Why We Need Presidential Beauty
A couple of weeks ago, Donald Trump's sexual indiscretions were again front-page stories. Part of the conversation was, again, whether someone who lies to his wife and violates his marital vows can be trusted to govern effectively. I'd like to be able to argue that a character flaw of this nature sabotages one's ability to lead effectively, but history proves otherwise. Think of just recent presidents, each of whom had affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson—commonly recognized as some of our greatest recent national leaders (it's too early to tell if Bill Clinton will be considered in this class).
So what exactly is the problem, then, if it seems to make no difference in the ability to lead a nation wisely? Why then make a stink about Trump's affairs?
It's the same reason we should make a stink about his coarse language. As David Masciotra put it in "The Darker Implications of Trump's Vulgarity":
The ill effects of public vulgarity aren't as evident as those of bad policy or failures of diplomacy, but they still degrade the American experience, making the general culture less habitable, less enjoyable, and even less beautiful.
That's why character matters in Trump, and why it mattered in Bill Clinton and a host of others before him. It's just really hard to be proud of our nation and its leaders when they carry on like this.
Lust Is Not Adultery
At the risk of disagreeing with our Lord (I trust I'm only nuancing him!), I wrote this piece last week. It's in response to the use of Scripture by one evangelical brother to justify Trump's affairs.
Another 'End of America' Book
Faithful readers of the GR know I'm more of a pessimist when it comes to the future of the nation. My instinct is that the American experiment, which is part of the large Enlightenment experiment of liberalism, is on its last legs. And books like Patrick Deneen's Why Liberalism Failed only encourages my worst instincts. Sorry, but I seem to be late to the party on this book, which has been noted by New York Times columnists David Brooks, and Russ Douthat, as well as by writers in The Federalist, the National Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The Week, among other outlets. The one thing most of these reviewers have in common is that they each believe liberalism has the resources to make a recovery. Not sure what to make of that since Deneen thinks our perpetual optimism about the future is unwarranted and part of the problem.
Go 'Amazon Go'
For some, the real problem of America is not liberalism but Amazon.com. I admit to feeling that some days, only to turn around and read about its creation of a grocery store without checkout lines. And then I'm head over heels about modernity, technology, and the liberalism that brought it about!
Grace and peace,
Friday, February 2, 2018
Lust Is Not Adultery