Conservative follies

1. Once dueling was banned, masculinity was gone forever. It’s not coming back. Nonetheless, the always out of date National Review has a piece discussing Senator Hawley’s futile attempt to revive masculinity:

Trump, it must be said, is the most prominent bearer of the reputation of manliness at this time. He is surely the model today for male aggressiveness, the one who dares to risk the dislike of women. He does have the support of those women who do not care for sensitive males with too much education but prefer rougher, more manly types willing to take on the responsibility of insulting their enemies. But he is happy to abandon and destroy the conventions of normality, which, unbeknownst to feminists, are so protective of women. Why should women with their newfound independence remain in need, indeed have greater need, of barriers against harassment by pushy males? But it seems that they do, and that they feel they have reason and at long last power to defend themselves, or in practice to be defended by law and government. “Women for Trump” are thus, it appears, a fading minority the senator cannot count on.

And does Trump merit the badge of manliness? Should he carry the flag? Returning to the description of manly man we began with, one cannot say that Trump does not notice microaggressions. He notices nothing more than slights of any size, especially small ones, and makes a policy of constantly complaining of those done to himself, above all the crowning injustice of not being reelected. His idea of standing tall makes him willing to stoop to say anything to defend his fragile dignity. In sum, he gives manliness a bad name. But is it necessary for a Republican politician in a difficult situation, like Senator Hawley, always and in every regard to speak frankly like a man? Manliness is not the whole truth of a human being. Sometimes womanly silence is prudent, if only to preserve the deference manly men always show to women, though not always for their prudence.

I’ll hold back my manly urge to mock, and instead maintain a womanly silence.

2. A website entitled “Law and Liberty” has a piece defending Putin’s war on Ukraine:

Of course, it is conventional wisdom in western capitals that Vladimir Putin is an imperial monster, and he is always ready to brutalize his neighbors with military force.

Um, isn’t that because it’s true?

But what if conventional wisdom is wrong? What if Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are legitimate spheres of influence for the Russian nation, with deep cultural, language, and religious ties going back to the 10th century when Ukraine converted to the Eastern Orthodox religion?

And what if the Czech Sudetenland has deep historical ties to Germany? What if northern Romania has deep historical ties to Hungary? What if Taiwan has deep historical ties to China? What if the Rio Grande Valley has deep historical ties to Mexico? So many questions that can be asked!

What if NATO and the West are the imperialists, attempting to bully Russia from involving itself in a nation whose historical ties to Russia are far deeper than the United States’ ties to Canada?  

Would it be OK for the US to invade Canada?

3. In a new Atlantic piece, David Brooks looks at modern conservatism and is appalled.

Trumpian Republicanism plunders, degrades, and erodes institutions for the sake of personal aggrandizement. The Trumpian cause is held together by hatred of the Other. Because Trumpians live in a state of perpetual war, they need to continually invent existential foes—critical race theory, nongendered bathrooms, out-of-control immigration. They need to treat half the country, metropolitan America, as a moral cancer, and view the cultural and demographic changes of the past 50 years as an alien invasion. Yet pluralism is one of America’s oldest traditions; to conserve America, you have to love pluralism. As long as the warrior ethos dominates the GOP, brutality will be admired over benevolence, propaganda over discourse, confrontation over conservatism, dehumanization over dignity. A movement that has more affection for Viktor Orbán’s Hungary than for New York’s Central Park is neither conservative nor American. This is barren ground for anyone trying to plant Burkean seedlings.

He’s ready to jump ship:

I’m content, as my hero Isaiah Berlin put it, to plant myself instead on the rightward edge of the leftward tendency—in the more promising soil of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party.

But for every David Brooks, there will be 100 working class Hispanic voters going in the opposite direction.

We are a banana republic, a place where elections are fought over the issue of the fairness of elections. In countries such as Canada, Germany and Denmark, elections are fought over policy issues. In countries such as Venezuela, Russia, and the US, the issue is the election itself–each side accuses the other of stealing the election. In Canada, Germany and Denmark, politics revolves around political parties. In Venezuela, Russia, and the US, politics revolves around personality cults. All that matters is loyalty to the “man on horseback”. (And it must be a man. Kamala Harris? I’ve got more chance of being president.)

