‘Here we are not afraid to follow Truth, nor to tolerate error, so long as reason is left free to combat it’
Persuaded as I am, that we are faced with being one individual amidst an increasing number of persons experience an ongoing sense of dread and uncertainty that among other bad side effects is personally ‘sickening’ and since I’m always in favor of the most creative response to any conflict, I thought it might be helpful to take a closer look at our current President.
He does appear to be completely “malleable” — ‘shaped by hammering,’ and so it seems that — as American citizens — we each have a duty (if we are willing and able to accept such a responsibility at present) to try to understand the nature of the influences that DJT has attempted to incorporate into his world view.
Those individuals whom he observed to have been ‘powerful’ in the real world — both Roy Cohn and Stephen Bannon, for example — have seemed to appeal to his own particular sense of vulnerability, (perhaps we all might admit to having at least one) and it also seems that may even have done what he believed to be appropriate but perhaps only as ‘a means to an end’ that seemed attractive for its rewards on many levels.
Necessarily extracted, in one way or another, in any compromise of principle — if one is conscientious — is a kind of dimming of the light, and the vague sense of something akin to fear (whether or not one can actually ‘identify’ the threat) it can often manifest itself as a kind of restlessness or an inability to experience the normal pleasures of being alive.
As we look more closely at the career of President DJT, there is no doubt that he had been provided a platform on which to take a stand, upon his earning a B.A. at the Wharton School, and having been directed by his father and the New York Military Academy to ‘be all that he can be’ (to borrow an expression from another branch of service) in terms of his being a financial success, and despite his father’s advice to the contrary fearing his over-extending himself, and exercising the option to move from the outer borough of Queens to Manhattan, believing in himself ‘first’ and envisioning the power of thinking positively, and perhaps even recognizing then that he put great store in instinct — the part of the brain that is most primative: the ‘might is right’ approach of the bully who conquors with ‘shock and awe,’ as we saw — with our own eyes among the sixteen gentlemen appearing with him — at the first Republican debate in June, and throughout the campaign.
With respect to his practice of ‘continuous mendacity’ it would appear that it is the employment of what George Bush ’43 referred to as ‘strategery,’ since no person relies on providing false information that can so easily be confirmed to be empiracally false; yet the bombardment of outrageous words and actions he committed throughout the five months thereafter — and continuing even in his first few weeks in Office, is astounding not only for its statistical significance’ but for its audacity in defying anyone or anything to rule him by law as we are. This may be is tragic error, with respect to his tenure.
It was Roy Cohn who persuaded him, evidently, that ‘all is fair in love and war,’ (or something along those lines) and that ‘the end will justify the means.’ He, and others, have confounded the philosophical disposition of Ayn Rand and Norman Vincent Peale — Selfishness, ‘Objectivism,’ and the power of positive thinking — (and perhaps even the theories reflected in “My Struggle” of Adolph Hitler himself! and others who believe (or pretend to believe) that it is through an identification of outward ‘racial’ characteristics that one will be judged by man — although certainly not by God — as “good.” Unfortunately, this notion as a theoretical construct has been definitively proven to be false. It’s as simple as that.
Life — as we know it — see,s ‘random’ and if we are offered a wager to predict certainly about a deck of cards on which there is a blue dot on one side and an orange dot on the other, and we would certainly tend to expect that any card with an orange dot on one side will also have a blue dot on the other, and that wager has more than one variable, and the other is: surprise. This is an example of the philosophical term: inductive reasoning, famous for of its uncertainty, as a cautionary note.
The great danger that seems to be facing President Trump and his associates (and the rest of civilization) at present also seems quite paradoxical, because America’s taking a page from the ‘barbarians’ (individuals who encourage divisive tactics for their own ends; such as the violence involved in some of the rallies, and the example of the University of Southern California at Berkeley where there had been an entirely peaceful protest until suddenly outside agitators came upon the scene — wearing the black masks of alien terror — and led anyone and everyone to believe that they represented an ‘opposition’ to the speaker whose presence had sparked protest, when they could just as well have been individuals who supported the ideas of that speaker, who may have been engaged intentionally to deceive anyone and everyone who saw them there.
The most tragic element that I see in this catastrophic moment is the involvement of those who have outwardly claimed to follow the life and morals of Jesus of Nazareth but who so often seem only to have respect for “life” on a molecular level, rather than enacting as a guiding principle the Sermon on the Mount or even the principle known to be in all sacred traditions as: The Golden Rule.
The Christian path is first only alive and well when individuals are willing and able to listen compassionately and to put oneself in the place of another, and even at war — as President Washington and his adversaries and others served as ‘gentlemen warriors’ under a strict code of Honor, as those in the service of our nation in any capacity — even as American citizens, as our former Presidents now are exemplars (and as are both gentlemen and ladies, one day soon, as former Presidents) who are ‘not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead and to tolerate no error, so long as reason is left free to combat it.’
- Thomas Jefferson, The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth