Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Welcome To The Circus

McArdle is nothing but Bloomberg  clickbait. She's a freak accident, a prank gone awry, a natural disaster, a see-through dress. She attracts the carnival crowd: geeks, gamers, greed-heads and gawkers. Anything Goes! as long as she brings in the clicks. Which brings us to her post supporting Donald Trump.

Now that the Republicans have firmly affixed themselves to the rump of Trump, Megan McArdle has a dilemma. She believes her tribe is by the far the superior tribe, and by virtue of having acquired all the usual advantages of her tribe, that she is superior as well. But now it is the Trump Tribe, and the Speaker Of The Trump Tribe is Paul Ryan, aforementioned libertarian besties of McArdle. Since McArdle wrote many posts explaining in great detail why Trump is a monster and his followers are no better, she must now walk back her blanket condemnation to accommodate changing times.

The problem with all of this unwelcome reality is that Trump really is a monster. He learned early that he could get away with anything, and he wanted to get away with violence and chaos. He was tamed on the outside, the better to work his con games, but inside he is still that cruel, violent, greedy, bigoted bully and he should never get his hands on power.

[People who celebrate inflicting death on their enemies, or rejoicing that their tribe inflicted that death, or joked about the ease with which they can kill others, have trained themselves to kill any empathy they once might have had for people not of their group. They are very dangerous as well but they are usually civilized on the outside. The laws of authoritarian hierarchies are strict: You can do anything you want as long as you say the right thing. Authoritarianism depends on everyone at every level of authority or submission to maintain the fiction of freedom and morality because the authoritarian leaders will stay in power only as long as nobody questions their ultimate lack of power.

If you tell me to obey and I say no and I decide I would rather die than submit to your word, you have no power over me. All you have is words. I must voluntarily submit, or you must be forced to kill me to maintain your façade of control. The leaders can't openly break their side of the pact: they pretend to give security in exchange for obedience. If they make people afraid of them, their authority weakens and maybe even dies. They must provide a scapegoat for their followers to fear. They must blame the scapegoats when they fail to provide security and when that doesn't work, they blame the victims.]
How can a decent human being support Donald Trump?
They can't. McArdle is not a decent human being. She becomes very irate when people say she is a bad person but since she truly is a bad person, too bad.  The racist, greedy core of the Republican party is on display for all to see in its naked glory, and since her job is pretending the Emperor is wearing fine new clothes, she won't directly support Trump but she'll support people who support Trump.
That’s a question that a lot of pundits have been asking in recent days, particularly as we are treated to the sight of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan calling Trump’s remarks about the Hispanic judge in his fraud case “the textbook definition of a racist comment” while still refusing to disavow his support for the Republican nominee.
The Republican party has done much worse and she doesn't care. She says all their mistakes are proof they are smarter. She's a liar.
Nonetheless, I think Ryan is a decent human being.
He isn't. He's the zombie eyed granny starver (tm Pierce) that he always has been. McArdle is also a granny-starver so she's fine with that.
And I presume that many other people supporting Trump are decent human beings. So why might they be supporting him, despite his frankly -- even joyously -- vile authoritarianism; his clear and present impulse-control problems; his staggeringly offensive treatment of female reporters, disabled reporters and senators who spent time as prisoners of war; his encyclopedic lack of knowledge on any and all policy topics; and his complete disdain for principle or the truth?
Because she is wrong and they are not decent human beings and they're trying to get the rest of us killed their actions and inactions.
Well, there is a case to be made. I confess that whenever I contemplate our nation's nuclear codes falling into Trump’s fingers (regardless of their length), I find it hard to be convinced by that case. But I like to understand a terrible argument before rejecting it. So here are the best (least-bad) reasons a person might endorse and/or vote for Trump:
McArdle's biggest regret in life is that she was born too late to justify the Magdalene Laundries on a free market basis. She is completely uninterested in being able to recognize, understand, or explain any argument fairly. She is a propagandist.
1.Republican politicians would like to get re-elected. Also, they would like there to be a Republican Party around after the Trump campaign.
Those goals might be better accomplished by opposing Trump. But some Republican loyalists have decided not to risk splitting the party down the middle: Their strategy is to offer lukewarm support to the Donald, hope he loses and try to rebuild the party for the midterms.
The Republicans were unable to counteract a racist, violent, greedy candidate without alienating their racist, violent, greedy voters. They are letting Trump run so they can reclaim those voters later. They ignore the fact that those voters have rejected their authority.
As I’ve pointed out before, Trump is a celebrity candidate, and celebrity candidates do not operate by the normal political rules. They can bring out people who don’t normally vote. But on the flip side, they do not necessarily have the normal effect that rising politicians have on their political parties. Trump brings no organization with him, no political network that will survive when he exits stage left. He has no ideological fellow-travelers who will thrive in his wake. (How could he, when he has no detectable ideology?) He has done none of the work that might render the party beholden to him in future elections: no get-out-the-vote operation, no crack team of political consultants, no mailing lists, donor networks or polling powerhouses. It’s actually pretty reasonable to think that as long as he is denied the White House -- which still looks like the most likely outcome, though by no means inevitable -- the storm will blow over with relatively little long-term change to the structure of the party.
Given that, Republican politicians who want to disavow Trump may reasonably be more afraid of further alienating the folks who are mad at the establishment. If you believe that the Republican Party is better for the country than the alternative, it’s pretty tempting to just suck it up and condemn his outrages while still refusing to say you won’t vote for him. As Jean-Paul Sartre tells us, it is impossible to participate in politics without dirty hands.
If McArdle is talking about Sartre's play, Dirty Hands, she seems to be saying that it's impossible to have elections without assassinations.

If McArdle is certain that Trump will not get the Republican Party's support, she should realize that she is in this post giving Trump her support. Then she should read this.
2.The Supreme Court. The left is getting positively giddy at the prospect of a Supreme Court with a solid block of five liberal justices who will reliably oppose conservatives on issues they consider vital, from gun rights to religious liberty to abortion. Mark Tushnet, an influential figure on the legal left, is already essentially advocating a total judicial war on conservative policies, particularly those involving social conservatives.
The regulatory disputes surrounding everything from birth control to transgender teens make a lot of religious groups feel -- not entirely unreasonably -- that they are facing an existential threat, as their rights of free association and conscience are trimmed back to “You can say it in the privacy of your own home, or at church, but don’t you dare act upon what you believe.”
If anyone accepts this line of bullshit, they are aiding and abetting the murder of gays. Anti-gay fanatics' religious beliefs are absolutely irrelevant. They deserve no respect or observation. They should receive no concessions at any time. Inciting hatred of gays should be a hate crime. But since it isn't illegal and since the right hates moral scolding from liberals almost more than gays, it is our duty to our fellow human beings to viciously repress anyone's attempt to hide behind their religion when they try to harm others.

I would rather discuss ideas than emotions but reason doesn't change people's behavior, emotion does. If we do not go on the attack we will continue to watch the American Taliban represses the population through fear, demand everyone follow their religious laws, and take over local government.

Many people do not like to fight. They don't want to be mean and don't like to hurt other people. Those people should stay out of fights altogether and not try to impose peace and civil discussions. They want them at the cost of others' lives.
Many liberals seem to believe that this is more than enough religious freedom for anyone; many religious people strenuously disagree. For religious people who feel that the next Supreme Court justice may make you choose between following your conscience and doing basic things like earning a living or educating your child, that choice becomes so important as to dwarf nearly every other consideration.
If you are imposing your religious beliefs on those who work for or with you, you are a dangerous fundamentalist. Nobody cares what your religion tells you to do-that's your problem-but there is no reason on earth why anyone else should have to follow your religious laws. The entire idea is absurd. I'm supposed to make my most important life decisions based on someone else's religion? Because they say so? It's ridiculous.

