Sunday, January 15, 2017

Intellectuals for Trump?

Kelefa Sanneh
Google Images

The cultural critic Kelefa Sanneh attempts to make sense of pro-Trump intellectuals who attempt to make sense of Trump, who won't make sense of himself, in "Intellectuals for Trump" (The New Yorker, January 9, 2017):
The most cogent argument for electing Donald Trump was made not by Trump, or by his campaign, but by a writer who, unlike Trump, betrayed no eagerness to attach his name to his creations. He called himself Publius Decius Mus, after the Roman consul known for sacrificing himself in battle, although the author used a pseudonym precisely because he hoped not to suffer any repercussions. In September, on the Web site of the Claremont Review of Books, Decius published "The Flight 93 Election," which likened the country to a hijacked airplane, and argued that voting for Trump was like charging the cockpit: the consequences were possibly dire, but the consequences of inaction were surely so. Decius sought to be clear-eyed about the candidate he was endorsing. "Only in a corrupt republic, in corrupt times, could a Trump rise," he wrote. But he argued that this corruption was also evidence of a national crisis, one that could be addressed only by a politician untethered to political piety. The author hailed Trump for his willingness to defend American workers and America's borders. "Trump," he wrote, "alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live." By holding the line on unauthorized immigration and rethinking free trade, Decius argued, Trump could help foster "solidarity among the working, lower-middle, and middle classes of all races and ethnicities." Decius identified himself as a conservative, but he saved much of his criticism for "house-broken conservatives," who warned of the perils of progressivism while doing nothing in particular to stop it. Electing Trump was a way to take a stand against both ambitious liberalism and insufficiently ambitious conservatism.
That's the introduction. Go and read more if more interests you. It should. Incidentally, I thought the writer familiar, as I remarked in a comment on Malcolm Pollack's website:
I thought I recognized the name "Sanneh." Kelefa Sanneh is the son of Lamin Sanneh, an intellectual and a convert to Christianity from Islam and a practicing Roman Catholic.
Lots of ironies all around . . .



At 9:27 PM, Blogger King Baeksu said...

I remember sending you a link to "The Flight 93 Election" way back in September.

If you had posted about it then, you would have been months ahead of the square-ass New Yorker!

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, thanks for that. Posting on this stuff required some off-duty time. My semester had me neck-deep in grading. I finally got enough rest this past weekend. I only lightly posted during the semester. (You need only look back to posts four or five years ago, back when my job was lighter, to see the lengths I'd go to make a point about Milton.)

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CPH here--"intellectuals for Trump", I dunno, seems an oxymoron to me. Or as Bugs Bunny would say, an "oxy-maroon".

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Oh, Pete, you know intellectuals will support anything - why, they've supported communism for many years, now!

Jeffery Hodges

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