Trump: the Push-Back President

(Today’s guest poster is Andrew Klavan who published this piece on PJ Media. The headline is mine, the Push-Back President. Trump is the first president to reject in public the nincompoop notions of the left, and he makes no bones about it.  He rubs it in their faces and laughs out loud, a fun guy. This is the main cause of the mental illness known as Trump Derangement Syndome.)

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In general, I’m a free speech purist. I think you should be able to say any damn thing you please. But that doesn’t mean you should be able to say it anywhere and anytime.

I think police should be allowed to remove hecklers who prevent an audience from hearing the speaker they came to hear, or haul away a diner who stands up in a restaurant and starts spewing curses at the Martians in his fillings.

I deplore companies that fire or punish employees for expressing their ideas on their own time, even though it’s legal to do so. But I don’t think those companies have to tolerate such speech in the workplace or when it might reasonably appear to be an expression of the company’s point of view.

That’s why I see no free speech violation, even in spirit, in the NFL’s ruling that players should not disrespect the flag during the National Anthem. The players were taking that action on company time, in company uniform, while doing the company’s business, representing the company and, clearly, hurting the company’s bottom line.

And because I see no violation, I have to agree with the tweet of Vice President Mike Pence that the new rule represents “#winning” for the American people. Here’s why.

The NFL anthem controversy is a prime example of how Donald Trump is doing something of yuge importance that conservatives never think to do, and that intellectual conservatives don’t even seem to understand needs doing. He is challenging — and often changing — the left’s narrative.

The narrative is essentially a set of assumptions so pervasive that people are afraid to oppose them. They think they are alone in disagreeing with those assumptions and they fear they will be deemed immoral by the majority.

For a long time, the left has controlled this narrative by dominating and censoring the means of communication: social media, the news networks, Hollywood and the academies.

The left makes outlandish ideas seem mainstream.

They use these instruments to make outlandish ideas seem mainstream. That America is racist and oppressive. That men and women are interchangeable. That abortion is something other than an atrocity. That capitalism is somehow an evil despite its manifest blessings. And so on.

This technique is enormously powerful and has serious repercussions. Look at Starbucks behaving like a broken prisoner at a Stalinist show trial.

The narrative convinced them that they behaved badly simply for behaving like a business. In ejecting two poorly behaved trespassers, they merely claimed their right to use their private property for profit. But it is private property and profit that gives us Starbucks in the first place. And iPhones and computers and movies and all the rest.

Companies do not make these things for fun and they have no obligation to let you use them for free. If Starbucks were not drowning in left-wing assumptions — the left-wing narrative that capitalism is somehow inherently mean and wrong — they would have stood up for their right to eject unpaying trespassers, and they would have won.

Instead, they have to endure the absolutely absurd accusation that they are somehow racist because the trespassers were black — another nonsensical left-wing assumption. Phooey.

This is why it has been so terribly frustrating for many of us that conservatives have for so long allowed these assumptions to go unchallenged and have even seemed to accept them themselves.

Why did the first President Bush promise a “kinder, gentler” America after the Reagan years? Why did W. Bush call his conservatism “compassionate conservatism”? Aren’t the wealth and freedom provided by conservative governance kind and gentle enough, compassionate enough in themselves? Why were they making apologies for good ideas?

They bought the narrative and lost the country.

Those on the right who continue to hammer the president for being a flawed man should instead be asking themselves: Why did it take such a man to finally start pushing conservative ideas again?

It was because the left had been allowed to define the terms of our decency, and it required a man without much regard for decency to stand up to them and begin to govern by the decent, moral, freedom-giving principles of traditional Americanism.

Among those principles is respect for our flag and the liberties and justice it represents. It should not be the accepted norm that you can insult that flag while the rest of the nation is expected to eat the insult and send you fame and money in return.

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Screw that noise. Donald Trump was right to challenge the narrative. It’s not trivial. It’s important. And the fact that he made his point represents, yes, #winning.

22 thoughts on “Trump: the Push-Back President

  1. Totally agree. The Trump Derangement Syndrome is a real thing. I have observed this phenomenon quite a few times, online and in person. It seems to trigger leftists into a fight-or-flight response. I was attacked by an online mob for saying something positive about Trump. So many of them flagged every one of my comments as spam that my Disqus account was locked up for several days. It felt like I was being made to wear a dunce cap and sit in the corner.

