Saturday, May 20, 2017

And Now For the Good News

Good news if you're a Trump supporter, that is. And I admit, it's paradoxical, but what is politics but the kingdom of paradox? Whenever you start to think that things are making sense, you can assume you've been deceived.

The good news is that Trump hasn't (yet, and hopefully never will have) sold out to the opposition – which means, in the most broad-brush sense, the globalists. I've referred to this previously – the idea that the power and energy behind the unstinting rage and hostility toward Trump and his administration (and his family as well) comes from the globalists, whose octopus-like arms reach into every corner of the globe (never mind that that makes no sense in geometrical terms), but whose power base is in Western Europe with the U.S. as a semi-reliable partner.

We need to shake off, once and for all, the romantic notion that the opposition to Trump is a grass-roots, popular (vs. populist, which would be bad), “people's” movement. It's supported, encouraged, and funded at the highest levels of the globalist empire, George Soros being the most prominent but far from the only source. Those on the ground, or in the streets – the by-and-large non-bloodied cannon fodder of the globalists – may not always realize it, but they are being exploited, used, and duped by people for whom they are no more than insignificant insects – inert bodies of value only to aid and abet a political/social/economic agenda. In other words, it doesn't matter what they “think” they're doing out there on the street, or on the Internet, or on TV, the truth is that they are mere tools, deftly wielded by those far above them on the social and economic scale. They may not “feel” like a mob, but that's what they are.

What is my evidence for this? That is, for the notion that Trump hasn't sold out yet? It's not only the continual and accelerating hostility and resistance from all quarters, but the fact that they all say the same things about the same things at the same time. This gives the game away. It's as if they get up every morning, check their phone messages or the Internet, and receive their marching orders – figuratively if not literally. And along with those marching orders are provided “talking points”. This is why the media are all of one mind, and their mind is a perfect match for the mind of the Democrats in Congress, and a perfect match for the minds of the “entertainment” industry (which has ceased to be about entertainment, but is now only about propaganda). So there is a central control unit... a single source. How can it be otherwise? Surely that many influential people can't have the exact same thought at the same time, and use the exact same words to express it; that would be way too much of a coincidence. What this says is that they're all working for the same master – they are all clones, basically... serfs, slaves, parrots. And shameless as well! There might have been a time when they were willing and able to think for themselves, but that time is long past. Now they are taking orders from a single master in as mindless a way as the mobs who threaten, intimidate, and terrorize the rest of the citizenry in any totalitarian society – Mao's China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, and Kim's North Korea all being good examples.

So if the sheer volume and ubiquity of hostility toward Trump is “good news” in this sense, what would be bad news? That would be if a truce were called – if the hostility ramped down, cooled off. If the Democrats decided to “cross the aisle”. If the “entertainment” media went back to entertainment rather than non-stop propaganda. If the media started to publish or broadcast some good news about the Trump administration and program. This is the point at which you will know that the fix is in – that Trump & Co. have capitulated... buckled under the pressure... decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em... etc.

So anyone who is seriously supportive of Trump and his program had better be on the lookout. The minute a soft spot in the opposition appears, that's a sign of trouble. Better for the hostility and rage to continue unabated right up to Inauguration Day 2021, if not beyond. Because that will indicate that Trump is not only a “different animal” but that he continues to be, and is not willing to compromise – that he remains defiant. For there is, truly, no compromising with the globalists. The old liberal/progressive/Democratic dream of turning the U.S. into a people's republic is a thing of the past now. At this point the best the U.S. can hope for is to become a citizen of the world – to assume the posture of a beached whale, and to have its resources divided and scattered among the countless warring and contending tribes that inhabit the globe. It's only fair, after all, since we are ultimately the source of all their troubles and complaints (or at least that's what Bill Clinton and Obama always claimed). America needs to be liquidated – and who (or what) better to do that than the EU, George Soros, and the rest of the globalist cartel. We need to be put in our place – not necessarily through war or combat (although Vietnam certainly planted the seed for this whole idea) but through gradual erosion, through instruments such as open borders, “free trade”, political correctness on a global scale, unilateral actions regarding “climate change”, “foreign aid”, and so on. Uncle Sam has played Uncle Sucker for long enough – it is now time for the coup de grace.

Don't get me wrong – I've preached against “American exceptionalism” and the American Empire any number of times, and against this notion that our moral superiority gives us not only the right, but also the obligation, to be the world's policeman. I know that there are many varieties of colonialism that are much less obvious than in the old days, when European colonial empires spanned the globe. Empires in our time are economically-based, and rely on a technological and informational superstructure. You don't need planes, drones, bombs, warships, and troops to create and maintain an empire any longer – although we still seem to be wedded to this idea because... well, basically, it's more traditional, more masculine, and, doggone it, more fun. But anybody can see that nerdballs like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg wield way more power than any fleet or army ever did. So there has to be a wedding – or at least a rapprochement -- between the old ways and the new ways. Fair enough – empires, and the ways of empire, evolve just as weaponry and technology do. If Facebook is the Bofors gun of our time, more power to it – but it doesn't make it any more benign, or the empire it helps build any more of a boon for humanity. The new collectivism doesn't involve things as crude and obvious as driving the peasantry off family family farms and into factories and communes, but requires the creation of a uniform, globalist mind – a point of view characterized by amnesia when it comes to the ancient values (family, land, ethnicity, faith) and a sense of “belonging” to the world at large. And the word “belonging” is appropriate, since we are becoming the property of the globalists – a world-wide serfdom trapped in a new class structure with the technocrats at the top. It is, truly, “the revenge of the nerds” -- but is it sustainable when all of the connective tissue that harmonizes with human nature is being systematically cut away? There are signs of rebellion everywhere – newly-rediscovered nationalism and patriotism, as well as ethnic pride, not only in Europe and the U.S. but elsewhere in the world as well. Perhaps the struggle has just begun.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Trump -- The Legend Continues

I'm getting to an age that, when I look out across the political landscape, I can pretty much, in most cases, say (or think), “Oh yeah, I've seen that before” -- or “Here we go again” -- or “What else is new?” or some such. There is no more fruitful source of deja vu than politics, unless it's fashions in clothing, which predictably recycle like clockwork every few years or decades. When I talk to younger people about current events, and find them puzzled/disoriented/confused, and mainly upset, I can always go back to the Sixties as my baseline of reference for real political strife – real alienation, real violence, real generational and cultural gaps, and so forth. There was a civil war going on back then, folks, let's face it. You can call it a “cultural revolution” if you like, but in any case it was a high water mark in the age-old story of rebellious youth vs. the Establishment. Nothing that's happened since, and nothing that's happening now, even comes close, I will say – in a manner that is meant to assure whomever I'm speaking to that all is not lost, and the world is not coming to an end. In other words, there is nothing new under the Sun, as far as I'm aware... and as far as my personal experience goes.

And yet here we are in the Age/Era/Season of Trump, and it seems like genuinely new things are happening – both quantitatively and qualitatively. And for a long time, it seemed a puzzlement... but now I'm starting to understand, or at least I think that I am. But before I explain, let's go over a few salient points.

Yes, Trump is a character – and a bit of a loose cannon. He has unconventional hair and a perpetual tan, he talks like a New Yorker, and not an especially high-class one either. He's in constant fighting mode, and has yet to learn what's worth fighting over and what should simply be ignored. (In this, he shows his marked difference from the average politician, who seems to have remarkably thick skin. Or, at least, they can freely choose what to get offended about, and not be constant victims of what's in the morning paper or on TV or the Internet.) So all of these things scream “outsider”, and Trump accepts that label and is justly proud of it. Compared to previous “outsiders” who have reached the very peak of American politics, he's way more of one than, say, Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan. They had at least attended the school of political hard knocks for a season – although in Carter's case, it's hard to see what good it did. No, in Trump's case it's more like he got selected at random from William F. Buckley's proverbial phone book. And he's not even a typical businessman or a typical billionaire; he's apparently atypical and an outlier in pretty much every respect. In fact, his hair may be the most normal thing about him.

And, although not an ideological conservative, his program, when you get right down to it, contains goals which, up until recently, would have been considered common sense, and not all that unrealistic. But he is no absolutist, and his proposals to date seem ripe for negotiation, except that he has taken on the burden of making certain campaign promises which he actually intends to keep (again, in a blatantly non-politician way), so he's going to be in hot water with those who voted for him if he starts getting too squishy. The “deplorables” who voted for him tend to see things in a black-and-white way, and they are notoriously impatient with business as usual in Washington, which is all about wheeling and dealing, compromise, and cutting one's losses – and mostly seeing to it that the ruling elite remain so, for their exclusive fun and profit.

Plus, he has picked for his administration a group of quite level-headed and experienced individuals, which is atypical in that it defies the usual custom of picking donors, supporters, cronies, and hacks. (Have you ever wondered what some of these political types would do if they weren't working for the government? One answer is that, once out of office, they tend to disappear, although a good many transition smoothly into lobbying organizations or NGOs. Some of then hang around Washington in hopes that they will eventually be again called upon to donate their skills and knowledge – such as they are – to a new administration.)

In contrast, Trump's people actually seem to want to get things done, and they have the knowledge base and skills to do it – or, at the very least, have demonstrated that they are fast learners. They enter the fray as high achievers in other areas (military, business, etc.), which is another point of contrast with the career politician, who is basically a one-trick pony, the trick being "getting elected to office". In this, they are, again, superior to pretty much any group of high-level political appointees I can recall over the past 50 years or so (unless you want to consider JFK's “best and brightest” successful for getting us into a war in Vietnam, or Henry Kissinger successful for aggravating the situation in Southeast Asia, among many other lousy ideas). (Please note that Kissinger was, and continues to be, the ultimate globalist.)

But none of this apparent reasonableness and moderation impresses the opposition, because since Election Day they've been in the streets, and on the airwaves and the Internet, screaming and turning purple, and having psychotic breakdowns right in plain sight, over the “fact” that Trump is not just another Hitler, but that he is Hitler, reincarnated in some mysterious way. And if he is Hitler, as they all seem to believe, the glory days of the Nuremberg rallies are long gone, and he will never enjoy being chauffeured victorious through the streets of Prague and Warsaw. No – he is already hiding deep in an underground bunker in the middle of Berlin, shaking in fear every time he hears the muffled thud of bombs going off overhead. His movie is almost over; he's in the last scene, like Edward G. Robinson in “Little Caesar”. (“Is this the end of The Donald?”) And his followers are paralyzed with fear, and busy plotting ways to save their skins once the administration collapses (any room on a slow boat to Argentina?).

This is what passes for conventional wisdom among the media and commentariat these days. Trump is on the ropes, he's washed up, and his people are scattering like the proverbial rats from a sinking ship. And of course, what little in the way of governing they manage to eke out is quickly snuffed, neutralized, and canceled by the efforts of the embedded bureaucracy (now called “the Deep State”) which consists entirely of holdovers from the previous administration who, for some mysterious reason, cannot be removed because, among other things, they can't even be found. (This is also, please note, a departure from politics as usual, where the long knives come out the day after Inauguration Day, and someone from the new administration shows up with “a little list” like the guy in “The Mikado”.)

Not only that, but Trump has an ex-president living just up the street, sharing an upscale house with his most loyal staff members, and they are in charge not only of the Deep State but of a shadow cabinet, which is ready to take back the reins of power as soon as the pretender can be ejected from his throne. And not only that, but – most dangerous of all – he has the entire national security/intelligence apparatus arrayed against him, and how is he supposed to conduct foreign policy (including military operations) if they won't tell him anything he needs to know, or if what they do tell him is designed to deceive, misdirect, and sabotage? Any notion that the intel community, along with the military, is on the conservative side of things has now been proven quite wrong. If it were ever true, is no longer is. And it's no real surprise, since, like anyone else in the system, they are attracted to power and tend to gravitate toward it and toward politicians who are willing to grant it. And in this, I might add, both parties are guilty of giving away too much power, but the consistently totalitarian tone of Democrat policies and programs gives them an edge, and a greater claim on the loyalty of the intel types. What better purpose for a world-wide intelligence apparatus combined with a vast mercenary army than to establish and maintain a one-world government?

So what we have here is, basically, an interregnum – a person who is president, at least for the time being, and who is nominally in charge, but who, in fact, has no power and who is opposed by virtually everyone in Washington and in the media, the Internet, Hollywood, etc. In other words, everyone hates him except the people who voted for him, and I suspect that some of them are starting to have their doubts. So he is flailing, and everyone around him is flailing, and it's hard to see how they can do otherwise. At least – once again – this is the conventional wisdom. But there are data to back it up, and I have to note that the only thing Trump has managed to do in a decisive way so far is toss a few dozen cruise missiles at Syria, for the simple reason that the only area of government where the mythical Congressional “checks and balances” do no apply is in the area of starting and perpetuating wars.

Strange, isn't it? Congress supposedly has the sole power to declare war, but whoever came up with that phraseology forgot that you can make war without declaring it. This modern spin on things started with Korea, and continued with Vietnam, and now here we are with the perpetual, endless “War on Terror”. (And don't bother mentioning any of these pathetic “war powers acts” by Congress when they occasionally regret their cowardice. The attitude of whoever is president at the time is typically akin to Stalin's -- “How many divisions does Congress have?”)

But if Trump doesn't have any power aside from this, where does the power lie these days? With the Republicans, who, despite their majorities in both the Senate and the House, never seem to know what to do with power, and who, on any given day, would probably really rather they didn't have any? No – the power all lies with the minority, so-called – with the likes of Schumer, Pelosi, Franken, and Feinstein. They're still pulling all the levers, and they can because they are, in effect, the chief operatives of the Deep State, with Obama at the top and Hillary Clinton as empress-in-waiting. (And by the way, if you don't think Hillary is planning a comeback long before 2020 rolls around, think again. She can spot a weakness the way a vulture can spot an animal that is on its last legs.) Apparently this cabal even has the power to shut down the government, although they are in the minority in both houses of Congress – thus another unfathomable mystery when it comes to the American system.  When the Democrats are in charge, they're in charge.  And when they aren't in charge, they're still in charge.  Figure that one out if you will.  

But wait – I said at the beginning that some things had developed that were truly new and unprecedented. But isn't all of the above fairly typical, and differing primarily in degree from prior episodes? There are always political holdovers throughout the bureaucracy. The media always take sides, and prefer one president over another and one party over another; the same holds true of the academic community, Hollywood, the Internet, etc. And as far as street demonstrations go, nothing these days can hold a candle to the action back during the war in Vietnam. Hasn't every presidential administration from, say, LBJ on, had to deal with non-stop opposition from the first day to the last? There are no longer any good losers in Washington, even though there are occasionally good winners.

The answer, of course, is yes, it's all happened before – but that's not where the difference lies. One difference is in the sheer magnitude of the opposition – the fact that it is not only non-stop, but is at a fever pitch day in and day out, with no let-up. This hostility informs and infects virtually every story that emanates from the mainstream media; it's headline news each and every day. And as far as academics, Hollywood, and the Internet are concerned, I don't think even LBJ had to deal with the white-hot psychotic hatred from all quarters that Trump (and his family, note) have to deal with.  At least he could wave the Civil Rights Act in front of them, and dazzle them enough to make them temporarily forget the debacle in Vietnam.  

So yes, it's a matter of degree, but it's also a matter of kind, or of content. When I described the Trump administration and its policies above, I was not, it seems to me, describing anything that could ever set off this level of hostility and violence (both verbal and physical, including the threat of physical) . Most of these policies, if they had come from some other – any other – administration, of either party, might have set off some controversy and opposition, but nothing like what we're seeing here. And when I go back and look at Trump's fabled first news conference on Jan. 11, and his Mardi Gras speech to Congress, and pretty much any public pronouncements that have emanated from the White House since, I have to keep asking, why the outrage? Why the hatred?

One clue is that, when you listen to, or read, the protests, no matter the source, you will find that the verbal content has very little to do with the actual programs or goals of the administration. The subject matter may be the same in some cases, but the sheer paranoia and wild exaggeration, fantasy, delusion, and – yes – fake news makes that all beside the point. In other words, the protests are not about what is actually taking place, or what is intended, but about fantasies – an army of straw men. The advantage, if I can call it that, is that if delusion and fantasy are what is feeding into all of this, there is no satisfying it. Nothing can be done to make it “OK”, because there are no objective criteria; Trump has to go – period, full stop. Trump has become the ultimate scapegoat for all that is wrong in America, a mere three months into his administration – some kind of record, if records of this sort were being kept.

So if it's not about the program per se, or Trump's being an outsider per se, what is it about? Where does all this negative energy come form? What is its source of fuel? At least in the Sixties, it was easy to see what people were protesting about, and it was real. The government was doing genuinely terrible things both here and overseas, and so the protests made sense; it would have been shameful if there had not been widespread protests. But now there's this mismatch, both in quantitative terms (magnitude, volume, violence) and in qualitative terms (the mismatch described above). So what sustains it?

There's clearly much more going on here than most people think – and it's not just about the “Deep State”. (And I'm sorry that term has been expropriated to describe something as temporary and dull as Obama holdovers in the bureaucracy. I liked it better when it was another word for the Regime, AKA “the people who are really in charge”, which has nothing to do with civil servants, political appointees, or even presidents. Now we'll have to adopt another term – like “Deeper State”, the way Trump came up with “very fake news”.)

I said that Trump was an outsider, but he's clearly more than that. I've already presented my theory about incoming presidents, how they get “the talk” from representatives of the Regime, at some point between the oath and the Inaugural Ball, that basically lays out, in no uncertain terms, what their options are and what they had better not fool with – or if they do, it will be at their peril. What's happening right now is evidence that Trump did, in fact, get “the talk” at some point, but basically told whoever was delivering the message to stick it where the sun don't shine, and to go back and tell whoever sent them to do the same thing. So he declared war, and now he's at war; how could it be otherwise?

Now, what is the main agenda of the Regime? All evidence is that it's pretty much synonymous with what's called globalism – and guess what, Trump is the first president who has ever explicitly come out against globalism as not being in the best interests of the American people. I suppose the last true presidential anti-globalist, if there had even been such a concept back then, could be said to be Calvin Coolidge. Every president since then has been, to some degree, a globalist, either explicitly or implicitly. A turning point – a tectonic shift – came when the U.S. ceased to be the obvious and inevitable leader of the globalist movement, and I would put that, at the latest, at the time of our defeat in Vietnam. Someone at that point decided that globalism was too important a project to be left in the hands of the stumbling, bumbling U.S. Since then, foreign policy (ours and everyone else's) has been in the hands of an anti-nationalist, globalist elite, most likely centered in Europe, but not synonymous with the EU by any means. They issue orders, and we follow; it's as simple as that. Everything else in foreign policy and in military activity is noise level.

So if this is Job One of the Regime, and they run into a president who is unwilling to cooperate, what do you think is going to happen? They will call all of their resources into play, and this will include (1) already-brainwashed (thanks to the public, i.e. government, schools) college and university students (the “snowflakes” being the most readily manipulated, and no more than cannon fodder to whoever is running the show); (2) Hollywood, which has been signed on to globalism for nearly as long as it has existed; (3) the mainstream media, ditto; (4) liberals/Democrats/Progressives, ditto; and (5) mainstream Republicans, who have been globalists starting at least with Eisenhower's administration. (Who talked about a “new world order”? A Republican! I doubt that Trump has much use for that idea.)

Now let's review. Who is wedded and dedicated to globalism, along with all of its ancillary features like anti-nationalism, world government, open borders, economic leveling, social leveling, socialized medicine, government educational monopolies, totalitarianism of all sorts (especially with regard to information and law enforcement), and “diversity” (which is a hoax and an actual stalking horse for total conformity)? And who is completely energized and going completely mental about Trump? The answer: The same people. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with Trump as a person, or with any of his associates, or his administration, or its programs, policies, and plans – with the exception of any that come into conflict with the globalist agenda (and let's admit that the attack on Syria may have been a way of walking back, to some extent, Trump's prior “reckless” statements in opposition to globalism).

The apparently missing link is between the Regime and the vast army of protesters, demonstrators, mass hysterics, and everyone else who is on the verge (or past it) of a nervous breakdown about Trump. After all, the Regime is “up there”, and only comes out in public for occasional confabs like Davos. But like any military organization, it has a structure, and a hierarchy, and resources, and – most important of all – ways in which orders get efficiently passed down from the top to the foot soldiers. How else do these mobs of protesters appear out of thin air every time there's a person, or a meeting, or some other event that is considered worthy of protest? (If only SEAL Team Six were that responsive!) Why do all mainstream media outlets parrot the same “talking points” at the same time, using the exact same words and phrases? Why do the Hollywood, entertainment, and Internet types erupt pretty much simultaneously whenever the most minute issue or event attracts their attention? Clearly there is a single source of orders, instructions, guidance – call it what you will. The opposition can no longer be described as an aggregate of individuals (assuming it ever could); it is now behaving like a single organism – a great steaming blob with millions of hands, eyes, and voices, like something out of a horror movie.

And there also has to be a source of funding; start with communications staff, and transportation to and from the demonstration du jour. And let's not overlook the fact that, although many of the demonstrators are activists and amateurs (i.e. unpaid) there is invariably a core group of professionals – the ones dressed all in black, with face masks. They're not there for their health; they're there because they're paid to be there. And where do these funds come from? It's not because the protesters hand around foam cups to collect contributions. The Regime includes any number of extremely wealthy individuals who are very good at scattering resources where they will do the most good.

And this is not to say that many of the street protesters, and many of the hooters and hollerers in the media, Hollywood, etc. aren't sincere in their delusions. The mistake they're making is in assuming that they are acting independently and spontaneously, whereas the truth is that they're being manipulated and exploited. They are – to use an overworked term – the “useful idiots” of our time, the middle-class reincarnation of the lumpen proletariat of a bygone era.

Plus, please note that among the most intensive areas of operation of the Regime are in foreign intelligence (CIA, NSA) and immigration – both foreign policy matters. When it comes to strictly domestic matters, they could not care less, although issues such as Obamacare are useful in that they tend to mobilize the opposition.

It all makes perfect sense, when you think about it – and it's not even all that controversial. We know that globalism has been a trend going back to Wilson (for us) and the Bolsheviks (for the USSR). We know that the trend was accelerated during FDR's administration, which segued into World War II, which segued into the U.N., which was the first successful (as opposed to the League of Nations) explicitly globalist organization. Every U.S. administration has signed on, and pretty much every European administration as well – at least since World War II. But then along came Brexit on their side of the Atlantic, and Trump on our side – and the parallels between the two have been drawn out in great detail, so I don't need to add anything. And Brexit was only the most obvious case of resurgent nationalism in Europe – you know, that oddball trend that the globalists invariably describe as “fascist”, and their leaders as “Hitlers” and “Nazis”. (Did Hitler really give nationalism a bad name for all time? It appears so, because there can be no other reason for it – or so the opposition says – than a burning desire to return to the glory days of the Third Reich. Fire up the ovens! Get the cattle cars back on the tracks! Der Trumpmeister is in charge, and can't wait to lead the master race to victory.)

So it appears that what was weird and mysterious has now become simple and almost obvious. There are many nuances and subtexts, of course – and many points of debate. And Trump is not the perfect anti-globalist by a long shot. (Ron Paul would have been.) His blind pursuit of the already-failed War on Islam, oops, I mean War on Terror neatly fits into the globalist agenda. For one thing, it requires massive resources in order to support perpetual war, which in turn impoverishes the economy in other areas and makes people more dependent on government, which makes government more powerful and accelerates the trend toward totalitarianism. Mission accomplished! For another thing, it makes the Euro-American-Israeli Regime more cohesive (despite minor annoyances like Brexit) by defining a perpetual enemy – the ultimate “Other” -- namely, Islam/Terror. So we're off to war to defeat a religion and a feeling – wow, it makes most other wars seem downright sane and just.

But if the American Empire – its care and feeding – is symbiotic with globalism, resurgent nationalism, especially of the economic and cultural sort, is not. And in fact, the American Empire is not American at all, but is a subset of the globalist military empire, except that we have been duped into doing all of the heavy lifting (and most of the dying). It's one thing to have a dull-witted servant at one's beck and call, but when that servant starts to get funny ideas about national pride and autonomy, it's time to put him in his place.

And by the way, speaking of brainwashing – this newfound reverence for Islam and Muslims amazes me. It was not that long ago that, as far as nearly all Americans were concerned, Muslims, and especially Arabs, were the lowest of the low... the scum of the earth, basically. The notion of them some day having any “rights”, or claims, would have been considered absurd – and by no one more than the same college/university students (or the same types, anyway) who are now falling all over themselves to provide what amounts to affirmative action for Muslims. This is nothing more than an instance of brainwashing – and you can bet that if the people in charge decided to turn their hordes of flying monkeys back into haters of Muslims, they could do it in no time. Why is it so easy? Because there are no principles involved, the same way “principles” of any sort are no longer part of the curriculum in nearly every institution of “higher education”. If everything is political, and everything is arbitrary, anything can be changed at the drop of a hat for any reason, or for no reason. (One has only to recall that the USSR turned on a dime when the glory days of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ended abruptly with the Nazi invasion of Russia.) This is one of the great blessings of the value-free culture that the globalists, among others, have concocted for us over the years – with the full cooperation of all the usual suspects.

I would say that, as a general rule, the more people you see freaking out about something that is just in their fevered imagination, and the more severe the freak-out, the more likely you are to be seeing the product of brainwashing. The current round of demonstrations reminds me of nothing more than what goes on all the time in North Korea, or what went on in China during the Cultural Revolution. And the people involved, far from having any steadfast principles, are infinitely malleable; this is what makes them so useful to the controllers. Political correctness is, by definition, political... and mob rule is the end result of the devolution of a political system into nothing but politics. Political processes are supposed to serve a greater good – but when politics is the only good, it becomes a destructive force like no other.

It's small consolation, I guess, but one thing about mob rule that people tend to forget is that the mob can turn on its controllers; it has happened before, any number of times in history. Today's demagogue, being carried on the shoulders of the adoring masses, can tomorrow be on the way to the gallows. (Just ask Georges Danton.) And revolutions do have a way of cannibalizing themselves. Occasionally justice will out – or at least karma will set in. But there has to be a lot of discomfort in the meantime.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The New Proletariat

Class consciousness – class warfare – the mainstays of Marxism, but also essential to the teachings and activities of American liberalism, are a foundational element of the Democratic Party. There was a class system in colonial America, which naturally resembled that in Europe, although the boundaries were, partly by necessity, much less rigid and more fluid (for one thing, no hereditary titles). There was never an official American royalty, but there were certainly landowners and grant-holders, merchants, craftsmen, peasants, laborers, and, yes, slaves. This class system, so natural to any human society, did not seem to overly offend anyone at the time, because, after all, it was what they were used to. It was the way the world worked, wasn't it? And anything else was unimaginable. (We tend to forget how radically different our world view is from that of our colonial ancestors.) And what probably helped was that all were united, more or less, against the offenses being committed by the mother country, i.e. Britain, and its king. But then came the founding documents, with “all men are created equal”, and so forth – implying that class was an illusion, or an unfortunate accident, and that it might soon be done away with (or so was the fond hope). But the American Revolution was a political one, not an economic one. Landowners remained landowners, merchants remained merchants, peasants remained peasants, and slaves remained slaves – at least for a time. Before long, Marxism had taken hold in Europe, and real political revolutions had occurred (1848 being a critical year) – plus the Civil War brought out class divisions (in both North and South) in sharp relief. (Basically, the North's upper classes sent the North's lower classes out to defeat the South's lower classes and thus to render the South's upper classes powerless and bankrupt). So class consciousness, while it is always with us, grew from a taken-for-granted state of affairs into a political cause, and we had, later in the 19th Century and into the 20th, a rise in both immigration and anarchy – not a coincidence, since many of the immigrants were from areas where the new consciousness had taken hold, particularly the animus against hereditary rule – kings, czars, and emperors. (The immigrants came here in part because things were moving too slowly back home – and the minute they got off the boat, they started to agitate for the political, social, and economic changes here that they had longed for in their places of origin. And let's admit, their optimism was well-founded, at least up to a point. Where Old Europe had failed, America became the great testing ground; the American Experiment was taken over from the WASPs by the teeming masses from Eastern and Southern Europe. But this effort only succeeded up to a point; we became, for all intents and purposes, socialistic, but balked at becoming a people's republic, a failing which continues to irritate the hard left to this day.) Plus, we had the rise of Progressivism, not the very first manifestation of populism (forget not Andrew Jackson) but one with many more long-term consequences. Then came the Russian revolution, and yesterday's anarchists became, almost overnight, today's totalitarians – and at this late date, we can say, with confidence, “'twas ever thus”. Put populism and Bolshevism into a stew pot, stir for a while, and you have – ta-da! -- the New Deal, which, in most any way that counts, we are still living with.

So the question is not – nor was it ever -- “do we, or do we not, have, or want to have, a society defined by class?” Every society is, to some extent, defined by class – by social status, hierarchy, pecking order, what have you. Any honest anthropologist will admit this. It's such a universal phenomenon that it might almost be described as “natural”, or “all too human”, or even “instinctive”, except that it's the very people who are always longing for a “return to nature” who are the most opposed to the idea. And collectivist/totalitarian propaganda reflects this. Who carries on the most about “a classless society”? The very people whose ideal social structure is a ruling political class, or nomenklatura, supported by the military, and a mass of faceless serfs (peasants and workers) on the bottom, with a conspicuously missing middle class. This is the way it always turns out with communism – no exceptions! The only thing that seems to stand in the way is the existing middle class, unless you're talking about a society that is so primitive that it hasn't yet developed one – and when it is eliminated or suppressed things tend to deteriorate, particularly in the economic sector, and no one can figure out why. After all, the “bourgeoisie” are dull, boring, conventional, rigid, wed to tradition, and, basically, politically hopeless – and the answer is to declare them superficial and unnecessary, and then to either kill them off or impoverish them to the point where they are no longer distinguishable from the proles. And yet, the occasional honest economist will admit that, in a proper economic system that is likely to succeed, the middle class is a needed element; it is, in effect, a go-between, connective tissue between rulers and serfs. Imagine even a small town with a mayor and village council, and everyone else either a subsistence farmer or factory worker. What's wrong with this picture, and why do we never see it borne out in real life?

But of course, economic “success” is a matter of definition, and in our time it's clear that it takes a remote back seat to things like “equality”, “fairness”, and “diversity” -- that it's better to fail as an economic system than to commit the sin of “unfairness”. (This has been an explicit meme throughout the Obama administration, for example.) And yet, paradoxically, the more government tries to remedy the many offenses of the traditional class system, the more it's forced to create a new class system whose job it is to enforce sanctions against the old class system. This does not eliminate class, or hierarchy, or anything of the kind; it only substitutes new types of people at the various levels. So under the old American system, you might have had bankers and industrialists at the top, then politicians at the next level to serve their interests, then merchants, craftsmen, farmers, laborers, and so on. Under the more recent American system, you have politicians at the top, then the bankers and industrialists who must defer to the “people's representatives” and conform to a heavy burden of regulations, then merchants, craftsmen, farmers, laborers – with the bottom layer populated not by people suffering the abject poverty of the Third World because they are supported by the state. But this is only in theory, understand, because in reality the bankers and industrialists are still in charge, but cannot show their colors in as blatant a way as they did back in the “robber baron” era. Politicians can still be bought and sold (and amazingly cheaply at that), but the money spends more time under the table than on top of it. And the ones who suffer the most are the ones caught in the middle – the storied bourgeoisie, or middle class, whose resources and political power are eroding day by day. And much of their suffering is not in terms of their financial straits per se, but in the total lack of respect they receive from the other sectors of society. They are, by and large, sufficiently fed, clothed, and sheltered, but at the same time treated as lepers by the dominant culture.

Any economic distortions caused by big government will result in winners and losers, and the losers of our time are the middle class. Call them the people who earn enough to be taxed, but don't earn enough to avoid taxes, and who earn enough to miss out on entitlements. They are, in a sense, the only self-supporting class we have, and are thus ripe for the picking. Is it any wonder that they have come around to the notion that no one is on their side – and they they flocked to Donald Trump, who at least said that he was, although it remains to be seen how this plays out.

But – you might say – if the middle class is an essential element of an economically successful society, why would those in charge want to eliminate it – or at least bleed it dry? Call it short-sightedness, ignorance of economics and history, or just plain greed, but it's clear they just don't care, any more than the guy who cut down the last tree on Easter Island cared. (This is from “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.) Rare is the man, even at the very pinnacle of world power, who looks beyond his own life span. “Apres moi, le deluge.” (This is one of the many reasons why concentration of wealth and power is bad. The people who wind up with it are still just as human as any of the rest of us.) And this is just on the material side; you also have the theorists, who still subscribe to the Marxian orthodoxy that the middle class is an artifact of an intrinsically unfair and unjust system, and that only by eliminating it can we make any progress toward universal liberation.

I've been saying for quite a while that the American middle class has a very large target painted on its back. The liberal/Democratic agenda is to hobble, humble, and ultimately eliminate the middle class from the American scene, and they are quite open about it. The Republicans are not in quite such a hurry, but they aren't doing anything to reverse the trend either (although one wonders where their support is going to come from if the largest part of their base vanishes – there just aren't enough country-club types to so the job). It seems like every time a Republican is elected president, the middle class breathes a sigh of relief – they have a new lease on life, and have been spared from the ministrations of the executioner for a while longer. But then along comes a Democrat, and the ax is raised higher. The rise and victory of Donald Trump has been called many things – and in a way it resembles the peasants' revolts of ages past, or the relatively more recent revolutions throughout Europe... or the “softer” revolts of populism, Progressivism, and the New Deal. Except for one thing – those were all revolts of the lower classes against their rulers and oppressors, and, occasionally, against the middle class as well, as in the cases of France, Russia, and China. (Revolts against oppressors are typically fueled by brutality, starvation, and hardship, whereas revolts against the bourgeoisie are typically fueled by Marxist theory, which is the reason they are a relatively new phenomenon, although it must be admitted that the French Revolution was pre-Marx.)

The Trump phenomenon is something truly new under the sun for America – a revolt of the middle class (as foreshadowed by the Tea Party). And as such, it's a revolt against both the ruling elite and against the dependent class, AKA tax receivers. But it's shocking, and this is the main reason why the establishment and the media (and Hollywood, and academics, etc.) are so thunderstruck. “Never before has a boy asked for more” said a character in “Oliver”. Likewise, never before has the middle class done anything even remotely resembling a rebellion – and yet here it is. It happened, and they won. Or, at least their chosen leader won.

See, here's the real problem. The middle class is not supposed to revolt. They're not supposed to complain. They're supposed to be polite, passive, submissive, and take whatever comes their way like bobo dolls, and come back asking for more. They're supposed to be complacent, satisfied, and if not politically apathetic then at least non-activist. These qualities have defined the middle class for generations, or even centuries. The idea of them actually standing up and defending themselves is... well, it goes against theory, for one thing (Marxist theory and all of its derivatives). And it's disruptive to the political economy, which demands some sort of balance between doers-to and the done-to. One might even say that as the lower classes have gained political power and social and cultural influence, society in general started looking around for a new out-group, and it found one.

It seems that the middle class has been unleashed, and this is what has everyone upset. That, and the growing realization that Trump is not a politician, and not an ideologue, and neither a conservative nor a liberal. This has turned the political world upside down, and violated rules we didn't even know were in place until someone violated them. Who knew that political etiquette was such a fine-tuned thing, and that so many people would be so sensitive to its breach? One might even say that Trump has united the country after all – or at least the “chattering class”. They are unanimous in their hostility and resistance to who and what he is, and everything he stands for – which is why this is, if only for a season, a time for those who have been voiceless for so long to find a voice. In fact, it may be the last chance for the middle class to have a voice. Judging by the reaction against Trump, if he runs again in 2020 and is defeated, it will be the signal for the long knives to come out, and the life expectancy of the middle class will suddenly be shortened, possibly to a drastic extent.

Another way of looking at this is that even with all the (largely non-violent) egalitarian uprisings of the past in this country, the middle class remained more or less intact, and it was not targeted per se. (This, again, in contrast to France, Russia, and China.) The lower classes wanted a piece of the pie, and the perception was that the ruling elite owned that pie and had to be forced to divvy it up a bit; the middle class was more or less ignored and left to its own devices. This time around, we have a relatively pacified lower class (yes, despite the war between them and the police – the new opiates of the people being sex, drugs, and rock and roll), and an unheard-of, up until the Tea Party phenomenon, rise in consciousness among the middle class. Another way of putting it is that the middle class is now less satisfied than the lower classes, despite any statistical advantages they may have in terms of income, quality of life, and so on. Satisfaction is, as we ought to know by now, not an absolute. No one compares their lot to some Platonic ideal. It is simply as follows: Satisfaction = Results minus Expectations. The middle class expected this society to be a certain way, and they are grossly disappointed and disillusioned. The lower classes, on the other hand, being more resigned and fatalistic, had expectations, but they were not as high (despite “Hope and Change”), and the contrast between those expectations and the reality are not as stark.

