That was the title of an essay in the New York Times Review section a couple of weeks ago. I took a while to get around to reading it, because it was authored by Amy Chozick, the Times journalist who wrote “Chasing Hillary,” an extended mea culpa for contributing to Hillary Clinton’s ‘s defeat by actually reporting the news. I don’t really care what someone capable of writing that thinks, but in this case, she is revealing the frightening, fascist, ends-justify-the means and power-at-any-cost mind-set of her colleagues, her party, the “resistance,” and those Facebook friends of mine who gang-attack me any time I point out that their Trump hate has eaten their brains, ethics, and respect for democracy.
“We are intensely social creatures and need to situate ourselves inside the collective,”she quotes a professor emeritus of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University as telling her. From that Amy—can I call you Amy?—endorses the use of “peer pressure” —gentle, of course!—to make sure the President she and all decent people detest is defeated. Her title is itself a form of peer pressure, since she assumes that defeating Trump is what “everybody” wants, “everybody” meaning the Good People, like her. And Hillary.
I’m sorry, I threw up in my mouth there and had a giggling fit. I’m OK now.
I taught my son to ignore peer pressure, conventional wisdom, going along with the crowd, going along to get along, and caring so much about who likes you that you surrender your mind and soul. I was taught the same lessons by my relentlessly contrary, idealistic father, who drove my mother to distraction by quitting one job after another when he felt he was being asked to take part in activities he believed were wrong. He suffered for this proclivity, as have I on occasion, and as has my son already at the tender age of 24. But none of us were or are inclined to do what someone else wants us to do because of threats, shaming, mobs of advocates, mass news media propaganda, or social media bullying.
For that is what Chozick is advocating, the strategy we have been seeing since that fateful day in November of 2016 when sufficient voters decided electing a true outsider and an obnoxious one at that was the perfect way to send an indelible message to the arrogant Leftist Elite who just assumed that their dishonesty, corruption, manipulation and contempt for democracy and American values didn’t matter to the public any more.
As I wrote at the time, it was a defiant gesture akin to the decision of Delta House to destroy the homecoming parade of the college that had expelled them. Otter says,” I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!” Sometimes the bad guys just can’t be allowed to win, and Americans. thank God, are still ready to say “Fuck you!” to people who think they can order them around. Yes, electing Trump was a surprising, but much deserved, “Fuck you!”
Of the many, many unexpected benefits of Trump’s election (along with many expected deficits) , perhaps the most important has been the crazed Left’s open revelation that it has no principles whatsoever, closely followed by the completely corrupt news media’s self-impeachment. The opposition to the President—how dare he defeat Hillary, when it was time to elect a female President?—has been an escalating series of anti-democratic, indeed totalitarian tactics. The “resistance’s” violent ally, the antifa, began attacking Trump supporters during the inauguration, a fair imitation of Brown Shirts even as the “resistance” was calling the President a Nazi. That Big Lie has persisted, as have many others, most of which are false projections on Trump.of conduct that Democrats and progressives have, shockingly, adopted as their own.
They have made it clear that they do not believe men should have the rights of due process and presumed innocence, but Trump is the gender bigot . (He is, but just personally, not in his policies) With barely a wisp of proof, they state as fact that Trump is a racist, while aggressively promoting anti-white bias in their schools, colleges, and the news media. Their house historians and scholars assemble slanted and deceitful arguments to accuse the President of “breaching Democratic norms” while Democrats and their leaders have trashed one essential system-bolstering tradition and norm after another. They refused to accept the verdict of the election. They have sought to manufacture justifications for impeachment in the absence of any conduct that meets the Constitutional standard. They have, in fact, called for impeachment purely because they don’t think Trump is “fit to be President,” ignoring, and trying to alter the fact that our system makes the people the arbiter of that issue, not the election’s bitter losers.
They used high school conduct and an unsubstantiated accusation to try to defeat the President’s SCOTUS nominee; they have used obscene language and vile insults that were previously taboo to diminish him; they have attacked the President while he was representing the nation on foreign soil; they have even made it impossible for him to fulfill the unifying symbolic functions of the office, like presiding over the Kennedy Center Honors, appearing at the White House Correspondent’s dinner, or throwing out the first pitch in a baseball game. They have weaponized the news media as a partisan force, as demonstrated by the one-way focus of CNN and other news sources.
