The Babbitt of the GOP

That is one of the problems with Trump that the Trumpkins don’t understand. It is true that the our inability to control our borders is an existential threat to these United States and that the crisis of illegal immigration is felt most intensely in downscale communities that do not register on Washington’s radar or Wall Street’s. But Trump’s buffoonery makes it less likely rather than more likely that something substantive will be done on the question. It is the case that the cult of political correctness is very much alive, that it is used to stifle criticism of powerful people and institutions and to render certain thoughts unspeakable. But if your solution to political correctness is to abandon manners and standards of conduct wholesale, then you are simply muddying the waters, making it less likely that we can respond intelligently to the little autocrats when they pipe up.

There is a kind of addiction to frisson at work, one that’s common among commentators and public figures. One is confronted with some po-faced p.c. policeman who insists that it is improper to acknowledge or speak about, e.g., the high rates of welfare dependency among non-whites relative to whites. And maybe one gets a nice little thrill from the squealing when one stomps all over that nonsensical sensibility. All good and fine and merry, but some people develop a jones for that feeling. You’ve all seen it: A man saying perfectly reasonable things about crime or poverty or the Middle East ends up a year or two down the road collecting Rhodesian flags and carefully tracking the number of Jews who have served on the Federal Reserve board. Ask him how and why he became a nutball, and he’ll protest that he has simply been liberated from the surly bonds of political correctness.

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