Saturday, November 25, 2017

Trump is defying basic expectations of a president - just like his supporters wanted

People who wail about how deeply unpresidential Trump is seem not to understand that this is a large part of his appeal for his base. Many of us love that he shows deep disrespect to journalists, politicians and entertainers - because we don't think these people deserve much respect anyway.

We love that he isn't yet another Republican sap trying to 'unite' the country, ie, submit himself to the criticisms of people who hate him and his supporters.

We love that he does not pretend to be 'above it all'. We love that he doesn't pretend for a moment that an idiot judge who throws down a stupid ruling is anything but a partisan hack seeking to preserve political spoils.

We love that the act has come to an end. And we love the idea that the cultural changes he is making to the presidency, to discourse, and to politics in general may be impossible to ever reverse.

Even now, so many people can't accept - or at least refuse to publicly accept - that these are features, not bugs, of a Trump presidency.


Perilanda said...

Yo Crude,

I have to say I miss your more regular commentary. Keep it up!

By the way, did you happen to catch Trump's Thanksgiving address? Unlike his predecessor, he actually had the balls to give a shout-out to God a few times. I count that as progress.

Plus, that ever-present smirk. It does my heart so much good to see that optimism.

I remember you saying that you were thinking about writing a book. Any new developments on that front?

Crude said...

Trump has turned out to be pretty much everything I wanted out of him, and more. He really is amazing. I want more legislative victories, but as far as leadership goes, he is the hero we need and in some ways deserve. What a miracle.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm still around, just trying to figure out bigger and better ways to take part in the culture war that rages around us. I'm glad to see Ed's profile rising, Dawkins' dropping, and good kinds of chaos all around. I hope you've been well, but you seem in good spirits as-is, which is great in and of itself!

Perilanda said...

Ed's star is definitely rising--as it should. I'm just finishing up By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed, and I bought and started his other book about theistic proofs. You have to hand it to Ed: BMSHBBS was published in the nick of time. The fear in some circles is that the liberal wing in the Church is now pushing for a 'revision' of doctrine on capital punishment as a proof-of-concept for 'revising' other (unchangeable) Church teaching (e.g., homosexuality). The liberals know that lots of otherwise conservative members of the Church are sympathetic on the capital punishment issue. If the conservatives cave on that, they think, they can force through more unpopular changes by citing the capital punishment change as an example of how it's possible.

Ed must have seen the writing on the wall, and acted. Wise move.

Crude said...

Could be, though I'm not sure. Maybe I'm out of the loop, but I haven't seen much talk about a 'revision' of the capital punishment teaching. In fact, 'revising' teachings seems to be talk that even liberal Catholics fatally avoid (critics would pounce.) Instead they try to argue that, well, this was never an *actual* teaching, just perhaps a pragmatic rule, and you can always change your pragmatic approaches. But, I have no doubt they think on their feet.

That said, I suspect Ed is just being consistent, and as a devoted Thomist, that issue (which is misunderstood and has been 'controversial' for decades now) is one he sees clearly. But he has good nerve, and honestly, makes the right enemies.

Mike said...

Can you imagine how upset these people would be if we had a king instead of a president? Historically, kings have rarely been "presidential" in any sense. Why, they were often certifiable alpha males who acted the part.

Perilanda said...


"Maybe I'm out of the loop, but I haven't seen much talk about a 'revision' of the capital punishment teaching."

Perhaps 'revise' was a poorly chosen word; liberal Catholics wouldn't want to couch their intent in that way. They'd call it a 'development', no doubt.

And you're right that there hasn't been any kind of acute, publicly discernible uptick of 'talk' about any kind of change to the teaching. However, the issue has been on a slow burn for decades. As Feser explains in his book, bishops--at least in the U.S.-- began to call for an end to the death penalty beginning in the late 60s/70s, and from there a consensus view emerged against it. The encyclical Evangelium Vitae--which at the time contained the strongest papal anti-DP language yet-- was published in the mid-90s, and JPII altered the Catechism to reflect it.

Crude said...

PJPII, I always saw as targeting a specific view - namely, the idea that the death penalty was a pragmatic solution to crime problems. And in that sense, I'd agree with him.

But that's very different from the death penalty as justice. Whenever I've looked up PJPII's own writings on this, I never see much of anything to back up the view that he called the death penalty 'always and everywhere unjust'.

That said, I do agree that there's a liberal movement on that topic. They don't care about tradition. Which is why I think Ed Feser and others pointed out something important - any move intended as treating the Church 'wrong' on the death penalty would undermine clerical authority as well, right up to the Pope. And if that's up to question, then it's an open question whether these 'princes of the Church' are, on their own terms, endowed with any authority at all.

I think they recognize the ramifications of that, which is why their preferred avenue tends to be obfuscation rather than open defiance.

Amos Bellomy said...

Dr. Feser's non-fiction reminds me of Lewis in terms of his ability to explain complex topics in ways laymen can grasp. The man is brilliant.

Crude said...

Yeah, Feser is great. I'm not a dramatic guy, but I will gladly cite The Last Superstition as a life-changing book.

I was a theist beforehand, but that made things 'click' for me in such a fundamental way. Just the explanation of metaphysics and reason alone inoculated me against a tremendous amount of modern bull.

Amos Bellomy said...

His blog posts alone basically kept me from becoming an atheist. Even now a lot of people who talk to me are surprised I'm not an atheist. I give off that "vibe". You can thank Feser for that. It'd be interesting to see him try his hand at fiction.