Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Trump Temptation Close to Home

So Maybe I’m Starting to Like Trump. . . | Power Line:

OK, I assume that the PL guys are being a bit light hearted on this one given the excess of attractive femininity in the picture, but I gotta admit that I'm concerned. Power Line is my favorite general "not too out there but reasonably conservative go to blog". I've always found the Power Line Blog to be very well reasoned -- it is run by lawyers, lawyers who believe you need a written basis for law (the Constitution), and the need to run a  nation on laws rather than the whim of the masses de jour.

They put in  a link in the column to a litany of all the conservative commentators criticism of Trump. The specific one of which I find compelling is this one from Jonah Goldberg (the whole thing is worth reading).
If I sound dismayed, it’s only because I am. Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to. And now, in a moment of passion, many of my comrades-in-arms are throwing it all away in a fit of pique. Because “Trump fights!”
As I've covered in this blog many times, conservatism to me IS principle, and it is A LOT older than 60 years ... it is at least back to Burke, and really to the Torah and the Ten Commandments. It is the search for and the willingness to acknowledge, be enlightened by, and directed by THE ETERNAL!

Without transcendent ideas and principles there is no conservatism for me! (see "Ideas Have Consequences")

"Character" is a more fluid matter because of the fact of our humanity. To have standards is to live with some level of hypocrisy. A lot of good NFL football teams set out on the standard of the perfect season culminating in a Super Bowl win. In baseball, the perfect game is a goal for every pitcher.

The last perfect game in baseball was thrown by Felix Hernandez in 2012, the last perfect season in the NFL was Miami in 1972. The last perfect human life was Jesus Christ, AD 30ish -- absolutely unique, we separate history upon his perfection ... Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD) meaning "in the year of the Lord". To be a human that holds to high standards is to be some level of hypocrite. To the conservative, that is how improvement happens -- to the "liberal", the focus is to change everyone else, ultimately by force.

As the Goldberg article points out, it is not clear that Trump possesses any principles whatever beyond "win baby win", and his character is best summed up as "he's a fighter" -- certainly commendable, but the question of "for what"? must be asked. Money? That is clearly his track record. Fame? Power? Ego? None of these are inherently bad, nor disqualifying -- but to be a conservative, things like "smaller government", "rule of law", "sanctity of life", "religious freedom", "individual freedom", "the family", etc have to show up somewhere and at least compete strongly with the more common human motivators.

"Make America Great" is indeed a worthy objective, but the meaning of that for a conservative is a return to the lost principles that both once made "America" and then made it "great". There is no America without shared ideas -- America was a nation founded on ideas rather than mere territory or ethnicity. While the territory still exists, "America" is now only a reference to a glorious past.

Goldberg must have more faith in himself and in other humans than I do. Desperate people not infrequently even commit suicide. I'd like to completely believe that was impossible for me, but I'm not sure I know the pain that drives that permanent solution to a temporary problem -- I'm quite certain that their pain made them decide it was "the only option". I pray to never be put to that test.

That is roughly how I look at the Trump phenomenon among the thinking conservatives. These are desperate times and that makes for desperate people. The America that we once knew is GONE -- no respect for the Constitution, no respect for the separation of powers, government expanding and worming it's way into all aspects of life, the young and the old corrupted -- the young by indoctrination, the old by being bought off with "benefits". "These are the times that try men's souls" ... and for some, the goal of "winning at any cost" seems worthy. They have reached that dark night of the soul where truly ANYTHING is better than going on at the level of depravity we now see.

One of the major failings of "progressivism" is the giving in to the human temptation of "We HAVE to DO SOMETHING!". Wisdom says that often God has a plan that you may have driven you to panic, but a much more important maxim is "FIRST, do no HARM!" ... because you still believe that there is a plan beyond man's plan, so even though it appears there is no hope, God is still in his heaven. Lose that faith, and the human desire to do something --- ANYTHING, including elect a Trump, suddenly seems "good". (or the parallel analogy, take your own life)

"Progressivism" worships man -- and action. Conservatism worships God -- and ideas. "Progressivism" looks at man's navel, and at the earth -- matter. It is basic idolatry, the worship of man and material.

But all conservatives are human as well as conservative -- so when the chips are down, the temptation to fall to what is natural to fallen man is great and sometimes irresistible to many, really ALL without the help of God!  That is one of the dangers of "secular conservatism", it sounds good on paper, but in the long dark night of the abyss, it often turns out to be like Alcoholics Anonymous without the higher power. The human reaches for the bottle -- the action. The Trump!

I see the name itself as another proof of God's earthly intervention and eternal sense of humor. From the dictionary ...
trump -- any playing card of a suit that for the time outranks the other suits, such a card being able to take any card of another suit".
trump up -- to devise deceitfully or dishonestly, as an accusation; fabricate:
When I consider God's power and the fact that we know he has a sense of humor -- for we are created in his image, such things give me that little shiver of awareness. It isn't just the odds against a "Goldilocks Universe" that the atheist need compute! As I once answered a response to that linked post, I see (VERY  loosely, as an ANALOGY) our existence as a "Matrix" (of a far different sort than the movie) that is "running on God".

I can very much understand the Trump temptation (covered one aspect here), but temptation is still temptation. We must resist it with the help of God (or some other higher power) just like an alcoholic resists the bottle! Trump appears to be a solution, but he is a "Trumped up" solution -- devised deceitfully and dishonestly. We know that to be true because has no ideas and principles that he points us to, except his own image.

'via Blog this'

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