National Review "Against Trump" (4)
This will be the final installment of four articles in which I provide you with a selection of comments by various conservative thinkers and authors regarding Donald Trump. They are found in the February 15, 2016, issue of National Review. Continue reading . . .
This will be the final installment of four articles in which I provide you with a selection of comments by various conservative thinkers and authors regarding Donald Trump. They are found in the February 15, 2016, issue of National Review.
Resist the urge to dismiss John Podhoretz because of his appeal to Freudian psychological categories and listen carefully to what he says:
“Donald Trump is the apotheosis of a tendency that began to manifest itself in American culture in the 1980s, most notably in the persons of the comic Andrew Dice Clay and the shock jock Howard Stern: the American id. Guys like the Dice Man and Stern had been told and taught and trained by respectable middlebrow culture to believe that their tastes and desires were piggish and thuggish and gross, and they said: So be it! Clay filled stadiums across the country with young men who chanted dirty nursery rhymes along with him. Stern invited young actresses onto his show to discuss their breasts. The screams of outrage that greeted them were part of the act.
Clay had nowhere to go with his shtick after a few years and faded away. Stern adapted to changing circumstances. But the American id remained, as ids do. You want to call me a goon? Fine, so I’ll act like a goon, see how you like it. The cultural signposts Trump brandished in the years preceding his presidential bid are all manifestations of the American id – his steak business, his casino business, his green-marble-and-chrome architecture, his love life minutely detailed in the columns of Cindy Adams, his involvement with Vince McMahon’s wrestling empire, and his reality-TV persona as the immensely rich guy who treats people like garbage but has no fancy airs. This id found its truest voice in his repellent assertion that the first black president needed to prove to Trump’s satisfaction that he was actually an American.
In any integrated personality, the id is supposed to be balanced by an ego and a superego – by a sense of self that gravitates toward behaving in a mature and responsible way when it comes to serious matters, and, failing that, has a sense of shame about transgressing norms and common decencies. Trump is an unbalanced force. He is the politicized American id. Should his election results match his polls, he would be, unquestionably, the worst thing to happen to the American common culture in my lifetime” (p. 37; John Podhoretz is the editor of Commentary).
Of all those who contributed to National Review on this subject, I was most interested in the thoughts of Thomas Sowell:
“In a country with more than 300 million people, it is remarkable how obsessed the media have become with just one – Donald Trump. What is even more remarkable is that, after seven years of repeated disasters, both domestically and internationally, under a glib egomaniac in the White House, so many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor.
No doubt much of the stampede of Republican voters toward Mr. Trump is based on their disgust with the Republican establishment. It is easy to understand why there would be pent-up resentments among Republican voters. But are elections held for the purpose of venting emotions?” (p. 38; Mr. Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, Stanford University).