The Iran Deal in tatters, three American hostages safely returned from North Korea, which now offers to denuclearize and end the Korean War after 68 years, five top ISIS leaders captured — and that’s just this week. On the domestic front, in just a year-and-a-half, landmark tax reform has made the U.S. more competitive, fewer illegal aliens are entering our country than at any time in the past 17 years, and dozens of federal judges have taken the bench to defend the rule of law and our constitutional system. According to a poll from CNN of all outlets, more Americans today think the country is headed in the right direction than at any time in over a decade.
The Left unsurprisingly remains steadfast in their opposition to President Trump. What’s disappointing is that a handful of “Never Trump” Republicans remain equally unwilling to admit the obvious: Donald Trump is a good president. Indeed, the remaining anti-Trump voices on the Right seem more desperate than ever to take down the president, if only to prove that, actually, they were right all along.
An oft-abused Ralph Waldo Emerson saying comes to mind. Clumsy pedants misquote the transcendental essayist absurdly insisting, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” In reality Emerson wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” The distinction is crucial. Logic requires consistency, but logical premises can be proved wrong. The madman who is convinced he's a banana and therefore peels off his own skin follows a consistent logic; the trouble is that his premise isn’t true.
People are stubborn. More precisely, they easily fall prey to commitment bias, whereby individuals become more convinced of their position once they have declared it publicly. The more people defend their opinions, the more difficult those opinions are to dislodge even as evidence mounts to rebut them. Foolish ideologues, presented with evidence that reality contradicts their theories, reject reality for their theories.
Some conservatives and Republicans refused to vote for President Trump in 2016, and they did so for a variety of reasons. Some feared Trump would turn out to be a left-wing wolf in sheep’s clothing. Others insisted that Trump’s rough speech and boorish personal behavior would preclude his governing as a conservative and diminish the United States in the eyes of her citizens and the rest of the world. After 17 months, not only have none of those fears come to pass, but indeed all available evidence points in precisely the opposite direction: excellent governance at home, peace through strength abroad, and a long-absent hopefulness in the hearts of Americans.
Reality has refuted the “Never Trump” premises. That fact ought to be a cause for celebration among all but those who wish our country ill. Nevertheless, some still stubbornly hope President Trump will fail our country so they can avoid the indignity of having been wrong. But changing one’s mind in the light of new evidence is no vice; and consistency in the defense of fantasy is no virtue.