Donald Trump, Culture Warrior: The Charlottesville and NFL Theatres

Back in 1835, Alexis De Tocqueville had this to say as part of his observations on the American press:

The spirit of the journalist in America consists in a crude, unvarnished, and unsubtle attack on the passions of his readers; he leaves principles aside to seize hold of men whom he pursues into their private lives exposing their weaknesses and defects.

Such an abuse of the powers of thought has to be deplored.

In modern America, the journalist, intellectual and celebrity classes have by and large expended great effort in conveying its distaste for American heritage and values. This was made clear to average folks in moments like Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes earlier this year, when she warned that without the boundless diversity of Hollywood, all we would have to watch were the clearly inferior ‘football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.’

Our supposed intellectual betters construct this anti-American heritage argument by first declaring America to be the world’s greatest evil, owing to her racism, bigotry and colonialism, as if she invented these things. They then follow this up by advocating for the US to be rebuilt from the ground up along the lines of equalism, diversity and multiculturalism above all else, in order to rectify these sins.

It is basic Cultural Marxism, but it garners a wide appeal because its ultimate aims are noble sounding. Its failing lies in the fact that its method for achieving these aims is highly flawed. Consider Herbert Marcuse, whose views helped form the intellectual foundation for Cultural Marxism, and his idea of what ‘tolerance’ means.

the realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period–a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.

and

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word.

This Orwellian definition of ‘tolerance’ relies on the premise that all humans are exactly the same and thus the only explanation for differences in outcomes and quality of life must be discrimination or oppression. To fix this, the culture must be mandated to replace the dominant force with the less dominant force in order to balance the scales. In practice this means tamping down anything white, male, Christian, and heterosexual , as it has undue ‘privilege.’

Over the last month and a half, President Trump has involved himself in a couple of high profile incidents which highlight these cultural battles nicely. On August 12th, a group called ‘United the Right’ met in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, and the renaming of the park in which it stood. The group was met with resistance by violent leftists. In the resulting melee, one of the leftist counter-protesters was killed. This, combined with the fact that the Unite the Right group had neo-Nazis and white supremacists as part of its ranks, sparked nationwide outrage.

In August of 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to protest the national anthem by sitting as it was played. In subsequent games, he knelt on one knee instead of sitting. His stated rationale for protesting was the following:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

In the year-plus since his original protest, it has slowly but surely gathered steam, with more players joining in, although only a tiny fraction of all players. These few instances of protest have always been well highlighted by the media, as has been the fact that Kaepernick was cut and remains unemployed by an NFL team to the time of this writing. The situation reached a breaking point after President Trump made remarks last Friday that denounced the players for their protests during the anthem, declaring that players who protested should be cut from their teams. In response, hundreds of players from various sports leagues emulated Kaepernick’s kneel before several games, sparking much controversy and backlash.

Both the Charlottesville and NFL situations have at their core questions about what is perhaps the most fundamental of American values, freedom of speech, expression and protest. How these questions have been answered says a lot about the modern interpretation of America itself vis-à-vis that of yesteryear.

In Charlottesville, the fundamental question was: should speech still be permitted even when the views expressed are found to be reprehensible by a large portion of the public? The only answer to that question which is in line with the values the United States was founded on is a resounding YES. In terms of restrictions to free speech, the most expansive category revolves around incitement to committing unlawful acts, most notably acts of violence.

Merely campaigning to keep Confederate statues standing is objectively not violent. However our intellectual betters have made a subjective case that these arguments are violent. The argument is that because these statues are symbols of the Confederacy, which wanted to retain the institution of slavery, the very existence of the statues are itself a violent action against black Americans.

Thus, in a roundabout manner, Unite The Right was inciting violence. This meant that in a similar roundabout manner, the violent clashes perpetrated against Unite the Right by Antifa leftists were justified as self-defense. And in turn, the dizzying roundabout journey was completed when the press universally vilified President Trump for accurately pointing out that the violence in Charlottesville came from ‘many sides.’

For the press, the point of contention amounted to the fact that Trump defended the right to peacefully express a less than popular opinion, while condemning a force violently expressing a more popular viewpoint. Only the former is consistent with the Constitution, and thus Trump’s stance was valid. His stance was even made to be an outright revolutionary act given the torrent of criticism he received form, dare I say, many sides, including from some of his own White House staff.

That it was so highlights the main thrust – American heritage and basic values are not in vogue, thanks to the efforts of our press, which proclaims that symbols and words are violence, but sticks, clubs, homemade flamethrowers, bike locks, feces-filled water balloons and bottles, and cement filled coke cans are mere expressions of protest. Principles left aside, indeed.

With respect to the NFL protest, the question of freedom of expression is a bit more nuanced. It is not a question of whether athletes should be allowed to protest, but whether the field is the appropriate place to do so. This is because in uniform, the players are at work. They are paid to play sports, and they are watched by fans because of their prowess on that field of play. Given that sports are a form of entertainment for most people, being forced to engage in political jousting is going to be off putting to most.

