23 January 2016

In Mala Fide

Those of us who like to believe that human beings are rational can sometimes have a hard time trying to explain what is going on in politics. It is still a puzzle to me how millions of patriotic Americans could have voted in 2008 for a man who for 20 years -- TWENTY YEARS -- was a follower of a preacher who poured out his hatred for America in the most gross gutter terms. 
Today's big puzzle is how so many otherwise rational people have become enamored of Donald Trump, projecting onto him virtues and principles that he clearly does not have, and ignoring gross defects that are all too blatant. [Emphasis added.]
Someone needs to explain to Thomas Sowell that human beings are not, by and large, rational people.  Believing that they are truly is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
There was a time when someone who publicly mocked a handicapped man would have told us all we needed to know about his character, and his political fling would have been over. But that was before we became a society where common decency is optional.
But is it really that bad to publicly mock a handicapped man when a) he’s a presidential candidate and b) has a $100m PAC war chest?
Yet there are even a few people with strong conservative principles who have lined up with this man, whose history has demonstrated no principles at all, other than an ability to make self-serving deals, and who has shown what Thorstein Veblen once called "a versatility of convictions."
So the complaint about Trump is that he’s…a typical conservative?
Some may see Trump's success in business as a sign that he can manage the economy. But the great economist David Ricardo, two centuries ago, pointed out that business success did not mean that someone understands economic issues facing a nation.
And David Ricardo would know a thing or two about not understanding economics.  His labor theory of value has been utterly discredited, and his theory of comparative advantage is so absurdly unrealistic that it has absolutely no practical application.  To be honest, I never thought I’d see the day when the author of Basic Economics approvingly quoted David Ricardo, but here we are.
Trump boasts that he can make deals, among his many other boasts. But is a deal-maker what this country needs at this crucial time? Is not one of the biggest criticisms of today's Congressional Republicans that they have made all too many deals with Democrats, betraying the principles on which they ran for office?
More accurately, Trump boasts that he knows how to negotiate the best deals.  His record generally supports this notion.  Even if he couldn’t negotiate good deals, that would be a damn sight better than the current GOP practice of waving the white flag before getting to the negotiating table.
What kind of deals would Donald Trump make? He has already praised the Supreme Court's decision in "Kelo v. City of New London" which said that the government can seize private property to turn it over to another private party.
I’d imagine that, given his record, Trump would likely make deals that were advantageous to his interests.  Since his interest would be the entire United States if he were president, I’d imagine he would make deals that were advantageous to the United States as a whole.

More to the point, if a NYC businessman is out-politicking the GOP establishment (an establishment which folds like a cheap suit whenever the Democrat party threatens to exclude them from the DC party scene), would that not imply that the rest of the options in the GOP are really fucking shitty?  Seriously, if the GOP is out-played by a showboating real estate mogul, then what exactly would be the point of voting for anyone the GOP establishment picks?

Trump isn’t running in a vacuum.  If the complaint is that he’s a bad dealmaker, the question is: compared to whom?  He’s clearly better at politics and negotiation than anyone else on the GOP slate right now and likely better than Clinton and definitely better than anyone else the Dems are fielding.  Thus, even if he’s not a good option, it hardly follows that he’s not the relatively best option.  So, if he’s the best of a lot of bad options, is he really the problem in this election?  Or would it be more just to blame the GOP establishment for fielding such awful candidates?


  1. I think the handicapped man referred to was the journalist not McCain.

  2. Alan J. Perrick23 January, 2016 15:39

    Can't find my comments here, perhaps I am doing something wrong.


    1. It was filtered as spam. Should be published now.