90 Miles From Tyranny : The Anti-Trump Verbal Preemptive Cringe Conservative pundits might do well not taking their cues from Democrat elites.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Anti-Trump Verbal Preemptive Cringe Conservative pundits might do well not taking their cues from Democrat elites.

Even conservative commentators who are not afflicted with terminal Trump Derangement Syndrome are compelled to drag Trump into their writing and criticize him in order to preempt any suspicion that their comments critical of progressives show support for the hated ex-president.

This verbal preemptive cringe is a way for members of the bipartisan political guild to signal their virtue and assure progressives that they’re not one of those knuckle-dragging “deplorable” Trump supporters. In doing so, they remind Trump voters why they supported him in the first place: He cut through all the class-signaling politesse and specious “norms” the cognitive elite use to advertise their superiority.

A good example can be found in a commentary from Lance Morrow in the Wall Street Journal. Much of the piece is a spot-on dissection of the progressive class-hatred of conservatives in general and Donald Trump’s supporters in particular. His portrait of these plutocrat progressives is worth quoting:
In their voices, you hear a throb of opulent hysteria—an ostentatious despair, the boutique self-pity of the privileged. Hating Mr. Trump and his followers dramatizes one’s own virtue. It makes elites feel good about themselves in the way, classically, that poor whites in the South were able to feel better about their own lot by despising and discriminating against black people. Progressives think that hating not only Mr. Trump but all conservatives settles their debts and cleanses them of sin. It gives them a certain moral luster.
But immediately there follows the preemptive cringe, the reflexive criticism of Trump lest Morrow’s fellow cognitive elites interpret those prior remarks as support for him:
Mr. Trump is to blame for much of this. Character is destiny, and Mr. Trump was quite a character. He gave his enemies the gift of Jan. 6. He played peek-a-boo with forbidden thoughts. He tossed cherry bombs at the Constitution to see if he could give it a scare. Whatever else one may say about Jan. 6, it was one of the stupidest afternoons in American history.
The burden of this charge contains an obvious begged question. By “character” Morrow seemingly assumes that it comprises style, tone, and language, rather than actions that, in the case of Trump, fulfilled campaign promises, and fought back against the decades of Democrat slanders and lies about Republicans and conservatives.

Morrow’s idea of “character,” moreover, reflects the mores of just one of America’s several “peoples,” the cognitive elites who often are more impressed with style and manners and class markers, than they are with meaningful deeds. Nor is it clear what “forbidden thoughts” Morrow’s talking about. Racism? Overturning the election results? These charges are the equivalent of the country-club set’s rule that forbids wearing white after Labor Day.

But there are ways of being American other than the modern equivalent of Boston Brahmins. Those whose ancestors came from the English borderlands with Scotland, or were the Scots who settled the Ulster Plantation in Ireland, have a different sensibility. These are the people who tamed the frontier, and have disproportionately fought and died in America’s wars. They distrust authority, especially that of distant elites. They prefer plain speaking and credit deeds rather than the clever, passive-aggressive, snide rhetoric of college-boys, tinhorns, and tenderfeet. They despise pretense and snobbery, and have a...

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