Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Donald Trump is dangerous, which is why he winning

Donald Trump has taken another important step toward the presidency: He has manhandled a reporter. This, say the media analysts, will push him up further in the polls. And, you know, they are probably right.

But why?

Why will Donald Trump gain even greater support for throwing a reporter out of a press conference? The first reason, of course, is that people―particularly conservatives―don't have a very high regard for the media: Knocking heads among the press corps is always going to go down well on the right.

But that's not the real reason.

The real reason is that Trump isn't afraid act like something that isn't very popular any more among the Cultural Authorities and which is fast becoming an endangered species: A full-fledged, authentic, red-blooded male.

Donald Trump stands out in the sea of effeminacy that has swept over the culture like a tsunami.

This is not to say I like Trump. He's an autocratic kook and anything but a conservative and I dearly hope he doesn't win the Republican nomination even though it is looking more and more like he will. But as he continues to rise in popularity, we have to articulate what it is about him that is attractive to voters, and his ability to project authority is one of his chief attributes.

In yesterday's press conference, he simply asserted control. And people are starting to ask themselves, "Wouldn't it be nice if we had a president who asserted the authority of the United States like this?" And it's not an irrelevant question.

If you are a modern political candidate, the first thing your handlers are going to tell you is to look into the camera and smile. Keep smiling and don't stop. Be nice. When someone says something you disagree with, always be careful to make sure your audience knows that you sympathize with your opponent's position, and explain why you disagree. Play it safe.

It's all nonsense, of course, but that's what they'll tell you.

And since every politician listens to this advice, you rarely ever see a candidate who actually stands up for what he believes and is willing to tell it like it is and to face down someone who he thinks is wrong. They all play it safe. Just look at the marriage issue. You would have thought there had been a free emasculation clinic at every capitol building in the country.

Time and time again, so-called conservative leaders have wimped out on positions the defense of which required only a little masculine equipment.

That's not to say that woman can't do the same thing. There is an old story about the Battle of Salamis when the Persia King Darius, watching his navy being defeated by the Greeks, one of whose ships was being commanded by a woman, said, "Their women fight like men, and our men fight like women."

There are a few of those out there. Carly Fiorina has more testosterone (figuratively speaking) than 90 percent of conservative politicians.

We have all been convinced that effeminacy is a political virtue. But, I'm sorry, it isn't. People think that you can't stand up to the PC Authorities, but you can. Trump's doing it, and that's one of the reasons he is winning. People (particularly conservatives) want someone who will push back against the PC schoolmarms and, generally speaking, they're not getting it. They're too busy playing it safe.

It is one more way in which Trump is the creation of the modern conservative movement: He has picked up all the things the Republican Party has abandoned and because of this is thriving. He is an affront to the Republican establishment that has emasculated the party and who deserve the plague on their house that Trump is now administering.

Now there are two kinds of people who I'm sure bridle when they hear someone say something like what I said above. The first is the PC crowd that has convinced itself that gender is culturally constructed and (when they're not saying that homosexuality is inborn) spend their time talking about "gender fluidity" and think that "traditional gender roles" are harmful if not outright evil, and who think that anyone who espouses them or uses the term "masculinity" in a positive way is behind the times and in need of sensitivity training.

If you are one of these people then I think you need to get in touch with reality. Stop getting your orientation on reality from "The View." Stop taking everything Hollywood tells you at face value: The celebrity culture has little to offer in the way of expertise in biology―or for that matter in the nature of reality in general. Bruce Jenner is not a woman just because he thinks so any more than Rachel Dolezal is Black because she thinks so. The fifty-some gender categories on Facebook are nothing more than the product of the overactive imagination of someone in marketing and have no basis in reality.

Trust me on this.

The second kind of person who will have problems with this analysis are some of my Christian friends who have pared down the virtues to what Peter Kreeft has called the "soft" virtues. Jesus was just the first century version of Mr. Rogers. Just ignore what he said about the Pharisees and particularly that part where he throws them out of the Temple.

It's an interpolation.

Seriously, the lack of fortitude shown by religious leaders on the marriage issue in particular was an embarrassment. Some day we're going to tell our grandchildren made-up stories about our heroics in fighting what will undoubtedly be seen by future generations as preposterous because we will be so ashamed of what wusses we really were.