As I said, the election of 2016 and the Trump administration may be the last hope of the middle class. And by that I mean not all of the self-consciously middle class, but those who don't feel guilty about it, despite decades of shaming on the part of the media, the entertainment industry, and liberal politicians. There is another group which I will call the self-hating middle class, and that includes not only the so-called “snowflakes” -- the most obvious subgroup – but also what have been referred to as “guilt-ridden liberals”. They are the products of public schooling, for starters – but also of both public and private collages and universities, and, above all, of political correctness (which was amplified and fine-tuned by the likes of Hillary Clinton). And in a way, it's easy to understand. If we are really brought up to believe that “all men (or whoever) are created equal”, but at the same time shown, on a daily basis, overwhelming evidence of inequality of outcomes, that's going to cause some cognitive dissonance. And the reactions can vary widely. One might be simply that “those people” (the “underprivileged”) are lazy, apathetic, and uncooperative, and therefore deserve what they get (or don't get). Another reaction is that even if this is partly true, it's not their fault, because they are victims of “the system”, of institutional racism, prejudice, etc., and therefore deserve at least a helping hand; this is the affirmative action level of liberal social policy. But there are plenty more possibilities, including the radical notion that all differences in outcome, for whatever reason, are intrinsically unfair and have to be done away with – and this is the point at which the middle class finds itself on thin ice. What “right” do they have to have more – to have a higher standard of living – than anyone else? This is obviously a serious problem, and only liberals/progressives have the solution. So over time, the middle class is subjected to the death of a thousand cuts, and while the masochistic among them might welcome this (“snowflakes” again) the rest are puzzled, dismayed, and eventually become angry. And when it gets to the point where they have little enough left to lose that they might take a chance on revolt, if not outright revolution, we have phenomena like the election of 2016.

So are we seeing a true sea change in the political history of this country, or only a four-year stay of execution?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Doom at the Top

The Trump people are already feeling the effects. There is an easy assumption that all you have to do is get elected to the presidency, appoint key subordinates (including cabinet-level posts), get your agenda rolling, and extend your span of control far and wide throughout the bureaucracy and to the farthest corners of the earth, and a new day will dawn. But no – the people at the top generally prefer to stay at the top, where there is sunshine and fresh air, and innumerable “perks”, and either cannot or will not dig deep into the heart of the bureaucracy in order to detect and weed out hostile forces.

Compare it, let's say, to buying an old, rambling, broken-down house with countless rooms, wings, basements, attics, stairways, secret passages, closets, and hallways leading to nowhere – a veritable hive of inactivity, or of activity of the wrong kind. This would pretty much match what happens when a political appointee takes over a government department. And you can move into this house, title deed in hand, assuming that because you're there, your mere presence will suffice to turn things around and cure all the inherent ills. But this is not the case. It's the same house that it was the day before you (ill-advisedly, perhaps) bought it – and unless you hire an army of exterminators to get rid of all the rats, mice, cockroaches, parasites, hangers-on, and subversives, you might as well not even be there... and it will become a source of endless frustration and, ultimately, a tarnished reputation and political defeat.

I have first-hand experience with this. I've seen political appointees come and go. Some of them are just passing through – day trippers on the way to bigger and better things – and they seldom make waves or bother anyone down in the trenches. They are political animals, basically – ambitious, but superficial – lacking a theoretical base of any sort. Smiles and handshakes, and the occasional briefing, are their legal tender, and as long as they can be “large and in charge” they're happy. And this, by the way, holds true no matter which department or agency we're talking about; it's a universal syndrome. No part of the government, no matter how exalted, is immune from this problem or from these people.

And then there's the other kind. Two kinds, actually. The first is relatively benign – they show up with ideas, a program, an agenda, which may involve “draining the swamp” but is more likely to be limited to “good words” about efficiency, cost-effectiveness, eliminating waste, leadership, good management, serving the interests of “customers” and “stakeholders”, and contributing to the accomplishment of the stated mission of the department or agency (assuming that it has a stated mission, and that anyone can remember where they put it). These people can, on rare occasions, do a bit of good, but they are more likely to disrupt things by imposing management fads, leadership theories, and endless surveys and get-togethers for the rank and file (which, by the way, are typically viewed as good things because it's time off work). They may show up in person at some of these confabs, attempting to cajole, inspire, and set an example of good grooming and appropriate business attire. And they may feel that they're doing good, but eventually it dawns on them that nothing has changed – the bureaucracy is every bit as entrenched, rigid, ossified, and inefficient as it was the day they arrived. So they move on, with much waving of handkerchiefs -- “Well, he (she) wasn't bad, he (she) tried, but you know how it is.” -- with a faint smile and chuckle. Back to business as usual!

The second other kind is another matter entirely. It's the most dangerous, vicious animal in the jungle. I'm talking about the political appointee who somehow manages to wind up heading up a department or agency, but who, in fact, hates it and all that it stands for, and therefore hates all the people who work there. How these people get appointed has always been a mystery to me. Are they appointed on purpose, by a president or official who shares their outlook? I think more often it's a matter of their expressing an “interest” in whatever it is – the mission – and also having some sort of alleged “expertise” or at least experience in the area in question. (It would be like a wolf expressing an “interest” in the Department of Sheep.) But their true agenda comes into full bloom on Day One, and it's as if they're wreaking vengeance on everyone for some real or imagined slight or offense. (Think of the stereotypical 90-pound weakling suddenly being put in charge of an agency full of all of the bullies who have ever kicked sand in his face.) And of course you can count on them to bring along an army of, basically, goons and hit-men (hit-women) to aid in the pursuit. (These latter are the true mercenaries and sociopaths in the system. They are allowed to run amok for a time, and when they have wreaked a suitable level of destruction they move on to other pursuits, either elsewhere in the system or in the private sector, leaving scorched earth and a battlefield strewn with bodies in their wake.)

But does the bureaucracy take whatever these people dish out lying down? Not a bit of it. They may shrink from open defiance, but they do have ways of coping – many of which resemble the behavior of the slaves of old, who would bow, scrape, and flash smiles at their master while at the same time plotting ways to thwart his every wish and, in extreme cases, exterminate him. And believe me, the meek and lowly are tuned in to the foibles and weaknesses of their oppressors, and do not hesitate to blow whistles or drop dimes when the time is ripe. The slightest sign of vulnerability is a signal for the peasant revolt to begin.

So what this adds up to is that a political appointee who is magically placed at the top of a very large pyramid may have good intentions, evil intentions, or see it as a mere stepping stone, but in all cases the lowly serfs down in the trenches will go about their business as if he (she) doesn't exist – which, on any given day and for all intents and purposes, they don't. And yet it's these people – the army of faceless serfs – that has a lot more to do with the operations of the organization, and its success or failure, than the member of the privileged elite at the top of the totem pole. They are masters in the art of passive-aggressiveness, for one thing – throwing the occasional monkey wrench into the works so that things go somewhat wrong, but no one can be singled out for blame. They are studied practitioners of the great slowdown, or of working to the letter – doing the minimum (or even less, but appearing to do the minimum) – not enough to earn a bad rating or reprimand, but enough to make the operation at least temporarily grind to a halt.

And the motives for all of this are many and varied. There may be genuine resentment toward “that political type who doesn't know anything about what we do here”, or it may be a more global, baseline resentment toward a stifling system – one that offers job security in exchange for, basically, giving up all self-respect and ambition. (“Hope and change” would be the least appropriate motto possible for the government bureaucracy. I question whether it's even that realistic for political appointees. There are way too many people hanging around Washington looking for a plum job, and way too few plum jobs to go around, even though the bureaucracy expands each and every day.)

And so far I'm just talking about systemic issues. If you add political considerations to the mix, things get even worse. For starters, the bureaucracy is staffed with, guess what, human beings. And those human beings, as dull and listless as many of them appear to be, nonetheless have political leanings, loyalties, and points of view. And this tends to be correlated with the department or agency in question. Nor surprisingly, people who work for the Department of Labor, EPA, and HUD tend to be on the liberal/progressive/activist side, and people who work for defense and the intel agencies tend to be more conservative, although this is by no means guaranteed. (I'm sure you can come up with many other examples.) Now, when the political appointee who takes over at the top is from, let's say, Party A, and he (she) takes over a department or agency whose employees are more or less in synch with Party A's platform, things go along fairly well (with all of the caveats described above, of course). But let a Party A appointee take over a department or agency staffed with Party B types, and you can expect passive-aggressive behavior nigh unto gridlock. And it may not even be the case that the appointee is one of the “slash and burn” types – they may merely be trying to redirect the mission and efforts of the department more in the direction that their political convictions dictate. (In the case of defense, the Republicans will tend to favor weapons system acquisition, combat training, and readiness, while Democrats will tend to favor social experimentation and providing jobs.) (I note that actually winning wars has become passe as a motive for pretty much everyone.)

With all of the above in mind, the miracle is not that the bureaucracy is as wasteful and ineffective as it is, but that things aren't worse. Like the few righteous men in Sodom and Gomorrah, there is a modicum of competence and conscientiousness in the bureaucracy, particularly among those who are able to largely ignore politics, power struggles, infighting, and game-playing. (They must also be self-motivated and have self-esteem independent of their circumstances.) Any government agency has a few people in it who just want to get things done, and they are typically swimming against the current. Others may be more or less neutral -- “paper pushers” -- neither adding nor deleting value (other than encumbering a position and collecting a salary). And others may be “part of the problem” -- creatures of the system who have been conditioned (through a distorted array of rewards and punishments) to seek their own interests and undermine the interests of others -- to play a zero-sum game at best, and more often a negative-sum game.  I used to wonder if these “types” could have ever worked anywhere except in the government, where there is no profit motive, where it's nearly impossible to fire anyone, and where “process” typically takes precedence over “product”. One might as well ask if drug addicts are born that way; I think they are created, and that the system creates bureaucrats. They could have been some other way, but that fork in the road has receded into the mists of time, so here they are... and anyone who comes in at the top had better take them into account, because on any given day they are the ones who are really in charge.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Obama's Greatest Achievement

I know not what historians will say, but it strikes me that Barack Obama's greatest achievement and contribution to the general welfare -- of not only America but the world – was to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House (as president, that is – vs. as former “co-president”).

“Huh?”, you might say? “How so?” Well, think about it. Back in 2008 (how soon we forget) Hillary was the “inevitable” Democratic nominee, and thus the inevitable winner. All it would take was pointing out George W. Bush and his cronies' crimes and offenses (of which there were many, let's admit) and she would be made president by general acclaim; she wouldn't even have to campaign. In fact, there wouldn't even have to be an election! That's how much of a “shoo-in” she was.

But then along came this Obama character out of left field (pun intended). He cut in line in front of her, and she and her cronies were, well, dumbstruck and paralyzed. How could they possibly object to a charismatic black man running for president on their party's ticket? It was, for many of them, a dream come true; it was just unfortunate timing is all. So... well, to put it bluntly, “black” trumped “woman”. One aggrieved minority beat another to the punch. Of the two victim groups that were all primed to shout “it's our turn”, one wound up shouting and the other wound up biting its knuckles.

Needless to say, in 2012 it would have been the height of folly for Hillary, or any other Democrat, to challenge Obama. On what basis? After all, he had won the Nobel Peace Prize the day he took office, or thereabouts... he had healed racial strife in America... and he had ended George W. Bush's unjust wars. Oh, and he had saved the economy, and thus America and the free world. (This all really happened, didn't it? I mean, they all said so, and who am I to argue?) So he was a hard act to follow and no one chose to try.

Then along comes 2016, and it really, truly, and finally was Hillary's turn. They promised her all of that and more back in 2008 if she would just cool it and take the State Department as a consolation prize (a nice move on Obama's part, by the way – how much damage could she do, and even if she did any, it would all happen overseas, and who cares about all those ragheads anyway?). And besides, the Republicans were in manifest disarray, and apparently well on their way to nominating some tacky TV personality and thus insuring their demise as a party. But what Hillary's people didn't count on was the Obama Legacy – not the one he claims but the real one -- you know, the one that included rule by executive order, elitism, snobbery, waging war against Christians (and on traditional/family values), open contempt for the white working class (and for whites and the middle class in general), endless griping about “talk radio” and Rush Limbaugh, harassing his opponents with the help of the IRS, foreign policy catastrophes, ObamaCare (a new high in totalitarianism)... and the list went on.

And no, I'm not talking about Hillary's blunders as a candidate, the plot against poor old Bernie Sanders, Benghazi, e-mails, Anthony Weiner, tarmac pow-wows, etc.. Those were annoyances, for certain, but I think she could have survived those just as she survived all of the scandals prior to 1992 and during her husband's administration. What she could not survive was Obama, and his administration, and his attitudes, which people had good reason to believe would simply be extended another four (or eight) years by Hillary.

(My theory was that Hillary's first term would be Obama's third term in domestic policy, but George W. Bush's third term in foreign policy – the worse of all possible worlds, in other words.)

(But – you might say – wouldn't her first term more likely have been Bill Clinton's third term? After all, she was “co-president” then. No, and here's why. Bill Clinton is not a theorist, and he's not an ideologue, Sure, he mouthed the usual Democratic/collectivist/socialist talking points all along the way, but the reality was that all he ever wanted in life was to be president, and once he became president, he basically ran out of ideas (at least of the governmental kind). Between that and a fortunate “vacation from history” during his term in office, he was able to more or less coast. Hillary, on the other hand, is a true believer – in herself above all, but also in all of the bedrock liberal notions that have accumulated over the years in spite of all contradictory evidence and experience. So she would have governed more in the Obama mode – or, if you like, even the FDR mode, but with much less justification.) (“If it ain't broke, don't fix it” was said by no liberal, ever.)

So, I say again, Obama deserves this much credit, at least. He did indeed save America, but not in the way he claims. And for this I believe he deserves our gratitude. Or, at least... OK, if he gives back that Nobel Peace Prize we'll call it even.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016: A Most Radical Year

Dig up the oldest stone tablet from the oldest ruins of the oldest known civilization, and chances are it will be inscribed with the name of a king, and a reference to his victories in battle. These are the universal markers by which human societies define themselves and reckon time. Granted, there are other cataclysmic events – floods, famines, earthquakes, and the like – that merit occasional reference, but the basic stuff of history is always and everywhere rulers and wars.

And our own history as a nation differs from this not a whit. We have self-defining (as opposed to necessary) wars, and we have kings – you know, the ones who are elected or re-elected every four years. We don't call them kings, but that's what they are, i.e. that is the purpose they serve – as figureheads, exemplars, idols, “most admired”, “man of the year”, and so on... and their administrations are provided with terms like “era”, “age of”, and – most shamelessly -- “Camelot”. Whether their actual powers rise to the level of kings and tyrants of old is debatable, but in terms of the sheer numbers of people impacted by virtually everything they say or do they are clearly superior to any known rulers up to the 20th Century. Chairman Mao was the greatest tyrant of all not only because he was a tyrant, but because of the mind-boggling number of people he had life-and-death power over. Look on, ye minor, forgettable, and occasionally pathetic “kings” of the British Isles of old, and despair!

But what would history be, after all, without eras... periods... dividing lines? Just an endless stream of mind-numbing facts, and we surely can't have that! The Old Testament provides a good example. Yes, it is structured in terms of rulers and wars, but there is plenty else going on as well – and those other events, of the types that always risk being “under the radar” for historians, are often, in the long run, more important. More people recite King David's Psalms on a daily basis than remember all of his wars, battles, triumphs, mishaps, and failings.

So American history, on the topmost, surface level, is, basically, a chronicle of presidents and wars, with a few market crashes and depressions thrown in for good measure. Take every statue and every memorial in every park and public square in the nation, add them all up, and the overwhelming majority will have to do with warriors, battles, and wars – with occasional references to things like exploration, invention, technology... but you can pretty much forget about “peace”. Peace didn't make good press in 1000 BC, and it doesn't make good press now. It's not that peace is opposed to human nature; it is, arguably, one of our many ideals and values, but it's so readily trumped by war and strife that one wonders that it survives at all – anywhere. And yet, from a Darwinian point of view, war may be an expression of a natural human drive expressed in large numbers, but periods of peace are also necessary, if for no other reason than to provide rest and gather up resources for the next war. Not only that, but warring and invading tribes have a tendency to, sooner or later, settle down and start farming. If they didn't, they might vanish altogether. Yesterday's fierce warriors become today's peacemakers; look no further than Scandinavia, or Japan.

We see this so clearly in our own history: No sooner is a war won, or somehow ended, or just peters out, than we enjoy a brief period of peace then start getting restless and looking around for the next opportunity to make the world safe for democracy, or some other delusional meme. If you take the history of this country and subtract all the wars (including wars connected to westward expansion, “police actions” and all undeclared wars, as well as those fought on the sly, e.g. by CIA mercenaries) there's not a whole lot left. Economic trends and many social trends have been war-driven, not to mention technological advances. Without war, we would have quickly devolved into a tribe of lotus-eating proto-hippies, lounging on the greensward until some barbarian tribe rode over the hill and put us all to a quick but still unpleasant death. It has been said that “war is the health of the state”, which is true if one defines health as accretion of power. But it may also be true that lack of war is, in the long run, the death of the state – if we only envision part of the world as being peaceful and pacifistic. It may well, be, for example, that nations in our time that are lauded for being peaceable are only able to be so as long as others are at war. The peace and stability of Scandinavia, for example, may well depend, at least partially, on the perpetual stand-off between the U.S. and Russia.

So if the history of the U.S. is, above all, a history of wars and presidents, then it also has to be a history of how wars start and how presidents are elected. Wars can start for pretty much any reason, or for no reason – and they can end the same way. And the amazing thing is that things are no clearer when we witness them first-hand – i.e. when they are “current events” -- than when they are confined to dusty tomes in the history section of the library. Quick, now, class – who can tell me how, and why, we got involved in Vietnam? And who can tell me how, and why, we got out? It sure as hell wasn't because we won. See? This is in living memory, but it is no less an enigma wrapped in a conundrum than it was in 1975. So how can we expect to do any better with the current events of our time? How did Donald Trump get elected? How did Hillary Clinton lose? Is there any agreement on these questions? Not that I'm aware. The Trump camp is attributing his victory to a number of political, social, and economic factors, and the Clinton camp is attributing her loss to, basically, Trump – and his supporters and facilitators in the FBI, on talk radio, on Fox News, and in Russia. (And please note that we're talking about the same FBI that is part of the Obama administration, and the talk radio that, allegedly, no one listens to because all it is is racism, sexism, and homophobia aimed at “deplorables”.) (And by the way, the voting machines that the Democrats, before the election, declared to be absolutely, positively, immune to hacking and meddling turn out, in retrospect, to be highly fallible and suspect.) Heaven forbid the Democrats/liberals' loss should be the fault of the Democrats/liberals or their candidate! Theory forbids it!

Oh, and let's not forget the Electoral College, which, it turns out, is the enemy of the people. I hate to rain on anyone's parade on this issue, but that is precisely what it was designed as – the “enemy” of pure democracy, where delusion, hysteria, and mob rule would carry the day (as they would have done if the Electoral College could have, somehow, been persuaded to reverse the results of the most recent election).  It was also designed to protect state sovereignty, a subject which has about as much salience in our time as the economic impact of buggy whips.  

