Sundance at the Conservative Tree House web site wrote an interesting column about this past weekend’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.
The panel assembled decried the dangers lurking within the country with the possible return of Donald Trump, who is still living rent-free inside their heads. What is especially maddening to them, it became apparent, is that the media appears impotent in turning the people toward their point of view.
Todd and his crew unleashed a disdainful attack on Trump voters and conservatives in general, characterizing them as 30 million people itching to take up arms in violent insurrection.
In point of fact, conservatives by and large are living quiet lives making choices that further their own interests and that of their family with nary a thought of any insurrection other than their voting in the next round of elections.
Sundance then mentions that which is most telling about the media’s ineffectiveness. It has mostly to do with a complete misunderstanding of Trump’s “supportive base of pragmatic, awakened Americans.”
It is the pragmatism that the media simply refuses to see. And it is because of that pragmatism that many Americans are today awakened to the sheer madness of the collective visions of the Left as advocated and defended by the mainstream media.
Pragmatism is a uniquely American philosophy. It was popularized in the early 20th century by William James (brother of novelist Henry) and John Dewey. It argued that the truth of an idea has more to do with its consequences than its standing as a theory.
It can be boiled down to the simple phrase “whatever works is likely true.” Given that test, is it any wonder the public has pretty much dismissed the media in this country?
Were the media truly the truth-tellers it stridently claims, Jussie Smollett would be seen as a victim of hate-filled Trump supporters, Kyle Rittenhouse a white supremacist wreaking havoc on the streets of Kenosha, the Duke lacrosse players a bunch of racist rapists, as are the frat boys of the University of Virginia, Nicholas Sandmann and other Covington Catholic kids a rowdy bunch of smug, MAGA hat wearing racists attacking a peaceful American Indian at the Lincoln Memorial, NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace an innocent black man facing the threat of violence from bigots placing a noose at his garage, and, of course, Donald Trump a working undercover asset of Russia seeking to undermine the United States (I’m assuming you’ve seen a tsunami of media references to this and don’t need a link).
Is it any wonder the public has rejected much of the media’s breathless reporting on Trump and his supporters?
Sundance’s main point was to stake out a major difference between conservatives and those on the Left. “The conservative” he writes, “believes that there is one and one path only to sustainable success and independence – and that is self-empowerment.”
By contrast, a leftist believes the people are dependent on the government or some other special assistance as they surely cannot fend for themselves. And always – always – their efforts will “backfire, and leave the recipient in equally or more dire circumstances.”
Take the example of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Established as part of the Social Security Act of 1935, it allowed the federal government to send funds to states to give financial support to children of families that have lost a spouse.
By way of full disclosure, I have benefited personally from this program after my dad died when I was four and my mom was left to raise three boys.
As the laboratories of democracy, the states used the funds in a variety of ways, with some eliminating what were perceived as layabouts looking for a handout, to enacting certain educational and vocational expectations on recipients to lead them toward economic self-reliance.
Through a series of court decisions during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the states were eliminated from control of the program. As a result, it became a more centralized federal program that gave a monthly check to those who could show there was only one parent, generally the mother.
As a result, single parent births have exploded in this country, particularly among black families at more than 70 percent and Hispanic families at more than 40 percent. Birth mothers see it as an easy paycheck, all while telling the fathers not to hang around so as not to threaten their being cut off from the federal spigot.
And, of course, the children of single parent homes are far more likely to have poor educational experiences, fall into a life of crime, and impregnate a number of women while accepting no responsibility for the ensuing children. Why not, if the government is going to pay for it all.
What a series of misplaced incentives. And thus, the cycle of poverty moves inexorably on.
The pragmatist in us sees that this just isn’t working. There needs to be a less centralized system that addresses the needs of children without creating a permanent financial and social underclass.
Another example is Critical Race Theory (CRT).
If one looks at how CRT has been implemented in the workplace and in schools, what does one see? What has been the result?
