On Not Preaching to the Reverted
I have nothing to say today about Roger Stone’s sentencing, or Donald Trump’s almost certain eventual presidential pardon of Stone, which he will issue for no reason other than because Stone is a Trump “strategist” (aka sycophant).
Nor do I have any conjectures to make about Trump’s rehiring of a very young “loyalist” (aka bootlicking groupie) as head of the presidential personnel office, assigned with the task of removing all “anti-Trump appointees” (aka non-cult-members) from the U.S. government.
Furthermore, I will not waste my time or yours explaining the difference between a reasonably informed and moderately principled statesman seeking to surround himself with likeminded and trustworthy people, on the one hand, and an ignorant, vainglorious blowhard and demagogue seeking to surround himself exclusively with people “whom he believes will not challenge or undermine his agenda” (aka whom he knows to be unthinking yes-men and spineless toadies for his ego), on the other.
What would be the benefit of commenting on any of it at this point? If you are still reading this website for political commentary, then you already have the intelligence to understand everything I could say about any of the above. And if you are a “Trump supporter” (aka lost soul), then you will not listen to me anyway, and I am tired of setting myself up for the childish vitriol, name-calling, and what-about-ism of people who have sold their minds, and forsaken their country, to the personality cult of a mere TV celebrity.
It’s your country, not mine. I don’t have one, really, which, though practically difficult at times, is quite an advantage intellectually, especially in a time of rabid tribalism. Not having a tribe of my own, I am highly impervious to the dubious charms of such morally dependent and immature needs as “belonging” or “fitting in” or “winning.”
Perhaps I have always had that advantage — the advantage of the natural outsider or social misfit. I see through this stuff all too clearly, even when it crops up within the weaker neighborhoods of my own soul. I therefore reject it almost reflexively, and have little patience for alleged adults who revert to that position so damned easily and aggressively, and who seem to lack any internal resources to resist their most immature urges.
Frankly, I have many students, university-age young people, raised in a particularly stultifying and growth-stunting society and time, who are nevertheless able to see the moral ugliness of cowardly conformity and tribal identification. They fight it in their souls every day, though mired in its most oppressively alluring instantiations. They see the benefits of spiritual freedom, crave it, and make hard choices in their personal lives in a desperate and beautiful effort to strain and struggle their way out of the mire.
And yet supposed adults twice their age or more, and with much more life experience to guide them, show no more courage and independence than elementary school children when faced with something as ridiculously obvious as a tyranny of ego-gratification and political amorality springing up in their midst.
“But I don’t like that clique, so I have no choice but to join this one.” Every decently raised twelve-year-old knows better than that.