Dear Commons Community,
David Brooks, in his New York Times column this morning, examines four generations of the Trump family and their affect on Donald Trump Jr. Brooks comments:
“I don’t think moral obliviousness is built in a day. It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a person’s mind and to replace them entirely with the ruthless logic of winning and losing; to take the normal human yearning to be good and replace it with a single-minded desire for material conquest; to take the normal human instinct for kindness and replace it with a law-of-the-jungle mentality. It took a few generations of the House of Trump, in other words, to produce Donald Jr.
Brooks further comments:
Once the scandal broke you would think Don Jr. would have some awareness that there were ethical stakes involved. You’d think there would be some sense of embarrassment at having been caught lying so blatantly.
But in his interview with Sean Hannity he appeared incapable of even entertaining any moral consideration. “That’s what we do in business,” the younger Trump said. “If there’s information out there, you want it.” As William Saletan pointed out in Slate, Don Jr. doesn’t seem to possess the internal qualities necessary to consider the possibility that he could have done anything wrong.
That to me is the central takeaway of this week’s revelations. It’s not that the Russia scandal may bring down the administration. It’s that over the past few generations the Trump family has built an enveloping culture that is beyond good and evil.
The Trumps have an ethic of loyalty to one another. “They can’t stand that we are extremely close and will ALWAYS support each other,” Eric Trump tweeted this week. But beyond that there is no attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code. There is just naked capitalism.”
Right now the “naked capitalist” Donald Trump, Sr. is the face of the United States to much of the rest of the world.