Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Only the Right can Critique the Right

In Trump Invades Syria While Liberals Obsess Over Microwaves I showed that the strongest condemnation of Trump's aggressive military actions in the Middle East was coming not from the anti-war left, as should be expected, but from anti-war conservatives and libertarians like Ron Paul. The post also concluded that the only hypothesis to explain leftist responses to Trump's foreign policy was that the left doesn't control its own narrative. I'm sure individuals on the left would love to attack Trump for war-mongering, but they've generally not engaged in that direction of attack because the corporate media has not established that narrative. Instead, they've been wholly distracted by the narrative that the elites want to have in play: that Trump is a fascist, that he's racist, that he's a Russian-aligned traitor who hijacked the Democratic process, and, more recently, that he's incompetent; the latter being almost a breath of fresh air from the irrational hysteria.

And so it continues today. The Ron Paul Report issued a rebuttal against allegations that Steve Bannon talked negatively about libertarian politics and called them unrealistic. The issue boils down to whether politics and culture are intertwined or orthogonal to each other. The libertarians make a good case that politics should be a matter of building a stable social framework that allows for personal & economic liberty, with cultural processes playing out on top of that. Ideally, it shouldn't matter at all what the culture is. But I tend to side with Bannon on this one, for reasons described in When They Go Low, We Go Low. On the one hand, yes, politics and culture would best be separated. On the other hand, you have to meet your enemy in the theater in which they give battle. It would be nice if conservatives didn't fight cultural battles in the political arena. But that is the primary objective of the left: to centralize political power and use it to enforce their preferred cultural norms (which is the destruction of Western culture). If conservatives allow the left to co-opt state power as cultural leverage then it won't matter much what they do in the non-political cultural realm. Just like it doesn't matter much if states-rights advocates restrict themselves to states' issues if the left just overrides them with its expanded federal powers.

Do you see what has happened here? Commentators on the right issued a thought-provoking rebuttal to comments from the right. The rebuttal was in the form of a rational argument that made some good points. Readers can adopt those arguments or provide countering arguments, as I have done. The rebuttal enlivened additional rational discourse. The left could not possibly do this. All they can really do is call Bannon a racist, sexist, xenophobe, etc. They are effectively limited to name-calling. Even when they make a stab at rational discourse, it can only be some half-baked attempt at logic used as a platform for the purpose of name-calling.

To test the theory, I went to Google News, typed in Bannon, and picked the first article, which was The alt-right Leninist from the New Statesman. Before we address the logical merits of the article (which will be brief), let's analyze just the opening paragraph. Remember the claim is that the article is just a rack for hanging insults or reminding the reader of other insults the subject may have received.
  1. fringe [event] which gave a platform to right-wing thinkers deemed too extreme
  2. trademark uniform of an open-necked shirt, boxy jacket, and rumpled chinos
  3. self-satisfied swagger of a game-show host
  4. revealed a flash of malice
  5. before jutting out his chin and nodding his head, like a brawler preparing to exchange blows
The entire opening paragraph is just one long insult. That is very different from the rational rebuttal rendered by the libertarian right. The article continues. Just to cherry-pick some more of their verbiage:
  1. ruthlessly ambitious
  2. chief manipulator and mastermind
  3. penchant for blowing things up
  4. bully
  5. nasty human being
  6. monster
  7. white-supremacist
  8. anti-Semitism
  9. misogyny
  10. Islamophobia
  11. contentious policy decisions
  12. author of dystopian inauguration address with vision of American carnage
  13. the most dangerous political operative in America
  14. evil overlord persona
  15. Darth Vader
  16. Satan
  17. overgrown hair, pasty complexion and dishevelled clothing
  18. a whitewashing rebranding of old-fashioned white supremacy, or white nationalism
  19. appearing to condone paedophilia
  20. racist
  21. anti-Semitic
  22. white nationalists, anti-Semites, and homophobes
  23. vitriolic
  24. bully
  25. propaganda outlet
  26. whorehouse for Trump
  27. fringe right
  28. an effective sycophant
  29. asking leading questions and pontificating
  30. boasts
  31. the Rain Man of nationalism
  32. inspiration for the Italian Fascists
  33. divorced three times
  34. doesn't like Jews
  35. Prince of Darkness
  36. reckless
  37. controversial
  38. attack-dog instincts
What do all those points have in common? For one, they're all irrelevant to the arguments being made. And what arguments are being made? As far as I can tell, there are none. I assumed there would be some amount of analysis, particularly to clear up the apparent contradiction between the title and subtitle. Lenin didn't want to destroy the state; he wanted to become the state. If the contradiction stems from Bannon himself, then that is certainly a matter to inspect.

But the author doesn't really inspect anything. The whole thing is a pseudo biography meant to serve a single purpose: it provides an excuse to write negatively about Bannon. There is no rationale in the entirety of the piece; it's just dressed-up name-calling. Nor is there ever an Oxford comma. The author couldn't be more useless.

The opening paragraph was just a condensed soup of personal jabs. Here is the closing paragraph in its entirety.
It is not clear where he might end up, should Trump no longer serve his interests, but this much is evident: the right-wing Leninist is unnaturally good at getting what he wants and to where he wants to be.
Besides it being so grammatically tortured it would never survive even rudimentary proofreading, notice that it doesn't really conclude anything. It doesn't wrap up or re-iterate any arguments because none were made. Also, note what appears to be the thesis. Out of the name-calling list, a favorite was chosen: Leninist. That became the title, it was slapped into a quick & sloppy closer, and voila - thesis!

This article was not a particularly awful one cherry-picked for analysis. As I said it was the top hit for Bannon in a Google News search. Is it representative of what passes as analysis from the left? Yes, I'd say it is. If you want a critical analysis of the right, look for sources elsewhere on the right. The leftist media is completely useless at even it's primary function: critiquing the right.


  1. Good job showing what Sam Francis once clarified that the Left is the Stupid Party and the Right is the Evil Party. I would clarify that Libertarians is cluelessness masquerading as the Intelligent Party. Since they fail to understand the universal law that people respond to incentives, they also thus fail to understand that even limited government will fail. When the fiat currency fails, we will see limited government. If we get money instead of another currency and the possible inability for any government to produce enough debt to offset their chronic incompetence and administrative costs, we might finally see push back on having any government at all.

    1. If the choice is between stupid, clueless, and evil, I believe I am ready to choose my destiny.