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.

1 comment:

KyCobb said...

There is an article in the NYTimes about "liberland", an unclaimed three square mile marsh between Serbia and Croatia which has been claimed to establish a libertarian paradise. We'll see how that works out.