Losers

If readers will forgive me a brief tirade on a pet peeve of mine, let me begin with this tweet from The Donald today:

I would like to extend my best wishes to all, even the haters and losers, on this special date, September 11th.

Yeah, it’s Trump, and yeah, it’s typical, but still: I am sick unto death of the habit, which is by no means confined to conservatives but is especially endemic among them, of dismissing other human beings as “losers.” It came up earlier today when I was in a brief twitterfight over the dietary restrictions proposed for SNAP recipients, and some dude said:

Public money is our money, nitwit. SNAP is to keep losers from starving to death, not buy junk food with

There is a certain breed of gabber, generally white men who have over-indulged in the fiction of Ayn Rand, afflicted by a conception of life as a competitive game in which everything they have marks them as “winners,” morally entitled to sneer at the “losers” who aren’t big, bold, swashbuckling independent creators-of-their-own-universe. Indeed, the founding of the Tea Party Movement is generally attributed to a televised rant about “losers” wanting his money from one such swashbuckler named Rick Santelli, who I am sure emerged from the womb a fully autonomous Titan who has richly earned every dime he’s ever been paid by dint of his own unassisted efforts.

We presumably must just let these people luxuriate in their own puerile sense of superiority; perhaps they will depart en masse to Galt’s Gulch and rid us of their company. But contempt for broad swaths of humankind as “losers” should not be quietly accepted more generally, particularly from those who claim allegiance to the Judeo-Christian ethic in which nothing is more damnable than self-righteousness unless it’s the inability to see the image of God in the faces of others.

Enough with calling people “losers.” It’s a signpost on the road to becoming lost.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.