A dissection of Jonah Goldberg, and cuckoldry in general.
The alternative to force, of course, is persuasion. There are times when persuasion does not suffice, however, to establish justice—and in such moments of crisis the greatest of statesman have often used persuasion to spur the rightful use of force. In fact, in such times winning is often the best means of persuasion available. To what extent would Abraham Lincoln’s speeches have mattered if the North didn’t win the Civil War?
Of course, war is messy. It inexorably escalates, tempting both sides to throw principle to the wind, to use any means necessary for the sake of winning, and to dehumanize the other side. It risks lasting damage to the alpha and omega of politics—shared principle and common purpose. That is why no sane statesman would choose it willingly.
Nonetheless, there are times when shared principle and common purpose are already in dispute, and the war comes to you.
Goldberg acknowledges that the battle over Kavanaugh had to be fought, but the fact that “many voters rallied to Trump on the grounds that ‘at least he fights,’” troubles him greatly. Yet the “at least he fights” sentiment that Goldberg seemingly finds deplorable isn’t some kind of intrinsic evil. It was echoed by none other than Lincoln himself, who famously told the detractors of General Ulysses S. Grant, without denying Grant’s undeniable flaws: “I can’t spare this man–he fights.” Dan McCarthy superbly develops this point this week in his thoughts on “Consensus as Surrender.”
Goldberg, however, wrestles in National Review recently with his own “misgivings about the price of victory” in the effort to confirm Kavanaugh. He doesn’t like the fact that winning was “the least bad option.” Twisting and turning, Goldberg finds himself “less enthusiastic about the pro-Kavanaugh forces winning” than he was about the Left losing.
Why this anxiety? Goldberg plaintively warns that “there will be bad consequences no matter what, because we now live in a world where sub-optimal outcomes are the only choices available.” But we have always lived in such a world. This is practically the definition of political life in which, to use the parlance of our times, only the gradation of suckitude changes.
Why incessantly lament it so?
The central problem both parties face is not a matter of tone or rhetoric in the midst of the chaos and confusion—rhetorical and otherwise—caused by the fall of the old modes and orders. The salient fact of the moment is that the race is on to rethink and reground policy in light of our Republic’s founding principles. The Republican party must realign itself with the real needs of real people if it is to survive. There is no going back; the only way out is through.
And I’ll take winning—led by whoever can contrive to do so, using whatever means—over losing gracefully, seven days a week and twice on Sunday. Particularly when losing to the demonic Left means losing absolutely everything. To paraphrase the great Vince Lombardi, who could surely have taught today’s Cuckpublicans a thing or two: show me a dignified loser…and I’ll show you a loser. Another great Lombardi-ism, maybe even more relevant to this discussion: “If you can accept losing, you can’t win.“