Camille Paglia: On Trump, Democrats, Transgenderism, and Islamist Terror
There are not very many people on America's political left who inspire confidence in me. Camille Paglia is one such person. Prior to the election of Barack Obama as POTUS, there was a category of democrats who ran for the office with whom I disagreed on substantive issues, but about whom I did not feel they were an existential threat to either the nation, or to the rule of law. Barack Obama was the first democrat candidate about whom I feared for the future of the country. In many regards, my fears have been realized. I viewed the possible election of Hillary Clinton as a death blow to constitutional gov't, which must be averted at all costs.
President Trump is someone whom I described prior to the election as a "rodeo clown". At first, I had trouble believing that his candidacy was (A) serious, and (B) could win. In the end, I voted for him based almost exclusively on his promise to nominate SCOTUS justices in the Scalia mold. His first nomination has born out that promise, and Justice Neil Gorsuch will be such a person. In fact, I predict that, at times, he will be a thorn in the side of republicans who overreach their mandate. That is what we need - independent thinkers who hold the original intent of the Constitution in very high esteem, greater than the churlish machinations of politicians....even conservative politicians.
But, wherever reservations one might have about Donald Trump's presidency, it goes without saying that the relentless and vile opposition he has encountered - both from the self-styled "resistance", and from the Obama era plants in the deep state, who have set it as their goal to actually derail and unseat a sitting president before he has overtly given them cause - is both unprecedented AND dangerous to the stability of the nation.
Why dangerous? Because it is provokling a response which is also unprecedented since the First Civil War......or "CW1" going forward. Camille Paglia, for all of her very liberal progressivism, has not forgotten that Trump's voters are also her fellow citizens, and that they must be respected as such. It's not that hard to find writers on both the left and right who point out one salient fact: that if you tell roughly one half of the country's voters that (A) it doesn't matter how they vote, you won't accept an outcome until you have it your way; and (B) that you will not wait until the next election to obtain it; then what you've done is tell those voters that their votes don't count.... that their political expression has exactly the same value as the political expression of slaves on ante-bellum plantations.
In other words, in their unwillingness to accede to constitutional gov't, the left is telling the right that they don't care about the outcome of their actions, and that they are willing to instigate "CW2" to attain their goals. Paglia doesn't cover that potentiality in this interview, but it is the unstated elephant in the room.
Of course this rousing speech (with its can-do World War Two spirit) got scant coverage in the mainstream media. Drunk with words, spin, and snark, middle-class journalists can't be bothered to notice the complex physical constructions that make modern civilization possible. The laborers who build and maintain these marvels are recognized only if they can be shoehorned into victim status. But if they dare to think for themselves and vote differently from their liberal overlords, they are branded as rubes and pariahs.
In summary: to have any hope of retaking the White House, Democrats must get off their high horse, lose the rabid rhetoric, and reorient themselves toward practical reality and the free country they are damned lucky to live in.
JVL: One of the other big news stories for the last few weeks has been terrorism in Great Britain. Everyone goes to great pains to say that this isn't "Islamic" terrorism, but rather "Islamist" ("Islam-ish?") terrorism. Does nomenclature matter here? Does the fact that Western liberalism gets so wrapped up in knots over how to talk about its antagonists mean anything?
CP: You've nailed it about Western liberalism's obsession with language, to the exclusion of wide-ranging study of world history or systematic observation of present social conditions. Liberalism of the 1950s and '60s exalted civil liberties, individualism, and dissident thought and speech. "Question authority" was our generational rubric when I was in college. But today's liberalism has become grotesquely mechanistic and authoritarian: It's all about reducing individuals to a group identity, defining that group in permanent victim terms, and denying others their democratic right to challenge that group and its ideology. Political correctness represents the fossilized institutionalization of once-vital revolutionary ideas, which have become mere rote formulas. It is repressively Stalinist, dependent on a labyrinthine, parasitic bureaucracy to enforce its empty dictates.
The reluctance or inability of Western liberals to candidly confront jihadism has been catastrophically counterproductive insofar as it has inspired an ongoing upsurge in right-wing politics in Europe and the United States. Citizens have an absolute right to demand basic security from their government. [Emphasis mine - The Annoyed Man] The contortions to which so many liberals resort to avoid connecting bombings, massacres, persecutions, and cultural vandalism to Islamic jihadism is remarkable, given their usual animosity to religion, above all Christianity. Some commentators have suggested a link to racial preconceptions: that is, Islam remains beyond criticism because it is largely a religion of non-whites whose two holy cities occupy territory once oppressed by Western imperialism.
