Megan McArdle writes, “I’ve watched so many disaffected conservatives and libertarians explain why they think the Republican Party can only be redeemed by its utter destruction in Tuesday’s elections.”
She adds, “the Republicans…deserve to lose after enabling this fame-addled mountebank”
This has me thinking about the factor these equations have in common: entropy. I can only assume that by “Republicans” who “enabled” Trump she means the base that she admits the leaders had to submit to. What choice does she imagine the base had? They couldn’t get the GOP leadership to stop dry-humping the donor base and actually fight for them, so their choices were between playing blackjack in the elites’ casino, with the slow advantage to the house, dying by inches, or playing Three-card Monty with Trump. What other games were there? This is why that famous Mencken remark is inapposite. They were getting it good and hard either way. So, they deserve to lose for having declined to surrender to despair? You could reasonably say that Republican leaders deserve to lose for having failed to listen to them and provide other games, but not that the base deserved to lose for making what seemed to them to be an obvious choice.
I wish to hell that people would stop thinking of each political party almost as a person. Parties are coalitions of various groups, who are made of coalitions of various individuals, who are made of collections of interests and ideas in their own minds. Do the disaffected that she mentions truly imagine that you can simply excise individual segments and the party bowel will somehow magically resect itself? And if Trump’s base stays home next time in bitterness while the Democrats have gone way further leftward…where does that end?
One reason for that is that, as Michael Brendan Dougherty said in National Review, the country’s social capital is depleting. Any move that foments disunity, even things like getting rid of Trump, has to be paid for somewhere along the line by something that binds us back together. Where is that happening? Individual moments like when Dan Crenshaw said on SNL that Americans can forgive one another stand out strongly mainly for their extreme rarity. Idiot elites have taken the approach to social capital that the Left takes to economic capital—that there’s an infinite supply of it—and so even people as thoughtful as Megan call people racists without seeming to think about what the collective effect is of huge percentages of the country becoming addicted to doing so to other huge percentages of it. It’s just like NINJA loans, with everybody taking the short-term, short-sighted pleasure, except that what we have here is a cheap-moralism bubble which instead of taking down the economy threatens to take down American unity itself. (Say what you wish about the fame-addled mountebank and his base, but he did give people unity and hope, at a time when the politics of entropy had created a strong buyer’s market for it.) Perfect time to attack nationalism, wouldn’t you say?
So, I’ll just come right out and say this. We need most of the various newer forms of idealism of our lifetimes to be at least somewhat discredited, because there’s nothing limiting the cheap rush of moral superiority, and “the dose makes the poison”. Either something needs to limit the disunifying temptation to call people racists (my strong preference), or something needs to emerge that pays for the disunity of labeling by reunifying us, which everyone calls for but nobody has Clue One short of Pearl Harbor 2.0 about how to accomplish, or the various -isms themselves as central concepts in American life need to die, because if none of those things happens, sooner or later, the country will.