August 24th. Four weeks and a day to the autumnal equinox. I guess I should call it the first day of fall, but autumnal equinox sounds better, more educated. But probably snooty to some. To them, that probably makes me a pointy head.
I’m not sure why those that engage in thought as a pastime and/or for a living are called pointy heads. My head is not pointed. It’s a dome. Round like Charlie Brown, who arguably serves as the best characterization of the good and decent people Garrison Keillor writes about, who despite having the football yanked from them each time they swing their leg, have faith in the essential goodness of humanity.
If I am a pointy head, I’m relatively a second-rate one. I think of brilliant wordsmiths and polemicists, like now-gone William F. Buckley and James Kirkpatrick. Both were titans of the right. But I enjoyed reading their pieces because they were sober, not sober as in not drunk or high, though WFB did take a crack with pot though he made sure there was sufficient space between him and the U.S. territorial waters while skiffing the Atlantic in his yacht. But sober in thought and in how they presented their arguments.
Kathleen Parker does that in the Washington Post. She’s a joy to read and listen to. A happy conservative. A rarity. David Brooks of the New York Times does just fine too, though if you want a pointy-headed smarty pants, he’s your guy.
Some 16 years ago Buckley commented presciently about the least sober of politicians, Donald Trump. Yes, Trump is a politician. If you run for office, you’re a politico. If elected, you are part of the political establishment, which is like the most really awful thing one could be now. Even below puppy beater, coke sniffer, or sleaze that bilks his grandmother out of her life savings or hotel developer who does likewise to his contractors.
“Look for the narcissist,” wrote Buckley. “The most obvious target in today’s lineup is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America. But whatever the depths of self-enchantment, the demagogue has to say something.
“So what does Trump say? That he is a successful businessman and that that is what America needs in the Oval Office. There is some plausibility in this, though not much. The greatest deeds of American Presidents — midwifing the new republic; freeing the slaves; harnessing the energies and vision needed to win the Cold War — had little to do with a bottom line.”
I found that quote on the conservative Red State website. Red State was founded by now-gone Andrew Breitbart who in 2011 said of Donald Trump, “Of course Donald Trump is not a conservative. He was for Nancy Pelosi before he was against her.”
Now one of Breitbart’s disciples, Stephen Bannon, has been empowered by Trump to lead his rape, slash, burn, pillage, take-no-Hillary-as prisoner campaign.
The demagogue. We’ve seen him once or twice in history. Benito Mussolini. Juan Peron. Joseph McCarthy. Okay, more than twice.
With little flair and subtle stroke of his pen, Buckley administered the coup de grâce to Trump.
“In the final analysis, just as the king might look down with terminal disdain upon a courtier whose hypocrisy repelled him, so we have no substitute for relying on the voter to exercise a quiet veto when it becomes more necessary to discourage cynical demagogy, than to advance free health for the kids. That can come later, in another venue; the resistance to a corrupting demagogy should take first priority.”
Modern conservatism’s Adam thus says responsible voters need to set aside political goals, from security or health care, to reject the demagogue. Principled conservatives have. A growing percentage of Republicans have. Craven ones like House Speaker Paul Ryan and our own Senator Cory Gardner, who is against Trump but voting for him, haven’t gotten WFB’s memo.
Then, there are those who just plain agree with the Trumpster. He speaks their language, more profane than profanity.
Trump in a Miss America swimsuit competition. A narcissistic, cynical, corrupting demagogue. A sight that doesn’t take pointy headedness to get.