So which group of countries is best described by the term “banana republic”?

BTW. When I first compared Trump to Orban, conservatives were outraged. “How dare you suggest that Trump is a authoritarian populist!” Now Orban is the poster child of modern American conservatism.

4. I’ve been tough on Trump, but today I wish to praise his wisdom. On the night of the 2012 election it looked like Romney might have received more votes. Trump responded appropriately:

In additional tweets since deleted, Trump asks why Romney should lose if he received a greater number of votes. Upon the final tally, President Barack Obama defeated Romney in both the popular vote and electoral college.

“He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!” said Trump in one deleted tweet, and “More votes equals a loss … revolution!” in another.

Yes, a revolution. In 2016 we all should have stormed the Capitol for Hillary.

5. A few weeks later, Trump had a thoughtful postmortem on the election:

Donald Trump: Mean-Spirited GOP Won’t Win Elections

The Republican Party will continue to lose presidential elections if it comes across as mean-spirited and unwelcoming toward people of color, Donald Trump tells Newsmax. . . .

Romney’s solution of “self deportation” for illegal aliens made no sense and suggested that Republicans do not care about Hispanics in general, Trump says.

“He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal,” Trump says. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote,” Trump notes. “He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”

So true!!

6. Ever wonder why China’s Communist Party likes Donald Trump? Read this tweet. No American has done more to advance China’s technological development.

7. Why was Trump better in the old days? Kevin Drum cites evidence that cognitive ability declines after age 62. BTW, I’m 66, so that explains a lot of what went wrong with this blog about 4 years ago.

8. Former NJ Governor Christie was put into intensive care by Trump’s selfishness:

“I would have worn a mask if I knew that,” Christie said. “We knew everybody in that room, except for the president, was getting tested every day. We didn’t know what the president’s testing regimen was.”

“So if Mark Meadows knew that somebody that I was sitting across from for four days had popped the positive test, [he] should have told us,” he added.

“He didn’t tell us,” Christie said. “I went into the hospital in the intensive care unit. He didn’t call and tell me. So I think that’s inexcusable.”

I wouldn’t wish Covid on anyone. But did Christie not know what kind of person Trump was? If you play with snakes, don’t complain if you get bitten.



25 Responses to “Conservative follies”

  1. Gravatar of MichaelM MichaelM
    10. December 2021 at 17:27

    “I’ll hold back my manly urge to mock, and instead maintain a womanly silence. ”

    My wife has had me watching John Wayne movies recently. The idea that silence is womanish/unmanly is hilarious.

    Trump isn’t manly, he’s boyish. A moody teenager who can’t help himself lashing out at a world that he doesn’t understand but mistakes for not understanding him.

  2. Gravatar of stubydoo stubydoo
    11. December 2021 at 07:12


    If we’re going to explore manliness based on who talks how much in Western movies, then Hawley’s audience might need the less subtle approach used in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Clint Eastwood as Scott Sumner, Eli Wallach as Donald Trump (the question of which one is more manly is left as an exercise). And of course, Lee van Cleef as Vladimir Putin

  3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. December 2021 at 08:56

    stubydoo, Eli Wallach is the real star of that movie, just as Trump is a far better actor than I am.

  4. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    11. December 2021 at 11:08

    So long as a few shreds and tatters of your former cognitive ability remain, keep those blog posts coming!

  5. Gravatar of rinat rinat
    11. December 2021 at 14:02

    Where is Scott posting from? Mars?

    Does he really believe that the CCP, a totalitarian organization, hell bent on destroying the last vestiges of individuality, prefer an individualist like Donald John Trump to a collectivist like Biden?

    Has he completely lost his mind? Or is this another example of Trump Derangement Syndrom? Will Sumner soon attack himself, and claim people with red hats did it?