To say that the Biblical model of masculinity is some milquetoast ideal is just false. Go read the text: It isn't there. The Old Testament patriarchs were studs, and Jesus was no wilting flower. "Instead of looking at books and pictures about the New Testament," said Chesterton,
I looked at the New Testament. There I found an account, not in the least of a person with his hair parted in the middle or his hands clasped in appeal, but of an extraordinary being with lips of thunder and acts of lurid decision, flinging down tables, casting out devils, passing with the wild secrecy of the wind from mountain isolation to a sort of dreadful demagogy; a being who often acted like an angry god--and always like a god.
And while you're reviewing your Scriptures, make sure to check out I Corinthians 6:9, where the Apostle Paul (talk about someone in serious need of sensitivity training) not only condemns homosexuality, but effeminacy.


In fact, I think this is part of the appeal of the New Atheism. It has a macho appeal. You pick up a copy of a Sam Harris book and there he is in his John Galt pose―steely, square-jawed, and determined. Of course then you read the actual book and realize he's just blowing smoke. Nevertheless, the idea of hard-headed rationalist has a masculine appeal.

The aggravating factor here is that most politicians aren't very smart. It's kind of hard to defend your position when you don't do it very well. Most people just don't want to look stupid, and since many conservative leaders have simply not taken the trouble to learn how to articulate their own conservatism, they just wimp out.

I have seen this over and over on the state level: Legislators are hesitant to fight on issues they know they will be pressed on because they just aren't versed on them, largely because they're intellectually lazy. The only ones willing to do it are other legislators who are equally ill-versed, but who are willing to stand up for what they think is right even though they know they might not look to intelligent doing it. That takes some courage if you think about it.

This is Trump's secret: He's willing to look stupid―and to be candid, he often does. But he says what he says with such bravado that it really doesn't matter. It's what separates those with cojones from those without them. He just goes for it, and people like it.

This was always the source of Chris Christie's popularity. He was willing to exercise the masculine virtues and people loved him for it.

This is a country that cut its teeth conquering the West. This generation couldn't conquer anything. We are a culture in which there are more people who get hurt trying to open safety packaging than doing anything particularly challenging.

This is why there is probably no stopping Trump. It's unfortunate, but it's true. All other candidates are safe. America wants someone who is dangerous. And they may just get it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

More New Atheist Follies: P. Z. Myers tries to take on C. S. Lewis and the result is not pretty

Once again, the New Atheists have approached the black monolith of a philosophical argument, scratched their heads in mystification, and started jumping around in irritation. But unlike the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, they have come away from the experience completely unenlightened, the only benefit being that they got a little exercise.

This happens repeatedly: Some atheist scientist who's been fussing around with his Bunsen burner and test tube walks out of the laboratory and tries his hand at philosophy, thinking that the skills he acquired taking his biology degree somehow transfer over into the kind of conceptual analysis required in philosophy. Lawrence Krauss and Jerry Coyne are constantly embarrassing themselves by doing this.

This time it is P. Z. Myers, trying to make sense of C. S. Lewis' "Argument from Self-Destruction" (as it is termed by the Encylopedia of Philosophy). The argument is designed to show that the materialist position is self-defeating: If materialism is held to be true metaphysically, then it is false in reality.

Here is Lewis' statement, taken out of the context, of course, of the chapter in his book Miracles in which it appears, nevertheless sufficient:
Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.
Myers' response? "Then how could he write down such illogical inanity as this?" So we expect to hear some logically coherent response to it from the cocky Myers. Addressing the first three sentences, he says:
See, there’s his problem. Brains didn’t just happen. They aren’t merely some peculiar arrangement of atoms. They have a long contingent history in which they were shaped by selection to have particular properties that allowed bearers of slightly more functional nervous systems to outlive, outbreed bearers of cruder brains. An absence of a designer does not imply that the only other alternative is random chaos.
Myers apparently considers this a cogent response. Now first of all, how does it refute what Lewis says―that the brain is a mere arrangement of atoms―to say that the arrangement of atoms has a history? Of course arrangements of atoms have a history. Lewis doesn't deny it, in fact his whole point in this section of his book is that the materialist position is that any brain state is simply the effect of prior physical causes. Exactly why Myers thinks this is somehow in conflict with what Lewis is saying is a mystery. And why does he think the statement that brains are merely peculiar arrangements of atoms is inconsistent with those atoms having a history?

