This morning I read the National Review’s attack on Trump. It would have been devastating, had I cared for Conservatism Inc.’s views on the matter.
Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.
We need more fencing at the border, but the promise to make Mexico pay for it is silly bluster
As for illegal immigration, Trump pledges to deport the 11 million illegals here in the United States, a herculean administrative and logistical task beyond the capacity of the federal government.
Yes, it is impossible, but can you get 80%? The first 20%? Can the US at least enforce its current laws on immigration, as Obama conspicuously refuses to do? Very likely? Can you slowly begin to change the direction of the ship of state? Absolutely.
Indeed, Trump’s politics are those of an averagely well-informed businessman: Washington is full of problems; I am a problem-solver; let me at them. But if you have no familiarity with the relevant details and the levers of power, and no clear principles to guide you, you will, like most tenderfeet, get rolled.
The problem that Trump poses for the Republican intelligentsia is that of a man who seems disinclined to listen to their professional soothsaying. He does not care for them and they do not care for him.
Worse, I think, than any of Trump’s anti immigration stances is his complete rejection of the free-trade orthodoxy of the past forty years. This orthodoxy has held that America is best off when it can get China and Japan to make its goods, and as the States has not enough to pay for the imbalance of trade, the US can sell them Treasury Bills (debt) in exchange. Thus, as Trump points out, the Asian powers take American jobs, we get their consumer goods, US factories shut down and move out, and the American working class is left in a crisis of despondency, which is reducing their lifespans in somewhat the same way that Russian men are dying earlier. Labour force participation is also dropping as more and more people find they can get by on disability pensions.
If it had been any other ethnic group than whites, the recent news that there is a huge die-off of the American working class male would have been declared a national crisis. But in a world where Black Lives Matter, white lives do not – or so it appears.
All this is well described in Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, the State of White America, 1960-2010, which should be reading for anyone reading Barrelstrength, and for opinion writing in the National Review.
The proposition advanced by white nationalists like Pat Buchanan is that you cannot really have the United States without a significant, probably majority, core of white people; that the United States is a nation, not just an assemblage of factories and suburbs, tied together by laws, and that the policies of free trade and mass immigration as well as a host of other policies which are anti-white, anti-productivity, and against social order, are threatening the social core that makes the United States work, as a society, as a nation, as the great experiment in republican government that it is.
We have wandered far from Trump into the basic issues that are confronting the United States, and in many cases they are racial, in the sense not of black versus everyone else, or white versus everyone else, but what is the United States going to be in fifty years? Will it persist in any recognizable form?
The questions that lie below the level of free trade and walls against Mexico, and the objections of the Republican intellectual class, derive from basic anxieties about the fate of the country that cannot be discussed in polite company, but which everyone knows are the real issues.
Here is where Trump is generating support, and it goes far deeper than trade policy and immigration. He is acting as the icebreaker for the rest of us, plowing through the frozen seas of Marxist thought control known as political correctness, shattering one shibboleth after another. The effect is to free up society to have the discussions which are prevented by the iron masks to which people have submitted, or which have been placed upon their heads, by the actions of left-wing intelligentsia trying to make society “safe” from white people and their attitudes and beliefs.
When Chinese dynasties changed they had a period called “the rectification of names”, when all the politically correct labels were replaced and people could go back to calling things by their real or habitual names again. Inevitably the new dynasty would create its own set of prohibited terms and changed expressions. For a brief few years, people could talk freely.
We have not been able to talk freely for fifty years about race, religion, class, sex, or any of the important issues of life. The promise of Trump is that for a little while, maybe even longer, it will be possible to talk about what most people think are the real issues, not those chosen for us by the increasingly fatuous National Review.
Post script: Rush Limbaugh said the same yesterday.
LIMBAUGH: It’s something really simple . . . They’re fed up with the modern day Democratic Party . . . The Republican Party establishment does not understand this. They do not know who their conservative voters are. They’ve over-estimated their conservatism . . . They’re not liberals. They’re not Democrat. Many of them do not want to be thought of as conservatives for a host of reasons. So somebody who comes along and is able to convey that he or she understands why they’re angry and furthermore, is going to do everything to fix it, is going to own them. What’s happening here is that ‘nationalism’–dirty word, ooh people hate it–and ‘populism’–even dirtier word. Nationalism and populism have overtaken conservatism in terms of appeal.
Life is about life, which is biological and inherently racial, tribal or national (depending on the scale of aggregation you consider). It is not essentially about markets, trade, or technical innovation, though we hold these to be naturally good things. When the underlying anxieties of people start to concern themselves with the question”will we exist in 50 years?”, then the kind of anti-white racialist talk and action which is tolerated by the official conservatives and encouraged by the Left start to become the issue. Thus to discuss Trump is often to discuss issues that the post-World War 2 consensus had banished, and wished would go away, but will not.
And this is what has official conservatism concerned. The topics of which they are masters have been declared irrelevant, and no one gives a damn for their views. National Review could banish the brilliant British mathematician John Derbyshire from its pages for his frank discussion of what white people must do to be safe against black criminality, but National Review cannot banish the issue he raised or the anxieties Americans experience for their continued existence.