In all seriousness, the Left this week is experiencing a bit of what many of us felt for the past eight years: the sense that they live in a country they do no recognize under an occupation government. But they manifest those feelings differently because they have an entirely different moral outlook on the world. This is, among other things, the consequence of living in an age where half the country has nothing in common with the other half except geographic location.
What we’ve witnessed in the past week is the emergence of three types of revolutionaries.
The first, and most easily dismissed, are the safety pin snowflakes. In the wake of Trump’s victory, almost immediately we started hearing unverifiable reports of “hate crimes” against ethnic minorities and verified reports of attacks on Trump supporters. Again, most of the attacks on Trump supporters were violent and verifiable, whereas the stories told by minorities tended to follow the same story lines as the hate crime hoaxes that we’re used to hearing about. Some have already been debunked.
But in the age of the University of Virginia rape hoax, and in the wake of their embarrassment at having been wrong about just about everything for the past 18 months, journalists and activists are more than willing to spread these stories, and universities are more than willing to lift up the self-proclaimed victims as martyrs.
To cite one example, at my college, Baylor University, a black female student posted a short video telling the story of how a white male pushed her off the sidewalk and said “No n****** allowed on the sidewalk.” She is now a heroine on campus, with 300 students marching to class with her to display their virtue, and the university issuing statements about “safety,” “diversity,” and “reconciliation.” We’ll probably never know whether or not the story was true.
Most of these college students demanding safe spaces are harmless know-nothings. (Harmless in terms of violence, though not necessarily in terms of power.) They are the product of an education system that has taught them little more than to believe either that they are victimized and oppressed or privileged and oppressive. They know how to file lawsuits and how to hate themselves. They were taught to believe in the progressive inevitable triumph of good over evil—and they’ve been told who the evil people are. On Tuesday night, those evil people won. And in the black and white, zero-sum world they inhabit, this is an emotional blow on a scale that normal, sane people cannot imagine.
What can be done about the snowflakes? In my view, the best medicine is mockery. I mean that in all sincerity and charity, though I realize I say it while still basking in the glow of victory. The Left has long understood that humor and comedy is an incredibly effective propaganda tool, because you can denigrate that which you hate without having to actually make an argument. You can make the great appear small, and the lesser argument the stronger.
When dealing with people who have no preparation for rational discourse, shame might be the best medicine. If you mock them, you can eventually break the conditioning. Consider it tough love. When it came to transforming culture and politics, the Left used this tool to great effect, but their power has drastically waned during the Obama years, largely because it’s not actually very edgy to make fun of white conservative Christians anymore.
Rather, the meme culture that has emerged over the past few years on the right-wing internet is far more clever than anything produced by Hollywood in a decade, and it has successfully converted hundreds of left-wing millennials, slowly by surely. Imagine what they could do if they had money!
So much for the snowflakes. They’re psychologically weak because they’ve been raised to value weakness and victim status. Appearing “vulnerable” is a stand-in for real strength. If the national culture moves away from that kind of mentality, so will they. The real problem is their professors, the ones who, I’m told, have canceled classes and sequestered themselves in their offices, weeping actual tears at the result of the election. On Friday, a friend of mine at a top 20 law school sent me this: “My professor keeps using‘speak to me like a voter from Wisconsin’ where before he said, ‘speak to me like an idiot.’” What to do about the universities is a topic for another column.
Then you have the militant members of the far Left, the ones who have been marching in the streets, assaulting Trump supporters, and getting arrested this week. Many of these are the professional riot squads, the illegal immigration activists, and the Black Lives matter protesters. I got to see some of them in action in the wee hours of Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C. in front of the White House, screaming at those of us wearing Trump hats that we were racist, sexist, etc. In response, we chanted “USA!” They replied with fists.
I don’t need to describe these professional agitators further; you know who they are. What’s interesting about them is that they now occupy a role that, if the results of the election had been different, we might have held: enemies of the state. Of course, we wouldn’t be rioting in the streets. We’d probably be sitting at our computers writing think-pieces. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves: we’d be, as we were during the Obama years, the enemies of the establishment. But now the professional Left understands something that we need to understand as well: a week ago, they were the shock-troops of the system. Now they face an existential threat. The people they hate the most rose up in righteous anger and elected the one man who has threatened to destroy that very system. That’s why the street fighters are getting arrested and the suits are in tears.
And that brings us to the third group of revolutionaries: us. I know, we’re “conservatives.” We don’t believe in revolution. We like to read books and discourse about how the American Revolution wasn’t really a revolution after all. We certainly don’t like to get our hands dirty by even thinking about the wielding of power. But we have to, now.
If Decius was right about this being the Flight 93 election, and I think he was, then we have one shot at this. We certainly can’t afford to make the mistakes of the past, put the same people in positions of authority, and let them try the same failed strategies and policy. It’s my suspicion that Trump understands that, and that he’ll continue to rely on the visionary renegades that got him this far: Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, and others like them. And they know that they’ll be fighting an administrative state and revanchist conservatives that hate them.
The battle for Helms Deep is over. The battle for the administration is about to begin.
This is why it is imperative that the NeverTrumpers be kept as far away from power as possible: not merely out of pride or resentment, but for the good of the country. Imagine it this way: Henry V gives his Crispin’s Day speech at Agincourt, and some of the army leaves. Not only do they desert openly, but they mock King Henry and his troops for staying, vilifying their cause as unjust and calling him a tyrant. Then, after you miraculously defeat the enemy, these deserters return and demand to be made generals. Forget their dishonor, forget that that they hold their manhoods cheap: these are not loyal people. They do not serve the common good. They have only ever served themselves.
What we have is an opportunity to actually do a great deal to mend our broken country. I expect the most energetic first 100 days imaginable.
Winning the election was the easy part. The real work lies ahead.