Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Cult of Personality

Khrushchev and Kennedy (Source)
At work on Friday, my liberal colleague and I were discussing politics, after a fashion. As we are both committed to our beliefs, he to liberalism and I to conservatism, we still try to stay logical and open minded. Ya know, act civilized. I daresay that our association over the past few years has mellowed both our stances on numerous issues.

Certain politicians have given liberalism a bad name over the past few decades. Many of a conservative bent associate liberalism with the Democratic Party here in the United States. Perhaps the Democrats have confused liberalism with libertinism. They're not the same, though many of a progressive bent are more libertine than liberal. Such behavior is even encouraged in these "modern" times. Or so it seems and yes, I digress.

My colleague, who did vote for Shrillary, was initially surprised at the amount of dislike and disdain that that "lady" generated. Many people of his political leanings are still rather shocked that she lost the election. After all the Republicans put up a rather lame slate of candidates for which no one could really get excited. There were also far too many to choose from which tended to splinter the party and, more importantly, piss off their base.

Which is how we got Mr. Trump as President. Mind you, while I am no huge fan of the man, I find most politicians and businessmen to be poor company, I do think he's doing a fair job. He's doing what he said he was going to do, he's told the Europeans to put up or shut up, he's massacred a number of progressive sacred cows and, more importantly, he's rather more entertaining than any of the bland suits offered up as "the usual suspects" during the late Presidential campaign.

At any rate, my colleague now realizes, and concurs with, the people's dislike, if not outright hatred, of Shrillary and her entire clan. As he put it, "Why can't she just shut up and go away?" Indeed.

His next comment is what spurred this post. As we discussed the current horrid job the media is doing, on both "sides," he also admitted to watching both CNN and Fox. In order to try and get multiple points of reference and to try and see and hear the "real" stories in the news. Just like in the intelligence business, single source information can't be taken at face value unless you know and trust the source. Which can't really be said about any of the major networks. Come on, even Fox is biased and you and I both know it. (While we might say, "it's not as biased as CNN," it still leans a certain way. One thing I got a chuckle out of is my colleague mentioning he watches MSNBC for it's entertainment value, no one in their right mind can consider what it spews as "news.")

After that he opined that modern politics is nothing more than a cult of personality. I had to agree, but as the day went on, that phrase kept popping into my mind. Then I had to ask myself, what's wrong with that? Don't we want men and women of strong minds and personalities to be our leaders. Or do we prefer faceless bureaucrats, hovering in the shadows, creating rules everyone must obey? (Ya know, like the EU?)

To my way of thinking we actually want something in the middle. Something between a Caesar and a mindless crowd of gray functionaries.

For one thing the cult of personality has been associated with men like Julius Caesar, Napoléon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, men who are viewed by history as dictators who had no checks and balances upon their behavior, yet were either so loved (or feared) by the people they ruled that they could do as they wished.

While I don't equate Mr. Trump's predecessor (who shall not be named here, ever) with the like of Caesar and Napoléon, (known for their charismatic and often brilliant leadership) nor with the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, (known for their sheer evil and causing the deaths of millions of their own people) it's not a stretch of the imagination by any means to realize that what surrounded, and still surrounds, the former occupant of the Oval Office is unmistakably a cult of personality.

While a leader of great charisma can be a great thing, it also depends on whether that person has any talent for the job. It seems these days that many of our fellow citizens look more for form than substance. Symbols over accomplishment. We're all special and we're all important therefore we need someone who can "wow" us on social media and in the news. Run the country, solve our many problems, keep us safe in an increasingly dangerous world, nah, that's not important.

Shrillary failed because she felt it was "her turn" to be President and she acted like God's anointed, the Crown Princess if you will, the lady who would be queen. In reality she's just another political hack with connections who has convinced many people that "she's the most qualified."

The mainstream Republicans failed because they offered up more of the same old song and dance. There were a few new faces, but they were cut from the same mold as the old faces.

Yes, I know the Libertarians actually had a candidate for the presidency, whom I supported at first because I was tired of the "usual suspects" on the Republican side. Then I discovered/realized that the Libertarian ticket was just a couple of old recycled Republicans, and the vice presidential candidate was a loon to boot. No thanks.

