October 19th, 2016

The Ratcatcher revisited

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of people are writing what looks like post-mortems for the Trump campaign when there are still about three weeks left. Trump himself is even doing it, albeit in a sort of backwards way, in the form of a preemptive explanation that if he loses it’s because the election was “rigged.” That’s not surprising, since that was pretty much his reaction to any loss of his in the primaries, right from the very start. Here’s his response to his loss in Iowa, the very first contest of the primary/caucus season:

Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!

Among many other things that he is, Trump’s a very sore loser, and if (and when, in my opinion) he loses this election we’ll hear a lot about the betrayals and backstabbings and riggings that caused it, and we’ll hear it from Trump and from his most vociferous proponents. In fact, back in the first week April (shortly after I realized that Trump would be the almost-inevitable nominee), I wrote a draft for a post that I haven’t yet published, entitled, “Preparing the ‘stab in the back’ narrative for the Trump loss.” Here was the beginning of the draft (I didn’t get too much further than that):

Commenter “Rotten” writes: “Trump will win a general election if the GOP doesn’t knife him in the back.”

Yes indeed, that’s what will be said. If Trump is the nominee and he loses, it will not be because he is the worst candidate in modern memory and couldn’t even win over the GOP much less the general electorate. It will be because the GOPe “knifed him in the back,” despite the fact that his approval ratings and polls have been abysmal for the entire campaign.

For those aware of history, the phrase “stab in the back” has a historical significance. It was a widely-believed myth on the German right that was part of the complex chain of events that Hitler rode to power:

The stab-in-the-back myth was the notion, widely believed in right-wing circles in Germany after 1918, that the German Army did not lose World War I but was instead betrayed by the civilians on the home front, especially the republicans who overthrew the monarchy in the German Revolution of 1918–19. Advocates denounced the German government leaders who signed the Armistice on November 11, 1918, as the “November Criminals.”

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they made the legend an integral part of their official history of the 1920s, portraying the Weimar Republic as the work of the “November criminals” who used the stab in the back to seize power while betraying the nation. The Nazi propaganda depicted Weimar as “a morass of corruption, degeneracy, national humiliation, ruthless persecution of the honest ‘national opposition’—fourteen years of rule by Jews, Marxists, and ‘cultural Bolsheviks’, who had at last been swept away by the National Socialist movement under Adolf Hitler and the victory of the ‘national revolution’ of 1933”.

And no, Trump is not Hitler. But there are certain techniques of his that have a harmonic vibration, and in addition (as I pointed out last February), there is also a resonance in the emotional state of a certain angry and disgruntled segment of the population that’s been building in the US for many many years.

Which is not to say that people (and I include myself here) don’t have things to be angry about. But it’s always a question of how reasonable the anger is, who a person is angry with and whether that’s the actual culprit, who is whipping up the anger for his or her own purposes (and what those purposes might be), and to whom or what a person turns in his/her anger.

I have maintained in many posts here that the anger at the GOPe is valid but overwrought and exaggerated, and that those who are so angry at them often imagine the GOP in Congress could have and should have done certain things that were either impossible or would have been counterproductive. I have maintained that the left profits from this anger and that some people stirring it up are on the left, although most are on the right and have their own purposes for doing it. Some are sincere, but many have as their sole or partial goal their own self-aggrandizement and increased ratings and audience. And what is done as a result of that anger—the “to whom or what a person turns” part—never should have been the nomination of Donald Trump in 2016, for reasons that have been explained over and over again but can be boiled down to Trump being an unappealing (that is, actually repulsive to many voters) and amoral loose cannon who is out for his own power and is probably more of a liberal than he is a conservative.

Yesterday commenter Irv Greenberg linked to a piece entitled “Trump’s Invisible Shield.” Here’s a quote from the article:

The Trump phenomenon is better understood as a colossal F U to all of the lies and broken promises politicians have hoisted upon the masses over the years. It is the savage blowback to the money-sucking rules and regulations and taxes that heavily burden a broad range of the middle and upper middle classes. It is a YUGE “suck it” to the self-aggrandizement and pocket lining that goes on within the Beltway. It is a swift backlash against the swarm of Beltway wannabees who want in on DC action in order to enrich themselves on the backs of the people, to the detriment of the country. … The only fix is a virus and it just so happens, Trump is the virus…

The attitude of the average Trump supporter is that no matter how much of a buffoon he might be, he isn’t as bad as all of the other career pols out there who misstate, misspeak, and misremember but always get away with it because they claim to be above the fray, of impeccable character, or to soar high when others stoop low. Whether hard-core from the get-go or johnny-come-latelies, Trump supporters have such little regard for political elites, that they’ll support anyone who isn’t making his or her money off of their votes.

There’s much more in that vein.

And now we’ll have a compare and contrast. This is an excerpt from a piece I wrote in mid-February 2016:

The following is an excerpt from Milton Mayer’s They Thought They Were Free. The book, first published in 1955, is an exploration of Germans’ attitudes in the period leading up to WWII and including the war and its immediate aftermath. It features interviews with ten “typical” Germans, conducted a couple of years after the war’s end, and offers extraordinary and often relevant insights into how it was that Hitler came to power and stayed there so long.

