February 24, 2016


Trump Is A Rump, But He Has A Point : I'll vote for anybody you put up against Donald Trump, but neither do I believe that everything he says is untrue or without merit. In fact, he's hit on one big true idea our society has lost (Bill James, FEBRUARY 24, 2016, The Federalist)

Now, having said all of that, having hopefully dispelled any notion that I am a closet Trump supporter, let me speak on behalf of Donald Trump, or at least Trump's supporters, for the rest of this article. What Trump is advocating, I believe, is courage; not that this is all that he is advocating, but this is a critical part of what he is advocating.

I believe in courage. I am all for politicians displaying courage, and I think Trump has done a better job of displaying real courage than anyone else running this year. Trump has had the courage to say and do things that people tell him he can't do. We need that in a president. We need somebody who is willing to stand up and say "You don't make the rules for me. I make the rules for me." I applaud Trump for being that person.

Also, Trump is advocating real democracy in a way that the other candidates are not, and in a way that is too subtle for most of the talking heads to understand. We have in this great nation a class of professional do-gooders who have made a lot of rules for the rest of us, and who have, with the knowing co-operation of the media, forced the rest of us to comply with their rules. Most of us never voted upon or agreed to these rules. Some of these rules are good and proper, and some are useless and counter-productive.

Trump is saying "screw you" to the professionally self-righteous and to those people who are trying to force him to obey these rules that the nation has been forced to accept by leaders who lacked the courage to stand up to it all.

The rules to which I refer are emanations and outgrowths of completely legitimate rules (and laws) that were adopted for sound reasons. Let's start with racism. Indeed, these rules do generally start with opposition to racism. It used to be, in my lifetime, that one could express open hostility toward people of other races. It used to be that you could use racial slurs on radio or TV, and use them in the most pejorative way, not teasing or mocking but carrying real menace. You can't do that now.

That's great. In no sense should we retreat from that. Oliver Wendell Holmes's dictum that freedom of speech does not extend to the right to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater may reasonably be extended to mean that no one has an inherent right to say disparaging things about a group of people while those people are in real danger of suffering serious consequences from being treated unfairly by our society.

But extend that idea out without resistance, extend it outward without respect for its natural boundaries and without any respect for the other valid principles with which it may come in conflict, and here is where you wind up. A couple of years ago I described Gino Cimoli, a 1950s outfielder, as. . . I forget what the words were, but it focused on him being Italian. He was super-Italian, actually. He was part of the same Bay-Area Italian culture that gave us the DiMaggios, Ernie Lombardi, Billy Martin, Cookie Lavagetto, and many others. He dressed like he came straight out of "Goodfellas": sunglasses, slicked-back hair, high-gloss shine on his shoes, and glittery suits.

But when I described him this way, I heard immediately from the self-righteous rules makers: No, no, no--you can't characterize him by his ethnic origins. It's racist stereotyping.

Well, but Gino Cimoli wasn't ashamed of being Italian. He was extremely proud of it. He wanted to be Italian; he wanted everybody to know that he was Italian. You couldn't miss it. And I hadn't in any way insulted him by pointing it out. Why, then, are we not permitted to say what is true?

Posted by at February 24, 2016 5:01 PM