Mar
14

The quality of mercy

By

King Midas with his daughter - Walter Crane [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

King Midas with his daughter – Walter Crane
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

David Atkins comments on a piece from the National Review that displays the nihilist greed of the Midas Cult in the ghastliest terms I have yet seen. Atkins writes:

The establishment Republican ideology prioritizes capital above all else. For them, the market does not exist to serve people: people exist to serve the market. Unregulated capitalism can never fail; it can only be failed by those too lazy, useless and unproductive to serve and profit by it. It is a totalizing ideology as impractical as state communism but lacking the silver lining of its species-being idealism; as impervious to reason as any cult religion, but lacking the promise of community, salvation or utopia; as brutal as any dictatorship, but without the advantage of order and security. Worst of all, it blames its victims for its failure to provide solutions to their needs.

Too strong, you think? Consider this excerpt from the NRO piece in which Kevin Williamson condemns Trump’s supporters as apostates from the one, true faith — his (emphasis mine):

It is immoral because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. It hasn’t. … They failed themselves.


If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy—which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog—you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.

[…]

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible … The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

Or else curl up and die, as Jesus taught. As Darwin’s theory demands. As the U-Haul-less Lower Ninth Ward died. This guy makes Scrooge look like Mr. Rogers. What do you bet there are more like him where he came from? And movement conservatives wonder why working-class white communities don’t want to vote for establishment Republicans.

The poor Williamson loathes are abusing medications not because the economy failed them, no, but because they failed the economy. Because they failed as Übermenschen. Repurposing their fraught communities is immoral to men with minds like spreadsheets and lumps of gold where hearts should be, the kind who poisoned Flint to balance a ledger, for whom a man’s worth is judged by his “net,” and the quality of mercy, if it cannot be measured in dollars, has none.

No wonder the white working class is flocking to Trump and shunning their Republican “betters.” Trump’s is a cult of personality, a salve to his insecurity which is, to be sure, yuuuge. His promises may be empty, but at least they are not open contempt. Whereas the Midas Cult serves up golden showers for underclassmen found wanting during rush week.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

Comments

  1. Daniel Smith says:

    Jesus did not teach “curl up and die”. Furthermore, your next sentence, “As Darwin’s theory demands”, also makes no sense.

    Evolution is primarily a theory about group dynamics whereas Jesus, Judaism, and Christianity are all about the individual. You can’t compare apples to oranges anymore than you can put the wrong words into the mouths of Jesus or Darwin.

    Other than that overreach, this was a thought-provoking article. We shall see what the future holds for Election 2016.