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November 13, 2019

Yoram Hazony to Bret Stephens: You Hate Trump, But You Created Him

At a debate at Princeton. Of course, the Princeton daily shitpaper called both men "racists," because competition to work in the dying media is fierce and Princeton students are smart enough to know what appeals to potential employers.

Hazony makes the point that the public has rebelled against Bret Stephens' philosophy. Stephens would call his world-view "anti-nationalist." Hazony would call it "imperialist," because the point of his book seems to be that the opposite of nationalism is imperialism. There is no such thing as a sprawling transnational democracy; it will simply become a corrupt empire where all real power is held by an ostensible elite ensconced in the capital city.

He makes a great point. He says that he hopes that someone comes along to push Trump's nationalist policies but who has sharply-creased trousers and the other superficial markers of the transnationalist elite that Stephens pledges his allegiance to -- Stephens and his NeverTrump fellow travelers sneer at people who feel loyalty to a nation, rather than feeling loyalty to a borderless transnational class of would-be elites, as they do -- without themselves being transationalists or imperialists.

"And I hope you like them," Hazony says, "but I don't think you will."

Because, Hazony concludes, your argument about Trump's comportment and authoritarian tendencies (and the seventeen ways in which Stephens claims he resembles Mussolini) is all a bullshit smokescreen to hide the real disagreement: Brett Stephens wants an empire ruled by a transnational "elite" like himself, people who sneer at patriots who love their actual country (aka "nationalists"), and it doesn't matter if the people challenging his imperialist/elitist worldview are all Harvard graduates and poet laureates: Stephens and the transnational imperialist progressives will hate them anyway, because they just don't think America should be a nation.

It should be an "idea," as many NeverTrumpers insist. Not an actual country with actual sovereignty, but merely a checklist of beliefs and social markers (including rules for creasing one's trousers crisply) that anyone can subscribe to, and in so subscribing, become "American."

I don't know what the hell they mean by this -- if you ask them, "Does this mean that anyone who does not agree to this checklist should be refused citizenship, or have their citizenship stripped from them?" I mean, many Americans believe in socialism, not capitalism, and disagree with the NeverTrump Benevolent Empire model.

They'll say, "Oh of course not, I would not be such a totalitarian to condition citizenship on a belief in my political worldview"?

And I don't imagine they'd agree that if a Laotian declares "I believe in the neocon ideas you claim are America itself," I don't suppose they'd say he immediately becomes a citizen with full voting rights and full access to American social welfare benefits. (Note: I suspect some of them actually do believe this -- but I don't think they would admit to believing it.)

But if citizenship does not turn on whether you believe in the discredited neocon ideology these imperialist non-elite elitists take to be America Itself, what the Fuck could they mean when they say that America is only an "idea," not a country?

If you don't believe in a set of ideas, then you are, of course, not part of that ideology.

So people who do not believe in the neocon plan of plenary rights for corporations and much more limited rights (subject to restriction by corporations) are therefore denying "the idea of America," and therefore not American.

But they never take it that far. They just keep repeating their gassy horseshit that "America is an idea, not an actual country."

This is very similar to Obama's attempt to argue the same proposition, that America wasn't "special" and that America should have no bias in its own favor or interest.

This crew have long been secret admirers of Obama, and now that the GOP is rejecting them, they are more and more comfortable admitting that, to be honest, they always thought that Obama had it 95% right.

Obviously this "America is just an idea" mantra is pure horseshit, which they shovel to hide their other horseshit ideas in more horseshit.

They use it as a euphemism to mean "borders should be open, and the American military forces should be deployed to whatever country Bill Kristol read about in Time this weekend."

That doesn't test well in polls, though, so they've consulted some hack to come up with the "America is just an idea, man" evasion.

Watch the exchange below.

Short but piquant.

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posted by Ace of Spades at 03:43 PM

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