Today in Strange Reasoning (Trump Semi-Support Edition)

Comments on a pro-Trump (well, sorta) column.

Donald Trump Speaking CloseupJim Ruth (no, I am not familiar either) wrote an odd column last week for WaPo:  I hate Donald Trump. But he might get my vote.

The bottom line:

We are under no illusions about Trump. We know that this Man Who Would Be King is a classic bully and a world-class demagogue in his personal, professional and political lives. He will continue to demonize his perceived enemies and take the low road at every opportunity.

And yet,

So why then would rational, affluent, informed citizens consider voting for The Donald? Short of not voting at all — still an option some of us are considering — he’s the only one who appears to want to preserve the American way of life as we know it.

The disjuncture between these paragraphs is pretty stunning.  On the one hand, Ruth calls Trump “a classic bully and a world-class demagogue” who will “take the low road at every opportunity” but on the other, sees Trump as “the only one who appears to want to preserve the American way of life as we know it.”  This means, I guess, that he thinks that demagoguery is the American way of life? (Such is the conclusion of the transitive property of op/ed columns, at least, if Trump=demagoguery, and Trump=preserver of the American way of life, then demagoguery=the American way of life).  In truth, I don’t think Ruth is consciously making that argument, but he appears oblivious to the logic of his own column in this regard.

This strikes me as the type of rationalization we are likely to see from many Trump supporters, i.e., yes he is horrible, but at least he wants to make American great again! That, and of course, he isn’t Hillary:

For many of us, Trump has only one redeeming quality: He isn’t Hillary Clinton. He doesn’t want to turn the United States into a politically correct, free-milk-and-cookies, European-style social democracy where every kid (and adult, too) gets a trophy just for showing up.

Members of this new silent majority, many of us front-wave baby boomers, value hard work and love the United States the way it was. We long for a bygone era when you didn’t need “safe spaces” on college campuses to shelter students from the atrocity of dissenting opinions, lest their sensibilities be offended. We have the reckless notion that college is the one place where sensibilities are supposed to be challenged and debated. Silly us.

There can be little doubt that in a two-party duopoly as strong as ours, many, many voters are going to rationalize their choices (whether those choices be for Clinton or Trump) as that is what happens in a system where there are only two actual choices for office, people have to pick and convince themselves of the choice.  (Yes, I know Garry Johnson and Jill Stein are running, but realistically there are two choices on the ballot who can win the presidency–but that is a discussion for a different post).  On that level, I understand the argument, although usually one would think that the rationalizer would downplay Trump’s less attractive qualities. It is one thing to argue against Hillary, it is another to say how horrible Trump is and yet at the same time buy into his sloganeering about American greatness.

Two observations about some of the laments listed above.  First, kids these days are not ruined by participation trophies, because they a) know full well what they are, and b) they absolutely know who won (anyone who has spent an iota of time around youth sports of any kind knows this).*  Second, while there has been a goodly amount of campus silliness, the whole of the American student body is not retreating in safe spaces and they are still grappling with hard ideas on campus. That some young adults do silly things in college is not a new phenomenon (any more than are middle-aged people constantly lamenting the sorry state of kids of these days, I suppose).

Really, the column is all about nostalgia. For example:

Our view of the media is old-school, too — just the facts, please. Before his untimely death some years ago, Tim Russert of “Meet the Press” set the standard for “fair and balanced” by grilling both Democratic and Republican politicians in a way that never betrayed his personal political persuasions. That still works fine. It’s just damn hard to find.

I must admit I am having a hard time seeing current trumpistas being fans of Russert were he alive today (nor do I recall him being an especial favorite of the GOP at the time).  Regardless, nostalgia is clearly of huge use to Trump. Indeed, more accurately there is a strong strain of the reactionary in his appeal:  that notion that we can return to a better past (never mind that memory is faulty and the past is rarely as rosy as one might think they remember it).  That reactionary view is, however, often short on details (see, e.g., the Brexit vote).  Further, while one can learn from the past, and sometimes there are things from the past worthy of recapturing, the politics of looking backwards rarely results in a positive outcome.

