Would we revere the Founders, the figures of the Bible, or even the president if they didn’t stand for ideas we believe in? Unlikely.
So it stands to reason that people who seem to unquestionably worship an individual, no matter what the individual says or does, have a bit of a problem. We’ll call it the cult of personality temptation.
It is the tendency among some emotionally needy people to politically put individuals over the ideas they champion, as if the person, not their message, is what we should respect. In this scenario the public figure seems to fill a deep emotional longing for a political knight in shining armor, unsullied by the inherent compromise and moral ambiguities of the political process. People who long for this are looking for love in all the wrong places.
We’ve seen it in some conservatives when it comes to the president. Donald Trump has been an excellent president because of what he has done and the underlying ideas that drove his actions. Not because he is just Donald Trump. Nevertheless, on social media especially, you can see memes virtually shoehorning him into the holy trinity. That’s if he is not hanging out with Christ himself, in these patently bizarre images.
Now, as a constitutional monarchist I have no problem with a divinely-appointed head of state. But, with all due respect, not sure I’d go with the Trump family. Great political types. But meh. At any rate, political figures do not deserve automatic loyalty. As the president has done, they must earn it.
Which brings us to the cult figure of the moment to the Right, Sidney Powell.
This attorney has outright guaranteed a Trump victory in the election. We’ll spare you the details on this issue, as we’re covering it in another piece. But after that absurd statement, after the president, through his attorney, threw her under the bus, there are still those who believe she is some kind of legal huntress who will deliver us from electoral evil as Joan of Arc delivered the crown to the Dauphin.
There is no evidence of this. The status of the Flynn case, now that he’s looking at a Biden DOJ, should be a warning. What is happening here is that these desperate innocent people have emotionally invested in Powell and they can’t bear to have their illusion shattered. But in politics one should have no illusions, more so when it comes to political people.
That’s why we are, or were, a nation of laws, not of personal allegiance. Laws and ideas take precedence over cult of personality political crusades in any free country.
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One should not gain public credibility for making the right emotional noises. You should be taken seriously in the national discourse if your words comport with the facts. That Powell’s do not, says a lot more about those who would slavishly follow her than it does about her.