Saturday, January 09, 2021

A Kind-Of Symmetry In Trump's Term Of Office; and: "If We Nominate Trump We Will Get Destroyed..."

Pretty weak similarity, but it struck me that basically the first idea Trump promoted upon taking office was that nutty, obviously false shit about the number of people at his inauguration as compared to the number at Obama's. The (let's hope) last major idea he's promoted is the nutty, obviously false shit about the number of people who voted for him as compared to the number that voted for Biden. (Not that I think it's impossible that there were enough shenanigans to shift the results to Biden. Rather, I think it's basically impossible that Trump won in a landslide. And very unlikely--but not impossible--that he won at all.)
   The media tried to spin up that first bit of patent bullshit/lying into a theory that Trump was some kind of relativist based on one slightly unclear claim by Sean Spicer (or Kellyanne Conway?) about Trump looking at "alternative facts." What was meant was that Trump was looking at different facts--or, better, different evidence. There's no doubt about this, as I said at the time--when I still loathed Trump. It was a straight-up piece of bullshitting. It had nothing to do with any kind of weird metaphysics or epistemology. But it foreshadowed the current insanity. Trump isn't lying about the vote--not so far as I can tell. He seems to have genuinely convinced himself that the won. People convince themselves of falsehoods all the time...just not usually so blatantly, nor so publicly...nor as President... 
   That sort of thing is a huge red flag. As I also said at the time, if you're willing to commit yourself to insisting that p is true when everyone can see that p is false, God knows what you're willing to do when the facts are unclear. Too bad I didn't listen to myself on that point... 
   There are two kinds of things to think about here: first, what to think about Trump and his actions and their consequences in and of themselves. Second, what to think about the largely comparative situation we're in with respect to our politics and the culture "war." I have no interest in diluting criticism's of Trump's 1/6/21 debacle. It was a shitshow of biblical proportions. I even briefly thought impeachment might not be irrational. I actually kinda still think that invoking the 25th Amendment isn't the nuttiest idea I ever heard. I think you can argue that Trump believes something patently irrational, and that that can count as a kind of insanity.
   OTOH, I'll also just gesture at the comparative situation too: very little about what just happens does much to change my view of overall predicament. Trump's always been a nutty wild card, and Trump losing was always the danger zone. We still have delusional, radically partisan media that is fanning the flames of hysteria in such a way as to benefit the extremist left that now rules the culture, all our institutions, and the Democratic party. Leftist crowds have rioted--far more, and more destructively. They have stormed federal buildings, burned them, and laid siege to them. And they have been heroified for it--whereas the reaction to the much tamer 1/6 riots has been just the opposite. The left believes far, far more delusional things than Trump and the Trumpistas believe. And, whereas the latter delusions are mercilessly derided by the powers that be, it's those powers themselves that propagate and enforce the former delusions. The left's delusions are official, orthodox, delusions, that the left is busy ensconcing into schools, universities, the bureaucracy and the law. The right's delusions are heterodox, outlaw delusions. As absurdly repulsive as 1/6 was, it really can't stack up against the ongoing anti-reality, anti-American project of La Resistance. Which, note, is a defense neither of Trump nor of the 1/6 rioters.
   Finally, though I dislike counterproductivity arguments, note that our illiberal elites argued that the BLM/Antifa riots were just and admirable, and so we must accept the policies and worldview of the rioters--which just happen to be consistent with the policies and worldview of the progressive elites. Now they are using the 1/6 riot to argue that we must reject the policies and worldview of those rioters...which again means advancing the views of the illiberal elites. Trump and his cohort are being permanently banned not just from Twitter and Facebook, but, apparently, from email accounts as well. This ramped up the conservative exodus from Twitter to Parler...but Google and Apple immediately announced that they were banning the Parler app from their platforms. Thus the illiberal constriction of speech advances apace. (And, amazingly, this happens to also squelch some of Big Tech's competition.)
   To quote the prophetic words of Lindsey Graham: "If we nominate Trump we will get destroyed...and we will deserve it." The worst-case has come to pass: Trump has imploded and, in doing so, left the anti-liberal left stronger than it has ever been before.
   Thanks, Trump! And thanks to all of us shitheads who supported him.


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