True believers

Totalitarian sumptuary


Last night we were talking about Trump, and my friend accused me of being a ‘true believer’. I took his meaning to be that I had suspended my critical faculties in regard to Trump.

So I have had occasion to self-interrogate: am I a true believer? Do I, or have I, suspended critical analysis?

If the accusation had come from a fanatic for Hillary, it might have been dismissed. But he is not blind, and is mostly shrewd. My friend was strongly against the second Iraqi invasion, and ranted for about ten years about Iraqi civilian casualties, to the point of being  insufferable at times. In the perspective of history, it can be argued that the second Iraqi invasion by the United States was destabilizing, a waste of resources, and accomplished nothing. It might even be argued that Saddam should still be  on the throne, even if it meant that Saddam would get away with killing 30,000 Iraqis a year, as was his wont. It can certainly be argued, as the late George Jonas did, that Saddam should have been deposed and hanged, and the US should have got out shortly after his capture.

So my friend can be right at times for bad or poorly articulated reasons. Same as me, I suppose.

To the best of my ability, I try to stay skeptical about Trump, without succumbing to enthusiasm. What bugs me about the anti-Trumpians is the same as the global warming catastrophists: their opposition seems demented and irrational. The arguments always seem to come down to a firm belief in their own moral righteousness, deviation from which is not merely error, but sin. Their arguments come down to mantras like “97%”, or virtue signalling, and professions of their moral superiority, Trump’s manifest limitations of character, and hence their correctness.

But I keep thinking, what if that crazed fucker actually solves a world problem or two? What would it be like to have an Iran which was afraid of the United States? A North Korea that was relatively pacific? A China that was working constructively with the US? A Canada without milk marketing boards? [to reduce it to the purely local]. A United States with a simplified tax system and lower rates?

To be a conservative is to be concerned with error, particularly one’s own. A system of government designed around the reality of fallibility results from concerns for error, for over-concentration of power, for the excesses of popular will.

I happen to think the constitution of the United States goes too far in dispersing power, and that a great deal of the irresponsibility of its constituent parts derives from an excessive concern for a recurrence of George III. Nonetheless, I continue to suspect the political system can turn at any moment into tyranny when popular enthusiams are not sufficiently constrained.

Does that make me a tory? Yes. Does it make me a conservative? Well yes, but of a liberal society.

What mostly concerns me about the anti-Trumpians and the global warming catastrophists is a shared conviction of their righteousness, and an imperviousness to evidence. No amount of evidence seems enough to jolt them from their doctrinal assurance.

Who is the true believer in that case?