The President of Our Dreams

Had it been not for such a deep crisis in the American political system and its so dramatic polarization (which began during Bill Clinton’s presidency and kept increasing ever since), the U.S. policy and priorities could have been adjusted in a much calmer way and by not so extravagant a person.

.. Interestingly, political adventurism, which reached its peak during George W. Bush’s presidency, did not cause such a strong outburst of isolationist sentiments.

.. But the financial crisis of 2008 and its consequences noticeably radicalized the social and political atmosphere.

.. there came a man who talks not about leadership but greatness. Greatness, as he understands it, is the ability to become an example of success for everyone to follow (very much consonant with the Founding Fathers’ idea), without forcing anything upon anyone and putting on a show of force only when it is necessary for specific U.S. national interests.

.. total domination of the liberal-globalist approach was not a norm but an exception, a product of a unique situation that had accidentally developed after the end of the 20th century.

.. Trump is an American nationalist, inclined towards mercantilism in the economy and a strong-arm approach in politics. This is nothing new if one turns the page and admits the fact that the liberal era is over for the time being. Russia actually wanted to see such a president in the United States, not Trump personally but his type, understandable and not overly disposed towards political correctness. The dream has come true. We shall see how it will actually materialize.

Mark Bauerlein Talks to Kelefa Sanneh About the Intellectual Case for Trump

Mark Bauerlein is an unlikely Donald Trump supporter: a socially conservative Catholic intellectual who grew up idolizing Martin Luther King, Jr. He once blogged about his distress at people cursing in public. Bauerlein believes in standards. But, as an English professor at Emory University, he became so concerned about what he sees as the oppressiveness of political correctness that he came to celebrate Trump’s violation of taboos—no matter how cringe-worthy. For Bauerlein, Trump is a figure out of Hegel, a “world-historical figure” who arises at the right time to bring about a necessary change in society.

The right has its own version of political correctness. It’s just as stifling.

President-elect Donald Trump has not been shy about the “big problem in this country”: political correctness.

.. But conservatives have their own, nationalist version of PC, their own set of rules regulating speech, behavior and acceptable opinions. I call it “patriotic correctness.” It’s a full-throated, un-nuanced, uncompromising defense of American nationalism, history and cherry-picked ideals. Central to its thesis is the belief that nothing in America can’t be fixed by more patriotism enforced by public shaming, boycotts and policies to cut out foreign and non-American influences.

.. For example, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the run-up to the Iraq War, David Frum labeled dissenters as anti-American.

.. Conservative gadfly Robert “Buzz” Patterson went further, calling much of the Democratic Party, Hollywood, big media, college campuses and many other organizations “traitors.” The French government’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq prompted Congress to rename French fries as “freedom fries” in congressional cafeterias, a 21st-century liberty cabbage. When the Dixie Chicks opposed the Iraq War, many stations pulled the group’s music from the air so as not to “trigger” listeners. Fans destroyed Dixie Chicks albums in grotesque public demonstrations. The radio became a safe space.

.. Tomi Lahren, host of “Final Thoughts,” gave an incoherent rant about soldiers dying for Kaepernick’s right to speak so, therefore, he should shut up and stand for the national anthem.

.. Believing in American exceptionalism means that anything less than chest-thumping jingoism is capitulation.

.. One of the biggest critics of patriotic correctness is National Review writer Jim Geraghty. He responded to outrage over Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba, speaking Spanish at home by writing, “What business is it of yours?” and said there is “something bafflingly insecure about our culture if we genuinely feel threatened by foreign languages spoken in the private sphere of the family home.”

.. Black Lives Matter is racist because it implies that black lives are more important than other lives, but Blue Lives Matter doesn’t imply that cops’ lives are more important than the rest of ours.

.. Transgender people could access women’s restrooms for perverted purposes, but Donald Trump walking in on nude underage girls in dressing rooms before a beauty pageant is just “media bias.”

Trump’s Fake News

Indeed, confusion is such a predictable result that we might describe it as Trump’s purpose.

But why would the President-elect deliberately confuse us?

Perhaps what we see in Trump is the full flowering of an attitude of cynical nihilism, which some say is part of the zeitgeist of our time in the decadent West.  Within this worldview, there is no such thing as truth or facts; there are only personalities, subjectivities, endless spin.  Megan Garber’s fine essay, “The Image in the Age of Pseudo-Reality,” illustrates this point of view with her comparison of Donald Trump with P.T. Barnum.

.. “An African-American laborer realizes that he has much more in common with a ‘white male’ laborer than with a privileged liberal smugly reasoning about the need for political correctness. A single mother fighting for survival understands how alien are the interests and the views of a feminist who distributes multimillion gender related grants among her friends and clients.”