Tuesday, July 26, 2016
I appreciate Tom's response to my recent post . Although, unlike Tom, I tend to think that most of the policy positions associated (at least, associated until recently!) with the Republican Party (though not with the current nominee!) better serve, on balance, the common good than those associated with the Democratic Party, I agree with very much of what he says in his post.
I agree, to be clear, that Donald Trump "exhibits a narcissistic disorder, obsessed with his own status and avenging slights, and reflexively doubling down in response to any criticism or challenge." I agree that many of his statements "have been especially erratic, and toxic both in the immediate sense and to the long-term health of public discourse." And, I agree that (quoting my earlier post) the "state of affairs that is likely to come to pass as a result of the election of [Donald Trump]" will almost certainly include many such statements and many erratic actions. I suggested in my post, and I continue to think, that "Congress, the courts, the press, the bureaucrats, [and Trump's] laziness and ignorance" would meaningfully constrain him, were he elected, but I agree they would and could not completely constrain him. It's a bad, bad situation.
All that said, I'm not convinced by what Tom says here:
So ... if the argument "I don't will the bad things in Trump" depends upon a prediction that others will prevent those bad things, then one is in fact willing the day-to-day outrages and fiascoes that clearly, by nature, cannot be prevented.
It seems to me that it could be that what one "wills" (I guess I'm thinking Model Penal Code-type "purpose" here) when one votes for Trump is simply and only that the agenda of a Clinton Administration (which would be much less constrained by the press and by presidential laziness) be stopped. What one "wills" need not include, it seems to me, the erratic behavior and offensive statements that one (with regret) expects. (Cue the arguments among those who are smarter than I am about whether one "intends" what one "knows", etc. . . .)
I also think, in response to Tom's statement that Clinton's "flaws are not in his category," that while Clinton's set of flaws is different than (though it overlaps with) Trump's, they are numerous, serious, and pervasive enough to make her (like him) unworthy of the office she seeks. It's a shame, in my view, that, perhaps because of entirely justified disapproval of Trump, many seem to be accepting the notion that Clinton is simply a garden-variety politician with the usual flaws, slip-ups, and imperfections. I don't think the evidence supports that view. But, that's another issue . . .