A Philosopher's Blog

Trump & Evangelicals

Posted in Ethics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion by Michael LaBossiere on October 17, 2016

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

On the face of it, Trump’s behavior and the values he espouses seem inconsistent with the professed core values of Christianity. These values include a condemnation of adultery and lying as well as injunctions to love neighbors and care for refugees. Trump was, however, born again behind the podium of the candidacy, professing a sudden acceptance of Christian values and a sincere opposition to abortion. This move initially won over many evangelicals.

While American evangelicals are often cast as a monolithic group, there is actually considerable diversity among them. This has been illustrated quite vividly by the responses to Donald Trump within the evangelical camp. While some evangelical leaders condemned Trump when he was but one of many Republican candidates, Trump initially enjoyed considerable support from the evangelical membership. In light of the infamous tape from 2005, Trump’s support among some evangelicals has eroded. As would be expected, Trump’s support among evangelical women has eroded considerably. He has also been strongly condemned by Christianity Today, which will presumably have some negative impact on his support.  However, Trump still enjoys the support of many white evangelicals and some of the leadership. While this matter raises various religious concerns, many of these overlap into philosophy and are worth discussing.

One rather interesting moral problem is how those who support Trump reconcile his seemingly utter inconsistency with Christian values with their support. Their solution is drawn from Christianity itself, specifically Christian forgiveness. Since I also accept the moral value of forgiving people and the strength of character this can sometimes require, I can certainly accept that evangelicals should forgive Trump for his transgressions. However, using this forgiveness to justify continued support is problematic.

Forgiving Trump for past misdeeds is one thing, taking this forgiveness to somehow be relevant to his fitness for the presidency is quite another matter. To use an analogy, I might forgive someone who misused my trust and did considerable harm to me, but I would not thus take my forgiveness to show that they would now be worthy of a position of trust.

It could be countered that Trump is otherwise an exemplary candidate, aside from some past flaws. To use an analogy, if someone misused my trust years ago and afterwards redeemed themselves into a virtuous person, then it would make sense to forgive the person and trust them now. The easy and obvious reply is that Trump does not seem morally redeemed nor does he appear to even be able to see minimal competency for the presidency from where he is.

Those that forgive Trump on the grounds that people should be forgiven for their misdeeds are also morally obligated to extend this forgiveness to Hillary Clinton (and Bill Clinton). As such, those who forgive Trump (and thus do not hold his misdeeds as disqualifying him) must extend the same consideration to Hillary, thus putting the candidates on equal footing morally. That is, forgiven for all their misdeeds.

It could be objected that Trump has professed a new found faith and is thus entitled to the forgiveness that Hillary is not. However, Hillary has a well-established record of faith, although she is rather private about this. While some might doubt her faith and accuse her of hypocrisy in contrast to Trump’s alleged sincerity, this would presumably be yet another sin that must be forgiven.

Assuming that such consistent forgiveness would put Trump and Hillary on equal moral footing, the decision between them would seem to come down to a difference in policy and competence. After all, relentless forgiveness would seem to take moral character out of the equation (which is certainly not something I agree with).

In terms of competence, there is objectively no contest. If I were to claim that I am competent to play professional football on the grounds of my running achievements, I would be no more absurd than Trump claiming that his business achievements qualify him to be president. In contrast, Hillary is an established professional. As such, what is left is policy.

While Trump does not do policy in the traditional way of having fully developed plans, he does say things he wants to do, such as building a wall, banning Muslims, keep out refugees, and put Hillary in jail. While I am not an expert on theology, I do not think that Jesus would do these things. However, born-again Trump has also expressed opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion.

While some religious leaders, such as Pope Francis, have taken efforts to broaden Christian concern beyond same-sex marriage, bathrooms and abortion, these matters tend to dominate public discussions involving religion in the United States. Abortion does, however, seem to be the most important.

Since there is a biblical injunction against killing (although there are numerous exceptions), it is certainly reasonable for people to oppose abortion on religious grounds. It is thus also rational for people to oppose capital punishment and war on religious grounds (something that Pope Francis does). There is also a lot of other stuff in the bible; but people tend to be exceptionally selective when it comes to what they focus on—and many focus on abortion as their defining issue.

Born-again Trump claims he opposes abortion and some evangelicals hope that when he is president he will appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. To achieve this goal, some evangelicals are willing to ignore other Christian values and support Trump. While some might suspect that they would vote for Satan himself if he promised to appoint justices opposed to abortion, I certainly hope that this is not the case.

