Writing in code

One of the great philologists used to argue that you could not read the ancient Greek writers without appreciating that it was more than their lives were worth to actually say what they meant. Now we are unlikely to boil you in oil, but still, you might lose your writing gig at National Review if you said what you really meant. Take Victor Davis Hanson, who begins and ends his column on White versus White America, with the standard demand that we be spared a Donald Trump as President, but then says this in the middle:

Trump is not so much appealing to the ethnic prejudices of the white poor and working class, or playing on their perceived resentments of the Other. It’s more that he, a crass member of the elite (“It takes one to know one”), is resonating with their deep dislike of the hypocrisies of the white elite, both Republican and Democratic. Middle-class whites should be outraged at the cruel and gross manner in which Trump insulted John McCain and Megyn Kelly, but they are not. Perhaps, if asked, they would prefer to have the latter pair’s money and power if the price was an occasional little slapdown from Donald Trump. What they see as outrageous is not Trump’s crude “Get out of here” to Spanish-language newscaster Jorge Ramos, but rather the multimillionaire dual-citizen Ramos predicating his con on a perpetual pool of non–English speakers, many of whom have broken federal immigration law in a way a citizen would not dare break the law on his tax return or DMV application. For an angry Arizonan, ridiculing “low energy” Jeb is not as crude as Jeb’s own crude “act of love” description of illegal immigration. An act of love for exactly whom?

What is the perceived white elite? Perhaps a Hillary Clinton raking in $300,000 per half hour at UCLA or shaking down Wall Street for $600,000, even as she pontificates on privilege and the dangers of racism (obviously embraced, in her view, by whites other than those of her class). Or a Chelsea Clinton deprecating the attraction of riches, as her Wall Street internships and marriage perpetuate the Clinton model of pay-for-play enrichment — all to be camouflaged by professions of progressive empathy. Or an elite media that snores when an ex-president of the United States jumps on the private plane of convicted child-assaulter Jeffrey Epstein for a trip to his fantasy island. Or a former anti-government “conservative” congressman who hangs around Washington and mysteriously becomes a multimillionaire leveraging his past government service. Our popular culture is one of Pajama Boy, Mattress Girl, and the whiny, nasal-toned young metrosexual with high-water pants above his ankles and horn-rimmed glasses who “analyzes” on cable news. Is it any wonder that millions sympathized with the heroism of Benghazi’s middle-class defenders rather than with the contortions of the far better-educated, smoother, more sensitive, and wealthier Rhodes scholar Susan Rice, novelist Ben Rhodes, or former First Lady Hillary Clinton?

Whom do these sometimes incoherent Trump supporters likely despise? I would wager anyone who has never been sideswiped in a hit-and-run by an illegal-alien driver but lectures others on why “illegal alien” is a racist term; anyone who has lucrative government employment and whose job description does not exist in the poorer-paying private sector; any politician or his appendage who somehow became quite wealthy on a GS salary in Washington; anyone who makes more than $50 an hour and lectures others on why the country is going broke and must tighten its belt; anyone who sermonizes on free trade and knows few people who ever lost jobs through outsourcing; anyone who freely uses the word “white” in a way and context that he would never use “black” or “Latino”; or anyone who hires someone else to clean his house, watch his kids, and take care of his yard, and then lectures others on their illiberality.

Or to put it this way, whom do these sometimes very coherent Trump supporters likely despise? I’ll leave it to you to work it out.

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