Everybody Stay Calm

A couple of months ago I drafted a post outlining how Hillary Clinton is actually the conservative choice for President, since a conservative should really value stability – even stability trending in a bad direction – to chaos. I never published the post because other people were making the same argument better than I could.

A few days ago I had, not an insight, but an alignment of conclusions I’ve drawn about family, business, and politics over the years, but never noticed the obvious connections.

In family life, business, and politics chaos and drama are fundamentally evil and stability is to be cultivated and cherished. The home, the business, and the state should all be quiet. To the jackass, reprobate, moron or college activist they should all look boring, but in fact a healthy home, growing wealth, and social cohesion bring joy to someone who has them.

A chaotic family life might stem from sexual incontinence, mental illness, or substance abuse. A chaotic business (and most businesses are actually quite chaotic) chaos is the result of unclear goals, processes and information making people work contrary to each other. A chaotic state or society might be the result of all kinds of things, I’m not really an expert in the causes of social chaos. The end result of each form of chaos: intergenerational poverty, bankruptcy, civil disintegration. The causes and effects of chaos on all levels usually look like chicken and egg problems (hence the endless debates) when they are most likely vicious cycles.

Anyway, an unhappy marriage is often better for all parties than a divorce, a stagnant business usually better than a disrupted one, a corrupt government always better than no government (just ask Iraq and Libya).

There are people who learn to thrive in chaotic situations: they become good at creating drama, manipulating others, and making themselves the center of attention. They might be good at achieving short term goals, but at the expense of long term goals. A child brought up in a chaotic home or a manager who builds his career in chaotic businesses can actually become addicted to chaos; they end up needing it and perpetuating it. Politicians engaged in a perpetual popularity contest need to create drama where there is none.

Donald Trump is a good example of a “businessman” who prefers to live in a chaotic state, which is why he is always going bankrupt. He has never actually built anything successful, though he did OK as a game show host. The product he sells isn’t, and has never been, real estate, but a fake image of himself. He is a grifter.

Clinton is a different sort of grifter. She too has never really built anything, but like most politicians is a parasite in the system. She does not cultivate the health of the system but exploits it to make herself rich. That makes Clinton the conservative candidate: she might be bad for the system, she might corrupt it, but she needs it to keep chugging along. She might make a bad president, but at least she can play one on TV.

All that having been said, let’s not get sucked into the drama. There is an apocalyptic aspect to the 2016 election in the sense that illusions are being stripped away, but neither candidate is as bad as the opposition makes them out to be. Yes, Trump is a bad man, but he is not a Hitler, or even a Mussolini. Yes, Clinton is a bad woman, but she is not the antichrist. Both are bad in quite mediocre and ordinary ways. Neither is the end of the world or death of America, even if both are the sign of bad times to come.

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8 comments

  1. And of course, the US has a senate, congress, courts and even laws. No president gets to come in and arbitrarily dictate whatever they want. At least not in any substantial or permanent way.

    And I couldn’t agree more on your chaos point. The greatest advantage of stability is knowledge. We learn how to function in the best possible way we can when we understand the rules. Instability means a huge amount of time is wasted trying to learn rules, to decide who’s on our side. To discern between advantage and disadvantage.

    1. Of course there is the long term problem of the expansion of executive powers. The congress acts as less and less of a check on the President with each administration and the courts have tended to go along since FDR. In fact congress has largely abdicated the work of legislation to executive rule-making, which can be quite arbitrary, much the way congress has abdicated the declaration of war to the commander in chief.
      With little accountability on the executive branch there is little reason for federal bureaucrats to apply the rules impartially, which is the long-term fear many conservatives have about a Clinton presidency.

      1. Won’t that eventually hit a brick wall? I get the impression we might be getting to that point.

      2. I hope so, I’m not a fan of Presidentialism.

  2. Good post. One of my favorite bits of dark humor says, “On election day, about half the country’s hopes and dreams will die. The other half will lose theirs about 3 weeks later.”

    People always lose perspective when hope rears it’s ugly head.

    1. That’s funny, thanks.

  3. Lucretius · · Reply

    I don’t think the current status is sustainable (that includes economically, culturally, morally, etc., etc.). So, in the long term, a Clinton Presidency doesn’t save us from the darkness.

    A little chaos for the sake of the long term future of our country would be a good, but I don’t think the chaos that Mr. Trump sows and will sow is of that sort.

    So, a conservative can support short term chaos for the sake of long term stability.

    Christi pax.

    1. You are going to have to define the kind of chaos you are talking about.
      Revolutionary forces are often motivated by the idea that if they simply destroy the current order a spontaneous natural order will break out. That ideal motivated leftist terrorism since the 19th century against all evidence to the contrary.
      There was a lot of that thinking leading up to Iraq – remove the dictator and people will naturally create a democratic and capitalist society – and Libya where it appeared on TV there were actually forces of democratic order, but were really tribal and Islamist forces of disintergration.

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