Monday, August 14, 2017

This is America until voters prove otherwise ... by gimleteye

"A man of no convictions, no habits, no traditions, no name…by the strangest freaks of chance, as it seems, rises above the seething parties…and without attaching himself to any one of them, advances to a prominent position. The incompetence of his colleagues, the weakness and insignificance of his opponents, the frankness of the deception, and the dazzling and self-confident limitation of the man raise him…. His childish insolence and conceit gain him…glory. Innumerable so-called chance circumstances attend him everywhere. The disfavour into which he falls…turns to his advantage…. He was several times on the verge of destruction, and was every time saved in an unexpected fashion…. A whole series of outrages is perpetrated on the almost unarmed inhabitants. And the men perpetrating these atrocities, and their leader most of all, persuade themselves that it is noble, it is glory, that it is like Cæsar and Alexander of Macedon, and that it is fine. That ideal of glory and of greatness, consisting in esteeming nothing one does wrong, and glorying in every crime, and ascribing to it an incomprehensible, supernatural value—that ideal, destined to guide this man and those connected with him, is elaborated on a grand scale…. His ignoble [acts], abandoning his comrades in misfortune, does him good service…. At the moment when, completely intoxicated by the success of his crimes and ready for the part he has to play, he arrives...entirely without any plan…. He has no sort of plan; he is afraid of everything; but all parties clutch at him and insist on his support. He alone—with the ideal of glory and greatness he has acquired…, with his frenzy of self-adoration, with his insolence in crime, and his frankness in mendacity—he alone can justify what has to be accomplished.”

—Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1869, Constance Garnett Translation)

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