Slouching Towards Election Day

Brett Kavanaugh and Kanye West have combined to make sure that the 2018 midterm election will not be a normal one.

. . . what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

— William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming, 1919


Many things will come to a head on our next election day, 6 November, 2018.  This will not be a normal mid-term election.  The Kavanaugh imbroglio clarified that.

Usually midterm elections are, to use a football metaphor, the two parties arguing about where the football should be placed within ten yards of midfield.  The questions now are much more fundamental, pitting our enlightenment-era Constitutional values and norms versus Marxist progressive identity / grievance culture.  The two cannot coexist. Related to that is whether blacks, who have voted as a monolithic block for the the past 50 years, will continue to do so?

It goes without saying that the playing field for deciding these issues will not be fair and balanced.  The refs are in the bag, so to speak.  Most of the media are openly an arm of the progressive left, running relentlessly negative press coverage against Trump and Republicans even as Trump’s list of economic, foreign and domestic policy accomplishments (289 and counting) continues to grow.  In a sane country, his administration would be celebrated at this point as the most effective (and honest) since World War II.  Instead, the media paints our nation as in crisis.  As Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit recently stated, “America is not in crisis.  Leftists are in meltdown because they’re not in power, and they’re calling that a crisis.”

Kavanaugh & the Marxist – Progressive Identity and Grievance Culture

Marxism is toxic and, as all history has proven since 1919, has failed both spectacularly and bloodily as an economic and governing model.  Progressive grievance culture, with its roots in Marxism, is doubly toxic.  It borrows the socio-economic oppressed-oppressor framework at the heart of Marxism — as well as Marxism’s will to power by any means necessary — then grafts on identity politics and post-modernism, the latter of which explains the Kavanaugh imbroglio perfectly.

Post-modernism elevates subjective assertions above objective facts. My reality is whatever I want it to be — and thus completely immune to contrary facts and rational argument.  There is no need for evidence or due process in such a circumstance.   Thus do you get “Believe All Women” (but only if and for so long as they are politically useful).

This mindset was demonstrated with clarity in 2017, when a group of grievance studies majors at Pomona College composed a public letter to the college president protesting Heather MacDonald speaking at their school:

Your statement [the college president’s remarks on freedom of speech] contains unnuanced views surrounding the academy and a belief in searching for some venerated truth. Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples. The idea that there is a single truth–’the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples. . . .

A bit later on in the letter, the student’s defend tactics to shut down speech they disagree with and to impose their will by mob rule.  Do note their “ultimate goal” — for this is a zero sum game with these people:

Protest that doesn’t disrupt the status quo is benign and doesn’t function to overthrow systems of oppression, which is the ultimate goal.

Even Marx never went as far as our modern progressives in pushing the oppressed-oppressor framework beyond the socio-economic.  In the wonderful utopia envisioned by Marx, the oppressed and the oppressors, defined by social class, disappear and all become one in the great communist collective where, as the old Soviet joke went, people pretended to work and the state pretended to pay them.

In identity politics, the distinctions never disappear.  Thus progressivism may be founded in Marxism, but its end point is the purest of tribalism.  And, given that our nation is a melting pot of people from every conceivable “tribe,” that spells the end for this country.  As a brilliant man once said shortly before our first Civil War, a “house divided cannot stand.”

Just as an aside, let me note that you will find many on the left who reject “tribalism” and realize its toxic effect on society.  But then you have to ask, how the hell can they support progressive politics while admitting to tribalism’s dangers?  As an author at the New Yorker recently opined, in what may be the worst case of projection I’ve ever seen, it is, he alleges, the right, with their fidelity to the Constitution and concern for the economy, who are the tribalists.

Nothing demonstrates proggie neo-tribalism more than the ranting and ravings of  Tamika Mallory, black female co-shair of the Women’s March, who penned an op-ed in HuffPo, “White Women: Stop Waiting for Black Women to Save You.”  She rails against “white women” who “fail us” — the “us” being the tribe of black women and, as a second class subordinate appendage thereto, white women as well — by failing to end the career of Brett Kavanaugh over an evidence free allegation:

Women of color have always known there is no justice for us under this current system. Many of our white sisters in the struggle woke up to that reality with the election of Trump. That awakening continues to this very day.

