Some of us were introduced to a new term today as President Trump began his first international tour in Saudi Arabia. That theme expresses precisely the hope many of us have for his term in office. We saw him as an unapologetic American who wants for each of us the very best that our country has to offer. We want to once again play for the winning team. We want everyone to have these opportunities, but understand that we must take care of ourselves first in order to continue to be a light for others to follow. Today President Trump suggested that all of us join with the leaders of Islamic countries, some 55 of them, in treating the problem of terrorism with principled realism.
For decades now we have degenerated into the abyss of situational relativism, a concept which is counterproductive and thoroughly at odds with the best interests of the American people. We have thrived for centuries accepting that right is right and wrong is wrong no matter who does it. Your eye color, gender, hair length, shoe size, or a long list of other things should not excuse bad behavior or cause you to be punished for things others are not. It’s just not fair, and it complicates our lives if we must continuously apply different standards based on arbitrary things which have nothing to do with the task at hand.
Among other things, this situational relativism has given us so-called hate crimes. When someone’s grandmother is murdered during a home invasion, does her race really matter? No, it does not. It is a heinous crime and should be so punished. The murderers should be found either guilty or not guilty. Nothing else is fair to the family or the community. At sentencing, perhaps the fact that she was targeted specifically because of her age or race is relevant, but it has nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of those committing the murder.
When applied to more ordinary things, this prism of relativism leads us into things like standards no longer being standards but mere suggestions, maybe. Who cares that it takes some brawn to be able to carry a loaded field pack for many military jobs, let’s do away with standards such as height, weight, and strength to accommodate little people who weigh less than the packs they must carry to do their jobs. Maybe they can apply that same philosophy to electricians because Joe Smoe over there tried so hard to pass the tests that he should be licensed in spite of having crossed wired so many electrical installations that he has already burned down three houses and an apartment building. The bar has already been lowered so far that perhaps we can let the local podiatrist perform heart bypass surgeries just because, you know, she’s blonde, or something.
No. It is way past time to stop the madness we have been subjected to with all this situational (or whatever it is) relativism. It is just an excuse for the lazy among us to do a very sloppy job of thinking about anything. It makes life much more complicated than any of us need. In addition, it is just too confusing. If this, then that, except during a full moon, if the consensus among first born nudists disagree. Nobody knows the rules, or even if there are any. Just ask those who are perpetually offended by something or another. They seem to have a list of things about which they are expected to be offended, yet have no explanation for what exactly offends them. Peer review, or something.
So it has become with terrorism. Somehow, the act is ignored by many because of one excuse or another. Most of us do not care if a bad guy is affiliated with a group, young or old, or any other factor. When attacked, either individually or collectively, we want the threat neutralized. Now. This terrorism threat has been toyed with entirely too long to the detriment of all of us.
While the term principled realism actually is not entirely new, it was certainly given its largest stage to date, and not without some howling from the left, of course. What else would any of us expect. Because…Trump.
Perhaps I was not the only one who was captivated by the scenes yesterday and today from Saudi Arabia. It was pretty amazing. And gave me a new favorite expression. Principled realism. It’s a much better way of expressing one of my core principles – treating everyone well results in most people treating you well, but be prepared to appropriately deal with those who will not.
Thank you, Mr. President, for reminding me.