"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Myth, Fiction, Virtuality, And Legend - Reality Is Not All It Is Cracked Up To Be

Vladimir Nabokov was a self-described memorist, and from a very early age began recording memory.  He precociously understood that the past is far more defining of human existence than the momentary present or the possible future. We are what we were, said Nabokov, and those whose memories are full, vivid, and as complete as possible are themselves more complete.

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However, most people are far from accomplished memorists.  In fact recent scientific research has shown that most memory is imagined, influenced by the accounts of others, events subsequent to the initial memory, and simple erosion.

Erika Hayasaki writing in The Atlantic (11.18.13) summarizes the conclusions:
Writers of memoir, history, and journalism yearn for specific details when combing through memories to tell true stories. But such work has always come with the caveat that human memory is fallible. Now, scientists have an idea of just how unreliable it actually can be. New research released this week has found that even people with phenomenal memory are susceptible to having “false memories,” suggesting that “memory distortions are basic and widespread in humans, and it may be unlikely that anyone is immune,” according to the authors of the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Jill Neimark, writing in Psychology Today (6.9.16) echoes Nabokov in suggesting that ‘memory is the bedrock of the self’, but goes on to agree with Hayasaki that memory is very fallible:
Memory, it turns out, is both far more complex and more primitive than we knew. Ancient parts of the brain can record memory before it even reaches our senses--our sight and hearing, for instance. At the same time, "there are between 200 and 400 billion neurons in the brain and each neuron has about 10,000 connections," notes psychiatrist Daniel Siegel, M.D. "The parallel processing involved in memory is so complex we can't even begin to think how it works."
The one thing that we can say for certain is this: If memory is the bedrock of the self, then even though that self may seem coherent and unchanging, it is built on shifting sands.
So Nabokov’s prized past may be nothing more than a fictionalized composite of imperfectly-recalled experience, the recollection of others, and the additive ‘corrections’ of books, films, and drama.  We are not what we were, but what we think we were.

Our immediate perceptions of the outside world are, according to the latest psychological inquiries, just as fallible.  Eye-witnesses rarely agree on what they see, even though the event seems straightforward and incontrovertible.  Trials are not about getting at the truth but arriving at a semblance of it.

Browning’s The Ring and the Book; Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet; and Kurosawa’s Rashomon all tell about events seen through the eyes of different observers – all of whom conclude quite differently about what they saw.

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Since character and personality are unique, formed by a combination of genes, upbringing, and early experience, everyone views the world differently; and therefore there can be no consensus on ‘reality’.  To co-exist we have developed conventions – streets, sidewalks, trees, and elephants are all what they seem; but each of us transforms them into our own personal vision.

None of this is new.  Philosophers from Aristotle and Plato to Hume, Kant, and Paul Weiss have considered the nature of reality, whether such a thing exists, and how meaning can be derived from what may be fictitious. 

There must be at least one unequivocal truth, we say.  Without some firm foundation, some absolute, commonly-derived and agreed-upon facts, we would all be adrift.  History is nothing but a reassembly of events according to contemporary perceptions.  Archduke Ferdinand may indeed have been assassinated, but the real causes of the First World War are far less clear and depend on the age in which a particular history is written.

Despite the insistence on facts, policies, and positions, political campaigns are all won or lost on the basis of image and perception.  Although this seems to be more true now than ever before, even a cursory look at past campaigns is enough to see that nothing has been changed, only magnified by media.  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are currently (7.16) spinning their own particular emotional appeals to voters.  Both rely more on creating a vision rather than issue-based policies.  They know that the voting public will vote for them, not their policies.  They know that they must project, invent, or re-invent themselves not on the basis of fact, but feeling.

Myth helps to provide the context for image.  Conservative politicians often run on the basis of America’s legendary past.  Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ evokes an age of frontier justice, independence, enterprise, and heroism – a simpler age when America was uncomplicated and when a great cultural consensus occurred.   There is some truth to the legend, although his critics disagree.  America is based not on unsullied heroism but on greed, venality, territorialism, and racial indifference, they say; and Donald Trump’s America never existed.

