Even accepting the NeverTrumper’s claim that Trump is corrupt and bad, if you look at core political principles, he comes out far ahead of the opposition.
One of my very dear friends, a lifelong conservative, has turned into a NeverTrumper. He loathes Trump, to the point at which he wishes Michelle Obama would run — a funny position when I consider that he was not a fan of Barack Obama and given that Michelle would be a continuation of the Obama legacy.
Because we cherish our friendship, our back-and-forth emails never become contentious. We’re baffled by the other’s point of view, but we stick very much to the facts of the matter. The problem for me is that I’m a big picture person and he’s a detail person. Sometimes the details befuddle me — and sometimes I’m wrong, which is frustrating, because I’m wrong about things that I don’t think affect the bottom line. We’re arguing ideas, not tallying numbers.
I thought it would help me if I could get my ducks in a row and figure out what my big picture principles are. That would help me make sure that, even if my friend is right about the details, I’m still being true to myself when I follow Trump.
As I’ve often mentioned, I like Trump. I like the fact that he’s a counter-puncher, meaning he doesn’t throw the first punch but, in the brutal cut-and-jostle of politics, he always makes sure to throw a brutal last bunch. I like the fact that he loves our country. I like his sarcasm, his self-deprecating sense of humor, and his occasional public loopiness — none of which gets in the way of his pursing the policies about which he cares. I like that he’s carried on despite the non-stop attacks against him.
But what I wanted to see is whether I’d still support him even if I found Trump as loathsome as my friend does. Do his values align with me so that he’s my guy even if he’s a vile human being (which, as I said, I don’t believe he is). Having picked a few of the things that are hot topics, I’ve concluded that Trump does align with me. I will vote for him in November 2020, because he’s the candidate most likely to advance politics that jive with my idea of what America should be.
Without further ado, here’s a rag-tag list of principles that popped into my head on a very busy day.
I believe that the Constitution is the best political document ever written
The Constitution’s purpose, which it achieves pretty darn well, is a limited government of three co-equal branches that have both separate and shared power. The Founders expected each branch to guard its power well but assumed that no branch would become a tyranny as to the others.
In addition to an explicitly limited government, the Bill of Rights asserts values that are inherent in each individual and upon which the government may infringe only upon a showing of serious necessity for the benefit of society as a whole.
Democrats, especially Democrats from the Obama-era forward, resent the Constitution’s limitations and seek to un-do them through their Living Constitution theory. This theory holds that there are no absolute, fixed values; there are only situational values – and our modern situation allows us to read meanings into the Constitution that contradict the written words or the Founders’ intentions.
Conservatives, including President Trump, view the Constitution as a document that is eternally relevant because it traffics in principles, not specifics. To understand the important difference between rules and principles, my analogy has always been that people should think of directions to get from one place to another. Directions based upon laundry lists (i.e., rules telling you to go left, go right, take two lefts) are entirely situational. If you’re facing the wrong way from the person who drew up the directions, your left is his right and vice versa.
Directions based upon compass points, however, will always get you there. When you’re standing in the middle of the confusing intersection, west is always west no matter which way you face. The principles in the Bill of Rights also have that fixed, universal applicability. No matter where you stand in time and place, they still work.
So, when it comes to the Constitution, even if I assume solely for the sake of argument that Trump is loathsome, I’ll still vote for him.
I don’t believe income inequality is a problem in America.
I’m actually assuming for the sake of argument that there is such a thing today as income inequality. Jeff Jacoby points out that it’s highly probable this whole wealth inequality existential scream is a myth, predicated on shoddy scholarship:
“Just as ideas about inequality have completed their march from the academy to the frontlines of politics, researchers have begun to look again,” The Economist reported last month. “And some are wondering whether inequality has in fact risen as much as claimed — or, by some measures, at all.”
