A symposium titled Why 14 Critics of “Social Justice” Think You Shouldn’t Vote Trump introduces itself in this way:
This collection of statements from vocal critics of Critical Social Justice who believe that a vote for Donald Trump is a mistake is not intended to convince die-hard Trumpists. It is an appeal to reluctant Trump voters and to those who remain undecided. It is specifically addressed to people who value science, reason, tolerance and individual liberty but fear Critical Social Justice’s assaults on these so much that they see Trump as the only solution. These are people who fear that a vote for the Democrats will enable a cultural revolution that will harm all Americans—people who want to make America a better place for everyone and believe that voting Trump will at least prevent it from becoming a worse one.
The contributors below think this position is misguided. We come from all over the political spectrum and disagree with each other on many things. However, we are united in believing that a vote for Trump will not make America great.
As with Kevin Williamson’s broadside yesterday, you should read it all. Here are some choice excerpts to whet your appetite.
Thomas Chatterton Williams:
It is tempting but misguided to believe that either the populist right or the woke left can achieve a total victory. On the contrary, the two feed off of and exacerbate each other. A vote for Trump, despite his anti-Critical Race Theory bluster, is in fact a vote to empower the worst progressive excesses. A vote to strengthen the besieged center, however dissatisfying to either extreme, is the only way forward for Americans of good will searching for ways to overcome the crippling polarization that plagues us.
During the last four years, I’ve repeatedly critiqued instances of illiberalism and identitarianism on the left. On every occasion, my efforts to reach my fellow Americans and to persuade them to rein in excesses on the left was made more difficult and impeded by the fact that the leader of America’s right-leaning coalition is himself flagrantly illiberal and prone to indulging in white identity politics. President Trump seems to bring out the worst in people. I expect that once he leaves office, whether in 2021 or 2025, both the Republican and Democratic coalitions will improve.
I’d call Trumpism the evil twin of the worst social justice zealotry, except that both twins are evil. Trump sees all relations in terms of power, dominance, resentment and submission, rather than persuasion. His signature move is to delegitimize and trash every institution and person that stands between him and power. He speaks and acts as if facts, history and scientific truths were purely contingent, infinitely malleable, and in the end a matter of the say-so of the strong-willed. Sound familiar? He changes his line often and always denies that it has changed.
He presents the press as the enemy of the people, the democratic process as fixed, and civic hope as the delusion of the ever-exploited sucker class.
. . . .
Donald Trump does his best to recruit a bully corps on his own side, but he’s an even better recruiter for the bullies on the other side.
At some point it stops making sense to ask who’s chasing whom: it’s the same carousel with the same horses. The only answer is to jump off altogether. Get a president who’s not like this.
Sarah Haider, Cathy Young, the dreaded Tom Nichols, Steven Pinker, and others weigh in. Read it all.