Thursday, March 02, 2017

The new egalitarianism

The wonderfully well-read Victor Davis Hanson, a student of history and an observer of the present who manages to synthesize these interests with clarity and style, writes

We are now in a media arena where there are no rules. The New York Times is no longer any more credible than talk radio; CNN—whose reporters have compared Trump to Hitler and gleefully joked about his plane crashing—should be no more believed than a blogger’s website. Buzzfeed has become like the National Inquirer.
His evidence? Please do go read the whole thing, because he's at some pains to lay out the many ways in which the so-called MSM has squandered whatever public currency they ever had through its shamelessly obvious, full-throated, and ill-supported attempts to bring down Donald Trump. It was their mistake to give him so much press during the campaign; they must have felt that he was (a) an inconsequential threat to the anointed Clinton, therefore safe to give lots of exposure, and (b) a super ratings boost, and they now reap their foolish harvest.

Let me be clear (as I've heard somewhere): I also thought Donald Trump was an inconsequential candidate and wrote off the Presidency once he was nominated. Yeah, I voted for him, because I didn't want to throw away my vote on a third-party candidate and absolutely would not vote for Clinton - but it was, for me, more a thumb in the eye to these same media outlets: though they would never know it, I at least would know that this intelligent and thoughtful voter rejected their anointed one and voted for the possible loose cannon, simply because they were laughing so hard at him.

We are not just in a media arena in which the "elite" and hoi polloi find themselves (or are found by watchers) to be equal. We are in a public arena in which this is true. Those who believe themselves to be "elite" were defeated across the board in the November election; those who are told by those "elites" that they are hoi polloi - or, let's use English as well as a clearer statement of what those "elites" seem to mean: the great unwashed - these great unwashed won those elections at all levels, and feel increasingly free to ignore the outlets they're supposed to pay attention to, like not only the New York Times but also Hollywood, the NFL, and academia. Value signaling is all that's left to the Left: they can and do still try to shame everyone who doesn't dance to their tune, and they express first disdain, and then disbelief and irritation, if not outright rage, when not everyone does.

Huzzah, we're all equal: equally able to do and say stupid things and be judged for them! Those on the Right are not necessarily right about everything; those on the Left are not necessarily left behind by history. We all have to answer for what we believe. I stand on the Right because I believe this side has the best answers to the big questions of human society, and I expect the other side to disdain me and attempt to shame me for my "reactionary" position. But I feel just fine about fiercely supporting the rights of individuals to go as far as they are able - or not to go anywhere if that's their choice, provided that they also bear the consequences of their choice. I recognize the need to remove artificial (which means "made by humans" in this context) obstacles to equal opportunities for all, and I'm committed to that effort, but I frequently depart from the Left in exactly how we are to remove those obstacles. I don't think I need to shame the Left; I think events will unfold - are unfolding - that will take care of that.

No comments: