Published on: August 17, 2017
Identity Politics Unleashed
Charlottesville and Our Crisis of Political Legitimacy

The Republic is in bad shape—not because of Charlottesville, but because of how our politics are playing out in its aftermath.

Damir Marusic is Executive Editor of The American Interest.
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  • Martin Jennerson

    “Racism has no place in the kind of society we are trying to build together,” such a President might say. “Loud displays of bigotry and hatred by those marching in Charlottesville, and their attachment to a past we have long been struggling to overcome, is a sad sight that shows us how far we still have to travel.” “At the same time,” the President might continue, “free speech is a value we hold as dear as equality itself. Those resorting to violence in order to stop its exercise are no heroes. They themselves are un-American.”

    a) the above basically reads “both sides are to blame”, which is what he did say. So what are you talking about?
    b) he could have repeated what you wrote verbatim – it was always going to be pounced on by the establishment which has gleefully exploited any nationalist violence for political purposes while completely and utterly ignoring Antifa violence.

    • Beauceron

      “he could have repeated what you wrote verbatim – it was always going to be pounced on by the establishment”

      I think that’s true. This is the “resistance media” in action and I think it will continue until they find a better stick to beat him with, although I confess it’s been an almost refreshing respite from the “RussiaRussiaRussiaRussiaRussiaRussiaRussiaRussia * breathes* RussiaRussiaRussiaRussiaRussiaRussiaRussiaRussia” theatrics we’ve been treated to for the last 6 months.

      But it’s the same no matter the topic: lots of heat, little light.

  • Dan Kearns

    I’m happy to see an article using analysis rather than high dudgeon. Thank you.

    • leoj

      TAI’s fourth go and in my opinion the best of the lot. Not that I despise the other ones, but a little perspective does wonders.

  • QET

    In some ways, the grimly telegenic events in Charlottesville last week tell us less about the state of the country than meets the eye. Even according to the less-than-neutral Southern Poverty Law Center, membership in white nationalist groups has been in steady decline since 2011. It appears to have been less a “coming out party” for a rising force in American politics and more a desperate bid for continuing relevance. One proud white supremacist bragged to a Vice reporter at the time of the rally that it was the biggest of its kind in over two decades, a boast that sounds ominous on its face but in fact is less impressive after a second of reflection. For one, the event was organized over the internet, with some participants coming to Charlottesville from as far away as Canada; this suggests that the number of proudly and openly racist people in the United States (or even in North America as a whole) remains vanishingly small. For another, if this rally was in fact eclipsed by a larger one in the 1990s, I struggle to conjure up any memories of the earlier demonstration; this also suggests that the felt impact of this rally had little to do with its size and everything to do with a transformed media landscape.

    Thank you for proving the point I have made repeatedly in these pages. Not only about the impotence–both absolute and relative–of the white power crowd, but also about the made-for-TV quality of this particular event that suckered so many presumably intelligent analytical types into pitching their fits on the Internet.

    (But don’t let that stop anyone from continuing to fulminate and deliver thunderous anathemas about how offended they are that Trump did not show sufficient offense. It’s a good insurance policy, showing the Internet by passionate hatred of Trump what a Really Good Person you are).

    • Suzy Dixon

      Put it into context with today’s Barcelona attack. Many muslim bombings and serial rapes and truck attacks over and over. “Not all Muslims!” Carry on. “Don’t let the terrorists win. Hush hush.” Juxtapose it with years of leftist violence and this one neo-nazi twerp kills someone with a car. “Trumps not doing enough!” “Trump didn’t disavow the KKK and nazis” “oh my god we have nazi violence in America!”
      If someone can’t see the m-a-j-o-r problem here with the lies and double standard then god help them. Clearly, the double standards and attempts to revise history are communist tactics. The KKK and Confederates were d-e-m-o-c-r-a-t-s! yet Trump has to disavow them?

      • Kevin Boyle

        *Were* is the operative word in your final sentence. What are they now?

        • Suzy Dixon

          Well now *they’re* dead but I suppose they still have a lasting influence via those they mentored, and that includes Sen. Byrd befriending HRC. Just amazing that republican president is asked to denounce something that was created by democrats.

  • Beauceron

    Thank you, Mr. Marusic.

    This is the type of thoughtful, balanced, insightful piece I expect from TAI. Mrs. Wedgwood’s piece yesterday was a bit depressing– and worrying.

    I don’t foresee any way out of this, and I think it is likely to get worse. The Democrats have hit upon a winning strategy. While that may seem an odd thing to say given the Democratic wipeout during the Obama years, I think they’re playing the long game. Last year’s post-election DNC Leadership Conference demonstrated their attitude toward white America. Proffered an opportunity to discuss strategies for winning back the white working class voters who abandoned the party in droves during the 2016 election, the party leadership basically flatly refused. Their guide for the future is the book “Brown Is the New White:How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority,” which was supposedly the talk of the conference (the author attended). Basically, his argument is that Democrats don’t need white voters anymore and they should stop trying to get them. In the future, whites just won’t be a factor, so why bother with them. Then they proceeded to have a leadership battle between Tom Perez and Keith Ellison, two of the foremost adherents of identity politics, with Perez winning and Ellison being named as deputy chair.

    And I think they’re absolutely right. In a decade the Democrats will have, or be on their way to having, a permanent majority. The country has undergone a slow-roll Fabian revolution. The Left have won.

    I’m a former Democrat, but I will never vote Democrat again. I disagree with many of their policies and agree with some, but my refusal to even consider voting for them has nothing at all to do with policies or issues. It has to do with who I am. I am white. I am male. I am straight. I am nominally Christian. If that’s your combination, you’re a fool if you vote Democrat.

    And that’s the flaw of identity politics. As Mark Lilla, a Columbia professor put it, “classroom conversations that once might have begun, ‘I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B’ “.
    You can argue the foolishness of that approach all you like, but in the end, the on-the-ground reality is what it is. And there is too much power and money involved in identity politics, to many minorities genuinely embrace and want it, for the Democrats to turn their backs on it for mere principle.
    So of course many whites are themselves also looking at identity politics. I have– not “supremacist,” and definitely not anything related to N*ziism– but in a broader sense. I’d prefer a soft form of civic nationalism, but I think that is as much a realistic option as the kumbaya politics of “we’re all one human family” I used to believe in.
    I think the country will eventually unravel, or become so balkanized it might as well just split up. Either way, I don’t see the American future as a bright one.

    http://www.motherjones.com/wp-content/uploads/if-only-original630.png

    • Angel Martin

      “In the future, whites just won’t be a factor, so why bother with them.”

      ??? Whites are projected to be 70 percent of the USA population even in 2050. If the Democrats anti-white agenda drives the white vote up to 70 percent Republican, the Repubs will be fireproofed forever.

      • Beauceron

        No, I am using “white” here in the “European descent” sense, what the US Census calls “Non-Hispanic whites.”.
        Whites will be 45% of the population in 2050. The number you’re quoting combines Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites together.

        • MyWord245

          Definition of ‘White’ has evolved and will continue to do so. I bet by 2050 there will be a new identity of sorts that includes whites and Asians.

          • Beauceron

            Yeah?

            I suppose it will have to as the only European nations left that will be European as we know it now will be Russia and some of the Slavic states like Poland and Hungary.

            Asians and others won’t have to do that. There will still be Asian societies and cultures, black societies and cultures, latino societies and cultures, arab and Indo societies and cultures.

            There will be no European societies and cultures left.

          • MyWord245

            My point is a little different. Historically Italians, Spaniards or even Slavic nationals were considered white. Now of course, Hispanic-whites (a category that didn’t exist even in 90’s) see themselves as whites. One of Nazi leaders in Charlottesville is Fuentes (second generation Cuban American). I believe current political alliances will not last. For example, there is not much in common between urban educated rich liberal whites and the antifa or BLM. Similarly, I don’t see free-traders and libertarians to get along with some off the Trump supporters.

          • Beauceron

            LOL!
            In other words, it will disappear.
            There will be Asians in Asia. Millions of them. They will have their culture and history and traditions. There will be no Europeans. This is cultural suicide, or genocide of a sort.

        • Angel Martin

          I know. But in a racially polarized country, there is no reason to believe that they won’t vote as whites. Look at voting by skin tone in Latin America.

          If the Democrats want to style themselves as the anti-white party – I’m sure they will be successful.

          • Beauceron

            “Look at voting by skin tone in Latin America.”

            Never heard about that.

            But listen, I’d be delighted with a softer civic style nationalism. I would personally love it if mestizo latinos join with us in that– and blacks and asians and everyone under the sun.

            But the other side gets a vote in this, and the other side has control of the forming institutions of our society. They own the educational system outright. They own the overwhelming majority of media outlets. Conservatives have very little say in that at all these days.

            And a pretty strict identity politics is what we’re getting, like it or not. And for those people, white men means white men. And I am not willing to play the evil foil for all of their narratives. I am just not.

          • Angel Martin

            http://www.afro-netizen.com/2009/04/white-privilege-in-the-americas.html

            The anti-white agitators are going to drive “White latinos” towards the Repubs.

          • Beauceron

            Maybe. I sort of doubt it.

            Latinos, and just having a Spanish last name, puts you in the protected class the Left is building. Better educational opportunities, more scholarships, job set asides, government contract set asides, and the adoration of the media. And you also get to be part of a connected group and have roots and culture and the sense of belonging that comes with those.

            All that is being intentionally destroyed for people of European descent. You are literally not permitted to have any of that if you are white. There are literally college courses on “abolishing whiteness.” (https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/35419/)

            That does not seem to me to be a hard choice to make.

          • Angel Martin

            We will see. I am a great believer in the law of unintended consequences.

            The left thinks they will bring in enough non-white immigrants, legal and illegal, into Western countries and permanently install themselves as the majority.

            It looks like a success in places like California.

            But long term success in Cali and these other social democratic states requires the Blue model to be a viable political and economic system. When the Blue model collapses in the next big economic downturn, who knows what the total political fallout will be.

          • Beauceron

            “But long term success in Cali and these other social democratic states requires the Blue model to be a viable political and economic system. When the Blue model collapses in the next big economic downturn, who knows what the total political fallout will be.”

            I think though it won’t really matter at that point.

            The US– and, frankly, all European-based countries– will be destroyed and gone by then. Canada will be majority non-white before the US. France and Belgium and Germany and the UK and many others, will be just behind us. So the economy will collapse, something that, with our debt, future pension commitments, and out of control spending, I take to be a given. Add to that, by the way, the fact that by the early 2030s AI/automation will result in the loss of 38% of current US jobs. We’ll be an economic basket case.

            You can recover from an economic downfall. Cultures and peoples, once destroyed, are gone for good. You can’t rebuild them. Those crazy neon*zis in Charlottesville were chanting “You will not replace us.” As idiotic and repulsive as I find them to be, I can’t disagree that this is exactly what is happening. But I think they’re wrong. They will be replaced. Not just replaced, but demonized and marginalized and humiliated.

          • MyWord245

            “Cultures and peoples, once destroyed, are gone for good. You can’t rebuild them.” What is this white culture you refer to that will be gone and irreplaceable? Whiteness will evolve and so will the culture. US whites are culturally extremely diverse (a bi-modal distribution); yes, white men vote more with GOP but that does not mean that they are not diverse culturally, morally and economically. They also want different things from the government. Instead of dreading over a future where whites are not a majority, you should articulate how to preserve the good parts. Think of it this way, today’s whites are not WASPs majority. That was an excuse used to fight-off immigration from the catholic countries in the past. Obviously we have survived that change and we will survive this change as well.

