I don’t think anyone has ever cut a swath like Donald Trump’s through the shibboleths of a popular belief system.
Look behind us, and all you see for the last year is the wreckage of the artificial, politically-constructed pieties with which the West’s “opinion leaders” have for decades been beating ordinary, commonsensical people over the head.
Without necessarily even meaning to, Trump has functioned as the catalyst for exposing these pieties to the cold light of reality. He hasn’t shown so much that they’re categorically “wrong,” although some of them are. What he’s shown is that they shouldn’t be used to extort the people. They shouldn’t be a way to shut the people up, and render them powerless against exploitation and abuse by political opportunists.
In fact, in many cases, our politics, and what our government does, shouldn’t be about these things at all, whether it’s John McCain’s war record or the practiced indignation of illegal-migrant activists, or the Democrats waving a Gold Star father who also happens to be a sharia scholar with Muslim Brotherhood ties around like a trophy.
If some people want to enforce pious political speech, let them form clubs and close their doors. The rest of us have a lot of living to do. And we have a God-given right to not have our pockets picked by armies of politically motivated piety-enforcers.
So now we’ve gotten to “Trump and the women.” Trump said heinous things about dealing with women, in that candid discussion in 2005. No doubt about it. (Notice that what he said was heinous as regards dealing with women. His comments reflect on him, not on women.)
Does that disqualify him from being president? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. It’s not the tiebreaker for me, although I certainly don’t endorse his comments. (Don’t raise your sons to feel that way or talk that way about women. Little pointer from me to you.)
There are multiple reasons why it’s not the tiebreaker, but here’s the one I want to focus on. Politics and government are not the best, most effective vehicles for ensuring that women are respected and valued. In fact, addressing women’s status mainly through politics and government is destructive and corrupting.
It does everything bad that government does, and then encourages us to think that the distorted results are sins that we are guilty of – instead of being the predictable outcomes of government intervention. This then justifies more government intervention. It’s an ingenious way to hold the people perpetually at risk.
Government intervention is about politics and advantage. There is no such thing as antiseptically expert government that intervenes in people’s affairs in benign and “neutral” ways. We see that every single day now, as our federal government goes around demonizing the things it’s decided to crusade against, often by lying about them, and just as often by lying about and vilifying people.
We also see it as our government goes around touting the things it’s crusading for. Being for something involves every bit as much lying, and as much vilifying of people.
Now think about how that applies to government taking on the status of women as a cause. You don’t even have to think very hard, to realize that this picture of government intervention is exactly what has been amplifying a socially, humanly, spiritually destructive ugliness and distrust between men and women for at least four decades now. It’s not just men who have been vilified and crusaded against. It’s been women too, the women don’t doubt their worth and don’t feel the need to misuse the armed state for resentful, incoherent crusades.
Government can only function as government functions. It can’t be a pastor, a rabbi, a therapist, a mother or father. Government is good at seizing money and spending it. Its purpose is to enforce rules; it works by punishing and deterring. Government is extremely attractive to rent-seekers and shakedown artists. Once someone gets on the government gravy train, he never wants it to end. His hash will remain unsettled to the end of time.
Turn our closest human relationships over to government, and that’s what we get: the things that government does. You want to know why we have a society that isn’t properly horrified by Trump’s comments about himself and women? Because we have cheapened women – and men – into mere political quantities, with dollar signs and influence and power over the people attached to them.
The relations between men and women are crying out today for less politics and less government. Even if voters can’t articulate that clearly, many of them understand it.
So they don’t take any comfort from Hillary’s promises to keep enlarging government’s supervision over relations between the sexes. Nor do they hear reassurance in the voices of the other public leaders who are now speaking out indignantly against Trump. They hear cheap, superficial pieties, which ring hollow coming from the keepers of the status quo.
For what it’s worth, I don’t perceive Trump to see women only as “pu**y” to be grabbed. If he did, his life would have been far less successful than it has been. Most of his children would be all messed up, instead of accomplished people in their own right. I think Trump is always in tactical-bulldozer mode – often crude and going for interpersonal dominance – when he’s talking in any venue other than at home with family. (As an aside, Trump would wipe the floor with “performative debaters.” He’d figure them out and run rings around them inside of five minutes.)
Yes, that’s analytical guesswork on my part. That’s what it looks like from out here, where I still wish Ted Cruz were the GOP nominee. So, you know, grains of salt. Use your judgment.
But I do know this for sure. The old-consensus, status quo establishment sees women as exploitable political causes, exploitable economic units, and votes. I’m sure some politicians and pundits mean better than that. But regardless of the personal sentiments of individuals, that’s how the status quo of our polity sees and treats women. It is built to bait and trigger and exploit women. Having polite-spoken men and women in charge of it doesn’t change that.
The people aren’t stupid to see that, and to see that Hillary will just accelerate the exploitation of that status quo, against the people, both women and men.
That’s kind of the genius of this whole election cycle: the people keep trying to make it about the real issues that now deform their very lives, whereas the establishment “elite” keeps being distracted by all the Pavlovian red herrings, and demanding that the people join them in being silly.
I know the MSM are trumpeting the Trump audio as the thing that’s going to bring him down. But “Trump and the women” is probably going to go the way of all the other “Trump truth” moments. Ultimately, it won’t bring Trump down. The voters will overlook it, not because they have no character, but because their government, which does have no character, is out of control – and that’s what has to matter.
Even when defenders of the status quo say the right things, the people know that they aren’t saying them for the right reasons. It won’t be Trump who was “exposed” here. It will be the emptiness of our terribly, even vilely over-politicized vision of human life.