Friday, February 26, 2016

America – the Crisis of the Intellect

The apparent ascendancy of Donald Trump as the front-running candidate for President of the United States in the Republican Party and the decision made by the Republican leadership in the United States Senate to refuse to even consider the sitting President’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court are powerful indicators that our political system, based on democratic principles and the rule of law, is in serious jeopardy.  In my mind, it reflects a crisis of the intellect.

In regards to Donald Trump, his bellicose and often mean-spirited pronouncements and apparent worldview readily exposes both a poverty of intellect and a severely troubled personality.  It is my contention that he displays a behavior that is indicative of a pathological narcissist.  His speech exposes an apparent inability and outright refusal to engage in the political process which requires a capacity to listen to opposing viewpoints and to make compromises based upon reasoned judgment.  The political process embodied in compromise is essential if we, as a people, are to retain the democratic principles that we claim to cherish.  Otherwise, we willingly embrace demagoguery – a path that will necessarily have disastrous consequences; for, we are not a monolithic society.  This country is made up of very diverse elements in terms of race, culture, world view and perspective; it is this diversity that allows for our collective growth, development and maturity as a people.  To suppress this diversity or to deny entire sectors of the population an opportunity to engage as full members of the culture is to effectively diminish us all.

The recent decision of Republican Senators to refuse to even engage in their constitutional responsibility to accept or reject a Presidential nominee for the open seat on the Supreme Court following the death of Antonin Scalia is a serious abrogation of their role in this very important process.  The arguments that they have put forward to justify this position are untenable and border on the absurd.  This kind of collective behavior reflects, in my mind, a determination to have their own way regardless of the cost and undermines the veracity of the political process.

If the American people find this behavior acceptable then we do suffer from a crisis of the intellect.  Admittedly, the nation is faced with serious issues that need to be addressed and undoubtedly arouse fear.  Reasoned solutions to these problems, however, will not be achieved through authoritarian and intellectually vacant policies that may temporarily alleviate those fears but will eventually lead to unfortunate consequences.