As this primary campaign unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear with each passing day that Donald Trump is the worst possible choice for the Republican nomination. He’s ignorant about policy. He likes big government. He scorns individual liberty when it threatens his power. He’s boorish. He’s nasty. He’s intellectual lazy.
But he will end political correctness.
So goes the counterargument in favor of Trump. Now, Trump does say some things that are politically incorrect. He says that our border problem increases criminality. True. He says that radical Islam provides a serious threat to Westerners. True. He also says so many stupid things that he smears political incorrectness with the brush of being a moron.
Trump is changing the debate, all right – he’s making it so that anyone can say anything without fear of social repercussion. That’s why his supporters, like Milo Yiannopoulos – who calls him “Daddy” – wrote in defense of Trump ripping Heidi Cruz’s looks this way:
Trump’s crass tweets and objectionable comments may not be comfortable reading for old-fashioned conservatives who appreciate decency and good manners, but they are helping to break the language codes that were primarily set up by the left, for the left. Trump is destroying old notions of what’s acceptable and unacceptable to say, and the primary losers of his new paradigm will be left-wingers and establishment types.
That’s probably true – but only for Trump supporters. That’s because Trump doesn’t just break language codes in calculated fashion. He strikes with a blunderbuss, and at least half the time, the gun itself backfires, hitting him (and advocates of actual useful political incorrectness) directly in the face. Trump justifies everything he does with the notion that he’s just being politically incorrect, that social strictures on calling women ugly for no reason or mocking POWs or imitating the disabled or smearing women as adulteresses and attention-seeking floozies are merely hallmarks of the PC culture. That’s how he justified Corey Lewandowski, his campaign manager, grabbing a female reporter by the arm, yanking her, and bruising her. To complain about or punish Lewandowski is merely political incorrectness, says Trump: “I mean, give me a break. You know, the problem is everybody dumps people when there's, like, a sign of political incorrectness.”
Very few people are willing to go this far. And Trump won’t change that, because it shouldn’t be changed. Justifying violence isn’t politically incorrect. It’s wrong. Making fun of the disabled is mostly just wrong.
Most people know that. So Trump will actually precipitate a backlash against political incorrectness. The logic will go something like this: if being politically incorrect means telling your protesters you will cover their legal bills if they hit somebody, you can keep your political incorrectness.
Every philosophy deserves decent spokespeople. Trump as spokesman for political incorrectness is totally disastrous.