January 9, 2018

IT'S JUST A GARDEN VARIETY INFERIORITY COMPLEX:

From Sea to Shining Sea : Why have conservatives abandoned the coasts? (Kevin D. Williamson, January 7, 2018, National Review)

In 2018, our politics isn't about policy. It's about Kulturkampf, which means it is about enemies. For contemporary Republicans, especially those of the Trump-oriented persuasion, that means the people they denounce as "elites" and "globalists." Trump denounces "elites" and "globalists," and his partisans find this satisfying. He also spent his first year in office giving those "elites" and "globalists" practically everything they wanted in terms of his policy agenda, including a very large corporate tax cut and the imposition of a territorial tax system -- two proposals near and dear to the pinstriped hearts of multinational executives around the world but of relatively little interest to pissed-off underemployed white guys in Garbutt.

The self-respecting nationalist-populist might ask why it is that Lloyd Blankfein got his tax cut before they got their wall -- if politics were about policy. But it isn't. The self-respecting nationalist-populist might wonder why Trump is talking about how great the stock market is doing when 2017 saw the weakest growth in jobs since 2010. They might wonder why two of the most important figures in Trumpworld -- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and recently exiled consigliere Steve Bannon -- both are products of Goldman Sachs and Hollywood, detestable coastal elites if ever there were any.

Oh, but let's talk about Rosie O'Donnell . . . 

Politics can be about policy, and the Democratic-dominated parts of the country could use a dose of good conservative thinking when it comes to improving their terrible public schools, reducing crime, sorting out their pension messes, and improving the standard of living for non-billionaires in high-priced coastal states. The cities need Republicans, and Republicans need the cities -- assuming that they do not want to be a political party that dominates only those parts of the country where the people aren't. Some will say: "California -- let it burn!" Considering the cultural excesses of the tech industry, my colleague Heather Wilhelm suggested in these pages last week that we "Wall Off Silicon Valley." She was being funny, but not everybody is joking.

The "Real American" sneering at New York and California is tied up in silly and romantic notions about virtue. Not that virtue is silly or that venerating it is romantic. Far from it: Virtue is essential to the healthy and peaceful functioning of a free republic. What's silly is the notion that virtue cannot be found, practiced, or taught in Los Angeles, and what's daftly romantic is the notion that it somehow sprouts up out of the ground wherever corn and wheat do. 

Posted by at January 9, 2018 5:30 PM

  

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