The Poisonous Politics of Pejorative
Remember back in the good old days, when our Democratic friends used to obsess about fundamentalists and the Christian Right? How they hated Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority!
Obviously their concern must have eased up a bit by the time that presidential candidate Barack Obama was making patronizing remarks about "bitter clingers."
But then, with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, we learned all about the "deplorables." Shall we rehearse her comments one more time?
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it.
Bless her heart.
This Fall, of course, our spritely president is amping up the attacks, branding Trump supporters as "ultra-MAGA" and "semi-fascist."
You scholars out there will know that these political barbs are known to the cognoscenti as "pejoratives." Pejorative comes from the Latin verb pejorare, to make things worse.
But why? Why do our liberal friends insist on Making Things Worse with hateful rhetoric? After all, experts agree that liberals are the most educated and evolved people in America. How come liberals practice a Politics of Pejorative?
The answer is quite simple. Our liberal friends believe that the way to bring justice to America is with politics. Mix together the right political ideas with the right politicians with the right programs with the right activists working for the right NGOs funded by the right billionaires and calling the far right racist-sexist-homophobes, and Bingo! liberals get really nasty when all this Right Stuff Makes Things Worse.
The trouble is that when you practice politics you divide the world up into "us" and "them," friends and enemies. That's what Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt reckoned 90 years ago in 1932 when he published The Concept of the Political. I just happen to have my copy at hand, and on page 9 he writes:
The specific political distinction to which political actions and motive can be traced is the distinction between friend and enemy.
If you are a United States senator and you like things "real simple" then Curtis Yarvin writes that "there is no politics without an enemy." In other words, as soon as you start getting political you are going to end up hating on some enemy.
What do you do with hated enemies? You insult them, with pejoratives. That's when you are not killing them.
So, of course our politicians and activists practice the Poisonous Politics of Pejorative, slinging pejoratives at their opponents that Make Things Worse. It's what any brave political warrior does to the enemy.
All this makes complete sense if you believe that human action is driven mainly by the unconscious mind, per Freud and Jung. Human brains -- male brains especially -- are programmed to rush to the border to defend our land against the hated enemy.
Given this knowledge, I feel deeply for our liberal friends. Imagine what the horror of Trump means to them, knowing deep in their unconscious group mind that every white oppressor seethes with racism and longs to "put y'all back in chains."
But here are the words of a red-pilled liberal, Sasha Stone:
Some hope that if I was able to escape the bubble of the Left, others might follow eventually and we wouldn’t be living through such insane polarization. I don’t know if that’s even possible. I think I have become an enemy to many of them, and will remain, at least as long as this madness continues, which I hope isn’t long. I hope we all live to see the end of it.
See what I mean? If she doesn't agree with her liberal friends that makes her the enemy. But it is not "insane polarization," Sasha, it is just politics as usual.
What is new is that Trump -- and now DeSantis -- is getting in liberals' faces and they don't like it. Back in the good old days of Bush "compassionate conservatism" and "Mittens" Romney, GOP leaders avoided getting in liberal faces. But liberals knew -- they just knew -- that the GOP leader of the day was still a monster and his moderation just a ruse. Now they don't have to make it up: it's right in their faces on Martha's Vineyard!
These days GOP leaders seem to have their noses in Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and know that "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." But wait! This time the neo-Nazis are for real!
The problem with politics as the road to justice is that politics is about the enemy, and defeating the enemy. Is that really how social humans should be deciding their affairs?
Because all politics reduces to the Politics of Pejorative; it's about who can sling the worst insults, and how many FBI SWAT raids on the far-right you can notch up in a week.
Ask Joe Biden about that.