Monday, May 25, 2020

Michael Goodwin Today; and Peggy Noonan in 2016

By An Old Friend
Sun, May 24, 2020 6:54 p.m.

Michael Goodwin today; and Peggy Noonan in 2016

The smug, clueless (because above it all) "protected" vs. everyone else is the theme ...

During coronavirus pandemic, essentials are the new protected class: Goodwin

May 23, 2020

For socialists and those who lean that way, pandemic time is boom time. Washington is printing and spending money like never before and both parties support sending cash to businesses and the unemployed.

Rent and mortgage payments are being deferred, Medicare-for-all is getting a second look and support is growing for a program that would take the nation across the economic Rubicon — a guaranteed basic income.
Seldom is heard those cautionary words of yesteryear, "moral hazard." A time of great need and fear is shattering any stigma about being on the dole.
A logical conclusion is that politics will follow culture and Bernie Sanders- and AOC-types will call the shots in America. Unless ­Republicans and conservatives get on board, they will be consigned to history's dustbin.
Perhaps. But pay attention to another potential reaction to the pandemic. Think of it as the revenge of the nonessentials.
In early 2016, Peggy Noonan wrote a prescient column in The Wall Street Journal about the battle unfolding in the presidential race.

[[AOF note: I considered then -- and still do -- that particular Peggy Noonan column to be one of the key writings of the 2016 campaign.  It's really important, so I'll paste its text below, following this Goodwin piece.]]

"There are the protected and the unprotected," she wrote. "The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully."

Hillary Clinton later would call Donald Trump supporters ­"deplorables," reflecting her elitist disdain for those who didn't share her advantages.

Happily, the unprotected and deplorables carried the day and gave themselves a fierce advocate in the 45th president. Yet the 2020 election presents a similar divide, albeit with different language.

The Trump revolution, for all its progress, clearly has more work to do. For by hook and crook, the protected managed to hang on to power.

This time they call themselves "essential."

Among the many actions governors and mayors took in the last three months, the decisions about working, shopping, swimming and even praying were hugely consequential. They were also arbitrary and often foolish.

Just as the Founders and countless guardians of liberty warned, those with too much power inevitably go too far. Just as inevitably, when government picks winners and losers, the unprotected are the losers.

Being designated an "essential" business or employee meant you could keep working, keep your paycheck and standard of living. If you were unfortunate enough to be labeled "nonessential," you could lose your business, your home and your nest egg.

Unless you worked for the government. Despite shutdown orders in New York and other blue states, municipal and state workers continued to get paid even as most didn't have to work.

Although there was bluster from Mayor de Blasio about furloughs and layoffs, there have been none. He even gave raises to his staff, and unionized city workers have not missed a paycheck.

While most had nothing to do, some got the merciless tasks of making sure that nonessentials didn't work. In an especially galling example, Post reporters caught city inspectors staking out upscale neighborhoods to catch contractors working despite a state ban.

One inspector said a violation occurs as soon as a contractor "steps onto the property."

"The fine for having any work done is $10,000. First offense. No exceptions," he said.

Carpenters, painters, floor sanders and others are subject to fines of up to $5,000 for each employee.

A contractor said he was working in Brooklyn when an inspector "boxed in my truck" with his car "and ran into the house I was working on."

"He told the homeowner he was getting a $10,000 fine and I was getting fined $5,000 for each employee," the contractor said.

"I had to prove I was fixing the heat before he let us off."

The arbitrary distinction between essential and nonessential recalls the gag about the difference between a recession and a depression. A recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a ­depression is when you lose your job.

De Blasio, predictably, has been consistently erratic. He ruled that wading and surfing in the Atlantic Ocean are fine, but swimming is not. At one point he threatened to put up fences to keep people out of the water.

Many governors drew similarly ridiculous red lines, with nearly all states with stay-at-home orders allowing liquor stores to open but banning AA meetings. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made it legal to buy and sell lottery tickets but not carpets, furniture and paint. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said private motorboats could carry two people, but not three or four.

Bans against large gatherings are a flashpoint for the faithful as well as First Amendment advocates. New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon and Vermont are among those states where stay-at-home orders do not exempt religious institutions, and court fights are erupting around the country.

In California, more than 1,200 pastors signed a "declaration of essentiality" and an attorney said he expects 3,000 churches to open May 31 "with or without permission."

Naturally, most of Big Media favor extreme shutdowns, which are happening primarily in states with Democratic governors. It's possible the journalists are genuinely concerned about the health of their fellow Americans, but it's more likely they see economic ­catastrophe as bad for Trump.

The New York Times, which congenitally opposes good news with Trump in the White House, said in a recent Page One headline: "New Cases in U.S. Slow, Posing Risk of Complacency."

Concerned about the sweeping stay-at-home orders, Attorney General Bill Barr appointed a task force to see if they are infringing on constitutional rights, especially regarding religion. A department statement said, "There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights."

Trump weighed in Friday and used the magic words to boost religious freedom, declaring that churches, synagogues and mosques are "essential places that provide essential services" and urging governors to open them.

As the president put it, "In America, we need more prayer, not less."

Finally, somebody in government sees the light: Praying is ­essential.


Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected

By Peggy Noonan

We're in a funny moment. Those who do politics for a living, some of them quite brilliant, are struggling to comprehend the central fact of the Republican primary race, while regular people have already absorbed what has happened and is happening. Journalists and politicos have been sharing schemes for how Marco parlays a victory out of winning nowhere, or Ted roars back, or Kasich has to finish second in Ohio. But in my experience any nonpolitical person on the street, when asked who will win, not only knows but gets a look as if you're teasing him. Trump, they say.

I had such a conversation again Tuesday with a friend who repairs shoes in a shop on Lexington Avenue. Jimmy asked me, conversationally, what was going to happen. I deflected and asked who he thinks is going to win. "Troomp!" He's a very nice man, an elderly, old-school Italian-American, but I saw impatience flick across his face: Aren't you supposed to know these things?

In America now only normal people are capable of seeing the obvious.

But actually that's been true for a while, and is how we got in the position we're in.

Last October I wrote of the five stages of Trump, based on the Kubler-Ross stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Most of the professionals I know are stuck somewhere between four and five.

But I keep thinking of how Donald Trump got to be the very likely Republican nominee. There are many answers and reasons, but my thoughts keep revolving around the idea of protection. It is a theme that has been something of a preoccupation in this space over the years, but I think I am seeing it now grow into an overall political dynamic throughout the West.

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let's stick with the protected.

They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they've got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details.

Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They're insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.

One issue obviously roiling the U.S. and Western Europe is immigration. It is the issue of the moment, a real and concrete one but also a symbolic one: It stands for all the distance between governments and their citizens.

It is of course the issue that made Donald Trump.

Britain will probably leave the European Union over it. In truth immigration is one front in that battle, but it is the most salient because of the European refugee crisis and the failure of the protected class to address it realistically and in a way that offers safety to the unprotected.

If you are an unprotected American—one with limited resources and negligible access to power—you have absorbed some lessons from the past 20 years' experience of illegal immigration. You know the Democrats won't protect you and the Republicans won't help you.

Both parties refused to control the border. The Republicans were afraid of being called illiberal, racist, of losing a demographic for a generation. The Democrats wanted to keep the issue alive to use it as a wedge against the Republicans and to establish themselves as owners of the Hispanic vote.

Many Americans suffered from illegal immigration—its impact on labor markets, financial costs, crime, the sense that the rule of law was collapsing. But the protected did fine—more workers at lower wages. No effect of illegal immigration was likely to hurt them personally.

It was good for the protected. But the unprotected watched and saw. They realized the protected were not looking out for them, and they inferred that they were not looking out for the country, either.

The unprotected came to think they owed the establishment— another word for the protected—nothing, no particular loyalty, no old allegiance.

Mr. Trump came from that.

Similarly in Europe, citizens on the ground in member nations came to see the EU apparatus as a racket—an elite that operated in splendid isolation, looking after its own while looking down on the people.

In Germany the incident that tipped public opinion against Chancellor Angela Merkel's liberal refugee policy happened on New Year's Eve in the public square of Cologne. Packs of men said to be recent migrants groped and molested groups of young women. It was called a clash of cultures, and it was that, but it was also wholly predictable if any policy maker had cared to think about it. And it was not the protected who were the victims—not a daughter of EU officials or members of the Bundestag. It was middle- and working-class girls—the unprotected, who didn't even immediately protest what had happened to them. They must have understood that in the general scheme of things they're nobodies.

What marks this political moment, in Europe and the U.S., is the rise of the unprotected. It is the rise of people who don't have all that much against those who've been given many blessings and seem to believe they have them not because they're fortunate but because they're better.

You see the dynamic in many spheres. In Hollywood, as we still call it, where they make our rough culture, they are careful to protect their own children from its ill effects. In places with failing schools, they choose not to help them through the school liberation movement—charter schools, choice, etc.—because they fear to go up against the most reactionary professional group in America, the teachers unions. They let the public schools flounder. But their children go to the best private schools.

This is a terrible feature of our age—that we are governed by protected people who don't seem to care that much about their unprotected fellow citizens.

And a country really can't continue this way.

In wise governments the top is attentive to the realities of the lives of normal people, and careful about their anxieties. That's more or less how America used to be. There didn't seem to be so much distance between the top and the bottom.

Now it seems the attitude of the top half is: You're on your own. Get with the program, little racist.

Social philosophers are always saying the underclass must re-moralize. Maybe it is the overclass that must re-moralize.

I don't know if the protected see how serious this moment is, or their role in it.


Anonymous said...

Goodwin is spot on--Noonan I couldn't read because the column wasn't fully visible.
That's the attitude of the media with the virus,which ranges between threats of re-infection,fear,regret("you don't want to feel guilty about killing grandpa do you?")but most of all:If this gets back to "normal",Trump might get re-elected.
Throw in "racial disparity propaganda","hookers being disadvantaged" and,speaking of disparity,an inordinate amount of stories featuring blacks as HEROES(!!!)and you have new modern fables dished out a daily basis.
At least Aesop had morals to his fables--the media has none.
Later,I'll combine Aesop and today's fake stories to give you an idea of what the BSM(black sympathizing media)is trying to drill into your heads.


Nicholas said...


Sorry about the situation with Noonan's column, I just spent 30 minutes working on the coding. Hopefully, you can read it now.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious the Dems will never get it.If Trump wins this year(which I doubt),there will be more impeachment about nothing.The Dems believe they can out wait the Trump presidency and let demographics kick in.THEN,whites are in big trouble until a civil war breaks out.