(… not intentionally, of course… that would require foresight, deliberation and planning…)
The new normalcy.
Initially, I was most interested in the press secretary’s response to a question regarding the letter of open dissent currently floating around the State Department. (Basically a letter of career folks at State who claim Trump’s executive order makes the U.S. less safe, not more.) In true Trumpian fashion, Spitting Spicer invited these dedicated professionals to quit their jobs: “They should either get with the program or they can go”.
… not exactly a way to treat people who, unlike the Steven Bannon Administration, actually have a clue what they’re doing. But such is political discourse in Trumpian America: “If you don’t agree with me then you’re an idiot… and I will now insult you in a way that makes me feel better about myself. Then I will tweet it.”
It turns out that the overall theme of Puppet Trump’s press secretary’s defense of the travel ban is a bit more interesting. It started to take shape with one phrase that he peppered in three or four times during the 01/30/17 press briefing, “…keep it in proportion folks.”
The Steve Bannon Administration justification boils down to a basic idea: it’s OK to treat 109 people unjustly, because – allegedly – that made many more people “more safe”.
Do not citizens make sacrifices for the benefits of society? Isn’t that a core tenet of the Social Contract?
A few ought sacrifice for the good of the whole
For now, let’s ignore whether or not one believes Trump’s mouth and Bannon’s alt-right tactics are a giant neon sign helping ISIS get more recruits. What should strike liberals as validly ponderable is that Puppet Trump is selling a social utilitarian argument.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we make arguments founded in social utilitarianism all the time:
- The wealthy should pay more taxes.
- Put more into Social security and Medicare
- Universal health care.
- Protect the environment for future generations.
…the list of liberal causes that are at their core socialized utilitarianism goes on and on. Steve Bannon via Puppet Trump via Spitting Spicer are making the same fundamental argument.
(This is where progressives shout: “But we’re talking about rights, equality, and true religious freedom! Those are non-negotiable!”)
Again, you have to ignore justice for a bit. You have to ignore the ineptitude of the rollout and shoddy enforcement. Table truth and justice as does the American president. Take away your distaste for the man, take away the context and then ask: is their argument wrong? Is it OK, as Spicer put it, to “inconvenience some people” if that act protects Society?*
I don’t know. (Because this is where my mind shouts the snowball argument, and starts splitting hairs about “different levels of rights vs. monetary objects vs. behaviors”.)
Steve Bannon makes a convincing argument
I guarantee you that Trump’s voter base – and many existing outside that reality space – agree with what Sean Spicer said from the podium today. Spicer sold a compelling argument to the country, “…getting ahead of the threats is key… you don’t know when the next attack is coming…”
Yes, that makes perfect sense. I agree with that. Do you disagree?
Is it bad to prevent rather than react? Is not prevention how every liberal in America preaches we should approach healthcare and therefore forced millions of Americans who fall into the ACA loophole to buy insurance they can’t afford? (…but I’m not bitter)
Yes, I know… what the Steve Bannon Administration is doing with its travel ban just feels different, right?
I’m not convinced.
Millions of Americans voting what “feels right” is what got us President Donald J. Trump in the first place…
Now it’s time to think.
*Here’s the kicker: if Trump voters actually do have a moral compass that’s set to accept a citizen should, in fact, sacrifice certain freedoms and behaviors for the good of Society… then you have a door through which liberal and progressive arguments can be made. There’s a flicker of light in that tunnel; a silver lining that a smart Democratic Party would exploit if they hired themselves a decent marketing firm and got back to their base: The People. back