Thursday, May 4, 2017

Trump v Obama As Seen Through An Emersonian Lens


A friend:

My cultural excavation of the day is the opening pages of Emerson's Self-Reliance, which reads like a blue-print for President Trump's approach to the world.  It's surprising how closely he follows the Emersonian ideals and admonitions.  

...The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner, and would disdain as much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude of human nature. A boy is in the parlour what the pit is in the playhouse; independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift, summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome. He cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an independent, genuine verdict. You must court him: he does not court you. But the man is, as it were, clapped into jail by his consciousness. As soon as he has once acted or spoken with eclat, he is a committed person, watched by the sympathy or the hatred of hundreds, whose affections must now enter into his account. There is no Lethe for this. Ah, that he could pass again into his neutrality! Who can thus avoid all pledges, and having observed, observe again from the same unaffected, unbiased, unbribable, unaffrighted innocence, must always be formidable. He would utter opinions on all passing affairs, which being seen to be not private, but necessary, would sink like darts into the ear of men, and put them in fear....


...Pretty good.

As I read it, the boy wants some of the man in him and the reverse. Strengths and weaknesses go to both. Here may be a kicker: Trump has structures and advisors that mitigate the boy in him. Obama had 0 doing that to the man in him. He was all man, and suffered all the debilities of all his manliness, the culmination of which is paralysis, outsized caution making a foreign policy fool of him, a fool who more than once put his foot in his mouth and then tripped over himself from having one foot in such an unnatural place. There is circuitry in Trump's craziness, in his seemingly bizarre zig zagging. He seems in the end, with paths carefully plotted by those around him, to get, one way or the other, to where he wants to go, his child being the father of his man. 

This is beside who is ideologically preferable. It is a comment on who is more leaderly given Emerson"s dichotomy....

No comments:

Post a Comment