Fear of the working class

616px-AlfredPalmerRamagosaThe editor of a liberal website has written about a plumber he had called to fix his drain.  The plumber acted professionally and did the job.  But he spoke with a Southern accent!  He didn’t seem upset about the election!  He might even have voted for Trump!  The editor described his fear at having a possible Trump voter in his home.

All this fear talk about Trump has me confused.  I can see a generalized fear about the future of the country, but this is far more visceral.  Gay people say how afraid they are–but Trump is all for gay marriage, transgender rights, and the LGBT cause!   Jews are afraid–but Trump’s son-in-law and main advisor is an Orthodox Jew, he has appointed a hard-core Zionist to be ambassador to Israel, and his foreign policy is going to be far more pro-Israel than Obama’s.

These irrational fears seem to be phobias.  Reynolds, who reported the plumber story and a number of similar examples in a USA Today article excerpted after the jump, calls it oikophobia, fear of one’s countrymen.  C. R. Wiley, whose post alerted me to this article and whose comments are worth reading in themselves, says it is androphobia, the fear of masculine men.

Those syndromes may be factors, but I see this problem as a pathological form of classism–bigotry against people of a lower social class than yourself.  Classism used to be a taboo like racism, with which it has lots of similarities, but no more.

The working class used to be the base of the American left and the Democratic party.  Ironically, this phobia or classism of today’s liberals against the working class was arguably what elected Donald Trump, as Democrats wrote off industrial states like Wisconsin in order to pursue millennials, techies, and other cool people.

The left has come a long way from “workers of the world unite!” to the fear of plumbers.  At least there is little danger today of a Communist revolution.  Today’s left has become far too bourgeois. [Read more…]

Who will pray at Trump’s inauguration

Defense.gov_photo_essay_090111-F-3961R-041The six religious leaders  who will offer prayers at Donald Trump’s inauguration have been announced.

They include three Pentecostals:  Paula White, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, and Samuel Rodriguez.  White and Jackson, a black megachurch pastor, are prominent preachers of the “prosperity Gospel.’  (See our earlier post on White.)  Rodriguez is a Hispanic Assemblies of God minister also preaches a perhaps less extreme version of  the prosperity gospel.

The others are Franklin Graham, whose father Billy now in frail health has been a fixture at presidential inaugurations of all parties; New York catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan; and Marvin Hier, a prominent Jewish rabbi.

There are no mainline Protestants.  Graham is the only classical evangelical.  No Lutherans, of course.

In the story excerpted after the jump, I was struck by the writer’s point about why prosperity gospelers are so attracted to Trump, and vice-versa.  Bishop White says flatly that Trump’s wealth is a sign that he is “blessed by God.”  “Not surprisingly,” says the writer, “Donald Trump is drawn to those preachers who say that one’s wealth is a sign of God’s approval.” [Read more…]

Trump and the prosperity gospel

Paula_WhiteGiving the opening prayer at Donald Trump’s inauguration will be Paula White, a megachurch “pastor” and televangelist who is a leading proponent of the “prosperity gospel.”  In fact, prosperity gospel preachers were the leading “evangelicals” who supported Trump from the beginning in an organized way.

Westminster professor and White Horse Inn host Michael Horton has published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post about the prosperity gospel movement and its connections to the president-elect.  He goes into its history and its beliefs, including the teaching that “you are as much the incarnation [of God] as Jesus of Nazareth,” rejection of the Trinity, and that Christ died not for our sins but for our prosperity.

I suspect Trump neither knows nor cares about any of this, though he did attend Norman Vincent Peale’s “power of positive thinking” church as a child and though Paula White claimed to have “led him to Christ.”  Most Christians who voted for Trump surely did so for secular rather than theological reasons.  But giving the “Word of Faith” people another seeming name-it-and-claim-it victory, as well as prominence and possible influence, is not good for American Christianity.

Conservative, orthodox Christians who supported Trump–does this bother you?  Should we give the Trump regime a pass when it comes to condemning false doctrine and heresy?  Do the religious beliefs and alliances of someone in a secular office matter?

[Read more…]

More Russian dirty tricks

For_Your_Eyes_Only-Ian_FlemingNot only did the Russians hack into the Democrats’ e-mails in an attempt to influence the election.  According to a classified report shared with Donald Trump, the Russians also compiled a dossier of “compromising” information about the president-elect’s personal life and about his finances.

That the Russians released embarrassing information about Hillary Clinton but not about Trump is evidence, according to the CIA, that they wanted to discredit the former but protect the latter.  But now some fear that the Russians may have information to hold over the new president’s head, which they can use to blackmail him into going along with their policies.

What the Russians, perhaps, don’t know is that Trump is uncompromisable and un-blackmailable.  The American public already knows lots of facts about Trump that might sink other politicians, but none of it seems to matter with our new Teflon president.

UPDATE:  The report also claims that members of the Trump campaign went to Russia and directly colluded with Russian intelligence.   All sides are calling “Fake News!” so it’s impossible to sort out the facts and the original document remains unverified, but expect a Congressional investigation to the direct collusion charges. [Read more…]

Flipping on Assange

342px-Julian_Assange_August_2014Not long ago, conservatives condemned Wikileaks leaker Julian Assange.  After all, Assange exposed U.S. intelligence operations, possibly endangering the lives of CIA agents.  Donald Trump even said he deserved the death penalty.  But now, after Assange released e-mails embarrassing to Hillary Clinton in support of Trump, some of those same conservatives are all for him.  In fact, they believe him over the CIA!

Conversely, liberals used to praise Assange for revealing the sinister secrets of the militaristic, imperialistic CIA.  Today, now that Assange is supporting Trump and the CIA is saying the Russians were responsible for the e-mail hacks (something Assange denies), the left is vilifying Assange and praising the CIA!

Do you see some inconsistency here?  Michael Gerson does.  After the jump, read his accusations of unprincipled tribalism.  On the other hand, there are civil libertarians on both the right and the left that can make a case for Assange and his exposure of government secrets.

What do you think of Assange now? [Read more…]

From Russia with Love

6341892558_531c1e9e93_zDonald Trump and his supporters have been dismissive of U. S. Intelligence claims that the Russians were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee e-mails.  These made Hillary Clinton look bad and were then given to Wikileaks, which made them public.  Those intelligence agencies have released a report giving the basis for blaming Russia and Vladimir Putin’s intelligence operations.

The unclassified version of the report leaves out the details but gives the nature of their evidence.  (Read the report for yourself here.)  It says that Putin despised Clinton and wanted Trump to win.  The actions, which also included the use of paid “trolls,” were intended to discredit Clinton–though the Russians expected her to win–and to boost Trump’s chances.

Defenders of Trump have said that some other group could have done the hacking, that the CIA has often been wrong (including finding evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq), that the intelligence agencies are part of the establishment, that they are part of the Democratic administration (despite their non-politicized organization and their history of conflict with liberals), etc., etc.   Yes, lots of things “could have” happened.  But I am not aware of any evidence connecting the hacks to anyone else other than the Russians.  (Do you know of any?  If so, please let us know in the comments.  I’ll continue my thoughts after the jump.) [Read more…]