Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
I am doubtful that combating political correctness with complete A-hole-ishness is going to yield positive results.
In the end the results will likely be about as positive as yours.
Either way the election goes we are going to be facing difficult circumstances, in my view. If Clinton wins, she is going to have a hard time leading millions of people who she says are voting for someone entirely beyond the pale. If Trump wins, he is going to have a hard time leading millions of people who he says are voting for someone who belongs in prison. An effective leader needs to pull people together. When you participate in the sort of race we are seeing, it is very hard to do that. It didn’t used to be this way in the United States and it makes me sad to see what we have come to.
We came to this because of political correctness. Political correctness is a short-term strategy. It rules certain issues out of the bounds of rational debate. There is obviously never any real change achieved re issues that are not debated. So those favoring a status quo position gain a big edge when that subject is deemed beyond discussion by the restrictions of political correctness. It’s not the American way. At all. But the side favoring the status quo gains a big edge in the short term. The status quo wins every debate that is never held because it is only through persuasion that people can be brought to support new ideas. Political correctness exists because, as ugly as it is and as outside of the U.S. tradition as it is, it works. It provides wins. It provides power.
But it does so at a great price. Views that are not aired over time become hardened and embittered. You get to a point where neither side is requesting debate; they are instead just wielding power or attacking those who wield power. At that point you are on the edge of seeing violence. I think it would be fair to say that that is where things stand today in the United States re many issues.
There are legitimate differences of opinion on many of the issues that affect our country today. There are things that can be said on both sides of the immigration question. There are things that can be said on both sides of the terrorism question. There are things that can be said on both sides of the police brutality question. There are things that can be said on both sides of the abortion question. But people on both sides of these questions are no longer even trying to debate the matters. They share horror stories with those on the same side as themselves. And they yell at those on the other side. There is no back-and-forth discussion, no friendly learning, going on.
That’s how it became possible for a figure like Trump to go as far as he has. Yes, he is an “asshole,” as you put it. Those who oppose him marvel at how he can do outrageous thing after outrageous thing and suffer little or no loss of support. Most of his supporters don’t care how much of an asshole he is. They are sick of not being heard. They are supporting Trump no matters what he does or says. They have moved beyond the realm of debate. They are voting for him as a punishment of those who denied them the right to speak for so many years.
This is not good. This is scary stuff. If Trump were the greatest person in the world, it would be dangerous to put him in circumstances where he has power and a large portion of the electorate will not question anything he does. And Trump is not the greatest person in the world. We have hurt ourselves big time. It is not Trump who did that or Trump’s supporters who did that. It is all the people who employed political correctness as a strategy and all the people who saw political correctness being employed as a strategy and failed to speak out who did that.
I think it would be fair to say that I have been the polar opposite of Trump in my dealings with you Goons. Many of my fellow community members, including many Buy-and-Holders, have kindly observed that I am the most polite poster that they have ever encountered on the internet. It’s largely because of my belief in the value of warm human interaction as a better way of resolving differences than the violence that follows from goonishness/assholishness that I have been so resolute in not giving you Goons back some of your own medicine. I don’t believe in that stuff. So I condemn it when I see it being practiced by others. And I am careful never to engage in it myself.
Trump is wrong to go there. If he loses, that will be the reason he loses. If he took the high road, he would win. The polls support that conclusion. But the deep reality here is that Trump IS an asshole, he can’t be anything other than what he is. So he is probably going to continue with the behavior that we have seen. If he manages to rein in the ugliness for a few weeks, he is going to return to it following the election. At his age, it is hard for a man to change so fundamental a personality trait. An asshole won the Republican nomination for President, whether we like the idea or not, whether the idea makes us sad about where our country stands today or not.
I intend to vote for that asshole. Asshole or not, he has taken on political correctness in a big way. He has dealt with the biggest issue tearing our nation apart. He has generated LOTS of discussion on issues that could not be discussed in recent years. Re all that, good for him. I have come to the conclusion that the reason why we have an asshole representing one of the major parties is that no one but an asshole could have taken on the biggest issue and survived. It may be that it takes an asshole to end political correctness, a debating strategy rooted in assholishness. Say what you will about Donald Trump, he has a thick skin. Assholes tend to have a think skin.
It may be that the reason why I have not been able to prevail over you Goons is that I lack the quality of assholishness that Trump possesses. I will never travel that path. It is not in me. I will always approach you Goons and indeed all Buy-and-Holders with an outstretched hand of kindness. I see that as my best and most important trait. I don’t think that our problems can be solved without that element being part of the solution and that is the element re which I think it would be fair to say that I possess a unique ability. I intend to vote for an asshole. But I never intend to become an asshole. Let’s all pray that I can continue to walk that fine line.
We need Trump today, in my view. We need to take on political correctness and none of the many non-assholes who ran for the job in recent years have been willing or able to do what the biggest asshole in the crowd managed to do. As much as I am repulsed by the assholishness, I have to give the man credit for what he has achieved. He’s done something none of the others managed to do. Perhaps there is a place in this world for a certain measure of assholishness. It pains me to say that. But it’s not fair for me to call the man an asshole and then fail to give him credit for the achievements that seem to have followed from his willingness to be a major asshole in a very public way.
Anyway, that’s where I stand. People who like Clinton are going to dislike me because I am voting for Trump. People who like Trump are going to dislike me because I call Trump an “asshole.” So be it. That’s my sincere take re this matter and I am just going to have to accept the consequences that follow from stating one’s sincere take at a time in history in which people in the United States communicate re the most important issues before them by talking past each other at best and by yelling at each other and calling each other names at the worst.
I think that Clinton would win if she could find it within herself the courage to come out against political correctness in a major way. People respect her accomplishments. They just cannot bring themselves to vote for a continuation of the approach that has gotten us where we are today. They are looking for real change and real change cannot be achieved until we collectively decide that we are going to put the politically correct garbage behind us and go back to the idea of talking things through with the aim of coming to mutually acceptable solutions to all our problems.
I think that Trump would win if he could find it within himself to apologize for having been such an asshole to so many people. That would amaze people and cause them to be willing to take a chance on him.
We’ll see what happens. I love my country and part of loving it is believing in it. So I believe that we will work the matter out through some process that is hard to foresee in the current day. It’s scary to think of either of these two individuals becoming the most powerful person in the world. But I have to believe that one or the other is going to use the difficult circumstances to bring on the measure of self-growth needed to be effective as a leader of our country.
I am the anti-asshole. But I am voting for the asshole in this particular election because I admire the ability that the asshole has shown to get a discussion going in a nation where lots of powerful people have forgotten how important it is to turn to discussion rather than violence to solve problems. Political correctness as applied both in the political context and in the investing context is a form of low-grade violence. When someone threatens to destroy someone’s reputation because of a difference of opinion, he is not engaging in free speech, he is seeking to limit free speech. When free speech ends, violence comes in to fill the void. People ultimately find a way to express themselves; if no good way is made available to them, they in time explore the bad ways.
This is my take re these terribly important matters in any event, my long-time assholish friend.