Anyway, the entire interview is well worth reading. The American political left simply MUST acknowledge that we have a constitutional gov't (in theory), and that every dog has its day in the sun. When Obama was president, I gnashed my teeth along with everyone else "not democrat". I hated his policies, and I protested mightily in word against them. But outside of my 2012 presidential vote in the general election, I never once took any kind of action to try and unseat him, nor did I swear to any kind of political violence to accomplish that. The same cannot be said for a large portion of the democrat party. There simply is no equivalent to Antifa on the right. People like me do not beat up Americans with whom we disagree. We do not intimidate or terrorize fellow Americans for holding opinions different from our own. We do not try to use tactics of nullification to disenfranchise our fellow Americans with whom we disagree.......but these very tactics have been mainstreamed on the left. They have gone crazy.
Exactly how long do these crazies expect that normal, decent, everyday heartland citizens will stay still under such abuse, without a violent response? They push and they push and they push, and it is a testimony to the fundamental decency of everyday heartlanders that they haven't started stringing these assholes up in the town square. It is a miracle that, when confronted with radicals and their attempts at tyranny, decent everyday Americans haven't yet hoisted the Jolly Roger and gotten out their buckets of tar, bales of feathers, and stacks of railroad ties. The crazies have forgotten some salient facts.
- We have a 2nd Amendment that guarantees the not to be "infringed" individual right of Americans to keep and bear arms, because that right is necessary to a free state.
- When everyday citizens are faced with tyranny, they have a both moral and constitutional right to face down that tyranny and defeat it. Some (like me) would call that an obligation.
- It is exactly that decent segment of the population that agrees to live under constitutional gov't, even when it doesn't go their way, which has, whether serendipitously or by intent, been arming itself for decades.
- There are upwards of 300 million firearms now in private possession in this country, almost entirely owned by people who would be found in the conservative/libertarian political camp. Those firearms are in the possession of roughly half of the nation's households. Of those firearms, more than 20 million of them are AR-15 variants. Other untold millions are AK-47/AK-74 variants. And these numbers do not include older rifles based on military designs, like M1As, AR-10s, M1 Garands.
- Many of these citizens have also been stockpiling ammunition for these weapons, having upwards of several thousand rounds in their possession for the weapons they own.
The crazies, in their zeal to eradicate the 2nd Amendment (among other constitutional guarantees, have forgotten (A) its purpose, and (B) that they have not for their own part been exercising its freedoms. If they think that their "enemies" are going to just lay down and roll over while they attempt a coup to remove the right of free political expression, without those "enemies" deciding to take up all those arms and ammo they've been buying since the end of WW2 in defense of a constitutional republic, the crazies are sadly mistaken. If the crazies think that they can nullify an election without consequences to themselves, then they are utterly detached from reality.
It is a dangerous game the crazies are playing. Half of the country is not going to just lay down and take it, giving up their belief in constitutional gov't and the rule of law without a fight. For better or for worse, a HUGE chunk of these citizens have spent a part of their lives dedicated to fighting this nation's wars. They are trained. They are armed. They've seen the elephant before, and are willing to face it again in defense of their cherished freedoms. If the political left imagines for one minute that they can order the entire American military - the most powerful military in the world - to march against their fellow citizens to enforce orders which violate both the Constitution AND the oath that those in the military took to uphold the Constitution, then they are divorced from reality. Most of those troops will mutiny, desert, and take their weapons (and their training) with them.
The crazies cannot win a civil war. They simply can't. And yet they are jostling and pushing the nation in that direction without regard for the consequences. A LOT of people would die unnecessarily to either accomplish or prevent it, but to a part of the political spectrum for whom life in the womb itself is not worth preserving, there is no value either to the lives lost of those who would die in such a conflagration. CW1 resulted in 620,000 killed on both sides, 476,000 wounded (many of which were horribly disfigured and permanently maimed), and 400,000 captured or missing. For what it's worth, "missing" includes those who were vaporized and for whom there is simply no accounting. And these numbers were the "combatant" casualties. They say nothing about what happened to civilian populations. This is the holocaust toward which the increasingly radicalized democrat party, and the left in general, is pushing us. It's insane. It's irresponsible. And it has to be stopped.
This is why, if the nation survives between now and 2020, it must be the duty of American voters to so thoroughly repudiate the left at the polls, that there can be no possibility of its ever threatening the nation's stability again. If American voters will not sack up and take this on, then CW2 goes from being an "if" to a "when". It's that basic and fundamental.