Who Needs Bait When They Make Their Own?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist writes about the latest tempest in the media teapot Donald Trump has managed to provoke by the kind of remark he typically makes. Unlike the media -- and the cynical Elizabeth Warren, who is making money off of this -- Hemingway correctly appraises Trump's faux pas du jour:

[I]t's beyond reasonable to criticize President Trump for mucking up a ceremony honoring World War II heroes with a petty invocation of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's false claim of Native American heritage.
Yes. Why bring up that poser at all when honoring the Navajo code talkers of World War II? Hemingway identifies much of what went on since as "even greater silliness," but I don't think she goes far enough there.

Hemingway describes at length how eagerly the leftist media have dropped all context and relentlessly gone after the President on the grounds that his remark was "racist." Whence the silliness? A recent Wall Street Journal article by Shelby Steele goes a long way towards answering that question. In "Why the Left Can't Let Go of Racism," he writes:
Useful for keeping on the straight and narrow. Fishing, too. (Image via Wikipedia.)
What makes racism so sweet? Today it empowers. Racism was once just racism, a terrible bigotry that people nevertheless learned to live with, if not as a necessary evil then as an inevitable one. But the civil-rights movement, along with independence movements around the world, changed that. The '60s recast racism in the national consciousness as an incontrovertible sin, the very worst of all social evils.

Suddenly America was in moral trouble. The open acknowledgment of the nation's racist past had destroyed its moral authority, and affirming democratic principles and the rule of law was not a sufficient response. Only a strict moral accounting could restore legitimacy.

Thus, redemption -- paying off the nation's sins -- became the moral imperative of a new political and cultural liberalism...


Here we see redemptive liberalism's great ingenuity: It seized proprietorship over innocence itself. It took on the power to grant or deny moral legitimacy across society. Liberals were free of the past while conservatives longed to resurrect it, bigotry and all. What else could "Make America Great Again" mean? ...
Steele sums things up: "The liberal identity must have racism, lest it lose innocence and the power it conveys." We're seeing a mixture here of idealism unmoored from reality and naked cynicism in an army of useful idiots and power-lusters. (And the power-lusters, whose defeated presidential candidate was a perfect embodiment of the left on many levels, know on some level that ginning up phony indignation is all they have left.)

Steele sees the conservative movement as an alternative, his only main point I have issue with. A true alternative would be an individualist, radical pro-capitalist movement.

-- CAV

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