Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Even David Brooks Thinks The Republicans Are Crazy

I've been seeing columns by David Brooks in mostly the New York Times for what seems like a very long time now. The ones that I actually read have most often seemed to start out leaning in one direction, staying there until the end of the column, at which point they veered suddenly in the direction of the clampdown. It was as though he were trying to be reasonable and polite at first, but then had to blurt out what he really felt at the end. Maybe it was just me; I'm not a political scientist.

He's still in the column writing game, and one of them caught my eye today.

His main point in this one was that the Republican party is really pushing its luck by continuing to resist diversity at every turn. He seems to believe that the policy is stupid and doomed to fail in the end. I tend to agree with him, and he had a few good statistics to back us up. Statistics show that Millennials are very close to fifty percent diverse already and their follow-on group, Generation Z, is even closer. They've all grown up in a very diverse world. Pretty soon the entire country will be less than fifty percent white. That's a wave that's going to kick your ass when push comes to shove.

Republicans don't seem to be seeing all of this. They can still win elections with white people, so they're dancing with the one they brung.

Maybe their psephologists have crunched all of the numbers and decided that almost all of the diversity will remain on the coasts and in some deeply blue states, while plenty of states will remain nearly all white and generate enough senators and Electoral College votes to carry the Republicans into the future. Maybe they figure that they'll be fine with the Senate and the occasional presidency. And the Supreme Court, I guess. Maybe they're right.

The best part, however, came when Mr. Brooks described the three main blocs within the current Republican party, with reference to a recent article by Mr. Matthew Continetti. The three were summed up as follows:

The Jacksonians, described as “pugilistic populists.” Would this be fans of Donald “Man of the People” Trump? Trump doesn't know much about history, but he likes what he's heard about Andrew Jackson, which is probably limited to facts like his dueling record, the story of him getting shot and immediately using his cane to beat the would-be assassin to within an inch of his life, and how popular he was with low-lives who trashed the White House when given the chance. The trouble here is that to be a successful populist, you must give the voters something that they want. Trump has only given the voters promises. I'm not sure that giving the voters permission to be racist assholes will be enough.

Next come the Paleos, who are described as “Tucker Carlson style economic nationalists.” That would be Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson, a fabulously wealthy trust-fund baby who has traded in his bow-ties and shit-eating grin look for a more dignified big-boy tie and the expression of a man who has just been hit on the top of the head with a bat. In my experience, men who have only family names strung together, and no names of their own at all, are almost always insufferable. Three family names in a row indicate great wealth. If Tucker is any indication, four in a row just means even more wealth. (You've heard of “Swanson's TV Dinners.” That's only one of the four names.) I'm not sure what “economic nationalism” is, exactly, but from appearances, maybe it means using our economy as a cudgel to beat our adversaries, and our friends for that matter, into submission.

Thirdly, there are the Post Liberals. These seem to be the reactionaries to beat all reactionaries. They are described as “opposing pluralism and seeking to return to pre-Enlightenment orthodoxy.” Are there sufficient exclamation points in the world to highlight the delusional nature of people who would seek to unwind the previous 250 years of European and American history? Bring back the days when men and women were restrained by poverty and deprivation? When women were additionally controlled by witchcraft trials? When all wealth was controlled by the Church, Royalty, and a very small merchant class? Most of the individuals who espouse this policy would lose their privilege entirely and be returned to serfdom. “Opposing pluralism” is the least of their problems, which are obviously psychological and deep seated.

As even David Brooks seems to realize, there is no longer any future in “opposing pluralism.” What, I wonder, are they suggesting when they hint at reinstating the privileges of the white race? We can turn away immigrants at the border, although even that is not certain, and we can try to winnow out all of the illegal immigrants in our midst and kick them out, although that would be an economic disaster in many industries, but what then? What about all of the pluralism that either has all of its citizenship papers properly in order, or was born here fair and square? What about our black Americans? This “opposing pluralism” crowd really got some wind in its sails when Mr. Obama was president. Just like many of our police, many Americans now have the black race in America fully in their sights. Are we to eject all of those individuals for excessive pigmentation? Wrong eye-shape or hair-texture? People say these things without having given them a moment's thought.

When someone says, “we must take our country back,” we know exactly what they mean, and they probably do, too. But what would that look like? Should we let the diverse populations stay, but only as something less than citizens and certainly without voting privileges and denied access to any kind of welfare or government aid? Something more demonstrative? Financial incentives to leave? That is all crazy talk, but returning to something like the America of the 1940s is even crazier. More than half of our population would need to be eliminated somehow, or subjugated. Some people want to go back to Andy Griffith's Maybury, they want Midwestern cities to be prosperous and white again, they want good, clean food from farms that look like Dorothy's place in the Wizard of Oz. The terrible truth is that the people who want these things are tearing the country apart before anyone has even thought any of this through. To accomplish any of those things, while eliminating some or all of the diversity (plurality), not to mention the sexual "deviation," would take a revolution. Our time would be better spent “taking our country back” from the investment class and their corporate stooges who are really the ones who have stolen it from us. Stolen our prosperity and our security to the degree that many people have been rendered unreasonable. It's a bad situation.

Diversity hasn't hurt us one bit, and America has enjoyed great diversity since its Colonial Period. Rather, it is these anti-diversity reactionaries who are right now burning our playhouse down. 

I should wrap this up before I really start to scare people. Imagine asking people straight out: do you want a world in the next twenty or fifty or one hundred years that is a fit place to live in, where your children and grandchildren can enjoy the comfort and many of the privileges that you enjoy now? Everyone would say YES! If you asked them: would you like to help to build a world for your children and grandchildren that is better than the one that exists now, again all of them would say YES! And yet, for forty years, those same interviewees have been digging deep graves for all of those advantages that they wish for their offspring. The graves are being filled in now, and every good thing will soon be but a memory in the minds of some old men and women.

If we are to provide anything that is good and decent to our grandchildren, we'd better get started. Time ran out more than ten years ago, and catch-up is difficult. Some days I feel like St. John the Baptist, bearing a message that people would profit from hearing, but repeatedly being rejected and ignored. I won't live long enough to see the last act, but I am haunted by the images of the lives that we are leaving for our grandchildren. The images stand before us as plain as day. The suffering! The misery! How they will hate us!

No comments: