(Local) Fear of a Red Hat

There are any number of fears that occasionally grip people, however unfounded those fears, of snakes, of spiders, of black cats, etc. (Snakes play an important ecological role, some cultures think spiders are good luck, and black cats are beautiful with notably soft coats.)

And yet, and yet… no fear strikes deeper and holds tighter among moderate local officials than the fear of a red hat. Even among those nonplussed with snakes, spiders, or dark cats, a cheap trucker hat incites discomfort bordering on panic. The polite start looking for the exits when the conservative populists step into a room.

Those who find it uncomfortable, if not exhausting, to be around a combination of soft thinking and loud voices also struggle with the populists’ confidence (as brimming as it is unjustified) that their blood-and-soil perspective is infallible.

When the Trumpists arrive, moderate, polite people worry about a commotion. There’s a similar dynamic in a restaurant when a patron at a nearby table starts shouting about his unmet expectations – other patrons look away to distance themselves from the scene.

It’s a scene all the same. The hope that if one is quiet the disturbance will stop may make sense in a restaurant with only one hysterical patron, but a mass movement of the impulsive and insatiable won’t vanish so easily.

Of these Trumpists: one rightly opposes them, and would be foolish to ignore or underestimate them. In opposition, a practical focus belongs on leaders, down even to the local level.

They’ll take what they can, waiting impatiently to take still more, but giving nothing in return. Even other conservatives will have to adopt populist views lest they otherwise find themselves cast aside. See Conservative Populism Moves in One Direction Only.

Wishing this band away won’t work.

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2 years ago

[…] There is a particular irony: educators in schools and colleges who have failed to teach properly now often shy from correcting their own educational failures.  Instead, they ask others — in the very name of education — to accept the consequences of their own negligent instruction and administration.  (In this request, display a decidedly (Local) Fear of a Red Hat.) […]