Tuesday, May 24, 2016

- Continuing To Insult Donald Trump

Kevin Williamson’s view of Donald Trump and the Alt-Right is, by the standards of even this odd ball election, very strong. This morning at about 5:00 AM I read that Kevin called Trump:

“A corrupt, venal, backward, moronic psychopath”.

Hard to walk that one back, not that Kevin is particularly inclined to. Not a ton of ambiguity there.

Regarding the Alt-right he’s been somewhat more circumspect. While he’s said enough in public to more than make his feelings known, he did stop somewhat short of calling them psychopaths. And let’s all be fair here, there are a few guys out there who claim to support the alt-right, who are using it as a forum for some less frequently heard from political corners – at least since they got that guy out of the doorway at the University of Alabama.

But there are a few crazies in any movement, and if you ask me the Alt-Right has been far cruder and more unfair with Kevin Williamson than he has with them. His famous bit about how people should move from their failing towns to ‘a place where the jobs are’, was widely misquoted in the same style that made Roosh into a “pro-rape rally organizer”. But some of the same people who defended Roosh were more than happy to verbally burn Kevin at the Twitter stake. And if you ask me the Alt-Right hasn’t only been much harder on Kevin than he has on them, they’ve also been much further from the mark.

Kevin is a strong individual. A man of intense will, genuine courage, and occasionally bull headed opinions which he is never shy in expressing. You may disagree with him, but it won’t be because he’s vague about it. And even if you do, even if everyone does, he isn’t going to change his mind about a single god-damned thing. He’ll change his mind if you can convince him he’s factually incorrect, but he’s not the kind of person to reverse a view only because it’s become unpopular.

What’s more, I don’t think Kevin is completely wrong. At the very least he’s not nearly as wrong as his critics. But that puts me in kind of a tough spot because on a personal basis, he thinks I am wrong. Very wrong. Fundamentally wrong as a question of principle. The kind of wrong that makes you believe you’ve completely misjudged a person’s character. So I find myself in the difficult position of defending a man who is totally disgusted with my opinions, and joining him in attacking a man who for better or worse, represents the last dismal grey hope of preventing catastrophe.

Kevin has a totally legitimate view of Trump. Trump benefited from Real estate deals where government was heavily involved, and resulted in investors losing money. He has a carnival barker alter ego that he whips out whenever the red light on the camera goes on, and has extremely questionable and deeply dangerous ideas about America’s role in the world, financial and otherwise. That’s corrupt, venal, and backward, so I’ll score Kevin as more or less correct for 3 out of 4.

But the currently serving president scores at least 2 out of 4 (corrupt and backward) and several former presidents are generally viewed to have embraced the others. So when I look at Trump and see a man not appreciably different in quality than anyone else involved politics. Certainly Hillary Clinton is every bit as venal, corrupt, and backward. So why is Donald Trump so much more deserving of Kevin’s rage?

Kevin is no Republican shill. He isn’t even a Republican. And to my knowledge he’s never lived ‘inside the beltway’. He’s a Texas boy of modest origins, who spent a bit of time in NY and Philly, but currently resides in greater Houston. About half the time he lived in NYC he actually resided in the south Bronx. Elitist hack for the ruling classes? I don’t think so. I can’t think of anyone who less fits that bill.

“The Derb” said in a podcast that he believes Kevin is cultivating a ‘Donorist-Capitalist-Neocon bad boy’ image. But I wonder about that too. If Kevin were speaking his mind with great passion publicly but was more reserved in private, then I’d be more convinced. But I can assure you, that is not the case here. If anything he seems to me like he’s holding it back some in public. I am convinced that his hostility to the change in the sentiments of the electorate is genuine and heartfelt.

Here’s one possible cause, and certainly the one we’ll be hearing from team Hillary. In modern politically correct America, the reason Trump’s supporters like him is an easily indictable thing. You can claim that he is a xenophobic, racist, hater of haters, who is supported by haters who dream of camps and ovens. You can say that he hates Muslims and Mexicans, and is inhumanely trying to punish them. You can say he and his supporters are the leftist caricature of their deepest enemy come to life, with their Klan hoods and nooses just now being dug out of storage for the inaugural celebrations.

But I don’t personally believe that Kevin really buys into that. In my whole life I’ve met exactly one (white) person whose opinions were motivated by racial hatred, and no one I know thinks anything of him. It’s more the stuff of prison yard politics than actual public discourse. And just because the left is convinced it’s true, doesn’t mean it actually is, so I doubt that Kevin is really persuaded by it. Besides, the left was calling Kevin Williamson and everyone else to the right of Noam Chomsky a racist two seconds ago so it takes a considerable amount of sting out of the accusation. Certainly enough for conservatives like Kevin to ignore it.