But it’s the President who is dangerously breaching “norms.” Amazingly, many people believe this, because their peer group is saying it’s so loudly and meanacingly, or because they are not especially attentive, knowledgeable, or bright.
Perhaps the most relentless and despicable of the Big Lies emanating from the hate-filled Left is the constant fear-mongering. Since everything did not go to hell under President Trump as “the resistance” was telling us it would (an otherwise smart Massachusetts lawyer, a single mother, told me in December 2016 that she was “terrified” that her toddler son was doomed.) Every day, every single day, I hear interviews by celebrities and read everything from movie reviews to cooking features in which someone casually throws in a reference to how anxious everyone is and how we are in a crisis of existential proportions.
This week, Nick Kristof, always a hard-left scold but now apparently completely infected by the fact-free anti-Trump madness of New York Times colleagues like David Leonardt, Paul Krugman and Charles M. Blow, actually wrote a disgraceful op-ed headlined, “We Will Survive. Probably.: American democracy is too resilient for Trump to destroy.”
This is propaganda, not opinion. The only threats to Democracy posed during the first three years of the Trump administration have been the loss of fair, objective and honest news reporting, and the Democratic Party’s ongoing effort to overthrow the President.
Such unconscionable distortions of reality are the catalyst for the “peer pressure” that Chozick endorses. Almost every day, there is a story of one of Chozick’s compatriots attacking someone, sometimes a child , for wearing a MAGA cap. Here’s a recent sampling:
- “Martin County bus aide offended by MAGA hat grabs it off head of 14-year-old boy”
MAGA-hat wearing teen claims California high school wouldn’t permit her to wear hat
High school student charged with assaulting classmate wearing MAGA hat, Trump banner
That’s the kind of “peer pressure” that Chozick is endorsing, the gentle examples in her essay notwithstanding, because she knows that that’s what her fellow progressives are doing and have been doing, and it’s not “gentle”: using threats, fear, shaming, and majority pressure to make people do what the mobs–the “peers”—want them to do, or else. Or else we won’t like you, or else we won’t include you, or else we’ll conclude you’re a racist/sexist/ homophobic person who likes seeing children shot/ mean bastard who doesn’t think starving children in South America should have a better life who’s taking marching orders fro Fox New and Sean Hannity.
The peer pressure she is extolling is intimidation. It is a totalitarian strategy, not a democratic one. The Trump-hating hysterics can’t persuade because their position is built on Big Lies, fear, emotion, bias, and historical ignorance. If they can’t persuade us to agree with them, and we are independent enough to see through the lies, then they will try to force us. Hurt us, if necessary.
You know. “Peer pressure.”
22 thoughts on “Unethical, Damning And Revealing: “Can Peer Pressure Defeat Trump?””
Wow, just fucking wow. I didn’t make it through the first paragraph without getting stuck in self-righteous hypocrisy.
How DARE she cite using public voting data as a good thing. Didn’t, DIDN’T Democrats tell us how dangerous this public info was and REFUSE to share it with the Federal Government???
I am going to calm down before I respond further….
Rule: If it can get rid of Trump, then it is GOOD.
This is why there needs to be an exception to that niggardly principle which holds that you should not do something if you know it will cause them distress. I just ordered a Trump hat just to fight the peer pressure.
Yeah. I better work on that. Drafts welcome.
Related, from Ed Driscoll, quoting Neo to start:
” You can feel her confusion and hesitation; it’s real and it’s painful. It’s somewhat like what #WalkAway founder Brandon Straka said in the video where he told his change story. At the beginning of Straka’s voicing of a single mild non-PC possibility, he wondered something like why are my friends treating me like that? I thought they were my friends. Why are my enemies treating me nicely? Does that mean I’ve gone over to the Dark Side? “
“Navratilova does have one advantage in making her decisions going forward: as a former citizen of communist Czechoslovakia, she’s seen plenty of leftist gaslighting before. Or as Rod Dreher writes in a post titled “Beating The Cultural Revolution,” “A friend in DC told me this week that he was recently at a dinner party where one of the other guests said to him, ‘Growing up in the Soviet Union, my parents taught me never to believe a thing I heard in the media, and to be very careful what I say out loud. Now I find myself telling my children the same thing.’… Those people know how to live. They have wisdom for us. So do others who came through communism. They can help us beat the Cultural Revolution.”’