—-

*This is a pet peeve of mine.  On the one hand, yes:  I could do without participation trophies (although I do not have a strong aversion, either).  On the other, they aren’t doing what the critics say they are doing, i.e., they aren’t making all the kids feel equally special nor are they taking away from who won and who lost one iota.  Even if kids play in no-score leagues (as my sons did in church soccer and basketball at a young age), they know the score and they know who won.  The proverbial thrill of victory and agony of defeat are felt predominantly on the field, not in a ceremony afterwards.  And to reiterate a point from above:  anyone who has had a kid play youth sports knows full well that competition is far from dead in America (and, really, often is a bit out of hand, at least on the parental side of things).

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    Ben Stein wrote a column last month that was similarly ludicrous. He wrote that Trump’s economic views were nuts and that Hillary’s, on balance, were quite sensible. But then he said he was voting for Trump “because I think he does personify a kind of national pride which I think has been lacking in the Obama days and would be terribly lacking under Bernie Sanders and terribly lacking under Hillary Clinton.”

    It’s hard for me to believe Stein wrote those words with a straight face, but I suppose to Mr. “Beuller Beuller” himself, anything’s possible.

  2. Pch101 says:

    he’s the only one who appears to want to preserve the American way of life as we know it.

    Wait a minute. I thought that America sucked and that he was going to replace the horrors of what we have now with its former (Caucasian) glory.

    He doesn’t want to turn the United States into a politically correct, free-milk-and-cookies, European-style social democracy where every kid (and adult, too) gets a trophy just for showing up.

    Of course. Only the white kids deserve to get stuff just because.

  3. James Pearce says:

    He doesn’t want to turn the United States into a politically correct, free-milk-and-cookies, European-style social democracy where every kid (and adult, too) gets a trophy just for showing up.

    I guess it would be too devastating to his argument to point out that NONE of the presidential candidates want to “turn” the United States into this caricature….

    Points for effort, I guess.

  4. @Kylopod: Ah yes, I recall that one too, now that you mention it. It is an especially weird kind of rationalization.

  5. JKB says:

    The question arises in this election is whether the American people want 4 more years of the Obama Administration or do they prefer a President who is pro-America even if the person is a bit rough around the edges?

  6. CSK says:

    Ruth’s contention that Trump enthusiasts are fully aware that Trump is a “classic bully and a world-class demagogue,” and dislike that about him, is disingenuous or naive. A true-blue Trumpkin loves the fact that The Man Who Would Be King is a sleazy misogynist racist oaf ignoramus.

  7. CSK says:

    @JKB:

    What makes you think Trump is pro-America? Isn’t it obvious from the man’s entire life that he’s pro-Donald Trump and whatever feeds his ego and lines his pockets?

    The man’s a carny barker writ large. He tells the saps whatever he thinks they want to hear and they lap it up and beg for more. He has no principles, no convictions, and no knowledge on which formulate any sort of domestic or foreign policy policy. (Is “I’ll bomb the sh1t out of them” a policy?) He changes his bumper-sticker slogans from day to day–or hour to hour, in the case of abortion, probably because he can’t recall what lie he told last.

  8. @JKB:

    a President who is pro-America even if the person is a bit rough around the edges?

    I would say that “rough around the edges” is a bit of an understatement, but will recognize that some will see it that way. I will avoid that argument for the moment, however, and state that arguing that the Obama administration (or any administration, really) is not “pro-America” is simply ridiculous. You may not agree on a given administration’s version of what constitutes “pro-America” (and that is fair) but to insinuate that it is “anti-America” is simply wrong.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    No, the question arises whether you trust Trump to control thousands of nuclear weapons. That is the question. In fact, it’s really the only really necessary question.

    On the one hand a man seething with hate for everyone not like himself, a man with no capacity to control his impulses, a man who disdains advice, a man more thoroughly ignorant of American foreign policy realities than any candidate in modern times.

