So what happens when you take a ruling class as wicked and as corrupt as ours is, and you insist that they obsess over what might be called “appearance ethics”? You get hypocrisy on stilts, that’s what happens.
In the post-Watergate era, the nation became consumed with the appearance of impropriety. And while it is true that upright citizens can be rightly concerned with “how it looks,” the people who are really good at how it looks are hypocrites. They are consumed with how it looks, and so it is that appearance ethics are their bread and butter.
When uprightness is defined by the appearances, and an industry has arisen by which the “right” people can manage and control the appearances, said industry is going to do its darnedest to keep its seat, parked right there beside all the levers and switches. In our case, those levers and switches are made up of ethics commissions, the media, blue ribbon panels, the special counsel laws, the way things are done in Washington, the received wisdom, the pundit class, the phylactery manufacturers, and so on.
Enter Donald Trump, the disheveled nemesis of appearances, the wrecking ball of propriety.
I think that at some point it is going to dawn on somebody that the old tricks are not working anymore, at least not the way they used to. Trump keeps doing what he does, and the establishment keeps freaking out the way it does, and I think we can see the law of diminishing returns settling in. For example, consider the recent criminal leaks from the special counsel’s investigation—talk about appearances—and realize that according to the script we are supposed to feel like Woodward and Bernstein are hot on the trail, and the glory days of taking out a president are almost upon us again, but what we actually feel is that the intelligence agencies are far more politicized and corrupt than we thought. And we thought it was pretty bad.
And so then we had the Ossoff/Handel race last night. This was going to be the race that presaged Trump’s humiliation in 2018, when the Democrats would ride a wave election in such glorious numbers that they would be able to IMPEACH somebody. And so the media (remember they are working every instrument they control) set the stage for this special election to be a referendum on Trump, except that now it isn’t anymore. The race that had national implications that could not possibly be ignored is a race that got dropped like a hot rock as soon as the race was called.
The establishment is pulling out all the stops, trying to use absolutely everything they control in order to stop something that their levers and switches are apparently not connected to. It is as though the ruling class, a Grand Prix driver taking the turns at 80 mph in rural France, suddenly found itself sitting in a plastic car outside Safeway, asking mother for another quarter so that they could bounce along turning a plastic wheel that didn’t do anything. The feeling, as I am sure you might recognize, would be a disconcerting one.
And as this circus maximus has been going on, and Trump’s administration is described (again) as being on its last legs, I have more than once wondered if our national opinion-meisters are being played. Inside the Beltway we do have the grease fires, true enough, with the usual suspects managing a continual supply of grease. But outside the Beltway, things keep happening—the Paris accords, sane judges appointed, and so on. The old haunting words of Buffalo Springfield come back to tease us. Something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.
Since I have done it plenty already, I will not spend any time here explaining what I am not saying. I will only say that the wrecking ball aspect of this is a mercy from God.