Jason Stanley, “How Fascism Works”

Jason Stanley discusses his book, “How Fascism Works”, at Politics and Prose on 9/25/18.

In this clear and direct primer, Stanley, the award-winning author of How Propaganda Works, draws on a wide range of history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory to define fascism, explain its mechanisms, and help people identify its red flags. At its most basic level, fascism is simply a movement that achieves power by dividing a population. A country can have fascist strains without actually being fascistic, Stanley says, and he identifies myriad seeds of authoritarianism in U.S. history, from the Confederacy and the Jim Crow South—which inspired Hitler—to the more recent birther movement and the rise of Trump. More generally he cites ten hallmarks of fascism, such as the mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, and unreality; on the rise today, these must be resisted if we are to stop fascism from gaining hold here.

https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9…

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; Knowledge and Practical Interests, which won the American Philosophical Association book prize; and How Propaganda Works, which won the PROSE Award for Philosophy from the Association of American Publishers. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Review, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. Stanley lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his family.

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so I you always hear to set it up you
always you I always hear people saying
well when when presidents a president
Trump take an example when his
supporters don’t realize they’re not
getting the material benefits they
expected they will throw you know he’ll
lose their support unfortunately that is
not how this kind of politics works it’s
not a politics of material benefit
it’s a politics of loyalty fascism is
about loyalty and power it replaces
material interests it replaces truth and
reality by loyalty and power ah as
Arendt says the fascists resemble Mafia
bosses they stock their administrations
with with family members and and and
people from their businesses because of
loyalty and that’s
Sisseton so I don’t look at people who
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do that and say they’re being
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inconsistent I say no good you’re being
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consistent because loyalty is your thing
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so uh so so what you what what in that
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chapter I believe in him klemper is
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talking about how much the psychological
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wages of German as’ tied your tied
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Germans to Hitler even well beyond the
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point at which they should of April 1945
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the Red Army is in the gates of Berlin
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and clampers trudging through the woods
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with a soldier missing an arm and he
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says to the soldier I guess it’s time to
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give up and the soldier says what do you
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mean Hitler’s got them trapped and
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klemper says what what the soldiers a
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young man he’s lost his arm you know
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what is he and Klemperer says uh and the
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soldier says yeah it’s Hitler’s
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birthday’s coming up and Hitler just
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meant to suck the Red Army in and trap
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them he’s never lied to us yet and
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klemper says he’d been lying
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consistently year after year after year
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after year I mean literally people would
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till the last moment I mean I’ve spent
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years of my life in Germany and I’ve met
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people who still believed in him so so
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you know the bond of loyalty
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what fascist politics tries to do is it
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tries to break down your any of your
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connection to your material interest and
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say well what you have is you have you
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national identity your ethnic identity
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and your bond with the leader and that’s
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why and and that bond is so powerful and
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so meaningful to people that they will
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you know they will just to see that they
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will like it will last through great
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trial and tribulation it will last you
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certainly the loss of their material
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interests and if you look at countries
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that suffer from fascist politics I
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would say Russia right now is one uh you
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can see that the leader becomes very
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popular even as people’s economic
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situation becomes worse so you can’t
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like wait around for oh you know when
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their health insurance gets taken away
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though no it doesn’t work like that I
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mean
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these are you know air Dewan in Turkey I
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mean these are leaders who win elections
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and they win elections by a politics of
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loyalty they win elections by lying so
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so so I’ll talk for five more minutes
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and then and then take questions so I’m
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going through so what I do in my book is
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I give you a template I give you a
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template of of sides I used to be I am
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an analytic philosopher but I’m not just
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one of the many things I am but I sort
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of like militantly did not pay attention
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to the world as my stepmother and my
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father would always remind me and so
until birtherism so my first New York
Times piece in 2011 was about birtherism
because I had read enough Arendt to
realize that was weird that shouldn’t
happen in a democracy and I recognized
the trap the trap is something that’s
familiar from the protocols of the
Elders design and my family both my
parents are Holocaust survivors my
mother and father two of my three
parents are Holocaust survivors and and
so obviously protocols the other design
is something you talk about in when
you’re very young and some advantages so
so so this trap of you know Hitler said
the the lying press the press is owned
by the Jews and you can tell because
they never talk about the prosperous so
very familiar I recognized it
immediately I mean it was like maybe I
should write something not on the left
parenthesis so so so in 2011 I wrote my
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first New York Times piece about that
the trap always works like this mr.
Trump President Trump when he came to
political consciousness he went on an
interview in Fox News and he said CNN is
controlled by the leftists and Obama you
can tell because they’re not talking
about birtherism that’s the same move
was made in the 30s the delusion plasa
the mainstream press you
they’re controlled by the Jews because
they don’t say they’re controlled by the
Jews law and justice party in uh in
Poland the hilariously miss named law
and justice party comes to power in 2015
in a country that had been whose
economic whose GDP had been going up
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Civic Platform has done very well so it
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wasn’t economic anxiety it’s not
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economic anxiety in Bavaria either but
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they came they did this move to I’m
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emphasizing this because comic pizza is
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right here uh so I can’t not talk about
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the conspiracy theories as a sign so so
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so what Piz did what law and justice did
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is there was a Smolensk disaster when
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which was admittedly horrific when a
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plane carrying all of Poland’s political
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leaders and business leaders and
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military leaders crashed and and and
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everyone was killed and there were about
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between 20 and 25 conspiracy theories
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about that crash it was pilot error
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it was pilot error but admittedly it was
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hard to believe it was pilot error so so
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law and justice Road that to power you
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know it was all about the conspiracy and
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it was the Communists and it was
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d’Arnaud communists in Poland but it was
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the car just like there were no comic
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very no communists very few communists
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in the American South but the KKK still
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acted like there were it was the
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Communists it was the Russians
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it was the Liberals who were who were
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hiding out hiding the real facts of who
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brought that plane down and you could
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tell that the newspapers were owned by
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the people who did it because they
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didn’t report on it and when I saw
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birtherism I was like oh yeah that’s
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familiar and conspiracy theories work in
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a weird way and I’ll end with us only in
deference to comet pizza conspiracy
theories function they functioned to
break down the epistemological spaces
they functioned to break down to their
their simple narratives that make sense
of of panic fear in Poland’s case
– and loss paranoia they’re not meant to
be taken at face value so Edgar Madison

Welch when he walked in so this is a
point that my colleague at UConn Michael
Lynch had made which I think is very
powerful he pointed out that when Edgar
Madison Welch walked in and and fired
three shots in that restaurant um three
or four shots I’m not exactly sure how
many uh I he was acting rationally right
if you thought that the Democratic Party
was running a child sex ring in the
basement of commet pizza by all means go
and free the child the children but he
was immediately denounced by Alex Jones
and everybody else as a spy for the
Democratic Party
so Michael Lynch makes this point to
point out conspiracy theories you’re
doing the wrong thing if you believe
them
they’re just supposed to make you you
know hate the target more they’re just
supposed to make you hate the target
more they’re not supposed to be believed
like that so what I do in my book is I
give you ten properties of fascist
politics the book is not about fascist
government I’m not saying you know you
could it’s about fascist and key and and
the difference being fascist government
fascist politics is tricky anyway
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because fascism is our power so fascism
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is a method to come to power people are
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always like well do you really believe
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that that does do do such and such
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people like President Trump do do they
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really believe you really believe he
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believes the things that other fascist
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movements uh believe uh and my response
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is it doesn’t matter because fascism
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isn’t about belief it’s about power so
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it doesn’t matter like its first hit me
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when I was reading Richard Grune burgers
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1975 work on fat banks thanks to my
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father’s library I have a rich
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collection of history sociology
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philosophy and psychology of the Nazis
30:30
so much else but uh but he says many
people think of the Nazis as morally
pure anti-semites they were devoted you
know devoted to killing Jews and
definitely
believed in it and got up and were very
neat and but actually a lot of them were
just thugs
they were just mafia gangsters and they
didn’t care about killing Jews they
cared about money they cared about
Jewish art and property but they were
doing the devoted anti-semitism thing
they didn’t care about it what they
cared about was the profits they got
from it and that’s I think what we need
to focus on when we think about fascism
it’s a tactic it’s a way to delude us to
seize power and retain power and and and
it has it like the history in our own
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country thank you right he did he
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started his campaign in the in that in
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that county for the missus what was it
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Philadelphia Mississippi right then I
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forgot the name of the County Fair um
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but but we’re good we’re good men and
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Chaney were near we’re on a journey and
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certainly we have the welfare clean
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trope that you know the racial coding
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now I think that one thing you get so
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you have these really tripling down on
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on America’s racial history on America
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ground American racism in that camp in
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those campaigns you have militarism and
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you have and you have the and you have
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the aspect and you have something that
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is last chapter of my book social
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Darwinism which is connected in certain
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ways to economic libertarianism although
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it’s inconsistent in various ways but
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the idea is I talk about Hitler’s speech
the industrialists you know fascists
talk about winners and losers makers and
takers it’s all about you know who wins
has value who loses has no value so that
whole way of going on the other hand
Reagan does not explicitly you know
fascists are harshly on to
anti-democratic you don’t
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the enemy of the state you you have you
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okay to go on the Reagan I mean look
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there’s gonna be a lot of overlaps
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between social conservatives between
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various forms of conservativism and
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fascist politics but we can’t condemn
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everybody we can’t say it’s a spectrum
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fascist politics is a spectrum and and
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our familiar conservatives are gonna be
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on that spectrum just like just like
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Bernie Sanders is gonna be on the
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spectrum to something much more extreme
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I mean he’s on the spectrum to Denmark
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but yeah there are certain things he
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says that are too bad leftist
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authoritarianism so there is this
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spectrum and and I don’t mean to and we
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have in a liberal democracy we have to
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have social conservatives we have to
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have libertarians we have to have we
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have to have progressives and socialists
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we have to have this spectrum we’re
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gonna have this spectrum but what
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happens when you get something really
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worrisome which I don’t think you quite
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had you didn’t have with Reagan is when
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you have these different things I mean
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look at Reagan on immigration for
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instance I mean he isn’t demagoguing on
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immigration
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he isn’t when you have these overlaps
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when you have you know social
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conservatives business and corporate
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elites libertarians all coming together
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and nationalists coming together and
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saying let’s have a group you know a
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constellation and we might disagree on
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certain things but let’s unify and then
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you can get fascist constellations there
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but I I think you know I think Reagan
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had elements that are there like but
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also we have to remember that lots of
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Canuck just like you know you wouldn’t
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want to say that oh very socially
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progressive policies just because they
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do that in communist countries that’s
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communist
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so I wouldn’t want to paint Reagan as
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engaging in fascist politics he’s not
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harshly anti-democratic in the way that
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you you find with just respond really
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quickly I guess my my thing was the
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militarism and really the dangerous
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militarism during his empire is yeah
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but really the building of the empire
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and like the really the strong anti on
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this strong racist tone of things is
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really right and the and though and and
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those are overlaps and and i think a dis
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analogy now is you don’t find President
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Trump actually being as Empire oriented
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I mean it’s tricky there people will say
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I think now people use fascist politics
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they used to use it in in the 30s it was
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used to mobilize people for war