          • Beauceron

            “Whiteness will evolve and so will the culture.”
            Explain. Flesh that out for me.
            As society we have fetishized blackness and browness. You can major in Black Studies and Latino Studies. Meanwhile, some of the best schools in the country are offering courses like “Abolishing Whiteness.”
            What you mean by “evolve” is really “erase” or” disappear.”

          • wri

            The left has successully persuaded even white Republicans that Hispanics are part of a “black” minority. They are not. While some may have some Native American ancestry, Hispanics are for the most part of European ancestry. The Hispanic-Americans have shifted to voting Democrat over the past decade or so because Republicans have treated them as a different “minority” that is not welcomed in this country. In earlier times Hispanic were as likely to vote Rpublican and I believe their basic culture and values are more aligned with Republicans than Democrats. But if Republicans continue to judge them negatively solely on the basis of their etnic background, you can be sure that, as human beings, they will respond in kind.

          • wri

            It is true that in societies in which the predominant skin color is some shade of brown to black, prejudices still arise based upon skin tone. And ironically, the less black or lighter brown people are the ones who think themselves superior to others of darker skin tone. It just shows how ingrained this sort of prejudice is in human nature and how stupid it is to treat America as if it is a unique example of racism.

    • Gary Hemminger

      I agree with your assessment of this article. After reading the last two, which were clearly from the Trump resistance crowd, it was good to read something more reasoned. Identity Politics is a dead end. It will eventually begin eating its own children.

    • TPAJAX

      As long as the radical left festers, the radical right will grow. The MSM apologizes for, or doesn’t even talk about the violence and hate coming from the left. The MSM and BLM rioters and looters are neo Nazis best recruiting tool in decades.

    • Suzy Dixon

      Muslim drives a truck through a crowd. No problem. Cry for a week and get over it. Next month bombing in some concert. Cry for a week and get over it. Radical leftists kill some cops and loot some stores. It’s white mans fault because…muh reasons. One neo-nazi kills a leftist and shtf. It’s just unbelievable. This kind of double standard and difference in response = more radical right growth. I can’t even blame them. But they won’t just sit idle on their private sites sharing memes. They’ll march. More confrontations will happen, and it’s the MSM’s fault and open communist’s fault in universities. I had a few, and that was decades ago. Supposedly many more now. Has to be.

    • wri

      Beauceron: You make some good points. When you read someone like Ta-Nehisi Coates its easy to feel you have no choice but to prepare yourself for the battle to come. But I’m skeptical your prediction of a Democrat permanent majority will come to pass. As sort of a mirror of individual identity politics, Democrat politics are built on group identity politics — i.e., special interests. It’s difficult to satisfy so many different constituencies with different interests. I doubt Democrats can manage this in the long-run. Already Asian Americans are realizing that identity politics, applied to education or, by extension, employment, can be very bad for them. And culturally I don’t believe Asian-Americans inherently identify with Democrat political goals of big government, welfare dependency, redistribution etc. I think the same is true for Hispanic-Americans. Thanks to the Republicans’ retrograde views on immigration the Democrats have won over the Hispanic vote on this single issue. But more broadly, even including affirmative action for “minorities,” I think much of the Hisipanic community does not self-identify with Democrat policies. I am even hopeful that, eventually, African-Americans will realize the Democrats have manged to return them to a “plantation” where they are helpless victims dependent on the largesse of Democrats (via government) in return for their votes.

      A new “Brown” America may be the end of indentity poltics. Who are the minorities when almost everyone is a bit “brown?” Unless we are prepared to start categorizing “whites” vs others based upon some arbitrarily determined percentage of pure European blood in each person, the racial and ethnic differences among us will seem a silly basis upon which to conduct poltitics or social polticy. In sum, it seems to me one can as well argue that the “Browning” of America is likely to destroy the Democrats’ ability to exploit racial and ethnic differences to win votes.

      • Beauceron

        Thanks for your thoughtful response.