    Another time I was about to have lunch with my cousin who lives in France. She asked me what I thought of Trump (they always do that to check the state of your virtue signalling) and when I said a few positive things she got so upset she stood up to get away from the spot where Trump was mentioned in a positive light. She forgot her purse! Fight or flight …

    I believe this behaviour will subside over time as TDS fatigue sets in. One can only hope. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brent: Leftists, who have been have enforcing PC rules with a hamfist for decades, have become accustomed to victory on all fronts, and with lots of justification. Blame conservative cowardice to a large degree. Leftists are screamers and brawlers, literally. When you disagree with them (kudos to you for not saying “Liberal”), they first go into shock before recovering and exploding. Trump is their worst nightmare, someone who rejects PC right out loud and in their twisted faces with his bird finger extended, not literally, of course. And in the White House! They cannot wrap their minds around it. It is beyond comprehension because they are so used to getting their way. For decades now.

      Interesting about what happened to your Disqus account. I never fail to praise Trump online, often with Disqus, and nothing like that has happened to me. Of course, I’m almost always doing it on conservative websites in the company of intelligent, reasonable people (for the most part).

      As for all this subsiding in time, I’m not so sure of that. At least any time soon … while you and I are still breathing.


  2. You’re smarter than me. I was posting on a far left publication, the Tyee. Don’t poke the bear, I guess.

    I must say my political leanings used to favour the Democrats, but that party seems to have lost its direction and its mind. I couldn’t stand the Republicans especially through the Bush years. I think Trump is a great president, but a lot of the Republican establishment don’t think so. They hate him as much as the far left. The two-party system seems flawed to me but it’s essentially what we have in Canada too. Hopefully, our sock puppet PM will be a one-term blunder, and his replacement will be better, but I’m not holding my breath. My wife’s got a “Make Trudeau a Drama Teacher Again” T-shirt. She’s waiting for an appropriate occasion to wear it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brent: I’d never heard of The Tyee. I took a quick look.

      I was a Democrat most of my life. As someone famous said: I did not leave the Democrat Party. It left me.

      As for your PM, you gotta be realllllly embarrassed. His election does not speak well of Canada. He is laughable.


  3. I don’t feel embarrassed about Trudeau because I did not vote for him. Canada lost its way a long time ago when Trudeau Sr. messed about with our constitution and brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the spearhead of this PC idiocy. Canada is going down a similar road to Europe. We could sure use a Donald Trump, but the populace isn’t ready for that yet.


    1. Brent: I didn’t vote for Obama either, but I was embarrassed for the nation during those eight years. Well, maybe not.

      Be hard to imagine a Canadian Trump.


  4. Little by little, we are unable to use our free-speech rights. A good example is Trump’s recent statement that MS13 gang members are animals. Holy Crap, now all that is taken out of context to mean every Mexican illegally in the U.S. is an animal.

    Same thing with what happened with Rosanne. She said what she wanted and again everybody comes unglued. More people should tell it like it is and perhaps we could balance out all this PC.

    I am extremely disappointed with the Starbucks decision as mentioned, because they did absolutely nothing wrong. If I owned a business I would want to be able to toss out anyone who was not providing a profit or benefit to the business (stockholders etc.). To turn this into a sensitivity show is extremely disappointing because they are admitting they did something wrong.

    It is refreshing to hear someone say it like it is without all the PC crap. He may not be the best politician we have had, but he certainly is being supported by a considerable amount of people who feel the same way. Can you imagine how the Starbucks stores will look as homeless encampment areas in the big cities now that they have basically opened up their bathrooms to anyone who wants to offload or shoot up?

    We’ll see down the road what a poor decision that was.


    1. Tancho: I think that what Roseanne Barr did was colossally stupid. She claims she did it in the middle of the night after taking an insomnia drug. No matter. It just gives ammo to leftists. Plus she got scores of people associated with her new show fired.

      Starbucks’ opening its coffee shops and johns to nonpaying customers is colossally stupid too. This morning I messaged Starbucks in the U.S. via their Facebook page if that rule applies to coffee shops in Mexico. I just checked, and they replied that I should ask Starbucks Mexico which has a different FB page. So I just asked again there. I await their reply. I wonder how disconnected the outfits are, and if Starbucks in Mexico is equally ridiculous. I kind of doubt it.


  5. This article highlights why there is no such thing as an absolute right, because rights inevitably conflict. In this case, you can’t have absolute property rights and absolute free-speech rights at the same time.

