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Why am I frightened, you ask?

I take this as an earnest question of one who may be genuinely wondering whether
there's really anything to be that worried about.
Well, son, it's certainly not Trump's personality, alone, which would arouse fear in me.
Of course, in any integrated personality, the id is supposed to be balanced by an ego and
a superego by a sense of self that gravitates toward behaving in a mature and
responsible way when it comes to serious matters, and, failing that, has a sense of
shame about transgressing norms and common decencies.
Trump is an unbalanced force.
He is the politicized American id.
Should his election results match his polls, he would be, unquestionably, the worst thing
to happen to the American common culture in my lifetime.
But the cultural mood is nothing to overly xate on, ckle as it can be.
And son, it's not the lasting damage Trump might inict on the GOP's image that
frightens me, since I feel xing what's wrong with the Libertarian Party is a more
straightforward task and is where I've invested my political hopes.
But any GOP devotees should still be very concerned. Trumps brawling, blustery,
mean-spirited public persona serves to associate conservatives with all the negative
stereotypes that liberals have for decades attached to their opponents on the right.
According to conventional caricature, conservatives are selsh, greedy, materialistic,
bullying, misogynistic, angry, and intolerant. They are, were told, privileged and
pampered elitists who revel in the advantages of inherited wealth while displaying only
cruel contempt for the less fortunate and the less powerful. The Left tried to smear
Ronald Reagan in such terms but failed miserably because he displayed none of the
stereotypical traits. In contrast, Trump is the living, breathing, bellowing personication
of all the nasty characteristics Democrats routinely ascribe to Republicans.
And, of course, the real embarrassment of having such a crude individual in the oval
ofce and the poor exemplar he would be for my grandchildren doesn't frighten me. We
can protect them and form them inspite of a Trump presidency.
I mean sure, we can talk about whether he is a boor (My ngers are long and beautiful,
as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body), a creep (If Ivanka
werent my daughter, perhaps Id be dating her), or a louse (he tried to bully an elderly
woman, Vera Coking, out of her house in Atlantic City because it stood on a spot he
wanted to use as a garage). But son, whether the president is a boor, creep or louse
doesn't scare me.
Should his ignorance and incompetence scare me or will advisers mitigate that threat?
He doesnt know the Constitution, history, law, political philosophy, nuclear strategy,

diplomacy, defense, economics beyond real estate, or even, despite his

low-level-maoso comportment, how ordinary people live. But trumping all this is a
greater aw presented as his chief strength. Governing a great nation in perilous times is
far more than making deals. Compared with the weight of the ofce he seeks, his deals
are microscopic in scale, and as he faced far deeper complexities he would lead the
country into continual Russian roulette. If despite his poor judgment he could engage
talented advisers, as they presented him with contending and fateful options the buck
would stop with a man who simply grasps anything that oats by.
Things are not as simple as they seem to Trump. His talk about ISIS is where some fear
in me begins.
The global jihad is complex, comprising terrorist organizations and abettors that include
rogue nations and other shady accomplices. Their uid alliances and internecine
rivalries often defy the SunniShiite divide. Matters are complicated further still by
ideological allies such as the Muslim Brotherhood that feign moderation while
supporting the jihadist agenda. The threat is openly aggressive on its own turf but
operates by stealth in the West. A president may not have to be good with names to
oppose it effectively, but he has to grasp the animating ideology, the power relations, and
the goals of the players and how weakening one by strengthening another can degrade
rather than promote our security. Donald Trump does not have a clue about any of this,
careening wildly from vows to stay out of the fray (leaving it in Vladimir Putins nefarious
hands) to promises that the earth will be indiscriminately scorched.
And son, when we must go to war, we must abide by time-honored just war principles. I
am not frightened only for you or those whom I call my own in this world. I am frightened
for innocents all over.
Trump says he would order the military to kill the families of terrorists. That would be a
direct violation of the most basic laws of armed conict, which require that deadly force
be used only when required by military necessity, under circumstances that allow
distinction between military and civilian targets, and when incidental damage to
non-military targets is proportional to the military advantage gained. A military that
adhered to the laws of armed conict would necessarily disobey such an order; if it
followed the order, both the person who gave it and those who followed it would be
subject to prosecution for war crimes.
Most of all, though, of all the grim prospects of a Trump presidency, the thought of a
reality TV star at the helm of America's nuclear arsenal should top the list and shouldn't
be a laughing matter. Trump's long, ugly campaign has swelled with absurdities, bluster,
obscene chest thumping, and bafing claims that leave allies afraid and adversaries
eager. He's spoken of deliberately killing the families of terrorists, and using torture to
extract information from captured terrorists. He thought that South Korea and Japan
should leave the U.S. nuclear umbrella and perhaps develop nuclear weapons on their
This of course would undo half a century of non-proliferation policy. This is where the
United States offered the protective aegis of its nuclear umbrella to its allies, so that they
would not develop weapons of their own.