This is typical of New Atheist arguments: They just repeat some Just So story about how something came about and think that constitutes an explanation. In this case, it wouldn't matter if it did: It still doesn't address Lewis' point.

So, after jumping around in irritation at the first part and beating his hands on the ground, he tries to take on the second part:
First, you can’t trust your thinking to be true. You have to test and verify all the time. You can believe in thought without believing in gods: we all build empirical models of how the world works and test them constantly. From an early age, we noticed that when we dropped things they fell to the ground; when we learned to walk we stumbled and learned that we can fall to the ground, and it hurts; we learned that when we fell off the table it hurt a lot more than when we fell while standing on the ground. And now, when I look out my second floor window, I know jumping out of it would probably do me significant damage, despite never having actually tried it. 
Most of what we believe isn’t derived from the pure and perfect reasoning power of our flawless brains—it’s learned by trial and error by brains that are often afflicted with stubbornly bad ideas.
I'm sorry, but this response is so utterly bone-headed it's hard not to just dismiss it and go on the next bone-headed New Atheist pronouncement and the next one, ad infinitum. He literally doesn't understand what Lewis is saying.

Myers apparently thinks Lewis is trying to prove the existence of God with this argument, which, of course, he clearly is not. He's trying to show that the whole concept of truth―whether it's the truth of the position that God exists or the truth of the position that "you can't trust your thinking to be true"―is impossible on the materialist account of reality.

If your brain is merely an arrangement of atoms, then what can "truth" possibly mean? On what basis do we call one arrangement of atoms "true" and another "false"? The only basis on which we could privilege one over the other is if there is something above and beyond arrangements of atoms. But materialists don't believe in anything beyond arrangements of atoms―at least not if they're consistent materialists (there is another question).

The only atheists consistent on this point are the Platonist ones, like Bertrand Russell, who basically have to posit metaphysical entities. If there is such a thing as "truth," then it is metaphysical. But materialism denies the metaphysical. Therefore nothing, not even materialism can be "true."

That's why it's been called the "Argument from Self-Destruction": It's a description of how materialism defeats itself. It has nothing to do with proving God. You have to actually understand what somebody is saying in order to even argue against them. And Myer's doesn't even get that far.

I suggest he stick with arguing against thinkers more on his philosophical level, like Ken Ham. With Lewis, he's completely out of his water.

"Another fifty livers a week": More Planned Parenthood outrages

I wonder if they had to go to this much trouble getting people worked up over Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
The Center for Medical Progress video that StemExpress tried to stop with a court order went up on YouTube overnight — or perhaps more accurately, one of the videos. The undercover investigation catches StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer describing their now-former partner, Planned Parenthood, as “a volume institution,” but insufficient for their needs. They need “another 50 livers a week” to meet their demand for fetal tissue.
Read more here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Great Political Twitch: Donald Trump and New Politics of Nihilism

Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark in "All the King's Men."
Rod Dreher at the American Conservative, mentioned that Donald Trump reminded him of Huey Long, the populist demagogue who served as governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932. This was amusing to me, since I had just finished Robert Penn Warren's All the Kings Men, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book that portrayed the political life of Willie Stark, a thinly disguised version of Long, from the perspective of the fictional Jack Burden, one of his close aides.

Dreher, partly because he is perspicacious, and partly because he is a Louisianan, saw in Long what I had seen when reading through the novel of Willie Stark―an inverted analogue of Trump.

In Warren's novel, Stark, a country boy and self-professed "hick," rises from mean circumstances to being a candidate for governor. But he suffers from the idea that the best way to reach the voters is intellectually, giving them arguments, facts, and figures. Politics to him is a cognitive enterprise, to be conducted by capturing people's intellects.

His aide Burden watches the bored crowds, listening to Stark in a numbed stupor.

