Ross Douthat Having a Meltdown on Twitter

Ross Douthat is having a pubic meltdown over Trump, frenetically posting dozens of tweets in the span of just 24 hours…in 2008, it was ‘Palin derangement syndrome’ for the ‘left’…now it’s ‘Trump derangement syndrome’ for some of the ‘right’.

Here are some of them:

It’s kinda surprising how much he is emotionally vested in the outcome. A couple times he has hinted at holding or sympathizing with ‘reactionary’ beliefs, and he has spoken out against faux cosmopolitanism, so why is he so ardently anti-Trump?

Ross likes the idea of being reactionary, but he fears populism of the form of Trump will possibly diminish his own personal social standing, so he’s sorta conflicted – a form of cognitive dissonance. Ross, who himself epitomizes the intellectual elite, is fine with reactionary government provided people like him, not the uncultured masses, are still able to call the shots.

This is the small dilemma that Ross, Andressen, Thiel and the rest of the financial and cognitive elite face: choosing between leadership that they more closely ideologically aligned with in exchange for possibly lesser social status, or choosing leadership they (the elite) ideologically oppose but are able keep their high social and financial status. In many instances, personal interest (money and status), which tends to be quantifiable, supersedes political and ideological ones, which tend to be vague and unquantifiable, and this choice is understandable because self-interest and self-preservation are powerful forces. Thiel would probably not be happy seeing his stock holdings take a major hit as a consequence of a wight-wing populist crackdown on free trade, for example. If Hillary becomes president, everything continues as it left off, but the the financial elite can still feign outrage, etc. That’s probably why Andressen is actually voting for Hillary, and I don’t begrudge him, because that is the perfectly rational choice for someone of his high financial status.

Ross doesn’t mind Hillary winning because, from the perch of the NY Times, Ross can continue to espouse his somnolent and nuanced, yet slightly edgy and subversive, brand of conservatism as Trump and his emotive, barefaced brand of conservatism exits stage left. Even though this post is slightly critical of Douthat, I actually prefer his rhetorical style over Trump’s.

2004, after the defeat of Kerry, were the halcyon days of the neocon establishment, before everything when to pot in 2006-2008. Buoyed by a steady economy and domestic complacency, in many ways America was close to an autocracy or monarchy of sorts, as Bush, belated heir to his father, was more like a figurehead, who deferred to his staff, particularly Cheney, on the most important matters. Now it’s Obama, the empty suit in the Oval Office, and his invisible VP.