Donald Trump’s presidency is the latest consequence of a Leftist campaign, launched at least five decades ago, to punish Republicans for espousing the idea that Christian morality is American morality, for believing what many considered America’s spoken and unspoken consensus on moral values and norms. In response to this rejection of the social and political status of secular progressive “values,” Leftists have systematically attacked the people and ideas they hold responsible for the degradation of their moral authority.
Republican ideas that contributed to moral authority, such as merit, hard work, and honesty, as well as policies that have strengthened familial and faith-based organizational ties among working class and poor Americans, have been vigorously discredited and ultimately rendered anathema for Americans who felt (or could be persuaded to feel) disenfranchised and would cheer for America’s collapsing social and moral consensus. Conservative ideas were thrown into a trash can marked “racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia” which has become an effective rhetorical devise for transmitting politically Leftist, anti-intellectual rage and frustration over the resurgence or destruction (depends in your perspective) of moral authority in American life.
Conservative intellectuals and academics had to be discredited and displaced. As the leaders of traditional culture, parents, the religious, some entertainers, successful business owners, and officers of the law, among others, became suspects for Leftist detectives investigating the theft of their moral authority and social dominance. The so-called “99%” who are protesting Trump’s winning the presidency are not very subtle about their contempt for Republicans and Conservatism. They feel (or have been persuaded to feel) that the success of others has been achieved by dragging them down. Having not recognized their power to improve their status, these folks see “racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia” all around them, besieging them. Like children, they have been primed by Leftist political strategists to simply and stubbornly accuse Conservatives of the litany of ‘isms. At least two generations of Leftists have now been socialized to abandon reasoned political discourse and advocacy and instead to embrace a tact and tactic best described as “trolling.”
The Leftist’s response to Donald Trumps inaugural address is an excellent and illustrative example of this phenomenon. It was not a rebuttal so much as a childish public meltdown the nature of which has become standard operating procedure for politicos of the Left. Ironically, Trump was trying to invoke universal moral values, but to his critics he is a false prophet of virtue simply because he is a Republican . “Identity politics” goes both ways. Leftists employ it with aplomb against Republicans and condemn it when it is used against the Left. Trump is a Republican so his arguments (regardless of merit) and his factual claims (regardless of accuracy) must be demonized and rejected as a show of political loyalty and power. “Attack the messenger” is now an iron rule of politics for the far right (and left). If you call me deplorable then I pretend it is a compliment from the likes of you. For visual confirmation of this point, Google “deplorables” and “nasty women,” each of which will turn up pictures of folks proudly sporting T-shirts that advertise their pride in the labels. We now make competing political statements instead of political arguments and counter-arguments. Logic, facts, and reason-based claims are no longer privileged in American politics. They are nothing more than expressions of team or tribal preferences, value judgments the value of which is confined to those sharing in-group loyalties. To the rest, they are just barbs to be deflected and returned.
Ultimately, Americans may be mired in a “post-modern,” “post-truth” political world because in order to discredit the Republican values and the Conservatism of America’s moral consensus, Leftists have sought to discredit all authority in America. Republicans depended on the authority of faith, and Conservatives depend on the authority of reason. If clerics no longer have moral authority in America, then neither should scientists and scholars have intellectual authority. If Leftists can relegate moral truths to the status of mere “value judgments,” then Leftists can do the same with facts, reason-based claims, and science. Leftists have to either tolerate the subjectivity of facts or confess that “they started it” and that their use of moral relativism as a political cudgel was irrational, destructive, and uncivil.
When Kelly Ann Conway introduced the term “alternative facts” into our political vernacular recently, I couldn’t help but wonder if somewhere deep down she was thinking, if Leftists get to have “alternative lifestyles,” then we get to have “alternative facts.”
The previous post was originally composed by Professor Jerold Duquette, all I have done is take his post written in support of Hillary Clinton and Progressivism and change a few words so that it would become a post in support of Donald Trump and Conservatism. I have done this is to illustrate a disgusting modularity in modern politics. Paste an article into your word processing program replace all the instances of “George Soros” to “the Koch brothers” and there you have it the left becomes the right and the right becomes the left. This is not writing this is typing.
There’s an awful lot of this going on now, people who are team red or team blue placing themselves into the conversation without anything to add to the conversation. It Is most distressing that posts like this are being produced by credentialed academics from revered universities and appearing on the web sites of reputable media. I expect so much more from the men and women that claim expertise about politics, so much so that they call themselves Professors of Political Science.
This cannot be the apex of political discourse. Even Professor Duquette realizes the nihilism that is creeping into this conversation. Our nation is facing serious problems, our commonwealth is facing many of the same problems. If we are to thrive and prosper these problems must be solved. We will not create the solutions our Republic needs to prosper if we continue to pull apart each other with name-calling and sick Burns and trolling. I am sure we as Americans are all better than that