Can we Restore the Pre-Trump Boundaries of Discourse?

The consensus on the left is that Trump got himself elected by appealing to the basest instincts of white people. He totally violated what had previously been the boundaries of acceptable discourse, and the left argues that the fact that he was elected by majorities of every white sub-demographic shows that American whites are much more bigoted than had been previously believed.

The solution to this, according to the left, is to somehow re-establish the pre-Trump boundaries of acceptable discourse, to put a lid on all of that seething racism. Some on the very far left feel that the solution is to “punch Nazis”, that is, re-establish and enforce the pre-Trump boundaries by rioting any time someone violates them. One problem with “punching Nazis” is that the people who want to do it are so far left that they can’t tell a ‘Nazi’ from the average Romney voter.

The NRA is ready for leftist rioting:

If the left wants violence in the streets, the right is ready for them. The right has more guns, and they know how to use them. “Punching Nazis” is a fast track to fascist Christian theocracy.

A lot of attention was given to a video that went viral a couple of months ago of 100 men marching with tiki torches and chanting Nazi slogans.  This, the left said, was proof the time for free speech was over, and we need to somehow clamp down on all this “rampant white bigotry”.  Bear in mind that 100 men is one out of every 3.3 million Americans.  A phenomenon of the internet is that pretty much any kind of nut cases can find each other, organize, form societies, and demonstrate, as evidenced by the fact that the flat earth society is alive and well when everyone has been seeing photos of the earth from space for 50 years.  Naziism is an utterly discredited philosophy that should not be taken seriously.

What the left completely fails to understand is how unreasonable the pre-Trump boundaries of acceptable discourse were.  The way it was run, the far left had monopoly power to designate any group it desired to be “victim” or “privileged”.  All groups were placed on a spectrum ranging from “victim” to “privileged”, and your place on that spectrum determined your speech rights.  In any conversation about identity politics (and the left dragged identity politics into every imaginable topic), the “victim” was entitled to say anything they wanted, however insulting to the “privileged”, and the “privileged” was allowed to say nothing other than how sorry they were.

“Victim” groups were all to be seen as innocent little angels, no matter  what they did, and none of their problems were to be seen as there own fault — as a matter of fact, all of their problems were to be blamed on the “privileged”.

While all “victim” groups were encouraged to wallow in ethnic pride, the “privileged” were strictly forbidden to like their own ethnicity in any way.  Any attempt by the “privileged” to refute the wanton slander their ethnicity was receiving from the “victims” was interpreted as “white supremacy” and a severe crime.

And our immigration policy was disastrous for low-skilled citizens.  The intellectual elite told them “Unskilled immigrants take only jobs like picking fruit that you don’t want, and anyone who says or thinks otherwise is a stupid ‘bigot'”.  And poorly educated citizens looked around them and saw jobs in construction, landscaping, cooking, waiting tables, and delivering food, jobs those citizens wanted, being filled by Hispanics who were obviously foreign born.  “Don’t believe your lying eyes” the intellectual elite were telling them “and if you do believe your lying eyes, you’re a terrible person“.

Webster’s defines “stereotype” as basically a false rule of thumb about human beings based upon group identity.  So it is impossible for a “stereotype” to be true.  Let’s redefine “stereotype”, for a minute, as something that might or might not be true. Research shows that, for the most part, stereotypes don’t persist unless there is some truth to them. The validity of most stereotypes is in fact upheld by census data, crime statistics, and the like.  But the intellectual elite, through great effort, managed to make themselves vehemently believe that stereotypes were all false, leading to a really, really distorted view of reality.

It got to the point where really intelligent, highly educated people were saying incredibly stupid things whenever they talked about identity politics.  And they linked identity politics to everything, so they were constantly saying incredibly stupid things, about everything.

The intellectual elite thus basically forfeited credibility with about half the US population.  Because of the internet, that half of the US population were able to form a myriad variety of their own news sources, most of them pretty unreliable, but not crazy the same obvious way that those outlets controlled by the intellectual elite were (those outlets being the traditional mainstream non-Fox news media, the entertainment industry, and most of the teaching profession).

Because the left controls so much of the flow of information, everyone, to the left or right, has heard the left’s take on identity politics, over and over and over again.  Everyone understands it.  But half the population rejects it.  The left interprets this, as it interprets all criticism of its view of identity politics, as “bigotry”, which just reinforces the vehemence with which they cling to their paranoid fantasy view of reality.

The pre-Trump boundaries of acceptable discourse were not working for about 100 million voters.  It will be completely politically infeasible, not to mention unconstitutional, to re-impose them.

For the left to regain their credibility, they have to do a combination of two things:

  • Not be so obsessed about identity politics.
  • Allow a 2-sided debate about identity politics, questioning cherished dogmas, and with speech rights based upon two assumptions: firstly, no one should be above criticism, and secondly (and especially) no one should be  beneath self-defense.  That means a sentence that begins with “Excuse me, I’d like to say a few words in defense of the white race …” should be allowed to be completed.

The left is currently in such a state of hysteria about a supposed “wave of hate” sweeping the country, that they are extremely unlikely to consider either of these recommendations.

I am very concerned about global warming.  I think the intellectual elite is right about global warming, but they lack the credibility needed to get the whole population signed up for the needed sacrifices.

The right is in a mess.  Their consensus hasn’t matured, they haven’t really figured out who among them are the smart and reliable people to listen to.  There are some pretty intelligent right-wing news sources, like National Review magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and some right-wing think tanks, but most of the right isn’t tuned in to those sources.

Trump was elected on the basis of a very large set of promises that he has no hope of delivering.  He might not even get the border wall, his number one promise, completed.  He takes dishonesty to a level that is unprecedented in the oval office in living memory.  He is intellectually and temperamentally unfit for the office, and especially unfit to be in charge of nukes.  If we make it to January 2021 without any major cities on the globe being nuked, I’ll be relieved.