If you want to raise your child to fear and therefore hate people who are different, why should anyone accommodate you? When you send that child to school and he hears that there are many types of families, why should anyone care that you are angry someone told your child that hating others is bad? Your child is being taught to respect instead of fear. That makes you furious and now you want everyone else to teach fear and hatred too. We are supposed to buckle under to these people and do what they say? Is the world crazy?
I’m not endorsing this state of affairs, mind; I think that over the last 50 years we have become far too fond of turning everything into a judicial question, rather than leaving things to legislatures and other elected officials. However, that is the spot we are now in, and neither side looks interested in de-escalating. So people are quite rightly concerned about who will be appointing the next round of judges.
McArdle doesn't know the difference between the judiciary and legislative branches. That's not an excuse for her support for hatred, I just wanted to point out that the elite Ivy League graduate wasted her education and never uses it. Propaganda is so much easier and leaves plenty of time for shopping and giving verbal weapons to anti-gay murderers.
Ah, you will say, but why believe that Trump will appoint good judges? Fair question. However, conservatives may legitimately respond that they know, to a 100 percent certainty, that Hillary Clinton will appoint judges who are actively hostile to both their theory of constitutional jurisprudence and their personal policy preferences. Trump might do the same, but at least there’s some chance that they won’t find abortion restrictions lifted, the Heller gun rights case overturned, Hobby Lobby religious protections gutted, and gay and transgender rights expanded to the point where it becomes difficult to operate a school that teaches conservative Christian morality.
McArdle seems to be under the impression that Ted Cruz won, not Trump. Trump's voters ignored social issues to support him. Nobody knows what Trump would do, including Trump, no doubt. He might appoint his sister. He might appoint his plumber. Maybe his horse. Maybe he'd auction off the positions to the highest bidder or drop the candidates naked in the jungle and the one who stays alive longest wins. He is a monstrous child who would wish people away into the corn and only fools and knaves would support him.
3.Clinton’s e-mails. I’m sorry, Clinton supporters: The e-mail server situation is bad. It’s really bad. You can wave your hands until the sonic booms start rattling nearby china, and it will still be fundamentally disturbing, not merely for its typically Clintonian “rules are for other people” grandeur, its airy disregard for security and its obvious commitment to an utter lack of transparency, but also for the sheer incompetence and stupidity of its execution at both the technical and political levels. If you are going to set up your own e-mail server to keep your correspondence off of government systems, you should probably not let it go without an encryption certificate for months. You should also not bother to set up your own e-mail server, since any moderately bright 14-year-old could tell you that your e-mails are going to show up in others' inboxes, and then your secret server is going to become an eminently FOIA-able political disaster. The thing doesn’t just make me question Clinton’s character, but also her political acumen, and her ability to identify and hire competent staff.
Keep in mind here that McArdle is telling us decent people can support Trump, a monster. Yet we are supposed to be shocked! shocked and appalled! about an email server. The funny thing is that there are a lot of ways to discredit Clinton in people's eyes but McArdle will only reach for the easiest one, which also happens to be the easiest one to ignore. She is far too lazy to do any research.
Of course, Clinton supporters can point out that Trump has some problems in the planning, staffing and truth-telling departments. He really really does. But the e-mail server makes it hard for the Clinton backers to hit him on those things as hard as they otherwise could have.
Hahaha! Sure, Trump seems bad because he wants to make Muslims the new Jews and reenact WWII, but gosh darn it those emails keep the Democrats from attacking him back with full vigor. Better not mention Trump University or someone will bring up emails!!