Here is my general discussion of the book and its author, who was a man of the left. To understand the following excerpt, it is helpful to know that for the purposes of the book, Mayer refers to the ten interviewees as his “friends”:

National Socialism was a repulsion of my friends against parliamentary politics, parliamentary debate, parliamentary government—against all the higgling and the haggling of the parties and the splinter parties, their coalitions, their confusions, and their conniving. It was the final fruit of the common man’s repudiation of “the rascals.” Its motif was “throw them all out.” My friends, in the 1920’s, were like spectators at a wrestling match who suspect that beneath all the grunts and groans, the struggle and the sweat, the match is “fixed,” that the performers are only pretending to put on a fight. The scandals that rocked the country, as one party or cabal “exposed” another, dismayed and then disgusted my friends…

My friends wanted Germany purified. They wanted it purified of the politicians, of all the politicians. They wanted a representative leader in place of unrepresentative representatives. And Hitler, the pure man, the antipolitician, was the man, untainted by “politics,” which was only a cloak for corruption…Against “the whole pack,” “the whole kaboodle,” “the whole business,” against all the parliamentary parties, my friends evoked Hitlerism, and Hitlerism overthrew them all…

This was the Bewegung, the movement, that restored my friends and bewitched them. Those Germans who saw it all at the beginning—there were not very many; there never are, I suppose, anywhere—called Hitler the Rattenfänger, the “ratcatcher.” Every American child has read The Pied-Piper of Hamlin. Every German child has read it, too. In German its title is Der Rattenfänger von Hameln.

When bringing up anything to do with Hitler in the context of today’s world, one must be ultra-careful to make it clear (as I am doing now, once again) that the analogy is not to Hitler himself but (in this case) to a state of mind in the populace that lashes out against a flawed government, and reaches out in its anger and frustration for a remedy that is in fact far more flawed than the original disease, when there were better remedies at hand. Right now, one of the probable upshots of the Trump nomination is that a likely victory over Hillary Clinton was turned into the reverse, a likely victory for Hillary Clinton.

That is another very terrible result. America will have committed what I consider an unforced error. And history—unfortunately—isn’t baseball.

55 Responses to “The Ratcatcher revisited”

  1. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    “America will have committed what I consider an enforced error.”

    I think you mean “unforced error”. (Amazing the difference one letter can make.)

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Daniel in Brookline:

    Indeed, that was a typo, of the sort that Spell Check can’t locate because it’s a real word. Thanks! Will fix.

  3. sdferr Says:

    Though unforced error is generally speaking, tennis talk, rather than baseball.

  4. Sharon W Says:

    I haven’t finished it yet (1/2 way through) but I’m reading Metaxas’ book on Bonhoeffer and felt very strongly that the conditions in Germany at the time of Hitler’s inception mirror some of what we’ve experienced under these 8 years of Obama. And now I find myself at a personal crossroads with the immoral law passed by the Democrats and enforced by the Democrat L.A. City Attorney, that to me is like the Nazi’s effort to co-opt the German Church. I just filled out our company’s general liability insurance application for next year and there is a whole new part that questions us about pollution liability. I can only imagine where that will figure into our small business life as the Left takes even more control. Like Dennis Prager has said, this go-around, our vote is not against Hillary, it is against the Left and its pernicious totalitarianism.

  5. Eric K Says:

    Forty years ago, in both America and Iran, religion was brought into politics as a revolutionary force – fuelled by a vision that it could be used to transform the world. But now, in both countries, that power has mutated into a backward-looking and hysterical conservatism that is doing its best to remove both countries from the dynamic force of history.

    WHO WOULD GOD VOTE FOR?

  6. chuck Says:

    Ludendorff started the stab in the back notion to cover his ass after he panicked as the Germans retreated at the end of the war and told the German government to start peace negotiations. At the time, Germany was essentially a military dictatorship headed by Hindenburg and Ludendorff and it is doubtful negotiations would have proceeded without direction from those two. Curiously, Ludendorff had fallen out with the Nazis by the time they took power.

  7. F Says:

    If this election were a stage play about two unattractive — nay repulsive — candidates for national office, two candidates who continually take some action that makes them even more unattractive to voters, literary agents would reject it and theater-goers (if it got to the stage) would walk out before the end of Act One.

    Both candidates could hardly be worse, and Hillary’s inability to wrap this up, even with huge campaign donations and the press nearly unanimously behind her, just illustrates how really unappealing she is.

    And for Trump to be where he is even without the support of the Republican party just shows how really angry a large swath of voters is.

    I keep thinking that Trump could knock her out of the race if he would just study the issues a little, stop taking the bait when he’s baited, or finish a thought during the debate. Yet even without doing those three simple things he is still in a near tie with Hillary despite three constituencies that are all-in for her: women, African-Americans and labor unions. Oh, and really evil support from George Soros.

    The entire campaign is a study in improbables. And just plain rottenness. It’s one of those horror movies you keep clicking away from, then grudgingly tuning back into. I fluctuate between terror that she’ll win and fear that he will. Right now I’m stuck on terror and hoping I’m wrong.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Erik K:

    That article shows a profound misunderstanding of American politics. Europeans don’t get that America has a different type of politics and a different type of religiosity than Europe, and that the two (politics and religion) have always been linked here, but that our separation of church and state (which Europe does not share) makes this country the opposite of Iran.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    T:

    Trump is not in a near-tie with Hillary.

  10. Matt_SE Says:

    Neo-neocon Says:

    “I have maintained in many posts here that the anger at the GOPe is valid but overwrought and exaggerated, and that those who are so angry at them often imagine the GOP in Congress could have and should have done certain things that were either impossible or would have been counterproductive.”

