Strength isn’t resolution

Jerry Pournelle shares a fascinating, and inadvertently illuminating, tale about Arnold Schwarzenegger:

I first met him at an agency party (we had the same agent); he was then the strongest man in the world and that and Conan was all we knew about him. He was very pleasant, and by chance the next day he met my wife in Nieman Marcus — it was a pre-Christmas party, and she was shopping for a present for me, we just having made a big sale (may have been Hammer, it was that long ago). He spent half an hour helping her look.

I know other such stories, all true.

He ran for governor as a lark, and when he was elected he got a pretty damn good team together to draft some fundamental propositions and constitutional amendments. They were pretty damned good.

The campaign for governor didn’t get very bitter — most thought he was a joke and the pro’s didn’t bother spending any money smearing him.

But the long knives came out over those propositions. Nurses in uniform at rallies screaming curses at him although most of the health professionals I know thought his reforms were needed and good; but wow did the unions hate them. It was the same all over: organized labor in particular called him the Austrian Hitler. He hated it. It really hurt him — he has a thinner skin than you might imagine. It got uncomfortable at home, too, what with his wife being a Kennedy clanswoman.

So when his propositions failed, he said the hell with it. They want crony government and gemutlicheit they can have it. Never took the job seriously again.

I’m not excusing him; he took the job, and he didn’t resign when he lost interest in it. He spent the rest of his office years making nice with everybody. Sure he became a joke and knew it, but it was better than nurses in uniform screaming NAZI at him.

It’s interesting how many strong and ambitious men – and consider how driven Arnold Schwarzenegger was compared to the average man – nevertheless crumble in the face of concerted opposition. Remember, very few go into politics because they don’t care if anyone likes them or not; they go into politics, and they are good at it, because they crave adoration and adulation.

I suspect this is why the Left is so successful at blunting, even turning, the Right on so many occasions; they know if they shriek loudly enough, and they do it long enough, they can cause their target to give up and quit.

This is also why they are so spectacularly unsuccessful with influencing the Alt Right. We simply don’t give a quantum of a damn about being called evil stupid Nazi racist bastards. We don’t pay any attention to their shrieking; to the extent we listen to it at all, it is music to our ears.

No wonder the likes of Mike Cernovich and Milo and even Rabid Puppies confuse them so much. They genuinely believe that we care what they think, they seriously believe that we somehow, deep down inside, are seeking their approval. And there is no reason why they shouldn’t, because past experience with conservatives, neocons, moderates, and cuckservatives have taught them that we do.

And that is downright funny. Useful as well. I shall have to ponder how we might be able to make use of this false impression in the future.