I shouldn’t be so haughty. Not liking con artists, molesters, money launderers, serial liars, and white supremacists does not make you a virtuous person. It makes you a normal person, which is a good start. In the Trump era, all you have to do to be good is to avoid being bad. “To flee vice is the beginning of virtue,” Horace said, “and to have got rid of folly is the beginning of wisdom.” To flee men who grab women by their genitals without their consent and then brag about it is, indeed, the beginning of virtue.
Before Trump, I had never tried virtue-signaling. Now I do it all the time. Sanctimony, I’ve discovered, is intoxicating. I don’t want to give it up. This may be our only chance to exhibit moral superiority without doing anything to earn it. Simply by opposing Trump’s lying, venality, and subservience to Vladimir Putin, I stand for what Superman stands for — truth, justice, and the American way. I’m just like Superman: a fake hero.
An unintended consequence of Trump’s presidency has been the forging of new alliances between old adversaries. Liberals have made common cause with anti-Trump conservatives, who differ on policy but agree on the primacy of American ideals and institutions.