Trump, Cruz, Rabid & Sad

platonictrumpA whole bunch of stuff, all mixed up together.

It is easy for people on the left and center to see the rightward end of US conservatism as an undifferentiated lump of homogeneous political consensus. However, that is an error akin to seeing a surface as being smooth at a distance but when seen at magnification is revealed to be full of pits and craters.

With the Sad and Rabid Puppies this often led to confusion. Note I do not accept the claim of Sad Puppy leadership that they were a wholly separate movement from the Rabids – the connection are too well documented for that to make sense – but there were strong differences in outlook and flavor between the two campaigns.

In 2016 there will be a US Presidential election and if you have been living in a remote valley in Bhutan then it is possible that you may not be familiar with the poll success of Donald Trump in his campaign to gain the nomination as Republican Party candidate for President. His poll success has been remarkable, although this has yet to translate into any actual delegate numbers. It has been predicted by numerous pundits that each of his controversial pronouncements will lead to voters dropping him like something icky but each outrageous claim seem to have only gained him more support among Republican-leaning voters.

So how are notable Puppies reacting to the turmoil in the Republican Party?

Firstly off to Vox Day. Vox hasn’t directly endorsed Donald Trump per-se but in multiple posts he has been boosting Trump as preferable to the rest: http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/search?q=Trump

This makes sense given Vox Day’s view of American conservatism as bankrupt and moribund. Notably Trump has taken an extreme and fanciful position on immigration which is Vox Day’s main political issue currently. Without going into much depth it is fair to say that Vox (and hence Rabidonia) is leaning towards Trump. Trump is cynical, effective at gaining publicity via controversial statements and also not afraid to make use of personal attacks – the match with Day makes sense.

John C Wright has said less about the nomination process. Back in November he did post this message expressing support for another notable outsider candidate, Dr Ben Carson http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/11/ben-carson-just-won-my-support/

Wright’s message was at a point when Dr Carson was doing well in the polls. Unfortunately for Dr Carson that level of support did not last and after some bizarre issues and a bit of a breakdown among his staff, Dr Carson’s polling fell badly. I don’t know which candidate JCW now prefers but Dr Carson was a plausible match: in one sense intellectual but with some very odd ideas but also a man of deep religious commitments.

More recently there has been input from the Sad Lands upwards from Rabidonia. Sarah Hoyt has written a long post heavily critical of Donald Trump. http://accordingtohoyt.com/2016/01/24/trumped/

Hoyt sees Trump as an opportunistic conman and his supporters as ‘low information voters’. I could make some snide remarks about all sorts of ironies here (particularly in the comments where assorted Puppies bemoan that there is isn’t a ‘None of the Above’ option in the voting) but I shan’t. Many of the observations are spot on but there is an obvious cognitive struggle going on to explain how US conservatism got itself into this pickle. Naturally the blame lies with the left and the media because the blame is always on the left and the media even in this occasion when it would appear to be Fox News watching conservatives backing Trump.

Hoyt also carries a lengthy quote from Larry Correia, she doesn’t provide a link and I assume it is from his Facebook page. Correia is equally scathing about Trump and scathes in Larry’s trademark style:

Trump is a populist clown, an empty vessel for the wishful thinking low information types to ignore his history and behavior to put all their fondest wishes on. Make America great followed by mumble mumble bullshit is just Hope and Change all over again. Yeah, we elected an unskilled narcissist once before and how’d that work out? There were plenty of clues how Obama would operate, and the wishful thinking types ignored them all too.

Ouch ! 🙂 So, fair to put Larry C and Sarah H as leaning towards Cruz and being definitely anti-Trump? I think so (no that doesn’t mean I think they agree with everything Cruz says, just that they’d prefer Cruz to Trump and that they don’t seem keen on the less-wingnutty choices e.g. Rubio and definitely not Jeb! )

The comments are worth reading too for those interested in the cognitive issues around people trying to make sense of what is going on with their own ideology. Unfortunately Hoyt says something pretty stupid at one point:

hoyt20160124

Yes, she probably didn’t mean that literally but rather like making jokes about bombs or smuggling drugs at airports, it is just not wise to make comments like that about obvious terrorist targets.

