What is Donald Trump doing in his campaign? What is he doing that has melted the brains of the conservative commentariat (which will never recover from its cluelessness about the times in which we are living)?
Donald Trump is a practical man of action. We haven’t seen one of those in high office for a very long time. Trump is not Reagan. Reagan was from a much more cerebral tradition. He had actually read Hayek and Friedman and had given talks based on them which he had written himself. Writers know how impressive this is. Writing requires a depth of understanding of your subject; the ability to concentrate for a long period of time; and withstanding the loneliness of doing so.
A man of action reacts to external impulses, to external conditions and makes decisions quickly. If they are not perfect, he refines them as he works the problem.
Where is America? We are trapped within the liberal worldview. We are at the completion of Gramsci’s leftist “march through the institutions.” It took two generations and it has happened.
We see it in the universities falling apart because they are now run by liberals who have no philosophy to deal with the real world except to give things away. Liberalism rules the courts. Cases are decided on how the people judging feel, not on the basis of law. Justice Sotomayor advanced one of her credentials for the Supreme Court that she was a “wise latina” which should have had nothing to do with being a judge, much less a justice.
The ascendancy of liberalism in America is the cause of the silence of Republicans in Congress since they won the House in 2010. One would think that a solid majority in the electoral body closest to the people would provide a platform for advancing the Republican case. But no.
A lot of people think this is because the Republicans have been bought off by the contributariat. If so, that is only one tile in the mosaic. The larger picture is due to being unwilling to challenge the liberal world view. Conservatism is at all points hostile to liberalism, but liberalism controls the debate in the public space. The Democrats have been skillful at making non-liberal ideas not just wrong, but evil. Republicans have had neither the skill nor the intestinal fortitude – the courage – to operate outside the culturally dominant liberal paradigm.
This is why their voice is so weak. This is why their compromises amount to giving the Democrats what they want. They have preemptively surrendered in the public space because as it was amusingly put time back “In their hearts they know they’re wrong” – wrong in liberalland, which is the institutional culture of America.
Comes Donald Trump. He has walked into the cultural mess liberalism has created. He sees its disastrous outcomes all around him. Whatever his liberal impulses were in the past, and they are impossible to separate from the baksheesh the Democrats demanded, they were motivated by generosity of spirit. Not having much time, or interest, to devote to these issues, he accepted the liberal argle bargle and went along.
Now he sees what liberals have wrought. He sees they won’t defend the country. He sees that problems he has seen in business, such as our foolish trade practices, are not interim things, but the outcome of policy which is intended to last indefinitely. Trump thinks it is a bad idea to strip-mine the country of high wage jobs. Nobody else sees a problem and it is certainly not on the conservative agenda even though it is upending our society.
Trump is not attacking liberalism, as the conservative commentariat wishes him to do; he is attacking the results of liberalism. To do that, you have to do things in the real world – build walls, deport illegals, negotiate trade deals – all things that liberals have no intention of getting their hands dirty with.
This is why Trump seems so uncouth. He actually wants to do things rather than write about doing things. The difference between those two temperaments is immense – it is the difference, for instance, between Trump and Cruz. Cruz has accomplished something when he walks out of a courtroom; Trump has accomplished something when he has built a wall.
To build a wall you have to deal with labor, with suppliers who might want to trim on you, with politicians who expect their needs to be dealt with. Crude. Inelegant. Unnuanced: either the wall is there or it is not.
If it is going to be there, then that project has a beginning, a middle and an end. And it involves a lot of men moving a lot of material, and all those men must be provided for. This is not what has made suburban Washington the richest district in the country. Washington and the commentariat are appalled by the personality traits that deal with such crudeness.
But the public isn’t. This is how it lives. It has not had the chance to say so until now.