Here is a funny thing about the human mind: when we didn’t see something coming, we often can’t see it came. There’s a good reason for this. Wrong predictions are an indication that there is something off or unrealistic about your worldview. When your predictions are vastly incorrect, you have to choose: will I paper over my mistakes and pretend to myself I was actually right in some way, or will I admit the error and adjust the way I look at life?
People almost never adjust the way they look at life. It would mean risking their sense of their own wisdom and virtue.
This is why so many pundits both on the left and right are completely blind to what happened this year in politics.
Donald Trump — a political neophyte, a New York loudmouth who plays fast and loose with the truth, a massive egotist and a not altogether pleasant human being — has delivered conservatives one of the greatest years in living memory and has made our government more moral in the process. The left and many on the right didn’t see it coming because they hate the man. And because they didn’t see it coming, they won’t see that it’s come.
The first assertion is easily proven. After a year of Trump, the economy is in high gear, stocks are up, unemployment is down, energy production is up, business expansion is up and so on; ISIS — which took more than 23,000 square miles of territory after Obama left Iraq and refused to intervene in Syria — is now in control of a Port-o-San and a book of matches; 19 constitutionalist judges have been appointed and 40 more nominated; the biggest regulatory rollback in American history has been launched (boring but yugely important); the rule of law has been re-established at the border; we’re out of the absurd and costly Paris Accord; net neutrality, the most cleverly named government power grab ever, is gone; our foreign policy is righted and revitalized; and a mainstream news media that had become little more than the information arm of the Democratic Party is in self-destructive disarray. If the tax bill passes before Christmas, it will cap an unbelievable string of conservative successes.
Now you can tie yourself in knots explaining why none of this is Trump’s doing or how it’s all just a big accident or the result of cynical motives or whatever. Knock yourself out, cutes. For me, I’ll say this. I hated Trump. I thought he’d be a disaster or, at best, a mediocrity. I was wrong. He’s done an unbelievably great job so far.
But even more important is my second assertion. Our government is more moral now. How is this possible when Trump has sex with Vladimir Putin disguised as a Russian prostitute, when he kills and eats black people in his spare time, when he hates women and goes into insane temper tantrums fueled by 48 cans of Diet Coke a day? Okay, even leaving Maggie Haberman’s fantasy life aside, Trump is not always statesman-like, not always nice to people and not always strictly honest.
But Trump’s outsized New York personality and the feeling it evokes in us only obscure what he has done to the government he leads. As Aristotle knew, a thing can only be good if it fulfills its purpose. What is the moral purpose of government? We know the answer because our Founders told us in no uncertain terms.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”
That’s right. Government does not exist to make us equal, but to treat us equally. It does not exist to make life fair, but to treat us fairly. Most importantly, it exists to secure our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Only in liberty can we treat each other ethically, because only in liberty can we make the choices that are the necessary condition for ethical life.
Trump has made our government more moral by making less of it: fewer regulations, fewer judges who will write law instead of obeying the law, fewer bureaucrats seeking to expand the power of their agencies, less money for the government to spend on itself. He has made government treat us more fairly and equally by ceasing to use the IRS and Justice Department for political ends like silencing enemies and skewing elections.
This is what moral government looks like. And if every male senator in America is grabbing the buttocks of some unsuspecting female while, at the same time, voting for more limited and less corrupt government, the senators are immoral, yes, but the government is more moral. That is why we should never let the leftist press game us with scandal hysteria, but should keep focused on voting in those who will help fulfill government’s moral ends.
Trump has delivered conservatives an astoundingly successful year and made the government more moral in the process. You don’t have to like him, to salute him. I salute him. Well done.
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