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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But is Joe Flacco an elite quarterback?