One day, after giving another fact-filled speech, Stark asks Burden what he thinks of his speech and how things are going, and Burden gives him this advice:
"Yeah," I said, "I heard the speech. But they don't give a damn about that. Hell, make 'em cry, make 'em laugh, make 'em think you're their weak, erring pall, or make 'em think you're God Almighty. Or make 'em mad. Even mad at you. Just stir 'em up, it doesn't matter how or why, and they'll love you and come back for more. Pinch 'em in the soft place. They aren't alive, most of 'em, and haven't been alive in twenty  years. Hell, their wives have lost their teeth and their shape, and likker won't set on their stomachs, and they don't believe in God, so it's up to you to tive 'em something to stir 'em up and make 'em feel alive again. Just for half an hour. That's what they come for. Tell 'em anything. But or Sweet Jesus' sake don't try to improve their minds.
One night, after a shell-shocked Burden finds out that his childhood sweetheart is having an affair with Stark, he gets in his car and drives west―through darkness and drizzle, ending up on his back in a hotel in Long Beach, California. He relives the events of his life and his childhood with the girl he loved, who, he now decides, was really no better than any other girl, and his love for her no more significant than any other feeling. There is not even any "better" or "worse" in the total scheme of a world that has no metaphysical order. Nothing, in fact, means anything:
...for names meant nothing and all the words we speak meant nothing, and there was only the pulse in the blood and the twitch of the nerve, like a dead frog's leg in the experiment when the electric current goes through.
Jack has discovered nihilism, or at least he has given its god a name: He calls it the "Great Twitch." Jack has really been a nihilist all along. His advice to Willie about how to give political speeches was nihilist advice: Apply some electric current to the voters, and they will feel alive again, or, like the frog, they will at least look like it.

Willie takes his advice, and in one of the most powerful scenes in the book, Stark ditches his facts and figures, and administers the electric shock therapy, telling the crowd that he's just like them, that he's angry with the establishment that plays people for fools, that he's going to stand for them against the powers that be. His speech ends with Willie's pages of facts and figures blowing away in the wind.

The change in tactics results in Stark's rapid ascent to power. His fiery populist rhetoric serves to give life to the lifeless who come to hear him.

Another Louisiana writer, Walker Percy, honed in on the nihilistic culture and the lifeless men and women who people it. Percy lived before the popularity of the zombie craze, but he would have seen in it the very image of modern men. The wise men of the twentieth century―Percy, John Updike, Phillip Roth, Flannery O'Connor (an honorary wise man), as well as early twentieth century existentialists such as Albert Camus―sent the dispatches home to tell us what we were: bored, purposeless, and dis-integrated

We spent most of the 20th century trying to fill the inner void, and developed entire industries to serve the purpose: the resort industry, the pornography industry, Hollywood.

In his classic "self help" book, Lost in the Cosmos, Percy noted that,
[b]ecause the self in the twentieth century is a voracious nought which expands like the feeding vacuole of an amoeba seeking to nourish and inform its own nothingness by ingesting new objects in the world but, like a vacuole, only succeeds in emptying it out.
Camus underscored the meaninglessness and absurdity of the modern condition when he opened his book The Myth of Sisyphus with these words: "There is but one truly philosophical problem, and that is suicide ... I have ever seen anyone die for the ontological argument ... On the other hand, I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living." There are plenty of people who commit suicide, of course, far more than in the previous ages that believed in God and recognized the existence of an ordered and meaningful world, but rather than commit suicide, most of us try to find various ways to pinch ourselves to assure us we're still here.

This is why Merseault, the protagonist in Camus' The Stranger, kills the Arab on the beach: "Because," he tells the judge, "of the sun." In other words, there is no reason. But it at least provides something to relieve the boredom of life.

The Great Twitch is in his nihilistic heaven and we humans here on earth go to ever more fantastic movies, or ever more extreme sports (note, despite the otherwise obsessive concern with safety in everything, the popularity of cage fighting), or watch pornography, or obsess about the climate, or join ISIS―anything to jolt ourselves alive.

But it never seems to last. Percy pointed to modern fashion as an example of how we try to fill up the emptiness, but never seem to be able to:
Gradually the new style becomes everyday, quotidian, rendered neutral. No matter how exotic it is, like a morsel to which an amoeba is attracted and which it surrounds and takes into itself, it is devoured and becomes part of the transparent flowing substance of the amoeba.
The empty utilitarianism of our education system, the cynicism of the political class, the self-righteousness of new politically correct commissars of gender and racial politics, all of these have helped create a society of people who aren't even alive, most of 'em, and who are seemingly in need of a pair of political or cultural jumper cables.

Hollywood feeds off of this need, and since politics is now an almost wholly-owned subsidiary of the entertainment industry, so does politics.

