A couple of months ago I wrote a post called “Talking to the Sleepwalkers” in which I described how I attempted to explain what Trump was all about to friends who were still looking at things from the point of view that the Republicans were actually conservative. At the end of the post I wrote, “Did I wake anyone up? I don’t know, but at least now I feel like I want to keep trying.”
Well yesterday an echo pinged back on the sonar. I was pointed to an article in the WSJ by one of the folks I was talking about before. It was entitled:
Is ‘Classical Liberalism’ Conservative?
Trump didn’t divide the right. Centuries-old philosophical divisions have re-emerged.
By Yoram Hazony
It’s a description of how the “New World Order” crowd convinced us (and themselves?) that they were conservative. I guess I got through. Good. That’s a first step. And an important one. Until you know what the problem is, you can’t possibly start working to effectively to fix it.
A couple of years into this brave new world of right wing revolt we still don’t even know what we are actually doing. The grass roots agitators aren’t even aligned. In fact, they don’t even know what to call themselves yet. Alt-Right, Dissident Right, Alt-West, Nationalists, Populists, etc. And of course, factionalism and cults of personality and disagreements on just about every subject imaginable are on display and defeatists and concern trolls are packed cheek to jowl as far as the eye can see.
But it’s still infinitely better than not knowing why every action by “our side” was a defeat and every day brought a new outrage that went unchecked. And Trump is still in his White House so “all’s right with the world.” Of late my joy at his almost uncanny ability to trigger my worst enemies into paroxysms of rage is becoming almost embarrassing. At work, I’ll be writing some mundane list or power point slide and I’ll think about his NFL or Weinstein tweets and stop and smile and get some coffee and e-mail a friend about it. It’s definitely cutting into my productivity but it’s also lowering my blood pressure and overall that’s good for everything including ability to do work. And I imagine it’s having the opposite effect on my left-wing counterparts. They probably hear about these things and get driven into a rage spiral and that’s got to be bad for the blood pressure and quality of life. Ah, sweet schadenfreude.
To get back to the original point, word’s getting out. Reach out to the unaware. They can be reached. And Trump is doing his part. He goes after those we aren’t allowed to touch. The more Trump calls out the bullies the clearer it becomes that they are the problem. Pretty soon even Great Aunt Sophie may know what Fake News is. If everyone who can be reached knows what’s going on, then we can figure out whether a national consensus can be reached. So, if 55-60% of the country can agree that the left is the problem (including the GOPE) then maybe we can turn this around. If not, then we’re headed down the road to tribalism and identity politics and the end of the American Dream. But even if we end up there we’re better off than if we got there without knowing why and how. We can dictate some of the terms of the divorce. Cold comfort? Maybe, but I’ll take it.