It is interesting, at least to me, that I have received more “negative feedback” from the few words I’ve expended on Donald Trump, than on any topic I have touched in the history of this little blogue. I have, in addition to quick abuse, received long anguished letters from several people who say they had been following me for years, in mainstream media and out, and were now parting ways. A couple of correspondents regretted there was no way to cancel their free rides. I have been effectively and repeatedly accused of “elitism,” which seems to replace treason as the crime most egregious in a democratic polity.
Have I sneered at ye Donald? Not as much as I sneered at e.g. Barack Hussein Obama Soebarkah, when he was rising to power. And one of my points against him was that he is mesmerizing, even when he is talking rot.
Do I consider myself superior to Trump? Not in real estate holdings. Do I think he has the emotional make-up of a nine-year-old child, but the intellectual equipment of a lad much younger? I suppose. Do I count him dangerously vulgar? Yes. Am I an elitist?
You betcha. The odd thing is, I’ve been confessing to elitism for as many decades as I can count on the fingers of one hand, using the index of the other. Did my critics not notice? Can they find an instance when I have spoken well of populism? Why wouldn’t I be opposed to this populist blowhard?
Verily, I think everybody should be elitist, as much as they are able. We should all be trying to raise the tone of our public life. We should all learn to disparage what is low, and praise what is higher in our human nature, such as it is.
The populist reader, I observe, might agree with you nine cases in ten, but if you disagree once, you are finished. In other words, he is not open to the possibility of education, or independent thought. Trump seems to satisfy his natural impulses.
While it is difficult to discern any principles from the verbal circuities of this nightfall loon, Trump drops hints that he is against everything I am for, and for everything I’m against. Why then should I support him? Because he might win the election? Because, if he doesn’t, some Democrat might win?
It is not my fault if Americans are reduced by the weight of history to the kind of choices people made on the Eastern Front of the last World War — where “none of the above” could have won any poll.
If for no other reason, I would prefer Cruz because I can follow much of what he says. There is little left of Cicero, in the rhetoric of the Republic, but Cruz does not speak in a stream of over-spontaneous coordinate clauses with loose or missing connectives, and without the graded pauses where one might intuitively supply a comma, or semi-colon, or stop, or even a mark of exclamation, into the riverrun of drivel.
Rhetoric is important. Read the early prose of Ennius, or of Chaucer, and gentle reader will discover that they are incomprehensible. It took centuries for the Romans and the English respectively to master the means to conversational expression that could have meaning if transcribed; that did not entirely depend upon grunts and gestures. How soon it is lost!
The verse of both ancient poets is disciplined and focused by metrical regularity. Without this, they go right off the rails. Prose rhythm, and with it reliably ordered civilization, comes always later in the day.
Rhetoric grows from nature and experience, from out of the poetic heart of every human language. God gave us speech, not only to communicate, but to construct a civil life. He expects us, gradually by an aesthetic path, to master logic and consistency. And then, He expects us to maintain it.
The only possible answer, in our political crisis, is to insist that all candidates for public office speak exclusively in metrically-regulated verse, for the foreseeable future; by preference in ecclesiastical Latin. “Trumping” (it is a colloquialism of the English nursery) should be reserved for consenting adults, out of sight and scent.
We must rebuild from barbarity again.