Two of those researchers are economists Gerald Auten of the US Treasury and David Splinter of Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. In a recent paper that has drawn respectful attention in the profession, they make the case that Piketty, Saez, and Zucman fumbled their data, and that their most explosive conclusions about rising inequality aren’t supported by the facts. They conclude that, once taxes and government transfer payments are properly accounted for, the share of income going to the top 1 percent in the United States has barely changed since the early 1960s.
One point critics have been making for years is that data on wealth and income ought to reflect the nearly $2 trillion paid out by the government each year via Medicare, Medicaid, and other social welfare programs. Since most taxes are paid by upper-income Americans, while most transfer payments go to lower-income Americans, a good deal of inequality is constantly being neutralized by government antipoverty spending.
Even accepting income inequality as a real “thing,” though, doesn’t mean it’s a problem in America.
Jesus was correct that “ye have the poor with you always. . . .” (Mark 14:7.) What makes America special is that the poor are not always the same people. Before America, as the line from Aladdin explains, poverty followed people forever, from birth to death, and generationally too: “You are a worthless street rat. You were born a street rat, you’ll die a street rat, and only your fleas will mourn you!” India’s caste system, of example, ensures perpetual generational poverty.
In America, though, on average, if poor people follow the rules – education, job, marriage, children, in that order – the poor will not remain poor. As they float up, a new crop (historically legal immigrants) also begins at the bottom and starts floating up. It’s the American cycle, played out since the British first established their colonies here. Not everyone will float up. Some will remain at the bottom, especially, today, those caught in the welfare trap, which is pretty much generational quicksand when it comes to perpetuating poverty.
In Leftist world, the way to deal with wealth inequality is to make everyone equally poor, except for a small cohort of fabulously wealthy inner circle people, whose wealth is kept hidden. I prefer the conservative take on wealth, which is to encourage people to follow the core rules of success (education, job, marriage, children) and then let them keep most of their money and to make decisions about their life and money for good or ill. Spare me the Leftist take of “give us (i.e., the government) all your money, and we’ll make the right decisions for you.”
And so I’ve articulated another reason why, even if Trump were as bad as the NeverTrumpers say, I’d still vote for him against any Democrat.
I believe that the Second Amendment makes us more safe, rather than less safe.
I know the Leftist rap, because I was once a Democrat. It’s very simple: Guns kill people. Therefore guns are bad. Therefore . . . and here’s the cognitive dissonance Leftists ignore . . . we need to send government operatives armed with guns to take away your guns.
I also know the Leftist rap holding that, if I’m going to be a Constitutional literalist, then my logic requires I agree that the only guns allowed are muskets and primitive rifles.
Both arguments are wrong, absolutely and complete wrong.
Regarding the “guns kill people” argument, there is no entity in the world more dangerous than a government aimed at its own disarmed populace. Soviets, Nazis, Italian Fascists, Vietnamese communists, Cambodian communists, Cuban communists, Chinese communists, all African and Latin American communists – it’s an endless list of governments that, over the course of the 20th century massacred around 100 million of their own previously disarmed citizens. That in itself is the best and really only argument necessary for me to support the Second Amendment.
What about citizens versus citizen in an armed society. Data indicates that it’s true that an armed society is a polite society. For example, we know that in Washington, D.C., when the Supreme Court in Heller did away with D.C.’s draconian gun control laws, violent crime dropped.
We know that, if one takes away the murder sprees in Democrat-run, gun-controlled cities, America’s gun crime rate is what Europe’s used to be before the influx of Muslims. That is . . . very low.
We know that the defensive use of guns annually runs from roughly 500,000 to 2.5 million uses per year.
We know that roughly 14,600 Americans died last year when shot by others. Keep in mind that this number of violent gun deaths occures in a population of 330,000,000 people. My math is lousy, but I think that tells us that .004% of the American population died from guns in ways other than suicide. That’s 14,600 individual tragedies but a statistically insignificant number, especially when used to justify stripping us bare of our defense against government. Sadly 22,000 died also from suicide by gun. In other words, we currently have more of a mental health problem than a gun problem.
