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Reblogged:Whom Magical Thinkers Support

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Hugh Hewitt devotes a column to explaining why conservatives support Donald Trump. It is mighty thin gruel to this radical capitalist, but I may have learned a valuable lesson about conservative punditry in the process of thinking about who the audience might be.

Consider that Hewitt never explicitly mentions the left, only (perhaps) obliquely dismissing its "dismay" as manufactured. And so a great chance went begging: Hewitt should have at least noted that every single Democrat who might run against Trump supports policies that are so depraved and ruinous as to understandably make anyone who enjoys some modicum of control over his life and property consider running into Trump's arms at the next election.

The fact that that's the strongest argument to vote for Trump -- although hardly an airtight case -- is enough to hope that a better candidate than Trump could emerge even from the Democrats. And yet Hewitt never brings it up, either in such hopes, or to light a much-needed fire under Trump, or to make the prospects of the Democrats winning less horrendous, even if only down the road.

Instead, he speaks of Trump's "genuine and possibly lasting conservative reforms," citing as an example two executive orders pertaining to "regulatory dark matter," such as "guidance documents." Here's a sample:

Trump is bringing down the hammer on the guidance-addicted bureaucrats, building on earlier actions by former attorney general Jeff Sessions and former associate attorney general Rachel Brand. [bold added]
Maybe. For now, until some crafty functionary finds a new way to circumvent the law. And via an order a future President can easily overturn, anyway.

And later:
magic.jpg
Image by Julius Drost, via Unsplash, license.
After joking that he himself might have been the target of such "guidance letters" in the past, Trump hit the crucial note: "Because of these materials and the fact that these materials are too often hidden and hard to find, many Americans learn of the rules only when federal agents come knocking on the door," he declared. "This regulatory overreach gravely undermines our constitutional system of government." [link and bold added]
Please note that Trump's objection is not to such rules, let alone regulation as such: It's to the rules being hard to know in advance. And when an allegedly anti-regulation official speaks of "overreach," you know that he finds some regulatory "reach" acceptable. That said, if this is "bringing down the hammer," it's doing so to fight a cockroach infestation. It may be noisy and it is, strictly speaking, "doing something," but it will be just as effective.

He can't, but it isn't because he can't get the legislation he needs to remedy the problem that Trump is signing this executive order. It's because he has no fundamental problem with central planning: He didn't ask by what right the government plans our lives. There is no larger or long-range plan to rid America of this huge, long-known, and well-documented burden, of which "dark matter" is just a particularly pernicious manifestation.

And, as if making a mountain out of this molehill weren't enough, Hewitt goes on to say:
Really? How could the alleged destroyer of democracy make such an argument? He explained: "Unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats must not be able to operate outside of the democratic system of government, imposing their own private agenda on our citizens." And certainly not by unsupervised regulatory statists.
Democracy is mob rule. We live in a republic, and the essential characteristic of our system is that it protects individual rights, a phrase I cannot recall Trump ever saying. Trump may not be actively destroying the republic, but he is not actively saving it, either. We need better, but we won't get better by pretending otherwise.

So Hewitt never calls out the depravity of the Democrats, and his hero, Trump, does not fundamentally oppose the government planning our lives via a bureaucracy. We can see from this "genuine and possibly lasting conservative reform" in its full context.

So conservatives support Trump. And Trump does not fundamentally oppose the Democrats. What might Ayn Rand -- of whom Trump professes to be a fan; whom so many leftists like to equate with the right; and whom so many on the right like to quote or damn as they wrongly deem expedient -- have to say about that?
Today's culture is dominated by the philosophy of mysticism (irrationalism)-altruism-collectivism, the base from which only statism can be derived; the statists (of any brand: communist, fascist or welfare) are merely cashing in on it -- while the "conservatives" are scurrying to ride on the enemy's premises and, somehow, to achieve political freedom by stealth. It can't be done. [bold added]
Trump trying to sneak in a little bit of freedom by executive order is a nearly perfect encapsulation of how he operates. And wishful thinking by conservatives to the effect that this is "bringing down the hammer" or "owning the libs" is their magical thinking on display. The best we can truly hope for from Trump is that he buys time to fight for freedom.

Hewitt is preaching to the choir because he knows only they will see it this way, and because he needs to fool himself most of all. What a waste of what little is left -- in time or scope -- of your freedom, Mr. Hewitt: Our republic will not change for the better until people who understand and uphold freedom make their case to the general public in a way that will change enough of their minds.

The conservatives, who have squandered every mandate to lift economic controls, from Reagan on, are not the ones who will do so. It is because they can't and, deep down, they know it.

For those who value liberty, be wary of this when following conservative commentary: It does often cover things leftist media outlets like to hide, but it has its own way of lulling its audience.

-- CAV

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