Democrats base their appeal on a different myth – that of New Deal and Great Society compassion, equality, and cooperative justice.  Liberalism, they say, has been an essential brake on laissez-faire capitalism, tempering American individualism and enterprise with social values of cooperation, tolerance, and good will.

Conservatives will be quick to say that the human nature evident in human history will never be subject to artificially-constructed government programs to modify it.  Justice, equality, and tolerance come only from economic and social parity, and free enterprise and aggressive capitalism is the only way to assure it.

Every culture has its sustaining myths.  The French still consider themselves la fille aînée de l'Église, the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church, defender of Christianity, valiant conquerors of the Muslims at Roncesvalles, heroic Crusaders liberating Jerusalem.  Conservative politicians are always quick to recall this storied history and stress its relevance to today even though the situation in France and in Europe bears little resemblance to the past.  Yes, there is a threat from radical Islam, but a revisionist revival of the heroic myth of Charlemagne has no relevance whatsoever.

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At the same time, given our predisposition to myth, legend, and fiction, why not persist in creating alternate truths?  We are headed in the direction of an all-virtual, post-human era in any case.  Within a few generations a mind-machine, brain-computer interface will be complete, and virtuality will replace reality.  We will no longer be constrained by our senses, obliged to see only those colors determined by rods and cones, smell only those scents which our highly individualized olfactory nerves dictate.  Our human interactions will be limitless when social networks become fully integrated into a virtually mediated world.  We will travel with whomever, wherever, whenever.  Fact, reality, actuality will cease to have meaning.

The abandonment of our insistence on fact, truth, and the way things are is the first preparatory step to this new electronic virtual world.  The faster we loosen the tethers which tie us to reality; and the quicker we reject the archaic perceptual framework which limits vision, spiritual growth, and full self-actualization , the sooner we will be truly free.

Reality is not all it’s cracked up to be, and the sooner we jettison our hardened preconceptions about it, the better.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Misogyny And Misandry–Don’t They Have A Legitimate Place In Society?

Stereotypes exist, and by and large they are not hysterical inventions but have at least a grain of truth in them.  Women, because of their centuries-long domination under male patriarchy, can indeed be uppity and demanding on their way to the glass ceiling.  Men, because of their hardwired genetic configuration and years of public adulation and private obeisance, can certainly dismissive of female concerns for truthfulness, family integrity, and feelings.

The bitchy Devil Wears Prada female executive and the duck-hunting, male-bonding philanderer are stereotypical images which may be exaggerated versions of reality, but nonetheless both women and men alike retain hardened perceptions of the opposite sex.


This is not surprising. The war between men and women began in the Pleistocene and continues today. Although women – and feminized men – may claim citizenship in a post-sexualized world, nothing could be further from the truth.  Men are always suspicious of their wives and partners because the political balance has been tipped in women’s favor, giving them a moral authority and a political power which they – women – have up until recently never have enjoyed.  Women will never be convinced that the New Age Sensitive Guy is really serious about his commitment to women, women’s rights, or feminism. 

Most women understand that human nature and X and Y chromosomes being what they are, men will never change.  They will always be skirt-chasers, womanizers, and generous with the truth.   They will construct a system of deception, prevarication, and outright deceit to preserve and protect their right to prowl.

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Most men understand that women, regardless of  feminist rhetoric are still Daddy’s girls.  Too few generations have passed to expunge all patriarchy and male dominance; and the most savvy, if not most manipulative men take advantage of women who will always defer to them.

Women understand that men will always be restive and dissatisfied with the best of marital relationships.  In the movie Moonstruck, the matriarch of the Italian American clan asks her would-be paramour why men chase women.  He has no answer except that he can’t help it. Men, like wolves or tomcats are born to roam.  She says it is  because men fear death more than women; and that sex with younger women is the elixir of youth and longevity.

Whatever it is, women know that no matter how devoted and committed their husbands might be, they will fall off the rails at a moment’s notice.

Men understand that today as well as in any previous generation, women are hardwired to protect and defend the family unit they have chosen.  They will do all they can to prevent their mates from straying and will resort to the most extreme measures to return them to the fold.

In Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Maggie will do anything to ensure that her husband, Brick, will inherit the family fortune.  “I was born poor”, she says, “and raised poor; but I, as certain as the sun rises in the morning I will never die poor.” She is willful, determined, and absolutely destined to keeping Brick as a husband and to having children with him despite his indifference and alcoholic melancholy.

Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra cares little for Antony, considers herself superior to him, but plays and manipulates him in order to secure her place and especially that of her children in the Empire.   The women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies are as protective as she-bears for their children, and as cunning as any man in working the court to their advantage.

If anything, four decades of feminism have hardened, not softened male perceptions of women.  The most secular and progressive among them might back campaigns for the civil rights of women and even speak out publicly in favor of women’s rights; but the more conservative resent the political, financial, and political preference given to women in hard times.

Socially conservative men often feel that they have labored in the vineyards and fought  in the trenches to provide for themselves, their wives, and their families, and now they are tossed into the dust bin as sexual supernumeraries.

The Father by August Strindberg expresses  best the frustration of men who sense the absolute control of women.  Only a woman knows the father of their children, and husbands will always wonder.  Laura cruelly manipulates her husband, The Captain, and drive him insane so that she can gain legal control of her daughter.  You have provided the rooster’s contribution, she says, and now your duties, responsibilities, and privileges have come to an end.

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Women now seem to have the upper hand.  Physical strength counts for very little in the battle of the sexes; and  intellectual maturity, social savvy, and emotional subtlety win the day.  Men increasingly feel outmatched and outgunned.

Men, understanding that they have fewer cannon, are taking stock and regrouping.  Women’s belief in patriarchy, regardless of how quickly it is becoming discredited, is still a point of vulnerability.  There is still room for the sexually confident, emotionally strong, and socially willful male.  Despite women’s absolute sexual authority (viz. parentage, paternity) and increasing gender status, women still fall for potent rogues.

Since the War Between the Sexes is far from over and even farther from being resolved, then sexual dynamics are still in play.  An outgrowth of this healthy, evolutionary and social struggle is sexual frustration, anger, and misogyny.

Is quite normal for American men in this election year (20016) to think of Hillary Clinton as a dry, humorless, and desiccated bossy old woman.  It is as normal for women to think of Donald Trump as a typical male braggadocio, pompous, strutting Chanticleer, arch-predator, and misogynist hater of women.

Why are these feelings condemned?  Why stifle and strangle what is in everyone’s throats.  I know of few men who have bought the feminist line lock, stock, and barrel and who believe that subservience to women is the least they can do as reparations for past male abuse.  Most others, even the most progressive of them, feel that for all women’s obvious intelligence and ingenuity, they are still emotionally and genetically dependent on men.   It will take quite some time for them to prove their worthy comparison to Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Adams.

Women, no matter how much they will profess love and affection for their husbands, are still in the business of corralling them, fencing them in, and limiting their opportunities to prowl.  It is normal for women to express their frustration at men’ seeming intractability and inability to reform.  There is no harm in calling them ignorant pricks.

In other words, the war between the sexes would end far more quickly if the gloves were taken off now and if bare-knuckle brawls replaced kindly skirmishes.  The same is true for race relations.  No less animosity and hostility occurs between the races than between the genders.  Unless and until every racist, hateful, and barbaric insult is thrown, rejected, and countered, nothing will ever change.  Internalized hatred is far worse than externalized frustration.

It has been argued that without the Geneva Convention, there would be fewer wars; for no one would want to face absolute, amoral barbarity for doubtful causes.   The same is true for any other battle.  It is far better to strip down and face the enemy than make nice and then fight.

So there is indeed a place for misogyny, racism, and misandry.  Stop the parlor games and get real.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Insanity, Deranged Terror, And Mass Killings–Germany Has Caught The American Virus

The Munich shooter (7/16) was not a member of nor motivated by ISIS.  He was a mentally disturbed teenager who had been obsessed with mass killings.  He went on his rampage with a Glock semi-automatic, fled the scene, then killed himself.

