The 34th post on the Journal of American Greatness originally published in March, 2016.
No one—at least no pundit—can stop talking about Friday night’s “protest” that shut down a Trump rally in Chicago, the Saturday attack on Trump in Dayton, and the credible threats of endlessly-more-of-the-same from radical thugs backed by enemy alien George Soros’ money.
The interesting angle to us is the overwhelming hand-wringing—wait, that’s much too kind—the overwhelming condemnation from the right of Trump as the formal, final and efficient causes of the riots. At least they had the broad-mindedness to allow that the rioters themselves were the material cause.
Their point seems to be that since Trump has said intemperate things, he had—and has—it coming. More of the same will surely follow and he has that coming, too. It’s not all his fault, of course; free speech should be sacrosanct and liberals more than anyone should cherish that “value.” But by saying bad things, Trump coarsens our public discourse and creates a hostile environment in which bad things happen. Etc. Cruz, Rubio and all the pundits have done Maxine Waters’ famous interpretation of the L.A. riots one better: they don’t condone what happened, but they’re sure that Trump and his supports deserved it.
Now, as stated many times, our brief is less for Trump personally than for what he represents: secure borders, economic nationalism and America-first foreign policy. Trump has said many things we wish he hadn’t. Tops among these would be the various “walk-backs” of his official policies—though he’s so far been reassuringly quick to walk back his walk-backs. And, yes, we do think that some of the playground bully rhetoric he occasionally uses from the podium harms his (our) cause.
But if any of Trump’s “conservative” critics thinks these disruptions wouldn’t be happening if only Trump’s every utterance were Churchillian, we reply, first, that even Churchill was not averse to wielding the rhetorical hammer against domestic threats. Second—and here we’re afraid that only highly specialized technical language appropriate to the subject-matter will do—get real, you superjive muthafuckas.
Allow me to play a personal anecdote card—a whole deck of them. Have any of these critics spent any time around the New Left? Because I have. I grew up in one of their citadels and went to college in the mothership. I spent about a quarter of my life on various university campuses. I’ve served in the executive branch of the government in Republican administrations at the city, state and national levels. I’ve been observing and later dealing directly with leftwing protesters almost since I could walk.
They live for this. Period. They need no provocation. Intemperate language from their enemies can perhaps add a bit of fuel to their fire. But only in the way that—if the Air Force had an instrument capable of measuring temperature to the trillionth of a degree—one extra twig might have increased the joules rising from the bombing of Dresden.
The leftist rage against Trump has almost zero to do with the quotes that are giving “conservatives” the vapors. Their rage has two fundamental sources. First, the left hasn’t had a serviceable boogeyman since George W. Bush left office and was never seen or heard from again. All that pent-up energy had to go somewhere. In Obama’s direction? Are you high? Second, and much more important, Trump is the first nationally popular figure to address America’s immigration disaster head-on. To the low-information indoctrinated leftist man-child, there is zero difference between this stance and reconvening the Wannsee Conference to make sure nothing gets in the way the second time. Yes, that’s how stupid they are. If you were impressed by the quality of the brainwashing depicted in the originalManchurian Candidate, you ain’t seen nuthin’ until you’ve looked at our educational system up close.
Trump’s bravado in no way caused this. Once he took on open borders—even had he mimicked the language and cadences of Fred Rogers—the left was coming for him like a freight train.
To those who lament how deplorable it is that our political discourse has come to this—what can we say? Do you honestly believe that Trump’s outbursts are the cause? Even a symptom? Or are they not, rather, a reaction? Does anyone else remember the root of the word “reactionary”? The New Left learned more than 50 years ago that spot-welding guilt-trip-victimization crocodile tears to brickbat bullying will cow the decent, honest, and apolitical into silence and submission. But back then, the right had more … spine and fought back.
Not anymore. “Conservatives” still seem to think they will get credit for “doing the right thing,” which they define as supine acceptance of whatever fresh indignity the left has in store for them.
The smarter ones might reply: more important than winning is to deserve victory. The best men would rather lose nobly in a noble cause then revel in a squalid triumph.
We sympathize. But let’s be clear on what that means in this context. Alinsky has become a cliché precisely because the left knows that they follow his script more rotely than Obama reads from a teleprompter. So they insist that he’s old news, nothing to see here. But his dictates remain operational. Disrupt. Provoke. Shout. Smear. Swear. Insult. Shut down. Push. Prod. Punch. And if you are so much as tapped back, immediately fall to the floor, wail like a banshee and wait for the sympathetic cameras to record it all and portray you as the gentle, lamblike innocent victim. Which they will.
The script remains the same. The only difference is that Trump refuses to play his assigned part. Conservative pundits, on the other hand, are excelling in the role of MSNBC outrage-mongers. Additional information about the Chicago mayhem dribbles out every day, just as it took days for the full truth of New Year’s Eve in Germany to circumvent the media blackout. And what do the conservative pundits focus on? Allegations—which turned out to be at the very least ridiculously exaggerated, if not completely phony—that a Trump aide roughed up a reporter, and a 76-year-old Trump-supporting Korean War vet who more than a week ago shoved a protester and has subsequently apologized. Needless to say, not a single member of the Chicago mob has apologized. On the contrary; its leaders bragged about their success.
Could Trump be more “statesmanlike”? Actually, we think he could be, and still brook none of this agitprop. But which is more important right now? To be statesmanlike? Or to stand up to the lefto-fascists? To repeat, both is best, but if we had to choose one …
These are degenerate times. Trump did not make them so. He may in some sense be a product of them and have been a contributor to them, but right now he is fighting the predominate degeneracy. The implicit calculation that Trump’s high-minded conservative critics have made (though we doubt any have really thought this through) is that Trump’s occasional exhortations to repay thuggishness in kind are worse—far worse—than what will follow if we assent meekly to the thuggishness of Trump’s enemies. Who are also our enemies—the enemies of the historic American nation and all who pledge allegiance to it.
This same high-minded refusal to fight back is what surrendered every academic, intellectual and cultural institution—one after the other, like a ribbon of dominoes—to the left over the last half-century. And now there is scarcely a single opinion-shaping force remaining in the West that doesn’t aim at the oblivion of our 3,000-year heritage. For starters. Now the right is prepared to surrender the government itself to the mob, because fighting back is just too unseemly to contemplate.
Aristotle says that natural right is changeable, by which (we think) he means that in extreme circumstances, extreme measures may be justified. Maybe this is such a situation and maybe it isn’t. Trump’s “conservative” critics haven’t even tried to make a case that it isn’t; they’ve merely clutched their pearls and assumed that whatever they believe is so obvious, words are superfluous.
But their inaction, combined with objection to Trump’s action, must arise from one or the other of the following conclusions. Either they think the situation is not really that bad, or they think that fighting back will bring worse than accepting whatever may come. If the former, we can only call them delusional. If the latter … what do they think is coming and what role do they expect to play? Martyrs? For what cause?