“Our citizens did not win freedom together, did not survive horrors together, did not face down evil together, only to lose our freedom to a lack of pride and confidence in our values.” Donald Trump on his one-way tour to Antenora in defense of values he doesn’t hold.
So the talking points are out. On Trump’s speech in Poland. The left calls it a speech for white nationalists and fascists, the right is praising as Reaganesque. While the left might be going a bit too far here, there are certainly a lot of better instances of Trump reaching out to fascism, the Right has clearly lost its damn mind.
But let’s quickly go over the major talking points from both sides.
The left in its typical delusions sees any defense of anything but multiculturalism that views all values as equal is evil. “In his speech in Poland on Thursday, Donald Trump referred 10 times to “the West” and five times to “our civilization.” His white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means.” or “The West is a racial and religious term.” as a piece in the Atlantic put it. This is one of the real problems with opposition to Trump—the people who oppose him and have the largest platform are batshit crazy. Morons, just mentioning the West is not racist. There is a long tradition of calling the intellectual and historical tradition of Greece and the Levant all the way through to the democratic-capitalist faction of the Cold War “The West.” That’s not that bad, but that seems to be all you can point to. The fact that the crowd was a hand picked bunch of neo-fascist might have been a bigger point than his shitty speech, but that would require a depth of understanding far beyond what the left is capable of.
Meanwhile the Right seems to point to the fact that he defended Western Civilization, and said we would defend it and how dare you say that is anything but American and wonderful. The problem here is that just because Trump threw out a few terms like “individual freedom” and “chase their dreams” and the apologists on the right went into orgasmic glee. I would personally have liked to see some action helping people chase their dreams, but all I see is an Obamacare II bill and more crony policies, I would love to see individual freedom defended, but all I see are blocks to free trade, free migration, free press, due process, and capitalism in general. A basic rule of all human interaction is to judge people by their actions not their words. That’s what we judged Reagan on, yeah Reagan could give a good speech—at a much higher reading level than anything Trump can give…but that’s because Reagan edited all his speeches, Trump just reads the drivel his writers give him, and probably doesn’t even understand them very well…what with all the big words like “individual” and “human spirit.”—but Reagan was a great leader not because he could give a good speech or even convince a lot of people to believe in him. Reagan stands out as a President because he did the right things. He believed in the very principles of America because he understood them, unlike this hack who has nothing but meaningless platitudes. He listened to people around him and changed his mind when he was presented with information, for instance he did not start out as a supply-sider but was convinced by the arguments of men like Jack Kemp, unlike this excuse who doesn’t even have any principles to change but rather goes with whatever shiny thing is put in front of him. Reagan understood peace through strength meant using discretion, having talks with Gorbachev, rather than this twit who wants to saber rattle everywhere he goes like the weak bully he is. Reagan did things that defined a great leader. Trump tries, and fails, to give speeches that make him sound like a leader.
But ignoring that both the Left and the Right are morally and intellectually bankrupt at this point and both support and oppose this ass for the wrong reasons.
The real reason is not just that Trump’s speech and his later actions are all in favor of Russian policy but that Trump for all his words doesn’t know what Western Civilization is or what the values it stands for are, let alone why they should be defended. More importantly he is usually in opposition to them.
So let’s go over a few of those actual values of Western Civilization, the values that have propelled any people, no matter the race or religion they come from, who have adopted these values to be a prosperous civilization that brings happiness to the individual and prosperity to society.
For starters let’s go with the values we inherited from the Ancient World:
Rule of Law.
Virtue Based Ethics (specifically the Aristotelian Cardinal virtues of Temperance, Moderation, Fortitude, and Justice).
A respect for reason either in balance with or over faith.
Value of the Individual Human Life.
Freedom of Belief.
These are values that, even while imperfectly carried out in Athens and Rome, led these cultures to be pinnacles of civilization at their time, where more people than ever before had the opportunity to achieve happiness and for society to make great strides in quality of life, the sciences, and the arts. Even when adopted by the Muslims during the Abbasid Caliphate you had the height of the Islamic Golden Age, of which preserved the wisdom of the Classical World for Europe to later rediscover, and made huge and necessary jumps in mathematics and science that we are still dependent on today. At the same time, Europe had turned its back on these principles, and like Islam today, was living a fairly backward and stagnant existence—thus proving the individual religion is rather irrelevant to a society’s well being. Certainly there needs to be faith, but so long as the Western values of law, democracy and property hold sway, it really doesn’t matter what name you call God.
But once the West did rediscover the best parts of the Ancient World they not only began to embrace them, but even improved on them. They added such things as
Equality under the law.
Intellectual Property Rights.
Freedom of Speech.
You can see these in American history, again not always perfectly, but falling short of the perfection of an ideal or value does not mean we do not hold it as important.
You see it in the Declaration of Independence which charges King George III with such sins as blocking free trade or putting up impediments to unfettered immigration to America. And you can see values, even when perverted—as progressives have done to the idea of equality under the law to total equality—running through the highest points of American history and the history of the entire West. You see nations in South America and Asia growing in all ways when they adopt these ideas. You see any group of people of any color, creed or religion benefitting from them.
In fact the only play you don’t see them in is anything Donald Trump has done. From declaring war on a free press, to getting a running start on what appears to a personal goal of being guilty of every single charge laid at the feet of George III, to have no concern for limited government or capitalism. Every action this man takes is against the actual values of the West.
These are values that are right and good and true. They should and need to be defended. And he is in opposition to all of them. So the left is stupid for thinking Western Civilization is not something that should be defended, and the Right is stupid thinking that a few meaningless phrases matter when actions do not back up the actual values those phrases are supposed to be a short-hand for. And Trump and his vile supporters are just wrong for being opposed to the values that should be defended—god knows what they think Western values means.
But listed above are the values that we should be defending. Granted it’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start, and if we secure those values then the others tend to follow.