Afternoon Links

“It’s pointless to try to explain Trump in terms of political platforms because Trump himself is too stupid.” I think Tom Nichols is correct here:

The pestilence that is the Trump campaign is the result of a conglomeration of political, academic, media, and cultural elites who for decades have tried to act as the arbiters of acceptable public debate and shut down any political expression from Americans with whom they disagree…The extremist adherents of this new political correctness have essentially taken a flamethrower to the public space and annihilated its center. Topics in American life that once were the legitimate subjects of debate between liberals and conservative are now off-limits and lead to immediate attack by the cultural establishment if raised at all. Any incorrect position, any expression of the constitutional right to a different opinion, or even just a slip of the tongue can lead to public ostracism and the loss of a job. (Just ask Brendan Eich.) There is a huge vacuum left by this leftist attack on speech, and Trump is filling it.

These brutish leftist tactics radicalized otherwise more centrist people toward Trump not because they care so much about gay marriage or guns or refugees any other issue, but because they’re terrified that they’re losing the basic right to express themselves. Many of these people are not nearly as conservative or extreme as the white supremacists, nativists, and other assorted fringe nuts who are riding along on Trump’s ego trip. But they are cheering on Trump because they feel they have nowhere else to go. And for that, liberals—especially those who have politely looked away as such methods were employed in the public square—must directly shoulder the blame.

The great mistake made by both liberals and their most extreme wing on the American left is to assume that ordinary people, once corrected forcefully enough, will comply with their new orders. This is, of course, ridiculous: Americans do not magically become complacent and accepting multiculturalists just because they’ve been bullied out of the public debate. They will find a new vessel for their views, and will become more extreme with each attempt to shut them down as the issue moves from particular social positions to the far more encompassing problem of who has the right to tell whom to shut up, and to make it stick.

Trump’s staying power…is rooted in the fact that his supporters are not fighting for any particular political outcome, they are fighting back against a culture they think is trying to smother them into cowed silence. What they want, more than any one policy, is someone to turn to the chanting mobs and say, without hesitation: “No, I will not shut up.”

Nichols has two must-read pieces this week. Here’s the other one:

These young men are fueled by the most intense kind of hatred there is: self-hatred. There is no accommodation with self-hatred. Would-be jihadis lash out at Western society not because they hate it so much, but because they love it so much. They hate us for who we are, and hate themselves for their addiction to a culture and all of its pleasures—sex, drugs, music—they’ve been told are the basest of sins. Too weak to resist the temptations of life among us, they hope that by destroying the source of the sins that tempt them, they will find redemption.

When ISIS crowed about the Paris attacks, they celebrated their strike at the “capital of adultery.” This, while their own deep thinkers back in Syria were having arguments over who gets to rape whom. These boys, like all boys with screwed-up identities, are obsessed with sex and power. But unlimited rape and murder are not political demands; they are the attributes of an insane cult that must be destroyed root and branch.

Soft power and propaganda have their place, but there is no way around a military solution here. Emotional adolescent males understand sex and glory, but by nature they really do not have a firm grasp of death. To young men in a cult, death is a romantic abstraction. We have to make it real to them, quickly and decisively. When enough of these guys are dead—and not the glorious imagined death of a music video, but a humiliating death at the hands of professional soldiers—the next recruits might reach the sensible conclusion that getting high in their subsidized European flats is a better option than running away to join the Syrian circus.

Most of all, we must remain optimistic. Optimism, self-confidence, and a can-do attitude are Western qualities that utterly confound our enemies. Soviet commissars hated all of that about Americans and their allies during the Cold War as much as Islamic extremists hate it now. Our virtues as free, tolerant, and open societies terrify them, because they will never find these qualities in themselves, which reinforces their own well-deserved sense of inferiority. We must match jihadis’ self-hatred with quiet self-confidence in our own values…This war won’t go on forever, but the sooner we accept that this is about them, and not us, the sooner we can get on with doing what needs to be done.

“Shocked” (read: we know absolutely nothing about other cultures!)

“Male bass are experiencing unwanted sex changes” #ObamasAmerica #ThanksObama

Four Lions is a documentary.

“For me, conservatism has always been a rejection of identity in favor of ideas…Unlike many of the Trump fans I hear from, I don’t care that America will become a minority-white country. I care about whether the next generation believes in the American ideas of liberty, opportunity, and equality under the law.” Amen. Fantastic piece by Michael Graham.

That awkward moment when you have to explain to the million newcomers you just invited in that your “norms” include not gang-raping women in the town square.

To prevent further violence in Cologne during the coming Carnival celebrations, when thousands of costumed revelers throng the streets for the beginning of Lent, which falls on Feb. 10 this year, Ms. Reker said that city officials would work to help women protect themselves and to explain the city’s attitudes and norms to newcomers.

“We will explain our Carnival much better to people who come from other cultures,” she said, “so there won’t be any confusion about what constitutes celebratory behavior in Cologne”

“Please don’t tempt our rapey guests with your short skirts.”

Make. It. Stop.

The president has become a master performer.

Do liberals know the history of their own ideas?

New exhibition featuring Picasso, O’Keeffe, Hopper and many others brings Modernism into focus

Obama sides with Iran again

Our spoiled, emasculated, de‑spiritualized societies in the West are in terminal decline

What will America stand for in 2016?

Pollock masterpiece undergoes innovative cleaning

I wish all these people supporting Trump because they hate the media understood that the media is picking their candidate (the one who will lose most horribly to Hillary) for them.

Just think how many more people Hezbollah/Iran can slowly starve to death with all this new money we’re giving them! Thanks Obama!

North Korea tested some kind of nuke last night. They claim it was a hydrogen bomb, but the seismic event seems kind of small for an H-bomb. Seems likelier it was a fission bomb.  Regardless of what it was specifically, this is their fourth test, and the third during Obama’s presidency, because the world’s bad guys will try for what they can before 2017. Also important to remember that the North Korean and Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile programs are attached at the hip.

There are no heroes inside the Bundy standoff in Oregon

Obama’s legacy will be executive overreach

“Someone New,” by Hozier, is the sad anthem of our age

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Filed under Around the World, Art, Music, Politics

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