Over the last few weeks me and others I know have been labeled “foolish,” “laughingstocks,” “ignorant,” “dumb,” “idiots,” “crazy,” and of course the favorite ad hominem of left, “racists.” I have heard much of this. Others I know have been subjected to this and worse.
Dear “Friends”–Stop. Please Stop. I don’t call you names for your choices, and you should not either. But since you persist in the ad hominem attacks, then a few hard truths need to be met toward you in a manly way.
Now, not all of my friends speak this way to me. Most are polite, and likely keeping their, “damn he’s nuts” thoughts to themselves. Many have withdrawn from debate. Some have said the respectable “I am not persuaded.” Wheat and Weeds comes to mind (though I do not know if my blog has been viewed on this topic). Still, at least they engage. Gosh, how lovely does that sound given how many times I have been called a name passed off as interesting discourse? I respect intellectual heft and honesty. I have never returned in kind however, with the thoughtless vulgarities others have. You’d think with the language they use they’d be big Trump enthusiasts, but these are the same people who rail against Trump’s use of ribald language! Now they think saying Trump “wet his pants” or has a “small penis” is just hilarious! Really? Rubio cracks a playground joke, and laughs at his joke, and looks around to see who is laughing. Trump insults and says bring it on. Still, since Rubio and Cruz have gleefully dove into the verbal gutter, now many of my friends think it’s ok to taunt and shout invective if one’s last name is Rubio or Cruz? So much for consistency on the one failing also claimed as a reason to oppose Trump. Still, at any rate, some of them are downright hostile to the fact that I see some value in a Trump candidacy.
I am dismayed that many people I respect, and who are intelligent people, seem to liken Trump to a “narcissist.” While there is plausibility in that, as for any candidate, we throw that term around like it’s candy. What narcissist saves a couple’s farm, or when he saved the life of a 3 year old child at his expense, or helping a couple who helped him. Yes, yes, I know. All Lies!
Promptly after those charges were dispensed with, the ahistorical and frankly, hysterical charge was laid that Trump was “exactly” like Caesar, or Sulla, or Marius, or Caligula (I personally had to laugh at that one). or Tiberius (my soda sprayed the wall with laughter on that one), and now finally Mussolini. Coming to a FB post near you, the inevitable Trump is Hitler. I am sorry to have to be blunt with you for the first time my friends: these comparisons are woefully illogical and not becoming of an academic or an intellectual. In fact, it’s hysterical to assert he is anything like the figures noted above. After pointing out that the analogy may be a bit much, they have now resorted to degrees of tyranny: Trump is now a 3rd rate Caesar or a second rate Mussolini. You get the picture. He’s now not exactly like them, so goes the mantra, but I can see in his heart he wants to be! I have never said the obvious reproach, “how antithetical to the Bible you are for stating that.”
One of my favorite anti-Trump slams is that “you know, all he is is a reality TV star.” Horrors! Can you imagine if the Republican party nominated a guy who was a TV star and a B-movie actor! And, was a union representative of the Screen Actor’s Guild?! Can you imagine the jokes that one might make for such a “dumb entertainer”? Oh, wait. If I never hear the stupid punch line “I haven’t felt this bad since the last time I saw that Ronald Reagan movie,” it won’t be soon enough. It’s like some have forgotten even recent history.
I’m sorry to break this to you, but you make assertions not arguments. Assertions are wonderful and so are declaratory sentences, but they don’t rest on fact or reasoned argument, they rest on opinion or the will. Scream all you want Trump is a liar, I’ll show you how much the lies go around to every candidate left and right. Then we will need to have a discussion about why these lies and not those others. What makes this lie worse than that lie. Or how many lies does it take to make one not support a candidate? We could also wax intellectual on just what constitutes a lie in politics. But, I can’t even persuade people to help me understand them in that because they just don’t want to have the discussion. They KNOW you see, and that’s just all there is to it.
This development is in fact odd. All of a sudden these anti-Trump enthusiasts have become Kantian. Just when I thought they were students of the Good, or Ancient and medieval political philosophy, when pressed, they turn into projectors of the categorical imperative. All lies are now bad lies. But in this they are not telling the truth, because they assert that Cruz and Rubio are not lying. Really? They haven’t? Rubio flat out lied about Trump’s loan by exaggerating the number. Lost are the nuanced considerations of the Noble Lie–something all statesman may engage; something many educated (dare I say Straussian) elites believe is necessary. Lies that may be salutary and yet those lies is a concept forgotten in this election cycle. Plato forgotten, lost also is the Strauss and Jaffa considerations silences. I remember Jaffa teaching about Lincolnian silences in speech which say a whole lot more than what is actually said.
