Friday, January 22, 2016

It Was A Monster Mash

TNR's Jeet Heer points out the irony in National Review devoting an entire issue to stopping Donald Trump's campaign, as the magazine is largely responsible for the rise of Trump's arrogant, white supremacist know-nothingism anyway.

Decades from now, when historians try to figure out the genealogy of Trumpism, they will have to pay careful attention to the pages of National Review in the 1980s and 1990s, when a crucial debate was being played out between neo-conservatives and paleo-conservatives. Although National Review ultimately sided with the neo-conservatives, it gave ample room to such paleo-conservative voices as Joseph Sobran, Peter Brimelow, John O’Sullivan, and Samuel T. Francis. Even after these writers were purged from the magazine, the white identity politics they argued for was taken up by other National Review writers, albeit in more muted and coded form. This paleo-con tradition created the idea of a politics centered around immigration restriction and a more robustly nationalist foreign policy (including trade policy). Many of these writers seeded the ideas that helped form the alt-right, which is the faction on the right that is most enthusiastic for Trump.

In truth, the relationship between National Review and Donald Trump is like that of Victor Frankenstein and his monster. Horror-stricken by what the monster is doing, Frankenstein might deny his own creation and say that it has a will of its own. But without Frankenstein, there is no monster. And without a conservative movement that fostered and indulged white identity politics, there is no Donald Trump.

And this is the vital point here that needs to be made: someone like Trump coming along and running as the unbridled, freely decoded agent of conservative Republican dog-whistle racism was always going to be seen as "someone who is brave enough to say what we're thinking" and be wildly popular among the "Well, I'm not racist but..." crowd, especially after America elected a black man to be President of the United States.

Trump, or someone like him, was absolutely inevitable.  And for National Review's all-star team of dipsticks, pretending they're against the rough beast they created slouching towards Washington is a bad joke on the rest of humanity.

Speaking of bad jokes...

Poor bastards don't even know.

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