Sunday, May 07, 2017

"The “truth” is simply a pastiche of “stories” or “narratives.”

Victor Davis Hanson writes at American Greatness, A few excerpts, one seriously believes that a supposed Alt-Right is a widespread phenomenon, much less that it drives the Republican Party or the Trump administration. The latter, for example, is the most pro-Israel American government in recent memory.

...But on the other side, an “Alternative Left” is no longer an “alternate” wing of the Democratic Party or traditional liberalism. It now drives the Democratic Party trajectory.

What are its tenets other than the obvious of addressing man-caused climate change by radically restructuring the American economy, favoring a lead-from-behind stature abroad, and seeing “you didn’t build that” capitalism as parasitic rather than nourishing of American democracy?

Its overarching ideology seems to be a filtered version of campus postmodernism. Therefore the “truth” is simply a pastiche of “stories” or “narratives.”

...The Obama victory of 2008 had a profound effect on the Democratic Party, suggesting that the “power” of getting elected twice gave “truth” to Obama’s polarizing brand of organizing groups based on ethnic and racially based grievances, in concert against a supposedly fading and bigoted establishment. (This axiom is in need of some postmodern revisionism after the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the loss of most governorships, state legislatures, the Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court.)

For the Alt-Left, there are not really inanimate laws of human nature or language. Instead, political mobilization can construct powerful narratives of change: Opposition to gay marriage can be endorsed by both Obama and Clinton in 2008 and then be reconstructed as proof of right wing bigotry by 2012.

Zones of neo-Confederate federal nullification to stop the deportation of illegal alien criminals can be rebranded as “sanctuary cities” to protect the innocent “migrants” from arbitrary and racist immigration laws. “La Raza” does not really mean “The Race.” Instead, Raza simply denotes the “people” in reference to oppressed communities.

...The Alt-Left’s idea of the nullification of law is not limited to campuses. Over 300 sanctuary cities and jurisdictions have now adopted states’ rights arguments from the 1850s (which resurfaced under the Dixiecrat movements of the 1940s and 1950s, before ending with George Wallace defying federal law enforcement’s desegregation orders at the doorway to the University of Alabama). Local laws trump federal legislation and thus entitle sanctuary cities to shield illegal aliens wanted on federal criminal warrants.

...Postmodern relativism reinvents standards of probity to fit changing perceptions of morality: the filibuster was bad under Obama but good under Trump. The “Biden Rule” opposed lame duck presidents from nominating Supreme Court justices—except when they were declared morally superior nominees. The nuclear option was a necessity corrective to mindless rejectionism unless the rejectionism became rebranded as moral and principled. Pen and phone executive orders were constitutional remedies for gridlock—until they became unconstitutional overreaches to stop gridlock. Powerful minorities and women were role models—but if conservative deserved smears as traitors to their race and sex.

A final tenet of the Alt-Left is its ease with Big Money — in rejection of the 1960s leftist notion that small is beautiful, simplicity is revolutionary, and lucre is proof of exploitation and criminality. Today, an inverted orthodoxy is that billionaire grandees from Wall Street to Silicon Valley to Hollywood have been flipped from robber barons to social justice mavens (read they are so wealthy that they are personally exempt from the deleterious ramifications of their own ideology that falls on the poorer and less influential). There is nothing odd about an Alt-Left activist consulting his ample stock portfolio, insisting on granite and marble in his kitchen, or preferring Mercedes to Lexus; the old left wing idea that life emulates ideology is passé.

...The old Alt-Left in contrast is the Democratic Party — not an alternative to it. In its present manifestation, not just a Harry Truman and JFK or even Bill Clinton would be seen as noxious, but the earlier incarnations of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 as well.

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