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The Candid Conservative: Trump is right
Thursday, 05 October 2017 10:42

“We cannot solve life’s problems except by solving them.”

— M. Scott Peck



By CARL MUMPOWER
Special to the Daily Planet

 

The Problem

We live in the age of the lie.

A guy named Scott Peck told us it was going to happen. In the early ‘80s, this renowned author of “The Road Less Traveled” wrote another, arguably even more important, book.

“People of the Lie” was not an easy read. The author, a Christian psychiatrist, asserted that the generation of that time – my generation – was busily crafting a culture of liars in business, politics, medicine, religion, education, industry and the law. It was his take that this systemic corruption would one day take the heart out of our country.

We’ve arrived at that time. Recovery will not be pleasant.

 

Really

Those who marvel at the evident bias and indifference to journalistic ethics demonstrated by most media outlets can find solace in the insights of Dr. Peck.

He understood something that most of us don’t. Dishonesty – like anger, drugs, alcohol and every other short-cut to power or happiness – is addictive. The more you do it, the more you will do it and the less you will know it. That’s because with every measure of addiction comes a matching measure of denial. Denial makes us stupid on top of hooked.

Journalists have low immunity to the dishonesty virus. They’re rewarded with jobs, salaries, and praise for saying what people – including editors and program directions – want to hear. They are punished for being independent thinkers or otherwise devoted to their professional code of ethics.

We thus find ourselves in the midst of a corrupted media storm of unprecedented intensity. By comparison, the turn of the last century’s “Yellow Journalism” scourge was amateur hour.  

One can thus explain why, when media lies are exposed, the illumination produces a counter-intuitive reaction. Like a losing gambler, the response to being called is doubling down versus rethinking the merits of the game.

As with this generation’s opiate addicts, the media will not stop their deceptions until they self-destruct. There’s a fentanyl accelerator in the mix. His name is Donald Trump.


An easy target

Today’s President Trump is little different that yesterday’s Donald Trump. He’s always been a flamboyant personality with unrestrained chutzpah. Such people, however successful, are easily crafted into targets for ridicule. 

That didn’t matter when he was riding the ups and downs of casino life in Atlantic City. It matters greatly when he’s riding the ups and downs of the presidency.

Fortunately for those of us still reaching for the point of truth, being an easy target doesn’t make one’s a powerless target.   

That’s because truth is like Godzilla. You can hurt it or even ignore it, but you can’t kill it. It will inevitably stomp out your stuffing and reveal the frail, fragile and feeble nature of deceptions, lies and distortions.

Nonetheless, our duly elected president finds himself in a position not unlike that of a gladiator taking on the Roman power structure. Though he doesn’t make it easy on his supporters, he still has half of America believing in him. That’s because more of us than not reject the central value of people of the lie – image matters more than substance.

Our current president is definitely not a style guy.

He’s a mover and shaker – and for those of us who believe Washington is a swampish fulfillment of Dr. Peck’s visionary prediction, a much-needed voice of candor. As such, he’s one of the few people who might be able to slow down the wholesale sacrifice of our constitutional republic to greed, vanity and folly.

Oh yes, there’s a bonus – so far, he’s been pretty much right about everything he’s done.

 

Somebody stop me!

Yes, I know. Everything you hear, see, and read – declares he’s done the opposite. Telling lies with enthusiasm is not a conversion tool.   

For the sake of argument, take a moment and think of one thing the president has done over the past eight months that has caused harm or otherwise result in disaster or reversal of fortune? All he’s done is irritate, offend, thwart, impair, confuse or agitate his antagonists. For conservative-minded realists, that’s a good thing.

Yes, I know, according to an army of journalists – most of whom surely skipped their mandatory two-hour lecture on ethics – he’s mucked it up at every turn. With due consideration to this “People of the Lie” fraternity, no matter how cleverly you echo a lie, it’s still a lie.  

 

A parade of successes

Dropping out of the Paris Climate Accords was an act of courage. This fantasy in international cooperation was an image over substance thing from day one. It gave most of the participants a pass on significant climate action while it set America up for further economic hardship.

That last bit has clearly not mattered to our leaders for decades and it can be measured by another thing Trump has been right about. Every active trade agreement we have is skewed against the United States. Yes, we benefit from trade agreements, but the way it’s set up now has us doing the equivalent of paying full sticker price for a car that’s not made very well.

For confirmation look no further than China. Under current trade arrangements, they get to restrict our imports; subsidize select industries; steal our technology; pirate our patents; and secure unimpaired markets in the U.S. That’s not free trade or fair trade – it’s fixed trade and Trump is right to try to do something about it.

Don’t believe that NAFTA should be an exception. Mexico and Canada don’t have China’s totally shameless approach to trade, but they are certainly addicted to game rigged in their favor.  

Consider the latest NAFTA nonsense whereby Canada has complained that having right-to-work states that don’t mandate unions gives us an unfair trade advantage. That’s kind of like a spouse abuser complaining about his wife’s cellphone access to the police. Trump’s firm but fair approach is – once again – right on target.   

Trump was also right on Korea. Thanks to a parade of “kick-the-can” presidents, he’s inherited a nuclear armed petulant little doughboy slobbering on the world. Think pitcher with one pitch. Take away his toys and assassins and what you have is a nation of starving zombies.

What Trump has done very right is to stimulate Korea to double down on their military investments. That’s an unsustainable mission and the hope is that their corrupt leadership collapses before the rest of the world’s despots help Kim Inc. become a truly viable nuclear power. Wearing him out is the best worse-case strategy we have to avoid war – now or later.

Trump was spot-on with Charlottesville. His observation that both sides were wrong was validated in spades by videos of that event and others. Hats off to the gentleman for refusing to do the usual politically correct pandering.

That’s important because we have an entrenched “People of the Lie” pattern in America today. Though conservative voices admirably and persistently disavowed right-wing extremists, liberal voices reliably and disingenuously excuse left-wing extremists. That leaves an equation whereby the crazy-right in white hoods are rightfully disenfranchised while the crazy-left Antifa types in black hoodies are enabled.  The KKK’s moment in history has passed. The left’s black shirts are just beginning.

Trump has more achievements than I have space, so let’s conclude his success parade with a quick list – a constitutionalist Supreme Court appointee; a surging stock market and economy; Europe’s acquiescence on carrying more NATO weight; dramatic decreases in illegal border entries; ISIS in retreat; realism on ObamaCare’s unsustainable promises; moratorium on “big government” federal regulatory grabs and non-essential hires; reversal of anti-police political atmosphere; and a personal favorite – a profound intrusion on the entitlement, power-grabs and narcissistic silliness of the left.

Wow, that last paragraph felt good.

 

Where from here?

Trump will continue to irritate his opponents and supporters alike. He has his own “trumping” style of leadership — and it’s not designed to endear. It does hold the potential to disrupt, rearrange, challenge and change a political reality long secured by a bodyguard of lies and liars.

Dr. Peck would suggest that Trump and his supporters, however, unpredictable, grating or confusing in style, may herald a better era.

Here’s to the possibility of a new American age birthed by “People of the Truth.”

• 

Carl Mumpower, a psychologist and former elected official, is chairman of the Buncombe County Republican Party. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 



 



 


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