        “Already Asian Americans are realizing that identity politics, applied to education or, by extension, employment, can be very bad for them”

        But that’s just it. Asians aren’t opposed to identity politics per se. When it was good for them, they were for it. As their population rises and continues to rise, it’s become bad for them so many now oppose it. In the end, they’re not taking a stance on principle, just doing what’s good for their group. That’s understandable. This has been a broad topic of discussion amongst the Asian-American community. I get a sense that AA is a horse they’ve ridden as far as they can and are now looking to switch.
        “A new “Brown” America may be the end of indentity poltics. Who are the minorities when almost everyone is a bit “brown?””
        You mean what happens when whites are successfully destroyed as a distinct racial and cultural group both in North America and Europe?
        Who knows. There will still be an oppressor class and an oppressed class. Or one will be created as needed.

  • Anthony

    “We increasingly seem to have forgotten that one of the keys to a well-functioning democracy is a strong shared sense of purpose – a common identity that unites all our citizens….Political scientists talk about increasing polarization in the American electorate; another way to describe the same phenomenon is identity politics displacing a democracy grounded in a shared sense of purpose….The idea of a unifying identity still exists as an abstraction in most Americans’ minds….” (Damir Murusic)

    • Dale Fayda

      Societal solidarity in America is dead – the Left had killed it, on purpose.

      • Boritz

        In future decades the Left will usher in conformity as never before seen in America. They just have to do some creative destruction (of the constitution) first.

      • Anthony

        White Supremacy (the original identity politics) has worked hard to kill it in its infancy before your arrival West. But, I understand your rancor.

        • Dale Fayda

          My “arrival West”? I’m a New Yorker, you dolt. In fact, I grew up in Trump’s old neighborhood in Queens.

          “But, I understand your rancor.” You understand nothing, you just have a lot to say.

          • Anthony

            Yeah, your arrival West (we done this before, so end redundancy). Finally, no surfeit of response (as I’m not sure Dale Fayda is who he claims).

          • Dale Fayda

            Yes, we have and I recall slapping down your idiocy back then too. I believe Beauceron was involved in that discussion as well.

            If you seriously think I’m a foreign troll, then you’re even more of a dolt than I suspect you to be. That is my real name and the personal information I’ve revealed on this site over the period of several years is real too. And that’s way more than you can say about your presence on this forum, “Anthony”, if that is your real name. LOL

          • Anthony

            This is it (what’s that name): Damir wrote a splendid essay read it and “comment” on its content, pro or con.

          • Angel Martin

            “Anthony” didn’t realize Angel Martin was a 70’s TV character, and he thought I was Filipino or something… what a douche !

            “Anthony” has such variation in writing styles that I believe he is a composite effort.

            “Anthony’s” creators or programmers or inventors or puppeteers can’t get a consistent personal style, but the arrogance and condescension is consistent.

          • Anthony

            No, I never thought you were a Filipino – though there’s nothing wrong in classification – and it only matters to someone seeking a faux social connection.

          • Angel Martin

            Yeah I’m really going for the snobbery points, that’s why I have “Angel Martin” as an avatar…

          • Anthony

            Resume fatuously identifying – though I would think politics (protest) in Quebec City rather than America would have your interest.

          • Angel Martin

            I don’t know “anthony”. You seem to have a lot to say on the UK, Brexit, Putin, Russia, Macron, France, LePen, even trying to lecture me on Quebec separation

            But someone on the outside looking in at the USA is “trespassing”.

            It’s kinda like the USA is into everyone else’s elections for decades, but is outraged when, maybe, someone has a run at theirs…

          • Anthony

            Martin, I say what I like about the world (much experience). I assume nothing and understand my limits, you ought to do likewise! Help Canada (as that’s where you claim you reside). We’re done.

        • CosmotKat

          “White Supremacy (the original identity politics)”

          Was a notion fully embraced by a large part of the Democratic Party, the ones who favored the KKK and Jim Crow.

          • Anthony

            Go back under your hole, internet stalker (harasser)!

          • CosmotKat

            I see, Anthony, you can’t refute the facts and your intellectual cowardice demands that you smear those you do not want to be embarrassed by.

          • Anthony

            Since you’re out of your “hole” and refuse to adhere to my last directive – stop pretending that you can engage me -, I’ll humor myself with this last reply: Good Bye (riddance or whatever – though I should be so lucky on the WWW).

          • CosmotKat

            I don’t take directives from intellectual cowards, Anthony. Whenever you open your mouth in the form of typing on a keyboard you are going to have your opinions challenged. You cannot handle that challenge. You express contempt for anyone who disagrees with your narrow world view. C’ya chump.

          • Anthony

            Three points: 1) you know nothing that I find worthy of response; 2) you stalk the internet to both harass and harangue; 3) if you did not reply to me, I would not know of your virtual existence. Finally, disappear and do many a favor – that’s a directive. Now if you need the last word (words), go at it.

  • D4x

    One issue missing from all this Charlottesville coverage is that Antifa promised to desecrate Confederate graves and monuments at Gettysburg National Park and Cemetery this past July 3-4. The state of Pennsylvania took the threat seriously. It got some news coverage, and huge, enraged comment threads at PJM, and Breitbart.

    At the time, I knew there are no confederate graves (identifiable remains were removed by the 1870’s) at Gettysburg, and thought it was Antifa gaging reaction, for a plan to desecrate graves elsewhere, not in a National Park and Cemetery, or a way for whoever is behind Antifa to assess a new tactical strategy, since masked violence in Berkeley had backfired.

    Six weeks later, the first organized protest against Confederate monument removal results in an Antifa & BLM led counter-protest. No such thing as a coincidence. (Also, one week after The Nation shredded the ‘Russia hacked the election’ myth.)

    As for Obama “but his politicking avoided identity.” ??? He went out of his way to poiunt out the implicit racial bias of everyone not properly pigmented, e.g., Prof Gates to Trayvon Martin to Al Sharpton’s seat in the Obama Oval Office to BLM-inspired targeted police assassinations.

    Obama undid 150 years of healing and reconciliation, 112 years after President William McKinley sought national healing, a gesture of reconciliation, and a symbol of national unification with his speech at the Atlanta Peace Jubilee on December 14, 1898, to remind us that a UNITED States of America “will never lack defenders”, that our “differences were long ago settled”.

    McKinley made a commitment to protect Confederate grave sites from vandalism. His speech is almost impossible to find online:
    https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SDU18981215.1.1&dliv=none&st=1&e=——-en–20–1–txt-txIN——–1

    POTUS Trump was heavily criticized for his Holocaust statement, but he knew that was a way to acknowledge that millions of non-Jews, especially Poles and Russians, were also deliberately murdered by Hitler, who believed Slavs were also less than human. The Holocaust was not just about Jews (and my family lost many), and our Civil War was fought to preserve the Union, not solely to end the sin of African slavery.

    The news should be focused on the campaign to remove monuments, not about trying to delegitimize Trump, no matter what he says or does.

    It is as if Archie Bunker, also from Queens, got elected to the Presidency. Ironic that Archie Bunker’s armchair is at the Smithsonian Institution:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/37f9fda15cb85f25ae98896ebe21619e7e039f730e62470876300f31da1e235d.jpg

    http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_670097

    Donald J. Trump did NOT run as the “champion of the identity politics of white males”. His campaign reminded me of Warren G. Harding’s 1920 campaign, “Return to Normalcy”, in opposition to Woodrow Wilson’s destructive legacy.

    “Return to Normalcy” Warren G. Harding Boston, Massachusetts May 14, 1920

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/return-to-normalcy/

    “our collective reaction to it a litmus test for the health of our Republic.” is best expressed by how our elections reflect opposition to the prior administration’s policies, without Identity Politics:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/83cb842c3e0903a565c7bd8e1802860dd837746b4a791bd32c1defc9bb98f776.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0ac93a73a09977c5b0a52ecd2295af008c344aba5a7dcb3d4a770ab025916cc1.jpg

  • Stephen

    Racism, of course, is as old as the country itself. But before emancipation, slaves were not part of the political system. Reactionary identity politics, especially in the South, only became possible with the enfranchisement of all.

    This to me makes utterly no sense. By the time the Civil War began, white southerners possessed a very clear identity to distinguish themselves from the rest of the country. From the Mexican-American War to the outbreak of the Civil War national politics revolved more and more around their identity relative to their northern cousins as that identity came to see slavery as a positive good, indeed a moral good. Current Democrats are as obsessed with identity as Democrats were in the 1850’s.

  • FriendlyGoat

    “How our politics play out in the aftermath” is a function of American church. It sides with Trump in his evermore-egregious rhetorical adventures, as it has so far, making American religion a joke and the country incrementally meaner day by day—–or it starts peeling away from him. It’s not just Charlottesville. Something else will happen tomorrow and the next day. Trumpism reveals itself in dozens of ways. This was just one.

    • Boritz

      I blame George W. Bush (because that’s when I received my conditioning.)

      • FriendlyGoat

        Soon the nation will be treated to the GOP visions of budgets and tax reform.
        Subjects will change, and the reality of Trumpism will still have noxious odors all over it. One stink will be replaced by another stink.

        • Boritz

          Once again you step squarely in the truth Goat. Yes, the nation will be treated to GOP visions, substance not so much. These visions will go the way of the repeal-and-replace vision.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Repeal and replace would have been okay—–if there had been a decent replace. But there never was. They have been implying they can repeal and replace the tax code “without a replace” too. Same with budgets—–they can talk of cutting everything until constituents finally wake up and tell their Congressional representatives “no”, even from the political Right. I think we’re headed directly into all of that. We’ll see.

  • Otis

    This is the best analysis I’ve read about this sordid episode. Congratulations, Damir!

  • Jeff77450

    Mr. Murusic, good article which has given me much food-for-thought. Prior to reading this I had encountered the term postmodernism many times but had never read an actual definition. I now have a much better understanding; I understand that it’s dysfunctional and lacking in substance.

    I’m 58 and have two grown sons, 28 & 30. I went through an obnoxious phase in my teens and made my mother’s life harder than it had to be and my sons did it to me. The various temper-tantrums coming from the Left remind me of the sulky teenager who “hates” his parents and the rules & restrictions that they impose on him/her. These rules & restrictions are designed to keep the child safe and teach them to become responsible, but from the point of view of an adolescent they have the effect of hindering him from “stretching his wings” and in the more immediate sense, having fun.

    An adolescent obsesses about the unjust, to him, restrictions that his parents place on him while at the same time completely taking for granted the food, clothing, shelter and medical care that they provide. The fun & luxuries that his parents can reasonably afford and will permit aren’t anywhere near as important to him as those that he imagines he “deserves.” Evil, demonic, patriarchal, oppressive, straight, white, Christian men (& women) have done the heavy-lifting of creating the modern world and most of what we enjoy in it but that isn’t nearly as important to whiny Leftists as the evils that a relative few of them once did. We’re all alive because of diseases cured and vaccines, antibiotics and water/sewage treatment plants invented by white people, but that’s nearly as important as their inevitable flaws.

    (Yes, Anthony, I know: White people didn’t invent literally everything. I’ve never said that they did, just that the modern world as we know it is *mostly* due to Western Civilization which means, yes, white people).

    “We always want what we haven’t got.” These millennial Bernie supports who claim to want socialism, they don’t realize that the current system based on limited government, free market capitalism and personal responsibility is about as good as flawed humans can do. Yes, there’s always room for improvement. We can always tweak and marginally improve regulations & taxes. Occasionally a law gets passed or a policy gets implemented that runs afoul of the Law of Unintended Consequences. As with Prohibition and Busing the system eventually corrects itself. Affirmative Action and the various wealth-redistribution schemes that perpetuate poverty, dysfunction and dependency are examples of this principle but because they’re addictive and have large constituencies they’re harder to get rid of. Meanwhile we all watch the National Debt and unfunded-liabilities grow and grow. We engage in much hand-wringing and tut-tuting but nothing actually gets done about it.