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now it’s used to demobilize people so
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it’s a tech it’s a set of techniques and
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you know and it overlaps with techniques
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and and and you know and people use some
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of them you know there’s a spectrum
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there’s a spectrum and and yeah I want
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to thank you I think this is a very
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important discussion and I’m from the
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Caribbean grew up in the Netherlands and
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it’s been a quite a significant amount
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of time they’re in a different type of
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Netherlands then it has become sadly
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enough right when I was the Netherlands
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if you had told him that characters I
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mean these guys would be twenty to
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thirty percent of the population
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literally people would lock you up and
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put you in a psychiatric institution say
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thinking too much you literally are you
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kind of lost it you know this is not
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what the Netherlands about we are you
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know civilized decent people although
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you know they have a very we have a very
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horrific history of colonialism which is
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not talked about at home but the issue
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is a few questions and these questions I
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think are provoked by some of the things
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you said I think you wanted something
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quite profound when you said that what
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we are dealing with now is a demobilized
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depoliticize and the ideologized pop
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population populations not only in
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America see if this was only happening
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in the United States okay okay but I’m
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so called fringe Dutch I mean between
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brackets right I’m from the Caribbean
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but so-called French Dutch um this
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France right the last elections right
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people were panicked that marine lepen
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walks into the White House right and we
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know if she walks there what is going to
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happen she’s not made she made it very
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clear from well you know one of the big
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problems I see is that in you
potentially the Muslims become the new
Jews absolutely you know the Muslims we
come to new Jews right
but the issue it at that I want to deal
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with here is a more profound issue that
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this type of fascism is indeed to
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mobilize the demobilize in essence what
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you have a mass talks about legitimize
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the crisis of the West right and the big
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problem is when you have a legitimate
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Christ is not taking place on one level
37:43
alone right economic social political
37:45
legal right moral ethical domestic
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international on all different levels
37:50
the white West and not is facing crisis
37:53
on crisis and crisis that are feeding
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back in and creating problems another
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problem that you have in a Western I
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think this is a major problem me and I
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didn’t think you touch on it is that if
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you look at the populations here right
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populations that are so-called
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Democratic you know I mean I’m glad you
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began claiming that the democracy always
38:11
never much of anything at all it was
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much more a job to fool people and then
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in democracy the issue is that in these
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populations a long time twenty to thirty
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percent of the population remain quite
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fanatically right even look what
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happened to Communist Party in France
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right the communists moved move over to
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the fascists they didn’t tell you how
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how strong the Communist identity of
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brotherhood and sisterhood of rattle and
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stuff like that so I mean how do you see
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and the big problem of your face is that
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often these fascistic parties tend to be
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the most mobilized part of the
38:50
population right right
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why well well well the majority of the
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party although somewhat against I mean
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Hitler never got a majority he always
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got forty percent but but they are
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highly mobilized and you only need forty
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in a small
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organized minority to create have
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everyone is scared I mean everybody’s
39:07
killed so how do you see and do you see
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anywhere in the West at this point in
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time really
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they since the average trade unions are
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gone the socialist and communist party
39:17
out are we and very few intellectuals in
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academics are really really speaking out
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as a really standing up here and say
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wait a minute here guys right you people
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in the Western or not you white people
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in a western or not right now I’m saying
39:29
that’s kind of provocative because my
39:31
part you know your apps a most European
39:33
a most of the European descent but the
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issue is you
39:37
white people in to not be very careful
what you’re doing right because you are
facing a massive influx of black and
brown people here because of global
warming what do you do when you across
that when you look at the Mediterranean
50 60 million Africans are about to come
genocide you fall back the default
position of genocide let me hear what
you guys said yeah let me just say one
39:57
quick thing I’m gonna get another
39:58
question there was a great series of
points that you raise the climate change
point Timothy Snyder talks about that at
the end of black earth he warns that
that’s our big and I talked about that
in my book as well picking up on Tim’s
on Snyder’s points that you know climate
change is gonna lead to immigration
crises that you know crises immigrant to
massive immigration that we’re gonna
have to deal with but let me say
something about the point of oh you know
40:27
the majority minority point that oh soon
40:29
the countries give me a
40:30
majority-minority president Trump and
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his campaign always emphasized that you
40:36
know uh my colleague Jen Richardson the
40:39
great social psychologist she she has
40:42
done this experiment she’s on a number
40:44
of experiments on the on this she showed
40:46
she when you get she presents white
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Americans with three three questions
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three different groups of white
40:53
Americans the first she says in 2042 the
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Netherlands will become majority
40:58
minority the second group she says in
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2042 the United States will become
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majority senior citizen and the third
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group she says in 2042 the United States
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will become majority minority and then
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she asked him a series of political
41:15
questions the first two groups don’t
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change their MA they did they their
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politics doesn’t change that she gets a
41:21
test of them before what their political
41:23
leanings are the third group of white