It seems as if Germany has been infected with the American virus that causes psychotic, deranged individuals to go berserk.  This mass killing in many ways is worse than any organized terror attack, for there is virtually no way for even the best-trained civil authorities or members of an extensive security apparatus to anticipate such events.  In the United States there must be tens of thousands of unhappy, disaffected, chemically imbalanced psychotics who need only a nudge to push them over the line into violence and mayhem.

In the politically-divided, contentious environment of America today, when racial, ethnic, and gender hatreds are fueled by the force-feeding of a progressive agenda, it is no surprise that those on the edge of a psychotic episode need little to incite them to violent action.  In the unreal world of the schizophrenic there are no consequences, guilt, or responsibility.

It is not possible to cool down the rhetoric.  Identity politics have given license to the most marginal groups, legitimizing their grievances and tolerating if not promoting any actions taken to seek redress.  Black Lives Matter is only the most recent example of such intemperate progressivism.  Within an atmosphere of collective anger and hostility, and within a movement without a highly-structured hierarchy, a borderline psychotic may be infected by the hysteria and act violently.  


In societies where multiculturalism and pluralism are celebrated and where ethnic, religious, and religious factions have become more numerous, tensions caused by initial social and economic inequality are exacerbated by progressive identity politics.  I want mine, and everybody wants theirs.
More broadly, in a society where airing frustration and anger at perceived injustice is encouraged, and where self-image and almost universal sanction for the expression of individual feelings, grievances, and abuse are canonized, no one should be surprised at employees ‘going post office’; at unstable marginalized teenagers acting out fantasies of power by killing classmates.

Coverage of tormented rampages are given 24/7 coverage by all-news networks and details quickly go viral.  To the sane, such killing sprees are unconscionable and unthinkable; but to borderline schizophrenics, they can be blueprints for carrying out twisted desires.

Since little can be done to censure the press for the coverage of violent events; and since no self-control has ever been exerted when ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ has been a media axiom for decades; other means of addressing the epidemic must be found.

Similarly, until a much more conservative administration is elected – one which will publically challenge identity-sponsored violence and mob rule – the tolerance for displays of black, Latino, American Indian, LGBT, etc. grievances, no matter how legitimate will only increase.
There are, however, certain steps which can be taken. 

Current privacy regulations restrict the sharing of personal medical histories with civil authorities.  Doctors who have diagnosed and chronicled a patient’s emotional instability and potential threat to others cannot inform the police.  Yet this new disease –schizophrenic violence – could easily be treated as typhoid or other infectious diseases were before the politicization of AIDS.  There is no reason why medical records of ‘infected’ individuals should not be shared.

As every civic institution has been mobilized in periods of epidemic disease, so could they now.   Most of the money spent on metal detectors, body scanners, and other security measures could be spent on the intensive training of teachers, counselors, and school administrators to detect problems before they become fully blown.

Mental illness should not be treated like any other disease except in the metaphorical infectious sense.  Extreme psychosis is not the same as invasive cancer or pernicious hypertension.  It can cause injury and death to others.  The normative culture should change.  Avoiding stigma should not be foremost in the minds of civil or medical authorities.  Avoiding harm to others should.  The severely deranged should be stigmatized and taken out of circulation.  It was wrong to empty mental hospitals; and it is just as wrong to treat serious mental illness as just another disability.

As was recently (7/16) seen in Nice, guns are not the issue.  The person who mowed down scores of people with a truck had a firearm with him, but did not need it.  A heavy vehicle at high speed had the inertia to be just as explosive as a bomb or an automatic rifle. 

Guns are never the issue.  The motivating forces behind gun slaughter is.  There is no doubt that a country which makes access to guns nearly impossible,  mass killings with firearms would be fewer; but the number of murderous incidents would not decrease.

Germany has a right to be concerned about the Munich shootings.  It is proud of the discipline, rationality, and morality of its population.  Yet they only have to look at Norway, a country similarly homogeneous, socially conservative, and morally sound, to see that unhinged rampages can occur anywhere.

If a new, more conservative American administration wins in November (2016) and begins to roll back the progressive-inspired Politically Correct hysteria of the past decade; if psychotic violence is classified as a public health problem and treated with as much surveillance and intrusion as any other disease; and if resources are moved away from physical security and gun control to prophylaxis (preventing violence by anticipating it), then perhaps the number of mass shootings by psychotic individuals can be reduced.

Germany and Norway have a chance to institute such measures before it is too late.  We can only hope that it is not too late to catch up.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

American Elites And The Tyranny Of The Masses–The Threatening Populism Of Donald Trump

The irony of this presidential election (2016) is that liberals, once champions of the underserved disadvantaged, and marginalized; and critics of wealthy elites, have changed their tune.  Only some bars of the melody have been kept intact.  Not all families struggling for traction in a bewilderingly competitive economy are equal.  The minority poor deserve and receive more attention because they are doubly put upon.  Not only do they live in poverty and ghettoized  by social dysfunction but they still labor in the traces of racism and slavery. 

If this selective discrimination were not enough, progressives have demonized the white underclass.  Not only are they not deserving of understanding, opportunity, and support; they are part of the problem.  The white lower middle class is steeped in racial hatred, ignorantly embraces discredited Biblical myths and historically inaccurate injunctions, clings to outdated views of sexuality and the role of women, and arms itself against imaginary, seditious foes.

Even worse, progressives find populism, an uprising of the white lower-middle class threatening.  It is bad enough that individual Americans hold retrograde ideas; but a collectivity of ignorance is terrible indeed.  Although progressives direct their fear at Donald Trump, they really hold his supp0rters responsible for his rise.  Without the support of ignorant, backwoods, inbred millions, he would be no more than a side show. 

Populism, a modern form of  the Twentieth Century socialist movements so much admired by the American Left,  has now been discredited.  Not only is this newly-energized mass of uneducated Americans threatening.  It is distasteful, rancid, and off-putting.  The patronizing nature of early 21st Century liberalism felt good.  White, well-educated, intellectually enlightened men and women of the coasts were proud of their support of civil, gender, and ethnic rights, and proudly wore the badges of battle.  What to do with white trash?

The liberal establishment and not a few of their Republican counterparts have been flummoxed by the popularity of Donald Trump, dismayed by the support of his ragged, intemperate supporters, and desperately committed to derailing his candidacy.  If he his not the devil incarnate, he is pretty close to it.

Ironically today’s progressives are reminiscent of Alexander Hamilton who, like them, was very concerned about popular democracy and the tyranny of the masses.  Hamilton expressed his conviction in the Federalist Papers:
When occasions present themselves in which the interests of the people are at variance with their inclinations, it is the duty of the persons whom they have appointed to be the guardians of those interests to withstand the temporary delusion in order to give them time and opportunity for more cool and sedate reflection. Instances might be cited in which a conduct of this kind has saved the people from very fatal consequences of their own mistakes, and has procured lasting monuments of their gratitude to the men who had courage and magnanimity enough to serve them at the peril of their displeasure.
Progressive support is ironic because Hamilton, although far from an aristocrat, held aristocratic values.  The people, always a moment away from a mob, needed to be protected from themselves by a more reasonable, rational, and temperate intermediary.  Only those men highly-educated in philosophy, history, science, literature, and social dynamics could possibly guide the new republic forward.  Hamilton was neither dismissive of nor supercilious towards the masses, for they, when properly harnessed, were the necessary muscle and sinew of the economy.  He only knew as statesmen of every civilized empire since ancient Rome realized, that the mob was fickle, emotional, and given to precipitous judgment.

Hamilton would be appalled if he saw the state of American democracy today.  Not only has populism become the norm, but the mob the rule.  The old institutions of his day have been dismantled and a contentious free-for-all has resulted.  The era of intelligent compromise based on a respect for principles is long gone, replaced by factionalism and separatism.   The church has become a locus of religious populism rather than a conduit of divine authority.  Congressmen care less about their constituents than getting re-elected.  The old patrician caretakers of Wall Street have been replaced by financial predators lured by quick, risk-free profit.  Capitalism has always been ruled by the bottom line but never more so than today.