Buddy, ole pal, Trump is unt for the presidency and cannot be trusted with the nations
nuclear arsenal.
From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualied to be President
and Commander-in-Chief. I am convinced that he would be a dangerous President
and would put at risk our countrys national security and well-being.
Most fundamentally, The Donald lacks the character, values, and experience to be
He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.
He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S.
laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and
an independent judiciary.
Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of Americas
vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable
alliances, and the democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based.
At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our
allies and friends.
Unlike previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump
has shown no interest in educating himself. He continues to display an alarming
ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics. Despite his lack of
knowledge, Mr. Trump claims that he understands foreign affairs and knows more
about ISIS than the generals do.
Son, you've heard many say, I'm sure, that Trump lacks the temperament to be
What might that mean?
A president must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must
encourage consideration of conicting views; and must acknowledge errors and
learn from them. A president must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only
after reection and careful deliberation. A president must maintain cordial
relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their
respect and trust.
In my judgment, son, Trump has none of these critical qualities. He has publicly
manifest such a lack, in fact.
He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage
conicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate
personal criticism.
He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior. All of these are
dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and
Commanderin-Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

While I certainly understand that many Americans are profoundly frustrated with the
federal government and its inability to solve pressing domestic and international
problems and also know that many have doubts about Clinton, The Donald is not the
answer to Americas daunting challenges.
I am convinced that in the Oval Ofce, Donald Trump would be the most reckless
President in American history.
But that's not all, son, even if Trump had the credentials to be commander in chief, I
would have other frightening reasons to disqualify him.
Trumps tirades on trade, and also on immigration, are more reasons to oppose his
candidacy for president, not support it, especially for conservatives who claim to support
free markets. Unfortunately, too many GOP ofcials have already begun to
accommodate Trumps views through changes in their rhetoric and by mimicking his
absurd claims. This is a big mistake. Contrary to Trumps assertions, the global trading
system has not been a colossal failure. Rather, it has been one of the great successes of
the post-war era. Scores of studies have shown that international commerce has
enriched the United States and its citizens, even as it has also integrated many newly
developing countries into the global marketplace and thereby helped reduce the number
of people living in abject poverty by hundreds of millions over the past half century.
Trump seems to think he can start a trade war and leaders in other countries will
unilaterally disarm. The reality is that if the U.S. retreats from its leadership position on
global trade, other countries will follow suit and give in to protectionist impulses too. We
have seen this before in history, and the results have been tragic. There would be job
losses in the U.S. and elsewhere, not job gains, and U.S. consumers would be forced to
pay much more for the products they buy. Protectionism hits the poorest households the
hardest because they are least able to handle the price increases that follow for food,
clothing, and other essential goods.
A President Trump would move quickly on global trade. He would utilize executive orders
to effectively scrap trade deals, nullifying decades of trade negotiations. In retaliation,
major trade partners including China, Mexico, and Canada would raise their own trade
barriers. China would begin selling American debt on the open market, understanding
that American economic growth decreases the possibility of bond repayment. In
response, Trump would buy up bonds on the global market, inating the dollar.
Recession would be the inevitable result. YOUR inheritance would erode, son.
In response, Trump would probably fall back on taxing the rich, given his stated
preference for lashing out at hedge-fund managers and high-income earners. As a
consequence, investment would stall.
Bad idea.
Son, let's imagine, though, that trade protectionism and military incompetence weren't at
stake. Would there still be a reason to be afraid?

