Not everyone is thrilled with Donald Trump being elected. No kidding. And it seems there are some people, young people especially, who are in pain and need to be comforted and made to feel safe. And don’t you dare diminish their pain and anguish by telling them to “suck it up, pussies”, because that’s a hate crime. And it’s rude to point out that half of them didn’t even vote. It’s horrifying according to Stephen Colbert and John Oliver… two millionaire comedians. These two grown men had a cry and a hug on stage in front of an audience (maybe off-stage… I’m guessing); they were so traumatized by the results of the election – still!
Lena Dunham (our favourite), in a quest to come to terms with what happened, went on a retreat to Sedona, Arizona where she communed with nature and sought guidance from the canyon and listened to the rocks. No, this is not satire. Instead of traveling to the rural Michigan or suburban Pennsylvania and talking with actual real life Trump voters and speak with the “racists”, “sexists” and “bigots” that voted for Trump, she runs to an isolated posh resort where Mother Gaia will provide all the answers to soothe her troubled soul.
The Left is having a crybaby fit. The comparisons to fascism and Hitler are rampant. So, in keeping with that spirit, let’s use Hitler to discuss an aspect about the Left’s inability to take a deep breath and do some self-examination.
It’s been almost twenty years since I read it, but Ron Rosenbaum wrote a book called “Explaining Hitler” wherein he examined the various theories as to why Hitler was who he was and why he may have been motivated to do the things he’d done. But in the book he recounts going to visit an old Jewish Nazi hunter who asked him not to try and explain Hitler. His reasoning was that once you can identify the roots of someone’s evil acts, you are then obligated to forgive them for those actions because inevitably the roots will lie in that person’s humanity – they were abused as a child, suffered from mental illness, were scarred by past experiences, made gross misjudgments etc. And the old Nazi hunter was of the opinion that Hitler was evil. Full stop. We should never diminish this fact. Understanding Hitler was not only unnecessary, it was morally wrong, because we can never forgive what was done.
This is where the Left is today; they are the old Jewish Nazi hunter looking at the Trump election, Brexit, Rob Ford and other swings towards right-wing populism in the West and saying, “We will not try to understand why you voted that way, because we cannot forgive you.”
A long standing problem is that the Right tends to want to discuss government in terms of Effective vs. Ineffective. The Left knows it cannot win those arguments because historical evidence leans in favour of most traditional right-wing positions; free market solutions over government bureaucracies, traditional family stability over libertine lifestyles etc. So the Left want to make everything into a right vs. wrong moral argument. They are on the side of the angels – the Left stand for the Brotherhood of Man ™, Social Peace through Social Equality™ and Harmony with Nature™… these are “good” causes. Who cares if the policies we’re using to pursue these goals are ineffective or actually causing damage, it’s the intent that counts! Good intentions trump (no pun intended) bad policies! It’s the reason we see so much doubling down on bad ideas even when there is evidence they don’t work. Witness the Trudeau government’s recent announcement that they’re going to go further into deficit to fund a raft of “infrastructure” spending in order to stimulate the economy and “invest” in our economy… it doesn’t work. It didn’t last time, and throwing more money at a bad program won’t make it any better. But again, it’s the intentions that count, not the actual outcome. Double down, double down.
But I digress… since the Left reduces everything to a moral argument, the only way to win arguments is to portray the other side as not just wrong on policy but morally wrong. Evil. So this, in combination with a strong narcissistic trend in youth today, may in large part explain the unwillingness to see Trump’s election as legitimate and anything other than a vote affirming racism and sexism. We know it’s more nuanced than that – you can vote for a racist without voting for racism. But they will never acknowledge that because then they’d have to forgive 65 million Americans, 20 million Brits and 500,000 Torontonians. No way are they going to do that. They are a long long way from considering forgiveness. They are pissed. And so they have no intentions trying to explain to each other right-wing populism.