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August 12, 2016

Trump Accused Immigrants of "Drug and Human Smuggling, Home Invasion, Murder"

Terrible, huh?

Pretty racist, right?

One thing: It wasn't Donald Trump who said this.

It was John McCain, when he was pretending he wanted to "build the dang fence" in his 2010 reelection campaign.

Question: Why did John McCain accusing illegal immigrants of "drug and human smuggling, home invasion, murder" not set the tongues of the Establishment wagging in horror?

After all -- this sounds a lot like Donald Trump's "outrageous" statement about illegals that lit the Establishment's hair on fire: "They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."

Drugs, home invasion, and murder is not all that different from drugs, crime, and rape. They are, I hope some will be honest enough to acknowledge, adjacent pews in the same church.

And yet Trump's comments were disgraceful.

McCain's comments were just some savvy electioneering.

The difference, of course, is that everyone knew John McCain was lying, employing a tactic the Establishment has used so frequently over the past decades: Lying to your ignorant, uneducated doltish rube voters so you can get into office and do what you were set on this earth to do, service the corporate class.

Trump maybe seemed to mean what he said about illegals (maybe- - he might have just been imitating what he saw the Establishment doing to great success), and he was an outsider, and therefore he wasn't allowed to say the same thing.

When I asked about this on Twitter, #NeverTrumper and establishment-booster Dan McLaughlin confirmed that McCain was being treated differently because of his status within the in-group:

You know, there's a revulsion among the self-claimed "elites" (most who are not elites at all, but simply elite wannabes) about the bubbling "radical egalitarianism" they think is so dangerous in what they call "populism."

But the "radicalness" of this egalitarian impulse is open to dispute. I used to think that it was accepted conservative doctrine that people's words and actions should be judged like any other person's words and actions -- on the words and actions themselves, and not on that person's claimed status or privilege to say more provocative things that a person of a lesser caste would be allowed.

With Alec Baldwin, for example, liberals made this claim: Sure he can knock "coons" and "queers" and not catch hell over it; we know he's a liberal in good standing. He's so charming at the SNL after-parties. He simply has more Rights and Privileges than, say, Paula Dean.

He's from a higher caste than Paula Dean -- a better caste. He's just a better person, therefore his words and actions are evaluated differently from a lesser human being's.

Conservatives -- at least at that time -- objected to this vociferously, noting the entire concept of status-based rights -- where a person's actions are judged not on their own merit but in the context of the status enjoyed by that person -- were entirely antithetical to the idea of the American system, where each of us stands equal under the law (and, by extension -- each of us stands equal in the court of social censure, too).

But I do see many "conservatives" now retreating -- or running at top speed -- away from this former value of egalitarianism, now embracing large swaths of the left's status-and-credentialism system of some people just being plain better than others and ergo deserving of greater latitude in public statements and public actions and greater deference as a general matter.

The thing that I think may "conservatives" don't like about populism is the direct challenge to the privilege of the elites, or the self-vaunted elites, in any case; they have status (or they believe they have status, or should have status) and object quite emotionally to this unschooled, unshoed rabble presuming to be their equals.

I think this is where the real anger and venom is coming from -- not over free trade per se, but at the "experts'" anger that their "expert opinions" on free trade are being disregarded.

All politics is personal, as they say. And someone denying you have a social credential you thought you did (and think you've earned) is a very personal matter indeed.

I don't know what Dan McLaughlin actually meant here, and I didn't bother to ask him last night, because the implications of his claim just began to sink in for me this morning.

But I guess, now that I've chewed it over, I would like to ask: Exactly what did you mean? Trump had no statements whatsoever on Mexicans before his famous declaration at the announcement of his candidacy; so how could his prior statements reduce his status to make his claims?*

And as for John McCain -- yes, he famously fought for amnesty and strongly implied those who disagreed were racist; does that then give him status to make racist comments himself -- rather like Alec Baldwin's well-known distaste for the "homophobes" and "racists" of the GOP giving him license to make racist and homophobic remarks himself?

What, precisely, is the nature of John McCain's alleged status advantage which gives him special privilege to make comments that the establishment condemns when they're made by Donald Trump?

Is it, as I speculate, simply that the establishment knows John McCain was doing this in furtherance of his team's goals -- the establishment wants other establishment figures to win, after all; it strengthens them all -- and therefore his racist comments, filling the rubes' heads with dirty bigogry about crime-crazy Mexicans, are excusable as they advanced the Greater Good?

Or is it just that everyone knows -- everyone -- that John McCain was lying and ludicrously pandering?

And does it somehow make it less racist to say racist things you don't believe, rather than more racist?

Are people who say racist things they don't believe for their own personal advancement more virtuous than people who say things they really believe?

That seems like an extremely dubious proposition to me -- "Oh, he's not really racist; he's just cynically trafficking in racist tropes to get elected."

That's a defense now?

I guess it's as simple as This is 40 put it: Some people are Simon, and others are Garfunkles, and the Garfunkles should just learn their fuckin' place in the Simon-Garfunkle pecking order.

* Actually, a commenter points out: He did have prior statements on deportation of illegals. He called Romney's self-deportation scheme "heartless" and "insane."

Ergo, that suggests he was every bit as cynical in his appeal as McCain -- just tryin' to roll the rubes, as McCain was.

So why doesn't he get the It Doesn't Count If You're Just Tryin' to Roll the Rubes exception like McCain did?

Are we now just openly admitting we evaluate thing according to Friend of Foe recognition?

What happened to these vaunted Eternal Principles of Constant Consistency I keep hearing so much about?

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