Fuck you. Shut up.

That’s the Democrats’ message to Trump supporters. As Michael Anton puts it in They Can’t Let Him Back In:

Anti-Trump hysteria is in the final analysis not about Trump. The regime can’t allow Trump to be president not because of who he is (although that grates), but because of who his followers are. That class—Angelo Codevilla’s “country class”—must not be allowed representation by candidates who might implement their preferences, which also, and above all, must not be allowed. The rubes have no legitimate standing to affect the outcome of any political process, because of who they are, but mostly because of what they want.
 
Complaints about the nature of Trump are just proxies for objections to the nature of his base. It doesn’t help stabilize our already twitchy situation that those who bleat the loudest about democracy are also audibly and visibly determined to deny a real choice to half the country. “No matter how you vote, you will not get X”—whether X is a candidate or a policy—is guaranteed to increase discontent with the present regime.

“No matter how you vote…” – let that line sink in. When was the last time an American political party or movement so vehemently expressed such a sentiment about a large bloc of American voters? (Perhaps it was Democrats re black voters in the pre-civil-rights South.)

And it’s not only the Democrats. The Republican leadership seems more eager to make demoralizing (to their own side) compromises with the Democrats than to fight them on issues that are important to the Republican base.

Neither the establishment Democrats nor the establishment Republicans will acknowledge that they are the problem and that Trump and his voters are symptom rather than cause. Suppressing symptoms tends to make the underlying problem worse. Nonetheless our political establishment remains dead set on continuing to anathematize Trump and to tell his supporters they have nowhere to go. This is not a sustainable situation and sooner or later something will have to give.

(I wrote this post before the FBI raid on Trump’s house. The news about the raid emphasizes the points I tried to make here, to put it mildly.)

Lex adds:

The Democrats similarly are disregarding their base who were desperately in favor of Bernie Sanders. But they managed to prevent him from getting nominated and co-opted him.

Ordinary Americans are not having a good time and they are not happy. Both party establishments are afraid of their own bases, with good reason.

Cupio Dissolvi

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas (Sidney, Australia) will include a session focused on the question Is progress threatened by the urge to burn it all down?   The title of the session reminded me of something I read quite a few years ago:

Cupio dissolvi…These words have been going through my mind for quite a long time now. It’s Latin. They mean “I (deeply) wish to be annihilated/to annihilate myself”, the passive form signifying that the action can be carried out both by an external agent or by the subject himself…Cupio dissolvi… Through all the screaming and the shouting and the wailing and the waving of the rainbow cloth by those who invoke peace but want appeasement, I hear these terrible words ringing in my ears. These people have had this precious gift, this civilization, and they have got bored with it. They take all the advantages it offers them for granted, and despise the ideals that have powered it. They wish for annihilation, the next new thing, as if it was a wonderful party. Won’t it be great, dancing on the ruins? 

The citation is from an Italian blogger who was only briefly active but put up several interesting and thought-provoking posts.

When I first read the above post, I was reminded of a passage from Walter Miller’s great novel A Canticle for Leibowitz:

…children of Merlin, chasing a gleam. Children, too, of Eve, forever building Edens – and kicking them apart in berserk fury because somehow it isn’t the same. 

For discussion: How prevalent is the nihilistic and destructive attitude represented by the above quotes, and what are its causative factors?  To what extent, if any, is it reversible?

Some additional posts from the Italian blogger (Joy of Knitting) are  here and here.

The FDI is scheduled for September 18 and 19.  Steven Pinker is the speaker for this session, and it is chaired by Claire Lehmann, the founder and publisher of Quillette.

The Light of Rutupaie Going Out

Rutupaie, the modern Richborough Castle, in Kent, England – was once the site of a notable Roman military garrison graced by an enormous marble triumphal arch visible to ships arriving in the port, a tall lighthouse, and a thriving civilian town with an amphitheater. The lighthouse and the triumphal arch are long gone, but a large portion of the circuit of twenty-five-foot-high walls still remain visible above ground. This was the terminus of Watling Streat, a keystone in the network of carefully engineered roads which covered Britain like a net. It was most likely the site of the original Roman bridgehead in the time of the Emperor Claudius, which would in large part become the province of Britannia. Rutupaie became the major port of entry all throughout the four centuries that Roman power held sway over that far and misty isle, their ships and galleys guided into safe harbor after dark by the fire atop the lighthouse.

In one of the opening chapters of the novel The Lantern Bearers, a young Roman-British soldier makes his decision to remain in Britain when the legions are finally and officially withdrawn by order of the Emperor. Having deserted his unit as they are on the point of departure for the last time, he lights the great fire atop the lighthouse, as the galleys row away on the evening tide; a last defiant fire, as darkness descends. Peter Grant, who blogs at Bayou Renaissance Man noted this week that Rosemary Sutcliff’s series of novels about the Romans in Britain and the long, slow, painful dying of Roman civilization there were being republished at a reasonable price in eBook. This reminded me again of my very favorite historical author; The finest and most evocative historical novel ever in English is either the Rider of the White Horse or her retelling of the Arthurian epic, Sword at Sunset. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s version, The Mists of Avalon, is overwrought trash in comparison.

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