Experience is the best teacher – or so says the conventional wisdom. In practice, the most common lesson is that too many folks never learn – especially those encumbered by ideology. Or as a philosopher might put it, "what we learn from history is that no one learns from history." Worse still, those who cannot, or will not, learn are prone to repeat mindless behaviors. Call it tone-deaf. Better still, call it Political autism.
Alas, while Western culture swirls in the crapper, Brussels and Washington political elites still insist on flushing.
Social democracies are probative. In Europe, the Left learned little from the implosion of social globalism; learned nothing from the Islamic jihad; learned nothing from "humanitarian" interventions; learned nothing from the Muslim immigrant tsunami; learned little from the Brexit; and more recently, seem to have learned nothing from the election of Donald Trump.
In America, the Democratic Party is now the institutional face of political learning disabilities. We say "democrat" because the American left has lost touch with most things "democratic." The fix was in for Hillary's coronation, the fix was in with "super delegates," and then the fix was again in, with near universal media collaboration, for the general election. Cooked or "crooked" books are now perennial dishes on the au gauche buffet.
The lumpen proletariat, those now infamous "deplorables," would have none of it. The wisdom of crowds foiled the fixers and elected an outsider in 2016.
Premature as it may be to compare the Trump revolution to the Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt eras, if eccentricity and policy tremors are markers, stand by for earthquakes.
The American left seems oblivious to evidence and recent events – a cluelessness that can be measured in political deficits. Recent losses include state governors, state legislatures, and the entire federal three-branch apparat. Indeed, the ship of state was seized by a Long Island pirate sailing under a Republican Jolly Roger.
This is not to suggest that Donald Trump is in fact a Republican, if that label still has meaning today. Trump ran as a pragmatic brigand, against the establishment, against the right and left. The smart money inside the Beltway might want to remember that.
If right-wing zealots at National Review, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Wall Street Journal become too much of a nuisance, Trump fans now have the mandate and the political juice to marginalize neo-conservative crackpots.
Withal, the big losers are the utopian urban American left, those socialist plantations where votes are bought and sold by hucksters pedaling entitlements, false hopes, and empty promises. The entitlement left has painted itself into a corner with a constituency of mostly urban barnacles.
The great divide in America is not between socialism and capitalism, male and female, black and white, or upper and lower classes anymore. Demographic schism is a choice: choice between free man and slave, choice between producer and consumer, choice between maker and taker. For the moment, urban America, those Democrat sinecures, are mired in a swamp of red ink, race-gender pandering, and hostile dependencies – a toxic mix, indeed.
Political intelligence has little, however, to do with education or experience and everything to do with introspection, the ability to recognize personal and political pathologies. Reflection is not just the key to personal success; it is also the Pony Express for civic improvement. Unfortunately, reflection and realism seldom register with perennial adolescents or "adult" liberals these days.
The European and American left suffer from acute political autism, or maybe chronic obsessive compulsive behavior. For the oblivious, reflection is always a bridge too far.
The post-election leadership drama amid American "progressives" now looks like a tale twice told by idiots. Party activists, like gophers, can't seem to stop digging.
Take Nancy Pelosi of California as a symptom, again re-elected to House leadership, and Chuck Schumer of New York, replacing Harry Reid, the shrill bishop of Las Vegas, in the Senate. Democratic Party leadership is now officially bicoastal. The Clinton-Obama message was "more of the same"; the new DNC message seems to be "off the cliff" with Karl Marx and Mohammed.
Democrats are doubling down on the secular socialist left. Bernie Sanders and fembot Elizabeth Warren have been elevated to leadership positions. Yet the religious right is served, too. The Democrat politburo is about to make Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC default candidate appears to be Howard Dean. Yes, Howard is back.
Ellison is to Obama as Trotsky might have been to Stalin, from the frying pan into the fire. Ellison makes the Reverend Jeremiah Wright look like a choir girl.
Mister Ellison is the first black and the first Muslim to represent Minnesota in Congress. He was the first congressman to insist he be sworn in on a Koran. But Ellison is not any run-of-the-mill Muslim. He is a native-born American – yet another Nation of Islam converso.
Indeed, Ellison once did more than a little official front-running for the NOI, where Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farrakhanhave pride of place.
The NOI is the premier American forum for racial separation or resegregation, bogus theories of black racial superiority, anti-LGBT hate-mongering, conspicuous anti-Semitism, and all manner of cult theopolitics. The only Muslim American candidate for DNC chair who could possibly be worse than Ellison would be Louis Farrakhan himself.
Ellison, by his own admission, seems to believe that whites, Jews, and Republicans are equivalent to Nazis. Congressman Ellison, alas, is another two-trick donkey: race and religion. Pat Moynihan, Jack Kennedy, and Martin Luther King are spinning in their graves.
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All elections produce striking ironies. In 2016, the left lost with Hillary but won with pot. Democrats now salve their wounds with weed and political recidivists.
The tone for any institution is set at the top. Liberal rhetoric often pays lip service to inclusion and diversity. In 2017, the left will be torn by paranoid extremes, a secular socialist left, and a toxic Muslim religious right.
Democrats are also fond of claiming to be on the "right side of history." By what twist of logic is Marx or Mohammed right about anything relevant to freedom, democracy, or human rights?
The secular left confuses the passage of time with progress, while Islam is simply frozen in time. Indeed, too much of ersatz Islam is rooted in a theosophy where the clock stopped in the 7th century.
Islam is still a cult of swords on a field of surahs, where half the population is chattel – an ethic enforced by child marriage, genital mutilation, burkas, misogyny, stoning, whips, amputation, acid blinding, and beheading.
Liberals lost the American political middle in 2016 and now appear to be in a foot race to the ideological fringes. Collusion between American liberals and Islamic zealots is surely popular with campus sophomores and aging academic tokers, but not necessarily the choice of a nation seeking civilized futures.
Indeed, if leadership matters, recent liberal doyen choices look more like political suicide – or, as with too much of Islam, hypnotic death wishes.
Secular American liberals seem to have stolen a page or two from Islamic death cults or the Muslim book of martyrs.
G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of national security.