Less face-palm-awful comments from other regulars there also. Commenter ‘Res’ (not one I’m familiar with) makes some good comments and also includes a You Tube clip of the monsters-from-the-id bit of Forbidden Planet.

But doesn’t quite connect the dots – the analogy is apt but US conservatism has been channeling that Krell machine for sometime and we’ve all been putting up with monsters from their id for awhile now. It is only when the big orange monster heads towards Dr Morbius’s home does he work it out…

Anyway current state of play:

  • Vox Day: pro-Trump
  • JCW: pro-Carson (as of November 2015)
  • Sarah Hoyt: pro-Cruz, anti-Trump
  • Larry Correia: pro-Cruz, anti-Trump

Caveats for the above apply. Looking at that list it all sort of fits character/ideology wise. I don’t think Brad Torgersen will say much about any candidate but I suspect he isn’t keen on Trump either.

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15 thoughts on “Trump, Cruz, Rabid & Sad

  1. Yeah, we elected an unskilled narcissist once before and how’d that work out? There were plenty of clues how Obama would operate, and the wishful thinking types ignored them all too.

    Once before?! It’s pretty much been the default position since, well, “civilisation” started. Charismatic orators pretty much always trump* nuance because nuance is complicated and, gasp, requires occasionally admitting that you might be wrong about something.

    *pun half-intended

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  2. VDs position on Trump is entirely unsurprising – he’s never seen a bandwagon going his way he didn’t want to jump on.

    What I found interesting from Hoyt was her position that Trump isn’t/won’t be a conservative (“And he’ll govern left. And it will be a continuation of Obama’s disaster.”) so if elected he’ll poison the right’s chances for the next 20 years. The second part is probably true, but the first part seems to come from her rather skewed definition of what “left” is, as typified by her belief that Jeb is a socialist.

    I’d been struggling to understand how anyone could view an establishment US Republican as a socialist, but I recently had an “interesting” chat with RES which did at least clarify where they seem to be coming from with this: “Jeb!… takes as underlying principles of the role of government precepts that originate in a Marxist critique. While Jeb!’s view of the role of government is more constrained than that of Barry Sanders, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, that only makes Jeb! more conservative than they are — it does not make him conservative.”

    So there seems to be a purity test to be a “true” conservative that a remarkable number of US Republicans don’t meet, which combines with their disbelief in moderate versions of their opponents (All Leftists are Marxists etc etc) to mean that they basically can’t compromise with anyone.

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    1. Yes, it is very much a purity test thing going on here. Consequently Cruz wins out as the most pure true-believer and hence also the animosity towards Trump. They see Trump as an interloper using populist rhetoric and that therefore the Trump supporters are interlopers too and hence illegitimate i.e. they think about the Trump campaign in the way they think we think about the Sad Puppy campaign 🙂 [not that we do think about the Pups in quite that way but that is another matter, nor are they necessarily aware of the similarities between what they are saying about the Trump supporters and what they claim we say about the Puppies]

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  3. Well Camestros, who’s your fave? Bernie the Commie or Shrillary the brain-damaged criminal? (She’s got something going on, TIAs or similar. That’s Transient Ischemic Attack, precursor to a stroke.)

    If Bernie wins you will have a Department of Political Correctness as part of Homeland Security in three years, and you will be at war with Iran and possibly Israel both at once. Look for a Five Year Plan on agriculture from this guy. There will be a famine in the land. I’d expect him to do things like seize savings accounts like they did in Hungary and Greece. Any business that can will leave the USA as soon as Bernie wins the Dem nomination.

    If Shrillary wins it will be all Business As Usual all the time, open Mexican border, your 401K will probably be doing rather nicely floating on a sea of Fed funny money, and Shrill will be systematically looting everything in sight, but you won’t notice because the newsies won’t say anything.

    From my Canadian perspective, Shrillary is the least-bad option on the Lefty side, because she’ll be focused on looting and won’t be actively destroying the US economy like Bernie would. If the USA gets a cold, Canada gets pneumonia.

    Trump is a disaster in the making, because he’s a New York Limousine Liberal. He doesn’t believe -any- of the stuff he’s saying, and he’s most likely in the race for the unbelievable business benefits to be reaped from being The Boss. I expect small to medium size businesses will suffer, while the biggest will do well. Also for a guy to misrepresent himself to the extent Trump is, that’s not a good sign. He also thinks he’s smart enough to tell people how to live, another bad sign.

    Cruz, I have no idea what he’s about. Which is interesting in and of itself. If I have to go research the guy, that means the newsies have clamped a cone of silence on him. I’m inclined to be cautiously optimistic about anyone they do that to. He might actually cut taxes.

    Mr. Rubio is Hillary-Lite, he’ll be the low-cal alternative. Business As Usual, with a teeny tax cut and maybe a little less looting.

    Canada is held hostage to the Liberal Party for the next five years, so we can look for lots of fluffy news articles about how pretty Justin Trudeau’s hair is, while the Canadian dollar sinks to $0.25 US and oil rigs relocate to North Dakota. Outlook for the resource-extraction based businesses is bleak to dire, retail is dead, manufacturing is all gone and not coming back. What’s left? Not a hell of a lot. But taxes are going up.

    Maybe I can get a job sweeping floors at Revenue Canada. Oh wait, I’m a White male, no chance there. Silly me.

    Here’s the thing you don’t understand about Conservatives. Liberals look at the world and say “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if we could make everybody to do (insert Good Idea here)? Conservatives look at the world and say “Fuck off, I’m working here!”

    See how one of those things is not like the other? When you have too much government, the answer is not more/better/different government. The answer is -less- government. How you get to less government is by cutting taxes. Cruz might actually do that. Maybe. All others are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Great Ship of State while they steal the silverware in the dining room.

    You see how that looks a lot like TOR vs. Sad Puppies? Alex “No Binary Gender!” McFarlan: “gee wouldn’t it be great if all of SF was just one big socioeconomic Lefty echo chamber? Can’t we get those eeevile conservative Right Wingnuts to shut up?” vs. Sad Puppies: “Fuck off, I’m writing here!”

    Generally we only pay attention when somebody like Alex comes and tries to take our lunch money.

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  4. Hilary is too middle of the road for me. Sanders? Too impractical and POTUS is the wrong position for what he wants to do. However both aren’t George Bush Junior so the odds of them starting a badly thought out war and destroying the world economy are significantly lower.

    //Conservatives look at the world and say “Fuck off, I’m working here!”//

    Well if that is the criteria then I can only conclude that most Republican law makers and Presidents and Presidential candidates aren’t conservatives and the bulk of the people I encounter who claim to be conservatives aren’t conservatives either. The conservatives I keep encountering are oh so keen to tell others what we can and can’t do – who we can marry, what jobs we can do, what gods we can worship and in what way, what countries we are supposed to live in, and what books we can read.

    Bigger government? Again I know conservatives SAY they are in favor of smaller government but when in power they just make it bigger and they just keep spending, spending, spending. Conservatives say ‘smaller government’ but what they deliver is bigger but less efficient government. Look at us public spending on health – it is MASSIVE one of the biggest per-capita spends in the West all to deliver a healthcare system that typifies the conservative pseudo-commitment to ‘small’ government – patchy cover, huge amounts of public money basically going to private companies on administrating multiple systems, highly variable outcomes but because it isn’t ‘socialised’ it somehow counts as ‘small’ government despite the fact that the US government is more heavily involved in healthcare than the governments of Western countries with universal free-at-source healthcare. That is quite a trick – it is almost impressive the size conservatives will let the government grow to to keep the government small.

    //You see how that looks a lot like TOR vs. Sad Puppies?//

    You mean the bit where the champions of liberty Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia tried to dictate what books everybody else would get to vote for and when everybody said you-aint-the-boss-of-me, they throw big crybully tantrums? Yes, I do see the resemblance. Petty dictators using ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ as empty words to demand that everybody else arranges themselves around them.

    US conservatism has descended into cynical farce. It is why the Republican party is so vulnerable to a phony like Donald Trump. Any blowhard can make shouty-shouty noises about freedom while proposing the opposite if nobody is committed to rational analysis of their goals versus their achievements.

    Rand Paul – weak as he is – was the GOPs best hope. The nearest thing to a candidate who was willing to attempt a degree of rational consistency.