    And on the other hand we have a woman who absolutely no one thinks will start a nuclear war.

    You claim to favor gun safety, right? So to whom do you hand the world’s biggest gun? That is the question.

  10. Mikey says:

    @JKB: The assertion Obama is somehow “anti-America” is the most ridiculous, stupid, fatuous nonsense going. It’s objectively wrong and demonstrably false.

    Yet it’s all but gospel on the American right.

    Meanwhile, Trump is running on policy recommendations (such as they are) that would actually result in increased danger to America and Americans, and true damage to America’s economy (which would, ironically, fall predominantly on his supporters), but that’s A-OK because he’s perceived as “pro-America.”

    How does that make any sense, at all?

  11. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:

    Trump is a white male. That’s all JKB needs to know. He’s white, he’s male, he hates minorities. . . yep, he must be pro-America. Because for JKB and Jenos and bill and Jack, white = America.

  12. Nikki says:

    The only American way of life Trump will continue is white supremacy.

  13. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Is it possible that, in the spirit of Galtish objectivism, these guys believe themselves to be smart enough, wealthy enough, or both, to come out of the projected economic “transition” okay? From that perspective, it would make sense for them to support Trump as opposed to a candidate who would impoverish them personally for the benefit of others who may (probably would) not be deserving. That seems to be at the root of some of Jeno’s, JKB’s, and other RNJW’s musings.

  14. Scott F says:

    Steven –

    You say:

    On that level, I understand the argument, although usually one would think that the rationalizer would downplay Trump’s less attractive qualities.

    But, I think Ruth is looking for someone who will demonize his enemies and take the low road to achieve his ends, so downplaying these qualities in Trump isn’t really necessary.

    Anyone who would so overtly misrepresent the political views of their opposition isn’t going to get too worked up about methods. Trump is a means to his ends, so Ruth calls out Trump’s character as a way to show himself above it all.

  15. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK: JKB has always struck me as a sort of “I am willing to live in post-Weimar Germany, as long as my party is at the top of the heap” sort of guy. It’s where all the posts quoting von Mies come from.

    The pseudo conservatives we have leading that movement and representing their base have struck me as willing to burn down the country as long as they get to rule the ashes. They are hateful and mean spirited and stupid in ways that would have embarrassed William F. Buckley at his racist worst.

  16. Scott F says:

    @JKB:

    “Rough around the edges” is such weasel wording.

    C’mon! Either deny Trump is belligerent, sexist, xenophobic, and demagogic or embrace these qualities in him. But, suggesting these traits are minor blemishes in an otherwise sterling human being is such tired sophistry it’s embarrassing.

  17. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds:

    On the one hand a man seething with hate for everyone not like himself, a man with no capacity to control his impulses, a man who disdains advice, a man more thoroughly ignorant of American foreign policy realities than any candidate in modern times.

    You’re asking this about JKB? Of course he trusts that man above a Clinton. Annihilation is better than living in a hell hole where his taxes will be used to ease the suffering of others. Just ask Ludwig von Mies or Ayn Rand.

  18. Pete S says:

    @JKB: The question in this election is whether voters are intelligent enough to realize that someone they disagree with can still be “pro-America”. That this is even a question which needs to be answered is appalling.

    I guess the second, somewhat less serious question in this election, is whether voters are intelligent enough to understand that “Leave it to Beaver” was fictional and nobody is bringing us back there no matter what they promise. The answer to this question worries me too.

  19. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: I resent your insinuations that anyone who doesn’t support your beloved protofascist racist carnival barker isn’t “pro-American.”

    America was founded with the lofty ideals of freedom and equality for all, eloquently written by Thomas Jefferson, a man who owned slaves. America has, generation by generation, strived to achieve those ideals. We outlawed slavery. We gave women the right to vote. We stopped exterminating the Native Americans. We dismantled Jim Crow. Hell, we even reached a point where Irish no longer need not apply — the filthy, potato eating Irish! Women can work outside of the home and own property. Gays and lesbians can get married — to people they want to marry!

