Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"The Squad" v. Trump and the "end of liberalism": no, it's a cover for a Trump asylum ban?

David Brooks seemed to summarize the existential question of what today’s political polarization could require of every one of us, as he writes “What Pelosi vs. the Squad Really Means”. 

Nobody wants liberalism now, where everyone directs himself through a moral maze to find what’s best for him.  But now we see this kind of individualism as an excuse for unearned power.

Conservatives want the constraint of clan, because the ability of families to continue and particularly for men to defend and provide (and remain intimate in faithfulness) requires some faith in the purity of others. Conservatives are on to something, ironically, when they see social credit as a related to learning to provide for others, and to give back to those who are less competitive on their own in proportion to what was done previously for oneself.  It’s easier if you are gifted.  At least, however, the tribe built on lineage is a natural group and the only effective place to teach interpersonal caretaking that everyone is supposed to learn before branching out into the world as an autonomous adult.

The “Left” has winnowed down to essentialism, where one’s station in life is defined by an immutable identity. The problem is that any such identity, starting with race, is a purely arbitrary social construct. Groups based on behavioral potentials and limitations are really artificial indeed.
Individualism is tied to free speech, and the Left sees speech, as opposed to collective action, as a way to hold on to some sort of schizotypal notion of one’s own personal influence and importance, unfettered by any accountability for unearned group privilege.

After going through a tour of civilization’s moral foundation, Brooks returns to the Squad, and seems to imply the Squad is playing Trump with bait, making demands so collectivist that Trump is bound to lash out with stupid statements that will betray him as racist, simply because he doesn’t want to dirty his fingernails or golden scalp hair with “losers”.

Ezra Klein, of Vox, pretty much buys this interpretation. But he also sees it as an attempt of the far Left to pull the center of gravity of power all the way over, to force voters and persons to see moral obligations more in terms of the historical privileges or burdens for groups than in terms of something individual people can curate in the narrower realm of “personal responsibility”. 

All the sudden Tim Pool comes along and turns this upside down in this Timcast, where it is Trump who is playing the Left as a distraction from his announcement of a policy limiting asylum seeking with “third party processing”.

Wow.  Trump really is willing to act proud to be seen as a racist to get his way.  Yet, some of his immigration goals really are defendable.  Already, there is litigation as to what federal law really says (Politico). 

Apparently Trump, playing demagogue, got his base to chant "send her back" at a rally today, as if that meme would get you banned on Twitter. 

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