The data shows that guns protect us from government and protect us from predators in our own communities. That’s why I support the Second Amendment and why I support politicians who support the Second Amendment.
As for the Constitutional argument, namely, that only guns in use at the time the Bill of Rights was ratified, can be included, I’ve already tried to explain that the Constitution is about permanent values, not specific rules. With this in mind, it’s notable that the 2nd Amendment does not say “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear muskets and rifles manufactured on or before 1791 shall not be infringed.” It simply says, in relevant part, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The Founders were not fools and they fully understood that the specific nature of arms changes with time, but the right to be armed is an eternal value.
Trump, even if vulgar and belligerent, supports the Second Amendment. The Democrats support seizing weapons. Trump gets my vote.
(As an aside, for those who keep calling Trump an authoritarian tyrant, his support for the Second Amendment puts the lie to this. Tyrants fear their citizens and therefore take guns. Leaders in a free society are comfortable with their citizens having guns. They have nothing to fear except, maybe, the bloodless ballot box.)
I believe that men and women are different variations on the same species.
I know this sounds old-fashioned, but I do not believe that men and women are either the same or interchangeable. To begin with, they have different procreative roles. Men provide sperm, women provide eggs. Women incubate and nurture, including the biological process of nursing. Men have the strength, spatial ability, and stamina skills to provide food and shelter for those incubating, nurturing women.
Men and women also have different skills that developed over millennia to help human survival. These differences involve strength, nurturing versus aggression, the senses of touch and smell, spatial awareness, genius and idiocy (men are more likely to be both geniuses and idiots, with women occupying the center of the bell curve), etc.
Speaking of bell curves, I believe that these sex differences are not straight lines. You’ll have physically strong women and physically weak men; brilliant and idiotic women, and average men; aggressive women and passive men. But a society isn’t based on the long-tail ends of the bell curve – the extreme 2% and 1% — it’s based on the great middle and, in that middle, men and women are different.
All of the above is reality, grounded in biology and human survival. Modernity can adjust many of these things (guns, for example, are the great equalizer), but it cannot completely change them.
The above are obvious. Here’s an idea that is unique to me, but that I think should be explored more: I believe that decades of women on incredibly powerful female hormones for fertility control may end up having affected babies in utero, resulting in more men who think they’re women. These men are not women. The way to treat them is not with toxic chemicals, mutilating surgery, and hormones natural to the opposite sex. Instead, the way to treat them is with therapy and hormones aligned with their biological sex.
Even taking seriously my in utero theory doesn’t change the fact that the LGBTQ etc. community is, in fact, numerically very small. Nor does it change the fact that the vocal, hard-Left activist subset of the LGBTQ community is smaller yet.
I’m damn sure that remaking cultural norms to cater to a minute subset of society is very dangerous. People live in the middle of the bell curve, not at the extreme ends.
Moreover, the activist LGBTQ is never satisfied. The latest story, which is incredibly funny, is a report out of Sweden. An LGBT-friendly church proudly unveiled a beautifully painted triptych which showed the Garden of Eden as a gay paradise, with lesbians, gays, and multi-racial relationships. (Forget the whole Bible thing with Adam and Eve and it’s obsession with the binary nature of sex.) Two weeks later, though, down came the triptych for being hostile to people who believe they’re the opposite sex:
Wallin did not just include two homosexual couples in her painting; she also included a male dressing up as a woman — ostensibly transgender — in the form of a snake looking down on the festivities. Out’s Serena Sonoma originally reported that the transgender snake had been celebrated as part of the LGBT artwork, but apparently some transgender advocates got a different impression.
While the Church of Sweden insisted the fact that there “are two gay couples in the artwork is completely uncontroversial,” it feared that the transgender imagery might be perceived as an attack on people who identify with the opposite sex.
“[T]here is a snake, which traditionally stands for evil, and that it also turns into a trans person means it could be interpreted that a trans person is evil or the devil. The Church of Sweden certainly cannot stand for that,” the church said in a statement.
