Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world


Amid the Anti-Trump fury,  why do I resist joining in? Why does something inside me say that perhaps his arrival is not a bad thing?  A political label hung round my neck would say “Left-of-centre-Tory”. I don’t think we should discriminate against women or gays or lesbians or non-whites or harmless religious sects. I do think we should recognise past errors, even though they were seen as acceptable at the time. I don’t believe in cover-ups to protect important people. Many policies of the liberal left are such that I could not oppose them. So why do I lean the other way?

Because I believe that too much attention to those policies can cause other matters to be ignored. They get that attention because they are morally unassailable. In modern language, they are embraced by the intellectual elite. Cruder, more selfish ideas attract the slightly derogatory word ‘populist’. Brexit and Trump suggest that populist opinion was long ignored because the elite saw little value in it.

Man can reason, and man makes judgements about what is considered right or wrong. But man is also a part of nature, which is selfish and amoral. He balances his needs against ethical considerations and is capable of self-denial when he judges that right. It remains a decision that can go either way, and excessive self-denial has dangers. Whether one thinks of the individual or a group (clan/tribe/nation)  there is a place for selfishness.

So when Trump states aggressively that he will put his nation first I see him as adjusting priorities: putting high on his agenda an item that has been pushed aside in favour of righteous ideals. He has a hard task, for all the conventional morality is against him. He has to be shocking and aggressive. It would do no good for him to say “I believe just as you do, but those beliefs are at Numbers 4 and 5 on my list for the moment.” He needs to be extreme

I don’t take all his utterances literally. Those who seriously practice extreme policies are apt to find that they bring more damage than benefit. And some of his stated plans are plain daft. 

His forthright, even intemperate speech is also an attraction. He seems to mean what he says (at least at the moment of uttering). By contrast, when listening to the liberal elite, I always suspect that they are saying the correct thing rather than speaking from the heart. I don’t really trust them. So am I a populist?





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