March 1, 2019 was a special day as #NeverTrumpers came out in force at “National Review”, possibly for the last time, since Jonah Goldberg, and God knows how we’ve tried to rescue him, is leaving them to form his own parish with Stephen Hayes, possibly to better preach their new gospel of conservatism as a political faith instead of the uniquely American blend of political and philosophical scholarship William Buckley and Russell Kirk infused “National Review” with 65 years ago.
(65 years is a reasonable time for tracking religious ideas forward, say from Mohammed to the Plymouth Colony, before they fall into schism and take a turn, right or left, up or down. Let’s just say it’s inevitable and follows rather predictable tracks. Keep that in mind if you ever want to assess a third-generation country, corporation, or political idea.)
There was a direct handshake between that original “National Review” and the Founders, and the principles they shaped into Constitutional form, from Edmund Burke to Sam Adams, even giving us, along the way, an Honorable Mention for the “first 400 names in the Boston Telephone Directory”, a personal favorite of mine, since I”d worked that side of the street around the world for 30 years.
Millions of words have been written about those original planks of what the foundation of America was all about, my favorite the series on the Founders written by Richard Brookhiser, himself a senior member of National Review alum, going back to 1977. His John Marshall; the Man Who made the Supreme Court, is his 11th volume about the Founders. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
There are scads of other biographies out there, and once, about a year ago, since I had several to compare, I compared Richard’s “Founding Son” biography of Lincoln, to five other 20th Century biographies of Abe. I went to their indices and compared the number of pages, or lines, or even mentions, of the first biography written about Washington after he died in 1799, by Parson Weems in 1800, and which fell into Lincoln’s lap as a boy a few years later.
At that time young Abe was what Sunday School teachers call a blank slate, which is how both church and anti-church, as we’ve since learned, want to find them, as they race to get to them first. (Seems, as a society and culture, we’ve surrendered that race to the state at about the same time we ceded our direct power over the state.) Brookhiser portrayed Weem’s book, “Life of Washington” as a profound and formative event in Abe’s life, which helped shape who he would become, hence the title, “Founder’s Son”. It’s worth your time, not just about Abe Lincoln, but about preferred ways to analyze what motivates great men, both good and ill, and the kind of background information you’ll find helpful in making those assessments.
In fact, Richard Brookhiser would have been a helluva trial lawyer, which, when the opportunity arose, I tried to be as well. It’s absolutely necessary, if everyone thinks your client is guilty, as in “she-said, he-said”, which has become the principal standard of political proof in popular media these days, a defender of just about any thesis, in law, philosophy, even science, has to look deeper than the “shallow as a pool of warm piss” standard for evidence found in modern politics. And then be persuasive.
As a defense lawyer I have a duty to dig as deep as I can to arrive at a theory of the case I can present to the jury, for my client’s freedom and maybe even survival, may depend on it.
We are in those times about the United States as it was created.
So, as regards the principles first laid out at “National Review” in 1955 and later in the Sharon Statement, I’ve always treated those principles as if they were my client. And I was first taught those principles by my father and grandfather, only one of whom ever graduated from high school.
After 20 years of learning much of my craft in the old Soviet Bloc among people striving-to-be-free instead of hanging out with their nomenklatura, and almost 10 years here trying my hand as an analyst-writer conveying those insights, I’ve concluded there is a Sophomore Class of really bright people who are nonetheless under-educated on the founding principles of conservatism, except as a political podium for themselves.
This recent Mar 1 parting shot at NR was headlined about Trump’s glittering “failures” at Hanoi, even as they were also saying in the text Trump was wise to walk away from the table without a deal. That seems to be the current lede about Trump, to faintly praise him when he does the existentially correct thing, while damning him because he did nothing to advance their status. They were largely mute, and even possibly indifferent, to how the people of the America might fare because of Trump’s independent brinksmanship, or whether the denuclearization process is still viable, or US-Sino relations have suffered, or the long-hungered-for reunification process is still on track, which Donald Trump, and not the political establishment, put the two Koreas on in the first place.
These are all existential issues that promise, if they succeed, to completely change the map of that region, not to mention giving hope to 25 million slaves for a much brighter future for generations to come.
All I’m hearing is that Trump is doing these things without the advice and consent of a mythical League of Fine Gentlemen and Ladies who seem miffed because they have been locked out; that they have been dissed. (The Kristol Disorder)
When Buckley & Co chastised Democrats for playing footsey with the Soviets in the 1950s, encouraging Ike to use a bigger stick, “National Review” was playing existential politics, not the politics of status.
Damning Trump with faint praise has become an art form in many of the back-sliding conservative media. You see it everywhere, in the easy acceptance of the core of all sorts of accusations against Trump, by saying “it’s not a crime” or “not-indictable” (“paying hush money” my favorite) as a legal out for an event that probably did occur in their minds….when in fact, there is not a shred of credible evidence that event ever did occur: i.e., that he even kissed Stormy Daniels (Yecch!) much less boffed her.
But this gives the Sophomore League the opportunity to be morally superior. That happens to be both a cultural and legal issue I’m well acquainted with, and discussed last year in my general discussion of wenching, arguing that Trump just isn’t the type to lay with tramps. I’d be happy to take that case before a jury if all the evidence they can bring forth will be the sworn testimony of Miss Stormy and Michael Cohen.
Trump admires beautiful women, but classy women (which just kills the Michelle O gawkers). Stormy’s not his type and a lifted skirt up against a concrete wall out behind a tavern is not his idea of a cozy interlude. But even Limbaugh seems to defend him as if he were guilty of doing the dirty. The same card was successfully dealt against Herman Cain in 2012, based on the general stereotype that is how powerful black men behave. For shame!
I’ve seen a thing or two, so am fairly certain that Trump especially, since he doesn’t drink, simply finds nothing alluring about these kinds of women. and Herman because he is a kneel-at-the-altar Christian and not the stereotypical successful black businessman.
It would take a tall order of real evidence to prove either otherwise.