Saturday, April 30, 2016

P.T. Barnum and Donald T. Rump

P.T. Barnum (Vanity Fair)

I will tell you, I have the Greatest Show on Earth.  The greatest; nothing could be greater.  Believe
me, the greatest!  It's amazing!  So might have said the P.T. Barnum of New York (New England) values and the perennial victim of a world that isn't fair.  I will tell you, it's not fair!  Believe me!

A life-long Left-leaning political entrepreneur and con artist, Mr. Trump understands the nature of skid grease, and he knows where and from whom to buy it.  He can twist arms or confer favors as the situation demands.  Ethics in business is a losing game, as is principle in politics.

A New Bully in the Bully Pulpit?
There are different kinds of bullies.  Best known, perhaps, are those who get their way by main force, on the one hand, and those who are social bullies.  The rough, violent ones are the default stereotype, but those who manipulate others by the use of social pressures and intimidation are far more common.  Alinsky-style attacks, belittling and name-calling are, and have been for decades, the defining tactical characteristic of the Institutional Left; so much so that it is rarely seen among conservatives who are generally more careful to preserve the behavioral norms of civil society.
Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore Photo)

Exceptions on the Right, like the recent name-calling directed by John Boehner and Peter King against Ted Cruz, may not be so exceptional after all.  Republicans who engage in public insult often share the values (or some of them, such as centralized government) of the Left and identify with their behavior.  Aggressive, intimidating verbalizing is a shibboleth of the Left and Left-leaning; a kind of litmus test that distinguishes some Republicans from most conservatives.

Continuing, Unabated, the Cult of Personality
At the command of a charismatic and popular celebrity like Mr. Trump, or Barack Obama before him, bullying techniques are enormously magnified, causing many to fear speaking against them.  In addition there is the attractiveness, fascination and desire to be associated with celebrity.  This seems particularly true of big media, which as an added fillip, prospers on coverage of high-profile personalities.  It is a phenomenon regularly seen in societies where liberty has been lost.

Trump's celebrity and the unwarranted assumption that he would be a strong and virtuous leader has flushed out cafeteria conservatives in droves -- a surprising number of them, until recently, sound --along with many others already suspect.  The seduction of charisma "trumps" fidelity to principle. The very kind of hopeful irrationality (remember "Hope and Change"?) that pervades the Left.

It is time for those who have abandoned principle to fall out of love with Donald Trump and regain their senses.  Before it's too late.

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