September 15, 2017


How Trump's Turning Liberals into Burkeans (BARTON SWAIM, 8/25/17, Weekly Standard)
Most conservatives find the Trump presidency highly distressing for a variety of totally valid reasons--the ideological mishmash, the dysfunction, the lack of any political principle guiding the nation's chief executive. But there is one part of the present era I can't help enjoying, and that's the way liberals so often sound like conservatives--confused and rather dim conservatives who've only just realized what's been done to their culture.

It happened about the time Donald Trump clinched the Republican primary in 2016: Suddenly liberal commentators began lamenting the destruction of time-honored conventions and generally sounding like defensive traditionalists. Trump wouldn't release his tax returns--an outrageous flouting of a decades-old tradition! He openly used profanity--a gross transgression of the time-honored customs of our politics! He was toying with the idea of living in New York instead of Washington--is nothing sacred? And at one point there was talk of doing away with the White House press briefing--what was the world coming to?

I shared all these anxieties, and still share them. But I was surprised and amused to see people on the left reveal an almost Burkean affection for habit and convention. Who knew that progressives--the very word implies a repudiation of things as they are--had such a high regard for the old ways of doing things?

Posted by at September 15, 2017 7:36 AM