Not being an evangelical, I am looking at this matter from the outside; but I would think that violating so many other core values in the hope that Trump might appoint justices that might be able to overturn Roe v. Wade would be morally unacceptable. And this is not even considering what a Trump presidency would be like morally beyond the single issue of abortion. After all, he has expressed a desire to engage in torture and to commit war crimes by taking out the families of suspected terrorists. Trump also claims that he never said this. Trump is, of course, unrelenting in saying that he did not say what he has been recorded saying. Though I am not a professor of religion, I am reasonable sure that lying might be against something in the bible.

While I understand that for some the issue of abortion is of great importance, it is not the only issue of importance. It is certainly not worth the moral equivalent of a deal with the devil in the vain hope that Trump will be able to have Roe v. Wade repealed. As such, I certainly agree with the evangelicals who refuse to support Trump and condemn his misdeeds.


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  1. DH said, on October 17, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I will revisit this site after the election. It has morphed from an interesting philosophical take on many issues to an “Anti Trump” blog, rhetoric I am very, very sick of.

    The issues facing this country are dire; it is amazing to me how focused we have become on Trump’s taxes, Trump’s treatment of women, Trump’s particular brand of Christianity, Trump’s personality and bragadocio.

    The blog has become yet another transparent opinion piece, just like the rest of the media. Hopefully it will recover.

    • wtp said, on October 17, 2016 at 10:03 am

      I will revisit this site after the election. It has morphed from an interesting philosophical take on many issues to an “Anti Trump” blog, rhetoric I am very, very sick of.

      I beg to disagree. This is, and has been as long as I’ve been posting here over half a dozen years or so, a blog of leftist ideology pretending to operate under the guise of philosophy. It is and always has been sophistry. The blog itself, while mostly harmless in itself, is a window into what Mike teaches, the hard left slant that he espouses, and thus the taxpayer funded leftist ideology begin taught at our universities. Look around at other universities, from the Special Snowflakes to the BLM protesters to the intolerance of non-leftist viewpoints in the faculty and student bodies. If you peruse earlier postings you will find that Mike constantly complains that students don’t attend his classes. If you look up Rate My Professor sites, you will see that he is mostly approved because the class is easy and you don’t really need to attend to get a passing grade. Why do you suppose that is?

      The blog has become yet another transparent opinion piece, just like the rest of the media. Hopefully it will recover.
      Never was anything other than such. Do you expect leopards to change their spots? Please do come back though.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 17, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      I do endeavor to present the discussion of Trump within the context of issues; but I can understand why discussion of Trump would be regarded as mere opinion and anti-trumpery.

      I am certainly tired of Trump and Hillary, as I think most Americans are. I am certainly looking forward to not writing about at least one of them after the election.

  2. ajmacdonaldjr said, on October 17, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I read a 600+ page book (“Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People”) this year about Jim Jones and Jonestown. The parallels between Trump, Jones, and their followers is truly frightening. In both cases, their followers were/are marginalized, desperate, frightened, vengeful, and willing to forgive their savior/leader for abominable sexual abuses.

    Although Jones and his followers were not, in the end, Christians, they did start out as Christians. Over the course of many years, Jones began replacing Christianity and the Bible with communism and socialism. The cult followers of Jim Jones who died at Jonestown were devotees 1) of Jim Jones; and 2) of communism and socialism. All one needs to do in order to confirm this is to listen to the so-called “Death Tape”.

    As someone who considers himself to be a follower of Christ and a believer in the Bible, I am disappointed to see so many so-called “Christians” and “Bible believers” supporting Donald Trump.

    I say so-called “Christians” and “Bible believers” because, as Jesus said:

    “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.(Matthew 7:18-20)

    Jesus went on to say:

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

    This lets us know: 1) what people do is more important than what people say; and 2) a lot of people who claim (and believe themselves) to be followers of Christ are not.

    One of the more sobering truths I’ve come to believe in my many years of studying the Bible and observing Christian peoples is that most people who think they’re Christians aren’t. Most American Christians are Americans first, and Christians second, which, to Jesus, means they’re not Christians at all. They’re members of an American Cult.

    Satan is very clever. The Bible tells us this, yet many Bible believers are fooled by just how clever he is. He pretends to be a doer of God’s will. He and his ministers preach misinterpreted cherry-picked Bible passages to make their case. He leads multitudes of people to believe they are saved when, in fact, they are damned.