OK. So if a very smart guy that I know holds an opinion diametrically opposed to mine, maybe I am missing the mark. Maybe this was a great missed opportunity for conservatism or something. Maybe there really is something more awful about Donald Trump in terms of character than Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. Maybe the carnival barker – build a wall populism really will end the Republic as we know it. Maybe the fact that Trump is as ideologically unmoored as … Richard Nixon, Tom Delay, or Kelly Ayotte really does represent some heretofore unknown risk to the world order.

Or maybe, Kevin Williamson doesn’t like it when stupid people do things for stupid reasons, and then call him a blood sucking, elitist, traitorous bastard for trying to call them out on it. I know it would annoy me. Or maybe he truly believes (contrary to current momentum at least) that the battle has already been lost, and there is no harm in announcing himself as the first of the conservatives to give Trump what he would therefore have coming. Maybe sees himself as already working on what comes after him.

I don’t think there is any doubt that the ‘intellectual wing’ of the Republican Party has been summarily rejected by the electorate, and Trump is cheering them on. But it’s hard for me to imagine that these deeply personal attacks on Trump the man are still a product of political principle. The nomination is settled business so we’re past that now, or at least should be. But Kevin still wails away on Trump the man as vigorously as ever, that’s not principle, that’s personal.

As for his criticisms of the idea of Trump rather than the man, I agree with Kevin in some places and disagree with others. I don’t think throwing up obstacles to trade is a good idea, but changing our immigration policies and how we deal with the Muslim world absolutely is. Has Trump got the right ideas? I have no clue. I’d bet probably not. But probably is a very big and very important word when the only alternative that we’ll ever be presented with is Hillary Clinton. And at this point it’s well beyond any academic discussion of what we could do, and has become a discussion about what we are going to do.

Hillary is, first and foremost, a woman. She was born and bred in the neo-Marxist traditions of Feminism, and believes in the Duluth model. She has stated that all (female) rape accusers should by default be believed (except of course those that accuse her husband). She has specifically said in her policy publications that she will do whatever she can to eliminate the second amendment, even if she must resort to executive actions to do so. And she is already on record advocating for the wholesale admittance of ‘Syrian’ refugees in the continental US. No one who is as smart and clear headed as Kevin Williamson can be under any illusions about Hillary. So why exactly does he think it’s still a good idea to use all his energy to attack the one and only thing standing between America and THAT?

I confess, it’s a mystery to me. I can see why he stands by his past statements as a matter of principle, but I don’t understand why he thinks the best thing he can do for America is to continue to go back to the well for more invective. Surely America has bigger problems than the sturdiness of Donald Trump’s recent conversion, or the fact that his character is as questionable as anyone else in Washington. Sure, he has some bad ideas. Everyone in Washington does. Certainly Hillary does. And if offered a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, I’m a pretty strong swimmer so I’ll take my chances.

This is for the most part a defense of Kevin, but I think he’s dead wrong about one thing. Trump for all his faults, has benefited the Republic by his treatment of the media, and his unwillingness to be cowed. He’s acted like a man. He’s ridiculed, ignored, and dismissed all the standard leftist expletives and ‘gotcha’ points that have sunk other candidates. He’s ‘pushing back’ on the culture, which as we know, is upstream of politics and where the fight should have been happening all along. If the Republican insiders had done so, there would have been no room for Trump.

And I think we’d be much better off if National Review and Kevin in particular, began to engage in that fight for the culture. I wish they’d push back, Trump like, on the idea that only women can save us, and that we can only see progress if our men behaved more like them. When it comes to the words racist and misogynist, only the left with its near total control on our culture is defining what those mean. And the result is all that nonsense about privilege and implied guilt by race. So to continue to pound away on the presumptive Republican nominee seems to me to be a total wasted effort. At this point I think Kevin Williamson is harming his own credibility and depriving the rest of us of his combative nature where it might do the most good. I think we’d all be better served if Kevin were to put down his gun, and take a new look at the battlefield, so he can see where our real enemies are.

I’m not arguing he should change his position, or let bygones be bygones, or admit that “The Derb” is right about a great many things. I’m not asking him to change his views or recant his statements. He’s already told me to go f*** myself once, and if I tried to get him to change his mind, he’d probably just do so again. All I’m saying is, there are greater dangers to America than the few nasty troglodytes in the deepest dungeons of the Alt-right, and the Republic would benefit greatly if Kevin stepped back and noticed a few of them.

I don’t hate women, or blacks, or Mexicans, or Muslims. I don’t hate anyone. And I don’t deserve the guilt trip that the left is trying so desperately to lay at my feet. I don’t deserve to be found guilty by a jury of my accusers. And I wish there were better voices in the public sphere coming to my defense than Donald Trump and his supporters. But they’re all still too busy insulting Donald Trump.

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