Friday, October 13, 2017

"The New Rules"

Want to hear a widespread viewpoint almost completely unheard beyond the right wing bubble? Ben Howe of Red State, a conservative never-Trumper, had this very interesting response on "All In" last night when asked about Trump's threat against broadcast licenses:
"[With] lot of conservatives in previous administrations, if a president was going to go after the press - at their license specifically - I think they would've said "Why is the government involved in licensing media anyway?" And they'd talk free markets and things. At least that's what I would've done! But instead they seem to play by what a lot of them call "The New Rules" which is: "The Liberals made the rules and now we're gonna play by them!" So even though it might conflict with what should be their conservative point of view, they're going to end up taking the position "Yeah, let's take their license away because we're just following their new rules anyway!"
This seems to amount to a third conservative response to Trumpism. Response #1 was disgust and recoil (see Rick Wilson, et al), i.e. "This shit ain't conservative!" And response #2 was capitulation and revision (see Hannity, et al), i.e. "This is what we meant all along, even when we were very recently arguing vehemently in the other direction". But the "New Rules" Howe describes fit the tenor of our times. For many folks, conservatism is anti-liberalism, period.

The new rules - of utter reciprocity, and no "there" there in terms of conservative principle - explain many mysteries, from Hillary's defeat, to softness re: Russian on the Right, to the right's absolute inability to govern - "anti" only works as an opposition credo; you can't rule from "anti" (though Trump is trying hard, by brutishly uprooting each and every Obama program and appointee).

Re: the press/first amendment threat, don't miss McKay Coppins' new piece for Columbia Journalism Review, "What if the right-wing media wins?"

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