What Works and What Doesn’t, Again: A Blush-Pink Frock

Ivanka Trump, mother of three and stunning in a sheath, introduced her father at the Republican Convention. Many argue his kids seem great – certainly they appear loyal, attractive, alert, and sensible. But be that as it may. Both Adams and Franklin disowned sons. For most of us, raising children will be our most consequential task and Trump seems to be doing reasonably well. But it’s a thin reed.

Still, that dress! It represents what moved country after country out of poverty. Causes of that respect across class lines and the rise of a large middle class and greater health for all are complicated: some see the Bible in the vernacular, some see the marriage of the Great Awakening with the Enlightenment, Dutch and English traditions, sea routes. Surely living longer and with more health meant more productivity. Others rightly prize a concept motivating these views, that each has within the divine. Such a belief emphasizes human rights – the free market of commerce, of ideas, of innovations, of speech, of religion. Honoring the dignity and virtuous habits of the bourgeoisie led to a respect for everyman and everyman’s talents. It was huge, that change from 1700 to 2100. And a signifier is a presidential hopeful in the most powerful nation introduced by his daughter in that blush pink dress.

An average American, despite massive intrusions of modern politics that distort the free markets in energy, homes, and education (contemplate their place in our personal & public lives) goes into Dillard’s or Nordstrom’s (or Kohl’s – Scott Walker’s favorite) and comes out having chosen among many such dresses or shirts or . . . . .

What heartened me was Ivanka’s dress – lovely, simple, becoming. At this pinnacle of pride and gravitas, she chose a dress from her collection, one retailing at $138 – a price not unachievable for a rare and important occasion by a worker at Wal-Mart or McDonald’s. That choice demonstrates respect for herself and her employees, for the stores and women who buy in them. Her husband, her three children, her father, her business: she embodied self-reliance as well as a place in family within community.

That dress (and familial unity) speaks the language of the bourgeoisie, of a trading society – a good dress for a good price. It reminds us of Ford’s desire to make a car men on the line could buy, of Sam Walton’s bringing affordable choice to a clientele he respected and Kroc’s desire to feed Americans on the run to carpools and from work with quick meals (including protein unimaginable in 1700).

Inventions created, medicines discovered because they were needed – and they were needed to make life longer, easier, more pleasant, more productive. This moved the world from 1700 to 2100, leaving behind “Hunger and Premature Death,” giving materialist riches, yes, but also health as well as political and personal freedoms: nurturing personal growth, valuing fulfillment, honoring the spirit in each to grow, respecting talents. Early on we had Franklin as a model – but many models arose with many gifts. This system strengthens the family. And the marketplace is a positive, respectful force for assimilation. Reaching a larger audience requires pride in a product, respect for customers, and a mutual language. Succeeding in a world in which welfare is more limited (and stigmatized) leads to an “alertness” (McCloskey’s quite useful term) to define a niche and then pride in filling it.

A friend convinced me to try the religious station (a quick channel change when Hannity is on) as I do errands: a speaker commented that often we are urged to vote because this is a decisive year – we dare not take the wrong road. He wasn’t all that enthusiastic about Trump (I’m not sure how much evangelical enthusiasm he deserves or will get), but, as the speaker observed, that isn’t true in 2016. We chose the wrong path in 2012 and took the wrong road – now we are out in the wilderness where we’ve got to scramble and gamble someone can find a way out. The speaker (and I suspect anyone who listens to that station much) was certain Hillary wouldn’t.

We were led into that wilderness by Obama but also his Secretary of State, both believing they were morally empowered to use institutions paid by the public to muzzle and defame that public. Both see themselves as apart from their subjects: not for them laws that apply to the little people, not for them consequences of bad choices. Are they primitive? Perhaps believers in cargo cultures? They assume education isn’t learning but sitting in school, a home isn’t representative of bourgeois thrift but magically appearing among the family’s assets, it magically signifies middle class; magically, a treaty, no matter what it actually says, gives peace as a war does not. Or do they believe that words, as well as documents, have no meaning – a ransom is not a ransom. Or perhaps they assume natural laws don’t apply – devaluing money, houses, education, rewarding inertia and stunting innovation and creation have no consequences. She long longed for a one-payer health system where graft and control could add levels of expense, slowing innovation in the most consequential of industries – medicine. That none of this works nor is likely to may indicate they are delusional – or perhaps they simply don’t care – they’ve got theirs.

Her disrespect of the bourgeoisie – of the choices they make, their self-respect – oozes from her. Sharing old heroes and beliefs with Obama, Clinton assumes Chavez’s and Castro’s policies have much to recommend them. With her, we’d remain in the wilderness, soon with neither food nor toilet paper.

But that dress hints this Trump thing might work. At least he knows that they – the elites, the nihilists, the bureaucrats, those who do not see a soul die when a man does – are not his friends. He knows consequences follow infractions of natural law. If his sense of branding seems overblown, at least he understands that a brand only means something if defined by good products and good service, answering public needs and garnering public’s respect. He’s defined an imperfect but real brand; the Clintons (and Obamas) have been connected to a revered brand – the American presidency – they repeatedly devalue.