So Donald Trump won. Was it because of the cult of personality? No, I don't think so. I think it was because the people who actually went out and voted hated Shrillary and figured that Mr. Trump was the lesser of two "evils."

If you think the election of 2016 was wild, crazy. and contentious, go read about the election of 1860.

To the low information voter, it was (and is) about the cult of personality, not about who can do a better job.

Idiots and morons, the lot of 'em.



Good tune...



20 comments:

  1. Lots of good stuff here Sarge.

    In the land of the sovereign citizen the most important personality is that of the sovereign citizen. I don't think very many Americans understand that. It's kind of a hard thing to wrap your mind around, but when you've been told all your life that you're "free" but that the government is in charge, well, you get the picture.

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    1. True about the citizen being the key ingredient. Unfortunately many have abrogated their responsibilities to the Republic, thinking no doubt, that that is "someone else's job."

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    2. And our Reps have abrogated their responsibility to the Administrative State.

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  2. I was for anyone but Shillary. None of the Jeb! RINOs moved my needle. President Trump is the first President in my lifetime who is keeping his promises. Don't much like him as a person while appreciating and supporting what he is trying to accomplish.

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    1. You and I are on the same wavelength here.

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  3. I think Trump won because many Americans just wanted to try a non-politician for a change. It is turning out the problem with a non-politician is he has to work with too many real politicians and they will stick with any politician before a non-politician in order to preserve their own self interest. In business I saw this anytime someone new to the company tried to change the culture, everyone was ready to teach the interloper why his ideas couldn't possibly work rather than admit maybe they have been doing things inefficiently for a while.

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    1. Excellent point Joe. The newcomer always has to fight against entrenched interests. The old "but this is the way we've always done it" phenomenon.

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    2. Heh. Cannot resist. Just have to throw this in here---

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4vJ8l2NfIM

      On a serious note, I think that Middle America was just pissed. They were so sick of being lied to and seeing everything they hold dear crapped on, that to have anyone stand up and speak the truth was the match that lit the fire. Yes, you can draw parallels between President Trump and Hitler---Using their individual personalities to fan the flames of national pride to mobilize a frustrated and angry citizenry. Obviously, the motivations of these two men are 180 degrees apart.

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    3. Excellent film clip.

      Middle America was, and I believe still is, pissed. I think they will remain pissed as long as the progressive antics continue. I wish the President much success. I think he's on the right path.

      If only Congress would wake up and do their jobs, they are too beholden to special interests.

      535 wet apes...

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    4. True. I would add that these particular 535 are a bit more clever. They have figured out how to steal from the working half in order to provide free bananas to the other half in exchange for their votes. They will beat the
      $%it out of anybody who is a threat to that gravy train, and they have long since bribed the crew running the water hose.

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    5. I think you're on to something there.

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    6. Not to beat this to death, but the following just spoke volumes to me. This last election was the first time the wife and I got to vote as citizens of Texas. So we arrive at our polling place, and note that there is steady activity, but only one or two people in line at a time. My wife is at the table signing in and I am behind her. I notice a white haired old gentleman come in. He is steady on his feet, but has a sheepish smile on his face, and seems unsure as if in an un-familiar place. So I gesture to him and invite him to step up to the empty spot next my wife and I, which he does. At which point he says in a firm, clear voice "The last time I voted was for Goldwater in '64!"

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  4. One of the appeals of Trump to "the Forgotten Middle American" is that he threatens not only the Democrat's status quo, but the establishment Republican's as well. As one friend said to me during the election "He's going to kick over everyone's tables. No professional politician will be safe". The NeverTrump Republicans fear for their place at the federal trough as much as any Progressive.

    Now, if he can only get staff in place through out the government apparatus to implement that vision. Alas, I think the window of opportunity is closing.

    /
    L.J.

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    1. Especially if he can get staff that don't constantly leak to the press.

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  5. A choice among a "mindless crowd of gay functionaries" is not what you said but the temptation to pull of an Emily Litella was just overwhelming. :) I yielded.

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    1. Bwahahahaha!

      (I can just picture that!)

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  6. A very good post and the comments are up to the usual high standard as well. As I can think of nothing of worth to add, I'll just say thank you.

    Paul L. Quandt

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  7. "While I don't equate Mr. Trump's predecessor (who shall not be named here, ever)..." I knew there was a reason I liked your blog. ;)

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)