Sunday, June 05, 2016

Venning for Trump

A number of essays in my newsfeed have a similar theme of Trump-support as reaction to leftist overreach: Rod Dreher, Will Truman, and David Marcus.

All these writers take it as given: Trump = alt-Right = Racist = Nazi; or, alternatively, that these categories can be Venn-diagrammed. As I read them, I was thinking of an analogy to something Steve Sailer wrote a decade ago, about the importance of the death penalty in preventing witness murdering:

This is the flip side of the logic that persuaded the Victorians to stop hanging pickpockets -- if both the Artful Dodger and Bill Sikes are liable to be hanged, how do you discourage pickpockets like the Dodger from turning into robber-murderers like Sikes? The criminal law needs gradations of punishment to provide proper incentives.

I remember when I was in college back in the '80s how some Klan/neo-Nazi group (no, these are not the same thing, but I forget which one it was) managed to muster a half-dozen members for some kind of parade in our city. It was met with a counter-demonstration of a thousand people whose object was to shut it down, and eventually the police obliged: the heckler's veto. I thought then that this was a bad precedent, and so it is: 2016 has been the "Year of the Shutdown".

It would be good to see more erstwhile "opinion leaders" publicly acknowledging that their successful suppression of respectable opposition to immigration (Scott Walker's brief foray, e.g.) ceded the field to a somewhat-less-respectable opponent with the (pardon the expression) FU money to not have to care about their opinion. The writers linked above, however, are not among them; as far as I can tell, they have always been moderately skeptical of high levels of immigration, and "I told you so" is not the same as "I was wrong". But they fail to recognize that they themselves are doubling-down on that very mistake. They are all keen to raise the specter of "racists", yet their equating/guilt-by-associating/Venn-diagraming, while perhaps hurting Trump's electoral chances, also increase the probability that even less respectable populist avatars will have their turns at bat.

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