June 15, 2018
The good news is that the intelligentsia don’t have the numbers they think they have—yet. Their self-righteousness is turning people off. Jay Caspian Kang’s above-mentioned tweet is just the latest example; I’ve seen and heard of plenty of journos evading and obfuscating who they voted for in 2016 or what they think of the current direction of the Democratic Party. Some privately support, or just sympathize with, Trump. They’re hoping you assume they’re an orthodox lefty. Scratch what you assume is a Bernie Bro millennial and don’t be surprised to find a cowardly libertarian, not wanting to lose friends and unable to stop careering for five minutes (in my experience they’d secretly like Rand Paul to be president).
So the next time a friend takes a lunatic left attitude on something, instead of taking him at face value to be a member of the Red Guard, occasionally laugh it off as posturing, and ask that they be honest with you about their real political beliefs. Better yet: If they’re a straight white male, ask him how long he thinks someone with his background will be allowed to speak, or even exist, in the Democratic Party. Don’t they know they’re not really wanted there? At the very least, they’re the past and not the future of the party. If they don’t leave on their own, they will be forced out soon enough. One last tactic: Acknowledge that their radical politics are probably just their way of fitting in and getting on in the corporate world. You might even be able to tease some of their real political opinions out. The goal is to get people to be honest and bold, not timid and remaining in this political closet.
It should be noted that it was Donald Trump’s first major political achievement to get Americans to speak their minds again. That war has obviously not been won, but he helped win battles. With the inevitable pushback, either this year or in the next few, on Trump and free speech, it is important to at least appreciate that early accomplishment of his. As Paul Johnson, who was the first major writer I know of to calmly and confidently predict that Trump would take the Republican nomination and then the presidency, said in 2016:
…it’s good news that Donald Trump is doing so well in the American political primaries. He is vulgar, abusive, nasty, rude, boorish and outrageous. He is also saying what he thinks and, more important, teaching Americans how to think for themselves again.
More good news: Courage is contagious.