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Americans that’s presented with the
41:27
information in the United States is
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gonna become majority minority becomes
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more becomes again more against the firm
41:33
ative action more against the air for
41:35
immigration and interestingly because
41:38
Jen Richardson is a genius she added
41:40
this they become much more in favor of
41:43
increased defense spending so so that oh
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we’re going to become majority minority
41:50
it it enables right-wing politics or a
41:55
certain kind of politics maybe not right
41:57
wing but that could you talk a little
41:59
bit more about what appears to be
42:02
increased white anxiety and white
42:05
feelings of white victimization and how
42:08
does how to talk a little bit about
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Trump’s role is he a symptom of
42:15
something that’s going to continue after
42:17
him or what happens to fascist movements
42:20
when leaders disappear ah
42:22
you know that’s that’s that’s re they
42:25
always have succession crises but I but
42:27
I’d you know we have more Trump’s so
42:30
there so but he is an expert a real
skilled expert at milking white anxiety
there was that quote that he that he and
and the psychological wages of whiteness
point like remember that thing he said I
remember I don’t remember when he said
42:46
it but you know he said something about
42:48
poor white trash and someone someone
42:49
said what is that he said like me except
poor so that connect he’s I have great
respect for his rhetorical political
abilities
we’re always it we always have this
43:01
nascent the dominant group
I mean think of the men’s rights
movement I mean is there any more
aggrieved group on earth than men when
their representation in the Senate goes
from 98 to like 83 or whatever 75 you
know you know just look at how men act
and you know and you know and that’s
what’s going on and that’s what happens
it’s all look at France the example of
France there’s a good example you know
43:30
the the aggrieved the you know we’re
43:34
losing our culture we’re losing our so
that’s a big one chapter in my book is
called victimhood and it’s all about
this it’s a whole chapter just about
this could you wouldn’t would you agree
that an important benchmark for
43:49
authoritarian is in this country might
43:52
have its roots in Eisenhower’s farewell
43:55
address in 1960 I guess in which the
44:00
leading General in the world
44:01
representing the strongest country in
44:03
the world
44:03
I spoke about this fear and then
44:06
subsequent to that you had three of our
44:09
foremost civil rights leaders slain
44:11
under dubious circumstances the official
44:13
narrative which only thirty and thirty
44:15
percent of Americans believe and then
44:17
you had this Vietnam War and there were
44:20
protests all over the country or there
44:22
were cities burning there were people
44:24
killed at Kent State and now we have
44:29
multiple Wars and nobody says a word so
44:33
what’s your take on this so I have a lot
44:35
in my book on Nixon
44:36
so I’m when I talk give talks on that
44:39
people because Nixon is a model for
44:41
Trump President Trump of course I mean
44:44
law and order politics you know Nixon
misses miss rep you know there’s a whole
protest misrepresented as riots think of
Baltimore 2015 so I talk in my book
about how Fox News described uses the
word riot use the word riot seven out of
every 1000 words
in describing Baltimore what happened in
Baltimore and protests only two words
out of 1000 CNN used them roughly
equally around three and a half words
per 1000 riot and protest and MSNBC used
riot two words out of 1,000 and protests
almost four words out of 1000 to
describe Baltimore to this radical
partisan difference in descriptions of
political protests the sixties you
really saw that you know so much so that
someone of my age I’ve been 36 for 12
years ah is I can’t even say Detroit
protests cuz it doesn’t come out of my
mouth because I was raised in schools
that just taught me Detroit riots you
know but then you you have Kathryn
Bigelow’s movie then you realize an
actual history they were protests and
you know you just focused on like one
you know a few people doing bad things
and you paint them a certain way so the
sixties Nixon’s campaign you know again
my books not about fascist government is
about fascist politics I think you see
with Nixon a lot of use of fascist
politics and I’m sure you couldn’t go
back because as I’ve been saying this is
us it’s not them do
you think the history of the the take on
Lyndon Johnson Lyndon Johnson might get
a more critical view because he kind of
laid the groundwork for Nixon and and
his involvement in the war his refusal
46:29
to get out of it the pressures that kept
46:32
in a minute so so in in in in a week in
46:35
October 12th at Harvard bookstore I’ll
46:37
be in discussion with Elizabeth Hinton
46:38
who’s who has written the greatest book
46:41
about the domestic policies of job
46:44
Johnson and and Nixon from the war on
46:48
poverty the war on crime the making a
46:50
mass incarceration in America and that’s
46:52
about the domestic policies so it’s a
46:54
different point you’re asking about the
46:55
foreign policy but I think on domestic
46:57
policy you know there are some issues
47:00
with Johnson that lead to Nixon as well
47:04
I mean John a lot of Johnson’s projects
47:07
in the in in cities were with minority
47:13
populations we’re sort of like here’s
47:15
how to learn to pull off here’s how to
47:17
act like someone with a job or something
47:19
like that rather than providing people
47:21
jobs you know which is like you know
47:24
trumpet was smart and you know could you
47:26
imagine Trump going to like rural
47:27
Michigan and being like I’m going to
47:29
teach you how to act like bankers no he
47:32
wasn’t doing that
47:34
so so right so so I Nixon I talk and so
47:38
those are interesting questions in the
47:39
Hinton book I think talks about the
47:42
hints of Nixon and Johnson while giving
47:45
him credit for certain things so first I
47:49
just want to say thank you for coming to
47:50
talk tonight who’s really interesting
47:52
and so my question is or first I’ll just
47:56
say on you mentioned that a key tactic
47:59
of fascists is to caricature the
48:01
center-left has been communists but I
48:05
feel like it seemed to me that you made
48:08
that same mistake when you talked about
48:10
how when you talked about opposition to
48:14
unions because that seems like a pretty
48:17
mainstream right dumb view to be opposed
48:20
to unions right I didn’t mean to I I
48:22
don’t mean to say that each so there’s
48:25
ten different aspects to fascism each
48:27
one of those aspects is going to be
48:29
familiar
48:30
from ordinary conservative father’s okay
48:31
it’s the combination but it just didn’t
48:35
occur to me that opposition to labor
48:37
unions is a uniform feature of all
48:40
fascism I learned that in doing the
48:42
research for my book so no you can have
48:45
good sound economic reasons you know
48:47
there are good for each of these things
48:49
you know for each of these properties
48:51
for you can be I mean some of the
48:55
hierarchy some of the chapters about
48:57
racial hierarchies okay that’s pretty
48:59
fascist but but you know as I say in my
49:02
book economic libertarianism overlaps
with fascism on social Darwinism like
winners have value losers don’t but
they’re different in other ways like
consistent libertarian will never
generalize to groups and say you know
white people have more value than
non-whites because they work harder and
win more you know so so there are these
overlaps and you know I just think it so
screams out from you from the literature
it’s just universal that’s you know you
go to Portugal and you go to their
49:33
Museum and Lisbon and they talk about
49:35
the attack and labor unions and you know
49:38
it’s so universal and you has to be
49:40
mentioned but of course you can
49:42
criticize labor unions and not be a
49:43
factor yeah thank you and for each of
49:45
these thank you we are your parents uh
49:50
well my stepmother is here and she
49:55
helped a lot with the book she gave me
49:59
she gave me and my brother-in-law’s is
50:01
there where you are profound and you are
50:04
brilliant and I think your parents your
50:07
family should and friend should be very
50:08
very proud of you
50:10
now I’m well read on reconstruction but
50:14
the issue that you spoke about with
50:16
respect to anti unions and wealthy
50:21
whites in the north coming down that I
50:25
have not read about and do not know
50:27
about I knew you know certainly with
50:29
Rutherford putting the nail in the
50:30
casket and you know wanting to a peace
50:34
to south and pulling the troops all
50:35
right so that he could win the election
50:37
I want you to talk a little bit more
50:39
about the north in
50:42
you know coming against the the labor
50:45
unions and I wanted to get your take on
50:49
what happened in Charleston with the
50:52
massacre at you know mother Emanuel
50:57
Church as well as what happened in
50:59
Charlottesville
51:00
because after listening to you you do
51:03
see a theme and when you know Trump come
51:06
you could say the most horrible thing
51:08
about McCain
51:09
I prefer winners in people who don’t get
51:12
duh you know yeah so so I’ve been
51:19
spending more time lately for my sins
51:22
with former members of Nazi parties and
51:26
I mean I was a so a friend of mine is
51:29
Tony Mack Lear the director of like
51:31
executive director of life after hate he
51:33
spent 20 or so years as a Nazi and
remarkable man and he’s very clear that
the law I mean I think we all know this
from David Duke the long-term goal of
the American Nazi Party was to to be
respectable and for that they had to
have people who were not respectable
so Tony Mack Lear said at one talk I won
symposium we’re out together he said the
first time I was on Montel Williams I
was a skinhead with combat boots and
tattoos the second time I wore a suit
and he explains that you need the
killers the radicals out there to say
that’s not us you’re seeing this all
over you’re up now you know the Austrian
Kurt Sebastian Kurtz all what happens is
that the right wing parties are like
we’re not not white supremacists the
white supremacists are the ones actually
killing people the ones marching on the
streets were respectable we’re in
government were in and but they need
each other so the in order for the for
the people in power who are pushing
white supremacy to plausibly deny that
they’re white supremacists they need
Charlotte’s VLEs because they need to
say no no those are
supremacists and Tony McLaren explain
that this is long been the strategy I
know of of the American Nazi Party and
it’s and and David black the former the
the son of the storm front founder is
also very clear about this he’s like he
says what we hear from our leadership is
the kind of things that we always he
said our target audience was always the
person who said I’m not a racist but dot
dot dot so you need you need the
