As Trump Builds, the Resistance Shouts 'Destroy!'
“To every thing,” observed the sage of Ecclesiastes, “there is a season.... A time to be born, and a time to die; ... A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up,” et cetera. What this estimable observer of human life omitted from his bracing catalogue of oppositions is the fact that one side of these partnerships tends to be much easier to accomplish than the other.
To the eye of experience, this is obvious. How much time, labor, and inherited expertise go into building an automobile, a house, a city, a civilization. How quickly they can be destroyed by disaster or neglect.
Our house on Long Island Sound was built in 1924 as a summer cottage. Over the years, various owners added this and that, until it was a modest suburban home. Over the course of a few hours in October 2012, it was all but destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. It took more than a year, much labor and a lot of money, to put everything back together.
Look at Venezuela. With the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the South American country emerged from military rule in 1959 and became a bastion of prosperity in the Southern hemisphere. Then came the socialist Hugo Chavez in 1999. His policies pushed the country into decline, slowly at first, and then rapidly. Today, under the rule of Chavez’s hand-picked successor Nicolás Maduro, the country is on the verge of collapse. Inflation is running at 40,000 percent, there are widespread shortages of food, medicine, and other basic necessities, looting and corruption are rampant, people and capital are fleeing the country.
It did not take long to destroy Venezuela. It will take many years, much heartache and suffering, and enormous resources to put it back together.
There is a lesson here for the loud and unseemly American Leftists and their unlikely brethren, the soi-disant “conservative” Never Trumpers, who are trampling on civility, rejecting the processes of democratic governance, and encouraging violence. “There’s a deal of ruin in a nation,” Adam Smith observed to a disconsolate Brit during the American Revolution, especially a nation as prosperous and stable as the United States.
But even here there is a ne plus ultra, a threshold of destructiveness beyond which “things fall apart,” as Yeats put in it in The Second Coming, and “the centre cannot hold”:
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Representative Maxine Waters with her incontinent ravings; Never-Trump commentator Jennifer Rubin pronouncing a “lifetime sentence” of harassment upon Donald Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders because she supports the president. Such “passionate intensity,” I submit -- and you, Dear Reader, can supply a hundred additional examples -- are both childish and irresponsible.