The Knives Come Out for Josh Hawley

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vnatale
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The Knives Come Out for Josh Hawley

Post by vnatale » Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:03 pm

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... aign=share


The Knives Come Out for Josh Hawley

The elite conservative world saw the Missouri senator as America’s next great statesman. Instead, he’s revealed uncomfortable truths about the movement.




Hawley’s former allies have turned on him because he represents truths they do not wish to see. Most conservative voters like Trump-style politics. Many think the election was stolen. The GOP electorate is becoming more working-class and ever so slightly more racially diverse, and populist economics may appeal to these voters more than free-market orthodoxy. Hawley had once offered a redemptive fantasy to a certain kind of conservative—all the benefits of Trump with the polish of a statesman. He was supposed to save elite conservatism from Trump’s crass embrace of conspiracism, trade skepticism, and thuggish assaults on the rule of law, not mimic it. Trump 2.0 is not what Hawley’s backers thought all that specialness was for.

In the days since the attack on the Capitol, Danforth has been performing public penance. “‘Disappointed’ would be an understatement. I feel responsible,” he told me. The former senator did not seem to hate Hawley so much as grieve what he has become. “I feel that he had so much to offer. He could have been a terrific senator, and a terrific leader. Maybe presidential, who knows?” he said. Hawley had potential, intellect, and ability—a conservative version of Pat Moynihan, Danforth likes to say. “But instead of being positive and constructive, he turned out to be destructive.”

Just a few months after he became a senator, Hawley wrote a searching essay about the theologian Pelagius, a fourth-century ascetic who preached about individual achievement, our inherent perfection, and the virtue of choosing our own way. Hawley delivered the essay as a commencement speech at the King’s College, an evangelical liberal-arts school in New York City. Of all the things he could have spoken to a crowd of young, talented Christians about, he chose Pelagius’s arrogance: “It is not the privileged but the common man or woman, not the elite but the everyday person, who moves the destinies of the world,” he told the graduates. The theologian misunderstood human nature, Hawley argued: “We are fragile. We are fallible. We suffer weakness and need. And we all stand in need of God’s grace.” By forgetting their obligations to their communities, Hawley suggested, even the most accomplished individuals can lose their way.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats."
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