Here’s the big secret: People who are that far away from the sex bell curve are not happy. No matter how much they march, or get get the Hallmark channel to run commercials of lesbian weddings, or bully every corporation in America to run with “gay pride” stuff in June, these people feel “wrong.” They’re a minority and a minority in a way that distinguishes them on a core aspect of humanity – our sex. So no matter what they get, they will always want more. There will always be a complaint. Catering to a demographic that is incapable of satisfaction is not good – especially when what is currently the most activist subset is completely divorced from reality.
Here’s my secret: I do not care what your damn pronouns are. I do not care with whom you sleep. If you look and act totally like a girl, I won’t notice that you’re in the girls’ restroom. Yes, you live in a binary heterosexual world. Sorry. That’s the way it is. Get used to it. You leave me alone; I’ll leave you alone.
Trump, while he does not want the military to have to babysit or pay for transgender people, seems to agree with me. People are people. He’ll be polite to individuals. He won’t issue discriminatory executive orders. But mostly he doesn’t care. If you’re good, he’ll make you an Ambassador to Germany or a 9th Circuit judge.
The Democrat candidates, each and every one, proudly insist that they will remake society to accommodate a minute subset. That’s just wrong.
Once again, Trump gets my vote.
I believe in the power of the free market.
In the Soviet bloc, they were driving those miserable excuses for cars called Skodas. In the West, we were driving everything else. That’s the free market.
When flash drives first came out, they cost hundreds of dollars and could hold about 512 KB. Now, they hold 2 GB and sell for about eight dollars – or are given away as freebies at trade shows. That’s the free market.
America leads the world in pharmaceutical development. Sure, it’s pricey, but developing drugs is like looking for oil – you dig a lot of empty holes before you find a gusher. This free market in drugs means that, if they’re not abused, really do help us live longer happier lives. I would be dysfunctional from chronic migraine syndrome were it not for the American pharmaceutical industry. Now if they’d only drop their prices so that we could buy direct from them instead of buying generics from China, a worrisome thing at best….
Trump is a big believer in the free market – and in reducing taxes and regulations so that Americans can truly participate in that market. And don’t point to medicine as an example of the failure of the free market. The cost perversions of Medicare and Medicaid, direct government regulation in medicine, Obamacare, and the heavily regulated insurance industry all mean that we don’t really know what a free market in medicine looks like. Trump is working on that, though, as with his recent executive order for hospitals to be transparent about pricing.
Each and every Democrat in Congress and all of the frontrunners for the presidential election have made it clear that they loath the free market. They want government to regulate all businesses and they want taxes as high as possible so that the government can control how money gets spent in America.
So that’s another reason to vote for Trump and never, ever for Democrats. And that’s true even if Trump is the awful person that the NeverTrumpers see when they look at him.
I believe in a strong border, not to keep Americans in, but to allow America to control the influx of people into this country.
I am the child of legal immigrants. All of my friends had at least one parent who was an immigrant. I grew up in the richness of a heavily Asian-immigrant community. I think immigration is wonderful for America, for it prevents us from stagnating and cross-pollinates us with good idea and innovations.
I do believe, though, that a sovereign nation must control immigration, rather than just let the immigrants make their own decisions. I’m cognizant of how Rome fell. It had less to do with barbarian armies (although those didn’t help), and more to do with an endless influx of people who had nothing to do with Rome’s values. I’m not celebrating Romes’ values. I’m just saying that, if you don’t have a core of people to hold those values together, you don’t have a country.
(Before going further on this point, let me make clear that America has long had physical barriers to admission. For centuries, they are the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Traveling by sea was too difficult to trust to the 19th or 20th century versions of coyotes. People entered at Ellis Island on the East or Angel Island on the West. Until Democrats decided to change out American populations, though, there was no significant population mass moving north on the southern border.)