Every yime I read something like this I resolve to get and wear a MAGA hat. After a while, I realize I am no longer able t5o fight as well as I was even 20 years ago; running is just RIGHT out the choice box. Debates on Facebook would likely cost me the few family I have left. I deon’t have a lot of options open to me, but I will fight them every way I can.
In continuing the project of ‘dancing on the head of a pin’ and ‘navel-contemplation’ (!) I have to state that one of my principle projects has been to better understand the Extreme Right as it manifests itself. In Europe, its manifestation is more clear. In America, it is very confused. But then when it comes to *ideas* everything in American is tremendously confused. That is a problem of great scale and requires analysis. But I was drawn to comment on the above-quoted paragraph because it mentions the hot word ‘fascism’ — a word without a proper definition — and also the word ‘democracy’ which is another perverse term as it is used in American discourse.
I think that if one were really to be honest, one would admit that as a political, economic and military system America must be seen and understood not at a ‘democratic’ force — that is the stuff of myth and emotionalized patriotism — but as a ‘fascistic’ force. But, I would modify the definition of fascism, or bend it to a degree, in order to clarify the situation.
For example: Americas ‘Forever Wars’ that were begun 20 years ago are manifestations not of ‘democracy’ but of what must be more clearly defined as ‘fascist’ impulse. Simply put, the imperative of Power to destroy opposition and to impose its will.
A second case that should clearly illustrate my point is what is now going on in relation to Venezuela. That is, the power-designs of the industrial and military sector which are described as ‘democratic’ in their desires, but which in fact are completely the opposite. The ‘Lie’ is established as ‘Truth’ and good, patriotic people parrot the Lie and through this repetition actually believe that the US is a force ‘doing good’ in the world, supporting ‘democracy’, when in fact it is precisely the opposite: it is undermining and destroying democracy.
But the fascist-oriented average American cannot seem to make an escape from the *propaganda narrative* to one where reality is accurately seen and described because of all the propaganda and PR intrusions into his and her mental framework.
Therefore, what I conclude from this — as I have been saying and repeating — is that America exists in and interprets itself through a controlled regime of thought which is anti-democratic, anti-intellectual, distorting, confusing and by definition neo-fascist as the term is defined.
When we turn to the political and social landscape of America we simply witness the profound psychological confusion of a people who have not the power to see themselves, nor interpret their situation, nor accurately attach definitions to things, and thus they are impotent in political senses. I suppose a good term is ‘mystification’.
Within that political context — the landscape of America today — there is great struggle and drama as people writhe and twist themselves and manifest their essential confusion, yet it is the underlying system, the structure of things, which is essentially *sick* in this political sense. That is, the sickness is situational and systematic yet people cannot focus on that. Indeed, they cannot even *see* it because to see it would involve the use of clear, intellectual perception. And it is exactly that that they do not have and cannot access. They act randomly then, and in response to *stimulation* but not as free democratic agents.
America is an empire, not a democracy, and its overall goals and objects have nothing to do with democratic principles, but with managerial control-issues, with establishing similar ‘regimes’ of control based in the industries and the distribution of products, and in toppling those ‘nationalistic’ factions that, in one way or another, oppose its managerial control. And Venezuela is a perfect example! It is the ur-example. And I say this as one with many many issues with the Bolivarian Revolution. But your average fascist-minded American cannot, even in the most basic form, actually conceive of and understand the really rather profound dimension of the social revolution that took place in Venezuela and that propelled Chavez into power. And the media-systems (political propaganda and PR control industries) will not allow *clear perception* to be carried out, as if it were a genuine and respected social and cultural necessity.
That indicates the degree to which fascist thinking (for want of a better word) has penetrated into American thinking. (And what I have written here is like *water off the duck’s back*: it is not an idea that can even enter into consideration because of the blocking fascistic mentality.)
Now, I do use the term ‘fascist’ and ‘fascistic’ in a special sense here. Essentially, it is business and industry that control America, not people, not states, not counties, not neighborhoods: not democracy. It is (obviously!) a pseudo-democracy in its final phases of transition to a Police State. The social upheaval takes place within this historical context.
This is a fact, not an opinion. If a person would begin — could begin! — to tell the truth, then I suppose people would begin to distinguish their own genuine interests from that of business, fascistic powers, and government regime. Then, they might actually begin to *think freely* and, I suppose, advocate for policies and outcomes that are of advantage to themselves. But in the larger Regime that has taken shape, this sort of thinking and activism must be undermined, as it has been and is undermined.
So what’s the connection between the advent of the Extreme Right, with its social machinations in Europe, and its echoes here in the US, and the apparent condemnation of the policies and tactics of the US?
My essential problem revolves around that of Power. If I can justify the use of power by the US in inserting itself in the politics and in the polities of various different countries (not the least being its manipulations in Latin America, obviously), then I can resolve my conflict about Power generally. If I can resolve my conflict with Power I can then make a conscious decision to ally myself with Power and its use of power in determining the events of the world.
I say that American use of power — definitely in the Caribbean, Central & South America (the regions I know and have studies to a certain degree) — has never, not ever, been about ‘establishing democracy’. But, I can certainly see, and even accept, that it has been about establishing a larger *system* which could be compared to Imperial Rome except that there is no direct occupation. And I might be able to say: “I am willing to accept the essential anti-democratic use of Power in achieving a system that, with many defects, might be *better* than some other similarly-imposed system” and then to consciously serve the military and police powers of the State as it destroys the enemies of that System.
If I were sober, clear-headed and not subject to the propaganda-systems which use lies to deceive the lower orders, I might even agree to cooperate in the lies and the fictions that this has much to do with the *principles of democracy* when I know that it doesn’t. And I might agree to accept the Postwar Liberal Model — which has totalitarian elements though they are more *soft* than other models — perhaps out of ‘political expedience’. For: Why battle powers that are entirely capable of utterly destroying an individual clamoring for ‘democracy’, or a community group, and which will even take this to the level of destroying entire States and Nations?
The Extreme Right that is now manifesting itself, for political, social and philosophical reasons, opposes the Liberal Order of the Postwar. This very idea shocks those who imagine they live in a liberal democracy and who are aligned, ideologically, with the goals and objects of this liberal regime. But that liberal regime, and here the assertion of American Power is used as an example (and a crystal-clear one) is based not on the power to convince, but rather on stark use of force. It is thus, or it has thus become, just another power-system that shares common features with so-called *fascism*. It is not necessarily *better* nor does it necessarily have a higher moral or ethical ground. It has sophisticated rhetorics though!
Based in what I have just described — take Hungary as an example — there is no real morally high-toned argument that Western Liberalism can employ to oppose these new right-leaning manifestations, these turns against its own use of power and its own Power. Liberal pseudo-democratic forms will resort to violence when needed to maintain their power-system. And it is thus reduced to a power-equation.
The forever wars started twenty years ago were fascist impulse to impose our will? You have to be kidding.
Our military activities in Afghanistan and Iraq were predicated by an attack on the US. It can be argued that taking out Saddam was necessary but whether the information was accurate at the time is irrelevant as to why we still have troops there. If the sunni and shia factions could have worked together to form a functional government rather than allowing the emergence of ISIS we would have left years ago.
Our role in Afghanistan was to deny terrorists ( who attacked us or stated they wanted to attack us) a place to train, and to go after OBL who planned the attack on the twin towers.
This idea that we went into Iraq and Afghanistan as a fascist impulse is a fiction. We also did not go in there to spread democracy.
The United States is not perfect but until recently hardly fascistic. It is a recent phenomenom that people are physically and economically attacked for a political belief and those attacks are coming from the left.
What I am saying is different . . . and more difficult and nuanced. It is less of a *harsh criticism* and has much more to do with noting how power functions and what happens when it is used.
The turn to imposition of power through military adventures will, in all instances, inevitably transform the power that does this. It is a cause-and-effect issue. What one seems to gain (*booty*) one pays with the destruction of the possibility of true civic government and ‘decent society’.
By sacrificing strict, dedicated attention to the Constitutional project of America, and through the act of becoming a neo-imperialsm, with all the known adventures in the Caribbean and Central America (I have referred to the Philippine War and the Spanish-American War), America has overtime become not a true democracy, but an empire that — inevitably — must defend its possessions. But these possessions are both external and internal.
I subscribe to the theory — it is perhaps more than a theory — that one of the Pauls put forth: “We went over there, so they came over here”. Therefore, I see 9/11 as an effect from former causes.
You and people and the establishment and even historians can debate if this ‘going over there’ was ultimately good or bad, necessary or better avoided: I am only interested in noticing cause and effect. It is conceivable to me — and this is not my idea, it is an idea of vocal statesmen of the US — that 9/11 happened as a result of America’s interpositions. You can agree or disagree, it sound likely to me.
When you start to defend the invasion of Iraq — as you seem to — you will have to accept responsibility for all the aftereffects and the results and ramifications of this. They are multitudinous, ad they extend far beyond the sacrifice of *treasure* as it is called.
I also very clearly said that I was using the term ‘fascism’ in a special sense, a modified sense. It is one one hand the popular sense of the word on one hand, yet any raw imposition of power tends to ‘fascistic’ expression. If you see a way around this, let me know.
All that may be true. But cause and effect must be analyzed. Others say that US policies have created problematic circumstances. But, for those who can do nothing else but *apologize* for these expressions of Power, they have no need to examine the ramifications of these effects.
I am interested in seeing all of this, and talking about all of it, because I see the US at a crisis point, and I see people talking (endlessly) about the effects of causes they cannot and will not see and consider.
And I am interested in the (so-called) Extreme Right as it takes a philsoophical position against these distortions of Postwar liberalism. You don’t have to agree but it would be nice if you understood what I am saying, and why I say it. And it is not *me* but a whole faction that is re-examining liberal assumptions (as well as lies).
No, power when it turns to raw expression of power, becomes fascistic-like. It shares features with political fascism is a better way to say it.
When you focus on the excesses of the political Left you — in my opinion — are examining *surface* but are not seeing *depth*. Depth is the examination of causation and requires a critical mind, and one hopefully *unbiased* (to the degree that this is possible).
So when we use our power to defeat, the Kaiser, Nazis or Imperial Japanese forces that in your mind is fascist like behavior. You mention booty we gain but based on the record we wind up rebuilding every country. The US has spent far more than any other country on economic aid.
It is impossible to discuss American fascism when you create your own special type which is not clearly defined. The best I can assume is you are referring to the military industrial complex that some say requires endless wars to maintain profit levels.
I will not engage in whataboutism relating to various incursions by the US. The US may not be perfect but imagine a world without it.
I think I could just as fairly state that it is impossible to have any sort of discussion with one who has such established defense mechanisms as you seem to have. I say this because you are employing *blocking* tactics the purpose of which is to dis-enable a discussion. Nevertheless I respect your viewpoints. I think what I wrote in the above-posts is pretty clear. It is far less of a criticism than you seem to take it. It is a revelation of a personal philosophical problem that I do not know how to solve. You have not really solved it either! Because you have not confronted it. 🙂
My attempts are to see causation and describe effects. The US is in a substantial crisis that will not be fixed or cured. It is very hard to say what will come next. As you might guess, over time here on this Blog I have come to solidify my ideas about causation. But I am beginning to see that my critique — from an attempt to define a more genuine conservatism — is not understood.
I had never heard of this term BTW:
Hemmingway taught me the value of conciseness, to try to get the meat of the topic, fiction or non-fiction. Deep philosophical and meta discussions of meaning and symbolic subtleties need like all writing to be tailored to the audience. Or, and more appropriately: TL;DR.
What do you think of Nabokov? Did you ever read what Nabokov said about Hemingway?
Does this succeed? Or does it fail for the same reasons you state?
I am trying to be more direct. There are two problems: one is that there is no simple way to understand the present. To explain it, requires elaborateness and meta-politics. It is not simple.
The other aspect is that I am afraid of making direct statements. It is a personal thing. But I am trying.
As to long-windedness . . . well, there I am really in a bind! 😉
I really have to restrain myself from rambling at times. My rule of thumb is one screen unless it is a really structured topic that is clear. In fiction, I edit more heavily and cut out side bits to use later. I also write a lot of short, short fiction of 500 or 1000 words, which is very tight to include a satisfying conclusion. Shorts are the traditional training ground of SF, and a lot of earlier writers did non-fiction first. Poe and Twain spring to mind first)
Well, to me this is just more proof the motto of the Left has become thus:
Of course, unstated in that idea is that they intend to destroy it whether we give them their way or not.
Wow. I am surprised none of the adfvocates tried to justify it by saying, “If we don’t do this, they will”.
I suspect the attitudes leading to this course of conduct can be traced to attitudes incubated by President Obama.
By the way, what was the origin of MoveOn.org?
Defense of Bill Clinton.
And Jack Marshall had mentioned one of the consequences of the success of that defense.
Also recall what Nina Burleigh had said.