THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Can Matthew Parris trust the people?

The party is over. Time to get to work

It has been delightful to wallow in the grief of triggered leftists. Yes, their candidate lost. And no, they have neither self-awareness nor irony and that is bloody hilarious. But for classical liberals/libertarians or even smaller state Conservatives, the man who won is by no means our guy. Not by the longest of long chalks.  Nor were most of his voters motivated by even the faintest approximation of our views.  If we were rationally assessing what ideas won in the presidential election, we would be crying into our beers as much as our authoritarian enemies. 

Not that I suggest we do so. I am far from depressed by Trump's victory, though I agree with him in so few respects. Not least because our statist foes are about to relearn a proper fear of excessive state power and in particular of such undemocratic and unconstitutional devices as presidential executive orders. 

The people who voted for Trump were mostly nice, ordinary people. That is to say, they are not very interested in the nasty, corrupt game that is politics.  They voted on the basis of impressions formed from half heard bits of broadcasting, half read articles in newspapers, jokey conversations around the water cooler, Facebook, Twitter and blog posts by people not much more interested than themselves, gut reactions to the candidates, and the climate of opinion amongst their family and friends.

Here's the rub. The same is true of the people who voted for Clinton.

This is not to say either group is stupid or in the sneering phrase of the statist elite, "low information voters".  Nor is it to say that they were wrong. If you want to encounter real stupidity and prejudice, you will need to visit the political science department of a university.  An obsessive interest in any topic is no indicator of superior understanding. In fact, as George Orwell wrote:

 There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them

The difference between high and low information voters is that the former actively seek material for their confirmation bias, whereas the latter just happen upon it. A casual voter is probably more likely to be open to new information and ideas. 

This election is not a fatal blow to the status quo, but it's a political earthquake that has shaken things up enough to offer new opportunities for political discussion.  Dangerously, that might be as helpful for those promoting bad ideas as good ones, so it's vital to stop celebrating our enemies discomfiture and start trying to win people over.

Goodness knows, leftists are opening a wonderful window of opportunity by continuing to scream insults and abuse at anyone who disagrees with them!  Right now they are doing our cause far more good that we can ever expect from Donald Trump. And, when he takes office, what with his authoritarianism and theirs, we will have a fresh opportunity to put ourselves across as the kind, rational people we are. 

Most importantly, the Left's odious tactic of deliberately dividing society into oppressors and victims; of actively promoting inter-community hatred and resentment through identity politics and victimhood culture has backfired. Calling people "racists, sexists, homophobes, transphobes, islamophobes" or even just bigots didn't work against Trump, not because ordinary Americans are any of those things, but because they are inured to the abuse. The boy has cried wolf many times too often.

Every decent American now knows that someone calling you such a name doesn't mean you are a bad person. It just means he disagrees with and despises you. Dangerously, because bigotry is not good, it has become almost a badge of honour to be so abused.

Similarly the outrageous bias of the mainstream media, so long a cause of despair for us, has become counter-productive. Maybe they don't hate them as Milo claims but no one believes them any more. Nor does anyone trust their opinion polls rigged by graduates of aforementioned PolSci departments. In fact, as Michael Gove observed, no one believes in so-called "experts" on politics, "Social Sciences" or (worryingly) economics. Like jaded judges who have spent years listening to "expert witnesses" saying whatever the hell they were hired to say, the voters' main problem in the face of "expertise" on soft subjects is politely to stifle their yawns. 

From January 20 onwards, the Leftists in academia and the media will begin to unite against what President Trump actually does, not around the various lies they have so unconvincingly told. They are obsessive. They don't have work to do. The academics are #fundedbyforce from our taxes to twist, scheme, agitate and propagandise for the ideas they could persuade workers neither to launch a revolution nor vote for. Their proven tactics have failed them for once but that only opens a window for honest political discussion, free of political correctness, for a while. As most of us turn back to living our lives kindly, sanely and productively, they will be doing everything they can to close that window so seize the day! It may not come again in our lifetimes.