Donald J. Trump is a powerful rhetorician, and a clever politician.
Against all odds, he has now been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. His extraordinary and improbable rise to success ought to have led everyone at least to acknowledge that.
But if you follow the vast majority of the comments in the mainstream media about his inaugural address, you could be excused for your ignorance of that fact.
The condemnations in the fourth estate run the gamut, from the personal to the political.
Amongst the personal attacks, we see those decrying either President Trump’s pathological psychology or his manipulation of his voters; his anti-intellectualism, misogyny and bigotry, not to mention his fraud; among the political attacks, there are warnings of the end of American power because of his political isolationism, protectionism, and even his fascist hidden agenda.
Trusted American media outlets are actually openly fantasizing about the assassination of their country’s new democratically-elected President, and U.S. intelligence agencies publicly leak undocumented scandals. Many want to tear up the entire electoral system. These are unprecedented occurrences.
Whichever vantage we take, while the peaceful transition of power has now formally happened, the hostility towards Trump and his Presidency indicates that the waters have not gone off the boil of the campaign.
If anything, they are now steaming.
Women’s rights today deny equal rights to all women
The steam appears to have been released yesterday in what has been called the ‘Women’s March’.
The event is historic, though not only for reasons that the press suggests. A century ago, the suffragette movement descended on Washington following Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. The suffragettes gathered to insist on the equal rights of all women as persons to vote.
Women have now had that right for a century. It is truly something to celebrate.
The ‘Women’s March’ neglected to celebrate the centennial of these rights though. That is because no one actually questions them, including the President.
What was the nature of the ‘Women’s March’ protest, then?
The protesters gathered to protest, not as women, but as an ‘identity group.’
Why do I say that? Among the countless international women’s organizations of the allegedly ‘spontaneous march’, many of which are linked with Democratic supporter George Soros, pro-life women’s groups, and only they, were disinvited.
It is obvious that for the organizers of the ‘Women’s March’, women’s rights means that some women are more equal than others. The women in the ‘Women’s March’ were – in many cases unwittingly – marching against the equality of women.
The suffragettes would be appalled.
What were they marching for then?
The chief purpose of the march appears to have been to advance the agenda of its main sponsor, Planned Parenthood: denying the personhood of the unborn. It entailed a casualty that was irrelevant to the marchers: the women who think that the unborn are persons.
It is plain that asserting one groups’ rights to use lethal force against the most vulnerable members of humanity undermines everyone’s human rights.
Nonetheless the partisan ‘mainstream media’ has cheered them on, and given the protests enormous coverage.
What should we make of this hostility towards Trump, and support of a group that rejects the principle of equality for all?
In 2015, feminist icon Gloria Steinham suggested that ‘if men could have babies, abortion would be a sacrament’.
Given the anticipated size of the 40th March for Life on Washington on January 27, we shall have to see whether the media zeal for a still larger protest will hold, or whether that march will be completely ignored as usual.
It is hard not to see something sacramental in what Pope John Paul II termed the ‘culture of death’: the sanctification of power, sealed with human blood.
Culture Wars and Justice
It is plain that there is a war going on in the United States. It is the same culture war that has been waged since the advent of the New Left in the 1960s. It is a moral revolution towards destigmatizing sex, and thereby undermining the normative legitimacy of the nuclear family and the natural order of Christian sexual ethics. [I describe the change here in a lecture]
The history of the New Left is that it first swallowed the Democratic Party (and leftist politics worldwide), and then slowly marched so far into the political and social mainstream in the West that to deny its worldview appears more than an error of judgment or a difference of opinion. Defying political correctness isn’t impolitic to them. It is a criminal offence, an intolerable immoral act.
The left appears to have transitioned from a party representing the working class, committed to struggling with its political opponents to achieve shared goods common to their nature, to a quasi-religious group committed to denying the humanity of its opponents. It not only believes that is obliged to pronounce immediate judgment upon history, whose arc they alone bend, but entitled to set the standard of morality.
Rather than recognizing justice for all under the law, the New Left stands athwart justice like a colossus.
The response of the establishment media to President Trump’s election has been most illuminating on that front.
The reason that Trump’s legitimacy as President has not been acknowledged – and I predict will never be – has nothing to do with psychological stages of grieving, the personal immaturity or the lack of introspection characterizing the New Left.
Those are merely symptoms of the cause. The cause lies buried in the fundamental tenets the New Left holds towards justice. The breaches with the old Democrat Party, and with its present opponents are fourfold:
- that justice entails a necessary ‘transvaluation of all value’ away from Judaeo-Christian premises; This justice isn’t just against people, but against God.
- that justice is fundamentally a matter of group rights instead of that of individual persons against the state (the Constitutionalists’ position). This justice can only be done by social upheaval;
- that justice is therefore fundamentally a product of social group power, and not an inalienable, transcendent right bestowed by our Creator, connected to goodness, truth, and beauty; This justice is not the birthright of every human, but something that must be taken and held.
- and therefore that since human beings alone are responsible for justice, that it must be rendered immediately, politically, without any hope of divine recompense by a God who both authors history and will ultimately judge all flesh.
I fully anticipate the insurrection of the left to continue. Their view on the entirely imminent nature of ultimate reality requires it. Their sense of their own sole legitimacy to rule will demand it.
It was President Obama who, at the moment of his inauguration in 2008, openly expressed the desire to be a transformational leader, openly invoking comparison with President Ronald Reagan. Eight years on opinions vary on his success, some affirming it others pronouncing his failure.
Yet the comparisons have failed to see that although President Obama acted in an unprecedentedly unilateral and divisive fashion, what was most transformation was the unprecedented degree of support from the media and the entertainment industry, who now together constitute the fourth estate.
And it is the transformation in the fourth estate that is unfortunately leading the charge against the peaceful transition of power.
The fourth estate no longer speaks truth to power, it openly wields its celebrity status as power. It’s a status they lost when President Obama left office.
The Media is the Message
It was my compatriot Marshall McLuhan who coined the gnomic phrase ‘the medium is the message’. It was a Heideggerian observation about the way a medium forms how the content of the message is both conveyed and perceived. Indeed, McLuhan conflates the two. In President Obama, the message found its ideal medium, and the perfect demonstration of his assertion.
There is another aspect to it too. Implicit in his observation is the awareness that there is no such thing as true objectivity or neutrality. Individual acts are embedded in a worldview of assumptions. Emphasis upon this ‘hermeneutic circle’ in academia began a shift from understanding the role of the journalist as an impartial conveyer of information to an audience with voting responsibilities, with op-eds providing commentary, to embedding opinions into the reporting of the events themselves.
The Median of the Media
This insertion of opinion into journalistic reporting is not simply a phenomenon of the left. The reality, however, is that both the entertainment industry and the news organizations are overwhelmingly leftward leaning. By dint of sheer volume, the median of the media is not centrist. It is overwhelmingly left-leaning, thoroughly skewing its own presentation of what the mainstream is. A recent widely-shared graphic illustrated this skewed perception well.
Because the New Left regards justice as social, they regard whoever lies in the mainstream media as ‘balanced’ simply by virtue of its position.
But an even better indication was the result of the election itself. The mainstream media was so deluded by its confirmation bias that it entirely failed to predict President Trump’s electoral success.
It wasn’t a technical failure. It was a failure brought on by worldview.
The mainstream media concluded that the public wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump because they and a huge number of celebrities made it abundantly clear that they didn’t like him.
The result was literally unthinkable for them. There was evidence that it could happen, but because it did not jibe with the MSM’s views about the nature of ultimate reality, the trajectory of the ‘arc of history’ towards their perpetual reign, the justice of their cause, and the balance their worldview maintained to anyone but the deplorable, they rejected it.
The Rage against Impotence
This is the source of the rage. The sense of insult stemming from lèse-majesté isn’t about to stop.
It is because alongside the entire Washington establishment that Trump openly denounced in his inaugural address, it is the fourth estate that most recognizes it faces an existential crisis. And rather than blame themselves for permitting an unparalleled degree of ‘fake news’ through establishment channels, it would rather shoot the messenger.
I began by noticing the hugely successful rhetoric of President Trump. Trump’s address was not the rhetoric of the elites. It was the rhetoric of the people. He spoke plainly, directly, and consistently.
And having thwarted the will of the 4th estate in the election, he has now announced that he will do so going forward directly through Twitter and circumvent the skewed median of the media.
It is a display of power. Power to the people.
In the United States, it is the President who sets the tone for what is mainstream, not the media.
President Trump is now it.
I think the media got the message. They have been dethroned. That is now the lesson of history.
Image by Matt G. Borowick – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattborowick/3207635903/