God, she's lazy.
4.Immigration. Trump supporters are not wrong to say that elites of both parties have basically conspired to keep both immigration and trade off the agenda. Nor are they wrong to be annoyed when any opposition to increased immigration, or to legalizing people who are here illegally, is immediately dismissed as racist. No one who wrings their hands about gentrification can reasonably dismiss “I like my community the way it is” as an inherently racist and illegitimate sentiment.
Trump supporters have chosen to be pissed off about immigration because they are racist. Obama has deported 2.5 million illegals and shows no sign of slowing down. They should be patting him on the back. McArdle is an apologist for racism, just like Ross Douthat, and they want everyone else to let them be as racist, sexist, fascist, and authoritarian as they want, and to inflict it all on others.
Moreover, in a country with birthright voters, immigration means importing your future electorate; this, of course, sounds splendid to people on the left who think that this electorate will be more friendly to social democratic programs, but it is perfectly reasonable for people who prefer a more conservative government to oppose greater immigration for the same reason. Opposition to immigration can be racist, but it isn’t necessarily so. Trump's pledge to deport all immigrants who are illegally in the U.S. is ludicrous, but it's not ludicrous to think we should not reward people who have broken our immigration laws. Tarring these arguments as racist has not made them go away; rather, it appears to have made people less worried about being called racists. And empowered Trump, the only politician who has refused to be cowed by the epithet.
Yes, McArdle is supporting Trump's open racism by insinuating it's a also a brave stance against political correctness. She is as vile as he is. McArdle says it's perfectly natural that Republicans support Trump because immigrants will breed Democrats and conservatives want to elect people who will eliminate privacy, start wars, persecute gays, and let mentally unbalanced conservatives arm themselves in public at all times. What's wrong with that?

McArdle also insinuates that if we fight racism we embolden racism, yet another technique of persuading people to voluntarily submit to monsters. Trump's supporters aren't concerned with jobs; they are not poor and don't compete for those jobs. They are racist.

But if they don't vote for Trump, Hitlery won't let them be racist, sexist, authoritarian, or fascist anymore. But if they vote for Trump, they are voting for a racist, which of course they would never want to do because they aren't racists, they are merely strict constitutionalists and godly people. It's a terrible dilemma.
Practically, I think people who support Trump on these grounds are off base in many directions. For one thing, they’re too late; the demography of the country has probably already shifted too far to make restricting immigration, or winning elections on such a platform, possible. I doubt that Trump would find either the money or the popular support for his wall readily forthcoming, or for the kind of massive police operation that would be required to deport the people already here illegally. And I doubt that his commitment to restricting immigration is much more than skin deep, so I’d expect this issue to get dropped in the face of congressional opposition.
Even for Trump, Nobody Can Do Anything Ever.
Moreover, since nominating Trump has made it much more likely that Clinton will get elected with substantial congressional majorities in both houses, I’d say advocates of restricting immigration have scored a game-losing goal in their own net by nominating him. After the debacle of 2012, Republicans were terrified to liberalize immigration, for fear of retaliation from their base; Democrats are salivating at the prospect.
McArdle sees national issues as poker chips to be lost and won in the eternal battle of My Tribe v. Your Tribe. The fact that people's lives are affected by those chips means nothing to her.
However, given that he’s the nominee, opponents of broader immigration are now faced with a choice between a guaranteed move toward wide-scale legalization, or whatever Trump might manage. If this is the most important issue to you, it’s not crazy to prefer Trump.
This is how fascists become normalized: A lazy, greedy elite wants to keep the gravy train a-moving so she tells you that the monster isn't really all that bad and he can't do much bad anyway, so why not support his rise to power? She's always been the Good German.
5.Elites need a rebuke. For all my criticisms of Trump and his supporters -- and they have been many -- I find myself quite sympathetic with the folks who are angry at the establishment. Elites are smug. They are obnoxiously condescending. They have colluded to keep legitimate issues off the table.
This sort of elite collusion can certainly work, but if it becomes too disconnected from the electorate, a political reaction is inevitable. We are in the middle of that reaction. And I have to say that if I were out there in flyover country, I’d probably be pretty mad too.
I already had a good laugh over this. It's a wonder she didn't burst into flame when typing that, but unfortunately cartoon effects only happen in cartoons.
Are there rebuttals to all these arguments? There are. The most fundamental one is that for all of Clinton’s many flaws, she does not have the sort of impulse-control issues, petty vindictiveness and cultivated ignorance that make it actively terrifying to contemplate what she might do with America’s military and nuclear arsenal, or provoke Russia or China into doing with theirs. Most policy issues, no matter how vital, fade into insignificance compared with the possibility of a nuclear exchange between two major world powers.
Yes, the thought of Trump as president is horrifying.
The problem is that the media and the policy establishment have left themselves in a very poor place to make that argument. The leftward bias of the media has grown more pronounced.1 This means that conservative views can be excluded, or if they are included, conservative talking points can be rigorously interrogated, while dodgy left-wing statistics on things like campus rape continue to be repeated ad infinitum.
Having treated ordinary Republican politicians as if their views were beyond the pale, those institutions are now incapable of expressing why Trump really is scary and different -- why this time, when they say that a Republican politician is ignorant, racist, sexist and authoritarian, voters should actually listen, rather than dismissing this as the same old familiar rhetoric.
That reality is certainly no reason to vote for Trump. But it does relate: It drowns out many of the good reasons to vote against him.

