Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Centrist Quislings

I love how centrist predictions and prescriptions routinely fly in the face of actual results. Their one-size-fits-all "pox on both houses" moralizing is a poor substitute for actual analysis and thus rarely fits any situation. Just fetishize bipartisanship, insist "the truth is somewhere in-between," and fault both sides in equal measure sight unseen. It's like they are playing darts and don't get that the numbers on the board mean anything. They just say the center is the bull's eye and throw accordingly, so they don't win many games.(1)

Remember when the Gray Lady ran a concern-trolling "analysis" piece anecdotally claiming that criticizing Trump was actually helping him? I do. Trump entered office with historically low numbers which continued to plummet. Yet somehow, the author wondered if protest was helping Trump. 

Just take this precious gem: "[F]or many Trump voters, even peaceful protests are unsettling." Yes, hearing disagreement can be very unsettling. This was dutifully followed by quotes from some "moderate"(!) Trump voters saying we are in a civil war. That is catnip to centrists because concern trolling is literally who they are.

NEWSFLASH: Registered Independents who "lean Republican" are not necessarily "right of center." Many are hardcore conservatives.  Many of them think the GOP is "too liberal." They may identify as Independents but belong to other third parties - including right-wing. And the "libertarian"-to-reactionary pipeline is well-established. Centrists assume that Independents are like them when in fact they are very diverse. The term "moderate" is often misunderstood when not deliberately abused. Donald Trump himself is a "textbook definition of an ideological moderate" because he defies party orthodoxy. He is just an obnoxious version of the non-ideological voter centrists ordinarily celebrate and associate with policy sobriety. Thus, the textbook example of their un-ideological ideology totally torpedoes their whole worldview.

So, I'm skeptical when the chronically wrong who reflexively default to false equivalencies say that antifas are actually helping Nazis. Particularly when it comes on the heels of Donald Trump's claim that there is violence on "both sides." When you say "What about the alt-left?" you are siding with Trump.(2) Centrists, please revisit your whole worldview. You have painted yourself into a dark corner. Indeed, it seems to be the corner of an Escher drawing. ____________ 1) EDIT 9/13/17: Oh shit, this is simply beautiful. 2) Pointing out that centrist James Wolcott originally coined the term "alt-left" first is hardly exculpatory. It still shows how centrists and conservatives think alike. Centrists are closet conservatives. Indeed, as I wrote previously, long before "alt-left" or "alt-right" appeared in our lexicon, loons like Glenn Beck and Jonah Goldberg were channeling Horseshoe Theory to claim that progressives are Nazis. I wrote a whole chapter about the right's ass-backwards Nazi analogies in my 2014 book. It's the twisted logic that National Review writer Kevin Williamson used to call Bernie Sanders a "national socialist" in 2015. (Not that Clintonistas are immune to similar tin-eared comments about the Jewish senator.) Centrists and conservatives reflexively make the same manifest false equivalency. It has become rhetorical motor memory by this point.

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