Two op-eds in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal and one on this website brilliantly call attention to aspects of the vast political and cultural change, still in its early stages, that is gathering force in this country as inexorably as the spring thaw breaks up a frozen river, first as a trickle and then a torrent. Donald Trump figures in all three stories. He is at once a cause and an effect of the change—the Tea Party movement embodied and in power, and as much a rejection of the existing order of things as the mob that swarmed onto British ships in Boston Harbor 245 years ago and flung overboard their cargo of tea whose tax they refused to pay in a gesture of defiance that declared “No more!” And they meant it.
Peggy Noonan’s Journal column observes that after Trump there will never again be a “normal” president. Never again, that is, will we elect some apparatchik from the haughty, out-of-touch, overpaid political class that has given us generations of arbitrary rule by the Administrative State’s unelected “experts” too inept to see a financial hurricane brewing; that has allowed the Supreme Court to cram the ethical beliefs of the coastal elites down the throats of a gagging nation—so that nuns have to sue not to hand out birth control, as if freedom of conscience were not the first of our freedoms; that admits immigrants by the carload without a thought of whether they will help or harm America and Americans; that goes to war foolishly believing that toppling dictators will magically turn their tribal subjects into democratic republicans; and that lets the IRS tax as tyrannically as George III. No more!
In the same paper, Shelby Steele points out that the lesson we should draw from the National Football League protestors—whose kneeling at the National Anthem drew much-publicized jeers from Trump and drove fans away from the stadiums—is that the days of black protest are over, because past years of heroic protest succeeded in making black Americans truly free (as Gene Dattel’s Reckoning With Race argued recently). The campus snowflakes’ worries about microaggressions, the Black Lives Matter protests, the armies of deans of diversity are all obsolete. For all their vociferousness, they are lost in a vanished past, and we no longer have to listen to them. The problem now, Steele notes, is that too many blacks feel naked without their victimhood, feel ashamed that most of Chicago’s or Baltimore’s myriad murderers are black, and don’t know what to do with their freedom. Time to man up, make a worthwhile life, and stop whining. No more!
On this site, Andrew Klavan dazzlingly argues that “rude and crude” President Trump, who “speaks like a Queens real estate guy on a construction site,” nevertheless speaks truths that well-mannered people are too cowed by political correctness to admit—such critically important truths as that violent criminals are disproportionately black, for instance, or that most terrorists are Muslim. But well-bred falsehoods not only dull the minds of those who mouth them but also are dangerous: just ask those who’ve lost loved ones to terrorists or murderers. So when Trump crudely calls certain countries “shitholes,” he is speaking truth, not racism. “They are not shitholes because of the color of the populace but because of bad ideas, corrupt governance, false religion, and broken culture,” Klavan notes. After all, there is better and worse in everything. There are such things as progress and enlightenment, fitful and unstable as these may be. There is even such a thing as American exceptionalism. So while Klavan is right to say that many “rank-and-file immigrants from such ruined venues ultimately make good Americans,” it’s worth pointing out that not all of them do, because oppressive government, violence-prone or fatalistically passive religion, and cultures that spurn assimilation or education can deform the soul. Their effects can’t always be undone—as we discovered, Peggy Noonan implies, in our failed wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Watching sleek, richly tailored Senator Richard Durbin admonish Trump not for the vulgarity of his remark but for its truth, while mendaciously twisting his words, is an object lesson in the self-serving hypocrisy that fuels Americans’ contempt for their political class. No more!
What happens next, no one knows. But jeering mockery sometimes explodes dogmatic lies more effectively than sweet reason.
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