Unlike Stark, Trump is no hick (No one with a private 757 is a hick). But he has realized that what the voters need is something to jolt them out of their stupor. The modern electorate is jaded, and only the most extreme measures can now revive them. Only something entirely different can relieve their boredom. And Trump is not only different, he is outrageously different.

Peter McWilliams once said that boredom is "hostility without enthusiasm." The voters have long harbored a latent hostility, but now Trump is providing the enthusiasm.

Between the alternatives of weak, erring pal and God Almighty, Trump has chosen to offer himself up as the latter. He's making 'em mad, even mad at himself, which is why he doesn't care if he makes outrageous statements about people. He even thinks, after all the things he has said about Mexicans, that he can get the Latino vote (Shades of Stark calling his audiences whose votes he was asking for, "hicks"). He's stirring 'em up, not caring how or why, and their loving it and coming back for more.

He'll tell 'em anything, and, unlike everyone else running for president, he is certainly not trying to improve their minds. Hand it to him: He's figured this much out.

Donald Trump is the anti-Adlai Stevenson. He is Robert Penn Warren's Willie Stark turned upside-down.

But like all such jolts, it only last so long. Even the Greatest Twitches soon subside. The question is, how long will it take Trump to be taken into the nihilist cultural ameoba and become part of our transparent flowing substance.

Personally, I'm hoping it happens before the election.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Catholic bishop prevent LGBT group from using church for meeting

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has prevented a pro-LGBT group from using St. John the Evangelist Church's parish center during the World Meeting of Families. Since when did the Church start limiting the use of its facilities to, like, things it actually supports?

Pretty soon the Church will start refusing the use of its facilities by Muslims, Hindus, and Wiccans. The ban could end up extending to atheists and pagans. Pro-abortion groups could be excluded, fortune-telling banned, and idols prohibited. Eventually, even child sacrifice could be disallowed.

Oh, wait. We already mentioned abortion, didn't we?

No telling where it could end.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Joseph Mengele cuts ties with Nazi Party

Joseph Mengele has announced he is cutting ties with the Nazi Party because of questions that have arisen around the Nazi's participation in the procurement of human tissue from concentration camp prisoners without their consent. He made the announcement ...

Um, hang on. Let's take another look at this ...

Ahem. Okay. Let me rephrase that: StemExpress, a company trafficking in tissue and organs from unborn children who have been aborted for "research purposes" is cutting ties with Planned Parenthood after a series of sting videos revealed that Planned Parenthood had procured the tissue without the mothers' consent from unborn babies it had "terminated."

Never mind.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Politically Correct Ignorance

Great education news from the Louisville Courier-Journal:
On Monday, Jefferson County Board of Education members held a work session on a proposal to add gender identity and expression to official policies on equal opportunity, discrimination and harassment.
Jefferson County has some of the worst public schools in the state. But now we can be assured that, although many of their students may not be able to read, write, or multiply and divide, they will be exposed to the latest in gender ideology.

They may be ignorant and ill-prepared for college and a career (not to mention for life in general), but they will be Politically Correct. And what a comfort that is.

Read more here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Establishment conservatives should stop whining and take credit for Trump

Establishment Republicans have finally found their Messiah--and he turns out to be the Antichrist.

The next time you hear some establishment Republican fretting about Donald Trump's support among rank and file Republicans, just remember that Trump is the unvarnished version of everything these people say we should want in a candidate.

For the last ten years, the conservatism championed by Ronald Reagan has been slowly replaced by something very different among many Republican leaders. Reagan articulated a conservatism that not only championed smaller government and a strong military, but that was informed with a concern for human life and a strong support for the traditional family. The Reagan vision was one of a country in which children were raised by fathers and mothers who passed on their Judeo-Christian values to their children and in which schools did the same.

Several of the Republican candidates now vying for their party's nomination are still articulating this vision. But increasingly many Republican leaders and Party bureaucrats, as well as many supposedly conservative voices in the media, while chanting the Reagan mantra, have been replacing his political philosophy with something that the Gipper would have found unrecognizable.

These Republicans, calling themselves "libertarian conservatives," have been pushing a kind of egoistic Randianism that exalts the individual and scoffs at the common good. The "common good," a term Reagan would not have spurned, is seen by these people as a naive idea that was probably invented by Karl Marx.

These are the people who are whispering in Republican candidate ears (if not voicing it loudly in public) to stay away from the marriage issue, and to say only as much about the abortion issue as you absolutely have to to get elected (unlike Reagan, who brought it up at every State of the Union address).

