NRO guys on our POTUS

1

There is a riddle before us. Back in that simpler time, i.e., the GOP primaries, many people assured me that conservatives could trust Donald Trump because Senator Jeff Sessions trusted him. With varying degrees of rage, snark, and dudgeon (which I think is the official law firm of Hogwarts), these people would say to me: “Do you think Jeff Sessions isn’t a real conservative?”

On at least one occasion, I recall a finger being poked in my chest to fortify the point in ways reason could not.

My response isn’t really relevant (but it was something along the lines of “Sure, but even conservatives make mistakes”). What I find fascinating, however, is how the transitive property now runs the other way. A year ago, I was supposed to trust Trump because Sessions trusted Trump. Now, I’m supposed to distrust Sessions because Trump distrusts Sessions. Okay, then.

While it’s certainly true that there are people sufficiently enthralled with Trump to open themselves up to the charge of being cultists, I don’t think the blind worship of “Cult 45” explains as much as it once did. I mean, sure, if you’re still convinced that everything Trump has done has been brilliant and farsighted, if you can read the president’s New York Times interview and push back from the table with the deep satisfaction that once again the master has out-thought his foes, if you still think his “I alone can fix it!” vow was anything other than the kind of bluster that traditionally leaves you with cider in your ear, then you might as well lead your herd of 50 bulls down to Trump Tower and sacrifice them to your Latter Day Baal.

(Jonah Goldberg)

2

Trump isn’t the engine, he’s the hood ornament for a certain movement that now feels liberated from traditional rules of decent behavior. Trump allows us to indulge our id and feel righteous while doing it. We grew up believing that decent behavior made you a decent person — but then we realized that breaking the rules not only makes victory easier, it’s more fun than having to struggle with the moral qualms of using moral means to achieve moral ends. So we’ve constructed a backwards logic to absolve ourselves of moral responsibility.

The first premise: The other side, which wants bad things, cheats and lies and acts in egregious ways.

The second premise: It requires cheating to defeat them.

The third premise: If they are not defeated, the country will be destroyed.

Conclusion: It is morally required to cheat and lie and act in egregious ways.

(Ben Shapiro)

3

Americans and Republicans, remember: You asked for this. Given the choice between a dozen solid conservatives and one Clinton-supporting con artist and game-show host, you chose the con artist. You chose him freely. Nobody made you do it.

(Kevin Williamson)

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Fiat justitia ruat caelum 

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

How to humiliate the GOP

Daniel Henninger sticks it in and twists it:

Like pop-up dolls, across the length of Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans voted to “repeal” the law that bears his name—ObamaCare. He laughed at them then, and he’s laughing now. No repeal and no replace. They can’t even do repeal and punt.

… Schadenfreude can’t get much better than watching the Republican Party self-humiliate with an abject inability to win while controlling the House, Senate and White House.

How better to humiliate today’s GOP, fully holding Congress and the Presidency,  than “Barack Obama is still laughing at you”?

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Fiat justitia ruat caelum

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Jeff Sessions

Asset forfeiture is a constitutionally questionable practice whereby property — often cash — is taken from citizens by police agencies who suspect, or at least say they suspect, that the property may have been come by illegally, often through the drug trade. Cash seized through asset forfeiture can be used by police departments, as can cash generated through the sales of seized property such as vehicles. The fact that police personnel can materially benefit from forfeiture proceedings creates a conflict of interest that would render forfeiture problematic even if it were used with discretion in accordance with the highest degree of procedural protections for the rights of the accused.

It isn’t.

(The Editors of National Review, Jeff Sessions Should Drop His Expansion of Civil Asset Forfeiture.

Oh dear! Oh dear! What shall I do?! He’s injecting steroids into asset forfeiture, but at the same time, The Mad Twitter King is trying to throw him under the bus!

I don’t see how Jeff Sessions has any choice now but to resign. He has lost the confidence of the president. And I think Sessions will one day very soon be grateful that he got out of this Dumpster fire of an administration before it all went to hell.

… Trump is also crazy. Who does that to their Attorney General — and for such a petty reason? Trump has no judgment, only appetite. There is no stability in this administration. No reason to trust anything the president says, even if you think he’s on your side.

… When it suits Trump’s perceived interests to betray social and religious conservatives, I believe he will. I don’t know if the day will ever come in which I concede that even Hillary would have been better than this guy, but I think we are moving closer to it.

(Rod Dreher, Donald Trump, Treacherous Loon)

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“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Channeling Sergei Lavrov

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

Robert Burns. Or was that Joseph Mussomeli, channeling Sergei Lavrov?

Americans are perhaps unique in the world in their view of the world—they are truly a conflicted people: they know less about history and the rest of the world than any other developed country, yet they deem themselves experts on all things. More intriguingly, they feel a messianic impulse to save the world, while at the same harboring deep resentment when the world intrudes on them. They are, paradoxically, irredeemably isolationist and compulsively interventionist.

But what is most important to understand about America is that it is not evil. The American people and their leaders are good-hearted and always mean well. Such silly leftwing notions of America the Evil need to be cast aside, onto the trash heap of history so to speak, with so many other myths. They want only to do good—and that is what makes America so dangerous. They do not have a lust for power, nor truly a craving for wealth. But they do lust for glory and they do crave admiration. A white knight on a noble steed, erratically trampling the rest of the world into submission with benign intent.

What is most infuriating about America’s self-image, however, is the ease with which it deflects its own foibles and inclinations onto the rest of the world …

On first reading, this masterful — well, what is it? Satire? — essay tickled every point of my confirmation bias, but I now see that Mussomeli gives less weight to acquisitiveness than I do and may view some other things differently. I’m inclined to defer, considering his credentials, in close cases.

I don’t know just how much credit “The Almighty” will give us for good-heartedness married to invincible self-deception.

Of course, Mussomeli must be wrong. All the best people say Russia is evil:

When the National Review, the New Republic, the Nation, and the Washington Post are all bleating like good sheep the same uninformed half-truths about Russia, you know that building better relations is now impossible.

If you don’t follow any other of my links today, follow this one, and read carefully.

A rapidly expanding and aggressive China and a determinedly nihilistic and ruthless Islamic fundamentalism are America’s true threats, but if they cannot see that themselves, we will never succeed in showing it to them. They should be eager to form closer ties with Russia, both to counter China in the East and to safeguard NATO in the west. Are we not part of that same broad Western civilization that they all ought to want to preserve?

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“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.