charlottesville and the horror of
Charleston which is unspeakable horror
of Charleston because those provide
plausible deniability to white supremacy
and power and and we know those of us
who study history and and who are a
woman of color as I am and a descendent
of people who were enslaved both or
53:50
maternal returns so we always knew in
53:52
the communities and certainly in the
53:53
South when people when the KKK took off
53:56
those hoods they were your local doctor
53:58
you’ll put your Sheriff your policemen
54:01
your store owners you know not all of
54:04
them but these were the respectable
54:07
people and it was the hood that allowed
54:10
them to to you know to really crucify
54:14
and you know and hang people and uh so
54:17
we I mean the wisdom of the black
54:19
American tradition guides me in my book
54:21
I mean I to be wells oh absolutely
54:25
that’s Du Bois obviously I probably owe
54:30
boys today but it’s he earned yes so so
54:38
because that those it’s that literature
54:43
that you get the insight into the form
54:46
fascism takes here and so someone from
54:49
like me who’s from Europe the certain
54:52
sort of particular masks fascism wears
54:57
here that’s something you really need
54:59
the black American literature to
55:01
understand but thank you for your work
55:03
and thank your parents
55:07
and my brother finds out it earlier this
55:16
year I read another book by a
55:17
psychologist named Steven Pinker called
55:20
enlightenment now staring me in the face
55:22
right over there and in the book he
55:26
argues that the world is getting better
55:30
and better and this is the best time to
55:33
be alive the best time to be born and he
55:36
extolled the virtues of of the future
55:38
and so I want to you know ask you what
55:43
what you feel about that how what’s your
55:45
response to that and are you optimistic
55:48
about the future I mean you’re talking
55:49
about possible fascism in this country
55:52
so let me quote my my father’s book the
55:54
technological conscience where he says
55:58
pessimism is very much the humanistic
56:01
view he says I am a pessimist pessimism
56:04
is very much the humanistic view so so
56:09
that’s just to say that I think that I
56:12
think Pinker I mean we could go on about
56:14
Pinker I’m not going to I think that
56:16
when you count you know says err already
56:19
does a takedown of Pinker a long time in
56:23
in famiiy this is that what’s this is
56:29
our book I’m just blanking
56:31
well discourse on Colonials do you thank
56:34
you so uh so and discourse and
56:36
colonialism where he’s like you know you
56:37
count you tell us about the diseases
56:41
you’ve cured you tell us about the you
56:44
know the new food that we access from
56:46
Europe and yet what about the religion
56:49
you destroyed what about you know the
56:51
traditions you eliminated what about the
56:54
ways of life you laid waste to can you
56:57
count those you know so Pinker it’s just
57:01
like no it only matters if you can count
57:02
it dignity doesn’t count you can’t count
57:04
dignity so you’ll also find me
57:07
criticizing Pinker in recent years
57:09
Pinker is very as a Pinker has not all
57:12
to write himself but Pinker does have a
57:15
lot of all right fans if you look at
57:17
Pinker’s views about the IQ debate their
57:19
problem i mean
57:20
as you’ll find some stuff on Pinker
57:22
there um you know this idea of we have
57:26
to face you know we have to face the
57:28
facts of difference nature I mean I
57:31
think he’s right that you know I’m not
57:33
for banning discussions but the
57:35
fascination that he has with the IQ
57:37
debate is something that I think is kind
57:39
of worrisome so and I’m worried about
57:42
the sort of technocratic way of
57:44
measuring human value that said in any
57:47
country that had the civil rights
57:49
movement and I mean if I did had to do
57:52
the civil rights movement I definitely
57:53
would have done it in Vermont but they
57:55
chose like Alabama and Mississippi so
57:57
given that I feel quite safe in the
58:00
United States ultimately I feel
58:02
optimistic because this is a country
58:04
that did that so the labor movement you
58:09
know Jane Addams I just wanted to make
58:14
two brief comments one about giving
58:18
value to things and if we really just
58:21
take a quick scan of history going back
58:25
to as far as we can go back it seems
58:28
like human life does not have a lot of
58:30
value it in just that’s just a general
58:36
comment and if we look at capitalism and
58:42
the globalization of everything and all
58:46
these wars and like you said there’s two
58:49
wars going on Noma and I’ve said this to
58:51
myself why is no one talking about our
58:54
troops that we still have in Afghanistan
58:56
and Iraq and in these places then
58:59
they’re still getting blown to pieces
59:00
and I know because my first job out of
59:04
college I worked at the VA hospital in
59:06
the 70s when the guys were first coming
59:08
back from Vietnam so that’s just what I
59:13
want to say about the value of human
59:15
life now on a lighter side I would like
59:19
to say which you which you said about
59:23
Dubois and then you said about the new
59:27
push for Black Studies in colleges and
59:31
that it was going to replace Shakespeare
59:34
yeah yeah I know it’s just it’s just a
59:37
joke but I just wanted to play on that
59:40
because it from my experience and having
59:45
done like studies and everything else
59:50
there’s a lot of credit and study given
59:55
to Shakespeare people who write Ln Locke
59:59
Dubois a little bit too much yeah and
60:03
also I wanted to say that most of our
60:07
most appreciated african-american actors
60:12
studied Shakespeare to the hilt
60:16
you know the most excellent Shakespeare
60:21
no I mean I mean that God is ultimately
60:23
you know I mean the great Jeffrey
60:25
Stewart Alain Locke biography talks
60:28
about I mean Locke won the sort of
60:30
literary prize at Harvard for for
60:32
something on its hat on Irish Irish
60:35
poetry and he gave a talk in a black
60:37
church in Cambridge saying look the
60:40
Irish created the greatest were were
60:42
colonized and oppressed and their
60:44
revenge was to create the greatest
60:46
English language literature and poetry
60:48
and he’s obviously encouraging taking
60:51
that as a speaking Paul Dunlop I think
60:54
it was also electrode and Dunlop right
60:56
absolutely so right and of course Dubois
60:59
sort of takes that to extreme the
61:00
extreme with the talented tenth so I I
61:03
don’t mean to by the way Pinker is a
61:05
liberal Pinker and I have family
61:07
disputes ultimately he’s a technocratic
61:09
liberal of a certain kind I have family
61:11
disputes with him but he’s obviously
61:14
gent in some general sense on my side
61:18
what he’s all right he’s all tracked
61:23
know the alt are certain aspects of
61:25
Pinker that the alt-right pick up on
61:29
that you know the the stuff which is a
61:32
danger of the messaging so I’m not he’s
61:35
definitely not all right he’s it’s that
61:37
you got to be careful I mean one should
61:41
be sensitive to the messages that like
61:45
Pinker said recently
61:47
I think it was in Davos and a panel
61:50
where he said you know the alt-right are
61:52
really bright tech-savvy people who come
61:55
to college and realize there are certain
61:57
topics that you’re not allowed to talk
61:59
about and then they feel shocked and
62:02
then they become all trite that’s the
62:05
kind of I think that was an
62:06
irresponsible comment of course he’s on
62:08
my side but I just think that’s an
62:10
irresponsible comment of course that’s a
62:11
comment that makes some people you know
62:14
that he does not agree with it puts them
62:17
in so that’s that’s that’s that’s all
62:20
I’m saying ultimately we can’t have
62:22
these family disputes between different
62:24
stripes of liberals and so I don’t want
62:27
to do that though I do want to say I
62:29
don’t think that’s why people become
62:30
alright we are unfortunately out of time
62:36
for questions although if you want to
62:38
make a brief question make it really
62:40
quick them we can fit it in the question
62:46
is for you to elaborate maybe we don’t
62:48
have time for any more elaboration on
62:51
anti-intellectualism which was one of
62:53
the 10 I guess that you have and you
62:55
didn’t really say much about it and it’s
62:57
a case that I see certain parallels with
63:00
the sort of the were the Left
63:05
philosophies of I don’t know class
63:08
warfare and I mean I think it seems like
63:11
now was an anti-intellectual yeah many
63:14
respects yeah I mean I think I think
63:17
that I what you get in fascist ideology
63:23
is is like the straightforward fascist
63:28
ideology is about appealing to emotion
63:34
not that there’s some emotions can be
63:37
perfectly rational as Martha respond
63:38
others as many philosophers would tell
63:40
you but the idea is to cut off reasoning
63:44
by you know fear panic and and and just
63:47
and then just replace and show you and
63:50
then present yourself as like the
63:51
solution you got this very explicitly
63:54
discussing you know in in meine Kampf
63:56
Hitler talks about you know propaganda
63:58
should appeal to you know the least
64:00
educated
64:01
so you know the idea that it’s the least
64:03
educated your who’s your who your
64:06
audience or no talk you know essentially
64:08
that’s what you want to appeal to Bannen
64:10
said you know we want unlock her up
64:13
build a wall you know we won on that but
64:16
there’s a kind what why I talk about me
64:19
anti-intellectual chapter is this all
64:22
across the world right now we’re seeing
64:24
in these condo countries I discuss
64:26
attacks on universities for being
64:28
bastions of liberalism feminism European
64:33
University of st. Petersburg was closed
64:35
down because of gender studies Central
64:38
European University was was attacked
64:42
because they’re spreading liberalism so
64:45
this kind of thing when you find
64:46
universities harshly targeted as
64:48
bastions of leftism and you know now of
64:52
course sometimes they are not Yale but
64:55
the the yell is a great place it’s not
64:59
that but you know when you find this
65:03
hysteria about this area about communism
65:05
being being directed at universities and
65:10
the media you know and fanned now it
65:13
takes the form of Gender Studies panic
65:15
about Gender Studies because that’s just
65:18
like Masha Gessen is clear about that in
65:20
her 2017 book that Gender Studies just
65:24
seems to be and and you know Pat McCrory
65:26
in North Carolina did that he said we’re
65:29
not gonna have this tax governor in
65:30
North Carolina said they were not gonna
65:31
be taxpayers paying for gender studies
65:34
or Swahili so so the idea is is you know
65:41
so you target universities in your
65:43
politics now all authoritarians target
as you say target universities in our
politics because universities are places
where young people protest against older
people and so that’s gonna be something
65:56
that that as I get older I recognize the
65:59
wisdom of seeing that as a problem but
66:03
yeah thank you
66:05
[Applause]
66:20
you

