Tuesday, February 07, 2017


Remember the brave-looking stand National Review took against Trump and Trumpism last year? Ha ha, now look: their front page is devoted to articles like "Approve the Cabinet" by noted free-thinker Kevin D. Williamson and the Trump-flattering encomia of Victor Davis Hanson and Andrew C. McCarthy.  One imagines Trump in doublet and hose: "Was ever loser in this humor woo'd? Was ever loser in this humor won? Sad!"

Worse still are the NRniks who peddle Trumpism without Trump. Get a load of Ramesh Ponnuru's and Rich Lowry's "For Love of Country":
"Dark,” “divisive,” and “dangerous” were a few of the negative descriptors that critics attached to President Trump’s inaugural address, and those were just the ones that start with “d.” (A few threw in “dystopian” for good measure.) The critics took him this way in part because he depicted the last few decades of American life as a hellscape from which he would shortly deliver us: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” But the critics also had this reaction because the address had a theme — nationalism — that has itself long been assumed in many quarters to be dark, divisive, and dangerous.  
That assumption has never been justified and should now be discarded. Nationalism can be a healthy and constructive force. Since nationalistic sentiments also have wide appeal and durability, it would be wiser to cultivate that kind of nationalism than to attempt to move beyond it.
Just because Trump is a monster doesn't mean every ignorant xenophobe strongman has to be one! Surely someone someday might-could declare "Xland for the Xlanders" without the fascist chest-beating. Then comes the history lesson:
Fear of nationalism became very widespread, especially in Europe, after the world wars, and it remains a core premise behind the sputtering drive toward further European integration.
Hitler made nationalism ick,  at least to those sputtering sissies at the EU. They go on: "Nationalism has a bad odor even among some conservatives" because "economic conservatism, particularly as influenced by libertarianism, can come to see borders as barriers to free markets" and some are "influenced by the notion that America is an 'idea' or a 'proposition nation,'" but...

Ugh. You almost want some brute like, oh, Richard Spencer to bust through the flimsy premise of this essay like Kool-Aid Man busting through a wall and go TOUGH SHIT CUCKS I AM YOUR CONSERVATISM NOW! Because that would be cutting to the chase, and who wouldn't prefer it;  after the early, moony grafs about a "benign nationalism" that "includes loyalty to one’s country" and "the revulsion that most people feel when protesters burn an American flag" even the most sympathetic reader must realize this isn't so much an essay as a Country Time Lemonade commercial for NR's milky country-club conservatism.

Who would even read it all, besides me? Some nervy souls may hang in through the Roger Scruton and (Lord help us) Chesterton citations; some bravos may persist past the unexplained assertion that the European Union "has a democracy deficit and always will"; a stalwart few may endure copybook sludge like "the appeal to national pride has also been important to conservative politics"; the dimmer of the half-mad survivors, clawing through the crumbling logic and reek of special pleading, may be encouraged to find themselves washed up on the What's Wrong with Trump's Nationalism section ("He’s not a limited-government conservative, nor does he appear to be a religious man"), but the smarter ones will realize with horror that they've been conned -- the only meaningful difference between Il Douche and Lowry and Ponnuru is that the latter bother to use big words to make the animal appeal of nationalism sound to suckers like philosophy instead of gangster movie monologues. Only relatives and sycophants of the authors will get to the end undamaged.

Bad as it is by itself, this piece of shit has been glossed by Jonah Goldberg. His column is one long wind-tunnel fart and I haven't got the time, but this section will give you some of the flavor:
It is true that nationalism is part of the equation, but it is the less important part. And by mistaking the tail for the dog, we lose sight of what is important. Think of it this way. All, or at least most, marriages require some level of physical attraction, particularly at the outset — that is only natural. But any marriage purely based on physical attraction will struggle to last. No happily married couple I have ever met has confessed that the secret of their long marriage was mutual lust.
No comment. (Loser.)
Marriages endure for a host of complicated reasons, but among the most important is surely a commitment to an ideal, be it religious or otherwise. Nationalism is a bit like lust — a natural human passion that, absent proper channeling, is at best morally neutral and more often a source of unhealthy temptation.
Thank God the writers of National Review can always get some Trump-love on the down-low without violating their vows of intellectual celibacy! Meantime in the real world, Trump's-brain Fat Goebbels is mind-melding with Mencius Moldbug and other nerd-Nazis to create the newer new nationalism, so Goldberg et alia better pay attention so they know exactly how far away to stand -- and exactly where they're expected to be in, oh, six to twelve months.

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