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The Hive Is What Has Been Against Trump – and You and Me
A hat tip to Powerline for putting me on to this article: The Progressive Hive. I had not seen the original back in 1981 (I was 11) but what a concept. The essay is built on the concept from Tom Bethell:
The Hive was a concept of Bethell’s and another gifted conservative writer, Joe Sobran, who likewise wrote for The American Spectator but did most of his work for National Review and as a syndicated columnist. Bethell himself credited Sobran with the concept, even as both would go on to develop it together (as Sobran noted) and champion it over the years. Many hoped that Bethell and Sobran would together write a book on the subject, but they never did.
The Left is much like a buzzing hive, no conspiracy just an agenda they all manage to agree with. Most importantly, the Hive does not sting its own.
Indeed they do not. You never see the Left stinging the Left. To leftists, extremists are exclusive to the Right. City streets could burn all summer with Antifa mobs, but Jerry Nadler won’t see any riots, Joe Biden will deny that Antifa even exists as an organization, and the entirety of the collective Left will howl instead about QAnon or the Proud Boys — groups that even well-informed conservatives haven’t a clue about, as they utterly pale in influence.
I also like the quoting of Bethell about how the buzzing of the Hive changes others:
Bethell would make passing references to the Hive in subsequent articles (for instance, an August 1981 piece, “Phrase Mating”), and then pick up with more expansive renderings, such as an August 1982 piece, “Billy Bee,” in which he lampooned the Washington–Beltway–media–liberal “Hive” for buzzing in the ear of the Rev. Billy Graham and pressuring him into being more to their liking:
By the mid 1970s, Billy Graham began to hear the murmuring of innumerable bees. “Be a better Billy,” the Hive would drone in his ear. At that time Watergate weighed heavily on Billy’s mind. Maybe it was true after all, as they had always said of him, that he was too respectful of the powers that be, too close to Nixon … Hmmmmm … This doubt weakened Billy — made him vulnerable to the Hive, and the worker bees knew it. They spent their days endlessly pollinating public opinion, and some of them — scout bees — kept an eye on Billy Graham. With a little concerted effort, the Hive knew that there was a chance it could assimilate Billy into … the cause — the goal on behalf of which the elements of the Hive instinctively labor.
“Billy,” the Hive would hum, “you’ve been too close to Johnson, too close to Nixon. He was discredited, you know — crimes in high places. You may have been a little tainted with the same brush, Billy. Remember the unindicted co-conspirators? But we won’t say another word about it. Just get on the side of history. Grow a little. Open up to new ideas. Help us build a new society, a society of justice and peace. Stop trying to impose your old views, legislate morality, turn the clock back. You can’t fight reality, can you Billy? So don’t fight us … ”
Yes, Billy thought, it was time to grow.
This buzzing explains much of Never Trump to me. The buzzing of the Hive is a hypnotic song that is heard by so many on the right. See they want to not get stung. Going along with the Hive stops you from getting stung. At least as much. The hive swarmed over Trump to sting him to death any many on the right ran away lest they get stung too. Trump supporters, used to being stung found relief that someone was willing to take the stings along with them. That makes the Trump supporters appear to be mad to the Never Trump right, who listened to the Hive on who is and who is not acceptable.
It is a fascinating read.Published in GeneralThis post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.
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I think there is a great deal of truth in that, Bryan.
Yes. Someone (many people, I suppose) suggested that Trump’s willingness to “punch down,” while off-putting to some people, signaled to many of us that he was a fighter, willing to take on anyone and everyone. I’m hoping that’s the big lesson other candidates take from his Presidency. (I think we’re seeing it in a few candidates now.)
Great catch and post, Bryan.
They have to not listen to the buzzing and be willing to get stung.
For those of us out here, we see the “growth” in leaders and it seems we are constantly abandoned. They are hearing that buzz.
I love those montages where nearly all the talking heads on separate networks all say the same thing. I’m not sure if the talking heads, or the news division chiefs or editors, get the talking points – or if they’re all just lazy or not very original thinkers, herd vs hive(?). My guess is an email list, like that “Journalist” that was outed a couple years ago.
As for the Hive ‘stinging’ percieved threats, I’m not sure how “smart” or “directed” they are. The BLM Riots definately curtailed when it became obvious they were getting hurt in the polling. It’s interesting how Kristin Sinima has been stalked vs. Joe Manchin – definately differing tactics. I know that protestors showed up at Manchin yacht but nothing as degrading as the treatment Sinima received – there seems to be a definate directed strategy difference between the two and it came frrom the Left. Sinima being hounded at that wedding she officiated at – that’s an “inside job” – who has access to Senator’s detailed schedules like that?
I agree, but I don’t think Trump ever thought he was any better than anyone else. So he never thought he was ‘above’ punching down.
The concept itself is violated by the same people who consider Trump loathsome and who would never elevate him to any higher status whereby he could simply put his nose up in the air and walk away in a mild huff saying “I won’t dignify that insult” or shrug like George W as though is was acceptable as being “just politics”. (By the way, if it’s “just politics” why can’t we do it?)
Yes , Trump felt himself a ‘winner’ but that isn’t the same thing at all as feeling superior. Winner implies there’s a game to be played, a contest. Being ‘better’ is something one feels born with. No contest needed.
Trumps betters never stopped putting him down and he wasn’t having any of it.
All true. By punching down, I mean simply that he would verbally attack people who were vastly weaker than he was.
I think you may be exactly right about why he did it. He does not perceive himself as fundamentally better than anyone else. As I’ve said elsewhere, Trump has a peculiar kind of honesty that other politicians lack. I think this is part of it. Paradoxically, he has a kind of humility about him.
I will here boast that I heard Tom Bethell put forth “The Hive” notion in conversation before he put it in print. That was pre-Twitter & Facebook and he was talking mostly about the growing leftiness of the print media and influential social circles.
The hive phenomenon has mutated and expanded exponentially. It is no longer about fashionable liberalism among literate types but is now surging clouds of insane tribal nonsense. Spectacular ignorance of law, policy, and current events, an inability to think beyond caricature and bumper sticker-sized discourse combined with a desperate need to regard oneself as learned, pragmatic, and steeped in The Science is now where the buzzing is.
Bryan, I liked it and I haven’t even read it yet! I saw POWERLINE, 1981, and Henry Racette liked it. Combine that with BGS and it’s a recipe for success.
I should have added to this: And that leads me to a bit more grace for NT than I have had.
Yep, good post, and good analysis in the last bit.
I think it’s a short walk from hearing the hum, to recognizing the threat, to red pill, to black pill. The first corner takes the longest though.
Some of course are drawn to the hive rather than away from it almost against their will — Swampies gotta swamp.
Trump has always been his own worst enemy. And as Virginia shows, the Republican future can and should move forward without him. This has never been about Trump – it was about the unhinged progressive agenda vs. conservatives, and it is unfortunate that Trump somehow ended up becoming the face of conservatism. I don’t hate Trump, but I see no reason to idolize him (or even justify his excesses), either. Moving on is the best thing we can do.
A Republican rout in 2022, followed by a DeSantis presidential run would be the best things to happen for Conservatives and Republicans in a very, very long time.
That someone might not stay weak
Not to put too fine a point on it, Trump endorsed Youngkin and is aligned with DeSantis. Furthermore, the Left successfully portrayed Youngkin as a Trump ally. Regardless of the truth of the claim it stuck.
NeverTrumpers just can’t deal with the idea the Trump launched a successful movement that’s largely independent of the GOPe, even antithetical to it in many ways. I get it; it’s a cope: copium for the Lincoln Project acolytes and their fellow travelers. They’re the ones who need to move on.
He may have endorsed Youngkin and I certainly hope he also endorses DeSantis. I don’t think Trump is 100% bad, I just think he is his own worst enemy. He pretty much stayed quiet during the VA race and did not go out there and do rallies for Younkin (as badly as the democrats wanted him to). If he does the same thing in 2022 and 2024, he will encourage his supporters to come out and vote and he will avoid giving democrats the easy-out with respect to “running against Trump.”
(also, the Lincoln Project is representative of virtually nobody. Those former conservative pundits like Jen Rubin – if she ever was one – and Bill Kristol have only showed that they never really understood what they claimed to stand for. I agree that we all need to move on from them as well. But they are in the same vein as Trump. He didn’t launch anything, he simply road the coattails of a voting public that felt incredibly alienated. That movement can move forward without Trump and without LP, Kristol, et. al.)
Trump is hardly his own worst enemy. The deep state is his worst enemy. He forced them out of hiding, and they came committing felonies and frauds for years. And the Deep State absolves itself of any wrongdoing.
The election stolen from Trump — from us — is why people are surging to oust Democrats. I didn’t even know Youngkin’s first name until I heard it in training. The energy you see has a lot to do with Trump.
Trump got Ned Starked, and now he’s getting Goldsteined. A man with enemies like that — we should have more of.
This is exactly the wrong lesson to learn from VA. It is demonstrably false.
Ah. You can hear that hum, can’t you?
The Deep State, the media, and the Bush wing of the Republican Party… in that order.
The first two are understandable. The third, understandable, but not forgivable.
I suppose there might be some truth to it, but I really think — and think I wrote this somewhere else — that Virginia really wasn’t about Trump. It was about something both important and universal: Americans taking back their institutions.
Schools are a great place to start. It can’t stop there.
The claim that Trump launched nothing is so manifestly false as to be laughable. So is the idea that the Lincoln Project, Jen Rubin, Bill Kristol, et al. are somehow “…in the same vein as Trump.” For starters, those losers, by your own admission, are “representative of virtually nobody” whereas Trump got about 74M votes last November.
Any and every successful politician can be claimed to be riding the coattails of some public sentiment or other, lest they would have not been successful. There’s been voter alienation on both sides of the divide for a long time. The Left’s answer has been Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Not quite as effective, eh? Leadership matters.
Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail.
You’re correct from what I’ve seen. It seemed that the only candidate mentioning Trump was McAuliffe.
Yes to every word of this.
First off, we got Trump because the GOP is just as bad as the DNC. So it was the unhinged progressive agenda and its coddling by “center-right” candidates vs Americans who think that our citizenship is worth something, and means something. I don;t know anybody who idolizes Trump. On the other hand, there are a great many Americans who are symbolized by Trump, and I’m one of them.
This is not about Trump, that is true. It never was. Trump is a pass-through for people like me. Feel free to say “Americans” any time you see “Trump”.
The GOP has never been anywhere close to as bad as the DNC, but it certainly loses track of, and therefore proves, the wisdom of our founders; that the power of government is too tempting for those with even the best of intentions, which is why it must say all times be restrained.
I’ve said this before. Whatever idea gets momentum, they get behind collectively. It’s like an ant colony.
Then they only discuss these policies “tactically” with you. Anger. Gaslighting. Cutting off the conversation. Anything but a straightforward policy discussion.
Since there is no limiting principle on the left (they can be for unlimited non-public goods and they can go as far left as they want as long as they don’t look too scary. There is nothing like this on the right) , this dynamic is possible.
Talking to my brother-in-law it’s very clear that this is the way things are.
The way to defeat it is to only talk about policy and failed institutions. Then brace yourself for them being tactical.
The fact is central planning doesn’t work. We are doing to much of it. Non-public goods don’t add any value. Every single institution we rely on or that we are forced to deal with is failing. If you genuinely understand all of that, that’s all it takes.
Furthermore, the Constitution was written for people that follow the Judge Learned Hand spirit of liberty speech. That’s not where we are. That’s the other dimension.
All of this has gone so far that it has done two terrible things. It changes the character of the people. The other thing is you literally have to use the government to steal from your fellow citizen. You’re stupid if you don’t do it.
This is true but there are too many in the Republican Party that are ignorant of what is going on. We rely on so many institutions like education, and the media etc. and they are all failing. The DOJ is a nightmare.
The other thing is we did every single thing wrong in the face of automation and globalized labor. They don’t appreciate that. Since we are getting on this so late, it is a very difficult problem.
Remind yourself to vote.