October 16, 2017

Potato, Potahtoe

Last week we engaged on these pages in fairly strident internecine dialog about Trump and Bannon and the Republican party, such as it is. None of us is wrong per se, so there was no chance that anyone might "see the light" and change his position. But perhaps we can all better understand each other's perspective. With help from the inestimable VDH, Victor Davis Hanson. Perhaps too much of a "nativist" for some, but hear him out.

In his latest column "It's 1968 All Over Again" Hanson succinctly describes two perspectives on the open warfare in Washington D.C.:

Is the problem too much democracy, as the volatile and fickle mob runs roughshod over establishment experts and experienced bureaucrats? Or is the crisis too little democracy, as populists strive to dethrone a scandal-plagued, anti-democratic, incompetent and overrated entrenched elite?

In closing, he poses the following observations:

Is the instability less a symptom that America is falling apart and more a sign that the loud conventional wisdom of the past -- about the benefits of a globalized economy, the insignificance of national borders and the importance of identity politics -- is drawing to a close, along with the careers of those who profited from it?

In the past, any crisis that did not destroy the United States ended up making it stronger. But for now, the fight grows over which is more toxic -- the chronic statist malady that was eating away the country, or the new populist medicine deemed necessary to cure it.


America, F*ck Yeah! Internecine Politics Trump Agonistes Trump Revolution Posted by JohnGalt at October 16, 2017 2:26 PM

Yes, Professor VDH is too nativist. But, after enjoying several of his lectures in Hillsdale's Athens & Sparta MOOC, and his magisterial introduction to the Landmark Edition Thucydides, he is a superb choice for appeal to authority.

I enjoyed the piece, but am prepared to "embrace the healing power of and:" Trump's supporters and critics can both be wrong. I know many in both camps and am not at all startled by the rigidity on the left. Yes, if he's Hitler and likes lemon in his tea, we must not ever use lemon.

I will not lie; I have been surprised by the stridency of his defenders. Zero politicians are perfect and the President is not the closest I've seen. Healthy skepticism of gub'mint and the people what people it seems well warranted.

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2017 5:10 PM

It's hard to see, but if you squint your eyes, the skepticism exists, it's just that da other side is so very much over the top that even fence post sitters are almost required to defend the man.
I see a lot wrong with him, but I will defend him in conversation so that people can at least hear another version of whatever new outrage is current.

Posted by: Terri Goon at October 17, 2017 9:58 AM

I with Terri: I don't like the guy and agree with him perhaps half the time but my FB feed has gone from Outrage Theater to Kabuki Theater (over and over) in less time than POTUS can thrice tweet about NFL idiocy.

I've even taken to knee-capping my opponents at times; picking on the picayune to denigrate their threads... *sigh* it's just so much easier than lengthy debate (and I'm too irregular on FB).

What's my pick of the 50+% "good"? I've been told his picks for judges are outstanding, and I can attest that DOE & EPA are both going strongly in good directions.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 17, 2017 11:58 PM

Ummmm, yeaaaaahhhh, sortof, he said hesitatingly...

I frequently find myself defending him. He has done some fantastic things and exceeded my expectations in many areas. I agree the opposition is unhinged.

But, where would you good people admit he was wrong?

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2017 12:14 PM

He's wrong on many things. "Afflicting the comfortable" in Washington D.C. isn't one of them.

I want to push back on your "healthy skepticism of government" position. That was fine when Barack Hussein O was president, or George W Bush, or Bill Clinton or ... But Donald John Trump was elected for one reason more than any other (in my humble opinion): To wrestle government power away from the political elite. Trump is the present embodiment of voters' skepticism toward politicians.

There is no chance - zero, none, nada - that the administrative state will become a nationalist police power under the charismatic leadership of President Trump. Any weakening of the president strengthens the liberty-sapping Leviathan.

I know that's not a very nuanced analysis but statism thrives in the gray area between liberty and government power. The power of our free society goes up when the power of the administrative state goes down.

Posted by: johngalt at October 18, 2017 7:25 PM | What do you think? [5]