    One cannot endorse war, destruction, and death and be a follower of Christ. Yet how many so-called “Christians”, “Bible believers”, and American Cult members do just that? This is the evil fruit they bear.

    Too many people who call themselves “Christians” have sold their eternal souls for a mess of American pottage. Supporting Donald Trump is only one symptom of their eternally fatal disease.

    Nationalism is Idolatry

    “The church in America will not be a Christ-centered community of peace so long as it is determined to celebrate its identity as American.  It is imperative, I believe, that all traces of nationalism be removed from the church’s worship.  Otherwise, in times of international crisis, instead of being an instrument of reconciliation, it will continue to embrace the role of handmaiden of war.  God cannot be praised in the same breath that America is honored without God being dishonored and replaced by another god…” The Nationalistic Corruption of Worship in America – http://www.redletterchristians.org/the-nationalistic-corruption-of-worship-in-america/

    “How can Christians be prepared to recognize, when the time comes, a real choice between God and country, if their churches urge the adoration of country along with praise to God? The so-called patriotic hymns are most often songs of praise to a personification of the country and not a means of truly glorifying God. ‘My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing, or ‘America, America, God shed his grace on thee.’ The ‘thee’ is not God but country. If these are songs of worship, it is false worship. God is mentioned as a supporting figure, a means to bolster the greatness of the nation, which is the real object of adoration in the hymns. We should label this for what it is: idolatry.” Read more: Daring to Call it Idolatry: Nationalism in Worship – http://www.redletterchristians.org/daring-to-call-it-idolatry-nationalism-in-worship/

    “Nationalism saturates American life – it is just the ever-present, ambient sound coming from every form of corporate media, 24/7/365, so ever-present that it has become, in an odd way, invisible. I have come to understand that it is idolatry – subtler, arguably, than building a golden calf, but no less idolatrous. And it disturbs me a great deal. I wish Catholic priests and laity would stand up more often against this sort of thing. We Catholics, at every level of our society and in every vocation, me included, have failed to do our jobs of providing clear witness against this spiritually destructive idol.” Read more: Nationalism is Idolatry – https://vox-nova.com/2009/12/12/nationalism-is-idolatry/

    “Put bluntly, if Americans feel like there are blessings slipping away from this country as a whole, they have turned the country into an idol and are violating the Ten Commandments. Jesus is not American and the United States is not in the Bible. That particular passage refers to God’s people, who are called Christians, not Americans…” Read more: http://opinion.injo.com/2016/01/252233-jesus-was-not-an-american/

    Flying the Flag in Church: A Tale of Strife and Idolatry (.pdf) – http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1346&context=leaven

    Podcast: Crucify your nationalism and crucify your political affiliation – http://subversive1.blogspot.com/2015/07/subversive-radio-podcast-star-spangled.html

    The Early Christian Attitude to War – http://compassionatespirit.com/Books/Cadoux/TOC.htm

    The Scofield Bible—The Book That Made Zionists of America’s Evangelical Christians: http://www.wrmea.org/2015-october/the-scofield-bible%E2%80%94the-book-that-made-zionists-of-americas-evangelical-christians.html

    “Does the Christian or denizen of the Old American Empire die and kill for it, as the members of the Cult of the American Sniper apparently believe?” – Patmos, The Emperor Worship Cultus, and The American Sniper https://mark1marti2.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/patmos-the-emperor-worship-cultus-and-the-american-sniper/

  3. DH said, on October 17, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Well, here I am, in breach of my own promise to myself.

    What I have found interesting about this blog is that, regardless of its clear slant to the left, it has mostly been about issues that we can discuss with a relative amount of civility. I can disagree with Mike or with you or with anyone else with well-thought-out arguments and spirited debate, and I invite contrary opinions

    Whether or not Mike is a leftist or a sophist or a good teacher is not really of much concern to me; I am not interested in discussing him any more than I am interested in discussing Trump and his honesty, his attitude toward women, his lack of polish, his private life or his history. I don’t think we are learning anything new here – was anyone surprised that Trump made those statements about women? What does that have to do with whether or not this country is or is not about “regime change” in the Middle East, or to what extent we should or should not be? Is anyone really surprised that the Republican candidate for president is courting evangelicals? Why is that news so much bigger than the Democrat candidate for president courting big banks and Wall Street?

