This is, though certainly not by premeditated design, a supplement to yesterday’s blog.
“The alt-right is a combination of ideology and tactics,” [David] French said Friday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. “Ideologically, the alt-right is white nationalist. It is post-constitutionalist. And it is often quite pagan … Nobody knows how big it is … if it numbers in the thousands or the tens of thousands … It’s not a huge number of people.”
But tactically, he continued, “they punch way above their weight. So how are they doing it? Well, in 2015 and 2016 … they did it as a wave of targeted harassment directed primarily against Trump critics.” …
As he sees it, the alt-right’s core tactic is inflicting pain for political ends, “often in the way that is the most personal.” Is the Republican Party influenced by the alt-right? “Yes,” French said. “Cruelty as a tactic is now a part of the playbook on the right.”
For anyone who doubts that Trump, the Republican Party’s leader, has a cruel streak, read up on his past. If you doubt that Trumpism has that same streak, read Adam Serwer’s “The Cruelty Is the Point” …
Conor Friedersdorf, The Alt-Right’s Tactical Cruelty. I did read up on it, and even read Adam Serwer (who’s not my cup of tea in most regards).
People disagree about the ideal traits to have in a leader. But almost no one wants a president who has proven himself an addict to being cruel, mean-spirited, and spiteful. For decades, Trump has been deliberately cruel to others, often in the most public ways. He behaves this way flagrantly, showing no sign of shame or reflection.
What kind of person still acts that way at 70? A bad person.
It is that simple.
Conor Friedersdorf, The Senseless Cruelty of Donald J. Trump. This concludes a long and convincing set of examples.
At a rally in Mississippi, a crowd of Trump supporters cheered as the president mocked Christine Blasey Ford, the psychology professor who has said that Brett Kavanaugh, whom Trump has nominated to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, attempted to rape her when she was a teenager. “Lock her up!” they shouted.
Even those who believe that [Christine Blasey] Ford fabricated her account, or was mistaken in its details, can see that the president’s mocking of her testimony renders all sexual-assault survivors collateral damage. Anyone afraid of coming forward, afraid that she would not be believed, can now look to the president to see her fears realized. Once malice is embraced as a virtue, it is impossible to contain.
Adam Serwer, The Cruelty Is the Point. True to form, Adam Serwer frequently disappointed, but his introductory material about grinning lynch mobs was powerful and on point, and this block quote is true and revealing.
If you wonder about my agenda in writing these things, I’ll try to summarize as truthfully as I can:
- They are deathworks and I’m loathe to call out only deathworks from the left. Ephesians 5:11, if that helps.
- I’m anticipating another horrid Presidential electoral choice next year, and I “think out loud” about such things. Policy aside, the cultural legacy Trump is leaving is deeply, deeply evil.
- I’m calling to repentance professing fellow-Christians who not merely considered Trump the lesser evil in 2016, but have become his enthusiasts. That is incomprehensible to me and legitimately scandalous to the sentient non-Christian world.
That’s what comes to mind.
Though I may belabor some topics, I haven’t repeated this often enough: The 2016 Presidential election foreshadows major partisan re-alignments I’m still having trouble projecting. My alienation from the Republican Party grows ever deeper, but the Democrats, for new reasons as well as the same old same-old, are not attracting me at all.
* * * * *
You can read most of my more impromptu stuff at here. It should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly, should you want to make a habit of it.
I highly recommend blot.im as a crazy-easy alternative to Twitter (if you’re just looking to get your stuff “out there” and not pick fights).