As examples, Liberals advocate for those with certain politically preferred identities to receive blatant preference in University admission (providing injustice to the more deserving taken exclusively on merit) or rage with anger and violence at those that disagree with them ( advancing the promotion of hate).
But Ego investment is not the exclusive domain of Liberals. Conservatives we have discovered, are capable of the same kind of investment in their political beliefs. And it makes it just as impossible for them to see when they’re making a mistake too.
I believe we’re seeing this ‘ego investment’ at National Review.
There are principled reasons to dislike Trump the candidate, and I agree with most of them. But I’ve read them all in the pages of NR along with many other unprincipled reasons as well. They HATE the man. They hate how he sounds. They hate the way he presents himself.
But judged in the single dimension terms that politicians are usually assessed, Trumps actual positions simply aren’t challenging enough to justify the rampant and deeply personal hostility I read there. They are not ideal perhaps, but they aren’t that far outside the lines. He’s not proposing camps and ovens, like the folks at NR seem to envision. He may not be within the acceptable bounds of the chattering classes, but as has been demonstrated by the voters, he's well within the bounds of most of the American public.
So what’s setting them off this way? Why have they become so shrill and so emotional? I believe they aren’t thinking rationally because they are emotionally invested in their idea of what a candidate should look and sound like, and Trump just ain’t it.
They are blue pill men, accustomed to blue pill communications. That is to say that as Feminism has redefined the way we communicate with one another and made it much more feminine, they have boiled along with the rest of the frogs. This is no sin mind you. The vast majority of American men have done the same. But Trump is changing that dynamic, and the shock to their system from that change seems very jarring to them.
Nothing brings this to light for me as much as this extremely thoughtful piece from John O’Sullivan. He’s in his 70’s, lives in eastern Europe, and can remember when this is how men sounded. To him, the Nationalism of the Alt-right doesn’t seem quite as out of place as it seems to for the rest of the much younger NRO crowd:
Another group of alleged invaders are so-called nationalists. It’s been a surprise to me to discover that nationalists are not conservatives in good standing, since they used to be the third leg of the conservative tripod, alongside social and economic conservatives. Some years ago when no one was looking, however, this tripod underwent a transplant, and national conservatives were quietly replaced by “defense conservatives.” That is an absurdly thin and tepid concept (unless you happen to be a defense contractor, in which case the concept becomes a fat and passionate one.) It probably reflects the nervousness of mainstream parties and moderate politicians about the full range of national conservative issues that include, as well as foreign policy and defense, crime, multiculturalism, Ferguson-like social disorder, and immigration. National conservatism has a domestic concern for the social fabric as well as an outward-looking one for the national interest. (Indeed, I once suggested “social-fabric conservatives” as an alternative to national conservatives.) But because it takes a critical or skeptical view of leftist positions on crime, multiculturalism, etc., it is likely to invite accusations of racism, xenophobia, and much else from the very same leftists. These accusations apparently paralyze thought. For very few conservative politicians have shown enough nous to reply that an accusation of white racism requires more evidence than that the person accused is white. Instead they remain more or less quiescent, avoiding controversy, in the face of mob violence to shut down political opponents and openly racist campaigns to delegitimize the police.
That does not sound like a man raging emotionally against Trump or Trump’s supporters. It doesn’t sound like a temper tantrum, or a refusal to play with the other children because they don’t like how the game is going. That sounds like a thoughtful man. A man. A man who isn’t threatened or challenged emotionally, and is ready to engage in worthy debate. If the Nationalists of the Alt-Right can’t make their case, then so be it. But unlike most at NRO with their focus on the worst of Trump's supporters, he strikes me as a man who is willing to listen.
We on the right need NR to be more engaged in this debate. But for them to do so persuasively, they need to quit acting like angry spoiled children, and quit thinking like women. They need to realize what specifically is driving their animosity, and face that with a clear eye like O'Sullivan is.
Back in the day, the older wiser members of the tribe were much admired for their perspective. I hope the kids at NR can do the same because O’Sullivan is pointing the way. There is a legitimate debate to be had here about policy. And it’s time for NR to stand up to the left’s idiotic accusations of racism and misogyny, and start engaging in it. We'd all be better off if they did.