In my view, yes, I would remain frightened also by the prospect of geopolitical

In other parts of the world, a President Trump would pull back American involvement
dramatically. He could begin withdrawing troops from South Korea and Germany and
Japan, insisting that they pay more of their own defense budget. He would merely shrug
at Chinese aggression in the South China Sea its far away and has no direct impact on
American lives. He would almost certainly continue to cede ground to Vladimir Putin not
only in Ukraine but also in Moldova and Georgia. Trump would pressure NATO allies to
pick up more of the defense burden (he has already vowed to do this). NATO allies would
decline to do so. Putin would then begin threatening Estonia and Latvia in an attempt to
break NATO once and for all; Trump would do almost nothing in response.
This isn't idle speculation, my boy, for it comes directly from the jackass' mouth.
Beyond trade protectionism, geopolitical isolationism and military incompetence and his
positively frightening intemperance, would I still be frightened, son? Well, yes I would.
Trump would no doubt continue to indulge in conspiracy theories and insult battles with
leaders both foreign and domestic. He would openly threaten to ruin anyone who
opposed him. He would empower elements of his base to threaten his opposition a
sort of counterBlack Lives Matter movement from the alt-right.
Adherents of the Alt-Right not only conceive of the Establishment as traitorous; they
also seem to think that liberal democracy itself was an abstraction tyrannically imposed
on an unwilling populace.
It wasnt.
It was a slowly and painfully forged response to centuries of challenges.
The Western, liberal-democratic order is wracked with problems, of course; but it always
has been.
The question, my boy, is
Has it been more fruitful, more liberating, more constructive in promoting the common
good than have the various orders that came before it?
And if so, is there a compelling reason for throwing it over in favor of the ancient belief
that some men are, indeed, born with saddles on their backs, and a favored few born
booted and spurred, entitled to ride them?
This is the question the Alt-Right poses. As it happens, its an old question, and one to
which our forebears gave powerful answers.
But every generation has to relearn them. The larger the Alt-Right grows, the clearer it is
that ours hasnt.
What makes the alt right so radical is that it categorically disagrees with even the

supposedly "extreme" positions of conservatives. Being against illegal immigration and

for deportation isn't enough; the alt right wants to drastically cut back on legal
immigration, as well. As for Syria, most on the alt right support Assad and Putin instead
of the so-called "moderate opposition." Basically, with the alt right, don't expect any
loyalty when it comes to the tried-and-tested Republican platform. They, not the left, are
the real threat to the Republican party as it is currently constituted.
This is of course the very reason why the alt right has been in the ascendant. Rather than
concede the moral high ground to the left, the alt right turns the left's moralism on its
head and makes it a badge of honor to be called "racist," "homophobic," and "sexist."
Instead of the GOP establishment's soup of globalism, free markets, and foreign
interventions, the alt right has resurrected some ghosts from the conservative past in
pushing for protectionism, national capitalism, and an emphasis on protecting American
lives at home, not abroad.
Sound familiar? Get out your pitchforks.
In fact, the alt-right is ideologically rudderless sailing to and fro with whatever they
believe is in the national interest.
And they see the national interest in terms of what is good for white people.
Son, this is racist to the core, everything your grandparents courageously stood against,
not without risk, during desegregation when I was a boy.
At root, the alt-right is as tribalist as Black Lives Matter. It is the White Lives Matter
equivalent and would divide the country among its races.
William F. Buckley once took a strong stand against the alt-right. Conservatives must do
so again. People have forgotten. Some conservatives have forgotten.