The Nihilist in Chief

How our president and our mass shooters are connected to the same dark psychic forces.

What links Donald Trump to the men who massacred innocents in El Paso and Dayton this past weekend? Note that I said both men: the one with the white-nationalist manifesto and the one with some kind of atheist-socialist politics; the one whose ranting about a “Hispanic invasion” echoed Trump’s own rhetoric and the one who was anti-Trump and also apparently the lead singer in a “pornogrind” band.

Bringing up their differing worldviews can be a way for Trump-supporting or anti-anti-Trump conservatives to diminish or dismiss the president’s connection to these shootings. That’s not what I’m doing. I think Trump is deeply connected to what happened last weekend, deeply connected to both massacres. Not because his immigration rhetoric drove the El Paso shooter to mass murder in some direct and simple way; life and radicalism and violence are all more complicated than that. But because Trump participates in the general cultural miasma that generates mass shooters, and having a participant as president makes the problem worse.

The president’s bigoted rhetoric is obviously part of this. Marianne Williamson put it best, in the last Democratic debate: There really is a dark psychic force generated by Trump’s political approach, which from its birther beginnings has consistently encouraged and fed on a fevered and paranoid form of right-wing politics, and dissolved quarantines around toxic and dehumanizing ideas. And the possibility that Trump’s zest for demonization can feed a demonic element in the wider culture is something the many religious people who voted for the president should be especially willing to consider.

But the connection between the president and the young men with guns extends beyond Trump’s race-baiting to encompass a more essential feature of his public self — which is not the rhetoric or ideology that he deploys, but the obvious moral vacuum, the profound spiritual black hole, that lies beneath his persona and career.

Here I would dissent, mildly, from the desire to tell a mostly ideological story in the aftermath of El Paso, and declare war on “white nationalism” — a war the left wants because it has decided that all conservatism can be reduced to white supremacy, and the right wants as a way of rebutting and rejecting that reductionism.

By all means disable 8Chan and give the F.B.I. new marching orders; by all means condemn racism more vigorously than this compromised president can do. But recognize we’re dealing with a pattern of mass shootings, encompassing both the weekend’s horrors, where the personal commonalities between the shooters are clearly more important than the political ones. Which suggests that the white nationalism of internet failsons is like the allegiance to an imaginary caliphate that motivated the terrorists whose depredations helped get Trump elected in the first place. It’s often just a carapace, a flag of convenience, a performance for the vast TV-and-online audience that now attends these grisly spectacles, with a malignant narcissism and nihilism underneath.

And this is what really links Trump to all these empty male killers, white nationalists and pornogrind singers alike. Like them he is a creature of our late-modern anti-culture, our internet-accelerated dissolution of normal human bonds. Like them he plainly believes in nothing but his ego, his vanity, his sense of spite and grievance, and the self he sees reflected in the mirror of television, mass media, online.

Because he is rich and famous and powerful, he can get that attention with a tweet about his enemies, and then experience the rush of a cable-news segment about him. He doesn’t need to plot some great crime to lead the news; he just has to run for president. But having him as president — having him as a political exemplar for his party, and a cultural exemplar of manhood for his supporters and opponents both — is a constant ratification of the idea that we exist as celebrities or influencers or we don’t exist at all, and that our common life is essentially a form of reality television where it doesn’t matter if you’re the heel or hero so long as you’re the star.

One recurring question taken up in this column is whether something good might come out of the Trump era. I keep returning to this issue because unlike many conservatives who opposed him in 2016, I actually agree with, or am sympathetic toward, versions of ideas that Trump has championed — the idea of a

  • more populist and worker-friendly conservative economics, the idea of a
  • foreign policy with a more realpolitik and anti-interventionist spirit, the idea that
  • decelerating low-skilled immigration would benefit the common good, the idea that
  • our meritocratic, faux-cosmopolitan elite has badly misgoverned the republic.

But to take this view, and to reject the liberal claim that any adaptation to populism only does the devil’s work, imposes a special obligation to recognize the profound emptiness at the heart of Trump himself. It’s not as if you could carve away his race-baiting and discover a healthier populism instead, or analyze him the way you might analyze his more complex antecedents, a Richard Nixon or a Ross Perot. To analyze Trump is to discover only bottomless appetite and need, and to carve at him is like carving at an online troll: The only thing to discover is the void.

So in trying to construct a new conservatism on the ideological outline of Trumpism, you have to be aware that you’re building around a sinkhole and that your building might fall in.

The same goes for any conservative response to the specific riddle of mass shootings. Cultural conservatives get a lot of grief when they respond to these massacres by citing moral and spiritual issues, rather than leaping straight to gun policy (or in this case, racist ideology). But to look at the trend in these massacres, the spikes of narcissistic acting-out in a time of generally-declining violence, the shared bravado and nihilism driving shooters of many different ideological persuasions, is to necessarily encounter a moral and spiritual problem, not just a technocratic one.

But the dilemma that conservatives have to confront is that you can chase this cultural problem all the way down to its source in lonely egomania and alienated narcissism, and you’ll still find Donald Trump’s face staring back to you.

What Are Conservatives Actually Debating?

What the strange war over “David French-ism” says about the right.

In March the religious journal First Things published a short manifesto, signed by a group of notable conservative writers and academics, titled “Against the Dead Consensus.” The consensus that the manifesto came to bury belonged to conservatism as it existed between the time of William F. Buckley Jr. and the rise of Donald Trump: An ideology that packaged limited government, free markets, a hawkish foreign policy and cultural conservatism together, and that assumed that business interests and religious conservatives and ambitious American-empire builders belonged naturally to the same coalition.