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    1. “…so the odds of them starting a badly thought out war and destroying the world economy are significantly lower.”

      Only if you utterly ignore Clinton’s entire political history.

      Serious question: are you in a coma? Because that’s the only rational excuse for such a disconnected-from-reality statement.

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      1. pavepusher: Only if you utterly ignore Clinton’s entire political history.

        Okay, I’ll bite: what exactly in Hilary Clinton’s political history gives the slightest indication that she would start a badly-thought-out war?

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  5. “However both aren’t George Bush Junior so the odds of them starting a badly thought out war and destroying the world economy are significantly lower.”

    That’s what they said about Obama eight years ago. Funny how that worked out, eh?

    “Well if that is the criteria then I can only conclude that most Republican law makers and Presidents and Presidential candidates aren’t conservatives and the bulk of the people I encounter who claim to be conservatives aren’t conservatives either.”

    Yes. I agree. Most of the “Conservatives” you hear saying ridiculous things are just another flavor of totalitarian. That would be Trump in a nutshell. That’s why the government keeps growing. These people are not conservative, they are statist Big Government men. You want to shrink it, you have to cut taxes. If you see a guy calling himself a Conservative, and he’s not screaming “TAX CUT!!!” at the top of his lungs, he ain’t Conservative.

    Incidentally, social ‘conservatives’ are actually identical to liberals in all respects except the fine details of who they want to use government to push around. All else is the same.

    “Look at us public spending on health –”

    Don’t even think of talking to me about socialized medicine. I’m a Canadian, we have had that nightmare since the 1970’s. It is a colossal train wreck, and the US healthcare system you complain about is Utopian Perfection in comparison. I say that as a customer and as a medical professional who has worked in both systems. I know stories that would make you puke.

    The biggest single problem with US healthcare is the legal tort system. Institute a ‘loser pays court costs’ system and 90% of the cost of medical things would vanish.

    You want to see ugly, just vote in a single payer health system like Canada’s.

    “You mean the bit where the champions of liberty Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia tried to dictate what books everybody else would get to vote for and when everybody said you-aint-the-boss-of-me, they throw big crybully tantrums?”

    No, I mean the bit where new people like me showed up to vote, y’all had a collective shit hemorrhage and voted for Noah Ward in record numbers. We participated. You freaked. You can try to pretend otherwise, but we all know what happened. And then there was that awards ceremony… with the assterisks no less. Jeez. So classy.

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    1. //No, I mean the bit where new people like me showed up to vote, y’all had a collective shit hemorrhage and voted for Noah Ward in record numbers. We participated. You freaked//

      New people showed up to vote? Yes, that is very true. Thousands of them.
      Which way did those thousands of new people vote Phantom? For ‘No Award’.
      You jump through a double twist there Phantom. There is no way to avoid the fact that it was thousands of additional members who voted for No Award.

      Now how did the Puppies react to increased participation, new people taking part etc etc – STERN GRUMPY LECTURES about how all these thousands of people are awful awful people (just as you are characterizing them now) because they DARED not vote the way they had been EXPRESSLY TOLD TO by the self-appointed leaders.

      This encapsulates the odd notion of ‘freedom’ we see from conservatives (of which Trump is currently typical in his approach). It is always ‘freedom’ for people to go along with what oppressive scheme the conservatives have in mind but not freedom to make a different choice. It is the freedom of the rich & powerful to tell somebody else how they should live their life (i.e. Trumpism) and the opposite (people standing up against that) is derided as tyranny.

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  6. //Don’t even think of talking to me about socialized medicine. I’m a Canadian, we have had that nightmare since the 1970’s. It is a colossal train wreck, and the US healthcare system you complain about is Utopian Perfection in comparison. I//

    ‘Utopian’ gosh – you must be one of those Big Government types I keep hearing about because the US has higher per-capita spending on health. What is worse a much greater proportion of that spending is on administration costs rather than treatment and care.

    And while I appreciate you have your own views on Canada’s health system, Canadians in general seem to much prefer increase public involvement than vice verse http://healthcoalition.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/NANOS-EN.pdf <- which isn't a great surprise because that is a common pattern in most countries. No nations health system is perfect but it notable that of the many that there are there is next to zero grass-roots, popular demand in non-US nations for a system like the US system.

    And why on earth would anybody want the US system: it is expensive at both levels – costly to consumers via insurance *AND* costly to taxpayers via public support. It is highly inequitable, so to get improved outcomes you have to spend a lot extra on top of insurance. It is inefficient with large amounts of health spending spent on things other than actual care. Outcomes are mixed or poor. It epitomises the difference between the conservative dream and the conservative reality. The conservative reality is that conservatism has only ever managed to deliver for the wealthy elites of America but has managed to exploit a wider base to do very little positive but an awful lot of kludge or procedural vandalism. Rather than achieving 'small government' the GOP consistently achieves somewhat more crappy government – magically retaining all the downsides of bigger government (spending, bureaucracy, power over the individual) without ever delivering any of the upsides (i.e. better services, less inequality).

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  7. “Trump is a disaster in the making, because he’s a New York Limousine Liberal.”

    I’m guessing Limousine Liberal is a US version of Champagne Socialist? Anyway, Phantom is providing another interesting datapoint in what seems to be this attempt to disclaim Trump while also defining “conservative” much more narrowly than most self-identified conservatives would accept. I’m not sure if they’re connected or not – disclaiming Trump is a perfectly sensible thing to do no matter what your political definitions! – is the two things happening at the same time just coincidental?
    Given that in countries with two major parties the traditional tactic has always been to stretch your policies as far towards the middle as your further-out wing will let you, is this simply a matter that in the US the middle is now unacceptable to the further-right and we’re seeing a traditional backlash, or is the right actually splintering?
    In the UK, you can see the Conservatives being prepared to lose at least some elements of the right to UKIP in the search to stretch into the middle, although they’re fighting hard to keep the losses to the minimum. At the moment the Republicans seem unprepared to shed anyone to their right.

    (Too many questions not enough answers in that, I was mostly just musing!)

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    1. The problem a number of Cruz supporters (e.g. Sarah Hoyt & Larry Correia) have when denouncing Trump is that they aren’t that far from much of what Trump is saying at the moment. They are quite right not to trust him and find some of what he is saying too extreme but there is a general unwillingness to attack somebody on the grounds of them being too rightwing. Hence the focus on Trump being a fraud – i.e. not a true conservative and his campaign being a species of entryism (not that they use that term).
      Given his wholly inconsistent record of public statements on current affairs, it isn’t hard to show examples of him taking ‘liberal’ positions on things.

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  8. “And while I appreciate you have your own views on Canada’s health system, Canadians in general seem to much prefer increase public involvement than vice verse http://healthcoalition.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/NANOS-EN.pdf <- which isn't a great surprise because that is a common pattern in most countries."

    Of course they do. It's "free." Free is awesome, right?

    It's awesome until you need it, at which point you find out that in Canada you cannot BUY an MRI of your sore foot/knee/spine/whatever. No, you can't. It's illegal. Yes, really. That's what Single Payer Medicine means. Rationing.

    You are stuck waiting for the "free" one. Which may take many MONTHS to get, if you live someplace where there's only one doctor and he's busy. Or you live in a city where the emergency room is full of gomers trying to scam another fix. Or you find out the doctor you finally got in to see is an incompetent fool, and you CAN'T get a different one.

    Canada has great health care if you have relatives in the business, who can get you past the gate keepers, idiots and waiting lists. This is usually called -corruption- and I view it as a bad thing. The more the government gets involved in things, the more you need a Special Deal or a relative in the right place.

    Canadians who love their "free" healthcare are consistently shocked when they find out how it actually works.

    Nothing will change until the system collapses completely and people start paying me in cash and/or chickens for my services, because people believe politicians when they say something is "free". I expect it will stumble along another ten years or so, until it finally implodes from it's own internal contradictions. It's possible the Liberals will find a way to blow it up earlier, they're clever that way.

    The solution is a two-tier system, where you -can- buy an MRI if you want it bad enough. Then the poor, the stupid and the destitute get the "free" one and the rest of us who work for a living can pay money for care that doesn't suck worse than the VA hospital system.

    The VA is a scandal in the USA, by the way. You want a system where the VA is the only game in town. That's not going to turn out well. See Canada for your proof.

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