Friday, July 09, 2021


I got some pushback after I posted a comment about a J.D. Vance interview excerpt:

Some of the pushback:
If Mitch McConnell said this, I'd know he was faking it. Vance and his interviewer, Dave Rubin, are a different story. It's conceivable that they're merely selling this idea to the rubes, but if you watch the clip, they really appear to be nurturing a sense of grievance.

Here's a transcript of the clip:
DAVE RUBIN: Is that part of the problem right there, that there is just sort of an asymmetry of who likes to use power? I've been talking about that a lot on the show, just that we don't really want to use power, even in this conversation. It's like "Ahhh, you know, competition, government," we're sort of okay with competing ideas being out there, where, when they have the power, we know what they do.

VANCE: Yeah, that's exactly right. You know, people always ask me the difference between left and right. Is it small government, big government, social conservative, progressive, what have you? And I always say, "Look, the big difference between the left and right is the left loves to use power and the right is terrified of using power. And, you know, my friend Richard Hanania, who's a really interesting thinker on this, he says the left loves to use power because they actually care about politics more. Like, you know, you look at polling and the right just doesn't care as much about politics as the left does. I think, unfortunately, we're in an environment where we have to get over it, because if we're not willing to use power to push back against the left, I think that power is going to come for us. It's going to come for our livelihoods, it's going to come for our families, it's going to come eventually -- and already started coming for our very ability to speak and to think for ourselves. And so I agree: The left has a basic instinctive advantage because they love to use power. But we're just going to have to get over it or we're going to find ourselves without, you know, really a real republic anymore.
The right controls the Supreme Court, the Senate (through the filibuster), talk radio, and cable news (through Fox). It controls tax policy, climate policy, and gun policy nationwide. It controls most of the states. It will probably control the entire federal government by 2025. It may be on the verge of permanently controlling the federal government, through illiberal manipulations of American democracy. Imagine how much the right would control if conservatives actually cared about power!

But when I think about the resentments Rubin and Vance express in this clip, I think about what Robert P. Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute said about evangelicals in Michelle Goldberg's latest column:
White evangelicals once saw themselves “as the owners of mainstream American culture and morality and values,” said Jones. Now they are just another subculture.

... “It’s hard to overstate the strength of this feeling, among white evangelicals in particular, of America being a white Christian country,” said Jones. “This sense of ownership of America just runs so deep in white evangelical circles.”
I think what Rubin and Vance are expressing is the secular version of this. The fact that liberals control anything -- Hollywood, or cultural attitudes toward LGBT people, or (occasionally) the White House -- is deeply offensive to them. They should control everything!

They can't accept that they've actually lost a fair contest of ideas. So they tell themselves that they let us win.

They want to crush us, so they say we're power-mad evildoers. That means if they become power-mad evildoers, they can look themselves in the mirror and say, We didn't want to be this way. The left forced us to be this way. We wanted to be good and tolerant. They forced us to be ruthless because they're ruthless.

Like armies or cops, they're dehumanizing us to justify what they want to do to us. And I think they believe what They're saying.

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