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Monday, July 10, 2017

Bugbears, Bugaboos, And Russians–Why We Always Need Enemies

If the Presidential campaign of 2016 was a circus side show – and it certainly was with its own Republican primary Seven Dwarfs, the cocksure, empty, vanity of the Hillary camp, the boisterous, bombast Donald Trump, vaudevillian, clown, showman, huckster, fixer, and high-roller; and the hysteria of the progressive Left (Trump the virulent homophobe, sexist, racist, and crypto-Fascist) – the main event is turning out to be no less fun.

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While Trump’s  populist millions are delighted that this outrageous, outsized, and unintimidated outlaw is now in the White House and that he as President is as unrepentant, unchanged, and as bullish as ever, the progressive Left is still licking its wounds, gob-smacked, gut-punched, hurt, and betrayed and cannot figure out what to do.

No matter what they do, their hysteria remains contained within blue states and the especially liberal enclaves of academia, Hollywood, the Eastern media, and Gen X, Y, and Z.  Their insistence that Donald Trump is Mephistopheles in disguise, a man of such arrogance and evil intent that he will bring down not only the United States but the Free World with him, has fallen on deaf ears.  Those who voted for him and who paid no attention to liberal mania before the election certainly are ignoring their attacks now.

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“Donald Trump is not acting presidential’, his critics say, begging the question, “because he does not act like a President”. Trump must be Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams or at least George Bush to lead the country.  Where is his gravitas, his sense of the office, his decorum?

Of course he has none of the above. He tweets, goes after the media, cuts close to the bone and ignores political correctness as one would expect from a man who has had no masters. He has made his own way, bought and sold skyscrapers, played high-stakes real estate, squired Hollywood stars, cruised on private yachts, and golfed and relaxed on tropical estates.   Who ever expected Donald Trump to compromise, read briefing papers, and sit in endless advisory meetings?

To the Left, he is a loose cannon – a dangerous weapon with no predictable trajectory or target.  The more he acts like he has always acted, the more his opponents conclude that he is mentally unstable, bipolar, disturbed, and psychotic.

And the more they complain in these terms, the more the President gets hold of the cannon and aims it at them, looses his quiver of poison barbs and arrows, and attacks in the middle of the night.
However Vladimir Putin meddled in the election, he gave the liberal Left the cause celebre they needed to continue their attack on the President.  It was perfect.  In one fell swoop they were given not one but two villains, one more untrustworthy and duplicitous than the other – Donald Trump and the Russian President, and one vindicated ex-champion, Hillary Clinton.

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The Russian’s interference, the progressive argument goes, helped put a maniac in the White House, sow disarray in the American electoral system, defeat a woman destined and entitled to become President, and give even more power to a demented neo-Imperialist autocrat.

Rather than play the part of the loyal opposition, and marshal their forces to resist the conservative policies advocated and promoted by Republicans; progressives have chosen arch-enemies instead.  Nothing less than bringing down the President will do.

To be fair, Republicans wanted nothing less for Barack Obama.  They became ‘The Party of No’, and remiss in their representative duties refused responsible voting in favor of destructive obstruction.  Conservatives in Congress and throughout the country hated Obama with a visceral passion.  He, like Trump is now, was thought to be the anti-Christ, the emissary of Satan out to establish a socialist, godless government; an illegitimate lackey of the powers that be, a black interloper elected on a wave of righteous guilt with no experience and no courage.

The need for bugbears, bugaboos, and villains is a old as the hills.  Evil is in the world not because God created it, but because of the wiles of the Devil, said Jesus Christ, the Gospels, and St. Paul.  The battle to be engaged by Christians was not against a judgmental and harsh God, nor against their own imperfect nature, but against the Devil.

It is far easier to give people a Devil than have them sort out good and bad, their weaknesses, and their immorality. 

Dostoevsky had it right when in the Grand Inquisitor chapters of The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan take the returned Christ to task over his negotiation with the Devil in the desert.  You sold humanity a bill of goods, the tells him, when you said that ‘Man cannot live by bread alone’ and placed a horrible burden of free will, choice and responsibility, on his shoulders.  All men want, said The Grand Inquisitor, is ‘miracle, mystery, and authority’; yet you made them and their children suffer in penury hoping for divine recognition and salvation.

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The Temptation in the desert gave the Devil form, substance, and meaning.  He not only wanted to destroy Christ but insidiously destroy all that God had created.

Dostoevsky was right about miracle, mystery, and authority; and Christ knew human nature when he fingered the Devil as Christianity’s arch-enemy. It is not surprising, then, that adults routinely evade responsibility. 

A disciplinarian boss who dresses down an employee becomes a harridan, out of her depth who resorts to martial abuse to cover over her own insecurity.  A talented colleague who receives a quick promotion must have friends in high places or is rewarded thanks to complaisance and toadying.  A girl who falls for an attractive friend only sees skin deep and misses his callowness.

No one wants to admit failure, irresponsibility, ignorance, or stupidity; and if there are plausible ways to avoid responsibility, why not take them?

Unfortunately, American society seems to be moving towards a collective evasion of responsibility.  A diagnosis of ADHD gets lax parents off the hook.  The antics of their disruptive children have nothing to do with them but a congenital disorder easily treated with drugs. 

A diagnosis of a ‘learning disability’ gives parents an out and a legitimate social cover for their children’s poor academic performance, and exonerates teachers who fail to make them learn.  Worse, such facile categorization of less-talented children allows both teachers and parents to stop driving them  to the highest point of their excellence on the bell curve.

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Entire groups are relieved from individual responsibility by the culture of identity politics. Minority groups are expected to fail because of persistent racism and white privilege; are entitled to government support; and should feel no shame in relying on those who have persecuted them.  Allegations that communities are dysfunctional because of their own neglect are immediately branded as racist.  The refusal by these communities to accept blame and responsibility and the insistence on liberal observers to persistently look elsewhere for the causes of antisocial behavior is the perfect storm of moral neglect.

Why, then, is anyone surprised that the Russians have been blamed for everything that went wrong with Hillary Clinton’s campaign?  Putin in a recent interview on American television (a Megyn Kelly moderated event) said that Mrs. Clinton had made so many blunders, missteps, and miscalculations that she was bound to lose; and that Trump had successfully developed a winning strategy based on a core group of defiant voters.  Clinton self-destructed and Trump needed no help.

“Hackers”, Putin smirked.  They are everywhere and capable of anything.  Why automatically place the blame on Russia? Backdoor deals? Realpolitik diplomacy is not Disneyland.

In this and other public statements Putin has laughed at the naïveté of America and its arrogant sanctimony and hypocrisy.

America has never accepted responsibility for its dirty tricks in Latin America, failed, ignorant imperialist war in Vietnam, Bush family vendetta in Iraq, and an undisciplined, chaotic society so concerned with diversity and inclusivity that it has lost its center, its focus, and its backbone.

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Putin is not the only one who wonders about America’s incoherent foreign policy and hysterical support of social factionalism at the expense of national unity and integrity.  Putin’s autocratic rule may be criticized by the US but his popularity is well over eighty percent, and his  sense of direction and purpose are unequivocal and crystal clear.  Terrorism is a danger to national integrity and a threat to his goal of creating a neo-Imperialist state and he has no hesitation in identifying it, attacking it, and destroying it.

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American navel-gazing, pusillanimity, and distorted democracy will be the country’s own downfall.
Eventually the Russian nonsense will be over and the press will lose interest, the Left will realize that once again little sticks to Trump, and that the country can get on to more important things.

In the meantime, however, the Trump-Putin Show will continue to fascinate, entertain, and amuse. 

We will be sorry that it is has to end.

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