Jonah Goldberg’s G-File this week is fantastic. Could not agree more:
I hate this. I hate it. I hate attacking people I respect. I hate hearing from former fans who say they’re ashamed to have ever admired me or my writing. I hate being unable to meet fellow conservatives half-way. One of the things I love about conservatism is that we argue about our principles; as I’ve written 8 billion times — more or less — we debate our dogma. I love our principled disagreements. But I honestly and sincerely don’t see this as a mere principled disagreement. I see this as an argument about whether or not we should set fire to some principles in a foolish desire to get on the right side of some “movement.” I have never been more depressed about the state of American politics or the health of the conservative movement. I hate the idea that political disagreements will poison friendships — in no small part because as a conservative I think friendship should be immune to politics. I certainly hate having to tell my wife that my political views may negatively affect our income. But I truly fear that this is an existential crisis for the conservative movement I’ve known my whole life. And all I can do is say what I believe. If Donald Trump is elected president, I sincerely and passionately hope I will be proven wrong about all of this. But I just as sincerely and passionately believe I won’t be.
One of the most courageous and true things ever written about Trump and the white working class:
It is immoral because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. It hasn’t. The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral, they may sing hymns to Trump the destroyer and whisper darkly about “globalists” and — odious, stupid term — “the Establishment,” but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves. If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.
Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down. The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.
Simply put, Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at an alarming rate. No one is making them do it. The economy isn’t putting a bottle in their hand. Immigrants aren’t making them cheat on their wives or snort OxyContin. Obama isn’t walking them into the lawyer’s office to force them to file a bogus disability claim. For generations, conservatives have rightly railed against deterministic progressive notions that put human choices at the mercy of race, class, history, or economics. Those factors can create additional challenges, but they do not relieve any human being of the moral obligation to do their best.
Yet millions of Americans aren’t doing their best. Indeed, they’re barely trying. As I’ve related before, my church in Kentucky made a determined attempt to reach kids and families that were falling between the cracks, and it was consistently astounding how little effort most parents and their teen children made to improve their lives. If they couldn’t find a job in a few days — or perhaps even as little as a few hours — they’d stop looking. If they got angry at teachers or coaches, they’d drop out of school. If they fought with their wife, they had sex with a neighbor. And always — always — there was a sense of entitlement.
I loathe the progressive welfare state and the elitist sexual revolutionaries who do all they can to create a culture that it simultaneously dependent and self-indulgent. I hate the mockery that poor and working-class people of all races endure, but we live in a nation of mutual responsibilities, and the failure of the government does not require the failure of the citizen. Kevin is right. If getting a job means renting a U-Haul, rent the U-Haul. You have nothing to lose but your government check.
“No modern political party has nominated a candidate like this; no serious political party ever should…A man so transparently unfit for office should not be placed before the American people as a candidate for president under any kind of imprimatur save his own. And there is no point in even having a party apparatus, no point in all those chairmen and state conventions and delegate rosters, if they cannot be mobilized to prevent 35 percent of the Republican primary electorate from imposing a Trump nomination on the party…So in Cleveland this summer, the men and women of the Republican Party may face a straightforward choice: Betray the large minority of Republicans who cast their votes for Trump, or betray their obligations to their country. For a party proud of its patriotism, the choice should not be hard.”
“Trump supporters now feel confident enough in their surroundings to scream ‘go back to Africa’ at blacks and ‘go to Auschwitz’ at Jews…Only under the assumption that 2016 is still a winnable election for Republicans does it make sense to try to avoid alienating the cohort of new GOP voters attracted to Donald Trump and his dangerous brand of politics. The GOP should embrace the liberation that comes from knowing that the stability and continuity-seeking general electorate will not endorse the kind of chaos they’re seeing on television. This is a candidate who continues to employ a campaign manager who is facing a criminal complaint alleging assault on a female reporter. This is a candidate who has made no effort to shun the violent or the racists openly amassing around him. Those who continue to stand by him have by now seen enough to know exactly what it is they are validating.”
Good. It’s a despicable website run by despicable people. A disgrace to Andrew’s name. “Trump has no integrity, and those who defend him long enough lose theirs as well. I would argue that an old saying applies – that if you lie down with dogs, you come away with fleas — but in this case it’s worse. Lie down with dogs. Become a dog. Breitbart barks for Trump.”
A preview of the fall campaign that will usher Hillary into the White House in a landslide. Thanks, Trumpkins!
2,100-Year-Old Roman Tavern Unearthed, Empty Cups and All