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May 31, 2016

William Kristol Has Recruited NRO Writer and Iraq Veteran David French for his #NeverTrump Presidential Candidate?

Hm.

Well, French is one of my favorite writers on the entire right. I've quoted him enough times.

A few months ago I was talking with someone about actual thought leaders -- not like the Twitter people who think they're thought leaders -- and I named, as my own thought leaders, Andrew McCarthy and David French.

And he has a presidential level bio -- Constitutional lawyer, soldier.

Is this serious? Well, French recently seemed to pick Trump's pocket and steal one of his key emotional issues, while keeping it respectable enough for the intellectual class.

I can't recall the first time I heard the phrase “white male” hissed as if it were some form of particularly vile insult. I know it happened in law school, where it was used as a short-hand way of saying that I should be silent, that my views were not welcome. Over time, I learned that, to a certain set of people, there was something positively wrong with being white.

"We" were the great privileged oppressors of history. And "we" were the great privileged oppressors of the present. Our law schools are, in many ways, incubators for the identity politics that dominate the social-justice Left. For those soaked in progressive identity politics, skin color was a stand-in for virtue.

It was impossible for a black person to be racist; it was impossible for a white person not to be. Any in-depth discussion of history had to acknowledge past injustice. It was tough even to talk about, say, Omaha Beach without in the next breath acknowledging the systematic segregation in the World War II–era U.S. Army.

Since my law-school days, the problem has only gotten worse. Now the true cultural and historical demons are white -- gasp! -- "cisgender" males, and any white cisgender woman who doesn’t appropriately check her privilege. The ticket to white acceptability in progressive politics is a form of self-loathing: a constant attitude of repentance not just for the sins of the past but also for the benefits of the present, which are presumably enjoyed only or mainly because of the plunder and exploitation of "brown bodies."

Oddly enough, this self-loathing doesn't diminish the power of the white progressive. The movement is still chock-full of rich white men and women. Indeed, they mainly lead the American Left. They simply purport to hate and mock "white males: with the same intensity as do their black friends.

But while there’s no price paid by Harvard Law students who "check their privilege," or by Silicon Valley execs who enthusiastically embrace the latest trends in identity politics -- they and their families will do just fine -- the rest of white America is not so fortunate. We're left with the odd reality in which white kids who live in trailer parks are "privileged," while the sons and daughters of wealthy black doctors are "oppressed" -- in which the legitimate concerns of white working-class and middle-class Americans are dismissed as misguided at best (after all, they’re privileged) and racist at worst.

Here's the problem: Progressives don’t like to admit this, but identity politics work as the mirror image of white supremacy -- compressing the extraordinarily rich and complex histories of nations, continents, and cultures into one characteristic: skin color. For the white supremacist, white people are natural-born victors. For the identity-politics leftist, white people are natural-born predators.

...

When identity politics rule, racism and polarization thrive. It is no coincidence that we are seeing a resurgence in outright white nationalism-- embodied in the so-called alt-right --at the same time that America's leftist cultural elite are decisively rejecting Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream that Americans be judged by the "content of their character" and not the color of their skin. When one side decides that skin color is a virtue, then -- as sure as the sun rises in the east -- the other side will eagerly agree....

The answer to misguided identity politics isn't more misguided identity politics.

Well I have two objections to a David French candidacy:

1. I think he'd be a perfect candidate -- one that I'd like an awful lot -- and my own understanding on this issue is that candidates I really like can never get elected to office.

2. He'd be a strong, well-funded, perfectly acceptable spoiler. My problem isn't a David French candidacy; it's a David French candidacy that can't actually win, but just serve as a protest vessel for 10% of the party, and thereby deliver the presidency into the corrupt talons of Hillary Clinton.

Eh. I'll keep my eyes open.

The minute I think he could actually win, I'm on the #FrenchRiviera.

But I need to see that this isn't just some protest candidacy by a miffed intellectual class with a pressing career interest in maintaining their #RespectabilityWithintheUpperMiddleClass.

But if it's more than that -- and if he has a dollop of charisma (I've never actually heard or seen him) -- then yeah, hell yeah. I'm interested.

But really, this would have to be more than personal career protection for some discarded beltway intellectuals.

I'd also like to see him say something about immigration other than the Intellectual Establishment Class Approved Rubio Line (give full amnesty now, get some additional border security later... maybe. God willing.)

But I have a feeling that a candidate put forward by a wing with a beloved "We're all Americans, including people who aren't American" globalist line would have to wind up echoing that line, even if he didn't necessarily believe it.

I assume that to capture the #NeverTrump remnant -- the bulk of whom are fire-breathing Rubio loyalists, for some bizarre reason I can't fathom -- French would have to parrot the Rubio Line on immigration.

Interview: Why French, at the age of 37, volunteered to join the JAG corps and serve in Iraq.


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posted by Ace at 06:45 PM

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