Another factor which seems to be built into our system, although one is hard pressed to find it in the founding documents, is the perennial “pendulum swing” between liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat, communist and fascist (well, that's what they call each other, so who am I to argue?), tradition vs. reform or “progressive”, and so on – to which we can add populist vs. establishment, which crosses the other dimensions. A lot of this may simply be an artifact of the two-party system – also not at all envisioned by the Founding Fathers and to be found nowhere in the founding documents. It's also an inevitable effect of an ideational system combined with the natural human tendency to see things in either/or, black-and-white, in- vs. out-group, friend vs. enemy, etc. terms. Take a look at any public school playground (or prison exercise yard), and witness the natural human tendency to form gangs, societies, clubs, in-groups, cliques. But our system, again because of its ideational nature, tends to limit this natural process in a binary fashion – there can only be two parties allowed, and anything else is beyond the pale. This is why there's a perennial opposition, not only by the established parties, but also by the media, academics, economists, political theoreticians, etc. to “third parties” (which may be great in number, but which are all considered “third”). Maybe it's all about left- vs. right-brain, who knows? The fact remains that there is always a ruling party and an acceptable opposition – and which is which can change fairly suddenly as the result of an election. But they are, at the same time, united in their belief in the two-party system. That, somehow, matches up with their basic premises about reality – about the way things ought to be. Politics is pretty much a game, with opposing teams, but every election is a Super Bowl because there are no other serious contenders – and this is the way they like it. Third parties may be amusing at times, or annoying, but they are hardly a threat unless they act as “spoilers” in an election – but there is always a debate as to who wound up getting “spoiled” and why.

What's less tolerable to either party is an uprising within its own ranks, and in our time that has taken the form of populism on both left and right – Bernie Sanders on the one hand and Donald Trump on the other. And what's amusing about this is that each populist uprising represented a rebuke to the party mainstream; Sanders was a better, and more authentic Democrat than Hillary, and Trump was at least as authentic a Republican as any of the other contenders. But that doesn't matter, because according to the conventional wisdom, populism is an idea whose time has come and gone. It was new and fresh and charming prior to World War I, but since then saner heads have prevailed, and the grown-ups are in charge, and we don't need any more children's crusades or idealists or any other sorts of nonsense. (Consider the fate of third-party populists and other upstarts, like George Wallace, Ross Perot, and Gene McCarthy – a veritable parade of Don Quixotes.)

I should also add that any Democratic candidate will attempt to project an aura of populism to some extent; after all, they are “the party of the people”, right? But if that's true, why do they ever lose elections, since there are always more of “the people” than of the elite. Oh, but wait, I forgot – some of “the people” keep getting fooled by capitalists into voting against their own interests. Either that or they are “self-hating”, or delusional, i.e. casting their lot with the elite even though they are bourgeois at best. The truth, of course, is that the Democratic establishment is as elite an outfit as you'll find anywhere, and they are no more interested in the plight of the “working stiff” than anyone else. This is why it's possible to have a populist uprising within the Democratic Party; it's not a contradiction or a redundancy, any more than Gene McCarthy's campaign was.

The extent to which the mainstream Republicans and the mainstream Democrats have been reading off, basically, the same sheet of music for decades might not have been revealed in such an obvious fashion if Trump had been left in the dust by the nomination process, or been soundly defeated in the election. But things turned out otherwise, and the caterwauling from all quarters is a marvel to behold. Add to this that we have apparently turned out an entire generation of hysterics and paranoiacs, who have now taken to the streets and the airwaves to express their near-suicidal despair over Trump's victory. Seriously, now, did you know there were that many people of this type in this country? It's like a negligent homeowner who one day discovers that the sheer biomass of rats, mice, and cockroaches he's sharing his dwelling with outweighs him by many times. It's kind of creepy, frankly. It turns out that we're surrounded by pod people. But if anyone else on the Republican roster had been nominated, and had won, none of this would be happening. Traditionally, the winners revel in their victory and the losers retire to lick their wounds and make plans to fight another day – but half the populace does not engage in a collective meltdown. And it's not because anything Trump has said or done is all that radical, really – it's just that he's not in the club. He came out of left field, and opposed not only the Democrats and the mainstream Republicans, but also the basic political premises of both. So in that sense, he's radical, and his election victory is not just another mile marker but a radical event.

How radical is it, Johnny? Well, let's think back to 1964 with Johnson vs. Goldwater – both total establishment insiders, and Goldwater's brand of conservatism had a populist flavor, as did Reagan's brand, as opposed to the elitist version represented by William F. Buckley. It was, if you will, an idea whose time had not yet come – or, more precisely, come back from exile. Recall, if you will, that Reagan was considered more radically conservative than Goldwater, and yet he managed to win – but 16 years had gone by, and liberalism had had many more opportunities to demonstrate its bankruptcy in the meantime.

On the other hand, it can also be argued than the Carter campaign of 1976 had a populist flavor – I mean, what could be more “down home” than a peanut farmer from Georgia? But I attribute his victory more to the residual anti-Nixon forces than to Carter's merits (assuming he had any, which is still debatable). Gerald Ford had Nixon cooties clinging to him the way Humphrey had LBJ cooties, and the way Mondale still had Carter cooties in 1984.

In any case, Carter turned out to be a pretty poor example of a populist; it took him about five minutes to become co-opted by the power structure, and five more minutes to be ignored while they went on their merry way. And if Goldwater had won in 1964, would we have seen the mass mourning we are witnessing today? It's hard so say, but again, Goldwater was an insider, albeit on one end of the political spectrum. I don't think the reaction would have been any more extreme than the reaction against Reagan in 1980, although that was extreme enough, at least for its time.

So while Trump was nowhere near the most “radical” candidate in the post-World War II period in terms of his actual platform, he was certainly the most “outsider” candidate who actually won – more than Carter and more than Reagan, even though he also had his own brand of populism. The point is, even though populism is, paradoxically, a minority movement in our time, it's not the most radical position. Even libertarianism and strict constitutionalism are things people can understand, even as they disagree and look down on anyone who “believes that stuff”. But being a true outsider – this cannot be allowed, since it threatens the entire system. It's not radical within the form, as Goldwater and Reagan were; it's radical outside the form, and in fact radical because it's outside the form. Imagine, a rich businessman taking over one of the major political parties and winning the presidency! Is there any precedent for this in our entire history? Not that I'm aware. It's like the difference between rooting for one's team in the NFL and wishing that someone would take over the NFL and do away with it. The world would shatter! And that's just what has happened to so many of these – in many cases, remarkably young – political types. The world they grew up (so to speak) in has apparently been smashed to atoms, and they are totally set adrift, with no anchor and no umbilical cord. How did they acquire this fragile a world view in so few years, I wonder? I suspect the public schools had something to do with it – only to be reinforced by what they encountered in college, while at the same time hearing, seeing, and reading nothing in serious opposition in any media. Their skulls are like the proverbial glass house – and Donald Trump has been only too happy to start lobbing stones.

What's in store for these people? Do they stay miserable and helpless for 4 or 8 years? Do they become depressed and go underground, and start a revolution? I don't think they have it in them. But to think of such a large portion of the population given over to instant despair and resignation – that is depressing in its own right. Perhaps when reality overcomes Trump and Co. starting on Jan. 20, these people will see that nothing all that terrible will happen because nothing all that terrible can happen – or, to be more precise, the baseline upon which we act out our history is not about to change. We've been here too long. There are too many layers of delusion, habit, bureaucracy, custom, expectation, ossification, and petrification preventing things from being a whole different tomorrow than they are today. Besides which, someone out there has things well in hand, and no mere businessman-turned-politician is going to be able to budge what has become a monolith. If, as has been said, progress is an illusion, then it may be that change is an illusion as well – change for the worse as well as change for the better, except in tiny increments that don't impress anybody, and that constitute an endless source of frustration for idealists and revolutionaries.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Every Race is the Master Race

The Trump victory in the presidential race has spawned a number of memes, all generated by the Democrats/liberals and their mainstream media allies – among which are (1) “fake news”, (2) the notion that the Electoral College is, somehow, now invalid because it came up with the wrong result, and (3) “white supremacy”. What these have in common, supposedly, is that without all 3 Trump would never have been elected. (In the case of “white supremacy” it's not that whites are actually supreme – heaven forbid! -- but that certain people either believe they are or want them to be.)

My answer to the “fake news” issue can be summed up as follows: The problem is that much of what is called fact-checking is merely the substitution of one person's (or group's) "facts" for another's. Bonafide fact-checking, if universally applied, would mean the end of politics -- which, come to think it, would not be a bad thing.

For what is politics, after all, but the art of deception? Some will say, no, it's also about persuasion, negotiation, compromise, and so on – but why are these things always accomplished at the expense of the truth? Or, as in the case of the Clintons, why are they frequently accomplished at the expense of the idea that there even is any such thing as the truth? In that sense, politics becomes a substitute for the truth, and “political correctness” is nothing less than a tyrannical way of inflicting one person's – or a small group's – reality on everyone else.

The current post-election political debate simply continues the one that has been raging for decades, namely: What is the core reality – the “truth” -- about America? Has it been a force for good in the world, or a force of evil? Or, in the long run, neutral, the good balancing out the bad? And on the domestic side, has our system served the people properly, or has it been intended, all along, to serve the elite, with everyone else having to be satisfied with crumbs? And each side in any of these debates has the “numbers” -- the statistics and the historical records – behind them to support their position (as with “global warming”).

You can be sitting next to someone on the bus, on any day of the week, who has as wildly different a view of this country and its history and politics as you would expect from someone who just landed from Mars. And yet they have the “facts” on their side, just as you have. So if one person's “facts” are another person's delusions, rumors, conspiracy theories, fantasies, etc. -- what does “fact-checking” mean other than the imposition of one set of opinions over another? Ultimately, each individual has to judge, for himself or herself, two things – what is truth and how can one know it? These are the classic philosophical categories of metaphysics and epistemology, and no amount of political maneuvering, propaganda, or media dominance can take anyone off the hook when it comes to these core issues. Another way of putting it is that “brainwashing” only works if there's already a hole there waiting to be filled.