As near as anyone can tell, CRT has resulted in division, hurt feelings, distrust, anger, firings, pulled advertising and other acts of defunding. Has there been any case in which the result has been an unmitigated positive? I have yet to read of such.
So again, the pragmatist in us sees that CRT just isn’t working, that it creates more racial conflict rather than less. Military, business, and charitable institutions need to re-emphasize their primary missions to avoid ending up in the rhetorical weeds of wokism.
The reason conservatives are able to see this while the Left does not is because we have very different notions of human nature and the perfectibility of humankind.
Conservatives are more open to accepting the Biblical notion that each of us has a sinful nature which, through our free choices, we try to bend toward the Good. The world, in short, is and forever shall be a fallen world.
Liberals tend toward the notion that each of us are plastic and may be molded by social manipulation toward perfection in word and deed. Thus, they believe that the world is, indeed, perfectible.
This difference leads to quite differing views on how one should live one’s life and the role of government in the living of one’s life.
For the Left, to bring about the perfect world of which they dream, all is permitted. The leaders of the French Revolution, for example, in order to bring about their perfected world of liberté, égalité and fraternité, believed themselves justified to murder tens of thousands in the name of a higher ideal.
It is this same zeal for a perfect world that led Stalin and Chairman Mao and Pol Pot to murder their millions. At the end of the day, they believed, a new socialist dawn of perfection would be born. Didn’t happen.
Conservatives could have told them that it wouldn’t happen. So, too, the current generation of lotus eaters are misguided as well in their belief that a perfect world of equity is possible.
There is no possible perfect world. It simply does not exist, and never will. Thus, the Left will always be frustrated with the results of their actions. And they are left stewing in their anger until the next grand plan of perfection fires their imaginations.
It is quite a different understanding with conservatives. For one, they understand that even if one were somehow to eliminate all the spiteful enemies of conservatives it
would make no real difference. The world would still be fallen, and each of us still a fallen person seeking their own actions to bend their destiny toward the Good.
That’s why the Left tends to see conservatives as evil and needing to be eliminated, while conservatives see Leftists as simply wrong. With time as an ally, hopeful conservatives see Leftists eventually coming to their senses.
That difference points to another difference between the Left and conservatives. The Left tends more toward instant gratification rather than delayed gratification. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it is a tendency.
Think of the policy-makers who feel instantly gratified about their work in cementing welfare programs for the poor, but then wince when they see that their actions have helped create a permanent underclass.
In terms of ultimate satisfaction, the delayed gratification of hard work, discipline, and avoiding temptations in order to attain a professional, vocational or educational goal beats the instant gratification of a welfare check every time.
Leftist policy makers were no doubt deeply and instantly gratified with the passing of Title IX which barred any discrimination against women in educational venues,
But that law, itself an extension of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, later was the foundation for star-chamber trials of young men accused of sexual assault on college campuses who were denied due process to defend themselves.
It also morphed into the current phenomenon of transgender men and women and the bathrooms available to them, as well as biological men being allowed to compete against biological women with predictably lopsided results.
Conservatives tend to be more accepting of the limitations imposed on each of us by reality. If you are born a male with the physical endowments of a male, then compete in sports against other males regardless of what your personal “feelings” may dictate.
It may be instantly gratifying for that Penn swimmer to clobber the women he competes against, but the consequence will be the ultimate destruction women’s sports. So much for fairness.
Do you expect the mainstream media will deliver a similar message? Don’t count on it.
And that is why Chuck Todd and his Liberal cohorts will never understand the typical Trump voter, much less conservatives in general.
By Ron Nutter
Ron Nutter is a regular contributor to The Blue State Conservative, and retired college professor of Philosophy and Religion living in a cabin on a mountain in Western North Carolina with his retired physician wife, and he still reads voraciously.
Featured photo is a YouTube screengrab from NBC’s Meet the Press.