, by the fact that so many who claimed to be part of it are now clamoring not for a reversal of government by presidential fiat but for MORE of it, just with someone with an R after his name doing the usurpation of legislative power and manipulating the judicial process through nominations to federal courts and the Supreme Court.
I contend that this gutting of the conservative movement, if it is allowed to continue and allowed to expand, will in the long run do as much to harm the nation as a Democrat presidency would, because it will render ineffective the only thing in this nation that COULD halt our death spiral into utter socialism.
It Trump is stopped, and true conservatives have the ability to speak to the people of this country without the braying of Trump trying to distort the message, there is a chance that we can start the long road back to Constitutional governance. But if he succeeds in getting the nomination, he will succeed in doing what no officially identified Democrat has been able to do: splinter and divide the conservative movement and damage it so badly it will take another decade or two to rebuild it. And by that time reformation will probably have to take the form of an actual revolution, as the elective process will be even more rigged, Progressive policies will be even more entrenched, even more illegals will become citizens through blanket amnesty and be able to vote in Progressive government. And Trump supporters will be held—rightly—in contempt for their role in this disaster.
Not all of Hollywood is in love with Donald Trump. Maybe it’s because he lives in a world where sham is presented as reality and has developed a sense of what is real and what is not, Johnny Depp had an interesting take on Trump in a recent interview on a college campus in Arizona.
The chasm between conservatives and Trumpbots continues to widen.
”The conservative movement is on the brink of extinction if Trump’s ascendancy to the Republican nomination isn’t stopped.
Not only has his so-called rise been caused by discontent with elected officials, it has been caused by the Republican establishment’s refusal to stand on principle. The media is (sic) also culpable in creating this Trump monster. Due to all of these factors, Trump is exploiting said discontent among people by acting as a “strongman” against the political system he willingly and actively funded for several decades.
Many good conservatives and regular folks have been swindled by the bloviator billionaire whose flippant actions make him no better than a bizarre Soviet-era Russian market woman conning people into buying stinky fish. Like the market woman, Trump has conned a good portion of Americans (shoppers) into buying his unhinged, non-specific populist talk (stinky fish) that only serves as a detriment to conservatism.
Are we willing to surrender our values for a “strongman” whose crony capitalist ways and amorality are visibly clear?
From an article on March 4: ”….Trump went far beyond the confines of deeply immature, schoolyard-style bullying rhetoric — though there was, indeed, plenty of that. He repeatedly doubled down on his unspeakably immoral claim that he would commit himself to actively forcing serving military members to commit war crimes. Yes, that’s right: Donald Trump, big tough guy, is now firmly committed to leveraging his solemn Article II Commander-in-Chief prerogative to force the military to murder innocent women and children in some horrifyingly Twilight Zone-style alternative universe form of “deterrence.”
There are a few points to make on this.
Let us first stipulate that Bill Blankschaen is absolutely right that such a willful disregard for respecting the consciences of nobler people than himself belies Trump’s entire premise that he would nominate constitutionally sound, pro-conscience protection jurists to the federal Judiciary. It is crass moral repugnance of the highest order.
Let us next stipulate how wildly, unspeakably irresponsible a thing this is to say for a would-be Commander-In-Chief. The entire military edifice is predicated on hierarchy, and this hierarchy utterly collapses when you put uniformed men and women in a position where they will be forced to try to block a Commander-in-Chief’s attempt to jam an illegal war crime order down their throats. Here is Iraq War veteran David French, over at National Review:
…words cannot express the contempt I felt for Trump’s insistence that the military would follow his unlawful orders to murder women and children. There are men who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice rather than kill the innocent, yet he pretends our warriors would simply salute and follow orders when told to kill women and children for the sole purpose of punishing terrorists. Trump is sadly mistaken. If he won the White House and tried to implement his ‘policy,’ the military would refuse to comply — because it has honor, because it respects the law, and because it knows the lessons of history. No order can justify an atrocity.“
Have any of us seen a drop -off in Trump support since his insistence, repeated, that he would demand that our military engage in war crimes? He went on to win more delegates in more states, and continues to draw the same kind of crowds he used to draw to his WWW shows—I think for much the same reason.
Plays to an element which is of the “kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out” attitude. But, remember, it is of American military tradition. Ever since the Civil War opened American military eyes to the absolute dominance of fire-power, the American way of war was to simply plaster the enemy with so much force that whatever his strategy, tactics or spirit, he’d be crushed. It does work, after all – when the United States army first went up against the German army in World War Two, a completely green army of men mostly six months out of civilian life was faced with an army battle tested for years. German logistics and staff work were, bottom line, superior to us until at least 1944, and even after that they were some times able to move much faster than we did (for instance, getting their 15th Army out of France and into Holland just in time to wreck Market-Garden – in spite of that army being 95% surrounded). The German army had a keen ability to get to the best ground and then simply wait for the enemy to present himself at a disadvantage…but in the end, it didn’t matter…from air to artillery to small arms, the American army could pour so much firepower on the enemy that his defeat was inevitable. In Korea, the Chinese outnumbered us by several orders of magnitude…but we had so much weaponry that a Chinese attack always devolved into a mere suicide sortie. And we used that same sort of activity in Vietnam…but it was in Vietnam where complaints started to arise (mostly, in my view, because for the first time people could see it live or nearly live). Since Vietnam, we’ve had to be more restrained in the application of firepower…and it is no surprise that since then we haven’t really won a war (heck, even our overwhelming victory in the first Gulf War was thrown away…we were massacring the Iraqi army and the order to quit came from the President after he got a look in real time at what we were doing).
People do wonder why we don’t win wars – and why we’re so delicate in the application of American force. Now, in my view, a lot of that massive firepower was improperly applied even in World War Two (the bombing of German cities working out, in the end, to be a waste of ammunition – if we had just concentrated on knocking out the German rail system we would have more effectively crippled German production, and wouldn’t have killed quite so many people; some people saw this at the time – and to their credit, the American Air Force wanted to concentrate on more genuinely strategic targets – but the urge to just blast hell out of the Nazi beast was too strong). We should apply whatever force is necessary to obtain victory and as long as our offensive is genuinely designed to cripple the enemy’s war making capacity then it is right to do so…and less moral opprobrium accrues even though some civilians will doubtlessly be killed. But I realize this because I’ve thought long and deeply about it – those who are cheering Trump just want to whack the enemy and aren’t thinking the matter all the way through.