The Absurdity of Political Discourse This Year

I was having an interesting discussion over at neo-neocon's about Trump when the full weight of this election's absurdity struck me. Again. If I were to reduce it to campaign slogans, it would look like this:

Vote for Trump -- We're more likely to be able to impeach him!

Vote for Hillary -- She's going to be an awful president, but better than Trump!

Vote for Trump -- He might, possibly, maybe, do some good things! Really! He could!

Vote for Hillary -- If we're going to have the worst president ever, better the Democrats get the blame! Or the Liberals!

Someone I read recently, I can't remember who, claimed that there were just a lot fewer conservatives than she thought. I think the electorate has caught us by surprise, and so I wonder how well I know the people of my own nation.

I got to hear one of my state senators recently. He encouraged everyone to get into local politics more. Focus on your city, county, and state offices, he said. Those in local offices are closer than DC and more likely to sit down and talk with you. You have more actual influence there.

He also said something interesting about Democratic vs. Republican involvement. He had spent some years in city government before being elected to the state legislature. He said that although he was a Republican in a deep red state, his Democratic constituents contacted him a lot more than his Republican ones. This was especially true at the city level, but still true at the state level.

I think I've gotten to the point where I'm writing off the presidential election. Whoever wins, it seems, will be a tragedy. I'll vote, but gradually I've come to care less and less about who wins. I'm going to focus more on local politics.

But even more, I want to focus on participating in the culture. I do believe politics is downstream from culture. I think, if we could shift the culture toward conservative values, the political elections would follow. If we shift it enough, the parties will follow.


E Hines said...

It is important to stay involved in the down ballot races, all the way to community-local. I'm optimistic there, though, as we keep winning and expanding in those contests.

There's much to disagree with in Trump's foreign policy. On the damage matter, though, I think there's a critical difference. Stipulate arguendo that Clinton and Trump, each in their own way, are equally bad (I don't agree that they are, but this makes for an interesting boundary condition thought experiment). The damage Clinton would do would last generations, striking as it would at the core of what it means to be a republican democracy and what it means to have the small, circumscribed central government we began with, however evolved since then. Great Britain and Sweden still have not recovered from their post-war era of socialism, never minding the efforts of Thatcher and her successors (Corbyn is a natural extension of that socialism; that he's still possible today illustrates the depth of the damage) or the outright repudiation of socialism in Sweden.

The damage Trump would do is both of an entirely different character and more superficial, and so unlikely to survive his term(s) in office by more than a little bit. It's reparable. And those down ballot races facilitate that damage repair and are likely to facilitate proper replacements for the Trumps of the nation in 2020 or 2024.

I worry less about the political discourse per se than I do about the disparity in coverage by the NLMSM of the two Presidential candidates.

Eric Hines

David Foster said...

I agree with Eric and would put it even more strongly: a Hillary Clinton president may well mean the permanent end of the US as a free society.

It is not at all beyond the pale that many blogs (this one, for example) could be closed as "hate speech"...and that this could be done entirely by the regulatory state, with no legislative involvement.

Look at what has already been done by the IRS. Look at Hillary's immediate reaction to Benghazi, which was to threaten the free speech rights of an American filmmaker. Look at the hostility toward free expression which is inculcated on so many college campuses--a beast which would be fed even more tax dollars in a Hillary Clinton administration.

Grim said...

In a way, I'm surprised we haven't been shut down already. You don't need the administrative state to do it -- the alliance between the progressive left and the technology firms is enough. Google owns this platform, and could shut us down whenever they want. Facebook already has started to silence conservative and libertarian voices (especially gun rights supporters, but not just them).

If Clinton is elected, the Constitution will cease to exist as a meaningful restraint on government power. The only limits the Federal government will have are the ones the left finds convenient (e.g., a sense that it's unconstitutional to make states and localities enforce immigration laws).

Tom said...

Eric, that's an interesting point.

For all three of you, with Clinton, are you thinking her long-term damage will be done primarily through her USSC appointments?

And, Eric, how will the damage Trump will do be different?

I still intend to vote all down the ballot, of course. But when it comes to my time, I think I will be focusing more on local and state politics. When Texas secedes, I want to be sure we have a state legislature which will vote to go with them. ;-)

E Hines said...