    We still have a lot of work to do. Women earn less than men for the same job. Minorities don’t have the same access to opportunities as white kids (I have personally squandered more opportunities than most black kids get). We beat back the robber-barons once, but need to do so again.

    We don’t need to “Make America Great Again”. America has always had flaws — deep flaws — but the greatness of America comes from constantly pushing to overcome those flaws, and generation by generation, getting closer to the noble and lofty ideals written so eloquently by a man who was screwing his slaves — a man who dreamed of a world where his own actions would be viewed as disgusting, and approved of that world.

    We don’t need to “Make America Great Again”. America is great, and that greatness comes from always striving to be greater.

  20. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The truly astonishing thing to me is that Trumpkins have no idea of how deeply contemptuous Trump is of his supporters. It’s deeper than that they’re easily gulled marks. Trump hates middle class, lower middle class, and working class people with the contempt that only a desperately insecure new-rich arriviste who’s spent a lifetime trying to buy his way into “society” can feel.

    Memo to white working men who think Trump is going to be their savior: He thinks you’re garbage. Useful garbage, but garbage.

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    I don’t know if they even want to rule the ashes. I do know they want to burn everything down out of an insensate frenzy of rage and vengeance.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    On the one hand, yes: I could do without participation trophies (although I do not have a strong aversion, either). On the other, they aren’t doing what the critics say they are doing, i.e., they aren’t making all the kids feel equally special* nor are they taking away from who won and who lost one iota.

    *…they aren’t making all the kids feel equally special
    Isn’t this what advocates want? and they’re not getting it?
    Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

  22. Timothy Watson says:

    We long for a bygone era when you didn’t need “safe spaces” on college campuses to shelter students from the atrocity of dissenting opinions, lest their sensibilities be offended.

    Coming from the same people who will burst into flames if they’re exposed to anything other than Fox News Channel or Rush Limbaugh.

  23. @Timothy Watson: There is that…

  24. @Mister Bluster: I suspect the range of motivations for the behavior could go from simply “trying to do something nice” all the way to “mitigating against anyone feeling like a loser.” Of course, the latter is impossible and there is nothing especially wrong with the former.

  25. An Interested Partyy says:

    Ruth could of saved himself a lot of time and effort if he just got right to the point…

    “Even though Trump is totally ridiculous I will still vote for him because Hillary is icky.”

    Hell of a rational argument…

  26. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: How do you know that Trump is “pro-America”? Because he tells you so?

    Dude–if you look around the table when playing cards and can’t tell who the mark is–it’s YOU. This is the same. Trump will tell you whatever you want to believe to get you hooked, grab your money, and walk away laughing while you whine “it’s not FAIR!”

    Think I’m exaggerating? Look at Trump’s life. Look at the number of times he’s refused to pay people on contracts he signed up for. Look at the number of times he’s exaggerated, lied, flimflammed, and bamboozled. All in the name of “business.” There’s a reason no one in the financial world will lend to him any more on his projects. There’s a reason why he isn’t releasing his taxes–he’d had to substantiate all the stuff he’s said about his “charity”, his ” income”, and how much he’s worth.

    And you think he’s going to treat you any differently than all the other sad sacks he’s dealt with in the past? Ha ha ha ha ha. He’s a scorpion–he’ll sting you when he can because that’s his nature. He doesn’t know how to deal with anyone differently. And you’ll walk up and gullibly hand the cash over–because you want to. And then you’ll squeal like a pig when you discover you don’t get what you want. And blame us, most likely.

  27. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    I’m stealing this gem for my own, personal use…

  28. An Interested Party says:

    …Trump is “pro-America”…

    Indeed…the very worst aspects of America…racism, misogyny, xenophobia, using the system to get ahead by cheating other people…it’s not surprising that Trump appeals to people who want America the way it used to be, but we are moving forward, and part of moving forward is throwing this grifting fraud onto the trash heap of history…

  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: No, the question arises whether you trust Trump to control thousands of nuclear weapons. That is the question. In fact, it’s really the only really necessary question.

    Really? Does Trump have a history of a fiery temper and physical violence? Hillary does.

    Does Trump have a history of abusing political power to pursue personal vendattas? Hillary does.

    Does Trump have a history of flouting laws and rules governing national security for personal benefit? Hillary does.

    With Trump and nuclear weapons, my biggest fear is that he’ll remodel the silos into something garish and boorish and ugly, with his name plastered all over them. I see the “Trump Trident” as the totally-blinged-out set of Trump Minutemen, Trump Tridents, and Trump AGM-129s. (Which will HAVE to have some kind of over-the-top name — I’m thinking the “Trump Urban Renewal” or the “Trump Chapter 11” or the “Trump Rapid Depreciator” or something.)

    With Hillary, we probably wouldn’t have to worry about her using nukes on other countries. But I wouldn’t be so sure about her using them on Republicans…

    One final point about Trump and nukes: he will NOT casually use them. Do you know what nukes do to real estate values? Look at the land around Fukushima and Chernobyl. What the hell could Trump do with those properties?

  30. Jenos Idanian says:

    Seriously… yawn. So many words to say the same simple message: “Vote for Trump, because Hillary’s worse.” And it’s always answered by “vote for Hillary, because Trump’s worse.”

    Wake me up if someone EVER says a good reason to vote for Hillary. One that stands up to the slightest bit of scrutiny, that is.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    Speaking of the very worst aspects of America…

  32. CSK says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Wake me up to tell me a good reason to vote for Trump.

  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: Fascinating article. I wonder what might have driven him to that perspective?

    This might provide a hint or two:

    On Nov. 24, 1990, I woke up, naked, with a scratchy white sheet wrapped around me, in a concrete cell. I was on suicide watch in the Westchester County, New York, jail, charged with murder for shooting a crack dealer.

    I shot him in the Bronx, straight through the heart, but the guy had so much blow in his blood that he ran across the county line, into Westchester, where he collapsed and died.

  34. Jenos Idanian says:

    @CSK: Go back to sleep, I’ve already given you the best one I have: Hillary’s worse.

    And knock off the snoring, will ya? Some of us gotta work in the morning.

  35. David M says:

    I’m pretty sure that “kill them and take their oil” safely puts Trump solidly in the lead for warmonger in chief. It’s really not possible to argue otherwise in good faith.

  36. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Accroches-toi à ton rêves!

  37. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    This might provide a hint or two:

    Amazing. There is no body of evidence you do not feel fully justified in countering with an isolated anecdote. It’s like a weird form of OCD.

    Let me guess — you don’t wear your seatbelt because you heard once about a guy whose car slid under a semi and he would have been decapitated if he’d been strapped in, right?

  38. Dazedandconfused says:

    “It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”

    The chains of party loyalty, of faction….

  39. Gustopher says:

    @Timothy Watson: “Safe Spaces” are better referred to as “Shut Your F’ing Pie Hole Spaces” — they are a reaction to the problem of people who believe that their right to say whatever they want means that they get to make everyone else listen to them.

    An overreaction, perhaps, and deeply exclusionary, but honestly, some people should be excluded, at least some of the time.

    If you are in a class about evolutionary biology, and a young Earth creationist keeps asking questions about panda thumbs and whatever other discredited theory they read at WND, you just want the kid to shut up so the rest of the class can move on. The kid isn’t really asking questions, he’s trying to get on a soapbox and allow only the conversation he or she approves of to happen — and that kid just needs to shut up, at least in that class.

    Conservatives would claim this kid is being “persecuted” for his or her “beliefs”.

    And that is part of the conservative movement, on campus and online — intent on destroying and disrupting conversations about ideas that they disagree with. Read the comments on articles on your local newspaper, and you will see the same pattern.

