As the world seems so deranged that the earth appears to wobble on its axis, it’s increasingly hard to look at the news, let alone contemplate it deeply. However, I have two articles to recommend. If you read only one thing today this is the one to read:
As of tonight, we might know whether Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential candidate. And barring unforeseeable events, it is certain that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. Those are two reasons (of many, unfortunately) why — other than the first years of the Civil War, when the survival of the United States as one country was in jeopardy — there was never a darker time in American history.
The various major wars — the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars — were worse in terms of American lives lost.
The Great Depression was worse in economic terms.
There were more riots during the Vietnam War era.
But at no other time was there as much pessimism — valid pessimism, moreover — about America’s future as there is today.
Among the reasons are:
Every distinctive value on which America was founded is in jeopardy.
According to Pew Research, more and more young Americans do not believe in freedom of speech for what they deem “hate speech.” Forty percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 said they agreed that offensive statements could be outlawed.
According to a series of Harvard polls, 47 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 believe that food, shelter, and health care “are a right that government should provide to those unable to afford them.” That means that nearly half of our young believe they have a legitimate claim on the labor and earnings of others for life’s basic necessities.
More than half of young Americans do not support capitalism — the source of the prosperity they enjoy and the only economic system that has ever lifted mass numbers of people out of poverty.
When young Americans see pictures of the Founders, they do not see the great men that most Americans have seen throughout American history. They see white males who were affluent (now derisively labeled “privileged”) and owned slaves.
The belief that certain fundamental rights are God-based — a view held by every American Founder and nearly all Americans throughout its history — is reviled outside of conservative religious circles and held by fewer and fewer Americans.
The view that male and female are distinctive identities — one of the few unquestioned foundational views of every society in history — is being obliterated. One is deemed “a hater” just for saying that one believes that, all things being equal, a child does best starting out life with a married father and mother.
The ideas that America should be a “melting pot” or that all Americans should identify as American are now unutterable in educated company. Indeed, many college campuses do not have an American flag on their campus because some students regard it as “offensive” — representing imperialism and capitalism.
In addition, virtually every major institution is in decay or disarray.
Read the rest here. Dennis Prager warns that we can’t give up. You’re not really fighting if you’re already winning. You’re only fighting when there’s something at stake and you think you might lose irrevocably if you don’t give it your all.
And if you have the time to read two things today, read Victor Davis Hanson on the fact that Donald Trump is the true post-modern candidate:
In other words, Trump is a postmodern creation, for whom traditional and time-tested rules do not apply. He is neither brilliant nor unhinged, neither ecumenical nor just a polarizer, not a wrecker and not a savior of the Republican party, but something else altogether. He does not defy conventional wisdom. There simply is no convention and no wisdom applicable to Donald J. Trump. For years postmodernists have lectured us that there is no truth, no absolutes, no timeless protocols worthy of reverence; Trump is their Nemesis, who reifies their theories that truth is simply a narrative whose veracity is established by the degree of power and persuasion behind it.
A reality-TV star, Trump appeals to those who despise reality-TV celebs like the Kardashians. A billionaire, he is the hero of those who hate billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett. A vain narcissist, he earns the loyalty of those who are repelled by the vain narcissism of Barack Obama. A man who dyes and does his hair, tans his skin, and stretches his face, he appeals to those who have neither the money nor the desire to do the same.
A self-described Republican, he attacks Republicans more than Democrats. An elite insider, he blasts elite insiders. He is both to the right and to the left of Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio. Trump rails against dirty campaign fundraising — and he assures us that no one knows such corruption better than he himself, since as a donor he used to spread cash around precisely to influence. Why else should anyone give?
If the rules of politics do not apply to Trump, how then can Trump break them? For Donald Trump, there is only one third rail: conventionality. If he, as advised, were to stop calling his rivals liars and crooks; if he, as urged, were to read sober and judicious speeches off teleprompters; if he, as counseled, were to talk in politically correct platitudes, Trump would turn doctrinaire and conformist — and be undone by reviving the very orthodox rules he once strangled, but that otherwise strangle outsider-insiders like himself. If Trump were to listen to a politico and lose 30 pounds, shorten his tie, cut off his comb-over, and wear earth-tone clothes, he would be finished.
His supporters want a reckoning with a system that has not so much failed as infuriated them. What drives their loyalty to Trump — if not the person, at least the idea of Trump — is a sort of nihilism. As a close friend put it to me this week, “I don’t care whether Trump wins or not, I just want him to f— things up as long as he can.”
In his supporters’ eyes, had Trump run in 2008 he might have lost, but he would at least have aired one Obama hit-ad a minute, with Rev. Wright screaming obscenities as a trailer crossed the screen beneath, collating the various quotations of praise from Obama for his personal pastor. If Trump had run in 2012, they believe, he would have cut off Candy Crowley — the moderator who hijacked the second presidential debate to save Barack Obama — in a cruder way than he screamed at Rosie O’Donnell.
Trump is the antithesis of his smears of his rivals. He is many things, but at least not “low energy.” He may be fat and pink and orange, but he is not “little.” He lies and fabricates, but he is not a sober and judicious constitutionalist: So “Lyin’ Donald Trump” wouldn’t work as a sound bite. Nor would “crooked Donald” — given that he would admit he trims a lot in business, whereas Hillary would deny to her last breath that the Clintons made $100 million by leveraging their name and offices in quid-pro-quo shakedowns.
Read the rest here.
Would you be surprised to learn that I’m grateful to have legal work today, despite it’s being boring, frustrating, and poorly paying, because the news is so grim that this work is a better alternative than blogging?