    1. We all know that China is hostile to anything Trump. They worked overtime, through their subsidiaries, like CNN, NYT and Disney, to remove him from office. And yes, Sumner – Disney does indeed own all three. Look at who owns the shares! The truth is that there is nothing more threatining to a totalitarian regime than a man who inspires others to believe in small government, individual rights, and lockean ethics. Indeed, the entire philosophy of libertarianism, mostly predicated on Kant and Locke, is anathema to the collectivist mindset of the CCP. The word Trump makes them quiver in their boots, while the word Biden makes them jump for joy. With Biden, you get the status quo – e.g, a slow bleeding and siphoning of American prosperity. A kickback here and there to a few governors, senators, presidents and their sons, and suddenly the doors open to a world that enriches a few while leaving the rest behind. Sumner points to the total, says GDP is higher, and claims victory. He is too slow to realize that there are winners and losers, and the American people are a clear loser (except for a tiny fraction). Trump understands that investment in totalitariniasm is a threat to democracy and individuality worldwide. He understands that globalism, while a net benefit in totality, has winners and losers. And finally, he understands that overall, America is not winning. Southeast Asia loves globalism. The more the better. Their salaries have doubled in the last decade. Have yours?

    2. Russia is not the enemy Sumner. You just cannot get it through that partisan skull that the Soviet Union is dead! Wake up! Russia isn’t communist or totalitarian. Yes, there are problems like corruption which still remain a part of Russian culture – but this was a problem that proceeded the Boshelvik Revolution. And btw, if you continue to replace virtue with debasement of culture, and seek the dogma of equality to it’s most abstract form, then you will also have a lot of corruption. You always call yourself a banana republic because a few corrupt walk the halls of washington, but the truth is that you have no idea what it is like to live in a corrupted environment. Your courts are not corrupted and neither are most of your officers. Indeed, they continue to strike down unconstitutional mandates. Just a few days ago, PA Supreme court, which exists in one of the most politically corrupt states, shut down your totalitarian agenda. And since you haven’t noticed, let me explicility state for the record that hedonism and chaos don’t bring about economic prosperity. Your 1960’s thugs are not going to make America great again. And as for Americans who still have a brain and who are not brainwashed like Sumner – you still have a chance to turn things around. You don’t live in a totalitarian state. But you are headed that way. If you want to avoid it, take the red pill. And don’t listen to Sumner. Follow the path of individualism, and never let Sumner and his cohort take away your liberty. Fight to the death if you have to.

    3. It is true that Ukraine, Crimea, Bulgaria, and others share an affinity and affection towards Russia. We are all slavic, speak Russian, and have similar culture and politics. But again, you miss the point. Eastern Europe is moving towards Russia because Russia is moderate and the European Union is not. Do you really believe that we forgot what it was like to live under communism? Do you think we want to go back to a totalitarian group of airheaded appratchiks – like yourself – who try to control our lives from Brussels? Do you think we are so stupid?

    All of us can see a shift in idealogy over the last thirty years. It is subtle to those who have not experienced this type of attack on individual rights, but it’s one that we remember all too well; that is, to restrict speach, to change the definition of words, to seek to impose your will upon communities through the issuance of dictorial mandates, centralize the state and industry, so on and so forth.

    You can keep living in a fantasy world where Trump = bad, or you can realize that your party – i.e., the left, has moved so far to the left that it now threatens the very substructure of America (.i.e, the constitution), and that it no longer represents the party of JFK and RFK who would not be fans of your policies, nor the direction the party has moved. Indeed, RFK jr is out there trying to stop this centralization of power as we speak. Unfortunetly, like his father, he may not live very much longer. The forces of evil are moving swiftly to shut down any voice of opposition.

  6. Gravatar of Henry Henry
    11. December 2021 at 14:20

    Chris Christie has the ability to make his own choices. He doesn’t need you, or trump, to make those choices for him. He is now in intensive care because he’s fat, nasty and disgusting. I suggest to him more semolina, and fewer bergers; that is, if he survives. If he doesn’t, I won’t lose ANY sleep at all. He is a man with a brain, perfectly capable of determining his own risk.

    You say that Masculinity suddenly ceased because duels were outlawed? WTF are you thinking?

    According to this bizarre logic, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwayne Johnson, Arnold, Devon Larratt, Shaquille O’Neal, etc, are all effiminate sissies. After all, 7-0 350 pounds screams femininity.

    What a stupid thing to say.


  7. Gravatar of Harry Harry
    11. December 2021 at 14:46

    If Trump is a snake, then what is Biden?

    I don’t remember Donald Trump jr working for Burisma, and bribing officials to fire the government prosecutor looking into Burisma’s affairs after daddy’s visit to Ukraine; I don’t remember DJT establishing a hedge fund with Chinese money to the tune of 1B, or selling amatuer art work for 500M. I don’t remember ever seeing DJT in a bathrob, with a prostitute smoking crack cocaine out of a pipe.

    I do remember a Russian investigation that cost 40M of tax payer money: an investigation that was started because of a fake report.

    I do remember the “thought crime” phone call, whereby democrats proceeded to make the claim that they KNEW what Trump was thinking. That was hilarious, and a further waste of tax payer money.

    I do remember claims that Trump was earning millions from renting a hotel (god forbid he rented rooms in a hotel he owns) to govt officials abroad, who mostly wanted to stay there because it’s the best hotel in Washington. In fact, I also remember that he made so much money from this supposed “corruption” that he had to sell the hotel because it wasn’t earning much money. Gosh, I never knew corruption paid so little. Perhaps he should have tried the NGO route, because that worked wonders for the broke clintons.

    What is the next false attack on Trump? What is the southern district of NY, the democratic stronghold that leads to a run for Governor or Senate, cooking up now. I’m waiting with bated breath.

    You my friend, are suffering from what they like to call “Trump Derangement Syndrome”. It’s funny to read, but also a bit sad and pathetic.

  8. Gravatar of jayne jayne
    11. December 2021 at 16:02

    “Why was Trump better in the old days? Kevin Drum cites evidence that cognitive ability declines after age 62. BTW, I’m 66, so that explains a lot of what went wrong with this blog about 4 years ago.”

    So one random guy says that you experience mental decline at the age of 62, and you suddenly believe it at face value without considering the numerous academic papers that disagree?

    Did it occur to you that people are not homogenous? There are people in there 90’s, like Noam Chomsky, who can run circles around you. You are a bore, and a retard, compared to him. Yet, you are 30 years younger.

    Stop trying to place people into groups! This is the problem with the left. I’m not a group. You are not a group.

    Just because YOU lose intelligence at 62, doesn’t mean EVERYONE does.

    And I don’t think your blog is any better, nor is it any worse, than it was at 61.

  9. Gravatar of ankh ankh
    11. December 2021 at 17:39

    It is true that Eastern Europe is moving towards Russia, but that is simply because Russia is the lesser of the two evils. Western Europe is now totalitarian. From vaccine passports, to segregation at the supermarket, to dictating how you run your border, the crazy lunatics in Brussels are more horrifying than anything Putin could ever do to them. I’d rather have a leader whose a killer, but who protects my country from radicals on both sides, then live under mob rule.

    And of course the Russian people know Putin is corrupt. But he is still the best man for the job. Navalney is a globalist who is owned by the MNC’s. Where do you think a bad lawyer whose broke gets his millions? Russians are also under attack daily by the thuggery of NATO. They need a strong man – and a genius – to protect them. And Putin is both.


    Some conservatives and libertarians in the USA are preparing for a civil war. They see the totalitarian left for what it is, and they are preparing for what feels like a future battle for the soul of the republic. The CCP will fund the democratic party, so the conservatives will need SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, to help them. And the best man to level the playing field is the genius Vladímir Vladímirovich Putin.

  10. Gravatar of Gerald Gerald
    11. December 2021 at 18:48

    Scott, is having another meltdown.

    1. People want security. What does security mean? It means walking outside without fear of being mugged. It means leaving your car, without fear that it will be hijacked in broad day light. It means sleeping without fear of robbery, kidnapping, or death.

    2. People want freedom over their body. What does bodily freedom mean? It means you don’t have the right to tell me to put something inside my body, especially not a drug with a high rate of myocarditis. It means you don’t have the right to silence me, fire me, or force me to take it. And for the woman out there who want freedom over their body during pregnancy, I will add that killing someone else is not freedom over YOUR body. If you cannot make a decision in the first three months of pregnancy, then please do not come to my office and ask me to kill a child in the eight month. I would prefer that deranged sickos and mentally sick patients go to a physiatrist instead. If you want I’d be happy to make a recommendation.

    3. People have a right to a fair trial. What does that mean? It means the media should refrain from claiming guilt or innocence for political purposes until the evidence is brought forward in the court of trial. From smollet to rittenhouse, and trump, the democrats continue to inflame tensions when they don’t have any evidence at all.

    4. There is no such thing as “hate speech”. Free speech means that I have the right to be offensive. You don’t have a right to make a subjective and arbitrary list of words that I cannot use.

    5. I’m a physician. I work at a hospital. Masks, double masks, and triple masks are not going to save you from particles that are 1/20 of 1 micron. Cloth masks have a penetration rate of 95%. N95’s have a penetration rate of 45%. Wear them if you want, but don’t tell me they work. They don’t.

    6. Blaming someone else for omitting information is a dangerous game. It is almost as dumb as historical culpability, or the idea that thoughts can be crimes. You are inferring information from a place of hatred, not based upon hard data.

    There is so much more to add, but my finger is a bit tired.

    In summary, it is clear that you know very little about medicine, law and philosophy. May I suggest writing about economics, where your line of reasoning is at least somewhat coherent. I doubt your incoherent rants about politics will convince many people to vote for your party. From Clinton (corrupt), to Obama (imbecile & corrupt) to Clinton 2.0 (horribly corrupt), to Biden (corrupt) your democrat policies have not improved American lives.

    Carter and JFK don’t count as modern day democrats. They were both geniuses, patriotic, highly moral, and fiscally conservative. Interestingly, the Carter foundation was the first to show how corrupt mail in ballots are. They’ve done a great deal of global research on mail-in ballots and have determined that these types of ballots lead to more fraud, not less fraud. Perhaps that is why your party continues to ask for “more time to vote” and “more mail-in ballots”.

  11. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. December 2021 at 20:08

    Gerald, Given how little you know about masks and vaccines, I’m inclined to believe that you really are a doctor. I’ve met some doctors who are dumb as rocks.

    BTW, any comment on my post?

  12. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    12. December 2021 at 02:21

    Not sure a man is strictly required for a banana republic?

    Didn’t Argentina have a female president recently, and was still quite banana-like?

  13. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    12. December 2021 at 04:13

    The issue at stake in American politics is whether people who hold different beliefs then you do should be allowed a share of power.

    People on the right are correct in thinking that if the Left has its way, no conservatives will be allowed to hold any power in important institutions outside of elected officials. If the polling about academics that I have read about can be believed, discrimination against conservatives is rampant in academia. Given that the vast majority of conservatives attend different churches than liberals, it is very difficult for me to see how this doesn’t amount to illegal discrimination on the basis of religion. Yet does anyone on the left believe this is a problem, or does anyone think that anyone in the civil rights division of the government will do anything at all about this? And this seems to be the kind of model that the Left would like to apply to all other powerful institutions and professions in the US.

    How Trump is a rational response to this makes no sense to me. Even if you just want to own the Libs, I still don’t understand why you wouldn’t have chosen Ted Cruz, who is orders of magnitude more likely to actually be able to use the power of the executive to genuinely hurt liberals.

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. December 2021 at 09:37

    Matthias, Good point.

    Lizard, Conservatives should not try to “own the libs”, they should adopt libertarian ideas like blowing up the public school system, and letting parents choose how their children will be educated.

    And maybe the left would be less powerful in institutions such as the media and universities if conservatives stopped acting like dummies. Back in the 1980s, there were many conservatives in my university. 21st century conservatism seems to have embraced stupidity. (The left is also well on its way in that direction.)

  15. Gravatar of janice janice
    12. December 2021 at 13:45

    WTF! Sumner is crying again because he’s not getting his way. Can someone please bring this walking vagina a tissue, so he can get back to watching bucks games or sending out quota inquiries for a face lift.

    Seriously, can this guy go one month without crying and complaining about DJT. He’s a walking cloud of darkness. It must be always raining over his head. Has Eeyore finally emerged in human form?

    Dude, fuck face, old man, or Scott – whatever! More than 100M Americans don’t agree with you, and even more so world wide. So get a fuckin grip, and stop the delusional rants please.

    Jeez Louise…

  16. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    12. December 2021 at 17:38

    There’s certainly something to be said for taking your ball and going home, refusing to the play the game (libertarianism). But I highly doubt that liberals would leave conservatives alone if they decided to do that en masse. Liberals could very well start a shooting war were conservatives to succeed in getting the changes to the school system that Sumner wants. If conservatives all quit their jobs to become freelance contractors, how many miles of red tape would liberals try to bury them under to force them to return to big corporate donors?

  17. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    12. December 2021 at 17:38

    According to this article, conservatives might be more powerful in academia if non-academic conservatives stopped making it sound like academic conservatives were being persecuted:

  18. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    12. December 2021 at 18:06

    Also, I am fairly certain that the left considers libertarianism to just be another form of white supremscist, neo-nazi politics. Just look at how the press has reacted to the governor of Virginia losing to a Republican, largely because parents thought that they should have a say in their children’s education, as opposed to the ethos of “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

    I think that libertarianism has a lot of merit as a philosophy of justice and governance, but it presupposes and only is workable within a nation or polity where people are tolerant of others quite different from themselves.

    What I am observing is that both the left and the right are talking like the other side having power is illegitimate. In the US I think at least a quarter of the population would consider an illegitimate government as grounds for a revolution. I am working on obtaining a second passport at the moment.

  19. Gravatar of nick nick
    13. December 2021 at 10:15

    We cannot even walk down the street anymore in L.A., because of Sumner’s marxist thugs. ​

    He and Schwab are in cahoots. Both of them are so ugly. inside and out. and ugly people are always deranged serial killers. they always want power. and even then woman don’t like them. bill still can’t find a woman after his divorce. too wierd. too akward. too much of an ugly loser. that is why they take out their anger on the rest of us.

  20. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. December 2021 at 10:23

    Lizard, You said:

    “I think that libertarianism has a lot of merit as a philosophy of justice and governance, but it presupposes and only is workable within a nation or polity where people are tolerant of others quite different from themselves.”

    Libertarianism is the way to make people more tolerant of others. Look around the world, the freer countries are also the more tolerant.

  21. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    13. December 2021 at 18:35

    Libertarianism doesn’t work if the people who control the government half of the time believe that the power of the government (and government funded institutions like universities and corporations with government contracts) should be used to punish their political opponents. Currently both the left and right seem to believe in using whatever power they can grab to punish their enemies. But it is hard to believe that the left will ever give up its desire to persecute those who disagree with it, because they seem to have an eschatological/soteriological view of politics. So thoroughgoing libertarianism seems about as wise as trying to win a civil war thriving non-violent resistance.

    And yes, I think that conservatives can live and let live, as we have examples of that in the Amish and Hasidim.

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. December 2021 at 20:31

    Lizard, You said:

    “Currently both the left and right seem to believe in using whatever power they can grab to punish their enemies.”

    That’s why you need to take away their power with libertarian reforms.

    Liberals want liberal public schools. Conservatives want conservative public schools. I want to abolish public schools.

  23. Gravatar of nick nick
    14. December 2021 at 17:15

    The top medical journal lancet once again destroys Sumtard and his biopharma security state.

    According to totalitarians like Sumtard all of this research is “fake”. Fuaci is your god, your new religion, and whatever he says you must do. No questions asked.

  24. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    18. December 2021 at 05:22

    #3, “Trumpians live in a state of perpetual war, they need to continually invent existential foes—critical race theory, nongendered bathrooms, out-of-control immigration.”

    The wild thing is that when they finally found a real world enemy, they buried their heads in the sand and pretended it didn’t exist. Trump’s campaign literally kicked off by complaining about foreign diseases coming to our shores, but when Covid arrived, he pretended it didn’t exist. It seems that the existential foes can’t be actual problems, because an actual problem can be solved. And if an issue is solved, then it’s no longer politically useful. This is the perpetual problem of progressive politics, when you successfully achieve a policy goal you might now lose that constituency. Maybe not immediately, but in short order.

    The beauty of the whinging about CRT, transgendered people, immigration, national debt, etc, is that these are amorphous problems that can never be solved. They’re always there to come back to when you run out of real world problems. This is the recurring problem of conservative culturalism. Whether Obamacare has “death panels” or not is irrelevant, what’s relevant is the fight against Obamacare. Despite 10 years of “trying” to repeal & replace Obamacare, all that the conservatives really wanted was the fundraising money and the fight. Everyone’s imaginary version of the ephemeral conservative healthcare bill was always going to be better than whatever they actual put on paper. So they keep selling the dream.

    That’s why Covid stumped Trump so badly. On any given day he could pretend that The Wall was finished or doing a great job or that a migrant surge showed how much more needed to be done. But if he took Covid seriously, you can’t bury the bodies. If he implemented a real Covid plan, it would produce real world effects. And so instead we ended up in this Kafkaesque nightmare of the U.S. arguing that immigrants from lower infected nations are a disease risk to the U.S.

  25. Gravatar of Observer Observer
    18. December 2021 at 08:24

    Scott, a few thoughts about Ukraine:

    First, the Sudetenland model is the wrong model for Putin’s behavior. Its superficially similar but clearly not the relevant historical precedent. Putin has strong historical has reason to expect that he can demand a security cushion. What happened to Ukraine after WWII? Did the US / Europe fight for Democracy for Ukraine? No. Nor for the Czecks, nor for the Hungarians, nor for the Polish etc. NATO ceded the entire eastern block to the Soviets as a security cushion to Russia – and Europe has been peaceful since. The argument that Putin is re-enacting the early stages of the Third Reich is wrong.

    Second – even if Hitler were re-enacting the early stages of the Third Reich – the US has absolutely ZERO strategic interest in Ukraine. We just blew out of Afghanistan in a whorl-wind leaving $$100sB of equipment behind. We have far less strategic interest in Ukraine, so merely on the point of strategic interest alone, Ukraine doesn’t qualify for major action. During the early stages of WWII, Europe could easily have checked Hitler’s advance – it didn’t need America’s help. It just didn’t want to bother, and so ultimately became the victim of Hitler. It’s Europe that needs to learn from that event and change its course of action, not the US.

    Third when NATO was formed, the US was a world power and Europe was in shambles, with Stalin’s military on its borders. At that time, it was in the US’ strategic interest to protect Europe at almost any cost. Today the EU is the world’s third largest economy and more than capable of being a superpower in its own right. While it’s nice for the US to back NATO in some “sure we’ll go along with that” sense, there’s no reason whatsoever that the US needs to lead in a dispute over issues in Europe, much less deploy resources in support of this European issue.

    Fourth, from the Russian perspective – the Russian on the street – it’s the US that’s the imperial power. We invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya…. how many countries has Russia invaded? The US has been an invading power in the middle east for **TWO DECADES**. It’s the US running around the globe using its military to establish cooperative regimes, not the Russians or Putin!

    Last but not least we have a **very powerful** strategic interest in the Pacific (Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, India, Maylasia, Indonesia etc), where representative governments are long established, long-term allies, and long-term trading partners. Getting wrapped up in Ukraine with Putin is a pretty stupid thing to do with China glowering down on Taiwan and interfering with other countries in the region. Trump was right: China is the threat.

    I mean it’s fine that you hate Trump, but don’t let your hatred for him stop you from seeing that he was right about Ukraine, Putin, China and Taiwan.

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