SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: A heartbreaking work of staggering asininity.


Today’s column is occasioned by National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, whose writing style I admire although his political worldview isn’t always my particular brand of kombucha (it’s an insider reference) — well, after all, I’m more of a pre-Putin kvass kind of guy.

Our word is right there in the title: The G-Files by Jonah Goldberg: Authentic Asininity.

Asininity is a noun describing the quality of being asinine.


1. foolish, unintelligent, or silly; stupid: It is surprising that supposedly intelligent people can make such asinine statements.
2. of or like an ass: asinine obstinacy; asinine features.

Origin of asinine
1600-10; < Latin asinīnus, equivalent to asin(us) ass1+ -īnus -ine1

Related forms
asininely, adverb … asininity [as-uh-nin-i-tee] noun

Relax, Jeffrey. You have the day off.

In case you were wondering, Goldberg is pointing “asininity” directly at the defenders of POTUS in the wake of the now-forgotten “shithole” furor.

… Let’s start with the question of Donald Trump’s racism. I find the competition to be most offended by the offensiveness of President Trump’s fecal-crater comments to be more than a little tedious. Don’t get me wrong: I think they were offensive and, yes, racist. But that, to me, is the least interesting aspect of this episode of The Trump Show …

… The idea that anything the president says can be justified by simply asserting that he’s speaking in the authentic voice of his base is an argument no conservative would dream of making under an Elizabeth Warren presidency. Lending credence to it is not only politically myopic, but it lends support to the centrifugal forces tearing this country apart. It is the type of thinking I associate with “sh**hole” countries — to borrow a phrase. In many third-world countries, tribes and other factions vie to gain power and then reward only their team. That is contrary to virtually everything good and noble about our constitutional system.

Asininity enters here; like father, like son, so let’s meet the latest Jerry Falwell, latest charlatan in a line of Falwells, described by Goldberg as “the Bishop of Hereford of the Trump administration.”

AUTHENTIC ASININITY … Falwell, in a riot of sycophantic sophistry, not only wants to argue that whatever a president does is presidential but also seeks to elevate the idea that authenticity is its own reward. This is contrary to vast swathes of conservative and Christian thought. A person can be authentically evil, crude, bigoted, or asinine. That is not a defense of any of those things. I’m no expert, but my understanding of Christianity is that behavior is supposed to be informed by more than one’s “authentic” feelings and instincts. Satan is nothing if not authentic. As I write at length in my forthcoming book, this society-wide romantic obsession with authenticity — not just among Trump supporters, but across the left and much of the right — is a deeply corrupting force. But let’s stay on topic. The White House’s initial statement — which didn’t deny the sh**hole report — says in part, “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.” Put aside the blasé and unsubstantiated insinuation of unpatriotic motives to critics and the political class generally. The upshot of this claim is that calling scores of nations — many of which are our allies — “sh**holes” is really a form of fighting for the American people. If that were true, virtually any crude insult would be just another example of “presidential” heroism. Count me out of that idiotic argument.

I’m happy to allow a conservative thinker to draw his conclusion, especially here at a bastion of pants-down socialism.

THE REAL ISSUE(S) If anyone is still with me, let me now turn to what I think is the real significance of all this. It’s not immigration or racism or profanity; it’s Donald Trump and what he is doing to the country and his party …

 … Republicans have bet that James Carville was right and that the logic of “it’s the economy, stupid” will vanquish all obstacles. But this has never been an Iron Law of Politics …

 … The long-term threat to conservatism and, by extension, the GOP is profound. Young people — the largest voting bloc now — are utterly turned off to the Republican party. That doesn’t make them right, but that’s irrelevant. Their opinions are hardening every single day, even as old white people shuttle off this mortal coil. Maybe there’s a deep and principled argument to make in favor of Trump’s sh**holish gaffes. But very few people outside the ranks of the converted want to hear it. All they hear are defenses of, or deflections from, the issues that arouse their passion. When conservatives and Republicans rush to defend Trump’s indefensible actions, all they are doing is convincing more people that “Trumpism” isn’t confined to Trump. That damage won’t be erased by another record stock-market closing or an uptick in the GDP numbers. It will outlive The Trump Show for generations.

Too bad so few Democrats have a palatable alternative. Thanks for the link, K.