Donald Trump. What a depressing topic. For something cheerier, see my meditations on death now on the Orthosphere.
That President Trump is reneging on his campaign promises is itself unremarkable. Even those who disregarded my advice and voted for him knew that he might. His Alternative Right advocates always acknowledged that he was an ideologically mixed bag, combining social liberalism and irrational hostility toward Iran with some sensible beliefs. They just pointed out that someone who says crazy things half of the time is preferable to an establishment that says crazy things all of the time. Many also acknowledged that he might be unable to deliver on his promises, that he might be obstructed by the permanent government. I personally suspected that a President Trump might ultimately turn to foreign adventures after being defeated in his domestic agendas, a typical path for a Republican president. Yet although I argued against voting for Trump, I am close enough to the Alternative Right that like them I did not expect him to impulsively launch hostilities with foreign powers in an irrational emotional fit so early in his presidency. Who could have predicted such a thing?
Everyone outside of the Alternative Right, actually. The liberals always said that Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president; the mainstream conservatives also have always said so. Liberals were always worrying about Trump “pressing the button” because he’s crazy, and I always dismissed this because his campaign message was less bellicose than his rival’s. We knew that Trump is inarticulate and that he has vast gaps in his knowledge, but did we take sufficient notice of his recklessness, with how easily he is manipulated by appeals to his sentiment and vanity? Most of the discussion on our side of the Right with Trump’s character had to do with his lack of chastity, which historically has only a very loose correlation with leadership skills. Even his detractors like me failed to weigh sufficiently his lack of character.
That we did so is understandable. The media always says that people who disagree with liberals are crazy, hateful, emotionally unhinged, as well as stupid. No matter how careful we are to be rational and dispassionate in our public engagements, the characterization of the hate-filled lunatic is always applied. Criticisms of liberal beliefs are always “screeds”. Dissidents are always “bigots”. We have learned to discount character attacks coming from establishment sources like the media. This is a blind spot for us. There really are nuts and con men out there.
If something happens that no one expected, there’s nothing remarkable in the fact that we didn’t expect it either. When something happens that everyone except us expected, that should prompt some serious self-evaluation.
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