2015 in Review

This blog, started in June, has had over 7,600 pageviews for 2015, not that impressive by internet standards. However, I like to think I attract I higher quality of reader than most, with the Unz Review, Lion of the Blogosphere, and Marginal Revolution being in the top five sources of traffic, along with search engines and twitter. Sometimes I think I spend too much time blogging, reading, and commenting considering my age and station, but I always remind myself that it’s a better ‘hobby’ than sinking hours of one’s life into video games, which is what so many of my fellow young males do.(I do it too, just less often)

Donald Trump has done better than I had anticipated, I initially thought him unlikely to win the nomination, now I’m not so sure. Still, I wouldn’t celebrate victory just yet. One possibility is for the establishment to throw its support behind a candidate acceptable to the social conservatives. Even if they do not do that, they could still end up winning because of the “superdelegates” and the fact that some states allocate delegates using proportional representation and the others can be changed to use proportional representation. There’s also the issue of caucus delegate gaming, like what Ron Paul’s supporters did in 2012.

I initially thought Donald Trump’s campaign would involve clown antics but little policy differences with the establishment candidates. And Trump proposed a typical giveaway to the rich with no way to pay for it in his tax plan. He sounded like a typical Republican politician when he extolled the virtues of legal immigration. But his proposed ban on Muslim immigration was truly a historic change in the conversation. I also think it’s notable that Trump told the Republican Jewish Coalition that “you’re not going to support me, even though you know I’m the best thing that could ever happen to Israel. And I’ll be that. And I know why that is: You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”

I’m still suspicious about Trump’s ultimate motives, whether or not he cares about anybody but himself. His worldview until recently reflected liberalism on most topics including immigration. But I don’t think he can be called “America’s Zhirinovsky” anymore, he’s clearly a threat to the elites.

Thanks largely to Donald Trump it’s been a great year for the alt-Right and a bad year for the mainstream Right. On June 22 2015 Jonah Goldberg wrote that:

For those of us who predicted the inevitable, watching Donald Trump verbally wander into a field of face-whacking garden rakes like Sideshow Bob inspires a mixture of schadenfreude and affirmation. We knew it was coming, but it still feels good to be proven right.

(…)

The Trump squall is not over, alas. But it’s nonetheless obvious that we will someday soon look back on this as the beginning of the end of Trumpmania.

Since that failed prediction the articles in National Review have taken on an increasingly despondent tone. Charles C Cooke, referring to Trump’s non-criticism of Putin, wrote that:

Now, we must wait for the inevitable cycle to play itself out. First, we will see the predictions that “this time” Trump has gone too far. Then, a few days later, we will watch in resignation as the polls tell another tale. And then will come the renunciation and the irritation and, worst of all, the explanation.

National Review’s frustration with Trump is understandable from a conservative point of view; Trump is no conservative. But National Review’s delusion is to assume that the large majority of Republican voters were “conservatives.” In National Review, one must support tax decreases for the wealthy, which all the candidates are proposing, to be considered conservative. But in reality cutting taxes for the rich is a very unpopular position. Cooke faults Trump for supporting an assault weapons ban. But a lot of the opposition to an assault weapons ban on the Right comes from people who know that once the Left accomplishes that they will just move onward to the next set of guns until they accomplish their ultimate goal of banning all guns. I wouldn’t consider it hypocritical for Republicans to look at it differently if a ‘conservative’ candidate were to make the case for prohibiting this one class of weapons as being unnecessary for personal defense. Cooke claims that Trump “has succeeded in convincing conservatives to discard their principles overnight.” More likely is that Trump supporters never agreed with Cooke’s definition of “conservatism,” they just use the label because they oppose liberalism.

It is often said that “mainstream” conservatism is just the liberalism of the last decade repackaged. Bill Kristol confirmed that in his article for the new year, writing that “America can prevail if today’s conservatism prevails—by which we mean a conservatism that incorporates most that is good about yesteryear’s liberalism and today’s conservatism, and that is also willing to think and act anew, as our case is new.” Yet, there are some signs that at least one of the neocons has grown wiser, braver, or perhaps aware of a sinking ship. Steve Sailer pointed to this excellent article about Trump by neoconservative David Frum, this is same David Frum who wrote the infamous pro-war hit piece “Unpatriotic Conservatives” over a decade ago.

I’m optimistic that 2016 will be another good year for the alt-Right in terms of the visibility of our challenge to the mainstream Right. In the long term though I’m still rather pessimistic, I don’t foresee the current ideology being overthrown any time soon. As a millennial I have a front row seat to the development of my generation and I am not impressed. We are the real “me generation,” the generation of video games, pornography, marijuana, and powdered doughnut balls. We certainly conceive of outgroups such as the “Wrong Kind of White People,” but we don’t have a positive identity. We don’t seek the glory of any race, nation, culture, or even family. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” is something in the history books, a similar phrase would never resonate with us. Throwing off political correctness through a mass movement would require dedicated activists willing to work hard for no immediate personal reward and much personal risk. PC is more likely to fall when the elites stop pretending to believe in it but that won’t be for a while.

But it’s not all bad, the same characteristics that keep some of us fat would also prevent us from slaughtering each other in a horrible fratricidal war or “revolution.”

References

Jason Horowitz, Boos Overtake Laughs as Donald Trump Stumbles on Jerusalem Before G.O.P. Jews, New York Times, December 3 2015 http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/12/03/boos-overtake-laughs-as-donald-trump-stumbles-on-jerusalem-before-g-o-p-jews/

Ronald Kessler, Donald Trump: Mean-Spirited GOP Won’t Win Elections, NewsMax, November 26 2012 http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Donald-Trump-Ronald-Kessler/2012/11/26/id/465363/

Jonah Goldberg, The Trump Lesson That Bush and Clinton Should Heed, National Review, June 22 2015 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421466/trump-lesson-bush-and-clinton-should-heed-jonah-goldberg

Charles C Cooke, Trump Confesses Admiration for Strongman Who Offs Journalists, Fans Applaud, National Review, December 18 2015
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/428759/donald-trumps-vladimir-putin-praise-journalists-disgraceful

Charles C Cooke, Trump Has Succeeded in Convincing Conservatives to Discard their Principles Overnight, National Review, September 1 2015 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/423397/donald-trump-supporters-discarded-conservative-principles

William Kristol, Happy New Year?, Weekly Standard, January 11 2016 http://www.weeklystandard.com/happy-new-year/article/2000378

Steve Sailer, More Good Stuff From Frum, Unz Review, December 22 2015 http://www.unz.com/isteve/more-good-stuff-from-frum/

David Frum, The Great Republican Revolt, The Atlantic, January/February 2016 Issue http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/the-great-republican-revolt/419118/

David Frum, Unpatriotic Conservatives, National Review, March 25 2003 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/391772/unpatriotic-conservatives-david-frum

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One Response to 2015 in Review

  1. Kiwiguy says:

    ***We don’t seek the glory of any race, nation, culture, or even family. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” is something in the history books, a similar phrase would never resonate with us.***

    Similar to New Zealand. Last year I was reading the memoirs of former New Zealand Prime Minister and legal academic Geoffrey Palmer. Palmer is a leftist, but it was interesting to read his account of attending school in the 1950’s. It was part of the value system of the school, and the wider community, that they were part of the British Empire. That they were part of something bigger than themselves. They were also imbued in the values of Christianity and manly virtues. There was a significant military element. Palmer even quotes a prize winning speech, he made at school, which praises the contribution of British tradition and way of life through colonisation. This from a guy who would become a centre-left politician 🙂

    It’s amazing how much things have changed.

    Like

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