Entry from February 18, 2016

If, as I believe, a large part of Donald Trump’s appeal to his supporters is based on his flouting of the canons of political correctness, it will be interesting to see if that appeal survives what the Wall Street Journal describes as "Donald Trump’s MoveOn.org Moment." MoveOn is of course that eminently politically correct org. which is associated with the claim that "Bush lied" about the Weapons of Mass Destruction he supposedly knew were not in Iraq when he invaded that country in 2003 — a claim that, as the Journal rightly points out, "despite years of investigation and countless memoirs, there is no evidence for." Even the MoveOn left tacitly recognized the fact by conniving, as I pointed out in The New Criterion (see "Lexicographic Lies" of October, 2012) to advance a change the meaning of the word "lie" to mean nothing more than a mistake.

Thus believing something that is itself a lie has become (as so many other lies have) politically correct. In fact, the whole point of political correctness is to coerce people by social and political pressure to believe lies or merely wishful thinking, such as the lack of any important differences between men and women) as truth. By promoting this belief in Mr Bush’s "lies" Mr Trump associates himself with one of political correctness’s most egregious falsehoods. Surely Republicans who have been browbeaten with this lie for years will not be happy to reward him for adopting it?

On the other hand, I doubt that Mr Trump actually believes that President Bush knew there were no WMDs when he invaded. He found it convenient to allege as much, however, because the allegation is a convenient stick to wield against Jeb Bush. It also shows (again) a Trumpian willingness to engage in the sort of Harry Reid/Barack Obama win-at-all-costs style of politics that he has already come so far with frustrated Republicans by emulating. That is another big part of his appeal, since those who like the boorish billionaire very often do so because they feel he is hitting back in kind. I wonder if they will feel the same way when it is a fellow Republican he is hitting.


Speaking of Harry Reid, his op ed in the Washington Post, headed "Reid to GOP: For the good of the country, stop your nakedly partisan obstruction" gives us a new definition of chutzpah. You doubtless remember the old one, about the guy who killed his parents and then pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan? Now it’s the most nakedly partisan senate leader in history, having lost his majority, pleading against the partisanship of those who have taken his place. You’d think that even The Washington Post editorial staff would have enough of a sense of irony to spot that one. But no such luck.


And, getting back to the subject of lying, Holman W. Jenkins, of The Wall Street Journal, writes of the obvious political and economic impossibility of Bernie Sanders’s "single-payer" plan for health care — something that even many of the latter’s fellow lefties now recognize. "Mr. Sanders knows it too," says Mr Jenkins — which, if true, would make it another lie. We may agree with the Journal that "his socialism is farcical in a country that can’t afford the entitlements it already has" but, if so, do we then have to believe that all those who believe in it are either mendacious (as Bernie himself is supposed to be) or fools?

I think there is a third possibility, which could also explain Mr Sanders’s appeal to the young. It is that the young, raised in the post-modern era and getting most of their politics from comedians and fake news shows, know that the socialist promise of free stuff is nonsense and simply don’t care. Polls consistently show that people don’t believe what politicians tell them anyway. Perhaps there is a significant number of them who have made their peace with that, accept that they’re all lying and therefore make their decision about how to vote on the basis of the most attractive lies. They know they’re not going to get free health care and free college and free everything else, but they honor Bernie just for making up such a beautiful lie.


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