All Americans should be scared because conservatives are afraid. To explain, both cultural and economic conservatives are afraid they are an unpopular and increasingly powerless minority.
Historically, Americans have never treated unpopular minorities well. For example, our ancestors tried to exterminate Native Americans, lynched Mormons, denied the humanity of African Americans for generations, stripped Communists of their constitutional rights, and herded Japanese Americans into concentration camps.
Hence, conservatives have legitimate reasons to be afraid of their fellow Americans. Thus you should be scared because desperate conservatives will take drastic action to protect themselves from their fellow citizens.
How Conservative Fear Explains President Donald J. Trump
Many observers correctly attribute the success of President J. Trump (R-New York) to conservative fear.
Strangely the most perceptive and intelligent analysis of this phenomenon is Parker Hjelmberg’s brilliant essay How Batman and the Joker Explain Donald Trump. Hjelmberg compares conservatives’ embrace of Trump to the deal Gotham City mobsters make with the Joker in The Dark Knight.
In Christopher Nolan’s movie, Gotham’s mobsters are so frightened of Batman they form an alliance with the Joker. The mobsters turn to the Joker because the Clown Prince of Crime is the only person capable of fighting Batman.
For instance, the Joker; like Batman, is a colorful figure who operates outside the law. Additionally, Batman is often incapable of responding to the Joker’s brand of lunatic violence.
However, the mobsters do not see that the Joker is a nihilist sociopath whose only agenda is wreaking as much havoc as possible. Hence the Joker makes the situation worse and Batman more powerful than ever.
Trump as the Joker
Comparatively, both economic and cultural conservatives turn to Trump because the Donald is seemingly the only person capable of fighting a well-entrenched American Left.
Notably, Hjelmberg writes, “hammered to the point of desperation” captures the feelings of many conservatives, under what they would describe as the rhetorical and cultural assault of the Left.”
“After years being accused of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other _____-isms and _____-phobias they didn’t know existed, conservatives felt unfairly besieged,” Hjelmberg adds. Moreover, conservatives are tired of their own leaders not fighting back against such cultural assaults.
Donald J. Trump Cultural Warrior
Trump, on the other hand, is a master of such cultural assaults. Moreover, the Left often seems incapable of harming the Donald or fighting back against him.
Notably, Trump is no conservative. Instead, the Donald is an opportunist who wants to concentrate wealth and political power in a cultural and economic elite of business executives. In addition, Trump wants to increase government power to protect that elite.
Unfortunately, we do not know what Trump really thinks of cultural or economic conservatives. Although, a likely scenario is that the Donald views conservatives as temporary allies whom he can throw under the bus when their usefulness ends.
How the Left Created Trump
Like Gotham City’s mobsters conservatives have turned to a corrupt and irrational champion out of fear.
Hence, the Left helped create Trump just as Batman is partially responsible for the Joker. To explain, Trump uses the left-wing culture warriors’ weapons and tactics for his own aggrandizement and amusement. Just as the Joker uses Batman’s over-the-top vigilantism for his own amusement.
Thus, Left-Wing culture and social justice warriors; particularly in the Big Media and academia, are responsible for Trump. The Left created the weapons and tactics, Trump simply uses them for his own ends.
For instance, Trump portrays particular individuals like LeBron James, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), and Hillary Clinton as cultural enemies. Much as the Left has portrayed influential conservatives; like Rush Limbaugh, and religious leaders, like Jerry Falwell, as cultural enemies for generations.
In addition, Trump treats cultural issues; like the debate over the national anthem in the NFL as equally important as economic matters or national security. Even “Make America Great Again” is cultural warfare, by using that slogan Trump claims to be fighting for traditional American culture.
Will Conservative Fears Lead to their Destruction
In their quest for a champion, frightened American conservatives could have unleashed a monster they cannot control.
Generally, the Joker tries to destroy Gotham City and humiliate its citizens for his own amusement. Moreover, the Joker always turns on allies like Lex Luthor, foreign dictators, The Penguin, and various mobsters.
Hence, conservatives are likely to be Trump’s victims rather than the beneficiaries of his cultural warfare. In addition, some conservatives could turn to somebody worse than Trump if the Donald does not protect them. Notably, in the comics Gotham mobsters turn to several nasty super villains; including Bane, Deadshot, and the Scarecrow, for protection from Batman.
Is Trump the Joker or the Penguin?
However, comic fans will point out that Trump has far more in common with another Batman villain; the Penguin, than the Joker. In detail, writers usually portray the Penguin as a shallow, greedy, snobbish, and social-climbing political opportunist.
Unlike the Joker, the Penguin is obsessed with achieving status and social respectability. For example, the Penguin is jealous of Bruce Wayne’s wealth and position as leader of Gotham City society.
In addition, the Penguin sometimes seeks political office. Notably, the Penguin runs for Mayor of Gotham City in two memorable episodes of the satirical 1960s Batman TV series and the movie Batman Returns. On both occasions the Penguin’s motive for seeking public office is enriching himself at the taxpayers’ expense.
On the other hand; like the Joker, the Penguin abuses Batman’s stratagem of creating a larger than life public persona and operating outside the law, for his own ends. The difference, however, is that the Penguin’s motivations are greed and a lust for power rather than nihilism.
Fear is the enemy
However, both villains abuses’ of power are equally destructive to Gotham City’s society and institutions. Moreover, the power both the Penguin and the Joker abuse is that which Batman wields: fear.
“Fear is the path to the dark side” – Master Yoda.
Specifically, Bruce Wayne dons the cape and cowl to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. Meanwhile, the Penguin uses fear to enrich himself, while the Joker spreads fear for his own amusement.
The danger; as Hjelmberg correctly notes, is that instead of cowing enemies the fear will drive them to desperate lengths. For instance, conservatives turn to Trump rather than roll over and play dead as left-wing cultural warriors hope.
Therefore, America’s Left, like Batman, has created a new menace with its fear tactics rather than silence its enemies. Only history will tell if the disruption the fear tactics unleash will rival the chaos Batman and his foes create in Gotham City.