It might be difficult to believe in the wake of the recent election, but if there is a guiding principle to today’s left-leaning bourgeoisie, it is niceness. The votes of this group depend largely on which party is seen as being nicer to those most in need. Being nice to minorities, women, the disabled, gay people, poor people and illegal immigrants is of paramount importance.The "nice" person may not be declining to express an opinion because of a reluctance to offend.
But what if niceness is not just vague but destructive? What if niceness is just an excuse for selfishness? What if being nice to groups seen as marginalized is actually hurting them?
These thoughts arise from an argument made by Peter Augustine Lawler, a professor of government at Berry College, in the new edition of National Affairs. Lawler sees the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton contest as in large part a tale of the brutish against the nice. Many a Clinton voter would enthusiastically agree. But while the dangers of brutish thinking are obvious, Lawler points out that there is also good reason for niceness to be rejected by Americans in large parts of the country.
Niceness isn’t really a virtue, Lawler says. It’s more of a cop-out, a moral shrug. “A nice person won’t fight for you,” he points out. “A nice person isn’t animated by love or honor or God. Niceness, if you think about it, is the most selfish of virtues, one, as Tocqueville noticed, rooted in a deep indifference to the well-being of others.” Trump’s lack of niceness, so horrifying to Clinton voters, registered to his acolytes as a willingness to fight for what’s good, particularly American jobs and American culture.
His reluctance to take a side may not in fact be because he is trying to see all sides.
Maybe he just doesn't give a shit.
Now I'm debating getting a t-shirt that says "Asshole because I care."