Social elites like the Boston Brahmins, Main Line aristocrats, New England patricians, and Southern cavaliers have been dismantled.  The former custodians of good manners and compassion within opportunity, governed by noblesse oblige and responsibility have disappeared.

The French aristocracy, said a former viscount whose family had fought in the Third Crusade, would always be necessary for the preservation and promotion of those cultural values now, after centuries of civilization, were innate in French society.  Although respect for art, literature, philosophy, and good taste came naturally to every French citizen, they could quickly be dismissed in favor of more pedestrian ones.  He, now much older, was dismayed at the course of the French republic, one beset by racial, ethnic, and religious factionalism.  The Old Guard was simply too small, too diluted, and too ineffectual to provide the moral suasion and power to hold the center.


Political and social elites have always had the function of guardians of civilization, custodians of cultural history, and icons of value and rectitude. America gave up true aristocracy at its founding, but continued with its own democratic aristocracy.  Washington, Jefferson, Monroe and others were patrician landowners as well as intellectual and philosophical leaders.  They were part of a new American ruling class, but one which still embodied Old World, Enlightenment values.  Gradually and progressively, the culture of the landed gentry and that of its urban sophisticated counterpart disappeared to be replaced by populism, separatism, and individualism.

The Eastern Establishment is the only remnant of our former American elite; but it predominates not because of the rightness of its moral and ethical principles but because of an undemocratic arrogation of intellectual authority.  Eastern liberals have no sense of noblesse oblige .  Only a patronizing self-congratulatory ‘solidarity’ with those less fortunate.  They are as insular as the old WASP elites, but hew to only secular, neo-socialist values.  They have less concern for the integrity of the nation as a whole than they do in promoting the ‘rights’ of minorities and their absolute right to project and defend their own individual identities.

It is hard to see where the new moral center of American society will be.  Right now we are without a center, without an intellectually temperate, morally anchored, socially appropriate anchor.  Without it, America has become ungovernable; or in the absence of a moral consensus which provides a civil brake, authoritarian.  It is a chaotic country, one fractured along every possible fault line, one still claiming exceptionalism but without purpose, vision, or commitment. 

If Donald Trump does not get elected, his tens of millions of newly-energized supporters will not quietly return home.  Hillary Clinton, the candidate of the Left, animated by progressive enthusiasm for race, gender, and ethnicity, committed to secularism and government patronage will, if elected, harden the political divisions and the country will be even more chaotic than ever.

If he does, the future is less clear.  We are in new and uncharted political territory.  Anything can happen.  The enthusiasm of Trump’s radicalized supporters may be hard to channel into policy, programs, and positions.

Perhaps this political paroxysm and civil fractiousness is exactly what we need to be able to find a center or at least a recasting of American identity.  Far from exceptional, we are rudderless and foundering without elites or institutions to guide us.  We can only hope for the best.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Get Over It–The Rise Of Donald Trump And The Left’s Bewilderment

Liberals have never gotten Donald Trump.  For months they have ignored his popularity, dismissed the millions of Americans who have voted for him, and cast him as a huckster, vaudevillian, and master of manipulation.  They have branded him a racist, misogynist xenophobe.  Yet, despite their attempts to derail Trump’s rise to political power; despite the GOP’s panic; and despite the warnings of the coming Armageddon,  he has finally secured the nomination for President of the United States.

Progressives today (7.19.16) are bewildered.  Donald Trump is actually and indeed the Republican nominee and, if the polls and betting markets are any indication, he has an excellent chance of winning the White House.

They never saw it coming.  They were sure that the circus would leave town, that a more reasonable candidate would emerge from the crowded Republican pack, and that the status quo would return.   Not only did Trump’s Barnum & Bailey show continue to set up its tents, but they were filled with supporters.  His campaign events were part revivalism, part Las Vegas and part Hollywood; but most of all they were signifiers of the candidate’s increasingly enthusiastic appeal.