In other words, I am responsible for my beliefs. No one else is, and I'm not responsible for anyone else's beliefs. Oh sure, I can do whatever I want to persuade others, but if I fail to convert them, too bad, and I have to grant them at least enough respect to allow them to hold on to their reality (and hope that they will eventually be converted by experience, i.e. by life itself).

As to the Electoral College, I've dealt with that already, and yes, it is a serious issue. It's in the Constitution, but that doesn't make it sacred, because the Constitution can be changed. What makes me suspicious is that the only people who ever object to the Electoral College are the ones who just lost an election. I'd like to see the winners try to get rid of it some time. But the current debate does provide a civics lesson for those who managed to sleep all through civics, AKA “social studies”, class. To wit, the U.S. is not a pure or absolute democracy, and never has been. We have a representative government for a reason, and an Electoral College for, basically, the same reason. And it boils down to who do you trust more, the masses or the “best among them”, which, presumably, describes elected officials. And yes, I know, more often than not our elected representatives seem to be, far from the best among us, the worst among us. (I often refer to the retirement plan for Pennsylvania state politicians -- “3 hots and a cot” in the state penitentiary.) And that may be sufficient reason to convert our system over to an absolute democracy – the idea being that the “wisdom of the people”, or of “the common man”, is superior to the inevitably corrupted thinking of politicians. The main problem with this is that the supposed wisdom of the common man is not always rooted in the traditional verities; it's more likely to be a product of whims, fads, delusions, and hysteria, all of which are whipped up and exploited by, guess who, politicians and their lackeys in the media. So – bottom line – if we put “the people” in charge, they won't be any more in charge than they are now. They'll have the illusion of being in charge, perhaps, but it will be only that – an illusion, just as the whole notion of “people's republics” under communism was, and remains, an illusion.

But the real point of this post is to “drill down” into the notion of “white supremacy”. Historically, this country was founded on, among other things, the implicit notion that, of course, the white – i.e. European, and preferably Northwestern European – race was superior, and fit for independence and self-rule, whereas other races might just be better off ruled with an iron fist. (This was back before “spreading democracy” became a meme in its own right.) In fact, the premise was that, even though we were, by and large, of English descent and America was a British colony, we were, somehow, just enough better than our relatives in the Old Country that we deserved to be free of their rule, supervision, and oversight. After all, we had the gumption to escape the close, claustrophobic confinements of the Old World and dare the rolling seas in order to reach the New World.  That alone endowed us with sufficient merit to justify any attempts at gaining independence.  

Add to this that the premise of superiority was also based on the notion that we had inherited the wisdom of the Greeks and Romans and pretty much everybody else worth reading or listening to in the meantime (provided, of course, that those purveyors of wisdom were our own kind – but who listens to the Greeks these days, in any case?). This formed the basis for (usually) implicit racism, ethnocentrism, and religious prejudice, and all of the discriminatory and oppressive policies that followed. And those policies had to be challenged and broken, one by one – and the process continues to this day. This is American history, folks – and it's really quite simple. On July 4, 1776 we entered into a dialectic, and that dialectic continues and is likely to continue as long as the Republic exists. It's inevitable, based on human nature, and on the fact what while history doesn't change, our view of it and of its significance does, and that's what counts (politically, at least).

And this dialectic keeps changing, evolving, and morphing – getting renewed and refueled with each newly-discovered “issue” (or impending “existential threat”). First it was about democracy per se – what it is, what it is not, is it a good thing or something to be handled with care, etc. Next it was the question of whether “the people” should be heard and earnestly listened to, as opposed to letting the elite (gentleman farmers, merchants, bankers, etc.) run things. Next came the slavery issue. And in the meantime we had the immigration issue, which continues to this day. Then it was about America's role in the world. Did we want to become a colonial power like the dominant European nations? Was it our job to bail out Old Europe and set things right? Was democracy such a universally good idea that it ought to be spread worldwide at all costs? (Note that this particular question is just about 100 years old at this point, and not settled yet.) Then on the domestic side, is it government's job to secure not only life and property, but to see that everyone is suitably clothed, housed, fed, educated, and employed? (See what I mean by the “dialectic”? Most of these questions are still being debated.)

But to get back to the issue at hand, the consensus among the talking heads of our time is that “white supremacy”, however defined, is always bad – that it's a bad, and in fact wrong, idea... that it's simplistic, oppressive, hateful... that it leads to oppression, discrimination, “hate”, bad politics... ad infinitum. It's seldom, if ever, even spoken out loud that identification with one's own race (or ethnic group, tribe, clan, etc.), accompanied by a certain amount of pride, is the most natural thing in the world among human societies, both historically and in the present day. An honest anthropologist will tell you, in fact, that without that sense of identity a society cannot even exist in a coherent and meaningful way – that there has to be an “us” and a “them” to, in effect, define borders and boundaries, both literal and figurative. The same honest anthropologist might also be willing to acknowledge that when one asks the members of any tribe what they call themselves, the word they provide simply means “people” or “men” in their language – the implication being that anyone else – the outsider, the stranger, the other – is less than a person... less than a man.

The irony here is that our commentariat has no problem whatsoever with identity politics, or with just about any form of group “pride” -- with the exception that when white people, and especially white men, do it, it's wrong. And this is based on the unstated premise that “pride” is something that has to be kept in reserve for the oppressed, for minorities, for those seeking upward mobility, their share of the “pie”, etc. Pride is the engine of their advancement, in other words – whereas the pride of the “oppressor class” is a way of uniting them in the effort to keep everyone else down.

But here's where it gets interesting. White non-Hispanic (add “heterosexual” if you like) men are now in the minority – so why don't they now have a newly-minted right to express racial/ethnic/gender/sexual identity along with everyone else? Well, it's because they were formerly a member of an oppressive majority, and in fact the oppression continues even though they are now in the numerical minority. This is the thinking (if it can even be characterized as such). Plus, they deserve to be punished, unto the third and fourth generation, if not beyond, for the crimes of their forebears. (This is the notion that karma cannot be allowed to just happen, it has to be enforced.)

You might, if you searched diligently enough, find a member of the commentariat who was willing to admit that racial/ethnic pride is a perfectly natural thing and not to be condemned per se. But then politics enters in, and that which started out natural becomes a weapon – either of revolution or oppression (or of revolution, then oppression). The liberal project of remaking human nature never runs out of challenges and projects – and the current one, which requires a much finer hand than any of them possesses, is to reward and reinforce racial/ethnic pride among “minorities”, and sexual/gender pride among other “minorities”, while condemning and punishing the exact same things among the (allegedly) dominant (non-) majority. I say it requires a fine hand – and that would be much finer than the knee-jerk habit of finding racists, sexists, homophobes, male chauvinists, etc. around every corner. It would certainly require something more than political correctness, one of the primary tools of the culture wars but which is brutal and ham-handed in its application – not to mention that it's one of the major means by which certain people gain and maintain power.

Anyone can see that what we are dealing with here is a form of genocide – not in the literal, physical sense but in the area of self-esteem. Make a good portion of the populace afraid of criticism and ashamed of just being alive, and you have, in effect, killed them off – wiped them off the map politically and culturally, and rendered their values (including culture, customs, habits, etc.) unacceptable and on the way to extinction. Make them non-persons and they become little more than slaves, and we are all too familiar with the charms of that state of existence.

This is, in fact, the program of the mainstream media, liberals, Democrats, academicians, and popular culture purveyors of our time – and what has them all upset is that their victims/targets have finally awakened and started to push back. The election of Donald Trump was their greatest victory to date, and the question now is, was that the high water mark, and there is nothing in the future but to lose ground and suffer further, and more severe, oppression? Or do we at the very least now have two visible and viable camps, with neither one about to go away? Well... I hate to say it, but we had a situation not unlike this prior to the Civil War. Let's hope that some other sort of accommodation can be reached this time around.

As near as I can tell, the overt “white supremacy” movement is the act of a small minority, and likely to stay that way. If there was racial/ethnic pride involved in Trump's victory it was, by and large, implicit and unstated – and even unconscious (and any true feeling of belonging ought to be, i.e. it shouldn't have to be asserted out loud at all times and on all occasions). But does pride in “my” group necessarily imply hostility or “hate” for all other groups, or for particular groups other than my own? I don't see why it should, and in fact it usually doesn't, as near as I can tell – any more than any given “diverse”, or “minority” group has to automatically dislike all the others.

I think what's more likely is that the Democratic/liberal program was rejected on its own terms, not because it was the property of “minorities”. The mainstream media narrative is that it was all about “hate”, but it's much more likely it was about a feeling of being left out – left behind. This is a feeling that has been building over the past few decades – let's say, for convenience, since the end of the Reagan presidency. It's nothing new, but this time around it found a voice. Do these people dream of taking over and oppressing minorities (again or for the first time)? I'd say it's more likely that all they want is respect, visibility, and a voice that will not be drowned out by purveyors of shame.

If bonafide “white supremacists” see an opening now, well, my guess is that they're in for a disappointment. For one thing, they're going to have a hard time getting people to distinguish their, let's call it, “coat-and-tie white supremacy” from the old KKK style – and the media are certainly not going to give them any help in this regard. And they're going to have a hard time getting people to distinguish legitimate pride from its poor country cousin. I think, in other words, that it's a dead end as a movement – and yet one can understand the roots and the causes, just as one can understand the rise of Islamic radicalism in the face of our endless meddling in the Middle East. A chained dog may be more dangerous than a free one once that chain is broken.