It’s time for the 47 percent who voted against Trump to collect their white sisters. We need them all to choose us, their fellow women, over the white men who hurt all of us, but who grant white women a little bit of power along the way.

White women are finally feeling the rage we have felt for the last 400 years. They are feeling the powerlessness we’ve wrestled with for generations. It’s time for them to stand with us — behind us [emphasis added]— to ensure equity and justice for all women, for all people. . . .

We need [white women] to get comfortable with discomfort, to check their fellow white women when they prop up white supremacy and white male patriarchy, to sacrifice their bodies and support our work with their dollars as well as their voices. . . .

How ignorant of history does one have to be not to know that tribalism is an utterly failed system.  Nations have conquered while tribes, by definition self-limiting in appeal, have been the conquered.  There is a reason Europeans were so easily able to colonize America, along the way conquering a multiplicity of indigenous tribes who were inevitably embroiled in inter-tribal warfare themselves.  There is a reason Europe flourished while Africa, still today, has failed.  Indeed, it is not unfair to say that the history of civilization and its advancement is one of rejection or defeat of tribalism.

Even international Marxists reject this bastardization of Marx’s utopian vision.  An op-ed at the World Socialist — published by the International Committee of the Fourth International no less — recently opined on the “‘Sokal Hoax Two’—the faux articles submitted and accepted for publication in various supposedly “premier” academic cultural studies journals.”  States the committee:

. . .  The results expose the intellectual bankruptcy of identity politics and postmodernist philosophy. Their proponents, who dominate university humanities departments worldwide, are charlatans . . .

Most chillingly, the authors also submitted a re-write of a chapter from Hitler’s Mein Kampf, with language altered to reference female identity and feminism. The paper, titled “Our struggle is my struggle: solidarity feminism as an intersectional reply to neoliberal and choice feminism,” was accepted for publication and greeted with favorable reviews.

. . .

In the wake of their public disclosure, Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian have come under attack by the proponents of postmodernism and identity politics, who claim the hoax is a right-wing attack on “social justice” disciplines.

Typical is the argument of Daniel Engber, who wrote in Slate: “How timely, too, that this secret project should be published in the midst of the Kavanaugh imbroglio—a time when the anger and the horror of male anxiety is so resplendent in the news. ‘It’s a very scary time for young men,’ Trump told reporters on the very day that Pluckrose, Lindsay, and Boghossian went public with their hoax. Both express a fear of false attacks on men, whether levied by regretful sluts, lefty liberals, radical academics, or whoever else.”

In reality, the hoax has exposed the fact that it is the proponents of identity politics who are advancing views parallel to the far right. While they are enraged with those who voice concern about the elimination of due process and the presumption of innocence for the targets of the #MeToo campaign, they are unbothered by the fact that the writings of Adolf Hitler are published and praised in feminist academic circles.

Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian are self-described liberals who are concerned that the present identity hysteria is “pushing the culture war to ever more toxic and existential polarization,” by fanning the flames of the far right. As a result, identitarians are “affecting activism on behalf of women and racial and sexual minorities in a way which is counterproductive to equality aims . . .

Just as an aside, if you are wondering how communists can continue to support Marxism but reject post-modernism — thus themselves seeming to embrace the hunt for objective truth — its by relying on the canard that, despite the number of places where Marxism has been tried and, every time, failed, it was just never properly implemented.  In terms of current events, socialists simply never mention the words “socialism” and “Venezuela” in the same article.  The international communists may reject post-modernism, but their utopianism renders them every bit as resistant to objective fact and rational argument.

Progressives don’t seek equality, nor do they seek to protect and defend our Constitution; they seek power. To the extent there is anything in the Constitution or our governing system that stands athwart their goal, they seek to go around it or destroy it — be it the electoral college, the Senate, or the Supreme Court.  The rules are only to be respected during times when they favor proggies — or as Hillary recently said:

You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” she said. “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.

