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Trump’s Reassertion of Common Sense

The grandstanding hysteria over Trump’s travel ban on people coming from seven terrorist countries falls into the category of sound and fury signifying nothing, save the persistence of death-wish liberalism in our politics. It happened so “abruptly,” harrumphed the chattering class. Really? Trump has only been talking about the ban for over a year. People in those countries had since his victory in November time to “prepare” for it. Besides, since when has it been a constitutional right for peoples residing in terrorist hotbeds to travel inconvenience-free to America?

One would think from the tear-shedding, garment-rending hysterics of Trump’s critics that his travel ban had resulted in mass slaughter rather than delayed or denied travel. The media’s all-hands-on-deck coverage suggested the chattering class finally thought it had Trump cornered. But he refuses to take their nonsense seriously. He should keep calling them the “opposition party” throughout his presidency. As long as his policies rest on a reassertion of common sense, their propaganda masquerading as journalism has no power. Having been burned so many times by political correctness, the people know that it will not keep them safe and that they need, at long last, a take-charge president like Trump.

The Screen Actors Guild won’t keep them safe. The know-it-alls on “Morning Joe” and various editorial boards won’t keep them safe. The McCain-Graham RINOs in Congress won’t keep them safe. All these parties are not interested in solving the problem of insecurity but denying it, in the name of some ill-defined enlightenment, which amounts to a repudiation of common sense in favor of “optics,” virtue-signaling, or a host of other vain and unserious considerations.

The goal of death-wish liberalism is to make common sense controversial, and to make a blameless nationalism (which every nation that seeks to survive adopts) seem sinister. The Trump administration shouldn’t surrender an inch to this mau-mauing, not out of spite, but for the simple reason that no problem facing the country can be solved the moment that mau-mauing is indulged. Once “optics” becomes a guiding principle of a policy, it ceases to be a real solution and becomes instead a compounding part of the problem. Trump, more than any president since Reagan, seems to understand this and focuses his energies on proposing the real solution to problems while persuading the people of its necessity. In other words, he is actually leading. Optics-driven “policies” don’t constitute leadership but submission to a deluded ruling class.

Of course, the media will use opportunistic criticism of an imperfect implementation of a sound policy as a ruse to discredit the policy itself. That propagandistic misdirection was on display throughout the weekend. It is a game the media only plays against policies it dislikes. With relish, it reports on the “chaos” that a policy produces. But where was the reporting on the much greater chaos that preceded and justified that policy? Delayed travel is hardly “chaos” on the same level as the chaos of thousands of potential terrorists pouring into the country.

Sunday’s terror attack in Quebec momentarily got the media’s hopes up that it could amplify its Muslims-as-victims-of-Western-bigotry storyline. After all, it happened at a mosque — a mosque to which “a pig’s head” had been delivered in the summer, the media breathlessly reported. The Daily Beast, eager to pin the attack on the “alt-right,” reported that white supremacists were responsible for it, based on information from Reuters, which turned out to be a parody Twitter account. Meanwhile, PC pols dramatically announced the news, putting all the emphasis on the location of the attack, a mosque, but saying nothing about the people responsible for it. (New York City mayor went into histrionics about the need to protect mosques and ordered cops to fan out to them, as if hordes of Islamophobes were soon to descend upon them.)

I knew from the slowness of the release of the suspect’s names that it couldn’t be helpful to the PC storyline. Finally, Monday morning the Montreal Gazette reported their names, and one of the names is terribly inconvenient to that storyline: “According to Radio-Canada and LCN, the two suspects in Sunday’s terror attacks in Quebec City are Alexandre Bissonnette and Mohamed Khadir.”

Muslims attacking Muslims? That turn in the story takes a bit of the wind out of the media’s sails, which had looked forward to a week of browbeating Trump over his supposedly outrageous comment that Christian refugees deserve greater priority than their persecutors. In what they consider a great demonstration of their enlightenment and virtue, the U.S. Catholic bishops are joining the media in stigmatizing Trump for this comment. How dare he prioritize Christian refugees! “We believe in assisting all,” said a USCCB spokesman, as if impartiality to all religions is the mission of the Church. Once again, Catholic doctrine has been replaced by death-wish liberalism, with the bishops panting after the approval of the ruling class and rooting for judges to strike down his orders. Chicago’s cardinal, Blase Cupich, calls Trump’s actions a “dark moment in U.S. history.”

The founding fathers wouldn’t have thought so. They wrote the Constitution not to criminalize common sense and Christianity but to protect them. It took modern liberals to twist it into a suicide pact — to which the people, by electing a president uncowed by its insanity, no longer wish to strap themselves.

George Neumayr
George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.
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