Well, the celebration of our birthday has come and gone. Sorry, this post sort of fell at the bottom of the pile, given the ‘woke’ riots that have erupted nationwide. Brands are rushing for the bunkers, fearful of being torched by these left-wing crybabies. The media is as unhinged as ever. And now, even as the Fourth of July fireworks have long gone quiet, the statue debate is still ongoing.
Yeah, I think you all know by now that this wasn’t about Confederate statues. My eyes rolled incessantly seeing fellow right-leaning writers declare that we needed to stop defending people like Stonewall Jackson, one of the finest corps commanders this country ever produced, and someone we’re lucky who was not around by the time of the Battle of Gettysburg. This is American history. It’s nasty. It’s not pleasant but destroying a statue doesn’t end racism. And not talking about it doesn’t erase it either, but that’s the intent here. To channel Jackson, this is the flank march at Chancellorsville. Distract the public with trashing the Confederacy, only to wipe out everyone else who was problematic in the Left’s eyes. The Founding Fathers, Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant, and other memorials to Union soldiers. Folks, Abraham Lincoln is now a symbol of white supremacy. You’ve all seen this and know about it, so what the hell is going on? Well, part of it is that this just progressivism at its base level. They hate America. They hate our history. And they’re all in all just miserable who need to complain about everything. The second part is what Matt Taibbi hit on in a July piece about how this “Year Zero” stuff also could be grounded in the elites in both parties trying to hit a hard reset after their bad behavior was exposed by Donald Trump and the 2016 election. As a result, their allies in the elite media have engaged in nonstop hysteria that has treated everything Trump does as unprecedented. It’s mind-numbingly stupid. While the Trump-Russia collusion myth peddling is a large part of this narrative, Taibbi also notes at the other narrative that’s been manufactured: the media’s mobilization against the nation’s founding as some white nationalist project. To start anew, the elites have decided to ensure to create a climate of crisis in which only their first-class expertise could resolve—and if that means trashing America and going along with lefty nutjobs then so be it? At the same time, the whole piece is underlined with the irony of this whole lefty tantrum: a lot of its success is grounded over the fact that elite corporatism has latched onto it (via Matt Taibbi):
It’s tragic that this even needs saying, but the sudden reinvention in the press of modern America as a Nazi apartheid state is as phony as the thousands of patriotic campaigns that occupied the news media previously. We’re witnessing an obscene malfunction of the elite messaging system.
The people who run this country have run out of workable myths with which to distract the public, and in a moment of extreme crisis have chosen to stoke civil war and defame the rest of us – black and white – rather than admit to a generation of corruption, betrayal, and mismanagement.
I saw the first hints of this crackup in the panicked conversations of campaign reporters four summers ago. Colleagues in news media had always reveled in the power to police the boundaries of national politics.
Unfortunately, voters had other problems. By 2016 Americans had lived for a generation under an economic model dominated by huge transnational companies that sold weapons into holocausts of urban violence, rejoiced in addiction to opiates or carcinogens as a revenue model, bled virtually all the savings of the American middle class (targeting minorities especially) through a succession of speculative bubble schemes, and relentlessly lobbied to be exempted from taxes, environmental laws, criminal penalties, and even their own business errors, through bailouts approved by the “politicians” they sponsored in both parties.
When the election of Trump made a solid first attempt at answering that question, establishment figures howled in self-pity and outrage. Who but deplorable racists could hate us this much? Those were the first gusts hinting at the current hurricane of stupidity.
Papers like the New York Times did post-mortems citing research that concluded things like “how trade affected personal finances had little bearing on political preferences,” while “unemployment or the density of manufacturing jobs in one’s area” were similarly irrelevant. The same pundits who chanted “It’s the economy, stupid,” throughout the nineties reversed tune.
The press from January 2017 on presented a basically unbroken succession of terrors and manias, whose purpose was the psychological expunging of the insult to aristocratic America that was Trump’s Napoleonic occupation of the White House.
Everything was a maximum-level emergency. When Trump was too chummy with Putin in Helsinki, it was literal treason (“A historic moment in the entire history of the United States,” was the redundant gasp of Thomas Friedman). The administration’s admittedly grotesque decision to expand separations of detained immigrant children from their parents – a policy not terribly far off from that of George Bush or Barack Obama, but still – became “Trump’s Concentration Camps.” Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was an attack on “democracy itself.” In this reporting era, a cigar was never just a cigar; all things had to be unthinkable historical evils.
As journalism, 1619 read almost exactly like the paper’s post-mortems on the 2016 election – probably not an accident, since Baquet told us it was conceived identically as an effort to “understand the forces that led to the election of Donald Trump.” In both cases history was reduced to a simplistic showdown between evil racists and oppressed peoples.
The best explanation for these sudden reversals in rhetoric is that Trump broke the brains of America’s educated classes. Like Russian aristocrats who spent the last days of the Tsarist empire flocking to fortune-tellers and mystics, upscale blue-staters have lost themselves lately in quasi-religious tracts like White Fragility, and are lining up to flog themselves for personal and historical sins.
In desperation to help the country atone for their idea of why Trump happened, they’ve engaged in a sort of moon landing of anti-intellectual endeavors, committing a generation of minds to finding a solution to the one thing no thinking person ever considered a problem, i.e. the Enlightenment ideas that led to the American Revolution.
Yeah, the 1619 project is the NYT’s woke historical revisionist project which also happens to be historically illiterate. How delicious is it that this group who trash America’s founding as some white supremacist venture work for a paper whose founding family dabbled in slavery? By the Left’s standards, the paper has to go. If nothing happens, then everyone at the publication is a supporter of racism and white supremacy. Silence is violence. Yeah, talk about getting your face split open by the woke boomerang.
Granted, Taibbi is no conservative or Trump supporter, but he sees the faults on both sides and trashes them equally. That’s fine with me. He’s also a Trump-Russia collusion skeptic, but more importantly someone who sees the tendencies of the Left as unhinged. The resignation of Bari Weiss from the paper is another example of that—of a Democrat saying I’m still a liberal, but I’m not snorting from the ‘woke’ cocaine pile like the rest of you Sandinistas. What’s more destructive? The liberal media peddling neo-red scare nonsense about Russian collusion based on zero evidence or this sub-narrative of trying to erase American history because Trump won an election? If Trump is part of American history, then we shall have no history is quite the position. It’s also totally insane.