Saletan’s Faint Hope of Manipulating an Autocrat

Somewhere, there’s sure to be someone insisting that a hooligan who beat someone unconscious only did so from insecurity, envy, or bad toilet training.  That explanation should be of no comfort to a victim (should the victim even recover). The one thing of which one can be sure is that someone attacked another, causing severe injury.

In a similar way, William Saletan, writing at Slate, finds it reassuring to declare that Trump’s many whims and insecurities can be manipulated, in an essay entitled, Here’s how to manipulate Trump. On this reading, Trump’s a character defective man whose worst tendencies are manageable.

This is a false, silly reassurance: even if  Trump were easily manipulated, that task will only fall to a few schemers near him, not the tens of millions who will experience economic and personal loss as Trump tramples liberties and rejects sound policies.

Worse, of course, is the truth that an inner weakling who breaks another’s nose is still someone who broke another’s nose.  That he did these things from ignorance or disorder matters less than that one is covered in crimson.   The common person who suffers injury will not be able to manipulate anyone in power, shouldn’t have to do so, and would be a fool to think there’s consolation in the belief that he was injured only from another’s supposed emotional weakness.

Saletan can save his silly psychological analysis; the work of defending personal liberty will fall to those who resist transgressions without speculating about whether the transgressors are weak.

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