Tag Archives: left

On Explaining Right-Wing Populists

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.

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Fear for the Future

When two dogs get into a fight what happens the vast majority of the time is that one dog will lie down and show its belly to the other dog. It submits. You won, you are the leader. Rarely does the superior dog then continue the fight and kill the dog that has submitted unless it has behavioral issues, which tend to be more common in breeds like pit bulls, not because they are hardwired to kill other dogs but because they are chronically mishandled by their human masters which leads to said behavioral problems. But let us not digress.

The “right” has been submitting to the “left” now for the last 50 odd years. Pretty much since the 1960’s the right has been showing its belly to the left and conceding ground on all manner of social and cultural issues. It’s a misconception that true conservatives are against social progress on matters pertaining to women’s equality, gay rights, race relations, cultural diversity. But what conservatives try to petition for is Balance, Stability and Rational Government. Progress is great, but taken too far and too quickly it unbalances society, produces instability and results in governments that want an activist role rather than merely manage the affairs of civilization. Unbalanced, unstable and irrational is not a successful formula for any society and inevitably over the long haul leads to human tragedy, suffering and pain.

The pit bulls in my metaphor are the left, the social justice warriors (SJWs) and progressives who are constantly on the march, unable to acknowledge victories and completely amnesiac to where we were as a society even a few short years ago. There seems to be on the left a pathological impulse to fix the world whereas conservatives would tend to argue the only lasting fixes are internal as individuals. Stop asking for the government to fix every ill in the world; look in the mirror, adjust your behavior accordingly, set an example for others and trust that people will follow.

This was a long way of getting to the current Ghostbusters movie and the controversy over Twitter banning Milo Yiannopoulos. The movie looks like it sucks but that’s almost beside the point.

Hollywood is pretty devoid of new ideas and risk adverse so for the most part all you see lately are endless sequels and remakes. Hence their lack of imagination leads them to the brilliant idea that they should remake Ghostbusters with an all-female cast. Firstly, the original Ghostbusters wasn’t all that funny; could they not find a funnier 80’s comedy to remake? Second, comedy remakes tend to be busts because so much of the success of the original is dependent on cast chemistry and jokes that are relevant to that era… fart jokes were hilarious in the 80’s, now it’s got to be upgraded to ghost slime in vaginal cavities? OK, whatever, har har. And lastly, nothing against an all-female cast, Bridesmaids was hilarious for example, but why not create a new comedy for female comedians? Why scavenge a thirty year old comedy, ironically written by men, and simply try to swap out the cast genders?

So the trailer for the movie becomes the most disliked video ever posted to YouTube. Then after it comes out one of the lead actresses, Leslie Jones, gets into Twitter war with trolls that lasts more than eight hours (does she not realize the best thing to do is ignore idiots? Not feed them? Or was this part of a publicity scheme?) It ends with her threatening to quit Twitter and then pleading to Twitter that they do something and they do – they ban the supposed ring leader, Milo despite the evidence that he never actually called her anything racist.

Now Milo Yiannopolous is definitely an acquired taste. He’s a flamboyantly gay libertarian who likes to go after “third wave” feminists and SJWs. Watching him do it is quite funny and provides a perverse satisfaction; it’s like when your older brother would grab your arms and starting forcing you to hit yourself with your own hands and asks “why are you hitting yourself, what’s wrong with you?”. They can’t combat a gay man attacking them in the most un-PC way; they don’t know how to respond. But his soaring popularity is indicative of the times.

Brendan O’Neil writes a pretty good piece on this story, but now he’s under attack… on Twitter. His column is not completely nonsensical.  The only caveat I’d have is this; the left shows no graciousness and so even if a conservative were to show proper decorum, were to attempt to discuss things rationally, there is no reciprocal behavior.  The left act like the aforementioned pit bulls. So in the end a lot of people on the right give up and say, “Hey, if you think we’re incurable bigots then fine!  Let’s be incurable bigots!” and a large segment then give themselves permission to indulge in their worst instincts. No more submission. It’s what has given rise to Trump, an unapologetic bigot who hilariously has had the past two night’s speech upon speech at the Republican National Convention about what a wonderful husband, father and human being he is, despite being married three times, a serial philanderer, and a crook who stiffs people who’ve worked for him. A guy who is on trial for fraud. One of his character witnesses is Rudy Giuliani, a man who let his wife know about their divorce during a press conference after months of running around in public with his mistress. But you know what? None of his fans (or Milo’s fans) care, if the other side doesn’t care about standards, why should we?

It’s sad. Conservatism at its roots should be about character. It already evaporated long ago on the left (Hillary Clinton 30 years ago would have been indicted), and now it’s all but evaporated on the right. Fear for the future.

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