Bret Stephens wrote an obnoxious column, to which I will not link. Tom Nichols, the author of The Death of Expertise, a professor at the Naval War College, and a frequent contributor on MSNBC felt drawn to do a Twitter thread in response to the argument put forth by Stephens. It is something I think should be read by everyone.
He has quite the Twitter following with over 400K followers. He posts as @RadioFreeTom.
Nichols was a conservative national security type. He is strongly opposed to Trump.
Some of what he has to say may not sit well with all, but it is a fairly thorough dismantling of the “both sides” approach of some in the media.
Thread Reader did an unroll of the Twitter thread, and that is what I have posted beneath the fold.
Yes, I read the Bret Stephens piece. Ho hum. Yes, the intolerant left is a threat. Stipulated.
However, I have excoriated people on the left for most of my career. But only opposing Trump produced harassment, demands to fire me, and death threats. Cancel culture, indeed. /1I mean, I have blistered everyone from Obama to Hillary Clinton, and across the seas to Putin and Assad. For years, I was an outspoken conservative. But I never encountered McCarthyist thuggery like the kind I’ve gotten from the Cult of Trump. So spare me the hand-wringing. /2I am not blind to the totalitarian streak on the left. I wrote about it – and at The Federalist, back in the day, no less. Amazingly, no one on the left tried to get me fired for it or told me I’d be hung as a traitor or left endless f-bombs on my voicemail at work. Imagine. /3Look, the Democrats always have short-pants Stalinists in their midst. The GOP has always had theocratic wanna-be ayatollahs in *their* midst. The difference is that the GOP is now in power and owned, completely, by its fringe – one that is frantic with fear and anger. /4The people who want to pull down statues without reading the nameplates (or without reading a book) are idiots. Many are the children of privilege. Some are even stupid enough to think they’re leading a revolution. They’re not. Calm down. /5Leftist revolution here is about as likely as the Civil War 2.0 porn that Trump’s kooks love so much (not least because those same young people would freak out if no-kidding socialism was ever implemented).
Meanwhile, right-wing attacks on the Constitution? Happening now. /6“Oh noes, the college kids are gonna take over the country!” is one of those cyclical things that conservatives worry about – usually as an indication of how little faith conservatives have in their own ideas and how much they fear their own personal weaknesses./7But what about the culture war, right? Here’s an open secret: most GOPers never really cared that much about the culture war. They say they do, and they wave the flag and decry the behavior of poor people and brown people and people in cities, but that’s mostly a show. /8How can I say this? Because you don’t see much of that culture war reflected in the personal behavior of most self-identified conservatives, who are as decadent as anyone else. These are not Amish stoics. They just don’t like *other* people being decadent, too. /9What are they, then? They’re white people, who liked the world (or imagine they did) the way it looked when they were kids, and use the culture war as a proxy for resentment and nostalgia. The behavior of political evangelicals since 2016, especially, finally outed all that. /10You want me to worry about college Marxists? Yeah, I’ll get right on that as soon as we dislodge the febrile anti-constitutionalists of the GOP.
I have plenty of concerns about the left. But right now, I’d like to deal with the obvious and demonstrated threat from the right. /11I’ve been hearing about leftists taking over the country since I was a kid. It was supposed to happen in the 60s, after the 80s, etc etc. And the culture war, such that is, was over decades ago.
But I never thought I’d have to fight over the Constitution – with the *right*. /12So take all your fears of rampaging drag queens and how Joe Biden is controlled by the College Spartacists, and put ’em in a sock, pally. I’ll be first in line to oppose extremist left-wing dumbassery – once we defeat far more dangerous people like Barr and McConnell. /12x
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Frankly I’ll always take my chances with the “educated,” rather than hand things over with folks who think disparagment of science and good ‘ol folk wisdom will produce adequate leadership for the country. Bring on the college types and the brainiacs — and people who graduated with honors.
Powerful indictment of the Trumpists and rightwingnuts. We have Newt Gingrich to thank for much of this resentment and hate. He put an end to collegiality among legislators.
Even in recognizing the apocalyptic, existential threat that is Trumpism he can’t stomach the idea that the left was never the boogeyman he thought it was. The very best any Republican can do is be half-right about anything.