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Dejected Left Still Can't Grasp Trump's Love of Order, Freedom

Dejected Left Still Can't Grasp Trump's Love of Order, Freedom
(Mohamed Ahmed Soliman/Dreamstime)

Monday, 06 August 2018 05:14 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Why would The New York Times, the most important newspaper among the chattering classes of America hire, as a member of its editorial board, an Asian-American woman who had written that she takes joy in the contemplation of elimination of white men?

The paper, in its defense, explained that it didn’t condone such hateful writings, and dismissed them as satire, yet the Times refused to dismiss the woman — Sarah Jeong.

The Internet site, Vox.com, whose sister site, Verge.com, employed Ms. Jeong, described her "as an outspoken progressive and feminist," and given that the Times aspires to political correctness, these attributes of Ms. Jeong must have appealed to those running the paper.

In fairness to the Times (if such is called for) Ms. Jeong was hired as an important and knowledgeable writer on the Internet and technology. Her apparently racist comments, according to her, were intended as "satire."

As Vox.com elaborted in her defense, her racially discriminatory comments could be "reasonably understood to be a sarcastic response to people who were perpetually harassing her on the basis of her gender and race."

Well, alright, live and let live, I say. Perhaps we can use this as a "teaching moment," to remind the Times, mainstream media, the academy and the left generally of the importance of irony and satire, and — dare one say it — playfulness and fun.

There is a poisonously puritanical streak in American culture, one still existing in the higher reaches of our dominant institutions, with puritanism defined the way the greatest of our satirists, H.L. Mencken defined it, as "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

The appeal of President Trump, so baffling to readers of The New York Times, is, in part, explainable because he is, consciously (or unconsciously) channeling Mencken.

Life ought not to be simply about redressing previous discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background; nor even redistribution of resources to make reparations for such past misconduct.

Mencken would have voted for Trump, whom he would have favored over the sanctimonious Mrs. Clinton. Perhaps the recent meeting of the Times’s publisher with Mr. Trump will lead to a greater appreciation on the paper’s part of what it is that Mr. Trump really stands for.

The Puritans did have their virtues, and American conservatives do need to emulate their devotion to timeless truths in our modern era, such as the importance of the family, the principles of separation of powers and federalism in our Constitution, and our institution of private property — all of which ensure us a measure of freedom from the incursions of arbitrary power, permitting us to seek a life of human richness and real diversity.

Deluded socialism, of a kind proffered by too many media darlings of the left must be resisted, but, perhaps one effective means of such resistance is, indeed, mockery and satire.

The Russians did not give us Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton, but it is still important to remember the grim face of Soviet Communism, and the drab reality of Lenin and Stalin’s puritanical effort to remake human society according to Marxist doctrine, an evil and repressive reality that still lives in Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea.

Trump’s invocation to "Make America Great Again," (MAGA) resonated with his supporters who saw in the Obama administration, and its continuation in a Clinton one the specter of Fabian socialism. The economic and employment boom we now experience is the result of Mr. Trump’s repudiation of that pernicious approach.

The left’s disappointment at the loss of its political power — and probably even more wounding — the repudiation of its philosophical ideas, has resulted in blind, vicious, and mendacious hatred of Mr. Trump and his administration.

That hatred, of course, as manifested by Obama administration officials who set in motion efforts to undermine candidate Trump and his administration is now being exposed. So are those who perverted our intelligence agencies and even our criminal justice system to accomplish this; they ought to be exposed and punished.

Important as this is, however, and as crucial as it is that we restore the rule of law and the proper functioning of our three branches of government, more important still is that we remember what the Constitution meant when it sought to secure the "blessings of liberty" to us and our posterity.

That liberty is about keeping open variant approaches to human flourishing, and, indeed, about encouraging an attitude of wonder and delight. It's an attitude which might stand the best chance of preservation if the defenders of Ms. Jeong realize they are engaged in the same effort as the supporters of Mr. Trump.

Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was recently appointed as a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The left’s disappointment at the loss of its political power, and probably even more wounding, the repudiation of its philosophical ideas, has resulted in blind, vicious, and mendacious hatred of Mr. Trump and his administration.
jeong, lenin, maga, stalin
Monday, 06 August 2018 05:14 PM
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