    The writers of the Constitution would think Klavan got the priorities wrong, though. They were very clear about free speech being more important than property in their concept of liberty, putting free speech very clearly out of reach of Congress to regulate, but only saying about property that “no person shall be deprived of … property without due process of law.

    I realize that the Constitution doesn’t bind private parties in these matters, but if it was that important for the founding fathers, we ought to be careful about prioritizing property rights over individual civil rights.


      1. To be sure, I could have been clearer. Initially, I had a somewhat snarky answer in mind, but I’m trying to keep my internet comments on a higher level, so I took this approach.

        I decided that Mr. Klavan’s main point (aside from some obligatory and gratuitous leftist bashing) was an elevation of property rights over free speech rights–approving of NFL’s rights to suppress player’s speech, and disapproving of Starbuck’s subordination of their property rights to some other business consideration.

        As a good liberal (I use the term as commonly accepted in today’s America) I view the elevation of property rights over other civil rights with a good deal of trepidation, and I think there’s a need to push back on what I see as a misguided centrality of property rights in Conservative philosophy.

        Conservatives support a strong military to protect private property at home and abroad. They dislike taxes as a theft of private property, and regulations as a violation of property rights. A conservative majority on the Supreme Court consistently votes to empower corporations (a form of property) over customers and employees. And so on.

        Since Conservatives claim to love the Constitution, I tried to point out where the Constitution falls on this point–explicitly, in my view, with property rights on a lower level than, say, free speech.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Creigh: Firstly, let me give you a tip of the sombrero for trying to keep your internet comments on a higher plane. I do the same. We are a rare breed in that respect.

          And I understand your stance better now. Thanks for that.

          Of course, I disagree on basically all your points, but so what? Who would want everyone to think the same? Well, some would, but I am not one of those people. I would prefer that most think like me, as you undoubtedly would prefer that most think like you, but we need some discord to keep things interesting.

          Yes, I know you are a liberal using today’s (mistaken, in my view) interpretation. I am a liberal in the old-school way, which is to say a modern conservative. My, how things have twisted about.

          I do not think that people on the other side of today’s troubling political divide are bad or evil people. Some are, but most are not. I consider the opposition to be in the grip of two things: naiveté and misinformation. The latter can be cured in time, which explains why a good number of young idealists jump ship later in life. Myself, for example. Naiveté is more difficult to cure. Hard knocks might do it.

          Have a good day, what’s remaining of it.


          1. After a bit of thought, the source of my “trepidation” over raising property rights above other rights is this: a legal system where property rights take precedence over other rights is not a democracy. That kind of legal system would more properly be described as feudalism.


            1. Creigh: You appear to hold the position that the NFL players have every right to voice (by kneeling) their opinions before the games because it’s their right to free speech. A perfect analogy would be an employee at Burger King, like the NFL players, in company uniform in the company workplace, saying out loud to customers that they should see the yucky condition of the food before it’s cooked, and then have the customers leave the store, purchasing nothing. So the Burger King employees should be able to do that because it’s their right to free speech? I think not. NFL players either. The analogy is flawless.


  6. Do you suppose that Maxine Waters will apologize for some of the things she has said?


    1. Señor Gill: While I think that Roseanne wrote something that was colossally stupid to do, that there is a double standard in play is also equally obvious.

      As for Waters, she’s a nincompoop.


  7. The NFL players have no more right to kneel during the national anthem than does your server at Appleby’s have the right to try to persuade you to vote for Jill Stein while he serves you a tuna melt. As Klavan rightly notes, they are uniformed employees, on the clock, working for their employer.

    But they are all perfectly free to express their opinions outside of work. And as famous people by virtue of being NFL players, they automatically have far more platform than any ordinary guy like you or me. Isn’t that enough? I’m sure that if they formed some kind of association of “Aggrieved, NFL Millionaires for Civil Rights” they’d get all the attention they wanted. And if they were half-clever about handling the press (see Trump for pointers), they’d get nonstop attention.

    So yes, when in uniform, on the clock, they’d better parrot the line the boss wants. Or they can quit. Or they can do as I suggest, all reasonable options.


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we toil in complete obscurity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim: As is usually the case, you are quite correct. This seems like a no-brainer to me. I also think that if these fellows were not exclusively black (or near so?), the nonsense would have been stopped ASAP. They got a pass due to their skin tone.

      Liked by 1 person

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