Is our tribe even dumber than theirs?: Could Donald Trump get re-elected?
We've started to think that he actually could! Or at least, we've started to think that it might seem that he's been re-elected after the votes are finally counted, few as those votes may be.
In part, we say that because Trump seems to be (successfully?) shutting the post office down, a move which will make us a western province of Belarus. But we also say that because of the dumbness which now suffuses the culture, especially that afflicting our own failing anti-Trump tribe.
How dumb is the dumbness now afflicting our anti-Trump tribes? In truth, the cluelessness Over Here is vast, and it seems to be growing.
Our sachems wander about in a fog, often a fog of tribal correctness. For one tiny example—a tiny example affecting nothing—consider the first two paragraphs of a book review in today's New York Times:
SZALAI (8/13/20): There’s a curious new refrain on the right the repurposing of an old slogan from their opponents in the abortion fight to explain why people shouldn’t have to wear masks during a pandemic. “I thought it was my body, my choice!” the young Trump supporter Charlie Kirk recently declared on his podcast, a few days before an 80-year-old mentor of his died of complications from Covid-19.It's hard to get dumber than that. In this case, we refer to the dumbness of the Times reviewer, not to the manifest dumbness of the young, super-dumb Charlie Kirk.
Those making this defiant act of appropriation seem to believe that it’s rhetorically formidable, cleverly deploying mask-wearing feminists’ words against them. But if you think about it for even a millisecond, the whole gambit falls apart. The new champions of bodily autonomy aren’t saying that women have any right to the phrase in its original context—only that men worried about looking “unmanly” in masks do. The anti-maskers are clinging to an argument that they insist is bogus. It’s a half-witted attempt at a classic reductio ad absurdum that’s oblivious to its own absurdity.
In fairness, Charlie Kirk, age 26, is dumb as a rock or a stone. He's the kind of roboticized true-believer widely found Over There, in tribal tents "on the right."
That said, it's easy enough to understand what dumbbells like Kirk are actually saying when they compare liberal views about mask-wearing to liberal views about abortion rights. What the youngster is saying is this:
He's saying that we pro-choice liberals are big hypocrites because we favor choice in the one area but not in the other. This is a blindingly stupid position, but in these increasingly stupid times, it scores big points Over There.
Kirk is so churlish, and so dumb, that he's willing to advance that position. Unfortunately, after decades of devolution in our nation's upper-end culture, the Times reviewer is so dumb that she doesn't understand that this is what Kirk is saying.
Monumentally over-thinking the matter, she turns Kirk's puerile charge of liberal hypocrisy into a claim of male privilege. In doing so, she's slavishly working from tribal script in a way which is every bit as robotic and dumb as Kirk's original gambit.
"How did things ever get so far?" Don Corleone once masterfully asked. When it comes to the growing dumbness in the anti-Trump world, top anthropologists insist that our tribal dumbness simply reflects the way our human brains have always been wired.
"Human functioning has always devolved, in exactly these ways, at times of high tribal conflict," these experts despondently say. "You can ignore that reviewer's degrees. This was simply the fate of the species."
Can it possibly be that our liberal sachems are now as dumb as theirs? Late last night, we saw top anthropologists making that claim:
"Follow the flap about Tucker Carlson," these despondent top experts now said.
The experts referred to Carlson's recent failure to pronounce Kamala Harris' first name correctly. This has become a major flap. Here's how the whole thing went down:
On Tuesday evening, Carlson opened his show with a 12-minute monologue in which he harshly criticized Harris, who Joe Biden had picked for VP. That said, he harshly criticized Biden too. Here's the way he started:
CARLSON (8/11/20): We will admit we did not see this coming. In fact, just last night on this show, we told you that Susan Rice was likely to get that job.Carlson continued on from there, harshly criticizing Harris. Some of his claims struck us as flatly false, others as grossly misleading.
Rice is a hardened partisan, but she's not stupid. And more to the point, Rice has sincere beliefs, whether you like them or not, and we don't.
But Kamala Harris is the opposite of that. Harris may be the single most transactional human being in America. There are time-share salesmen you would trust more than Kamala Harris. You can find payday lenders who are more sincere.
So it seemed inconceivable, given his current state, Joe Biden would choose someone so transparently one-dimensional as Kamala Harris, someone as empty as he is. It would be the first entirely hollow presidential ticket in American history, and we thought it could never happen.
But it is; they're doing it anyway. Biden-Harris, that's what they're going with. And the choice tells you a lot about the current state of the Democratic Party.
Was Carlson saying these things because Harris is a woman? In fairness, you can see that he said that Biden was just as bad as Harris. He also said that Rice is smart and sincere in her beliefs.
Meanwhile, his general claim—his claim about Harris' lack of sincere beliefs—isn't entirely crazy. She ran a woeful primary campaign, though our sachems will no longer speak with any clarity about her various acts of bad faith.
Carlson said Rice does have sincere beliefs, but that Harris doesn't. Beyond that, he had said that Harris was a favorite of Wall Street, and that she had been chosen for that very reason.
After a dozen minutes of this, he introduced Democratic veteran Richard Goodstein to offer rebuttal—and there was a lot to rebut. As an example of what we mean, Carlson brought Goodstein on with this question:
CARLSON: Richard, I always preface my questions to you by saying I don't want to be mean. But how can someone who said she believes that Joe Biden committed sexual assault against various women serve as his running mate? Sincere question.The question may have been sincere, but its premise was bogus. As far as we know, Harris has never said that she believes that Biden committed sexual assault against any woman, let alone against several.
As far as we know, only Tara Reade has ever made that type of claim against Biden. In the past several months, our team has sidled away from Reade under cover of pandemic, with no one asking our tribal professors why they insisted, right off the bat, that Reade's claim should be believed.
There was a great deal for Goodstein to rebut that night. As we watched the program live, we wondered what he would say in response to that introduction.
By now, the whole world knows what Goodstein said. He proceeded to tell Carlson that he'd been mispronouncing Harris' first name all through his monologue.
For the record, Carlson had been pronouncing the nominee's name as if it rhymes with "Pamela." Just for the record, that's the way Biden pronounced it, quite a few times, at the next day's kick-off event.
That's the way a lot of people have been pronouncing Harris' name! Judging from the one paragraph Harris devotes to this topic in her 2019 memoir, people have pronounced her name that way all through the course of her life.
It's always a good idea to know how to pronounce someone's name. Having made that obvious point, we'll also say this:
Listening to Carlson and Goodstein live, we were instantly amazed, yet not amazed, by how weak Goodstein's effort was. It sounded like he was scolding Carlson, "and your fellow hosts on Fox," for having pronounced the name wrong.
Carlson noted, several times, that his mispronunciation has been unintentional. As we watched, it seemed to us that Goodstein went on and on with this opening pose. As he did, we thought back to sacred Nietzsche.
Nietzsche said that this is the way the weak once managed to conquer the strong. In effect, he said that Christian ethics had just been a big guilt trip—a way to shame the powerful out of "glorying in the pride of their strength" and taking full advantage of their power.
That's what we heard Goodstein doing as he began to speak. He was dodging the bogus but very sharp claim with which he'd been confronted. He was playing the tired old race-and-sex guilt trip card instead.
We'll have to admit that there was some justice in the way Carlson responded. He'd already said, in his monologue, that any criticism of Harris would now be treated as an act of race/gender disrespect.
Carlson had already made that (fairly obvious) prediction. Now, here was Goodstein, possibly seeming to do just what Carlson had said.
We thought Goodstein's opening play was just amazingly weak. In the subsequent 36 hours, we were saddened to see the way our hapless tribe has gloried in this dispute.
Our pundits are working very hard to guilt trip Carlson for his pronunciation error. We're playing it as a race and sex thing because, just to be honest, this is the only play our dumb and utterly useless tribe seems to know at this point.
According to Nietzsche, this is what the weak will try to do to the strong. In this case, though, will it work?
In this case, the strong are shutting the post office down. They're closing down voting locations.
They're stressing, and sometimes misstating, the errors the bureaucracies make—and new errors seem to appear every day.
While the strong are doing that, we're talking about bullshit like this. Needless to say, we're sifting the facts of the case to make it seem like this was some sort of gender offense.
The strong are closing the post office down. Over Here, in our tents, the weak are doing this.
We've begun to think that the strong may win. The haplessness of our pitiful tribe has allowed such results again and again down through the past many years.
Tomorrow: Recalling Nagasaki?