Why Principles Matter in a Leader (Gun Confiscation Edition)
Okay, this may sound like baby talk for most of you, but in the current political climate the most obvious musings are often considered radical, subversive, even cuckservative. So at the risk of insulting the intelligence of this website’s typical readers — while simultaneously challenging the intelligence of the typical readers at your more popular “conservative websites” — let me observe, simplistically, that principles matter.
As a corollary of this admittedly far-from-Earth-shattering observation, allow me to add that, contrary to the current trend toward choosing political leaders as SNS fantasy ciphers for one’s own beliefs, principles actually matter more in a leader than in the rest of us, not less.
In other words (once again apologies, Gentle Reader, but bear with me), choosing a leader to represent your beliefs on the basis of how rich he is, how famous he is, how vulgar he is, how well he tweaks his opponents, how many “models” and porn stars he’s bedded, how active he is on social media, or how willing he is to say or do absolutely anything calibrated to please his particular target audience of the moment, is a surefire way to ensure that your beliefs will not be represented.
Donald Trump built his entire presidential campaign, from announcement to election, on pure horse manure and crowd manipulation techniques. But if you had to identify three positions on which he seemed, at least on alternate days, to be betting his whole stake, those three positions were opposing illegal immigration, ending Obamacare, and using his business sense to fix the government’s finances.
More than a year into his first term, here is where things now stand on those three big issues:
Trump has made a completely gratuitous offer of amnesty and a pathway to citizenship, not merely for the hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers,” but for a million people even the Democrats were not expecting to get on the amnesty rolls. He also offered the Democrats a complete blank check on illegal immigration, directly promising to sign anything Congress put on his desk, even if he didn’t agree with it. (Of course, this is no surprise to non-cultists who chose to remember that Trump had previously condemned the milquetoast Republican position on immigration as “mean-spirited.”)
He has tweeted a lot of baloney about Obamacare being dead, but has in fact only promoted and signed legislation that entrenches the basic principle underlying the Affordable Care Act — federal government micromanagement of health care — guaranteeing that nothing fundamental will be done to address the oozing swamp creature of socialized medicine that has been seeping into the American mainstream since Obama’s first term. (Of course, this is no surprise to non-cultists who paid attention when Trump expressed his sympathy with socialized medicine, both before and during his campaign, and who understood what it meant that his campaign proudly adopted the McConnell-Boehner slogan, “Repeal and Replace,” which was always a progressive GOP establishment shell game.)
He recently promoted and signed tax cuts without any cuts in spending, and advocates even greater infrastructure spending than his predecessor, thereby sending America’s already terminal debt disease into a hitherto unknown phase beyond Stage IV cancer. (Of course, this is no surprise to non-cultists who know that Trump has had numerous business failures and bankruptcies, went through times so rough that his daughter reminisces about the day her dad compared the family’s situation to that of a homeless man, and who has always favored a business model built on exploiting palm-greasing for greedy politicians, eminent domain abuses, and government bail-outs.)
At each of these complete failures and outright betrayals of his devoted fans, the Trump cult, after a momentary convulsion — “How could Daddy do this to us?” — has always come around and not only forgiven their idol, but even found brilliant new ways of justifying his betrayals as clever chess moves designed to jerk the chains of his rivals. (By giving them everything they want on a silver platter? Hmm, clever.)
But now we have Trump’s complete sell-out of his supporters on the Second Amendment. He has demanded new gun and gun accessory restrictions, age limit changes, and gun-purchasing obstacles, all proposals that would have been condemned as extreme leftist authoritarianism if proposed by Barack Obama — or Hillary Clinton.
Yes, I for one have had my fill of the Trump cult’s “But Hillary!” crap. Would Hillary have demanded citizenship for 1.8 million illegals, far beyond those registered in DACA? Would Hillary have tried to entrench government-controlled health care in the Republican Party platform? Would Hillary have blown the ceiling off the national debt by trillions of dollars within her first year in office? Maybe, or maybe not. In any case, we know that Trump has done these things, to the permanent and irreversible deterioration of the United States of America as a constitutional republic. “But Gorsuch!” Please.
Today, to add a dollop of straight-up totalitarian impulse to his usual moronic self-aggrandizement, Trump has sat in a meeting with congressional leaders and live microphones and declared himself in favor of confiscating weapons from people considered “dangerous,” without due process. To be precise, he recommended that government “Take the guns first, go through due process second.” After all, he complains, the procedures of due process are so slow. (Yes, we can’t have government restricted by deliberative processes now, can we? I mean, wouldn’t royal fiat or direct decrees from the politburo be so much more efficient?)
For a long time, those of us standing outside the cult and looking in have been asking ourselves, “What would it take to shake these fools out of their idolatry? Where is the line that even those who have sold their souls and independent minds to this social media and reality television fraud simply will not cross?”
Sadly, we must come to terms with the fact that in all stories of men who sell their souls to the devil for perfect gratification of a sinful urge — in this case, hatred and irrational anger — the lesson is always the same: You can never buy it back; when it’s gone, it’s gone.
But there is usually a moment in such tales when the compromised man realizes his error and loss, and is forced to face up to the irrevocable harm he has done to himself and others. This is the moment when we can at least feel pity for the lost soul, the moment when he proves his humanity by experiencing (too late) his “What have I done?” reckoning.
If Trump’s cultists and sycophants are not driven to their pitiable moment of reckoning by this latest betrayal, as their hero cavalierly blusters away their right to bear arms, which means their right to defend themselves against potential tyranny — to live as free men — then it will never happen. They will wither away from this Earth, with their souls already firmly locked up in a dark corner of the cosmos, without ever even having the small salvation of realizing their error, albeit too late — without, that is, even the harsh but not inconsiderable consolation of self-knowledge.