Perhaps the most dangerous nuance to the proggies will to power at all costs is that, with tribalism overlaid, they seek power to punish their proclaimed / perceived enemies of their tribe.  There is nothing rational or fair about this.  In modern history, it is closer to Hitler’s national socialism than it is to anything else.  Before you start yelling “Godwin’s law,” note that I am not claiming that if proggies had their way, Brett Kavanaugh would have been sent to a gas chamber (but see . . .).  They would have ruined his life and career though, and the vast majority of proggies were just fine with that — omlettes, eggs, etc. Moreover, no person of the wrong color, gender, sexual orientation or ideology would ever have been put on the Court in his place.  Rule of law would be out; rule by empathy (presumably by “wise latinas)” would substitute.

Most importantly, this toxic proggie tribalism is completely inimical to our Constitutional framework and the Enlightenment values undergirding it — summed up best in Thomas Jefferson’s turn of phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, . . .”  And it rejects a millennium of Anglo-Saxon legal traditions, all ensconced in our Constitution, to ensure that no government has the power to punish citizens subjectively.  That is equally a danger of tyrannies and the mob rule of pure democracy, both of which were utterly rejected by our Founders.  As Jeffrey Rosen states in an excellent article in The Atlantic, America is living James Madison’s nightmare:

In 1788, Madison wrote that the best argument for adopting a Bill of Rights would be its influence on public opinion. As “the political truths” declared in the Bill of Rights “become incorporated with the national sentiment,” he concluded, they would “counteract the impulses of interest and passion.” Today, passion has gotten the better of us. The preservation of the republic urgently requires imparting constitutional principles to a new generation and reviving Madisonian reason in an impetuous world.

Thanks to Kavanaugh, that is now one issue on the November ballot for anyone paying attention.  A second issue that is on the ballot is whether blacks will finally discover that the progressive left is using them and that their interests are best served by Republicans.

“The Black Vote”

In 2012, I wrote an essay taking up Thomas Sowell’s call for Republicans to convince blacks to free themselves from the Democrat plantation:

. . . One of the things that is long overdue is some Republican re-thinking — or perhaps thinking for the first time — about the approach that they have been using, with consistently disastrous results, for trying to get the black vote.

The black vote was once consistently Republican, from the time of Abraham Lincoln to Herbert Hoover. Even after Franklin D. Roosevelt won over the black vote to the Democrats, it was not considered remarkable when Eisenhower got a higher share of the black vote than any Republican president in recent times has.

It may be years before Republicans can again get a majority of the black vote. But Republicans don’t need to get a majority of the black vote. If they get 20 percent of the black vote, the Democrats are in trouble — and if they get 30 percent, the Democrats have had it in the general elections.

Thomas Sowell, How Republicans Can Win The Black Vote, NRO, 22 Jan. 2010

One of the great travesties of the past half century has been how the far left has fully sewn up the black vote. It was LBJ’s championing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – over the objection on Constitutional grounds of Barry Goldwater – that cemented the black vote for Democrats. Since then, blacks have regularly voted near 90% for Democrats.

The Democrats have been able to accomplish this by treating the blacks as servile victims permanently entitled to special treatment. Democrats substituted a brand of soft racism for the hard racism that was historically the hallmark of their party. And as we see today, that Faustian bargain has worked out much better for the hard left than it has for [rank and file] blacks in our society.

But that house of cards is crumbling before our very eyes. Quite literally, all of the stars are aligned for conservatives to make a real push for the black vote. Blacks should be waking up to a hard lesson – that the left wing promises sold to them, the separatism and victimhood, they are all empty. And on the two most important issues facing blacks today, jobs and education, their best hopes lay with the right. . . .

Well, Trump has done little on the education front, but he promised — and has delivered — for blacks economically.  After suffering the most from the Obama economy for eight years, blacks now have an economy with the lowest black unemployment since record-keeping of the statistic began.  And as the economy has improved, so has black approval of Trump’s presidency.  As Thomas Lifson wrote at American Thinker in August:

Dependence on 90% voting support from African-Americans for electoral success is the jugular vein of the Democratic Party.  President Trump’s rising support among black voters is correctly seen as an existential threat to the party’s – and progressivism’s – ability to win national elections.  That’s why I thought it was big news last Saturday when Rasmussen proclaimed that black approval of Trump had hit 29%, even though most of the media ignored it for reasons AT readers well understand.

But the surge in black support for President Trump is real – so real that even the far-left NAACP discovered it in a poll, . . .

