Meltdowns, Etc. | National Review

Meltdowns, Etc. | National Review

President Joe Biden discusses his ‘Build Back Better’ agenda at the White House, August 11, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

Charlie, here’s something I don’t write very often: You could not be more wrong about this. You could not be more wrong if you were trying to be wrong.

The “F*** Joe Biden” stuff matters, not because the president is a special magical person, but because of what it says about us — as a people, generally, and as conservatives in particular. It matters a hell of a lot more what kind of people we are than whether the top tax rate is 39 percent or 37.5 percent.

The back half of our magazine is called “Books, Arts, and Manners,” with “manners” there meaning not exactly “etiquette” but the older sense of the word, “manner of living.” Those manners matter. Among other things, they make the difference between citizens and a mob — which is what people chanting profanities and insults in unison are.

The language of both the headline (“meltdown”) and the piece itself (“working themselves into a veritable lather”) are familiar rhetorical strategies for avoiding moral responsibility, which you’d normally see as such when coming from someone else: “What’s the big deal? Why are you so upset? Must have touched a nerve!” Etc.

In truth, this isn’t a “meltdown,” and this isn’t pearl-clutching. Either conservatives stand for public decency and public order — that “well-ordered liberty” we used to talk about — or they don’t.

And, if they don’t, then what’s the use of them?

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.