Thursday, August 2, 2018

Conservative Reaction to Late-Stage Nixon

This beautifully concise explanation of Conservative reaction to Nixon/Watergate is a mirror of our times, confirming that none of the apparent weirdness is new or puzzling. 

Most Conservatives are, and have always been, primarily anti-Liberal. A few Conservatives also have firm principles. But Watergate showed that even the firmly-principled revert to blind partisanship in a crunch, even when this lands them in sharp opposition to their own principles.

At the root is a human tribal reaction. When a Nixon or a Trump gets cornered, the Right supports, blindly, because, for better or for worse, he’s the emblem of their side, and the infuriated people are the other side. It’s not a moral choice, it’s simply human instinct to band together against attack from the Other. This is why dictators always concoct foreign threats. It makes moderates, who’d otherwise disapprove of the regime, fall in line behind the dude nominally charged with The National Interest. What I gleaned from the above-linked article is that domestic factions also exhibit that behavior. 

Liberals do this, too. We all do. But understanding the tendency will be essential for a clear-eyed view of the impending endgame of the Mueller investigation.  The MAGAs will scream their heads off, or course, because he’s their Cheez Whiz Jesus. But many moderate Republicans will shock us with their prolonged defense. Not because they find his crimes trivial, and not because they love his presidency, but just because they’ll parse it as an attack on “our side”, and will instinctively get their collective backs up. 

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