Last week I interviewed Dr. Charles Murray for Alpha News. An interview, it seems to me, is not the place to excessively challenge the person who has granted you the interview. Being professional and courteous rarely lands you in the wrong place. Some mildly challenging questions in response to answers is appropriate but on balance my approach was to stay out of Murray’s way, even while I remained astonished in real time as he spoke.
The phrase “immovable object” came to my mind early on in the interview, after it became apparent that Murray had learned nothing from the election of Donald Trump nor, frankly, from when he himself was recently run off a college campus because some students violently disagreed with his viewpoint. Violently enough to injure the professor who had invited him to campus.
I did make news by having Murray retreat from his previous unwise public position of stating that professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulis should be prevented from speaking on college campuses. For someone who self-describes as a “First Amendment absolutist,” I was left wondering how Murray came to his belief that Milo (cringingly he had to ask me how to pronounce it) didn’t warrant the free exercise of his Constitutional rights on public schools in the first instance. But no matter: he recanted.
Murray made plain he didn’t like the antics of Milo, which of course is entirely not the point. But his personal offense taken of Milo, I realized, carried over into his blind dislike of candidate and now President Trump. Tediously, everything was about him.
Along with the entirety of the now disgraced republican “establishment,” Murray saw himself as set apart from a boorish and vulgar man. Well and good. But much like the bit from Eddie Izzard’s stand up routine of years ago (“cake or death?”), I wanted to ask Murray “boorish or the loss of the country as founded?”
In speaking with my friend Diana West, author and journalist, before the interview, we wondered how someone who spent his life looking at Trump’s issues—trade, jobs, immigration, wages, social mobility—could have gotten the election so wrong and wrong to this day. Sam Harris has described Murray’s most recent book “Coming Apart,” as revealing “a Trump shaped hole in America.” Alas, Murray gives no answer to that rather basic question in his interview but instead retreats, rather sadly in my view, to a personal standard of redoubt that he wishes the hoi polloi could join him in.
One could describe this as holier than thou but that would be both unkind and wrong. Murray seems to believe that there are certain rules of civic engagement and they are to be adhered to. He even delineated the kabuki-like, set pieces of student opposition that occurred when he spoke on colleges about “The Bell Curve,” circa 1994. “Scripted,” as he actually referred to it. Everyone knew their roles, knew their lines and knew their exits.
Trump’s election alone, Murray said, accounted for the overnight change on college campuses. Clearly someone had not been paying attention because that is simply not the case. Yes, it was an accelerant but the fire had been burning for some time while Murray, in his splendid isolation, remained oblivious to it.
I tried to pierce his personal cloud of unknowing by getting him to talk about cultural Marxism. This not only failed but backfired on me, resulting in him doubling down on his antipathy toward Trump while, remarkably, showing he didn’t really understand the term. “Immovable object” and my standards of professionalism and courtesy took over. I moved on.
* * * *
They’re shooting to kill us now, Dr. Murray. They’re beheading Donald Trump for laughs by a third-rate comic. Over 12,000 threats to kill him have been sent on Twitter since his election. Peaceful Trump supporters are routinely beaten up while local authorities effectively tell police to stand down, as happened in Minneapolis at a fundraiser in August before his election. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen where the opposition he seems to think can be reasoned with says Ivanka fellates her father.
Murray said—bully!—he stood “foursquare” with Adams & Jefferson, as though somehow the rest of us do not. Murray’s pomposity reached its apogee when he said that to me. I wish readers could hear the audio. It was at that point I realized I needed to write this article.
Two days ago activists interrupted and denounced The Public Theater’s infamous production of “Julius Caesar,” in which Trump is a stand in for Caesar. This is what must be done, this is where we are, this is how we live now. No one I know who voted for Trump asked for it.
So allow me to be partial to “Based Stickman,” a young man who fought back against the Antifa at Berkeley who were assaulting peaceful Trump supporters. My colleagues at Alpha News are bemused by it but, really, they should be the ones telling me about him, given our age gap. Recently our own Preya Samsundar was assaulted while simply reporting on an Antifa event. State Troopers stood by as it happened, all but eating doughnuts.
Based Stickman became an instant Internet sensation and meme on the Right. He represented our side no longer putting up with violence and harm while the organs of the state looked the other way because they are controlled by the fascist Left. Never on offense, but now defending, now fighting back, the likes of which we haven’t seen before from the Right in American politics. It seems at times explaining this to a Minnesota audience is the definition of a futile gesture.
Red pilled. Woke. 4chan. Reddit. /pol/. Pepe. Kek. Shadilay. Weaponized autism & the Shia LaBeouf “He will not divide us” flag.
An entirely new nomenclature on alternative platforms is being born on the Right to fight back against the Soros funded Antifa. We’ll hardly get any help from the media so kindly don’t take their interpretations of any of the terms that I just used. Google is there; use it for more than going to that horror known as Facebook.
These are the new Minutemen, a term that perhaps Murray could warm to if it was explained to him in mind numbing detail.
He, like most Minnesota republicans, has a great deal of catching up to do.