Nope, this is all rejected. Trump lies are categorically bad lies. Evil lies. But that’s just exactly what turns us off to the protected and the elites these days–they have abandoned their teaching, and ability to persuade. So now they resort to sermonizing declaratives.
Here is the problem: your passion has clouded the possibility you could have done something to move people to your side. You might have persuaded me and you didn’t because you didn’t even try. I was not always a supporter of Trump. I was not in the beginning. Then I became anti-anti-Trump. Now I just think he’s the best of the field. Instead people have ignored real questions noted above and posted yet another hysterical National Review article about how Trump is exactly like any thin skinned Tyrant. The MoveOn.org of the right, Restate, does the same thing. Posting articles of assertion don’t work anymore. Ask the NR circulation department. They’ll enlighten you.
When I have asked people to demonstrate just how Trump is like X, or to show me where Trump did exactly the same thing as X, I get no answer. I get no answer because there is no answer. First I get ignored, then, second, I get FB bombed on another person’s site by the same person who hurls invective instead of having a rational conversation. There is no answer to the questions I pose because at the root of this problem that Trump has exposed, are cleavages and self-interests. The fault lines are real. Friendship will end I fear and for that, I am literally saddened. I fear that what will happen is something like this. Ask my wife, my grief is real. I am sad about this.
Trump is loathed not really based on principle. He is loathed because he is personally hated. If people were honest about that passionate and irrational reflexive response to his person, I would respect that. It’s an honest emotion at least. But to dress up an objection against another human being because you don’t like him and then libel, yes libel, his name by saying he’s a murderer (which is what one does when one compares Trump to Sulla and Marius), of 3000 people no less, then you’ve lost my intellectual respect. One of my recent favorite logical fallacies is the claim that yes Bork and Canavan had a point about the first amendment, but since Trump uttered his support for righting first amendment laws, the argument and change in law should not be furthered. Why? Well, Trump supports it so it must be opposed, and he will somehow use his power to punish people. Good Grief. It reveals an intellectual perception that, apparently, they think the president can change by fiat first amendment decisions of the Supreme Court in spite of stare decisis. Trump is so powerful, apparently, he can rewrite first amendment law overnight.
Plato speaks of the tripartite soul. In the Republic, he states that the passions may be allied with the spirited side of the soul. Passion + spiritedness = anger. I am convinced that’s where we are with many. There is no νους when it comes to this election. Trump flips an otherwise rational person into someone who has forgotten the rational element of being. This is not good not only for the republic, but individual development and growth.
One of my least favorite instances where this has been put into effect is over race, and the claim that Trump is a racist. Even though Ann Althouse made the most plausible case for Trump, and even though Republicans know year after election year that the Media trots out this or that actual racist to hang around a nominee’s neck like an albatross, people like Speaker Ryan run with the leftist lie that Trump somehow approves of white supremacy. Perhaps Ryan should join his young guns on the sidelines? #DumpSpeakerRyan
What is most astonishing about the Trump race issue is that most of my anti-Trump friends think he’s worse than Hillary Clinton on the same issue! Hillary has dropped the N Word many times, spoken of “fucking Jew Bastards,” claimed that all Jews care about is money, and berated scores of women as sluts, whores, insane, bitches, cunts, you name it. This is the person the RINOs are going to vote for: Hillary Clinton, a person with an actual record of racists comments. Dick Morris told me personally, all these stories were true, just before he related a story to me about her violent, and I mean VIOLENT temper of how she liberated the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion of all the plates in the kitchen by throwing them at Bill because he was “fucking another whore.”
Yep, she’s clearly better than Trump on race and women’s issues. Clearly, her finger on the button would be far more steady. Like our friends on the left–who actually excuse Hillary’s racists rants because, you know, she’s a Democrat (and as one told me “I’ve never heard her personally say those things”) so that makes it ok–the RiNOs and the protected join them because they believe Trump is worse. How quaint.
Perhaps some do not like Trump because they are a part of the protected? Noonan summed it up nicely:
Now it seems the attitude of the top half is: You’re on your own. Get with the program, little racist.
Social philosophers are always saying the underclass must re-moralize. Maybe it is the overclass that must re-moralize.
I don’t know if the protected see how serious this moment is, or their role in it.
I am sure maybe a bit of guilt would set in knowing this. The protected have sold out their fellow man in a real way for private gain. Our fellow citizens have been taken for granted, and then cast off. But there is also anger directed at Trump and his supporters because the life they have come to know is now more tenuous than before. Therefore, anyone who even posts an article that is friendly to Trump or simply understands the electoral revolt, is passionately rejected. One of my friends was labeled a racist by the protected class simply by posting something by Steve Hayward. Steve Hayward! He’s anything but a Trump supporter.
I long for the days of manly and spirited debate among my good friends like the days of old over a bottle of scotch. Please come back. We don’t have to agree, but please reconsider.