    In defense of the critics, I’ve said that the problem with Boehner was that he was a Speaker who couldn’t speak. That was a general reflection on the state of rhetoric/PR for the GOP: if they had a plan or an explanation for their actions, they didn’t seem to want to share it with their base.

    We are now seeing the price to pay for lack of outreach.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    Matt_SE:

    That’s the “valid” part. I agree with some of that anger.

  12. n.n Says:

    Whether it is abortion rites in a “final solution” (i.e. baby trials), Planned Parenthood et al channeling Mengele, progressive wars in social justice adventurism, trials by sodomy and abortion, [class] diversity as institutional racism, sexism, etc., or baby hunts in the 11th hour, Pro-Choice is a peculiar quasi-religion and progressive condition with a left-right- and immoderate center nexus.

  13. Big Maq Says:

    @Matt SE – I’d also add that lack of communication has its roots in poor strategizing.
    http://neoneocon.com/2016/10/18/trump-on-the-ropes/#comment-1795826

  14. Brian E Says:

    So, if we’re going to continue with the analogy, are INS the brown shirts? Is Trump going to intimidate Congress with his private army and pass the Enabling Act?

    Because unless you have the scenario where that occurs, there is no relationship between Germany. Hitler spent 10 years forming a party and a power base. I see nothing similar to that.

    You really do supporters of Trump a disservice and I think owe them an apology.

    I’m curious. Do you think a nation has the right to control its borders? Does the nation have a right to enforce its laws regarding immigration?

    Is legal immigration that hovers around 1,000,000 persons a year sufficiently liberal?

    Since Reagan’s grand bargain in the 80’s nothing has really changed. I can remember in the late 80’s INS showing up at agricultural facilities rounding up illegal aliens and deporting them. They would be back in a month or two with new ID’s, ready to go back to work.

    We thought we wanted cheap labor, and didn’t notice for several decades the corrosive effect this had on our institutions as the left used these workers as pawns to advance their agenda.

    What has happened is that the left now regards assimilation as a form of xenophobia, and whatever semblance of, or fiction of America, the melting pot, is dead. That’s not good for a society and the left is working hard to destroy what’s left of the myth.

    I say this not as a Trump supporter, since I didn’t support him during the primary– in fact I would have been fine with Cruz or Kasich (I thought Kasich was probably the only Republican with a realistic chance of beating Hillary, since the rest of them would be cast as Hitler in some form or another.

    I don’t even think Trump will have much success if he’s elected. But I do know that Hillary, a true leftist, far to the left of her reality show husband, will enable the long leftist march to a “consensus that the Western bourgeois nuclear family was an unnatural and possibly “unhealthy” artifact of culture, economics, and male power” by third, or is it fourth wave feminists.

  15. parker Says:

    1. 94,000,000 out of the work force. 2. The crony relationship between large corporations and banks and many of our ‘public servants’. 3. The rule of the bureaucrats that are never held to account for their actions, personified by Lois Lerner, HRC, and her underlings at the Department of State. 4. The illegal alien invasion. And most importantly of all: 5. A feeling of helplessness to change the direction of the country/society to a more positive, safe, and free country/society.

    I am definitely not of the burn it down mindset. I do not have to provide matches, tinder, and gasoline or join the alt-right as without a course change our children and grandchildern will face a dark future. I want to see a change of course and I realize it will come about easily or swiftly. I worked 20 to 30 volunteer hours per week for 8 weeks for Cruz in Iowa, we won and I hoped his campaign would go on to take the nomination. Unfortunately, he made several bad decisions; primarily not going after Trump early on. Yet, I still have hope there is a chance for positive change.

    This is a bit long winded for me, so I will stop. Enjoy the beauty of autumn and have good times with family and friends.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    Brian E:

    Perhaps you should read my post more carefully, if indeed you are addressing me (I’m assuming I’m the “you” in your comment, but perhaps I’m not).

    I repeat:

    When bringing up anything to do with Hitler in the context of today’s world, one must be ultra-careful to make it clear (as I am doing now, once again) that the analogy is not to Hitler himself but (in this case) to a state of mind in the populace that lashes out against a flawed government, and reaches out in its anger and frustration for a remedy that is in fact far more flawed than the original disease, when there were better remedies at hand. Right now, one of the probable upshots of the Trump nomination is that a likely victory over Hillary Clinton was turned into the reverse, a likely victory for Hillary Clinton.

    That is another very terrible result. America will have committed what I consider an unforced error.

    I think I made myself very clear that the analogy is not to Hitler himself or the Nazis themselves. It is to a state of mind that leads to very very poor decisions, and the very strong possibility/probability of tyranny

    And it was all so unnecessary, in the case of 2016.

  17. T Says:

    “Trump himself is even doing it [a post mortem], albeit in a sort of backwards way, in the form of a preemptive explanation that if he loses it’s because the election was “rigged.” [Neo]

    Neo,

    I disagree. IMO (and, again, just my speculation) I think it is intended to influence votes. By continuously calling the election “rigged” and with many recent newsdrops confirming the complicity of the DNC with outside entities (the MSM, coordination with DEM PACS, even Venezuela whether true or not), the fight against the media takes on a greater and greater significance. “Are you going to let these sanctimonious know-nothings continue to lie to you and run your life or are you going to get out and do something about it on Nov. 8th?” is IMO the tacit message.

