Republicans are finally noticing that Donald Trump is a political liability. In the wake of Trump’s attack on John McCain, GOP candidates found the courage to condemn his revolting shtick — a little late, of course, but good for them. The problem, though, is that they don’t quite understand that Trump isn’t an anomaly; he’s the latest product of a party that long ago abandoned any pretense of seriousness.
It is, in the twenty first century, incorrect to describe conservatism as a political philosophy. Rather, it is now an identity, one as deeply held as religion, or gender, or occupation, or nationality. It is an identity based on anger and resentment. Yes, this identity manifests in terms of political positions, but those are just the symptoms of what lies beneath: devastatingly painful rage, a sense of persecution, of us-against-the-world, a deep need to "take our country back."
I mean, look, all politics have an emotional element. Emotion, to some extent, guides all our thinking about the various political positions we might take. And you even see similar emotionally-driven tribal elements on the left. But only on the right have we seen this sort of thing take over.
The anger identity is so strong for them it trumps science and facts, as with global warming, evolution, and even crackpot theories about throwing money at the rich, Benghazi, or finding WMD in Iraq. It makes them take bizarre positions, such as rejecting their own market based health care reform plan simply because it was offered by Democrats. And so on.
There continue to be too many reality-based voices and leaders on the left to allow whatever tribal utopians we might have to dominate: the right's thinkers, in sharp contrast, cower in fear at their tribe's rank and file, and adjust their "thinking" accordingly.
Consequently, conservatism, as a philosophy, has devolved into angry vagueness. It is now a fear-based tribal identity, not a system of ideas connected by thoughts. It is incapable of articulating a clear and workable vision for America's future; it can only fume about what it hates. No way forward. Continual outraged stasis.
And the Republican Party is in utter chaos because of it.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Posted by Ron at 6:43 PM