  40. Mister Bluster says:

    Tap Dance anyone…
    Tom Cotton?*

    Republican Senator Has To Be Asked Three Times To Explain Why He Supports Donald Trump
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-tom-cotton_us_57791a59e4b0416464104958?yptr=yahoo&ref=yfp

    Or Fred and Ginger?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAB12aeI6nA

    *Yes it’s that Tom Cotton.
    Sen. Tom Cotton Thinks War Against Iran Would Be Easy And Painless
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/sen-tom-cotton-thinks-war-against-iran-would-be-easy-and-painless/

  41. Jenos Idanian says:

    @DrDaveT: Amazing. There is no body of evidence you do not feel fully justified in countering with an isolated anecdote. It’s like a weird form of OCD.

    I’m sorry, I misjudged you. I didn’t realize you were a complete idiot.

    I read your link, and found myself wondering why the author had been in prison in the first place. So I re-read the article, and still didn’t know why he had been in prison. So I Googled the author and found another article where he described why he had been in prison.

    And that was the article I quoted and linked to.

    Not an “isolated anecdote,” but another article by your chosen author where he explained that he was a convicted killer.

    In other words, I did the homework you should have done before you gave such an approving endorsement to that article.

  42. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Wake me up if someone EVER says a good reason to vote for Hillary. One that stands up to the slightest bit of scrutiny, that is.

    Here’s the only good reason you need to hear: Hillary will do a better job than Trump.

    She’s not the best choice, and there is something seriously wrong with how beholden the Democrats are to the Clintons, but she is –by any reasonable measure– a better candidate for POTUS than Donald Trump.

    I mean, “both sides” have a lot of overlooking to do this year. But only one side has to overlook the fact that their candidate may not actually be up to the task.

  43. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Thank you for your refreshing honesty. You’re confirming my point, though — your argument isn’t to vote for Hillary, but against Trump.

    And my argument is not to vote for Trump, but against Hillary.

    I think I’m gonna invest in nose plugs, clothes pins, and Vicks Vap-O-Rub this fall, because there are gonna be millions of Americans looking for ways to hold their noses when they vote this November.

  44. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Here’s a positive reason to vote for Clinton: she has experience, as a senator and Secretary of State, that Trump lacks.

    Even if her record in those positions is at best mixed, the experience itself is important and she has it.

    Still, there’s nothing illegitimate about voting “against” a particular candidate, if one truly believes that candidate would be worse for the office than the alternative.

    Now send me over one of those clothespins…

  45. Loviatar says:

    Its amazing how often the regulars get into a back and forth with the Jenos’ of the world. Jenos, like Doug and James would rather have the earth destroyed by a comet than vote for Hillary Clinton. There is nothing you can say that would convince them otherwise.

    This has now become a masturbatory exercise for the regulars. I hope its pleasant for them, because for the onlookers its kind of demeaning and disgusting.

  46. KM says:

    @Gustopher:

    If you are in a class about evolutionary biology, and a young Earth creationist keeps asking questions about panda thumbs and whatever other discredited theory they read at WND, you just want the kid to shut up so the rest of the class can move on. The kid isn’t really asking questions, he’s trying to get on a soapbox and allow only the conversation he or she approves of to happen — and that kid just needs to shut up, at least in that class.

    Conservatives would claim this kid is being “persecuted” for his or her “beliefs”.

    ^^^^THIS. A thousand times THIS. They contribute nothing but delight in the disruption.

    If I had a dollar for every moron online who screams “Freedom of Speech” as an excuse to get away with being an asshat, I’d have my own island by now. There’s been a deliberate push to I-Say-What-I-Want-When-I-Want as a perceived recovery of traditional liberties against PCness or general “liberal” ideas.. In truth, acting like this at any point in American history would have been frowned upon at the very least; in some time periods, it would have gotten people punched in public or challenged to a duel!! There is a collective delusion that there’s a right to be obnoxious (there’s not) but the First does not protect you from the consequences of your actions. The Founders thought you shouldn’t go to jail for saying/acting like a moron but felt perfectly fine letting your fellow citizens criticize and ostracize you for it.