    “I have maintained in many posts here that the anger at the GOPe is valid but overwrought . . . than he is a conservative. ” [Neo]

    In your paragraph about anger, it’s not that I disagree, but I think you overlook (or at least do not mention) a salient point. That is, that there was a controlled conservatively principled movement called the Tea Party several years ago. That party was demonized as much by members of the Republican establishment right as it was by the Progressive left. As Glenn Reynolds is wont to point out at Instapundit someone unreasonable such as Trump is what one gets when the reasonable conservative forces are decried, blocked and nullified by their own party. The Trump candidacy was caused as much by the opposition of the Republican establishment (Dem-lite) to Tea Party conservatism as it was by early and rabid Trump supporters. This thought is, IMO, confirmed by your own subsequent thought: “[the populace] reaches out in its anger and frustration for a remedy that is in fact far more flawed than the original disease, when there were better remedies at hand.”

    However, to call Trump “more flawed” that the original disease is speculation. Itmay well be proven correct — or not, but still it remains to be seen.

  18. Brian E Says:

    Neo-neocon,
    I read your statement that you aren’t saying Trump is Hitler, but then you describe the anger of the voters as leading to something that could morph into some kind of tyranny.

    But nothing between depression-era Germany and failed-recovery era USA is similar, other than possibly the anger and frustration.

    No one but Trump had the audacity to take on the illegal immigration issue like Trump. Every other candidate needs Wall St. or Main St. money and Wall St. and the Chamber benefit from cheap labor. The left sees the open border as a tool to expand it’s Shermanesque march to the sea, destroying the family, promoting a totalitarian version of liberality, and pursuing their socialist dreams, of which open borders is a part.

    Once the other candidates saw the resonance Trump’s position was having, they found a new interest in border enforcement. None of these candidates had the ability to break through the inertia, and for that I blame the MSM. Only Trump had the personality to break thorough and make the illegal immmigration/border wall issue legitimate.

    But along with that bellicose nature came the rest of Trump’s baggage.

    I’m still curious if you would support border enforcement/deportation if it had been proposed by hmmm, well none of them. But let’s say it had been Ted Cruz. Would you be on board for a Cruz presidency at that point?

  19. Sharon W Says:

    “…there was a controlled conservatively principled movement called the Tea Party several years ago. That party was demonized as much by members of the Republican establishment right as it was by the Progressive left.”- T

    This is a great point T. That is why I get so irritated looking at family members just joining in with the diatribe on Trump. Crickets at the time of the castigation of the Tea Party. And nary a word about the malignant Democrats who foist on us their liberty-killing, money-grabbing policies. My 6-year old granddaughter, in first grade informed me on Monday that “Trump is a bad man.” All the kids at school have told her so. It was so interesting to see and hear her repeat it, having innocently accepted “this truth”. I asked her if anything has been said about Hillary. “Yes. She’s good.”

  20. parker Says:

    Brian E,

    You should do a few minutes of research when it comes to Cruz and the illegal alien border crash and visa over stays. A few minutes researching djt and his past statements about illegals would also be an investment in reality. Or, keep on being ignorant, its the way to be in with the in crowd these days.

  21. T Says:

    “That is why I get so irritated looking at family members just joining in with the diatribe on Trump.” [Sharon W @ 5:15]
    Sharon,

    I hear you. Unfortunately, we are herd animals. Just think about all of the hippies int eh 60s and 70s trying to be individuals by all looking the same. That same herd mentality is what gives rise to the problem we are facing; too many politicians and “news” media types going along to make sure they are not disinvited to the important parties. Our government is currently controlled by the “in” group of a high school mentality.

  22. Yankee Says:

    1. Just recently, General Cartwright was punished for leaking classified information, and then General Petraeus before him.

    2. We know now that the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server was a sham. Both the Justice Department and the FBI have become corrupted during President Obama’s tenure.

    3. We also know now that Mr. Obama was using a pseudonym to communicate with Mrs. Clinton on her e-mail server. He knew all along, and no one in the press has yet to ask him about that.

    4. And now we have the ongoing Wikileaks, with lots of new revelations about what the Democratic insiders really think and what they really do. Some of Mr. Podesta’s e-mails concern getting illegal aliens to vote.

    5. And just this week, Project Veritas released some undercover videos showing Democratic operatives talking about how they pay people to instigate violence and cause trouble at Trump rallies and other Republican gatherings.

    6. And before that, it was the Tea Party being targeted by the IRS, and all the hard drives, and computers, and other records were destroyed. And even after all that, the Republican Congress still can’t bring itself to use its existing powers, and impeach the IRS chief.

    7. And besides all that, how much money is in the Clinton Foundation, and where did it come from, and what are they doing with it? We now know, from more leaks, that Mrs. Clinton was saying one thing in her speeches to big donors, while she was saying something else in public.

    8. With all that in mind, how Mr. Trump may react to the election results should be the least of our worries. The sensible approach is to use existing Constitutional powers to do something about this open Democrat corruption and wrongdoing.

  23. Brian E Says:

    Parker,
    I guess it really depends on how you view Cruz’s “poison pill” amendment to the 2013 immigration reform bill. I guess you’ll have to convince me his amendment was always intended as that.

    I think he was trying to ride the middle, since I suspect a legal status short of citizenship would be popular in Texas.

    We can argue the sincerity of his work on the 2013 bill, and I’ll even accept he never was actually supporting his amendment, since that actually consistent with the position I support. A yellow card, as it were, that allows some illegals to stay in the country, but without a path to citizenship.

