Alexander Hamilton – On a Man Unprincipled

When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits — despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”
-- Alexander Hamilton, 1792

I found this quote the other day – a comment made on Hemant Mehta's Friendly Atheist website – and it did well and truly put a knot in my gut for what (or WHO!) it describes, well over 200 years before said person appeared on the current scene. Ignore the “military habits” for a moment and focus on the rest, and what Hamilton outlines is frighteningly descriptive of our current chief executive.

Similar people were doubtless about in his time and gave rise to the above commentary, but the time itself was very different, particularly with regard to media and news. There is also the matter of the newness of our country 200 years ago and the possibility that with that newness there was an elevated sense of its vulnerability and heightened desire to defend its principles. Regardless, it is safe to say that such attitudes have relaxed in the two centuries since, to the point where we have had a sham of an impeachment trial with no witnesses called nor evidence presented, which will see the accused acquitted in a matter of days. Doubtless, the madness he has spawned to this point will careen onward, spurred by his perception of his invincibility, until and if a stop is put to him, most likely by the ballot box, this November 3rd.

And even then, we may not be safe, depending on how much influence Trump has glommed up by that time. I do not say it lightly that we are in deep shit, people, and we need to watch out for ourselves and each other and speak out loudly and forcefully against any further attempts to arrogate yet more power to himself between now and then.

The last thing in this world I want to be is an alarmist … but the fact is that I’m scared, scared for our country and for us … and I will do what I can to stop this business before it evolves beyond our control.

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Comment by Tom Sarbeck on April 27, 2020 at 3:15am

The GOP's "fawning, disgusting sycophants" may be the grandchildren of the evangelicals President Reagan invited to join the Party. The National GOP needed the evangelicals' votes but did little or nothing for them, thus exploited them.

They were numerous enough to take over many state GOP parties and he who would become #45 came along. He ran against the National GOP. They joined him and took over the National GOP.

In 1974 in Phoenix I ran in the GOP legislative primary. In 1980 I supported John Anderson. an independent Republican, who lost to "It's morning in America" Reagan.  

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on April 27, 2020 at 2:52am

Does anyone know if Hamilton had anyone in mind?

Comment by Grinning Cat on February 1, 2020 at 12:36pm

When I was a kid, I thought of the Republican Party as loyal Americans who simply had some different beliefs about the best type and roles for government, yet still cared about the American people. Boy was I wrong!

Comment by Loren Miller on February 1, 2020 at 12:19pm

I saw the business about "trumpery" some time back, and recognized it for its accuracy and applicability to the dimwit in the Oval Office.  What I didn't know was how grave the situation could get from that time to this ... or how the Republican party would devolve from "the loyal opposition" to a bunch of fawning, disgusting sycophants.

That all by itself should scare the shit out of anyone.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on February 1, 2020 at 12:07pm

Very funny, Grinning Cat!

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on February 1, 2020 at 12:07pm

"... but the time itself was very different, particularly with regard to media and news."

Agreed, Loren. It amazes me how few realize how dire our political situation is.

Comment by Grinning Cat on February 1, 2020 at 11:22am

Topical "serious humor":

(The Oxford English Dictionary has an expansive definition of "trumpery" that absolutely fits!)



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