Good Populism


Victor Davis Hanson is a classist and historian. That background is apparent in his post over at The New Criterion called The Good Populism. He points out that there have been two types of populism in the West since ancient times. One is populism of the urban mob—the Roman turba, the French Revolution, Antifa. The other is the populism of the middle class—the mesoi, the American Revolution, the Tea Party. Hanson suggests that it was the middle guy being feed up with the “elites” catering to the mob that paved the way for Donald Trump.

So Trump was a populist nemesis visited upon the hubris of the coastal culture. When he took on “fake news,” when he tweeted over the “crooked” media, when he railed about “globalists,” when he caricatured Washington politicians—and ranted non-stop, shrilly, and crudely—a third of the country felt that at last they had a world-beater who wished to win ugly rather than, as in the case of John McCain or Mitt Romney, lose nobly. As a neighbor put it to me of Trump’s opponents, “They all have it coming.”

The targets of Trump’s ire never quite understood that the establishment’s attacks on him, and their own entitled appeals to their greater sensitivity, training, experience, education, morality, class, and authority, were precisely the force multipliers that made Trumpism so appealing.

In 2016, pundits and experts had focused mostly on the populism of the race, class, and gender brand, and its would-be champions Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who sought to channel the new identity, youth, and feminist politics for their own advantage.

All had forgotten that there was also another populist tradition, lying dormant. It was a quieter but far more potent bomb just waiting to blow up—if someone ever would be so uncouth and angry enough to detonate it.

Read the whole thing.

If It Looks Like a Duck …


There’s a post over at Cat Rotator’s Quarterly about finding a rubber duckie modeled on Charlemagne for sale at an Autohof. (H/T, Sarah Hoyt)

A rubber duckie version of Karl der Große from a painting by Dürer. And I recognized it at first glance, which probably means I have spent far too much time in the very early Middle Ages this past year or so.

I may have spent too much time contemplating England of the Middle Ages because when I read the post, my first reaction was, “Well, if it weighs the same as a duck, …”

Don’t Know Much About History


CNN’s Legal Analyst: The Founders never envisioned Supreme Court justices living past their 50s (H/T: The Washington Free Beacon)

Here’s the roster of the first six justices of the Supreme Court who were a nominated under the Judiciary Act of 1789 by George Washington and confirmed by the Senate:

John Rutledge, confirmed 1789, born 1739, age 50
John Blair, confirmed 1790, born 1732, age 58
John Jay, confirmed 1789, born 1740, age 49
William Cushing, confirmed 1790, born 1732, age 58
James Iredell, confirmed 1790, born 1751, age 39
James Wilson, confirmed 1790, born 1742, age 48

Four of the original justices lived past their 50s: Rutledge, 61; Blair, 68; Jay, 83; and Cushing, 78.

UPDATE—In fact, at least one of the Founders, the author of Federalist No. 78, explicitly stated that lifetime judicial appointments were critical to the proper functioning of the judiciary.

Upon the whole, there can be no room to doubt that the convention acted wisely in copying from the models of those constitutions which have established GOOD BEHAVIOR as the tenure of their judicial offices, in point of duration; and that so far from being blamable on this account, their plan would have been inexcusably defective, if it had wanted this important feature of good government.

Read the whole thing.