    It is no surprise to me that both candidates are fraught with corruption and hypocrisy, that both of them are willing to lie and cheat and compromise and basically say anything to get elected. It does not surprise me that they both have the proverbial skeletons in their closets and are vulnerable to all sorts of personal criticism.

    I suppose the difference for me is the difference between issues and people. We can have people who are as pure as the driven snow who are wrong on the issues, or corrupt lying misogynists who are right on the issues , or anything in between – but it is the issues that are important to me, not the people.

    That’s what I have found refreshing about this blog, that’s what I find so disappointing about the last several posts and the direction it seems to be going, that’s why I don’t really want to engage with posts like these.

    I’ll check in and engage when there are philosophical issues to discuss.

    • wtp said, on October 17, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      it has mostly been about issues that we can discuss with a relative amount of civility.
      Yeah, that’s just the filler. And if you pay close attention, rarely is anything definitively stated. Nearly always qualified with “seems to be” and “what appears”, etc. I gave up reading Mike’s original posts a couple years ago. I mostly respond to specifics as drawn out in the comments by TJ or AJ (Mike rarely speaks to AJ) or Magus, who is (was?) a good friend of Mike’s yet an ex-cop and soldier who has disappeared from this space. I stick around mostly to converse with others where distinct points are being discussed. I’d hate to see you drop out. Consider this….We can have our own discussions without Mike. Hell, he ignores me all the time anyway.

      Let me submit on your statement:
      I suppose the difference for me is the difference between issues and people. We can have people who are as pure as the driven snow who are wrong on the issues, or corrupt lying misogynists who are right on the issues , or anything in between – but it is the issues that are important to me, not the people.

      This is, to me, the nut of our current political problems. This and a fundamental misunderstanding of economics by the vast majorities out there. But sticking to this…This problem does go back to the earliest days of the Republic, but it seems to rise and fall over time. The difference was in the past, while the media voices repeating such things were obviously biased, there was much more diversity of opinion from more numerous media sources. And the educational institutions had not been as corrupted by the weak and muddled “thinking” of the so-called soft sciences, let alone where the lib arts have run off to today. Much of the acceleration of today’s manifestation of this problem lies with the success the D’s had during the Clinton presidency of “making the political personal”. This was seen at the time, of course by the media and academia, as brilliant political strategy. It was political culture poison wrapped up in a candy shell of “intellectualism”. Morals have given way to “smartness”, as if the former is actually a sign of a weak mind and the latter need not be informed by the former. See D&D crap like “lawful evil” and such.

  4. […] wrote this today as a comment on a post at A Philosopher’s Blog: Trump and Evangelicals and thought I’d post it here as […]

  5. TJB said, on October 17, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Four years ago Mike was giving Romney the same treatment. Somehow Mike was blind to the fact that Romney is a profoundly decent human being. Far more ethical than Obama or Clinton.

    • wtp said, on October 17, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Well, exactly. As I stated above and tried to ‘splain to you for years, “This is, and has been as long as I’ve been posting here over half a dozen years or so, a blog of leftist ideology pretending to operate under the guise of philosophy. It is and always has been sophistry. “

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 17, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      I was critical of Romney, but you are right that he seems to be basically a decent person. Vastly more so than Trump.

  6. TJB said, on October 17, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    In terms of competence, there is objectively no contest. If I were to claim that I am competent to play professional football on the grounds of my running achievements, I would be no more absurd than Trump claiming that his business achievements qualify him to be president. In contrast, Hillary is an established professional. As such, what is left is policy.

    Experience is not the same as competence, and inexperienced people can often be quite competent.

    I, for example, have had many decades of experience playing golf. On a good day I can shoot about 90. And yet I know a kid, an 8th grader, who shot a 77 a few days ago. I have vastly more experience, but I am just not very competent at golf.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 17, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      It is true that experience is not the same as competence, a person could be very experienced at being incompetent. But competence, like virtue, is built from experience (to steal from Aristotle). For most things, competence does require experience.

      Sure, inexperienced people can be competent-they could have natural abilities that enable them to, for example, perform well in a video game without having played video games much.

      Hillary is indisputably more experienced than Trump; but also seems clearly more competent in terms of knowing things relevant to the presidency.

      • DH said, on October 17, 2016 at 6:30 pm

        Hillary Clinton is a competent and able politician, but that in no way indicates that she would be a competent and able leader. In fact, I would say it’s more likely the opposite. She is very good at playing the game, at lying to the faces of the American people, at arm-twisting to get money, votes, and the passing of legislation. She is good at avoiding prosecution and even accusation; she is excellent at diverting negative attention from herself and at the top of her game when it comes to denial.

        Mike, I’m sure you have great “Students” who know how to tell you what you want to know, know how to turn in their work on time, how to ask the right questions and appear at the front of the room. This does not make them creative or critical thinkers, it makes them experienced and competent students. There is a huge difference.

        There are others (students) whom we might eye suspiciously – “Is that really your work?” “Do you really want to know the answer to that question, or do you just know that by asking it you’ll look good …?” yet there is nothing concrete in their behavior to warrant a reduction in grade. – Again, it’s a superficiality that masks an inability to ideate creatively, think critically, or contribute in a meaningful way to a group project.

        Hillary’s experience as a Senator and Secretary of State demonstrate both her competence as a politician and her incompetence as a leader. She was a key author of the Iran Nuclear Deal; she was at the forefront of the “Reset” button with Russia, and was right there on the sidelines as our relationship with Putin spiraled south. She was a key author of the Pacific Trade Deal, which she called “The Gold Standard” in trade deals until it became politically inexpedient for her to support it. She was Secretary of State during the Benghazi attack – and no matter what you believe was the cause of this attack it is common knowledge that it was NOT a video – yet Hillary put forth and supported this lie for as long as she could in order to protect the political futures of her party and their narrative that terrorism was under control. She sat by as an innocent scapegoat languished in prison for over a year as a result of that lie.

        As a politician, she wields power and influence great enough to make her “too big to fail”, as evidenced by the refusal on the part of John Comey to prosecute her for her crimes against national security – despite the fact that nearly every agent involved in the case has spoken out against that decision. There are stories untold, there are connections that remain secret, and influences that guided that decision that are political in nature, and not for the ears of mere mortals like us.

        As a candidate for the US Presidency, she has made “Job Creation” a cornerstone of her campaign. As a candidate for the US Senate, she did the same, promising over 200,000 new jobs for upstate New York. Over eight years, jobs growth stagnated at best, with manufacturing jobs in the area declining by 25%.

        It is her competence and experience as a politician that is the reason we don’t hear about this kind of thing over and over, that she is not asked the questions or held to task for the answers.

        As a politician, she is among the most experienced and one of the best. As a leader, her experience shows her to be one of the worst.

      • TJB said, on October 18, 2016 at 10:02 am

        OK, Mike. Take a look at this:

        Hillary Clinton told the FBI that she thought classification markings in the paragraphs of her emails at the Department of State were to organize messages in alphabetical order, according to the FBI’s newly released report on her private email server.

        “When asked what the parenthetical ‘C’ meant before a paragraph within the captioned email, [Clinton] stated she did not know and could only speculate it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order,” read the FBI’s notes from the interview.


        There are only two possible conclusions:

        1) Hillary told the truth is is therefore manifestly incompetent.

        2) Hillary lied to the FBI and committed a felony.

        Which is it, Mike?

        N.B. This is very similar to the problem of suffering in discussions of the existence of God.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm

          Why not both a felon and incompetent?

          I’m not a Hillary backer; but she is still a better choice than Trump. I’ve looked at the third party options and they are even more disappointing. I like Johnson as a runner, but anyone running for president needs to at least know a bit about Syria.

          It looks like 2020 will also be bad-we will either be facing round 2 of Hillary or round 2 of Trump; unless there is at least one rebellion in the parties. But perhaps the losing party in this election will come up with a good candidate next time.

          • TJB said, on October 20, 2016 at 12:47 pm

            So you eliminated Gary Johnson from consideration based on a soundbite? Is this really the kind of critical thinking you endorse?

            To get a sense of what a more disciplined, consistent, and thoughtful critique of Clintonian warmongering sounds like, listen to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for president. Notwithstanding the popular portrayal of Johnson as a foreign policy ignoramus based on his embarrassing “Aleppo moments,” the former New Mexico governor offers a bracing alternative to Clinton’s supposedly sophisticated yet consistently careless embrace of violence as a tool for reshaping the world.

            Again and again as first lady, senator, and secretary of state, from Serbia to Syria, Clinton has supported military interventions that had nothing to do with national defense. Mindful of the damage done by the promiscuous use of America’s armed forces, Johnson promises a different approach: When in doubt, stay out.

            “As president,” Johnson said in a recent speech at the University of Chicago, “I would not need to be talked out of dropping bombs and sending young men and women into harm’s way. I would be the president who would have to be convinced it is absolutely necessary to protect the American people or clear U.S. interests. I will be the skeptic in the room.”

            Like Trump, Johnson bemoans the disastrous consequences, in squandered lives and resources as well as instability conducive to terrorism, of the Clinton-supported war in Iraq. The fact that Clinton voted for that war and took more than a decade to admit it was a mistake—a mistake from which she apparently learned nothing, given her subsequent support for regime change in Libya and Syria—demonstrates that foreign policy knowledge is not synonymous with wisdom.

            Johnson’s criticism of unnecessary foreign entanglements goes beyond Trump’s by highlighting the folly of the never-ending war in Afghanistan. “We were attacked, and we attacked back,” he says. “But seven months after we sent our troops to Afghanistan, Al Qaeda had scattered to the winds and the Taliban had been removed from power. Al Qaeda was gone, but we stayed.” Fourteen years later, thousands of U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan.

            While Trump thinks the U.S. should be reimbursed for the cost of defending other countries, Johnson argues that defending other countries is not the U.S. military’s job. “The U.S. military exists, first and foremost, to defend the United States and U.S. vital interests,” he says. “We should expect other countries to defend themselves and their interests.”


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 21, 2016 at 3:06 pm

              Not at all. I’ve done my research on Johnson. As I said, I’d love to run with him. But he does not seem suitable as a president. But I would take him over Trump.

              Okay, I’d take him over Hillary if he made race entry fees tax deductible and had a tax credit based on miles run or biked. Swimming can count as well.

            • TJB said, on October 21, 2016 at 4:50 pm

              Mike, what were Hillary’s accomplishments as secretary of state? As senator? As first lady?

              What has she ever accomplished beyond marrying Bill Clinton?

            • WTP said, on October 22, 2016 at 7:49 am

              “But seven months after we sent our troops to Afghanistan, Al Qaeda had scattered to the winds and the Taliban had been removed from power. Al Qaeda was gone, but we stayed.” Fourteen years later, thousands of U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan.

              In his (literal) pipe dreams. TJ, do you actually buy this?

            • TJB said, on October 22, 2016 at 8:40 am

              No, not really, but I think the correct way to handle Islam is to isolate it.

              Which of our interventions have actually made things better?

            • TJB said, on October 22, 2016 at 8:45 am

              Also, I think this war we are fighting requires special forces, covert operations, and psyops. Does anybody doubt that as soon as we leave Afghanistan, the Taliban will be right back?

            • WTP said, on October 22, 2016 at 10:03 am

              Which of our interventions have actually made things better?

              The ones in Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, Mexico (Poncho Villa anyway), the Confederate States of America. I could go on. But of course that wasn’t really an “us”/”our”. Those were different people, not the pathetic morass of immoral moral relativism that is the US of today. Wars are hard. You don’t take them on lightly. But once you do, you set an objective and you pursue it with everything you have. If the “interventions” I mentioned above had taken place with today’s media and today’s academic institutions, I have zero doubt in my mind that they would have failed miserably. And I don’t say that lightly as I generally give little credence to alternative-history fantasies such as are popular in the media and academia.

              More generally, in regard to the numerous topics discussed here, we don’t have problems with our politicians, with our enemies, or with our justice system, etc. We have problems with ourselves. How we let the media and academy define us. Like any problem, addressing the symptoms does not solve the problem and often makes it worse. This country needs a laser focus on the pussification, mentally and physically, that we have given in to.

            • TJB said, on October 22, 2016 at 11:12 am

              I was mainly thinking of our interventions in the Islamic world, but I agree with your basic point that military solutions can at least sometimes improve the situation.

              In general, apart from small scale covert ops, I only support using our military to actually win wars.

    • DH said, on October 18, 2016 at 11:20 am

      The football example is not quite accurate. One might be a competent running back – able to avoid tackles, hold on to the ball – and even know very well how to get away with less-than-legal maneuvers like holding or illegal blocks – but that in no way would make that person a good manager, coach, or owner. The decisions of a running back on the field are like political decisions – “what can I get away with to get ahead?” The decisions of the coach or owner are about direction, management, leadership, and “big picture” decision making.

      From a logical standpoint, having the skills of a running back relative to being a coach may be comparable to having had military experience relative to being president – the experience can help or hinder, it is not a prerequisite and the lack of that experience is no reason for disqualification.

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