Deirdre McCloskey’s respect for bourgeois virtues, Charles Murray’s sense of the ‘50’s that make Belmont and the unbourgeois ‘70’s that unmake Fishtown, Robert Sirico’s and Arthur Brook’s defenses of the virtues capitalism breeds – all value the habits of mind that put that dress on that stage. Trump’s family gets it.

Of course, he seems blustery, superficial at times; his glitzy marriages and Trump U and eminent domain beliefs create justifiable doubts; I liked opponents he defamed casually and viciously. He’s no thoughtful conservative. He can be crude and often personal in arguments where the personal shouldn’t intrude. He doesn’t have much that I liked about the other candidates and there’s little I like that is his. But, maybe, there’s something underneath that manner and it’s common sense. This week’s speeches, honest and clear-eyed, may signal that – or those policies may, again, be submerged in bluster.

9 thoughts on “What Works and What Doesn’t, Again: A Blush-Pink Frock”

  1. Very well put.

    It’s amazing that Hillary and Obama haven’t been to Louisiana. Just amazing. Have they forgotten that “common touch” they accused Bush of lacking?

    Even the idiot former Senator Landrieu mentioned it.

    I’ve just about finished Murray’s book about “Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.”

    Now, I’m reading Rush to Judgement, a book about all the lies that were told about Bush. I am still not a big Bush fan but the degree of dishonesty with which he was treated is amazing. Trump, of course, will be treated far worse, if possible.

    I am also reading another book about Paris in The Terror, which is titled, “12 Who Ruled.”

    It is amazing how much seems applicable to today and the present political situation on the left.

    I usually have three or four books going at the same time in different rooms of the house.

  2. “We were led into that wilderness …” Who is “we?” You got a mouse in your pocket? I knew Obozo was a clown the moment I first laid eyes on him. Besides all the ills of our society, it is truly sad that people cannot judge character AT ALL.

  3. Well it would be nice to think that those of us who did see Obama as he was did not end up in the wilderness. I didn’t vote for him and am still stuck with Obamacare, a national debt my grandchildren will be lucky to pay off, disastrous foreign policies and domestic programs designed to gut the country economically and morally. Maybe those of us who didn’t vote for him can feel a bit more righteous but it is hard to think we live in a different country than those who did.

  4. Ginny Says:
    August 20th, 2016 at 2:07 am

    At the same time, the #NeverTrumpers prioritize the idea that they can “feel a bit more righteous” for fighting Trump and supporting Hillary, if and when a Hillary regime descends upon us. After all, they opposed Trump, and they think that they will not suffer in the same country.

  5. Ginny,
    Should be read by Trump supporters, doubters and the “never Trumpers” (which would include the Hildabeast minions). I believe you rightly captured the truth of the broad historical forces within Western Civilization over the past 400 years as well as identified the stakes of this election and the slim hope we have in The Donald.

    God help us that we are in this situation of our own collective creation. As with all the forces that have lead us to this point, we each have an insignificant effect on what results, but collectively can have great influence at the margin where the outcome will be determined. This is why it is so crucial that the doubters (including me) and the “never Trumpers” keep in the game with the larger issues in focus regardless of Trump’s manifest imperfections. And it is why many of the Trump supporters need to understand why their fondest hopes embodied in The Donald are over the top. This election will not likely be decisive if he wins, but could more likely be if he loses.


  6. ” those of us who did see Obama as he was did not end up in the wilderness.”

    Well, unlike some Obama voters, including a couple of my children, I did some research on Obama.

    Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city’s most popular black call-in radio ­program.

    I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

    “He said, ‘Cliff, I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator.’”

    “Oh, you are? Who might that be?”

    “Barack Obama.”

    I wonder who convinced Mike Ditka not to run ?

  7. Hard to believe that there are those that were fooled by Obama. I know some of them, quite well. Once it was inevitable I entertained a fantasy he might play against type. Short lived.

    I’m not the least bit surprised he hasn’t visited Louisiana, he’s happy to demonstrate his feelings towards those people. He’s been doing it for eight years.

    Ivanka would look fabulous wrapped in anything. Who could forget that video of her driving golf balls in heels?

    Her and the rest of the family is what is hated most, and a serious threat to the new “norm”, the strange and terrible cases of Caster Semenya, Caitlyn and Stefonknee.

  8. An interesting discussion of how Breitbart got connected to Trump, by Conservative Tree House.

    There were also indications that Trump was talking to Robert and Rebekah Mercer (wouldn’t be too challenging with Rebekah living in Trump Tower).

    As stated, Robert Mercer is more aligned to a libertarian outlook, so there’s a connective tissue to Trump’s more pragmatic political perspectives which would be favorable to Mercer – who appeared to be operating within the UniParty structure (vis-a-vis Cruz) only because there was no alternative to Clinton/Bush.

    CTH has these interesting think pieces from time to time.

  9. “… a national debt my grandchildren will be lucky to pay off …”

    Ginny, it may be that you’re way to optimistic. It may be that we’ll be lucky if your grandkids aren’t living under “Shiria”.

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