I recognize that people like my friend think Trump’s wall is un-American, even if it’s intended as a fence, not a prison. However, we have an unusually long, porous border; we have vast numbers of American localities that refuse to enforce American immigration laws or cooperate with federal immigration authorities; and we have a generous welfare state that is a magnet for those reasonably seeking a better life than they have in their Leftist run fecal-holes. (I’m not being racist when I talk about fecal-holes; they’re fecal holes because of the socialist policies imposed on the poor people who live there.) As Milton Friedman said, you cannot have an open border in a welfare state for “the supply of immigrants will become infinite.”
Border controls allow nations to protect their citizens from diseases, criminals, terrorists, and immigration flows that are simply too great at any one time for our country to handle. That’s necessary for the safety and benefit of the people who already live here. Also, if Democrats cared about working people’s wages, as they once did, they’d be more moderate in their immigration stance, because illegal aliens don’t drive down doctors’ and lawyers’ and politicians’ salaries; they drive down working people,s wages.
Also, I’d be a lot more amenable to more immigration were we more pushy about assimilation. Once upon a time, our schools taught immigrants English, and they taught them to love our countries’ Constitution, values, and institutions. That’s all over. The Left desperately wants to change American culture; I don’t. Trump doesn’t. My vote goes to Trump and not the Democrats.
I believe that religion is important.
Although I was raised culturally as a Jew, I was also raised entirely outside of the Jewish religious community. We celebrated Passover every year, but I got no Jewish religious teaching.
Indeed, what I know best is Christianity, at least in a historical context. Thanks to my history degree and my ongoing fascination with European history, I know a whole lot about the Catholic and Protestant faiths, both doctrinally and historically. In other words, despite my non-religious upbringing, I have a solid grounding in the Western religious tradition, although that knowledge didn’t make me Christian nor make me a more religious Jew.
Indeed, I used to be an atheist, because young people are so certain they know everything. As I grew older, I realized I knew less and less. Sure, I believe in the Big Bang, but I also believe that you can’t have something come from nothing. Something must have proceeded the Big Bang. What was it?
I also know now that there are mysteries to life – to creation, to death, to the daily miracles both big and small. Shakespeare was right, in Hamlet, when he wrote, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” No matter how much we know, there is still so much we do not yet, or may never, know.
So I’ve become a deist. I’m not a doctrinal Jew, but I’m relatively certain there’s something greater out there than we are.
But even if I didn’t believe in God, I’d believe in the Judeo-Christian religion. As Dennis Prager ceaselessly argues, you cannot have morality if you don’t have an outside moral force. Otherwise, it’s all reason and navel gazing. People like our friend NeoWayland can reason their way to behavior that aligns with most Judeo-Christian values. Not all people can and there is a scarily short and quick path from the Enlightenment to the Nazis. For some people, it’s way too easy to justify murder if you don’t believe that man is made in God’s image or that an all-powerful God commanded us not to murder. People can reason themselves into some very bad ideas.
Trump does believe in God. Whether he kept the commandments over his life is between him and God. It’s enough that he believes that there is something greater than humankind, an idea that should impart to us a humility that the Left lacks. For the Left, its own theories, reasons, fears, and proofs create morality, which gets me to….
I do not believe in the imminence or destruction of anthropogenic climate change.
I believe the climate changes. It always has; it always will. The earth is a dynamic system.
I believe that humans can affect the earth, whether it’s strip mining in the Sierras so that there are mountains on which nothing grows even now, more than 150 years later, or it’s prehistoric people hunting the mammoth to extinction.
I believe that we are stewards of our environment for the next generation. I want my children and grandchildren to thrive. They won’t on a plant that’s been stripped of life and planted with poisons.
I do not believe that we humans are greater than the sun and the other forces of the earth and the universe. When I look at Obama buying a multi-million dollar home right on the coast, even though he warned us about rising seas, I know he doesn’t believe his own shtick.
When I see that the Left has chosen as its ideological leader an angry, ignorant child with Asperger’s who talks about putting leaders against the wall and imposing Marxism on the earth, I know that I’m right and they are wrong.
One of the best things Trump did was to withdraw from the Paris Accords. One of the worst things about all the Democrats is that they have latched onto climate change as a way to impose totalitarian Leftist rule on America. So on this issue again, I’m with Trump and that’s true even if he’s as awful as NeverTrumpers and Leftists would have us believe.
I believe in the rule of law.
The rule of law is what binds a civilized nation together. It allows people to plan for the future and, by being as even-handed as humanly possible, prevents festering anger and corruption and unfairness. Conversely, I believe that when you have corrupt law enforcement, with one rule for the powerful and their political party, and other rules for the less powerful or political opponents, you are well on your way to a kangaroo state.
I don’t buy IG Horowitz’s claim that he couldn’t prove intent when he looked at his laundry list of lies, sloppiness, data manipulation, spying, bullying, etc.. He actually said that it was as likely to be gross incompetence as it was to be intentional wrong-doing. I cry foul on that reasoning.
If the malfeasance spread out in all directions, affecting Democrats (i.e., Hillary and co.) in the same way as Republicans (i.e., Trump and co.) — yeah, maybe you might convince me that people in the FBI are just a bunch of stupid slobs. But when it all flows in one direction, there is intent behind it: And the intent was to throw an American election against the Republicans and in favor of the Democrats.
My friend insists that all the things that happened are inconsequential, accidental, or irrelevant. Fundamentally, he doesn’t mind too much that the FBI (and other government agencies) went rogue because he hates Trump. Getting rid of Trump is so monumentally important to him that he, like Horowitz, insists that the FBI’s behavior really doesn’t fit a malicious pattern.
I mind a great deal because, even if I hated Trump, I’d hate even more a corrupt police state that uses its truly vast power to interfere with elections.
Moreover, no matter how much my friend hates Trump, the reality is that Trump has had a monthly colonoscopy since he entered the race and must truly be the cleanest man in America. Biden on the other hand….
Debt is bad
Our national debt – currently at more than $22 trillion and rising by the second — is disastrous. What can’t continue won’t, and America will break under this debt. During his first two years, Trump did nothing useful, although maybe he gets a little pass because he was new to politics, because the small Republican congressional majority still hated him, and because he was hampered by the Russia hoax.
Of course, now that the Democrats are in control of the House, I guess we should be grateful that they’ve been obsessed with Trump…. Their budget has been huge, but if they had been less focused on overturning an election, they would have passed even more costly bills.
Indeed, the current round of top Democrat candidates promise to spend more and more and more taxpayer money. Free medical care, free college, forgiveness of student loans, more welfare, reparations. There is no end. As Elizabeth Warren said, “there’s always money. It’s there.” Of course, she’s a fool. It’s not there.
People create wealth. All that government does is print money (which is not wealth, it’s just a tangible representation) and take money from the makers and redistribute it to the takers. Once you take too much from people, they either can’t or won’t create wealth anymore and you’ve effectively killed the multitude of geese that once laid golden eggs.
I’d like to think that, with a Republican Congress, Trump will propose a budget that actually cuts back on government spending and that a Republican-majority congress will actually goes along with it.
Moreover, Trump in his own way is actively trying to save taxpayer money. He’s refusing to let Europeans get away with having America pay all their security costs, refusing to give money to corrupt foreign governments and terrorists, shrinking the federal government (once again, an act inconsistent with a dictatorship), refusing to get us in deeper debt through climate change math, cutting welfare and food stamp rolls, etc.
Still, Trump will always have to deal with Congress and I have no faith in that institution. No matter the party, Congress keeps kicking the can down the road. Of course, it’s the voter’s fault — we keep electing people who love to look generous with our money.
Both parties are a disgrace. Still, as I look to 2020, Trump is trying and Republican congress-critters, unless their spineless, aren’t promising the panoply of spending and debt forgiveness that’s the current Democrat playbook.
So, when it comes to our scary national debt, no one smells good, but Trump is the lesser of all these evils.
That’s all I can think of for now. I’ll come back with a second part to this post if I think of more.