Social issues don't fit in with the new libertarian Republican paradigm. The new utilitarian capitalism of many Republican leaders has no place for issues like marriage or abortion. What role do these issues play in increasing peoples' bank accounts? Traditional values (like marriage) have dropped off the agenda, and the only thing left is "market values"—whatever those are (the market doesn't create values, it only arbitrates them).

We owe no loyalty to anyone but ourselves and our own interests and if everybody just acted selfishly, utopia would shortly follow. It sounds extreme, but I have heard this argument a thousand times.

Utopia is a socialist idea, but somehow libertarians have managed to enroll the concept of the free market in their own Utopian cause. When you give up on the idea of the common good (an idea the older conservatism of Reagan would have embraced), that's all you have.

Well, now these people have their boy. But despite the fact that, on paper, he meets all their qualifications, they see him as a liability.

Donald Trump makes no bones about the fact that he is out for his own selfish individualistic interests. This is what so-called "libertarian conservatives" are supposed to do. This is what he appeals to when asked about his donations to Democrats: It's currying favor for himself. This is how he defends bankruptcy filings for companies he owns: Playing the system as it now exists benefits him. Aren't these things the very definition of the crony capitalism?

And this is why he won't pledge not to run as a third party candidate: It might end up being what's best for him.

Aren't these things precisely the kinds of things self-interested people do?

The revulsion many Party leaders now express reminds me of a few prominent libertarians in my state with who constantly preach self-interest in the marketplace, but who, when they see it in a state official who has made policy according to this very principle, and get caught engaged in corruption, get all upset. If self-interest is such a great thing, then why should it stop when you get elected to public office?

And then there is Fox News. Fox News created Donald Trump as a public figure. From Greta Van Susterin to Sean Hannity to, yes, Megyn Kelly, Trump's political presence has been a consistent part of Fox programming. No matter the issue, we would get a weekly dose of what "The Donald" thinks.

Megyn Kelly, who, when asked what she thought of the absurd Bruce Jenner's "transition" to a woman said, "I think he's courageous." Ugh. Like being adulated by Hollywood and the rest of the culture elite and being featured on the cover of Vanity Fair somehow constitutes oppression.

But where was Trump this last weekend? Everywhere but Fox, since he insulted Kelly and questioned the way Fox conducted the debate.

"But," they say, "Trump doesn't have the temperament to be president." Oh, puleez. You know what that means? That means, "Trump is not properly suger-coating our narcissistic and selfish individualistic agenda."

These people have defiled the Reagan legacy—and they are the ones who created Trump. They should stop wringing their hands and take full responsibility for him.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Why Donald Trump's critics really are losers

I'm trying to think of what you say about the political analysts out there who are saying last rights over Donald Trump's presidential campaign because he said outrageous things (or because he defended outrageous things he has said) during last Thursday night's debate.

Any analyst who tries to peddle this as competent analysis should have his political analyst license revoked. Charles Krauthammer, among others, should hand in his pundit badge.

And will someone please give the absurd Frank Luntz another job at Fox? I suggest trash detail. Why do we have to watch these ridiculous studio focus groups? We're supposed to get the "man on the street" view from these people, but only half of them are men and none of them are on the street. They should be--on the street, I mean, as soon as possible.

Why would you say that doing the very thing that has catapulted Trump to the leader in the Republican race for president would hurt him if he did it in the debate?

You wonder about people who act shocked that Trump would do what Trump always does and who need someone to administer the smelling salts to revive them from the fainting spell they have when he does it again--right after he said he was going to continue doing it.

The only thing that would have hurt Trump was if he had not said outrageous things. The very people who created Trump and now revile him would have said he was off his game. They would have accused him of using the wrong strategy. They would have said he was like everyone else.

There is literally nothing Donald Trump can now say that would diminish his appeal. What can he say now that could hurt him that he has not already said? He has made himself gaffe-proof by redefining "gaffe." If he says something that in any other candidate would be a gaffe, he just owns it, and asks "So what?" and makes anyone who accuses him of committing one look naive for taking notice.

There is only one thing he could say now that could hurt him: "I'm sorry."

This is the one thing that would kill him. Ironically, it would destroy him because, if he said it (being the authentic person he is), people would believe he meant it, unlike other politicians who, when they say "I'm sorry," don't mean it. Voters wouldn't like the former in a truly authentic candidate any more than they have ever liked the latter from an inauthentic one.

