Category: conservatism

Presidential paresis

Paul Ryan was Boehnered by Tea Party Republicans.

The so-called Freedom Caucus is anti-government, which presents a paradox when it is in a position to govern.

Since 2010, Republicans have proven to be ungovernable.

The US is a nation of swindlers and rubes. Hence, the Trump Presidency.

Trump campaign promises scorecard:

  • Muslim ban (stalled in courts)
  • Southern border wall (no brick has been laid)
  • New plan to defeat IS (non-existent)
  • Repeal Obamacare (flatlined)

King nothing

The Conservative Clown Convention took place. Mr Trump’s speech was all broken syntax and non-sequiturs.

William F. Buckley Jr expected conservatives to have brains, not eat them.

Trumpflakes and other emocons are crying about how Hollywood and the media treat their harlequin President.

Hence, the only media outlets permitted at White House press briefings are Fox News, Russia Today, and the National Enquirer.

There’s really no point in covering a fake president.

The lights

Trump’s deplorables have been radicalized by Breitbart, Fox News, and extremist Christian academies.

Weak willed people are susceptible to the propaganda of a strongman like Trump. One sees the same phenomenon in Turkey and Russia.

Trump supporters are precisely the sort that “founders” like Hamilton and Madison worried about.

Worse yet, the Republican Party is acting as a fifth column.

The first act of Trump’s presidency is likely unconstitutional. It won’t be the last time this happens. The courts are the only thing that stand between democracy and dictatorship.

Lumpenocracy

It is a platitude that art becomes caviar to the general when the reality it imitates no longer corresponds even roughly to the reality recognized by the general. Even then, however, the resentment the common man may feel is silenced by the awe in which he stands of the patrons of this art. Only when he becomes dissatisfied with the social order they administer does he begin to criticize their culture. Then the plebian finds courage for the first time to voice his opinions openly. Every man, from the Tammany alderman to the Austrian house-painter, finds that he is entitled to his opinion. Most often this resentment toward culture is to be found where the dissatisfaction with society is a reactionary dissatisfaction which expresses itself in revivalism and puritanism, and latest of all, in fascism. Here revolvers and torches begin to be mentioned in the same breath as culture. In the name of godliness or the blood’s health, in the name of simple ways and solid virtues, the statue-smashing commences.

Clement Greenberg, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” [1939], The Collected Essays and Criticism, Volume 1: Perceptions and Judgments, 1939-1944 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 18-19.

My old Manhattan home

Those who seek literary or cinematic references for the rise of Mr Trump only elevate the clown into a proper harlequin. Trump’s origin is closer to the gutter, PT Barnum and his nineteenth-century circuses, which passed off coal dust as gold to unenlightened and uneducated commoners. Barnum staged minstrel shows, including minstrelized versions of Shakespearean drama. Mr Trump’s orange-face, fright wig, and malapropistic stump speeches are straight off the minstrel stage.

Pundits wonder whether Evangelical Christians will continue to back Trump in light of his “locker room banter.”  What they are really asking is whether people who believe dinosaurs were on the ark need to justify their support of Trump.

The current responses to neoliberalism are right- and left-wing populism and a curious resurgence of mercantilist ideas. No wonder neoliberals continue to sleep well at night.

It goes with out saying that political, economic, and cultural mercantilism is backwards.

Re “Oldchella“: Nothing wrong with old people making music. It happens in symphony halls nightly.

Les Déplorables

The cultural ressentiment of Trump supporters over their miserable lives is expressed through xenophobia, racism, and misogyny. Mr Trump has effectively assuaged their anger through symbolic violence — and sometimes physical violence — against latinos, blacks, and women.

Mr Trump attracts the support of white lumpens, the homeschooled, the reality TV-addicted, gun nuts, Confederate traitors, meth lab operators, oxycontin peddlers, and organised racists (Klansmen, Tea Partysans, Birthers Inc., etc.) and misogynists (Alt-Right provocateurs).

In olden days Trump supporters would have feared finding a black in their workplace, their bed, or their family tree. Today, they fear a Mexican mowing their lawn, bussing their table, or cheering El Tri against the USMNT in the Rose Bowl.

Du haßt

Ms Clinton says Mr Trump is mainstreaming hate.

Most of this nonsense is hatched in the foetid air of US conservative politics, and is spread miasmically by the hatestream media (H$M), Fox News, talk radio (especially its prince of darkness, Rush Limbaugh), militia confabs, and digital dungeons. The entire genre is traceable to the John Birch Society of the mid-20th century, which spread its tentacles throughout the right-wing milieu, ensnaring even “libertarian” politicians like Ron Paul. This “paranoid style” of politics, which is a political tradition in itself, was first identified by Richard Hofstadter in the midst of the McCarthy era. In Hofstadter’s view, groups on the fringes of US life, which faced diminished prospects, were the fertile ground of conspiracy thinking, scapegoating, fear, and hate.

On the other hand, much of the contemporary paranoid style is launched  from the “center” of US social and political life (as pointed out by Michael Rogin). Hence, Trump’s “Birther” movement was incubated in mid-town Manhattan, not Lynch Haven, Alabama. The idea of Obamacare “death panels” was put into public circulation by Republican Vice-Presidential nominee and political Kardashian, Sarah Palin, not by Milo Yiannopoulos. Glenn Beck used several hours of his Fox News platform to map the massive influence of George Soros, “The Puppet Master.” Other Fox News presenters  (Hannity, O’Reilly, etc.) reported on “Obama phones” and the nefarious activities of “ACORN” as evidence of “massive voter fraud,” which has never been confirmed by any rational investigation.

Trump, Farage, and Wilders are the “Three Tenors” of international right-wing extremism.