It’s not an emotionally satisfying tradition. The point is merely to keep liberal democracy vibrant, to sustain its legitimacy, and to protect its institutions. That’s why I favor a slowdown in immigration (too much demographic change too fast can destabilize a society); and why I favor more redistribution through taxes right now, (because economic and social inequality are delegitimizing the entire capitalist order). And that’s why I loved Barack Obama. In his heart and mind, he is and was a moderate conservative, trying to blend new social realities with the long story of America, rescuing capitalism from itself, extending healthcare but through the market, shifting foreign policy incrementally toward Asia, and ending irrational, budget-busting entropy-creating wars. He desperately tried to keep this country in one piece, against foam-flecked racism and know-nothingism on one side and left-wing ideological purity and identity politics on the other. And he almost did.
And this is why I despise Donald Trump: he exhibits no concern for the broader social good if it in any way conflicts with his own immediate psychic needs. He is indifferent to the collateral damage of his ego. He has embraced the most dangerous form of identity politics – that of the majority. There is not an institution or custom or alliance or constitutional norm Trump won’t vandalize at a second’s notice. He cares little for the generations ahead of us (see the debt and the environment); nor respect for the wisdom of the past (see his desire to obliterate the idea of an independent Justice Department or the NATO alliance); he is a lonely, maladjusted id, with Western civilization as a plaything in his hands. And Republicanism, in its shameful embrace of this monster, its determined rape of the environment, destruction of our fiscal standing, evisceration of our allies, callousness toward the sick, and newfound contempt for free trade, has nary a conservative bone in its putrefying body.