This consensus was never as stable as retrospective political storytelling might suggest; even successful Republican politicians inevitably left many of its factions sorely disappointed, while conservative intellectuals and activists feuded viciously with one another and constantly discerned crises and crackups for their movement. But the crisis revealed or created (depending on your perspective) by our own age of populism seems more severe, the stresses on the different factions more serious, and it is just possible that the longstanding conservative fusion might be as dead as the First Things signatories argued.

Among them was Sohrab Ahmari, the op-ed editor at The New York Post, whose public career embodies some of those shifts and stresses: An immigrant whose family fled the Islamic Republic of Iran, he began his career on the right as an ex-Marxist secular neoconservative at The Wall Street Journal editorial page and has since become a traditionally inclined Catholic (a journey detailed in his striking memoir, “From Fire, By Water”) and also more Trump-friendly and populist into the bargain.

In the last week Ahmari has roiled the conservative intellectual world with a critique of something he calls David French-ism, after David French of National Review, another prominent conservative writer. This controversy, like the debate over Tucker Carlson and capitalism earlier this year, has been a full-employment bill for conservative pundits. But it probably seems impossibly opaque from the outside, since superficially Ahmari and French belong to the same faction on the right — both religious conservatives, both strongly anti-abortion, both deeply engaged in battles over religious liberty (where French is a longtime litigator). Indeed it is somewhat opaque even from the inside, prompting conservatives engaging with the dispute to wonder, “What are we debating?”

I’m going to try to answer that question here. We’ll see how it goes.

Basically the best way to understand the Ahmari-French split is in light of the old fusion, the old consensus, that the First Things manifesto attacked. French is a religious conservative who thinks that the pre-Trump conservative vision still makes sense. He thinks that his Christian faith and his pro-life convictions have a natural home in a basically libertarian coalition, one that wants to limit the federal government’s interventions in the marketplace and expects civil society to flourish once state power is removed. He thinks that believers and nonbelievers, secular liberals and conservative Christians, can coexist under a classical-liberal framework in which disputes are settled by persuasion rather than constant legal skirmishing, or else are left unsettled in a healthy pluralism. He is one of the few remaining conservatives willing to argue that the invasion of Iraq was just and necessary. And he opposes, now as well as yesterday, the bargain that the right struck with Donald Trump.

Ahmari, on the other hand, speaks for cultural conservatives who believe that the old conservative fusion mostly failed their part of the movement — winning victories for tax cutters and business interests while marriage rates declined, birthrates plummeted and religious affiliation waned; and appeasing social conservatives with judges who never actually got around to overturning Roe v. Wade. These conservatives believe that the current version of social liberalism has no interest in truces or pluralism and won’t rest till the last evangelical baker is fined into bankruptcy, the last Catholic hospital or adoption agency is closed by an A.C.L.U. lawsuit. They think that business interests have turned into agents of cultural revolution, making them poor allies for the right, and that the free trade and globalization championed by past Republican presidents has played some role in the dissolution of conservatism’s substrates — the family, the neighborhood, the local civitas. And they have warmed, quickly or slowly, to the politics-is-war style of the current president.

But what, specifically, do these conservatives want, besides a sense of thrill-in-combat that French’s irenic style denies them? I don’t think they are completely certain themselves; in a useful contribution to the Ahmari affair, R.R. Reno, the editor of First Things, describes their animating spirit as a feeling that something else is needed in American society besides just classical-liberal, limited-government commitments, without any certainty about what that something ought to be.

Still, you can see three broad demands at work in their arguments. First, they want social conservatives to exercise more explicit power within the conservative coalition.

This may sound like a strange idea, since, after all, it is social conservatism’s growing political weakness, its cultural retreat, that led the religious right to throw in with a cruel sybarite like Trump. But there’s a plausible argument that even with its broader influence reduced, religious conservatism should still wield more power than it does in Republican politics — that it outsources too much policy thinking to other factions, that it goes along with legislation written for business interests so long as the promised judicial appointments are dangled at the end, and that it generally acts like a junior partner even though it delivers far more votes.

Jared Kushner SPEECHLESS After Reporter’s Question

Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior
adviser Jared Kushner he did a lot of
defending the president on a lot of
different topics on an interview with
Axios on HBO so let’s get right into it
because I want to show you what happened
when Kushner is asked whether he has
seen Trump do anything racist or bigoted
take a look so for the answer is no
absolutely not
you can’t not be a racist for 69 years
then run for president be a racist and
what I’ll say is that when a lot of the
Democrats call the president a racist I
think they’re doing a disservice to
people who suffer because of real racism
in this country I’m so imagine you have
the same reaction everyone else did
watching that luckily Jonathan Swan the
interviewer in this he had a pretty good
follow-up take a look was birtherism
racist um look I wasn’t really involved
in that I know you wouldn’t mm-hmm was
it racist like I said I wasn’t involved
in that I know you won mm-hmm was it
racist um look I know who the president
is and I have not seen anything in him
that is racist so again I was not
involved in that did you wish he didn’t
do that like I said I was not involved
in that that was a long time ago all
right so that’s his answer to the
follow-up I forget who did it my name is
John King who was like there was a
normal interview going on and then right
after this series of questions began
Jared forgot how to speak like how to
speak in complete sentences so hard to
lie I mean it is obviously affecting him
Jared who I didn’t think was capable of
human emotions I’m not sure I thought he
was capable of hunger maybe thirst okay
fear okay I guess that might have been
the driving factor there but like that I
just break down every single thing about
what happened there first he says that
the president was not racist for 69
years nice or however long it was right
and then suddenly is racist right but
but he has been raised
refusing to cop to that so was that
racist I wasn’t a part of this nobody
asked you you just claimed to know
everything about this man for the past
69 years yeah so were you there were you
now every single day absolutely he’s
that kind of guy and then he says it
does a disservice to people who have
suffered from actual racism which is
like an attempt at the kind of arguments
that conservatives try to make in order
to just confuse people it’s like using a
triple negative they’re just like I have
no idea what you’re saying
right but you seemed confident as you
said it but when you want to talk about
people who were actual victims of racism
how about all the people that weren’t
allowed to move into Trump buildings
because he had racist tenant policies
absolutely ridiculous I guess I don’t
know how else his son-in-law is supposed
to answer a yes or no question that
everyone knows but we have video proof
there are federal documents from of what
you’re talking about there’s a full-page
ad in The New York Times in 1989 like we
have actual proof of his racism there’s
a video of him on the campaign trail you
know so there’s actual proof but I guess
I can’t imagine his son-in-law answering
it but any other way wouldn’t it be
great if Jared was like yes thank you
finally yes he’s so racist right exactly
and then he went to dinner with George
Conway
it’s just with that relationship I
wonder how Trump can be okay with his
daughter marrying such a wiener such
like a limp wiener like that’s what it
is and the answer is probably uh he’s
from a big real estate family who did
better than mine but he’s never gonna
challenge me as the dominant figure in
my daughter’s life
great that’s I think this is the first
time I’ve really been able to figure out
what that relationship is like and all
his confidence in Jared Jared might just
be like an okay project manager but
never anything else and what we’ve seen
over and over again is that you’re okay
until you’re not he would Trump yeah so
who knows what the future holds
yeah I don’t know but I wouldn’t skip
ahead a little bit and talk about Russia
okay okay because uh he was also asked
about that infamous Rush
meeting and like just you know straight
up a flick why didn’t you report this to
the FBI why did you go why and there was
a bit of a back-and-forth it’s a I want
to show you here so the question from
swan is does it not set off some alarm
bells when you see an email that the
Russian government wants to help the
campaign Kushner says the email I got on
my iPhone said show up at 4:00 I didn’t
scroll down so on reminds him that it
had Russia in the subject line and then
still no copping to the reality of the
situation is right there you knew what
the meeting was gonna be about and so we
asked him if this happened again would
you report it to the FBI take a look at
his answer call the FBI happen again I
don’t know it’s hard to do hypotheticals
but the the reality is is that we were
not given anything that was salacious
this wouldn’t be hard for me to do
hypotheticals that is any precise
hypothetical where you say yes I would
because you’re hiding behind this
concept that you don’t know the rules
right and you’re just new to this but
the hypothetical answer should be I
would report it to the FBI it’s the
easiest thing to do unless you
consistently do get invites like this
and just don’t want to cop to that fact
right you’re right like you know that
it’ll happen again and you you know that
you won’t report it to the FBI otherwise
like I don’t see how this isn’t saying
yes immediately isn’t a good look for
the administration say yes of course we
would because we didn’t know what was
going on we had nothing to do with that
so of course we would but he doesn’t
want to answer any questions whatsoever
pursue I mean I just that moment when
they asked about the racism
yeah just like what what would you do
what I was not involved in that so you
you can’t make an assessment of
birtherism or any racist act whether it
was racist whether you wanted it to
happen whether you endorsed it because
you weren’t involved in it first of all
that’s like the tacit acknowledgement
and crappiness that allows racism to
persist because people aren’t able to
just say oh no that was bad it was
absolutely races it was absolution
absolutely racially motivated and and he
should just cop to that
thank you for watching this clip from
the damage report for more content from
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Trump’s ‘Legitimacy Complex’ At Risk Over NYT Reporting On Financial Losses | Deadline | MSNBC

