The Three Horsemen of the Crapocolypse

by Brad Nelson5/9/16

The disarray in the Republican Party has been coming for a long time. Not only has the party distanced itself from its own ideology (preferring to follow the trends of the culture rather than setting its own trends), the very ideology of Republicanism has been lost and forgotten except for surface-level rhetoric.

I don’t blame Donald Trump for any of this. He is, in fact, simply mining an electorate and a party that is confused, somewhat corrupted, and languishing in the coming obscurity of irrelevance. There can be no Republican Party or conservatism when Big Government is the driving force. Without the concepts of personal responsibility and limited government solidly in the culture, you can’t have an society with an anti-collectivist immune system.

We’ve incremented ourselves to this place. It didn’t happen all at once. But we are here now, sometimes called “the tipping point.” We have tipped. Republicanism and conservatism are all but losing concepts in the culture today. This is certainly one reason that shallow lip-service is done to the rhetoric of conservatism even while the GOP, and it’s voters, continue to get comfortable with Big Government. It’s Kabuki theatre, of sorts, where we pretend at it. It’s happy smiles and whistling through the graveyard.

But StubbornThings exists to rise above politics in the sense, at the very least, to explain the politics rather than being mired inside them. And we exist not only in Lambaugh’s Realville but in Realville RFD. Arguing “R’s” and “D’s” or even Donald and Hildebeast can miss the larger points…if you care to live at a level higher than blind cultural indoctrination. I do.

Here, I believe, are the larger points:

1) Relativism is bashing the heck out of the idea that there are objective standards — or that it is even worth applying the mind in a serious way. If it was once true that “I think, therefore I am,” it has been replaced by “I emote, therefore I am.”

One of the most attractive things about Trump was his faux political incorrectness. It is faux because being obnoxious or insulting is not the same thing as going against prevailing beliefs. But the universe of the individual is now defined by his or her constant need to flow with the beliefs of the herd. One might as well say, “It’s the pop culture, stupid.” And so it has made many of us.

Along with the veneer of the shallowness of popular culture, nearly everything now is politicized. And this brand of “politics” generally brooks no dissent. This is not “classical liberalism” in any way, shape, or form. And we have become somewhat used to going with the flow, of constantly worrying about saying the wrong thing, if only because we have been stewing in this gathering authoritarianism for some time. “Facts are stubborn things” only to those for whom facts matter. What matters now is going along to get along. Where once some aspect of this was considered civilized behavior and good manners, now it is reflexive cultural cowardice in the face of ever-present intimidation.

No wonder so many people were drawn to what they perceived as a politically incorrect strong leader such as Trump. They understand on some level that they are powerless to do anything about it themselves (or would not). So we need a “strong man” who will champion our cause. We see the prison we are in, don’t like it, but don’t know how to get our.

But we see in the bullying tactics of Trump, he’s no answer to relativism, of an alternative to a culture anchored in little more than a coarse and stupid mass public opinion. He’s just a different brand. He is devoid of ideas that can stand on their own and instead is nothing but a demagogue surfing the groundwork already laid by the Left…and somehow getting away with using one of the Left’s best techniques — changing word meanings in order to persuade and deceive. (Trump is a “conservative.”)

The conversation about Trump itself reflects this relativism. It very quickly gelled into “bad and worse” instead of where it needed to be if Republicanism and conservatism are to mean anything: wright and wrong, outside or inside. Kudos to the few conservative writers out there (Levin, Andy McCarthy, even Kevin Williamson) who at least know enough to draw a line in the sand, a line not relative but absolute in terms of conservative-Republican as opposed to not-conservative/Republican

2) Nice fascism. Again, this has been incrementing itself for some time. Dennis Prager calls the phenomenon “Nice but not good.” This is a culture that is infinitely obsessed with certain subjects (the rights of homosexuals and the gender confused, the rights of Muslims including the terrorists, the rights of criminals, the rights of minorities to be victims and act out in any way they want, etc.) Prager refers to the Left as hating the small evils (cigarette smoking) while the right hates the big evils (abortion, Islamic terrorism, Iran, North Korea).

This “niceness” has infected the right as well. That seems like a strange thing to say given that the GOP voters just nominated a distinctly un-nice Trump as their candidate for president. But despite his braggadocio, Trump is “nice” to all the same usual suspects: the gender confused, “women’s issues” including abortion, and especially to Progressive politicians and causes given his donation history.