American politics had always been more spectacle than substance, progressives admitted; but this was different, dangerous, and ominous.  Previous campaigns had plenty of hoopla, but beneath the banners and balloons there was substance – a platform, a set of principles, a policy playbook – but this time around there was only hoopla, bravado, and show.

Progressives not only went after Trump but after his supporters.  They were backward and ignorant, white trash ignoramuses who believed in Creationism, were armed to the teeth, and wouldn’t know an idea even if it were written in kindergarten capitals.

Yet more and more Americans came out to Trump rallies, cheered his outrageous defiance of liberal cant and self-righteousness and his political incorrectness, and deconstructed his hyperbole better than any Marxist academic.  While the Left parsed every line of his speeches about immigration, outraged that he could condemn all Muslims, all Mexicans, and incensed that he could laugh; his supporters took his exaggerations for exactly what they were – indicators of principle.


Trump supporters have been angry at illegal immigration which depresses wages, increases public expenditure, and erodes the polity of America.  Hispanics especially have applauded his no-nonsense stance on borders because they have the most to lose.  They, like their Anglo counterparts dismiss his charges about Mexican rapists and criminals and the impossibility of building a new Great Wall of China.  They know only that Trump means business and they are for him.

Likewise, only the liberal Left has taken seriously his intention to deport all Muslims.  His conservative supporters know how to read between the lines, to separate words from image, intended policy from posturing.  They know only that he, unlike the opposition of the Left, takes radical Muslim terrorism seriously.  While President Obama shilly-shallies, makes nice with Iran, wavers in its support of Israel, and worries about multiculturalism,  Donald Trump says the words defiantly.

Tens of millions of Americans are disaffected, frustrated, angered, and resentful by the juggernaut of progressive policies and programs which threaten what they see is the integrity and unanimity of America.   The universal liberal support of Black Lives Matter and its absolute hostility towards the police is but the latest assault.  Coming on the heels of gay marriage, usurpation by fiat and court order of the democratic process in matters of religious freedom and reproductive behavior, this distortion of American democracy is bilious and maddening.

When Donald Trump is politically incorrect, he is not merely targeting campus absurdity but shouting ‘basta!’ to all multicultural occupations of American institutions.

When he calls the Supreme Court rigged, he is not claiming that it is seditiously so, but politically biased.   The almost perfect alignment of liberal and conservative Justices on cases before the Court is testimony to the fact; and the arrogation of power in the hands of nine men and women, jurists who make final decisions on matters that should be left to the electorate, is untenable.


This morning, the day after Trump’s formal investiture, progressives are not only bewildered but flummoxed.   They have to finally admit that they didn’t see this coming.  Trump’s ascendancy is not only the rise of political opponent but a revelation that America is not what they thought.   The country is not a logical place.  Reason – i.e. carefully studied opinions and measured responses based on data and analysis – does not always prevail.  Secularism is not widespread. Diversity is not universally embraced.

In other words Trump’s success is troubling for the Left because it exposes the intellectual  insularity and righteousness of the Left and the Eastern Establishment of both parties.  “How could this have happened?”, they say, when Trump populism has been there for inspection for months.  It was the Left’s refusal to believe that anyone like Donald Trump could possibly have any chance at victory was its undoing.  They forgot to look at our evangelical roots – Amy Semple McPherson, Billy Sunday, Oral Roberts, and Pat Robertson.   They ignored our profound social conservatism and dismissed movements of state legislatures to restore order and religiously conservative values.   They mistook fundamentalism for ignorance.

Now what? The political lines have been drawn more markedly than ever before; but the Left has never faced an opponent like Donald Trump.  His manipulation of the media and poking his critics in the eye with his canny Michelle Obama-Melania Trump convention speech fol-de-rol has put the Left on notice.  The presidential campaign will be no different from the primaries.  His opponents are unprepared and overmatched; and the longer they shake their heads in bewilderment, the farther back they will fall.


It is wake-up time for America’s Left and moderate Establishment Right.  Donald Trump is here to stay.  Even if he does not win the election, his populist coup has been successful.  Even if it is repulsed, the disaffected rebels will still be there, even more consolidated and determined in defeat.