    A Safe Space is a psychology concept originally designed to help protect victims from assholes while trying to seek help (women and children fleeing abusers etc). That it’s become a mocking meme for the right is an example of this mentality: “I know but don’t care how it’s hurting you, I’m going to act like a complete douche BECAUSE I CAN. PS you’re a whiny freedom-hating persecuting loser for telling me I’m insensitive. How dare you!!”

  47. KM says:

    Members of this new silent majority, many of us front-wave baby boomers, value hard work and love the United States the way it was. We long for a bygone era when you didn’t need “safe spaces” on college campuses to shelter students from the atrocity of dissenting opinions, lest their sensibilities be offended. We have the reckless notion that college is the one place where sensibilities are supposed to be challenged and debated. Silly us.

    This strikes me as Old Man Yelling at Cloud heavily seasoned with retroactive amnesia. Boomers did not love hard work in college- hell the tagline for their generation was “Turn on, tune in, drop out” and they were highly criticized at the time by the media for being complete slackers. Adults and the establishment loudly despaired about them. Their sensibilities, when challenged, were to protest and riot… when they weren’t getting high and avoiding reality all together. They coined the term “rat race” and created their own safe spaces in things like communes, Haight Ashbury, Woodstock, Burning Man, etc where the MAN was not welcome. They made whole institutions that were safe spaces for them that still exist today!

    Now, not all Boomers were like this – most I would say – but that’s the prevailing stereotype of a young Boomer back then: the dirty hippie. It takes a heavy eraser to wipe all that out of your memory and say “We didn’t need safe spaces”.

  48. @KM: Indeed. Back in the day the press called them “The Me Generation” and griped incessantly about how self-absorbed they were.

  49. Mister Bluster says:

    …when they weren’t getting high and avoiding reality all together.

    I was born in 1948. Three weeks ago I drove all the way from Sleepytown to Denver to buy legal weed for the first time.
    “You mean you drove 1000 miles for $51 worth of pot?” my brother texted from California.
    Yeah, I did.

  50. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I read your link […] your chosen author […]

    What on earth are you babbling about? There was no “my link” or “my chosen author”; I replied to your own post, and the link you provided.

  51. bookdragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I agree with you completely on ‘participation awards’. Kids absolutely know who wins and who loses. The point should be to teach them to be gracious winners and good losers – which based on my own experience with my kids in various sports is a thing many parents seem to fail at spectacularly. In fact, to some extent I think the scoreless games and participation awards are adopted by many leagues to mollify the parents that get out of control.

    Otoh, such awards can be used well. My son’s karate club gives participation medals at tournaments to emphasize that competing and doing your best no matter where you place is worthy of recognition. But they also give out 1st and 2nd place trophies, so the winners receive that extra recognition for their achievements.

  52. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You’re confirming my point, though — your argument isn’t to vote for Hillary, but against Trump.

    Every four years, tens of millions of Americans are faced with this very same dilemma, having to vote for someone they’re not very enthused about.

    In my lifetime, Obama is the only presidential candidate that I actually wanted to be president. The rest I supported because the other guy was awful. This is totally normal, as you yourself acknowledge here:

    And my argument is not to vote for Trump, but against Hillary.

    And I understand wanting to vote against Hillary. Truly, I do. But there are worse things than Hillary in the White House.

    And Donald Trump in the White House is one of them.

  53. Mikey says:

    @bookdragon:

    Otoh, such awards can be used well. My son’s karate club gives participation medals at tournaments to emphasize that competing and doing your best no matter where you place is worthy of recognition. But they also give out 1st and 2nd place trophies, so the winners receive that extra recognition for their achievements.

    It’s the same with the marathon. Everyone who finishes gets a medal, because holy crap finishing a marathon is HARD. But there’s still special recognition (and, in some races, a sizable sum of money) for the winners.

  54. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Wake me up if someone EVER says a good reason to vote for Hillary. One that stands up to the slightest bit of scrutiny, that is.

    This actually isn’t a difficult challenge, as most people are voting “for” Hillary Clinton rather than “against” Trump. The “against” Trump voters are people who would vote for a Generic Republican but not Trump, and are now torn between rage-quitting this election, longing for SMOD 2016, casting a meaningless Johnson/Stein protest vote, or being an adult and voting Clinton.

    People who normally vote Democratic, and would have voted for Clinton over all of the GOP candidates can’t be described as voting “against” Trump. And given that Obama could easily win a 3rd term, there are quite a lot of them.

  55. gVOR08 says:

    @David M:

    given that Obama could easily win a 3rd term

    It was fun when the Canadian Parliament chanted, “four more years”.

  56. KM says:

    @Mikey:

    It’s the same with the marathon. Everyone who finishes gets a medal, because holy crap finishing a marathon is HARD. But there’s still special recognition (and, in some races, a sizable sum of money) for the winners.

    Yet other older adults don’t pick on them for their “participation trophy”. Weird how it’s only younger generations that get crap for an idea they didn’t even come up with; it would have been Boomers who instituted the practice if it was Millennials who were awarded them. Those kids certainly didn’t drive out and buy those trophies themselves.

    Jim Ruth is probably one of those people who actively participated in the cultural decline he’s whining about…. you know, when he’s not pretending he’s some self-taught free-thinking scion of a lost era. I’m with Steven, Bookdragon and you – these serve as a reward for trying hard the same way ice cream for the team used to be “back in the day”. Only cranky Get-Off-My-Lawners fail to see the connection to an old practice and feel it’s spoiling kids.

  57. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: I’ve been having a tussle over at TAC with Rod Dreher and his minions, for whom The Sexual Revolution is the Worst Thing EVAH. They’re accusing me of making things up when I point out what it used to be like for young women before the Sexual Revolution–the double standard, the “it’s ok to rape her because she’s a slut” mentality, the dividing of women into Good Girls and Whores.

    So I was making it up when I read all those etiquette books from the 1950s telling girls not to go “petting in the park” because “a girl’s reputation smudges more easily than a boy’s”? Riiiight.

    What drives me bonkers is that Rod and most of his minions are conservative white men. How in the heck would they know what it was like to be female back in the 1950s/1960s?

  58. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Ewwwwww…. how do you not need a shower afterwards? I get hives even clicking on any of his links.

    What drives me bonkers is that Rod and most of his minions are conservative white men. How in the heck would they know what it was like to be female back in the 1950s/1960s?

    Because they know ALL. The Great Drearyer, through the magic of optional Benedictiness, can instantly divine the thoughts, feelings and experiences of minorities in other times and places. Remarkably, they all look identical to what he’s currently going through so the idea that there were difficulties or oppressive structures in place for others is a dirty lie that’s told to damage the American soul. The Dreary One has spoken, y’all.

  59. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @KM: Truth!

    (from a member of the “ME Generation”)

  60. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: He’s getting confused about the identities of the people into whose faces he’s “rubbing their hypocrisy.” Just let it go, when one has chosen to have as many mortal enemies as the faceless cypher who goes by a false name has, some confusion is bound to occur.

  61. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: I also think that anyone who thinks it’s Ockham and the Nominalists who Caused Everything To Start Going Wrong is more than a few salad forks short of a picnic basket, as the saying goes….

    (Science. How does it work?)

  62. al-Alameda says:

    @JKB:

    The question arises in this election is whether the American people want 4 more years of the Obama Administration or do they prefer a President who is pro-America even if the person is a bit rough around the edges?

    It’s that Kenyan thing isn’t it?

  63. Blue Galangal says:

    @grumpy realist: Of course. It’s our fault because we nominated Hillary. It’s not their fault that they nominated Donald.

  64. dennis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Oh, Jenos . . .

  65. dennis says:

    @Loviatar:

    Just do what I do, Loviatar: skip right past it. I mean, there’s the rare occasion Jenos will say something sensible. I just don’t have the mental energy to wallow through the filth to get to it.

  66. dennis says:

    @DrDaveT:

    DrDave, please. You always have good things to contribute to the conversation, things that usually make me think and that send me off on a search for other topics. Don’t let Jenos derail that. Feeding the troll does not become you …