Since then, the economy has improved even more for blacks.  Rapper Kanye West expressed strong support for Trump, with the proggies publicly savaging Kanye for his sins.  This from a black attorney writing at The Daily Caller:

As punishment for these mortal sins, West has been cruelly targeted by very powerful liberal celebrities. Actor Chris Evans, for example, recently ripped West as someone “who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue.”

Equally dismissive, left-wing comedian Jimmy Kimmel has maliciously mocked West as “an irrational madman.” And countless other liberal elites have vented that West is “mentally ill,” “illiterate,” and “unwell” for daring to reject their “progressive” view of the world.

Leaving aside the fact that white conservatives would be lambasted as racists if they made similar disparaging comments about any black person, what is particularly disturbing to watch is the zeal with which many African Americans have also rushed to attack West. Bucking group-think isn’t popular in Black America, and Kanye is learning the hard way.

Rapper Snoop Dogg has accused West of being an “Uncle Tom” for supporting the President. And CNN host Don Lemon openly giggled while panelists on his show branded West a “token negro” who should be traded “in the racial draft” because black folks have “had it with him.” More recently, Lemon has accused West of putting on a “minstrel show”and of “embarrassing Americans, but mostly African-Americans.” . . .

All of this while the Walk Away Movement is still going strong.  Lastly, there is another curve — the attempt to lynch Brett Kavanaugh and how that is playing among rank and file black men.  (And by rank and file, I mean those who are not beholden to Democrats and progressive politics for their meal tickets.  Race hustlers at and in the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, and the majority of black academics long ago sold their souls — and well being of black Americans as a whole — to progressives as the price for their power.)  This from Neo-Neocon:

The Democrats thought Brett Kavanaugh was a safe target. Accusing a white prepster named “Brett” would be a great way to achieve several goals: stopping him from changing the balance of SCOTUS in favor of conservatives, and showing solidarity with women and with #MeToo. Who on earth would identify with Kavanaugh except other white preppy guys on the right, and they weren’t going to vote for Democrats anyway, so no great loss.

Well, it turns out that some women are concerned about the men in their lives, too. False accusations can ruin nearly anyone (women included, although I’m not sure how many women consider that aspect).

However, another obvious group that might look at the Kavanaugh hearings and become concerned about what was happening to him is black men. If that sounds counter-intuitive to some people, it certainly doesn’t sound counter-intuitive to me. It occurred to me, while watching the proceedings, that black men might not take too kindly to this little exercise in Believing Women No Matter What. . . .

Why didn’t it occur to Democrats that their approach to Kavanaugh might bother black men as well as white ones? My theory is that Democrats now think so completely along racial lines that it probably wouldn’t occur to them that a black man could identify with something happening to a white man, and a preppy white man at that. That must be why writer Jemele Hill of the Atlantic could write something like this [emphasis mine]:

On Tuesday night, I was in an auditorium with 100 black men in the city of Baltimore, when the subject pivoted to Brett Kavanaugh. I expected to hear frustration that the sexual-assault allegations against him had failed to derail his Supreme Court appointment. Instead, I encountered sympathy. One man stood up and asked, passionately, “What happened to due process?” He was met with a smattering of applause, and an array of head nods.

Hill, who is a black woman (formerly a sportswriter), assumed that these black men would identify with the woman’s story of sexual assault, rather than the man’s story of false accusation. She thought they would accept and perhaps join in with the Democrats’ ridicule and demonizing of Kavanaugh’s rage at being falsely accused.

I’m not a black woman; Jemele Hill is. I don’t pretend for a moment to have my finger on the pulse of the black community or the feelings of black men, and yet I’m not the least bit surprised at their reaction. Anyone with even a smattering of historical knowledge, or a particle of imagination and empathy, should probably have expected it. I am virtually certain that Hill has enough historical knowledge (since I don’t know her, I have no idea about the imagination and empathy part) to have predicted it herself. And yet she did not; her politics blinded her. . . .

The black vote in the upcoming election will be important.  If the progressives have started to lose a critical mass of black support, they face profound electoral consequences — while blacks as a whole will be stuck with an improving life.  I believe that is called a ‘win-win.’