Diary

Trump and the Death of Conservatism

I have read many arguments for why we must support Donald Trump.  Generally the arguments boil down to one of just a few reasons.  The first argument is that Trump is actually good for the country.  The second argument is that Trump is an unknown, versus Clinton who is a known evil.  The third argument is that both Trump and Hillary are evils, yet Hillary is the worse of the two evils, and therefore, because Hillary will essentially destroy the country with her presidency, we must support Trump to avoid this catastrophe.  I intend to address the third argument in this diary, and show why it is morally bankrupt.

I don’t intend to address the first two arguments because I think they have been beaten to death already.  If you think that Trump is morally good for this country, or that his so called policies will actually lead to any long term benefits to this nation, then there is no point in arguing with you.  Likewise if you believe that what Trump is isn’t entirely clear on what he is, then you are intentionally deluded.  These same arguments were made on the left for Barack Obama, and they weren’t convincing then either.

So, let’s look at the argument for Trump over Hillary.  After all, the argument is that we must support Trump because Hillary is so bad that we don’t really have a choice.  Hillary will appoint radical leftists to the Supreme Court, she will grant amnesty via executive order, she will preside over a Presidency that will do even more harm than what Obama has done so far.  Trump, at least, won’t be as bad as her, because his policies, while potentially damaging, will be checked somewhat by the House and the Senate.  Also, Trump doesn’t have the sheer interest in doing as much damage as Hillary does.  His general laziness will save us from the disasters that Hillary would bring.

Let’s just accept this argument on its face.  Let’s accept that Trump is better than Hillary, that at the very least he won’t do as much damage to our economy or the judiciary.  Let’s accept that a few of the things that Trump will do would, in fact, benefit America.  Let’s accept that when we compare the two of them, on a “preferred results” scale, Hillary would be a giant “0%” whereas Trump would be a “50%.”

None of that matters.

Here’s why that doesn’t matter: If we accept the philosophy behind “we must support Trump because of Hillary” is valid, then we have given up on Conservatism altogether.  Follow with me as I try to explain what I’m talking about.

Conservatism, as a philosophical position, doesn’t argue that we should support lower taxes because this will lead to job growth and make America stronger.  Conservatism doesn’t argue that we should close our borders because this will allow for economic stability and get American’s working so they can provide for their families.  Conservatism doesn’t say we should have Constitutionalist judges so we can preserve our rights.

All of these things are good, and we should want lower taxes, a secure border, and judges who are limited by the Constitution.  The problem is that too many conservatives have elevated these positions to first order goals.  Conservatives have taken the position that our goal is to have a stronger economy, a more secure America, and a greater adherence to the Constitution as an end to themselves.  As long as we reach these ends, the methods that get us there are good.

But, Conservatism as a philosophy, isn’t built on these goals as ends in themselves.  Think about it like this: Why do we want a strong, prosperous America, and judges who pay attention to the Constitution?  We want these things because our true goal is to benefit humanity, as many humans as we can.  Conservatives, before anything else, are humanitarians who put love of their fellow man as the highest good (politically speaking, after all many of us are committed Christians who put love of God as our highest goal).  We want a strong, prosperous, Constitutionally conscious America because such a nation redounds to the good not only of our own citizens, but to the good of people all across the world.

We are against the social policies of the left, such as a higher minimum wage and greater welfare expenditures, not because we dislike poor people, but because we see that these policies actually keep people enslaved.  We want people to succeed, but we recognize that success cannot be achieved without the possibility of failure.  Human nature is such that people will rely upon the largess of the government if given the option of doing so.  This then insults their humanity and discourages true charity, leading to greater dependency upon the government.  For the love of our fellow man, we reject the easy answers of the left, preferring instead the hard truths of reality.

What does all this have to do with Trump?

Trump stands opposed to the real end of Conservative philosophy.  Trump has taken a position of “whatever it takes to win.”  In fact, this is why so many of his supporters love him.  They say he hits back, he fights by the same rules the democrats use against us.  When they sling mud at him, he is willing to fire right back.  He puts off the use of PC language and shoots straight from the hip.

The problem is that his “straight from the hip” is vulgar and insulting to others.  If all our politicians were to talk like Trump then we’d have our entire Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches going onto Twitter at all hours of the day and night insulting one another, mocking each other, making jokes about their sexual prowess and the size of their genitalia, and then complaining that things “aren’t fair” any time someone reported anything negative about them.

The rhetoric of the Trump campaign has not elevated his fellow man.  He has not called us to a better and brighter vision of the future through examining the moral failures of our current government or system.  Instead, Trump has acquiesced to those same moral failings and wears them as a badge of honor.  The only difference is that instead of viewing his fellow citizen as cruel perpetrators of violence against others, Trump looks at Americans as victims of the violence of others.  He looks and sees people as victims of the violence of China in economic terms, Mexico in terms of local production, and Islam in terms of foreign conflict.

He doesn’t look and see poor philosophy which has lead to poor action, but rather bad deals and poor governance.  He has evinced no understanding of the philosophy behind Conservatism at all.  The idea of free trade and the economic benefits it brings to millions of people–leading to greater productivity and an increase in the standards of living across the globe–is of no consequence to Trump.  He only cares that people lost jobs because capital moved where it could be better utilized, and therefore that gives him the opportunity to seize upon that pain to gain power.  His goal isn’t to better the lives of his fellow man, but rather to make America economically more powerful.

Electing Trump because he is “better than Hillary” is essentially saying that the philosophy behind Conservatism doesn’t really matter.  What matters is the end result of a slightly better America than we would otherwise have.  Once we have said, “I’ll vote for a candidate who doesn’t actually care about his fellow man, because the end results of his policies are better than the alternative,” then we have given up on Conservative philosophy altogether.  We are accepting that the “end” of having a better country justifies the “means” of supporting Trump.

Once we have taken this step, we have essentially admitted that as long as the alternative is bad enough, we are willing to accept any means at all to reach a slightly better end.  After all, if we must vote Trump because it is better than the result of ending up with Hillary, then what else must we accept?

Millions of babies are aborted each year, yet we aren’t using those aborted babies to do scientific research.  Shouldn’t we accept that it is better to use those abortions for scientific research instead of simply allowing them to be discarded as medical waste?  After all, not using aborted babies isn’t going to decrease the number of abortions.  Isn’t the “end” of medical accomplishments sufficient justification of the “means” of using aborted babies?  That’s what we’ve been told for so long, and if we accept the philosophy behind “You must support Trump” then what’s your philosophical argument against using aborted babies for medical research?

Perhaps, since we’ve accepted the “Trump is better than Hillary argument,” it is time we revisit Margaret Sanger and the Eugenics movement.  After all, isn’t the “end” of a healthier and stronger human population worth the “means” of having to sterilize those who could pass down genetic problems?  While we’re at it, shouldn’t we advocate for the destruction, preferably in utero, of children who have genetic defects of all kinds?  Think about it, we then get the double benefit of using the aborted baby for medical research, while at the same time promoting a better and healthier genetic future.

Yes, the above two positions are horrible, and anyone making such an argument would be laughed out of the Conservative movement, or at least should be.  But the problem is that we have respected Conservatives who are making that very argument in regards to Trump.  We must accept him as the alternative to Hillary, and we must vote for him, because the alternative is too bad to accept.  We must justify our support of Trump by end result that we are able to stop Hillary.

Since when did we, as Conservatives, accept that the ends justifies the means?  And if you’re willing to accept this, then what else are you willing to accept, what other perversion, what other evil, so long as the end result is noble enough?