    The various constituencies that comprise the Left, e.g. BLM, Antifa, feminists, LGBT, etc., would tell you that they’re striving for a fairer, more just world. But what they’re actually doing is tearing down the house that they live in. Some are attacking the very foundation of the house, e.g. free speech, traditional marriage and the family. Others are attacking the furnishing & decorations, e.g. this assault on any-and-all symbols, statues and monuments that the Left doesn’t like but also the general raunch that pervades so much of popular entertainment.

    I’ve said it before, in this and other forums, and I’ll say it again, this war on the achievements of Western Civilization is *not* going to end well (for any of us). “Mark my words.”

    • Martin Jennerson

      Including our civilization bearing the blame for slavery, despite being the only large-scale civilization to abolish it (properly). Totally back-to-front.

    • Estoy Listo

      “The various constituencies that comprise the Left, e.g. BLM, Antifa, feminists, LGBT, etc., would tell you that they’re striving for a fairer, more just world.”

      This after a cultural revolution that brought freedoms that women, gays, and minorities of all all kinds would never have dreamed of generations ago–to say nothing of our fabulous wealth and abundance over the same time. So few take notice, especially publicly. We are living in a golden age. And yet, here we are. It’s hard to be hopeful.

  • Ulysses4033

    Postmodernism is a toxic, destructive, soul-destroying stance that the Left–yes, including Barack Obama–embraced decades ago. Its rarely-opposed long march through our academic institutions reached our politics right around the time the Internet became available to the masses and helped spread its poisonous retribalizing aims like wildfire.

    Mr. Murasic could have spent more effort demonstrating, as he merely hints, how Mr. Trump is, in his own way, as postmodern as Mr. Obama. The splintering of the center, formerly founded on consensus-supported political, social, and financial institutions, is all but complete. Mr. Trump, although certainly the anti-Hillary, brings his own version of the postmodern campaign against universal truths and principles into the game.

    Our major media are dreadful postmodern gorgons; the leadership of both political parties (see Marco Rubio on Charlottesville) have lost their minds; the population is falling for the identitarian seductions. Like the alcoholic in denial about the destructive effects of his drinking, our polis will probably have to hit bottom before we are willing to admit that we are powerless over our infatuation with the postmodern Mephistopheles and seek to sober up.

  • I had honestly no idea that some people in this country would still proudly wave Nazi flags in public. I mean, honestly, it is time to grow up.

  • wri

    I had not previously heard anyone make a connection between academic postmodernism and identity politics, but it seems a cogent point. The alt-right extremists are reprehensible. But we should remember that great harm can also be done by those who make a credible claim to be pursuing “good” and “truth.” Indeed, these ideologues can be more dangerous because their actions are clothed in the language of social justice and good intentions, so are disguised and insulated from analysis and criticism — or so they claim.

    I am a longtime independent, not religious and maybe something of a conservative, more by old fashioned (“Liberal”) than modern day definations of conservative. But I think the blame for our highly destructive current social and poltical discourse does not really lie with the extreme right, although as Charlottesville shows, they make their contribution. The real cause lies with liberal elites and their representatives in academia, in national politics, and among black, gender and other identity politics activists. You can draw a straight line between the debate in the 1960’s and 70’s over how to implement the civil rights revolution — a debate that people like Senator Moynihan lost and the liberal extremists won — and the divisive intractable poltics of today. The liberal exremist and their allies have defined a social and political playing field where, as this article points out, we are approachiing if not at the point where only one side can win — and they insist truth and justice are only on their side. This sort of conflict is not resolved by politics or social insitutions; its outcome can only be decided by either capitulation or war.

  • “Reactionary identity politics”, as you call it, is older than Reconstruction — cf. the “Know-Nothing Party” that arose two decades earlier in response to Catholic immigration from Germany (half-Catholic, half-Lutheran) and Ireland (basically all-Catholic)

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