Washington State University College Republicans want to build "an 8-foot mockup of a border wall on the Pullman campus" for some kind of demonstration. Why is this at all interesting or post-worthy? Because it reveals that the wall (or that "fucken" wall) is not about keeping brown people out of the US. The fact is everyone, from the right to the left, knows the whole idea of the wall is nothing but stupid, and if realized, would be a complete waste of time and resources. So, no mystery here. Only a few US citizens really believe they will sleep better if the fucken wall is funded and erected.
But then we must ask ourselves: Why is there so much talk about this wall? The College Republican students' planned replica provides an answer just like that. It's not beloved by the right or Trump's followers because it makes any sense. It is beloved precisely because it is one of the stupidest ideas out there. And I say this not in mockery of the students, but with a sense of understanding. They know very well that stupidity is the only political tool their party can (and must) use. Again, do not consider this an insult. It is a fact, and a crippling one.
The GOP of our times, which is a bit different from those of, say, the recently dead G H.W. Bush (and with his death, precisely what was buried at the Presidential Library and Museum in Texas), has completely given up the idea that it represents anything that makes any sense. The economics of tax cuts and trickle down (or voodoo economics, as Bush once called it) is bogus, weak guns laws are irrational, promoting the deregulation of the financial sector is just plain nuts (the crash of 2008 made that abundantly clear to the suburbs—the political consequences of this elucidation were vividly expressed in the 2018 midterm elections). Even the arguments against universal health care make no deep or practical economic sense.
So, if little to nothing in your entire political program adds up, and there is daily growing evidence that it does more economic and social damage than good, what is left but to support Trump's wall (and all the other nonsense that pops in his head or out of his mouth)? This is one of the many important points made in a new book, Like a Thief in Broad Daylight, by the leading (or most-popular) philosopher of our times, Slavoj Žižek. He suggests in his book's second chapter that it's wrong to believe that US Christian fundamentalists support Trump—with his porn stars, pee tape, and pussy grabbing—simply because of a long-term plan to overturn Roe v. Wade. What fundamentalists understand at a deep level is that the abortion argument has not had legs to stand on for a very long time. And so, it's not a matter of arguing logically or democratically with, say, Lindy West—a public figure who would demolish you and your points very easily. No. It is simply effective to confront her and other supporters of the #shoutyourabortion movement with the utter nonsense of a pussy grabber. This is the Lord's new work.
So what is left for the right? Embracing, not arguments that have a chance, but those that do not. This kills any illusion of a debate. There is only one side arguing. In the past, there used to be two, with the second maintaining a semblance of an argument. A species of that commitment to semblance was buried in Texas this week. It's now almost extinct. And it is here we must appreciate the political significance of Trump's stupidity. It's not a plan. It's an act of survival.
The wall, like raking forests to solve the climate crisis, is celebrated by the right because, unlike defending, say, the deregulation of banks (an argument that claims to have intellectual respectability, as it is supported by thousands of economics professors and commentators), it doesn't have even a semblance of intelligence. It's a nonstarter. The wall's function is not to end or stem an immigration crisis, but, as the Republican students of WSU put it, to “own the libs mercilessly.”
And how do you own liberals? Not with anything that even has a hint of respectability or plausibility. That's a recipe for disaster. You do it by confronting leftist rationality (or even just plain common sense) with ideas and programs and plans that make no sense at all, that cannot even be debated, that are bluntly, ploudly (proud/loud) stupid. This is how you "own" the opposition.
Trade policy was supposed to be Trump's signature issue. But he has never grasped even the basic fact that consumers, not foreigners, pay tariffs 1/ pic.twitter.com/RGUUDE1VBw
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) December 4, 2018