To go OT (though not by much) briefly: In a way, I'm surprised we haven't been shut down already. ... Google owns this platform, and could shut us down whenever they want.

Google already has committed censorship on some of the blogs it hosts, as has WordPress, whose software I use for my blog.

I recommend pair networks, which I use to host my blog (they also have a domain management facility, pairNIC. The site isn't free, but their pricing isn't ugly, either, and I've found their customer service to be outstanding. And they know how conservative I am.

Eric Hines

E Hines said...

...are you thinking her long-term damage will be done primarily through her USSC appointments?

That will be devastating, but Clinton's damage will reach much farther than that. The Progressive-Democrat Senate (and don't forget Clinton is herself a proud Progressive) will facilitate her extra-legal diktats and her rule by fiat/Executive Order and Executive Action--behaviors she's already said she'll go farther than Obama has done, including saying that if Congress doesn't do her bidding, she'll go the EO/EA route: We the People through our elected representatives be damned; the Progressives Know Better. By changing us to Rule by Law when not disregarding Law altogether from Rule of Law, we'll be governed by the men in government rather than by we citizens as employers of the government under the Law we agreed in our now-lost social compact.

[H]ow will the damage Trump will do be different?

Trump's damage will be almost exclusively economic, and that mostly in international trade and immigration limits--hence my focus on his foreign policy. He'll add a bit to Obama's foreign political damage, but not by much. A Trump election, though, likely will bring with it a still-Republican Congress, which will circumscribe Trump's moves. He's shown little penchant for acting unilaterally; quite the opposite: he's a deal-maker.

Those deals, though, and the economic damage, by the nature of economics and of deals, are much more easily corrected or undone altogether.

Eric Hines

Ymar Sakar said...

You don't need the administrative state to do it -- the alliance between the progressive left and the technology firms is enough. Google owns this platform, and could shut us down whenever they want.

Don't underestimate the Left's greed. While they have a religious doctrine and dogma, many of their cannonfodder and middle managers are motivated by something far easier to manipulate.

What would actually shut down the internet would be 50% tax on goods sold via amazon and online businesses. That would crash the grey market, and turn it into a real black market. Crypto currency would be needed, to prevent the feds tracing the goods, which makes them equal to drug dealers and terrorists, perhaps.

This is similar to some talk online about control of the internet transfering to Russia/China, from the US, in October 2016. But it's not from one of my sources, so I can't say much about the veracity or prediction capabilities.

Texan99 said...

Sometimes I think Republicans are just the people who want prices fixed on different things.

Larry Harman said...

Tex, can you give me some examples? I'm trying to think through my dissatisfaction with the GOP, not to start an argument.

Texan99 said...

I didn't have public figures in mind, just my neighbors here, who discourage me sometimes. They don't generally want too much from the federal government, I'll give them that, but locally they fall all too easily into the habit of thinking some government official is going to guarantee that they can have something expensive at a fixed price that doesn't reflect its actual cost. A recent example is ambulance service. We're a small rural county; if we don't pay an ambulance service what it costs to serve us, we're not going to be able to count on getting an ambulance in a reasonable time when we need it. That's true whether we rely on the dreaded free market or expect the county to provide us with emergency service. Control prices: crash supply. It's an iron law. But the same people who will man the trenches with me on local disputes over how to limit government will still fall into the trap of demanding that the county commissioners fix prices on ambulances, such as by requiring them all to accept Medicaid-level reimbursements from any insurer.

Tom said...

Thanks, Eric. I suspect you're probably right.

Tex, some Republicans are exactly that.

E Hines said...

Tom, I'm always right.

Except when I'm wrong.

Eric Hines

Ymar Sakar said...

Also, the Left and Google are shutting down the competition. But it isn't mainstream. Just as Waco targeted biker clubs that were seen as "criminals" by mainstream media and culture, so the same is true of Google and Apple. Right now they target "internet pirates" with the aid of Homeland Security.

I suppose under Hussein's orders, DHS can only target pirates, and not Muslim jihadists in the uS like say........ Hasan.