The Republican Coniverseby T.J. Nelson
onservative commentators sometimes talk about how people would recognize that liberals are nasty and conservatives are truly fair and kind—if only the news media would portray us fairly. Given a fair hearing everyone would come around to our point of view.
It's one of those ideas that is, well, not really wrong. But it completely misstates the basis of the conservative dilemma. Leftists have created their own universe, with its own rules—its own metric. If conservatives try to live in that universe they will always come in second. They will always be reacting instead of acting, always seeming to lose.
Ideologies are not like football players. They cannot win or lose; they either
become the air we breathe—the space in which we move—or they
A graph showing how Donald Trump's candidacy (dashed line) gets sucked into a black hole
What the Republican debates really showed us is that conservatives can create their own universe. Liberals never watch Fox News or read conservative blogs, because they make no sense to them. They sound false. In a conservative universe liberals will always be confused, always reacting, always off balance, always trying to figure out the rules, and always getting it wrong.
The conservative establishment sees Donald Trump as a threat because this is exactly what he does. His enormous ego creates a reality distortion field so powerful it creates a rift in the ideological space-time continuum. Through the gravitational lens of his ego, he appears conservative.
The establishment is trying to win the game. Trump ignores the game and buys a whole new stadium with different rules. Voters buy into his universe because they just want to be entertained and the ideology gets sucked in along with it.
The Trumpiverse might not exactly be the most congenial one to the cool-headed intellectuals in our think tanks and leading magazines, but at least it is a universe. And that is critical. Voters don't select an ideology in a vacuum—they select the entire universe of assumptions in which the ideology defines which way is up. If you took away liberals' ability to call people racist it it would like tying the hands of an Italian: they wouldn't be able to talk at all.
For liberals, race and class are the dimensions they move in. Take away class conflict, and liberals literally wouldn't know which way is up. If you took away their ability to call people racist it it would like tying the hands of an Italian: they wouldn't be able to talk at all. But that isn't done by proving racism doesn't exist or that it's not important; it's done by changing the assumptions and expectations by which we view the universe.
Their ideas are not wrong in the classical sense. But they are meaningless outside their universe of assumptions and expectations, where a different metric exists. Liberals in a conservative universe are fish out of water because their ideas are irrelevant there. Ideas have no traction outside their own ideological milieu: ideology has the same effect on the assumption-expectation continuum as a Higgs boson has in the space-time continuum. Both create gravity.
We hear leftists talk about sweeping their opponents into the dustbin of history. Others point at ‘narratives’. These are clumsy attempts to put the concept into words. What they mean to say is: build your own universe, make your opponents live in it, and their ideas become meaningless. Maybe the Republicans have finally figured that out. If so, yesterday we may have seen the big bang that created a new coniverse.
The Republican Candidates as Molluscs
Interesting sea creatures for a new American century.
Studying it will be invaluable for when NASA makes contact with extraterrestrials.