The conservative movement is no place for those who see the world in terms of race,
racial grievance, and tribalism.
Conservatives and Christians both believe all men and women, regardless of race, creed,
ethincity, or religion are created equal before the eyes of God and man. Conservatives
believe in a strong citizenry. The alt-right believes in the strong man. Conservatives put
their faith in God and their trust in the people. The alt-right puts its faith in the tribe and
its trust in one man to lead them.
Son, the alt-right is not a part of and should be thoroughly condemned by conservatives.
Additionally, it goes without saying that if conservatives do not, the left will and will
inevitably paint intentionally with such a broad brush as to harm sound ideas. If we do
not self-regulate our movement, it will be done for us by those who are not of like mind.
We should not let hate groups try to put makeup on this Nazi, but instead work again to
put it on the ash heap of history where its progenitors still smolder. We must also reject
those politicians and candidates who stroke the egos of the alt-right and encourage it to

come out of the shadows into polite society.

What, though, if I had no substantive concerns regarding his lack of presidential
decorum, his crude, brutish, loutish, creepy personality, his tainting of the conservative
movement and rebranding of the GOP, his empowering of nativist, nationalist,
xenophobic, racist extremists, his trade protectionism and his geopolitical isolationism?
Might I still sound an alarm on how Trump would set back one of the most critical
efforts for your generation, son, the proper approach to the ght against terrorism
abroad and at home?
Dozens of others have already pointed out how strategically idiotic is Trumps Muslim
exclusion principle. Absent a renewed Christian crusade against radical Islam with
those fabulous Hollywood-wardrobe tunics the War on Terror will only be won in
alliance with moderate Muslims. Declaring them anathema is not the best beginning to
You have indicated some sympathy with a libertarian approach?
From a libertarian point of view and I think serious conservatives and liberals would
share this view Trumps greatest offenses against American tradition and our founding
principles are his nativism and his promise of one-man rule. Not since George Wallace
has there been a presidential candidate who made racial and religious scapegoating so
central to his campaign. Trump launched his campaign talking about Mexican rapists
and has gone on to rant about mass deportation, bans on Muslim immigration, shutting
down mosques and building a wall around America. America is an exceptional nation in
large part because weve aspired to rise above such prejudices and guarantee life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness to everyone.
The man has demonstrated an emotional immaturity bordering on personality disorder,
and it ought to disqualify him from being a mayor, to say nothing of a
Trump has made a career out of egotism, while conservatism implies a certain modesty
about government. The two cannot mix.
Why be frightened, you ask?

Trump's lack of presidential decorum?

Sad, embarrassing, but nothing to fear greatly.

Trump's crude, brutish, loutish, creepy personality?

Hide your daughters! But don't be afraid.

Trump's tainting of the conservative movement and rebranding of the GOP?

He didn't do that. The party invited the fringe lunatics on the bus. When enough were
onboard, they hijacked it. Trump slapped his name on the side, climbed into the driver

seat and drove it over the cliff.

The party may split, but that doesn't scare me.

Trump's empowering - mainstreaming even - of nativist, anti-immigrant, nationalist,

xenophobic, racist extremists?

Trump's trade protectionism?

Economically, frightening! Disastrous prospects for your inheritance.

Trump's geopolitical isolationism and foreign belligerence?

A very frightening prospect for global stability!

Trump's naive, counterproductive approach to terrorism?

A frightening prospect as it will fuel the very extremism we're trying desperately to

Trump's stance toward nuclear proliferation?

Foreign policy experts of all political aflations have hightened my concerns

Trump's temperament combined with access to the nuclear code?

Well, granted, he might foment the next great recession, the next nuclear arms race, the
next surge of radical Islamism, the mainstreaming of our own country's latent racism,
the demise of conservative respectability for a generation, an erosion of the dignity of
the executive ofce at home and an evisceration of American respect and inuence
abroad, and granted there's a small possibility he might, in a bad mood, launch a nuke ...
shouldn't we be more concerned with the constitution of the Supreme Court for the next
decade, since, after all, if not for all the Republican appointees and majorities dating
back to FDR ...
Excuse me?

If not for them, WHAT exactly?

And, that, my son, is why I have been frightened. Not terribly so. The republic will survive.
But human pain and misery will, no doubt in my mind, increase with Trump as POTUS.