Which is why Trump will never say it. And which is why he may win the nomination if he continues to refuse to do it.

Up until now, I have thought Republicans would toy with Trump and when they got their fill of the entertainment he offered,  would go find a respectable alternative, however, inauthentic and boring he or she may be.

But now I am not so sure.

The Trump phenomenon is a rebellion against the Republican Party by its own members. They want to burn the Republican house down and they now see a way to do it. He is Robert Penn Warren's Willy Stark turned upside down: A rich (rather than poor) radical populist who leads an army of peasants with pitchforks that succeed (in Stark's case, if not yet Trump's) in throwing out the establishment bums in his own party.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Why No One Cares about Caitlyn

Drudge is reporting that "I am Caitlyn," Bruce (a.k.a. "Caitlyn") Jenner's reality show is flagging in viewership. A look at the episode descriptions may help explain what is happening:

Episode 1: Bruce Jenner poses as a woman.
Episode 2: Bruce Jenner poses as a woman.
Episode 3: Bruce Jenner poses as a woman.
Episode 4: Bruce Jenner poses as a woman.
Episode 5: Bruce Jenner poses as a woman.

If you look closely, you will notice a very repetitive pattern here. Perhaps in different episodes, he could pretend to be other things. Maybe he could pretend to be a different race in occasional episodes and see what happens. Perhaps another species is an option.

You have to be edgy anymore to attract an audience and, let's admit it, changing your gender is getting just a little hackneyed these days.

If you are going to be a revolutionary, which is what all progressives are these days, you have to constantly find new conventions to challenge, new ways to assert your individual will against the order of the cosmos. This is how you find meaning in life. It is a sort of metaphysical self-obsession that must constantly be fed by breaking rules, defying authority, protesting against ... something, anything.

Of course, you don't actually want to have to sacrifice anything for this revolutionary cause. You just want to strike the rebellious pose, drive a Volvo, and be able to repeat the fashionable slogans. It gives you all the excitement of manning the barricades, but with none of the costs.

If only there was a painless way to obtain a scar or something so it looked like you had paid a price. Instead, you have to settle for wearing a Che T-shirt. Oh well, it'll have to do.

And then you start running out of things to protest against (what is left? Incest? Cannibalism?) and you start engaging in silly nostalgic exercises like celebrating the anniversary of Woodstock, or remembering the Vietnam protests, or visiting Jim Morrison's grave.

This is why, after having been subjected by CNN to what seemed like several months' worth of sixties documentaries, we must now be subjected to several months' worth of seventies documentaries. The seventies were just as revolutionary as the sixties, but, unfortunately, the hair was much worse.

Modern liberals are really just overgrown adolescents. Just look at Hollywood's obsession with sex.
You wonder how sex can possibly be a novelty to these people anymore. You would think that they would have grown out of this by now, but no: After forty years of the sexual revolution, its instigators still giggle like ten year-old boys who just found out where babies come from.

Only problem is, they are not ten years-old anymore. All of the sexual revolutionaries who have tried for years to remake society into one in which they can pursue their sexual proclivities with abandon are now in their fifties and sixties and have ED. All that trouble they went to so that they could engage in wild, reckless sex and as it turns out the only way they can indulge themselves at all is with medical assistance.

Oh how the mighty have ... become impotent.

Monday, August 03, 2015

If slavery were only one part of an organization's purpose, should taxpayers have to fund it?

Planned Parenthood is the subject of growing controversy because it is no longer just killing babies (which is acceptable in some parts of our culture), but selling their parts. It has even given Hillary Clinton pause. And that's saying something: Very few things give robots pause.

Maybe killing babies is only wrong in the eyes of progressives when capitalism is involved.

I have now heard one particular argument in defense of Planned Parenthood several times. It goes like this: "Abortion is only one part of Planned Parenthood's services and it is hardly a sufficient cause to de-fund their entire operation."

Okay. Fine. If killing babies is just one part of your business, your still legitimate if you do other, less horrific things.

So let's just replace the word "abortion" in this argument with another word and ask what we would think if anyone ever actually uttered it in defense of any organization: "Slavery is only one part of [Insert Organization Name Here]'s services and it is hardly a sufficient cause to de-fund their entire operation."