    I said I would have been fine with Cruz as nominee, though I have my doubts he could have been elected. And Cruz’s position didn’t resonate the way that Trump’s did– breaking through the fog. I think the assessment on Cruz’s campaign is he didn’t take on Trump early, hoping to peel off his voters, since he and others miscalculated the support he was gaining.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    Brian E:

    It clearly is likely to morph into tyranny of various sorts.

    I have written several posts about Trump’s praise of tyranny and desire to be a tyrant. Hillary, likewise.

    The end point of this anger will almost certainly be tyranny, whoever wins. People have now accepted “ends justify the means” on both sides.

    I am surprised that the danger is not clear to you.

  25. parker Says:

    Brian E,

    Don’t you find it curious that Sessions, now a Trump supporter and advisor, was backing TC on the so called poison pill amendment? DJT criticized Romney on his ‘self deport’ comment in 2012. IMO Trump is not sincere on illegals. He is with the chamber of commerce. I find him insencere on anything except the YUGE greatness of Trump.

    That said, I would rather take my chances with the leftist buffoon than the leftist criminal. I hope one or he other is well out in front in November so I can pass on voting for djt.. Down ticket I will vote for the gop.

  26. Brian E Says:

    If the Republican candidates couldn’t handle the frontal assault from Trump during the primary, how were they going to handle the Battle of Little Big Horn-like assault we are seeing from the Democrat/Left/ MSM right now?

    I think Kasich could have survived since he governed as a centrist Republican. But only if he had been willing to attack the Clinton machine.

    It may have kicked the can down the road. He might have made some progress on the budget–which would have been a good thing given that we’re running a 600 billion dollar deficit this year, rising to $1 trillion deficits annually by 2022.

  27. Brian E Says:

    “I am surprised that the danger is not clear to you.”

    I see the danger from Hillary, as she will build on the executive overreach of Obama, but I think Trump would get pushback from Congress, regardless of how hard the alt-right tried to control the narrative, although they might have a tactical ally in the MSM.

    Congress was ineffective against Obama because of his half-blackness. Hillary would create an obstacle to oversight unless women are willing to recognize that “because she’s a woman” isn’t a sufficient character trait, so she might get some pushback.
    I don’t see Trump having that advantage.

  28. Adrian Day Says:

    “Rigged.” Isn’t it? http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/10/wikileaks-podesta-says-ok-illegals-vote-drivers-licence/

  29. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian E – you raise many points that have been addressed by Neo over several posts.
    .

    “Congress was ineffective against Obama because of his half-blackness.”

    Okay, now you are going down a tenuous path when you use a rationale like this. You need a MUCH better explanation than leaving this hanging like that as if it is “obvious”.

  30. Brian E Says:

    I believe Obama hasn’t been taken to task for usurping power reserved for Congress for two reasons.
    1. He’s the first black President.
    2. He is very popular– much of that is because the MSM has run cover for him.
    You really can’t blame Congress for their timidity given the ferocity of attacks accusing racism as a reflex to any criticism of Obama.
    Now, why did I characterize Obama as half-black? Because he may have inherited genes from his Kenyan father, but he was raised in a white culture (though Marxist). Exactly what in his resume is black?
    We adopted a son from Liberia as a teenager, so my wife and I have some knowledge of black culture.
    Had President Obama not been immersed in Marxist doctrine by his family and childhood mentors it’s possible President Obama could have been the vehicle for true racial healing. I think the American people thought that was what they were achieving, instead we have racial tension similar to the 60’s. One would almost think that was the aims of a Marxist.

  31. The Other Chuck Says:

    Neo: The end point of this anger will almost certainly be tyranny, whoever wins. People have now accepted “ends justify the means” on both sides.

    Oh I could not agree with you more. A whole book could be written on this subject starting with the new left of the 1960’s who were the original instigators.

    That is an extremely important insight.

  32. AesopFan Says:

    Sharon W Says:
    October 19th, 2016 at 2:44 pm
    …I can only imagine where that will figure into our small business life as the Left takes even more control. Like Dennis Prager has said, this go-around, our vote is not against Hillary, it is against the Left and its pernicious totalitarianism.
    * * *
    Same point I just made on another Trump post today.
    Trump might want to be a totalitarian, but NO ONE will let him get away with it.

  33. The Other Chuck Says:

    Neo:
    If you have the time, perhaps after the election(?), I would love to see you expand on the theme of this article. It is very important and needs wider circulation. I believe you have hit on something crucial.

  34. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Why must it be one or the other? Why can’t it be both? Should he lose, Trump bears his full share of responsibility for his loss. While the Left has lied, cheated and broken the law to steal the election. There’s plenty of smoke to indicate a roaring fire in that area.

  35. Eric K Says:

    Neo
    I very much appreciate your take on Adam Curtis article /documentary. What a fascinating comparison, I do agree with you Neo about the separation of church and state (which Europe does not share) makes this country the opposite of Iran.

    A man like Adam Curtis the award-winning documentarian, his works explore areas of sociology, psychology, philosophy and political history. Which I admire him for his knowledge also I have special respect to the Brits (Not Europe) because they rule the word , they have had a richness and wisdom of the politics deep with sociology, psychology all around.