This tyranny of “nice” isn’t bad in the sense of being polite, fair, or sensitive to the needs of other people. The bad part of “nice” is its ability to keep people on the level of narcissism whereby they could give a flying fig if their “niceness” is wreaking havoc on a collective level. All that matters is to seem “nice” in the particulate. This is, in essence, the repudiation of the necessity of playing the adult. We must instead always be loved.

3) Words mean things. No they don’t not anymore. It is extremely difficult outside of StubbornThings to have an intelligent and meaningful conversation regarding anything but perhaps technical issues or that day’s baseball standings. The rule of emotions over objective standards, the changing of word definitions, and the demand to assert the supposed truth of one’s personal moral universe (which is all people have these days) destroys the possibility of discussing much beyond cliches of thought. Without objective reference points, people can only ever talk past each other. And it doesn’t help that the culture (including the education establishment) tends to create an uniformed and vulgar folk. The only way a dumbed-down population has of looking smart is to just repeat what they don’t know louder. We will find it very difficult to solve our problems if we don’t have the words to define it. And words, and meaning itself, has taken such a battering of late.

We are in a state right now. And I don’t have an answer other than trying to wall oneself off from it. And I’m afraid Trump’s shallow promise to build a wall is not of much help in that regard. But I always start by doing the best truth-telling I can and then see what we have left. So what’s left?

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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6 Responses to The Three Horsemen of the Crapocolypse

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Trying to look smart by repeating words you don’t understand — that sounds like a great deal of commentary by liberals on scientific topics. How many of those liberals who love to mock conservatives as stupid and anti-science actually know anything about either the theory of evolution or the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming? All they need to know is to be dogmatic about them despite their ignorance.

    Incidentally, there are still some people fighting back. North Carolina today answered Loretta Lynch’s threats by filing a lawsuit against the Feds for their overreach — making new law bureaucratically by reinterpreting civil rights law to cover “transgenders”. As a first cousin five times removed of Abe Lincoln I really shouldn’t appreciate the state motto of Virginia, but the Obama Gang has changed that in a way that even Carter and Clinton didn’t.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      How many of those liberals who love to mock conservatives as stupid and anti-science actually know anything about either the theory of evolution or the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?

      I have a sort of running conversation over at another place regarding evolution. The scientist there claims he’d never heard of the term “Neo-Darwinism” and thought I was just making it up as a slander. Tis true as you say.

      Yes, I heard today about a couple brave people filing lawsuits trying to beat back the gender-confused barbarians. Well done in North Carolina.

      It’s a very interesting and bizarre trait of the late to obsess on tearing down traditional and rational sexual morality. As an intellectual and a debater, I could no doubt argue either side of this debate. And that’s one reason StubbornThings aims higher than the mere trickery of intellectualism.

      Any reasonably informed and sane person would understand the long view: Europe is dying because of its embrace of Leftism. They’re not only not reproducing but they are facilitating the takeover of their culture by foreign invaders (Muslims). One could say the ultimate judge of something basic like a culture’s sexual mores is whether or not they lead to the extinction of their culture. And the sexual mores of the Left do.

      There’s more to it than just sexual mores, of course. But central to the Left is their deep hatred of normal sexual mores. Why they hate them is probably more the province of a psychologist, but they do. Part of it, of course, is that every Utopia that I am aware of has “free love” as a prime feature. And this is completely consistent with (even required for) an atheistic culture which has nothing to live for but self-pleasuring in one form or another. And so man sets his sights low and he rarely fails in meeting those expectations.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        One thing I’d love to see someone do, when challenged by some liberal about evolution, is to ask which particular theory they refer to. Darwin’s gradualism? Huxley’s saltation? Gould’s punctuated equilibrium? Morgan’s aquatic ape theory? Wallace’s version of intelligent design? Margulis’s symbiosis? All are evolutionary theories by professional biologists.

        I was commenting today that the war on North Carolina is really a war on normalcy, and wondered where Warren G. Harding was now that we need him.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          That’s a good point. Stephen Meyer, among others, has made the point that there are various floating definitions of evolution. It can mean simply “change over time” — a type of evolution that is undeniable if you consider simple algae that existed billions of years ago and human beings who exist now. There’s also, as you said, different scientific (or they purport to be) theories of evolution, including Neo-Darwinism, punctuated equilibrium (an offshoot of Neo-Darwinism, I would think), saltation, symbiosis, intelligent design, and more.

