Friday, June 28, 2019

The Rest of the Moral Case

Loretta Young demonstrates how to be agreeable in Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928), via Fritzi.

"The rest of the moral case" against Trump, David Brooks was saying, "means hitting him from the right as well as the left."

We're good at calling Trump a racist and an immigrant hater, he's saying, but we ought to be accusing him of things conservatives don't like?

And then David Brooks would consider voting for us?

Well, sure, I can think of moral things about Trump that conservatives aren't supposed to like, and I don't just mean that habit of trading in wives for younger models, which Brooks might prefer we'd leave aside. Aren't conservatives big on law and order, for instance? Is Brooks saying we should be trashing Trump for his tendency to break the law on campaign finance, for instance, whether it's reporting a nearly 100 times over the limit $250,000 in the silence-buying cases, or accepting a foreign government enlisting its intelligence services in the campaign effort? Should we be complaining a little louder about his use of supposed charitable entities and campaign organizations as cash cows for his personal use? Should we have a problem with his and his son-in-law's shopping US foreign policy to the highest bidder?

To say nothing of the biggest law of all, the Constitution of the United States of America and its separation of the powers between the executive and the legislative, which he constantly works to subvert, whether it's to help out his Saudi customers in the ongoing destruction of Yemen, or boost his flagging poll numbers by stealing money for his stupid wall project? Or his many efforts to stop the Justice Department from investigating his crimes?

No no no no no no no, that stuff isn't at all what David Brooks was talking about. He felt we should spend more time criticizing Donald for his bad manners:
A decent society rests on a bed of manners, habits, traditions and institutions. Trump is a disrupter. He rips to shreds the codes of politeness, decency, honesty and fidelity, and so renders society a savage world of dog eat dog. Democrats spend very little time making this case because defending tradition, manners and civility sometimes cuts against the modern progressive temper.
And figures we don't do it a lot because we have such bad manners ourselves, with our nasty "modern progressive temper."

Well, it's true that Edmund Burke said, "Manners are of more importance than laws," and Brooks has been known to quote him on that. And it's true that I'm not really concerned with Trump's rudeness and incivility as a moral issue, though his inability to control himself in the grip of rage or spite is certainly a concern as another of the things that disqualifies him for the presidency, I think—it's just more a question of mental fitness than morality.

So yes, I'm a lot more bothered by corruption, self-dealing and theft, autarchical intentions, and open racketeering than I am by tweets calling people "dummy". If Brooks isn't, then I'm really not that interested in his vote.

Update: Or ex-Senator Flake's:

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