    So I do not believe Adam Curtis far from understanding of US politics as you put it “America has a different type of politics and a different type of religiosity than Europe “

  36. geokstr Says:

    Brian E:

    1) Neo linked months ago to a Ted Cruz speech in 2011 during his Senatorial campaign that was almost indistinguishable from Trump’s position, without the blowhard’s bombast about rapists and criminals. Trump has walked back his own tough talk on the issue, including telling the NY Times editorial board that everything, even the wall, is negotiable.
    2) As mentioned by someone else, Jeff Sessions confirmed that he and Cruz worked together against the Gang of 8 bill and he supported Cruz’ poison pills. I continue to be astounded by Sessions’ early endorsement of Trump instead of Cruz. He must have liked the way Secretary of State Sessions or Secretary of Defense Sessions sounded when Trump said them.
    3) Trump’s “frontal assault” on Cruz was a non-stop, six month character assassination of lies, smears, distortions, rumors and fabrications, half of it aimed at his wife and father. It was amplified a hundred fold by the slimy alt-right online, and every insult by Trump, which was in every speech, rally and interview from Sep’15 – Apr’16, was repeated endlessly by the media.

    I watched on Breitbart as commenter after commenter was being peeled away from Cruz and sucked into the Dark Side by this relentless attack. I believe we all agree here that Alinsky’s Rules, despicable as they are, are highly effective. It was the first time we got to see them utilized to brutalize one of our own from the inside, by a supposed ally.

  37. Big Maq Says:

    @geokstr – trump used that on every candidate.

    But, yeah, it works – with a certain segment of society who are seemingly blind angry.

  38. Brian E Says:

    geokstr,
    Thanks for the detailed response to Cruz’s position on immigration. In a perverse way, that makes my point about why I’m defending Trump at this point.

    If Cruz’s position on immigration was indistinguishable from Trump’s, would neo-neocon have voted for Cruz had he won the nomination?

    There is going to be plenty of time to pass around the blame if Trump loses.

    I’m more interested in this statement:
    “Neo: The end point of this anger will almost certainly be tyranny, whoever wins. People have now accepted “ends justify the means” on both sides.” – The Other Chuck

    I can’t tell whether this is Neo’s quote or a characterization of her position.

    I’m willing to concede that populism is a dangerous brew, but like Neo, I agree that the voters have a right to be angry.

    I’m curious how that “tyranny” would be expressed? We’re seeing how the tyranny of the left is beginning to be expressed. Bakers are being sued, florists are being fined out of business as examples have to be made what is acceptable thought.

    I’d like an example of how a tyranny on the right would be displayed.

  39. The Other Chuck Says:

    Brian, it was Neo’s quote from a comment directed to you at 6:51 pm, a comment with which I very much agree.

  40. sdferr Says:

    I can’t tell whether this is Neo’s quote or a characterization of her position.

    You can sort this out with neo-neocon’s comment at 6:51 pm above.

    As to tyranny in the modern sense it’s always the same thing wherever we find it and not actually a partisan matter: the arbitrary whims of power wielded fit to the will of one or a few. The “law” quite disappears outside the physical form of the person or persons acting as tyrant(s).

  41. The Other Chuck Says:

    Brian, didn’t you say that you have Windows 8? Maybe that explains why the italics didn’t pass on.

  42. Brian E Says:

    “As to tyranny in the modern sense it’s always the same thing wherever we find it and not actually a partisan matter: the arbitrary whims of power wielded fit to the will of one or a few. The “law” quite disappears outside the physical form of the person or persons acting as tyrant(s).” – sdferr

    Tyranny- cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control.

    The tyranny of the left is being expressed by using the power of government to punish people for expressing legitimate religious views.

    How would the tyranny of the right be expressed?

    Of course, Trump is not a conservative. I think he’s more Nixon like, but he’s going to have to be a substitute in this case.

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    Brian E:

    If you did a search on my blog for those topics, your questions would be answered.

    Here are just a few posts to look at; there are more: this, this, this, and this (and please follow the links in that last post).

    I fail to understand your query about whether I would have supported Cruz. I wrote a great deal about Cruz’s position on immigration, how he was saying much the same thing as Trump (minus things like “deport all Muslims) and he said it earlier, and I was pro-Cruz during the primaries. He was not my first choice, but he was often a strong second of mine right from the start.

    Trump was last on my list, but that was not because of his immigration stance.

  44. sdferr Says:

    Hmm. So you insist that tyranny is at its basis fundamentally a partisan creature? And refuse to accept that partisanship isn’t any part of tyranny whatsoever? I don’t believe I’ll be able to help you answer your question.

  45. Brian E Says:

    I’m just asking for an example.

  46. neo-neocon Says:

    geokstr:

    Actually, it was not the first time Alinsky’s rules were used against our own.

    They were used against Romney in 2012, on many blogs. And Newt Gingrich was doing something not all that dissimilar to Romney during the primaries—trashing him (see this and in particular this, about his attack on Romney for Bain Capital, a topic on which I wrote several posts).

  47. Brian E Says:

    “Hmm. So you insist that tyranny is at its basis fundamentally a partisan creature? And refuse to accept that partisanship isn’t any part of tyranny whatsoever? I don’t believe I’ll be able to help you answer your question.” -sdferr

    Those are a lot of words you’ve put in my mouth. All I’m asking is that you convince me with an example of how you expect the right to tyrannize their opponents.