Trump in
many ways built his career by suggesting
that the life story of his political
nemesis Barack Obama was a fraud it was
the birther stuff it was Trump
suggesting Obama had gotten affirmative
action to get into Harvard I mean there
is a parallel here to Trump’s life story
is now thanks to your colleagues great
reporting known to have been a fraud and
I think that this is one thing that you
hear from people talking about the Trump
campaign and what it will look like they
say a lot of stuff with Donald Trump is
baked in his view the way he speaks
about women this it’s not gonna change
voters they know who he is and they
accept who his supporters accept it they
like what he’s done in the economy and
and they they’ll overlook it but stories
like this that delve deep into his
background mean that you know you think
you know who Donald Trump is and it
turns out that you don’t exactly know
who Donald Trump is that it’s different
and the question is will this actually
change that baked-in stuff so they say
maybe I don’t know who this is
in terms of not paying taxes for a out
of those ten years I don’t know I mean
I’ve heard in the past when we heard he
didn’t pay taxes there was supported his
said it makes him look smart that he got
to beat the system
another another version of this though
as a candidate is now he is the system
he is the establishment so that’s
another problem for him running as the
establishment candidate not the guy who
rails against the establishment that he
was able to beat as a
a businessman but we’ll see how it
affects how it affects voters views of
him of who they think they know and
interesting last one here I mean Donald
Trump’s force we can always tell when
he’s been caught doing something and
even he knows this true he’s pushed back
to your colleagues reporting wasn’t that
it was inaccurate it was I’m so smart
I’m so smart I wrote these off so you’re
right the story goes on

Stone-Cold Loser

Roger Stone has always lived in a dog-eat-dog world.

So it was apt that he was charged with skulduggery in part for threatening to kidnap a therapy dog, a fluffy, sweet-faced Coton de Tuléar, belonging to Randy Credico, a New York radio host.

Robert Mueller believes that Credico, a pal of Julian Assange, served as an intermediary with WikiLeaks for Stone. Mueller’s indictment charges that Stone called Credico “a rat” and “a stoolie” because he believed that the radio host was not going to back up what the special counsel says is Stone’s false story about contacts with WikiLeaks, which disseminated Russia’s hacked emails from the D.N.C. and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Stone emailed Credico that he would “take that dog away from you,” the indictment says, later adding: “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die (expletive).”

As the owner of two Yorkies, Stone clearly knows how scary it is when a beloved dog is in harm’s way. When he emerged from court on Friday, he immediately complained that F.B.I. agents had “terrorized” his dogs when they came to arrest him at dawn at his home in Fort Lauderdale.

.. Always bespoke and natty, living by the mantra that it’s better to be infamous than never famous, Stone looked strangely unadorned as he came out of court to meet the press in a navy polo shirt and bluejeans.

He has always said Florida suited him because “it was a sunny place for shady people,” borrowing a Somerset Maugham line. But now the cat’s cradle of lies and dirty tricks had tripped up the putative dognapper. And it went down on the very same day that Paul Manafort — his former associate in a seamy lobbying firm with rancid dictators as clients, and then later his pal in the seamy campaign of Donald Trump — was also in federal court on charges related to the Mueller probe. Manafort’s hair is now almost completely white.

.. One of Stone’s rules — along with soaking his martini olives in vermouth and never wearing a double-breasted suit with a button-down collar — is “Deny, deny, deny.” But his arrest for lying, obstructing and witness tampering raised the inevitable question about his on-and-off friend in the White House, the man who is the last jigsaw-puzzle piece in the investigation of Trumpworld’s alleged coordination with Russia: Is being Donald Trump finally about to catch up with Donald Trump?

Stone, who famously has Nixon’s face tattooed on his back, is the agent provocateur who is the through line from Nixon, and his impeachment, to Trump, and his possible impeachment.

Key Mueller Witness: I Lied And I’m Ready To Die In Jail | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

In a blockbuster interview, key Mueller witness and Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi admits to MSNBC’s Ari Melber that he lied to Congress, that he tried to get stolen Clinton emails back to the Trump campaign in 2016, that he “absolutely” intended to help the Trump campaign by doing so, that he told Roger Stone about John Podesta’s emails and that his lawyers are still communicating with Trump’s legal team “as if” there is a joint legal defense. Ari Melber also presses Corsi on being a leader of the “birther movement” which Ari describes as a “total and complete lie” and asks him whether he is auditioning for a Trump pardon by bringing the subject of pardons up during the interview.