Even though Fox News gave him the boot, George Will’s signature trait — pretentiousness — is alive and well. In a recent column in the Washington Post titled “Vote against the GOP this November,” Will outdid himself with a whole new level of pretentiousness. One gets the distinct impression that his greatest thrill in life is coming up with words that most people have never heard of.
True, his pretentiousness is phony and obnoxious. True, he has become a caricature of the infantile whiners who failed to get their way in the last election. True, his irrelevance has reduced him to a pathetic figure. But before dismissing Will’s childish behavior out of hand, I think it’s worth examining what his downfall and subsequent bitterness means in the grand scheme of things.
Will is an icon of the establishment that ruled Washington for decades, prior to the Trump Revolution — perhaps, one might argue, since the very inception of the nation. Those in the establishment have had their way for so long they cannot bring themselves to believe they are no longer in control of things.
To them, the Trump-inspired political earthquake is nothing more than a sociological hiccup — an accident of history that occurs every 50 years or so. Just bide one’s time, keep calm, hold the fort, and it will all melt away when people finally come to their senses.
The late, great Charles Krauthammer, one of George Will’s closest friends, was somewhat caught up in the same normalcy-bias trap, though he had a much better grasp of reality than Will. When I interviewed Krauthammer back in 2009, I found him to be reasonable and thoughtful with his words, and, in an uneffusive and odd sort of way, rather pleasant.
However, when Krauthammer and I appeared on a panel discussion together for the second time the following year, he was rather unhappy with my grouping Barack Obama in with some of the more infamous dictators of our time. Obama is, after all, a nice guy. Just ask Gentleman Mitt.
I mention my brief interactions with Charles Krauthammer only to make the point that even though he was unquestionably a brilliant, insightful, fair-minded man — not to mention an incredibly brave one — he could not seem to comprehend the fact that the political landscape was being paved over by a sea of fed-up, truth-telling populists.
I thought about all this in 2016 when Krauthammer said, “This is the strongest field of Republican candidates in 35 years. You could pick a dozen of them at random and you have the strongest cabinet America’s had in our lifetime.” I wholeheartedly disagreed with his assessment but respected his opinion.
He then went on to say, “Instead, all of our time is spent discussing this rodeo clown (Donald Trump).” Still, no big deal, just his opinion. But when he went one step further and complained that “No previous president has ever talked like that,” it was a telltale moment for me because it showed that Charles Krauthammer, a man who made it a habit to carefully measure his words, simply was not able to grasp what was happening in America.
Clearly, it had not sunk in with him that it was because Donald Trump “talks like that” that he was elected president — even though Horrible Hillary and the Dirty Dems, the FBI, the DOJ, and Never-Trump Republicans illegally conspired against him.
More broadly, I don’t believe Charles Krauthammer, notwithstanding his brilliance, could fathom that because no one has had the courage to reign in the hateful rhetoric and threats coming from the Radical Left, the door has been opened for them to take the next step and resort to the kind of violence that could lead to a second civil war.
The violence of the Radical Left was on vivid display last week when Sarah Sanders, Kirstjen Nielson, and Stephen Miller were confronted and harassed in restaurants and Pam Bondi got the same treatment when trying to enter a movie theater. The message was clear: Whatever it takes, “Nazis” must be forcibly prevented from infecting the public landscape.
All this reminds me of why I strayed from hard-line libertarian doctrine some years ago. It was a result of my finally accepting the reality that there are both evil and ignorant people in the world who delight in causing pain and suffering to those with whom they disagree. When I use the word evil, it’s not necessarily in a biblical context but, rather, a figurative way of referring to people who enjoy seeing others suffer.
As to ignorance, it can often lead to the same results as evil. The empirical evidence makes it clear that a person who is ignorant but well-intentioned can do as much harm to others as the person who is knowledgeable but ill-intentioned.
Low-information (i.e., ignorant) people provide the manpower for evil leaders whose objective is to silence their perceived enemies. They are the useful idiots that Vladimir Lenin spoke about so contemptuously in the early part of the 20th century, those lost souls who provide crusaders with the true believers they need to carry out their crusades.
They are generally the kind of self-loathing zombies who became Hitler’s brown shirts and Mao’s Red Guard. Today they fill the ranks of hate groups like Occupy Wall Street, Antifa, and, yes, the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In other words, history has taught us not to dismiss rank-and-file true believers as harmless fools. No matter how ignorant they may seem, they are extremely dangerous if for no other reason than they are guided by emotion rather than intellect.
Which brings me to the Boy Scout Republicans — unprincipled toadys like Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, and Marco Rubio. These are the mental dwarfs who bray on endlessly about “reaching across the aisle,” as though they believe their good-faith efforts will make the Dirty Dems respond in kind. What they do not understand is that reaching across the aisle does not work when those on the other side of the aisle want to destroy you and everything you believe in.
As the Radical Left ramps up its moral-superiority crusade to take out Trump and his supporters, it will become ever more clear that their antics can end only in one of two ways: capitulation by those on the right who disagree with them (as has usually been the case in the past) or all-out civil war. Which one is worse is subject to debate.
The only thing we know for certain is that the Radical Left will never, ever back down. Their hatred is too deep, their anger too raw, their ignorance too great. And, make no mistake about it, the Radical Left now includes most of the Democratic Party.
Also, never forget that lurking in the background is the only president in history who vowed to fundamentally change America, the only president in history to hang around Washington after his presidency ended and actively try to undermine and destroy his successor; the only president in history to offer such violence-dripped gems as:
“We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends,”
“I want you to argue with them and get in their face.”
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” (Maybe this is the best reason of all to cherish the Second Amendment.)
I guess this is what the oh-so-sweet and charming Mrs. Obama means when she says, with a straight face, “When they go low, we go high.” Wink, wink.
It’s time to face up to it: The Radical Left is at war with the rule of law, at war with the Constitution, at war with civility, at war with normal, everyday Americans. The only question that remains is: What will take the Radical Left’s hatred and insanity to a new level and cause them to fire that first shot at Fort Sumter?
Could it be Donald Trump’s upcoming, ultra-conservative Supreme Court pick? We shall soon find out.