          I’ve pretty much given up on that one conversation. As much as you think it might be fun for me insulting atheists, I’m not really that mean of a guy. The subject of life and its origins is fascinating. And we just don’t know how the first cell started or how other forms of life came about from there.

          We see there is obvious micro-evolution. But left unsaid (even by those in intelligent design…a discipline I find very soft and as prone to mere rhetoric as Neo-Darwinism) is that it seems apparent that life is designed (or evolved, if you will) to do exactly that. That is, life seems specifically constructed to be adaptive. Not infinitely adaptive as Neo-Darwinists think, for it’s unlikely you’ll ever breed a dog into a cat. There seem to be definite “types” or kinds with hard boundaries.

          Scientists have tried mutating various animal form in their early development. This has only ever created unviable monsters or just dead monsters. Try as we might, we cannot get anything to actually evolve in any meaningful way (“meaningful” equally the addition of new biological information in terms of actual new features, not just choosing amongst existing features or breaking existing features to form short-term advantages such as occurs with immunity to malaria…the hemoglobin cell is partially damaged which interrupts the life cycle of the malaria bacteria but still allows oxygen to be transported in the body…unless, of course, you inherent both genes which then is lethal in the form of sickle cell anemia).

          For all appearances, it would seem that life is the most complicated system of hardware/software that we have ever seen. It is factual to say that the cells are a collection of micro-machine which use and manipulate a vast software library. This system is so complex that it is pre-programmed in to be adaptable. I think (and cannot say that I know for sure) that unless the adaptability was programmed in, you wouldn’t even have micro-evolution. Basically Darwinism is an understandable, but incorrect, reading of the ability of life to adapt. Instead of understand this aspect in context with larger aspects of biology (the sheer and stunning complexity of the cell, for example, which as integrated and interdependent systems that can only be mapped with complex flow charts as they use in designing software), Neo-Darwinists have mistakenly extrapolated to say that this explains the very origins of life. And I simply see absolutely no evidence that t he Neo-Darwinian point-mutation theory is capable of generating these complex systems. Period. Maybe another material theory can. But not this one.

          Macro evolution — how the various body plans, forms, and various biological systems came to be, still remains a complete mystery no matter what theory you are talking about. But because Neo-Darwinism is barely a working theory (David Berlinski calls is just a set of anecdotes) and functions as much as a secular religion, the weaknesses of Neo-Darwinism are denied with the fervor of a true religious zealot.

          So it’s difficult to talk about life with most scientists. It’s because it is almost impossible for them to distinguish between the metaphysical presuppositions and just the straight facts of the case. I find the facts of the case to be fascinating and wasting time dealing with people’s fundamentalist religious impulses to be tiresome. Of course, they think *I’m* the one who’s the idiot, so they have many ways of staying inside their bubble.

          • pst4usa says:

            “I’m not really that mean of a guy. ” So you are saying you are a nice, (fascist), guy?
            Good post Brad, to answer your last question, The fight, is all that is left. We can curl up in a ball and just give up or we fight on, I do not know any other way. Lots of good quotes come to mind, like John Quincy Adams’, Duty is ours, Results belong to God. Or from The Crisis,
            THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
            You have heard me say many a time that we will do nothing until the pain level gets high enough, are we there yet? Well I guess not.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              It still sort of pains me that Paine could right such great words and then later run off with the totalitarian socialists in Revolutionary France…and nearly paid for it with his life.

              Still, when you’re right, you’re right, and he was right. And Thomas Paine, as we see with so many prominent conservative Trump supporters (Jonah Goldberg calls them “False Prophets”), was not alone in letting politics go to his head.

              Dennis Prager and Jonah Goldberg give opposite views of the Trump problem. I think Prager misses the point that others have made: Trump could be worse than Clinton. I certainly won’t be voting for Clinton. But I am not so caught up in the R-vs-D factional thing that I can make myself believe Trump is other than who he is. Ben Shapiro sounds like me in this regard. Basically you can expect him to do stupid things and cave to the Left while all the Trumpbots swear that “their man” has done outstandingly well. I won’t sign onto this idiocy with my vote.

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