Be Thankful for What Trump Is Not

I sometimes wonder: How many people are really stupid enough to believe in the insane religion of the left? Outside of our idiot intellectual elite, I mean. Outside of the knuckleheads on the New York Times op-ed page, or the buffoons who give literary awards to Ta-Nehisi Coates, or the jackasses who serve as administrators of universities. I can't believe that any substantial number of regular people are as moronic as these folks, that any substantial number really believe that, say, gender is a social construct or Islam is a religion of peace or socialism improves lives or man-made climate change threatens the existence of humanity.

This week, I entertained myself for an idle hour with some leftist reactions to President Trump's withdrawal from the environmentally useless and economically harmful Paris climate accord. "A traitorous act of war against the American people," thoughtfully opined leftist billionaire Tom Steyer. "Your kids are gonna die from climate change," was the sober judgement of Vice News editor Chelsey Coombs. "The United States resigned as leader of the Free World," was the sage assessment of CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

And sure, their leftist tears made a fine salty seasoning for my afternoon omelet. But still, I wonder: how many actual, common sense human beings buy into their silliness? Not many, polls suggest. A lot of people may mouth agreement, but I suspect many even of these know leftism is largely a virtue-signaling, power-grabbing scam.

But the problem is, a few dopey intellectuals and their absurd little notions can have outsized power: the power of the echo chamber, the power of fashionable acceptance, the power of creating the atmosphere within the Beltway Bubble. And while Republicans frequently strut and fret about their opposition to leftist malarkey, they just as frequently acquiesce to it in the event. Witness their inability to stem the disaster of Obamacare now that they finally have the chance.

Which is why this au revoir to Paris is so encouraging. By withdrawing from the accord, Trump proves he is not susceptible to the influence of the usual knuckleheads. He seems deaf to the echo chamber, indifferent to media acceptance, immune to the atmosphere. In fact, some of the very things that make Trump unappealing to gentle folk like me — his belligerence, his recklessness, his bullish and even bullying insistence on his own vision — are also what sometimes lift him above the Leftist Crazy that so addles the intelligentsia.

How important is that? Very.

The other day on my podcast, I interviewed free-speech hero, attorney Floyd Abrams. Abrams earned the hostility of conservatives by working for the right of the New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers; and he earned the hostility of leftists by successfully arguing for Citizens United. Reading his excellent book The Soul of the First Amendment opened my eyes to the dangers even a few intellectual doofuses can create and (though this is clearly not the book's intention) strengthened my wary support of the president.

The money portion of the interview was where I questioned Abrams about the First Amendment approach of leftist Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as Breyer laid it out in his dissent on a campaign finance case:

Abrams: What... Breyer was saying was: the First Amendment is not just an individual right, that it exists to assure that the government actually represents the views of the people by being sure that the people can speak out, etc....  But I think it's very dangerous to start talking about the First Amendment as being focused on making the government work better or be more responsive. The First Amendment is a limit on the government.... The purpose of the First Amendment is to avoid censorship by the government of views, most of all, about the government.

Klavan: Right. Because otherwise the government would be deciding what was good for the government.

Abrams: Absolutely.

Klavan: So how many justices on the Supreme Court, do you think, are sympathetic to Breyer's argument?

Abrams: Well, four of them signed on to that opinion. As to whether they all would really do so in a later case, it's hard to say...

Klavan: So it's possible that if Scalia had not been replaced with a conservative, the First Amendment would've completely changed its meaning, basically. It's possible.

Abrams: Well, yes, it's possible.

I don't want to blow this out of proportion. This is edited for brevity, so listen to the whole thing (and read the book). But with the Supreme Court taking on the role, as it has, of super legislature, all it requires is five idiot intellectuals who believe in leftist crap for us to lose the right to speak free — which, let's face it, is inseparable from the right to live free.

Because Trump is what he is — and because of what he is not — we have preserved that precious right for another day. For that alone, he deserves our thanks and support.

For more commentary, listen to my podcast Monday through Thursday.