“I emancipate man from the humiliating chimera which is called conscience. Conscience, like education, mutilates man. I have the advantage of not being restrained by any considerations of a theoretical or moral nature.” This from a speech in 1941 where the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin ostensibly quoted Adolf Hitler to exhort those gathered to take the same advice.
“The humiliating chimera of conscience.”
In this country, there has been a political and cultural romance with persons who have emancipated themselves from the “humiliating chimera of conscience.” Whether it’s Santa or God or an internal moral parent figure that audits your actions when no one else is watching, whoever is able to evict that figure from their inner consciousness emerges as a hero in American culture. Lovable gangsters from James Cagney to Tony Soprano to Michael Corleone—getting away with it is the only rule to be honored. When caught: Attack. Rant. Divert. Accuse. (If ever you want to know what Trump is guilty of listen to his accusations. In 2016 saying if he loses it’s because the system is rigged—and saying it as he knows the system is being rigged in his favor. Nepotism? Paraphrasing? Treason? Low IQ?)
Getting caught becomes an external problem. There is no internal vexation or examination. People who trouble themselves with conscience do not win. Whether Trump has emancipated himself from conscience or it was never a struggle to begin with is a brief discussion. It’s a genetic code it seems enforced by an enabling racist father figure. Money is the only force that will guarantee loyalty. There is no love or moral order. The only verb is grab. Whether money or land or pussy—grab. The humiliating chimera of conscience is either a speed bump or a fatal folly.
The Republicans around this black hole may have liberated themselves from conscience. Being in awe of someone who never had that struggle seals the deal. If there was a doubt in these people that there is a higher moral order or an afterlife, they have chosen to land on the convenient side of, this is it. What you can grab and what you can get away with rules. Lip service to evangelicals adds a certain kind of scum to the pageant.
The loyal voters to this pied piper of chaos are fans, not citizens. I am reminded of a childhood playground experience hearing two young fathers discussing their sons. The son of one of the fathers was with a group setting off cherry bombs the day before in the playground. The cops came and they ran. The one son was the only one nabbed by the cops and brought home to the father. And this father said to his friend, “I didn’t punish him for what he did, I punished him because he got caught.” That father absorbed a certain American ethos and gave the commandment to his young son.
The chorus of the base is, “Let him get away with it. We wish we could.” When Nixon was told there’s a cancer on the presidency the allegory implies malignancy. It spreads. Trump is a tumor resulting from toxic elements. It’s spreading as Republican senators, congresspersons and voters insist that this is not a disease but a cure.
The only cure is in the hands of the congress—like a pumped up immune system it needs to evict the congealed toxin. The civil war being threatened is a body divided against itself. The operative part of the phrase is: “against itself.” The forces keeping this chaotic, renegade organism in place are oblivious to the harm they are doing to themselves and indifferent to the harm being claimed by others.
Conscience means a moment of apology is required. This is not forthcoming from the current criminal at the dock. A verdict of guilty as charged is the remedy. Whether he apologizes or is ushered out of the territory where he is little more than a squatter matters not. The national and international bodies need to know that we are on the mend.