  48. sdferr Says:

    Again, I don’t think I can help insofar as I don’t view tyranny or tyrannical behavior as at its basis fit to any “rule” beyond the internal motions (and therefore we describe it as arbitrary as to all appearances) of the tyrant’s own soul. Hence, I suppose, one would have to repair to some sort of psychology — a very doubtful proposition in itself — in order to make intelligible those motions.

    I can perhaps suggest a book, but even that is a bit out of the way.

  49. Brian E Says:

    “As mentioned by someone else, Jeff Sessions confirmed that he and Cruz worked together against the Gang of 8 bill and he supported Cruz’ poison pills. I continue to be astounded by Sessions’ early endorsement of Trump instead of Cruz. He must have liked the way Secretary of State Sessions or Secretary of Defense Sessions sounded when Trump said them.” – geokstr

    That’s interesting. Sessions was working with Cruz to stop a lousy immigration bill and yet he endorsed Trump.

    You think that said something about Sessions. It’s possible it said something about Cruz.

    But it does raise an interesting dilemma. Is it possible for a candidate to be completely honest and transparent and win a presidential election. Is Hillary right that you need to have a public position and a private one.

    What you’re suggesting is that Sessions cynically endorsed Trump for some selfish reasons. Surely Cruz would have offered Sessions a cabinet position for his endorsement if Sessions had asked and there would be nothing wrong with that.

    There was something else going on.

  50. sdferr Says:

    Maybe I can give a sort of proportion as an example of what I mean here? Now, it’s a loose thing, this proportion, but take it loosely, i.e., for what it’s worth which ain’t much, and possibly we’ll have my view expressed as a kind of example.

    So, take a hunter (who isn’t a tyrant insofar as he’s out hunting for his dinner, but stands in the proportion as if he’s in the postion of the tyrant): the hunter on different occasions goes into the forest after deer, and once in the forest on one occasion clothes (camouflages) himself in species oak branches (solely), and on another occasion in species maple (solely) and yet another in species hickory.

    The oak, or maple, or hickory are each beings quite apart from the uses the hunter makes of them — they’re machines for making more oak, or maple, or hickory in a manner of speaking; this is “their” rule. The aims of the oak or the maple or the hickory aren’t adopted by the hunter: he’s just chunking them off of trees for concealment. He’s out for deer.

  51. neo-neocon Says:

    Brian E:

    I addressed the Sessions issue back in February of 2016 when Sessions endorsed Trump. My post is here.

  52. Brian E Says:

    “Again, I don’t think I can help insofar as I don’t view tyranny or tyrannical behavior as at its basis fit to any “rule” beyond the internal motions (and therefore we describe it as arbitrary as to all appearances) of the tyrant’s own soul. Hence, I suppose, one would have to repair to some sort of psychology — a very doubtful proposition in itself — in order to make intelligible those motions.”- sdferr

    I’m not an expert in logic, but I think you’ve made an assertion, not an argument.

    If you want me to agree that tyranny resides in the soul of all of us as fallen, sinful creatures, I’m with you.

    But Neo was making an equivalency between the rise of National Socialism and the rise of Trump and the potential for some excesses to manifest themselves.

    She was surprised I didn’t see the danger. I need an example of how that would play out for me to see the danger.

    It’s really pretty simple.

  53. sdferr Says:

    “If you want me to agree that tyranny resides in the soul of all of us as fallen, sinful creatures, I’m with you.”

    I don’t think I’ve said anything of the sort as to “all”, or at least I’m not clear how that would be the implication, for on the contrary, I simply don’t believe this is so. Sin, I never mentioned, and don’t believe I would.

  54. Irv Greenberg Says:

    Neo – I’m sorry I didn’t get to this post a little sooner but real life does make its calls on us. Also, I have no idea if there is a limit on length of comments. I promise I’m not trying to take over your blog, I’d just really like to give you my take on the situation and get your opinion. Your analogy of the present situation to Germany in the 20’s is excellent. The parallels as far as government and its relationship to the people could not be more apt.

    There’s a saying from someone to the effect that things that can’t keep going the way they are, won’t. In both cases (1920’s Germany and twenty-teens U.S.) the government lost the confidence of the people and therefore its legitimacy. It’s a time when the government becomes ineffective and can no longer cope with the world. Therefore the establishment spends all its energies simply staying in power and preventing change.

    The people, from their perspective, see the status quo as unsustainable. They see the collapse of their dreams and a future that offers only increasing strife. They see the country getting worse every day and them having absolutely no control over anything, especially their lives and livelihoods. They see a government that exists solely to enrich and enhance the lives of the establishment at the expense of everyone else.

    So the people start clamoring for change and the louder they demand change the harder the establishment fights against. Every agent of change that comes forward is immediately and ruthlessly crushed by the establishment and its agents (read as democrats, the mainstream media, the education system, the unions, even the republican establishment) who are deathly afraid that any change they don’t manage will reduce their power, influence, status and incomes.

    So the people finally give up trying to elect their desired agents of change and become willing to accept any agent as long as he/she doesn’t represent the establishment. Thus the acceptance of Hitler in the thirties and Trump today. I’m not equating Trump and Hitler, I’m equating the reasons the people backed people they would not normally have backed.

