Friday, November 4, 2016

Getting by aimlessly

Not clear to me that anybody noticed it, but Monsignor Ross Douthat, the Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street ("An Election is Not a Suicide Pact"), seems to have endorsed Clinton, or at least un-endorsed non-Clinton, for slightly exotic reasons. Shorter:
You might agree that the authoritarian abuse, condoned racism and violence, and general chaos on the international as well as the domestic stage that would ensue from electing Trump would be OK because we must stop abortion by any means necessary, and that means war, in which authoritarian abuse, violence, and chaos are just what you get. Which is true, but it wouldn't be a just war, according to the most widely standards accepted by the Doctors of the Church, in that we have not yet exhausted all the means of peace, and we might not win, and, crucially, "the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders greater than the evil to be eliminated," which may sound like I just said abortion is a lesser of two evils, but I'll just ignore that, and in any case although grave evils will follow from electing Clinton you probably won't go to hell for allowing it to happen.
Both sides are "Caesarist", in the Monsignor's strenuously anti-imperial view, but Trump is Elagabalus. I guess that means Hillary is the 14-year-old Severus Alexander, who studied Christianity and defeated Persia, but got himself assassinated at 26 for trying to make peace with the Germans, bringing that dynasty to an end, none too soon.

Or shorter still, as the headline suggests,
Voting for Trump is suicidal, and therefore a sin, though obviously the sinfulness is mitigated if you vote for Trump because of grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture.
Now Brooks has come on board as well ("The Banality of Change"), apparently because of his encounter with another member of the despised white working class:
A few weeks ago I met a guy in Idaho who was absolutely certain that Donald Trump would win this election. He was wearing tattered, soiled overalls, missing a bunch of teeth and was unnaturally skinny. He was probably about 50, but his haggard face looked 70. He was getting by aimlessly as a handyman.
if Clinton can be dull and pragmatic, and operate at a level below the cable TV ideology wars, it’s possible to imagine her gathering majorities behind laws that would help people like that guy in Idaho: an infrastructure push, criminal justice reform, a college tuition program, an apprenticeship and skills program, an expanded earned-income tax credit and a bill to secure the border and shift from low-skill to high-skill immigration.
It's pleasant to imagine how his interlocutor would be helped by criminal justice reform or college tuition assistance. I suppose comprehensive immigration reform might help him get a dentist.

Of course he's still vomiting poison, that's bound to go on for a while; she's also diabolically selfish, and unable to choose appropriate staff, except when she does:
None of us should be under any illusions. Wherever Clinton walks, the whiff of scandal is always by her side. The Clintons seem to have decided that they are righteous and good, and therefore anything that enriches, empowers or makes them feel good must always be righteous and good. They surround themselves with some amazing people but also some human hand grenades who inevitably blow up in their faces.
I think that's his 151st career use of "amazing/amazingly".

I don't really have the heart to argue with him, though. After watching him spend so many months crying for an "inspiring" leader who will change our souls and leave the economy alone, it's nice to see one of those pleasanter Brookses show up, as after a long absence, arguing for boring and bipartisan efforts to make people's lives a little better. Four years ago that was the Brooks we were seeing the most of, and I was convinced he was on the point of endorsing Obama, but it never happened.

Amusingly enough, Trump seems to be the inspiring leader (he inspired that Idahoan, right?) who has changed his soul to make at long last some kind of break from the strangled partisanship he loves to denounce but has always practiced throughout his long career as a Republican hack.

Right on cue, Driftglass invites David Brooks to take note of this thing from 1997 by this guy called David Brooks.

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