To put it differently, if one were to go to a restaurant for a nice meal, and decided to order a steak, he or she would not be appreciative if the waiter delivered it accompanied with a lecture about how Meat is Murder. The action of the waiter in that case is simply disrespectful to a paying customer, who may even be amenable to the point of view which is being put forth as protest. It just isn’t the time or the place, and in the vast majority of situations such as I describe, the end result would be the termination of the waiter.

The same concept holds in regards to the NFL protests. The players are injecting politics where it is not desired, and doing so in a particularly inflammatory manner, using the flag and the national anthem as a vector for protest (recall Kaepernick’s specific intention was to publicly refuse to show pride in the flag). More importantly, they are doing so on the job. The NFL is a private organization, which can control how the players express themselves on the field in whatever manner it pleases, and has been doing so for years.

Did President Trump go over the line style-wise, in terms of his comments on the matter? Probably. However, his general point – that an employer with employees who are disrespecting its customer base should probably review its policy on the matter – is spot on. And on this score the public – that customer base – is in agreement with him. In this poll of roughly 1600 voters taken just after the NFL fiasco, 64% of them agreed that players should stand and be respectful of the anthem, versus 25% who disagreed. 61% of those polled felt there was a more appropriate place to protest, versus 31% who supported an anthem protest. A whopping 80% wanted to see less politics in their sports. These results corroborate the mostly unreported fact that several of the anthem protests around the NFL were met with boos by the crowds. The NFL, it appears, has some thinking to do.

More central to this post, however, is the relative merits of the protests in Charlottesville and in the NFL. The Charlottesville protests were about the removal of historical statues, the literal tearing down of American heritage. In the aftermath of the protest, Trump opined that there would be a never-ending cascade of such statue removals to the point where George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be scrubbed from their pedestals. In the days since those comments were made, leftists continued the trend that had already been started prior to Charlottesville, in declaring that such removals might not be such a bad idea.

In the case of the NFL protests, those have been predicated on Kaepernick’s assertion that minorities are oppressed by police, who according to him not only regularly get away with murder but are even paid for it.

Whenever the subject of police brutality is broached by the mainstream press, it is always in the direction of police perpetrators against black, unarmed victims. Yet for every Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Philando Castille, Eric Garner and Alton Sterling, there is a Daniel Shaver, Dylan Noble, Andrew Thomas, Loren Simpson and Justine Damond. The difference between the two lists are two fold; firstly the names in the latter list are white, and secondly none of the cases in the latter list received intense national attention (Damond did get a smattering of attention, most likely due to the fact that she was a foreigner and female).

There were even similarities between the cases. Both Shaver and Rice were shot because they had pellet guns. Both Castille and Noble were allegedly reaching for something when they were killed. Yet, all of these cases are merely anecdotes. A much broader statistical analysis (which I detailed here) shows that the amount of deaths at the hands of police, distributed by race, is roughly in line with the rates of violent crimes committed by race. Indeed, even when it comes to total stops by police, the statistics show that the percentages of stops distributed by race are largely in line with the distribution of the population generally.

In short, there is no statistical or anecdotal merit to the idea that the police are seeking out minorities to oppress and kill with impunity, and as such the protests are being made for no real reason. So why has there been outrage over the topic of police brutality against the black community, and a perception of such fostered such that the likes of Kaepernick took it upon himself to protest?

The reason is that such a perception fits into the dominant narrative of the journalist and intellectual class, that of pervasive American racism and bigotry. Which are, of course, only remedied by the Cultural Marxist elixir so preferred by our intellectual overlords. This explains the disingenuous intellectual dishonesty prevalent in mainstream discussions of events like Charlottesville and the NFL protests.

The willingness to suddenly latch on to football, which has replaced baseball as the national pastime in recent decades is particularly insidious. As Streep intimated at the Golden Globes, our intellectual betters care not a whit for football and even think it beneath them, because it is a prole habitat. And there are a lot of proles, hailing from disparate backgrounds, and they all come together for a common purpose every Sunday, their team.

The irony is that the promotion of the multitudes coming together to support a singular team is precisely what President Trump ran on. That ‘team’ is the USA and its symbols are the flag and the anthem. America First actually does transcends our individual differences in the same way our intellectual betters can only theorize happening through their preferred ideology.

So to use the unifier that is the NFL as the means to inject their brand of Cultural Marxism and communism, at the expense of the Big Unifier that is the flag and the anthem is insulting, to say the very least. As the resounding negative reaction the NFL protests show, the public has felt the insult. To extent the journalist and intellectual class continues to nakedly act in opposition of the public, the latter will continue to shun the ideology the former is trying to sell.

The mere existence of the phrase ‘President Donald Trump’ should have clued our intellectual betters onto that. I suppose wanton hubris renders one hard on learning.