No, it doesn't. But we are accustomed to McArdle's lies in service to power. If Trump were actually able to beat Clinton, McArdle would be the first second or third to tell us that Muslims prefer interment camps because they are Democrats and therefore moochers off of the public dime.
1.I blame the fragmentation of the media into more partisan outlets and also an active movement to eschew “false balance” -- giving equal airtime to two arguments that are not of equal merit. Needless to say, arguments that match your own policy preferences inherently seem more meritorious.
McArdle's livelihood depends on the fragmentation of the media into billionaire's propaganda outlets. And we are supposed to believe the media has become more liberal because they have rejected the Both Sides Do It narrative? The only thing that has happened is that part of the media has gone on the attack against Trump, hoping to get him out and put in someone with a better façade. Evidently this is a problem for McArdle, and she is upset that Trump is being attacked.

Many Republicans are keeping their heads down and hoping that everything goes back to normal after Trump leaves the public stage. Not McArdle. She's out there defending and supporting him. That's very brave, and we intend to never let her forget her courage.


Ellis Weiner said...

I doubt that Trump would find either the money or the popular support for his wall readily forthcoming, or for the kind of massive police operation that would be required to deport the people already here illegally.

Classic McArdle: a "sophisticated" person's skepticism about the "real world" practicalities of promulgating X, ignoring entirely the moral and actual human reality X would entail. "Of course," she implies, "if he DID get the money and popular support, that wall would be a plausible option."

When I was a camp counselor, in 1968, one of my fellow counselors told of a kid he knew in high school who was hauled in to the Vice Principal's office because his hair was too long. The V.P. told him, "Look, we respect your right to wear your hair as long as you want to. But you have to respect our right to tell you how long you can wear it."

That's McArdle re the religious "freedom" of fundamentalists. "Liberals want to be free to respect gays, obtain abortions, and so on. But they have to respect Christian fundamentalists' religious values and freedom to practice their religion, which entails forbidding and condemning respecting gays, outlawing abortion, and so on."

Susan of Texas said...

We need to force them to own their bigotry. If they want to be racists we can't stop them but we can certainly point out their racism and call it what it.

It's all a sideshow anyway, to keep us busy while the elite decide our fate at their exclusive meetings.

Kathy said...

"But I like to understand a terrible argument before rejecting it..." but no one can understand anything, ever

"McMegan: In my experience, there are a number of issues where people stop reading about halfway through, and start arguing with the opponent in their head." its how I make my cushy living

"Elites are smug. They are obnoxiously condescending." and they are abysmal cooks who think they are gourmet chefs

Susan of Texas said...

Katy, excellent points!