    In the words of Victor Davis Hanson: “Something has gone terribly wrong with the Republican party, and it has nothing to do with the flaws of Donald Trump. Something like his tone and message would have to be invented if he did not exist. None of the other 16 primary candidates — the great majority of whom had far greater political expertise, more even temperaments, and more knowledge of issues than did Trump — shared Trump’s sense of outrage — or his ability to convey it — over what was wrong: The lives and concerns of the Republican establishment in the media and government no longer resembled those of half their supporters. “

    Here, in my opinion is how it came to be Trump. The establishment put forth their candidate (Bush and later Kasich) who represented a slight shift to the right but essentially the status quo power structure. They were managers when the people wanted reformers/revolutionaries. The people felt that the situation was so dire that a manager would be ineffective and the downward spiral would continue. The managers had none of the outrage the people felt.

    A number of other candidates (read as Rubio, Fiorina, Cruz and the others not Trump) represented varying degrees of real change, almost any of whom could have been acceptable to the people. Because they were all acceptable agents of change the establishment fought them the hardest. The establishment managed to wound each of them enough to keep them from getting real traction.

    The establishment and the democrats thought of Trump as a buffoon, a distraction, and no real threat. That’s why they all held their fire on him and even actively promoted him when he faced the ones they considered the real threats. This holding fire and active promotion enabled the entertainer Trump to get enough votes against the wounded and split field that he ended up being the last non-establishment type standing. The establishment were sure that once it came down to their candidate (Bush or Kasich) and Trump they would have an easy victory. As Victor Davis Hanson implied, the establishment misjudged how they no longer represented the people.

    The democrats also misjudged the people’s desire for change. Hillary’s shoe-in status went by the wayside and she’s had the fight of her life, first with Sanders and now with Trump.

    Now we find ourselves here. We have two candidates with such flaws that under normal circumstances neither of them could survive a school board election. We have the democrat, a power and money mad criminal, and we have the republican, an ego driven, blowhard male chauvinist pig. You can add your own pejoratives to each and I probably wouldn’t argue with any of them.

    Neither of them is acceptable to the people, nor should they be. But they’re all we have. So how do we decide?

    Looking at the last 50 years or so, the congress and the people have managed to restrain the presidents from doing irrecoverably stupid things. The only exceptions to me were three really bad things:

    1. Clinton requiring the banks, under threat of federal lawsuits, to make bad loans and having FannieMae and FreddieMac consolidate them in one place. Bush got distracted by 9/11 and the war and was very weak anyway so he did nothing to stop the coming disaster. This directly led to the economic crash at the end of Bush’s term and destroyed our economy for many years.

    2. Bush going into Iraq when he didn’t really have adequate support. The democrats voted for it but immediately turned against him and used it as a club from then on. This reduced Bush’s power and credibility, diffused our war on militant Islam, depleted our military and took up all the funds that could have been used either to expand the economy or at least prevent the collapse at the end. And while it seemed like a victory in the end, it set up a situation where Obama, who refused to consolidate the gains made by Bush in Iraq, was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and turn the ragtag militant Islamists into a force that threatens the entire western hemisphere.

    3. Obama’s disastrous overreaches that a republican party, weakened by Bush, the economic collapse and the war, and a consolidated democratic party enabled. Examples are: Obamacare, that had the federal government take over 1/6 of the economy and did to it what they have done to every other major program in history (read as VA healthcare, welfare, unsustainable Social Security, Medicare); Obama’s burdensome ever expanding and overreaching bureaucracy (Dodd/Frank, EPA, Justice Department); the doubling of the national debt; the loss of power and influence all over the world, especially the mideast; the disastrous recovery that has wasted over a trillion dollars and put almost half the country out of work and on welfare; and finally, and to me most important, caused the people to lose faith in every agency of government (read IRS, EPA, OSHA, Justice Department, Secret Service, FBI, and even the Supreme Court).

    You can probably think of a few others but to me these were the major ones.

    I see every sign from both the democrats and the republicans in office that a Trump presidency would be constrained at every turn. It’s possible he’d be completely neutered as an agent of change. There might be 4 years of fighting back and forth with stagnation in every area but in the end in 4 years we’d be right back where we are.

    Looking at the last 16 years I see no signs that a democrat in office, such as Hillary, would be constrained in any way. Obama was able to effectively play the race card against his opponents in the same manner that Hillary would be able to play the gender card.

    In the words of Mark Stein talking about the democrats and Hillary: “Think of what the last eight years have wrought – Obamacare, a weaponized IRS, six-figure fines for homophobic bakeries – and then pitch America forward to 2024. Picture the most absurd scenario you can concoct – say, a federal transgender-bathroom regime. Oh, no, wait, we’ve already got that. The left is serious about power, and they don’t waste time. The idea that the most personally corrupt candidate in modern American history will govern as some sort of benign moderate centrist placeholder until the wankers who thought Jeb Bush was a superstar shoo-in come up with their next inspiration is utterly preposterous.”

    For these reasons I’m convinced that Trump is the best chance for this country’s survival as a constitutional republic. At best he might effect a few of the needed changes while at worst he’d be a loud-mouthed buffonish placeholder.

    So, when the people go into the voting booth there are two possibilities. They will either be distracted by the establishment (all of them including establishment republicans) and their daily revelations of how mean, stupid and piggish Trump is and vote against him, or they will see this election as the last possible chance for change before the country crumbles and descends into social chaos and/or economic chaos and/or civil war and/or international war.

    I think this is the most important election since Lincoln for the future of this country. So please, vote your conscience and pray for this country; we’ll need it either way!

  55. Brian E Says:

    Irv Greenberg,

    Your analysis deserves to be at the top of a post.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>






Monthly Archives



Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge