I keep reading about “idiots” in my news feed, directed by angry supporters of Hillary Clinton at anyone who voted for Donald Trump. These crestfallen partisans do not appreciate an irony: their very arrogance and desire to proscribe the freedom of others to speak and act freely actually helped to coalesce Trump’s support. So smug are they in their beliefs and attitudes that they are able to render high-handed judgements as to whether certain beliefs are socially acceptable. That there are many dimensions to social problems is lost on this crowd: it’s all or nothing. You are an idiot, a racist, a misogynist, or a homophobe if you support free speech (because it might offend), private property (you are greedy), free markets (capitalist pig), law enforcement (racist), gun rights (violent), or if you hold attitudes that are “traditional” or religious. In fact, you are probably suspect if you are white, asian, or in any way successful: you are too privileged to understand the negative consequences of your privilege.
Here’s my disclaimer: I don’t particularly like Donald Trump and some of his antics. I strongly disagree with a few of his most prominent policy proposals. Nevertheless, I voted for him because Hillary Clinton is so obviously a devotee of centralized power and she is irredeemably crooked. I was repelled by the identity politics she celebrated, and I found a certain aspect of Donald Trump’s disregard for political correctness to be refreshing.
The fact is that many voters are sick and tired of the name-calling by the left, and of the proscriptive behavior it enables. I’m one of them. Robby Soave at Reason just wrote an excellent article on this point:
“The leftist drive to enforce a progressive social vision was relentless, and it happened too fast. I don’t say this because I’m opposed to that vision—like most members of the under-30 crowd, I have no problem with gender neutral pronouns—I say this because it inspired a backlash that gave us Trump….
There is a cost to depriving people of the freedom (in both the legal and social senses) to speak their mind. The presidency just went to the guy whose main qualification, according to his supporters, is that he isn’t afraid to speak his.“
In the wake of an election that didn’t go their way, the identity politickers are proving themselves to be petulant and vulgar creeps. They decry the Trump election as racist by placing entire demographics and regions into an “idiot” trick bag. They cry racism on counties in which the majority voted for Barack Obama in 2012, but flipped to Donald Trump in 2016.
But no one is shamed. I’d have loved it if Carly Fiorina had been nominated. I’d vote for Walter Williams if he ran for president. I have great respect for Peter Thiel but I don’t know whether I’d vote for him. I might. In the end, it’s usually about policies, and if your policy portfolio has an excessive basis in identity politics and political correctness, and if you are strident about it, don’t be surprised if you stir some resentment. The idiots just might be the ones shooting themselves in the foot.
Note: Yes, I’ve used that cartoon before. I like it!