Thursday, August 11, 2016


Hey guys, Kevin D. Williamson finds something in common between the left and H.L. Mencken and Mark Twain. As you would imagine, he doesn't mean it as a compliment:
The debunking mentality is prevalent in both men’s writing, a genuine fervor to knock the United States and its people down a peg or two. For Twain, America was slavery and the oppression of African Americans. For Mencken, the representative American experience was the Scopes trial, with its greasy Christian fundamentalists and arguments designed to appeal to the “prehensile moron,” his description of the typical American farmer. The debunking mind is typical of the American Left, which feels itself compelled to rewrite every episode in history in such a way as to put black hats on the heads of any and all American heroes: Jefferson? Slave-owning rapist. Lincoln? Not really all that enlightened on race. Saving the world from the Nazis? Sure, but what about the internment of the Japanese? Etc. “It was wonderful to find America,” Twain wrote. “But it would have been more wonderful to miss it.”
Then Williamson lays into this "very left-wing American history teacher" he had in high school in Lubbock, and into Molly Ivins -- I guess because he dimly sensed that some of his readers would resentfully notice he was associating liberalism exclusively with America's greatest geniuses.

The teacher said mean things in class about slavery and capitalism, which Williamson took as some kind of mania -- "it was, for reasons that remain mysterious to me, very important to her — plainly urgent to her — that the American story be one of disappointment, betrayal, and falling short of our founding ideals" -- rather than an appropriate curriculum for sprats raised on blind patriotism and TV. As for Ivins, well, Williamson finds her a "lazy" writer (yeah, I know! Kevin D. Williamson!) and also mean to America like that commie schoolmarm, plus Ivins was born into money, which means her Argument is Invalid because liberals are hypocrites unless they're dirt-poor day-laborers, a kind of credentialing conservatives never apply to themselves because they're saved by Grace or some shit. (At present, they seem to offload their lingering need for prole-cred onto J. D. Vance and with affectations of concern for the poor white citizens of Fishtown.)

I don't think Williamson was thinking too hard about where he was going when he wandered into this dark wood, because eventually he tells us that while "a nation needs its Twains and Menckens" (though why we need them, despite his aversion to liberal scolds, he never tells us), nonetheless -- get this --
But they are only counterpoints: They cannot be the leading voice, or the dominant spirit of the age. That is because this is a republic, and in a republic, a politics based on one half of the population hating the other half is a politics that loses even if it wins...
If you happen to be Mark Twain, that sort of thing is good for a laugh, and maybe for more than a laugh. But it isn’t enough. “We must not be enemies,” President Lincoln declared, and he saw the republic through a good deal worse than weak GDP growth and the sack of a Libyan consulate.
Again, yeah, Kevin D. Williamson -- who has said that President Obama is "neck-deep in blood" because of abortion, that liberals are racist because they prefer successful Scandinavian socialism to unsuccessful Latin American socialism (and also because he projects his own fear of blacks onto them), and who famously looked at poor white communities in America and said, "The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die" -- now wants to bind up the nation's wounds! But first we must turn away from satire and anything that's divisive and entertaining, except National Review articles, and vote for Trump to stop Clinton but don't tell anybody about it because it's déclassé

Well, there's one bright side to this:  for a while we may not have to hear how great P.J. O'Rourke is supposed to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment