Saturday, June 23, 2018

No Will (the de-conservativization of the GOP)

George Will, Having Left Republican Party, Urges Conservatives to Vote Against Donald Trump (Fortune)
     George Will, a longtime political commentator and staunch defender of the conservative movement, chided the Republican Party, citing the party’s support for Donald Trump in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
     On Friday, Will published a column in the Washington Post explaining his view, using the kind of excoriating language his columns are known for. The column, titled “Vote against the GOP this November,” argued that the number of Republicans in Congress “must be substantially reduced.”….
Republican or Conservative, You Have to Choose
David Brooks, NYT, 6-25-18
     The never-Trumpers are having an interesting debate over the question, Is it time to leave the Republican Party? George Will and Steve Schmidt say yes: The Trumpian rot is all the way down. Bill Kristol says not so fast: Once Donald Trump falls, the party could be brought back to health, and the fight has to be within the party as well as without it.
. . .
     Conservatism, as Roger Scruton reminds us, was founded during the 18th-century Enlightenment. In France, Britain and the American colonies, Enlightenment thinkers were throwing off monarchic power and seeking to build an order based on reason and consent of the governed. Society is best seen as a social contract, these Enlightenment thinkers said. Free individuals get together and contract with one another to create order.
     Conservatives said we agree with the general effort but think you’ve got human nature wrong. There never was such a thing as an autonomous, free individual who could gather with others to create order. Rather, individuals emerge out of families, communities, faiths, neighborhoods and nations. The order comes first. Individual freedom is an artifact of that order [that sacred space].
. . .
     Conservatives fought big government not because they hated the state, per se, but because they loved the sacred space. The last attempts to build a conservatism around the sacred space were George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” and, in Britain, David Cameron’s Big Society conservatism.
     They both fizzled because over the last 30 years the parties of the right drifted from conservatism. The Republican Party became the party of market fundamentalism.
     Market fundamentalism is an inhumane philosophy that makes economic growth society’s prime value and leaves people atomized and unattached. Republican voters eventually rejected market fundamentalism and went for the tribalism of Donald Trump because at least he gave them a sense of social belonging….
. . .
     Today you can be a conservative or a Republican, but you can’t be both.
     The new threats to the sacred space demand a fundamental rethinking for conservatives. You can’t do that rethinking if you are imprisoned in a partisan mind-set or if you dismiss half of Americans because they are on the “other team.”…. 
     TRUMPISM AS A FAILURE OF AMERICAN EDUCATION. In my recent Philosophy 2 courses, I (briefly) focused on this conservatism, on Liberalism, and the relationship of these philosophies to Trumpism.
     Among other things, Trumpism is a massive failure of our educational system. Most Americans don't know the first thing about political philosophy. One who understands and has some fidelity to either conservatism or Lockean liberalism (and its descendants: classical and social liberalism) (or both) will utterly reject Mr. Trump and his politics.

Charles Krauthammer:  
     "I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied. He lives in a cocoon of solipsism where the world outside himself has value — indeed exists — only insofar as it sustains and inflates him." 
David Frum: 
     Let Trump be Trump. 
     Let decent people be decent.
     Trust your country—not all of it, sadly, but enough of it—to notice and appreciate the difference. 
Bill Kristol:  
     “I’m a little surprised by my own reactions over the last two or three months.... One really is conflicted. I really could make a case that the country would be better off with the Democrats running the House, because, if the Republicans aren’t willing to check Trump, someone has to.” 
Jonah Goldberg:  
     "Off the record, Republicans often say they’re afraid Trump responds to being told not to do something by doing it out of spite. That’s a real concern. But it’s not an excuse [for not telling him to stop doing something]. 
     If Trump does fire Mueller and a constitutional crisis ensues, the previously silent, suddenly angry Republicans will be asked why they’re speaking up now. That is, if they speak up at all."  
* * * * *

     My latest post about life in central Montana a century ago: Freezing to death
     Montana isn't the coldest state. Still, brrr-wise, it's pretty chill.
     The names people choose to use about things and places tell us much about them and about their relationship to those things.
     Montanans have creeks named "Froze to Death" and "Starve to Death"....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That, by my last count, makes 6 articulate Republican intelligent commentators or spokespersons who have abandoned Trump.

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