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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why the Left Hates Trump and the Implications for Civil War

Trump Derangement Syndrome is real, and this article by Jeffrey A. Tucker comes closest to expressing my own view as to why the left is apoplectic over his presidency.  In the article, the author rightly characterizes the left's relationship to statism as a form of religion with the president its "high priest." The author writes: 
The state is their favorite tool for all the good they aspire to do in this world. It must be protected, guarded, defended, celebrated. The illusion that the government is not a taker but a giver and the source of all good things must be maintained. The gloss of the democratic process must be constantly refurbished so that the essential sanctity of the public sector can be constantly cited as the highest calling.
To these types, it is not just that government is important or needs to function more efficiently in its limited role protecting liberty, rather, the government is the primary force in human life. The left regards government as not just important, but metaphysically essential to human life.  It is, in a literal sense, their God.    

Why is this? The left shares the christian doctrine of Original Sin but in a slightly different way.  The left, like Christians, regards people as fundamentally, metaphysically flawed, but not because man disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.  Rather, modern academic intellectuals (leftists) regard the mind to be essentially faulty.  They hold that people do not have free will or choices, and believe there is no such thing as absolute truth, while largely rejecting the idea of objective ethical precepts such as good and evil.  They see people as being largely determined by accidental factors such as race, gender or ethnicity. As a result, they demand that government play the role of a kind of omniscient caretaker leveling society in pursuit of their egalitarian Utopia.  They believe that without government overseeing and regulating every aspect of man's life, factory owners would pour cyanide into rivers while widows and orphans bleed out in the streets.  

On the other hand, the objectivist-libertarian right upholds individualism and sees government as a means to protect the rights of individuals in pursuit of their own happiness. They hold that the job of the government is to protect the rights of individuals by enforcing contracts and arresting criminals who initiate force against innocent people. This philosophy regards government as important, but only as a means to deal with the criminal exceptions.  Such a view is predicated on the idea of man as metaphysically efficacious.  That is, man is capable of understanding the world through the faculty of reason and succeeding in pursuit of rational values.  Consequently, they hold that freedom of action and voluntary cooperation leads to a harmony of interests between rational individuals, i.e., it leads to human flourishing.     

These philosophies determine and modulate the level of outrage over various politicians.  The right sees someone like Trump and says "maybe he is a bozo....but whatever...government can and should only do so much anyway and maybe he will repeal or stop some crazy new laws."   Alternatively, the left sees Trump, a boorish neophyte to government, as an affront to their greatest value - state power. The author writes:
Trump has profoundly disturbed the balance. He overthrew the respective establishments of two parties, tore right into the legitimacy of the national press, humiliated every expert who predicted his demise, and is now stumbling around Washington like a bum in a jewelry store. He is not actually cutting back on the size of the state; he is doing something even more terrifying from the center-left point of view: he is ruining the mystery of the state, and thereby discrediting their holy institutions.
Note that Obama was treated by the left wing establishment as a messianic character despite the fact that Obama actually deported more immigrants than George Bush, was at war every day of his presidency, and routinely violated the civil liberties of the press and individuals. As demonstrated by the fact that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before did anything, he reflected the left's ideal of the statist president because he had "good intentions" according to their moral code. His articulate style and suave stature projected a kind of majestic central planner, heroically serving the state, despite his actual actions. Alternatively, despite his actual middle of the road policies, Trump projects hostility towards the essence of the left's God, the Washington establishment, and his boorish style flouts the idealized myth of the central planning Philosopher King.  Tucker writes:   
The center-left has at least one hundred years of work and resources invested in the state’s health, well being, reputation, and exalted moral status. Nothing must be allowed to threaten it or take it down a peg or two. Any failures must be deemed as temporary setbacks. The slightest sign of some success must be trumpeted constantly. The population must be subjected to unrelenting homilies on the essential holiness of the public sector. 
Their education told them this. Their degrees and ruling-class pedigree were hard earned. This is what has inspired them. They believe so strongly that they can make the world a better place through the managerial state that it has become their religion. It’s their very core!  
Above all else, the president is supposed to represent. His duty is to reflect and broadcast this sensibility.
Trump, even if his policies were to comport with left wing values, does not "reflect and broadcast this sensibility."  In contrast, a middle of the road, milquetoast Republican Mr. X (cough, John Kasich, cough) might be bad enough to the left, but given that Mr. X would still be an insider and willing to play ball, they would see him as a transitory figure with whom some compromise might be necessary but not a fundamental divergence from the larger statist trend.  Despite being a middle of the road Republican himself with populist leanings, Trump is hardly a real threat to the statist Washington establishment, but the left realizes that his "drain the swamp" mentality symbolizes their biggest threat.  Many of his supporters are people that really want to throttle government power and upend the statist trend and in their frustration sent a political amateur like Trump into the presidency.  In this sense, the Trump phenomenon is not just a temporary distraction, but an existential threat. 

The larger point is not Trump or the various political characters hysterically bellowing from cable news.  The important point is that the philosophies underlying this battle cannot be reconciled.  The left rejects reason and demands government force while the objectivist-libertarian view upholds reason and freedom.  The left's view of government is not rooted in reason but in a religious devotion to self-sacrifice and the state.  Political correctness in the universities is furthering the epistemological breakdown by asserting truth to be a function not of universals, but of race, class, and gender.  Consequently, rather than debate, the left is tuning out any opposition to their ideas, on principle, as the various attempts to violently censor and shout down their opponents clearly demonstrates.   Ayn Rand observed that faith and force are corollaries.  She wrote: 
Reason is the only objective means of communication and of understanding among men; when men deal with one another by means of reason, reality is their objective standard and frame of reference.  But when men claim to possess supernatural means of knowledge, no persuasion, communication or understanding are impossible. 
This is why we are now witnessing the first stages of civil war - physical conflict in the streets between people representing irreconcilable philosophies.  Trump Derangement Syndrome is but a symptom of a much larger and more frightening development.          


Anonymous said...

I agree but I think the bigger issue is that a lot of Conservative thinkers are using "Trump derangement" to evade the complete implosion of Conservatism as a viable political movement.

They failed to repeal Obamacare, have helped set the stage for outright nationalization of healthcare which will come next, have the biggest spending bill in history they are pushing and have zero legislative agenda that distinguishes itself from the Democrats in any serious way.

Then on top of this is the sheer incompetence of so many of their appointees. E.g. Sessions who has managed to be played into having a special counsel appointed not to re-open the Hillary investigation or expand the scope to include Comey and Lynch for actual obstruction of justice but to investigate his own president for a media beat up about Russia collusion.

Conservatives have become a parody of a political movement and they are desperately clinging to how mean the media is to Trump to evade facing up to their ideological bankruptcy.

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