Screwtape: It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons, we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally
CS Lewis, the Screwtape letters, Letter #1
It’s not often that I disagree with Ace of Spades who is one of the brightest bloggers in the barn but when I saw this piece at his site concerning Donald Trump’s claim titled:
The Ego Has Landed: Why Trump Damaged Himself Tonight
my thought was that Ace is not only wrong, but spectacularly wrong.
This is not to say Ace’s reasoning is off, it’s actually very good and is post is worth reading in full.
Trump specifically and completely contradicted a belief that 75-80% of Republicans have about Bush — that he was a fundamentally decent man, perhaps overwhelmed by a very difficult period, who made an erroneous decision based on incomplete information — and instead offered a new belief, that Bush deliberately lied about Iraq’s WMD’s, a position that 75-80% of Republicans have long not only rejected but have been actively hostile towards.
With no better reason to adopt this new claim other than that Donald Trump said it.
I doubt very much people will be willing to make this leap with Trump. Gathering political support is all about getting a buy-in of belief at a price that people are willing to pay (usually, a low price– that’s why politicians strain to parrot back to you things you already believe).
I think Trump, who has been a past-master at getting people to buy-in to a very low-cost premise — “Let’s Make America Great Again” — just made a very high cost premise central to buying into him.
and his closing line is devastating:
With just a few poorly chosen angry words, Trump declared a lot of allegiance to the enemy tribe, and essentially said “I’m not like you.”
Unfortunately Ace is missing or overlooking two things in his argument.
#1 Donald Trump primary draw isn’t to the avg primary voter.
This is an argument I’ve been making since day one when I declared his announcement speech a Triumph at a time when most others considered it a joke not knowing that the joke was on them. Trump’s target audience is not the GOP faithful niche, the larger people who follow politics niche or the people who watch the cable news niche or even the larger people who watch nightly news niche.
His group is the larger, people who watch Donald Trump on TV niche and said niche consists of plenty of people who either share said belief about Bush or having heard the left’s background “Bush lied people died” BS will not question it.
The people who pay attention have always been outnumbered by those who do not and if even a fraction of said people turn out they will overwhelm the folks Ace of Spades is referring to.
#2 It doesn’t take into account human nature
The ability to admit one is wrong is one of the most difficult things in the world to do (why do you think the sacrament of confession is generally done behind a screen) but it’s even harder to admit someone who you have been hitting or arguing with on the said subject is right. This is human nature and has been true since the first days of the written word.
If admitting one is wrong is hard in private, how much harder is it for a person to make such an admission in an age of instant communication when there are dozens of people reinforcing the wrong idea on social media from Twitter to facebook and more important when those same people are ready to tear a person apart for daring the stray from the reservation?
To come out and say: “This is wrong” in such a situation requires a thick skin and actual courage.
I suspect that given the number of years past since the invasion of Iraq and the general disdain for the GOP establishment that Jeb Bush represents, many people who might otherwise object to Trump’s errors concerning WMD and attacks on GW Bush find an excuse to rationalize it, explain it away as “Trump being Trump” and let themselves be persuaded that this is simply a blip, one of those contradictions in belief that Screwtape told us about that is just not worth getting fired up about, particularly not in public.
Particularly if it means being on the losing side.
The fight against human nature is one that humanity has fought forever but the truth is winning that fight is the exception, rather than the rule and it will take more than one rant from a series of rants to overcome it.
It’s possible that I”m wrong here but given what we’ve seen over the last six months I see no reason to believe that I am.
Given where the economy is rather than where the MSM pretends it is to those who have kicked in (particularly subscribers), thanks much.
If however you have not & are both able and inclined I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us either close January strong or start February stronger by hitting DaTipJar.
That gets all the bills paid. Consider Subscribing 100 Subscribers at $20 a month will get the job done and then some.
Additionally our subscribers get our podcast emailed directly to them before it show up anywhere else.