The now infamous eleven-year-old video of Donald Trump has critically wounded his candidacy. Whether it is a mortal wound is yet to be determined. The media claim that they are appalled by Trump’s language and his apparent attitude toward women. Predictably, feminists went crazy and proclaimed that Trump is just another example of how males (usually white) have always viewed women as objects to be ogled and abused.
Also, predictably, many Republican politicians ran for the hills, scared to death that supporting Trump would destroy their chances of being elected. The “Never Trumpers” gloated about how right they have been and how ignorant the Trump supporters have been. Some conservative talk-show hosts also abandoned Trump, urging him to resign. Trump’s apology to his family and the American people was to no avail. He was a creepy miscreant who had to be banished from the political scene.
Now it goes without saying that what he said was disgusting and infantile. I don’t use that kind of language, and I do not have friends who do, either. I do not have virgin ears. I have been in hundreds of locker rooms and have heard the most vile, vulgar language one can imagine. At seventy years old, I still cringe each time I hear the F-bomb being used.
Having said that, I must ask an important question for the media, the feminists, and the Democrats: Why was Trump wrong? What did he say that was so bad? To be specific, why was he wrong to talk about grabbing and kissing women, trying to seduce a married woman, and using a vulgar term for a woman’s genitalia?
Now stay with me, reader. There’s an important point to be made.
In order for something to be deemed wrong, there must be a violation of some law. But what law are we talking about? It can’t be God’s law, for the Left rejects the concept that there is a God who is a law-giver. The Ten Commandments have no more binding authority than Ten Ways to a Better Diet. The teachings of Jesus are nice platitudes, but no one takes seriously his views on marriage and divorce. And let’s not forget St. Paul, who clearly was a misogynist and a homophobe.
So, where does this leave us? If moral laws do not come from God, then how can people condemn certain actions? The answer is subjectivism. Subjectivism is the belief that people are free to make their own truth in order to satisfy their own desires. If they desire a world where women are no longer burdened by an unwanted child, then the “truth” is that women should have power to kill the child in their womb. If they desire a society that believes two men or two women should be allowed to have a “sexual” relationship with each other, then that “truth” should be codified in law. And if they desire a nation in which these couples can be permitted to marry, then the Supreme Court should make it so. This thinking also applies to fornication, adultery, pornography, and transgenderism. Subjectivists create “values” out of thin air.
C.S. Lewis, in his classic The Abolition of Man, argued that societies can only thrive if they adhere to what he called the Tao. Also known as the Natural Law or Traditional Morality, the Tao “is the sole source of all value judgements. If it is rejected, all value is rejected.” Civilizations all over the world have adhered to fundamental values, such as the value of human life, the rule of law, the sacredness of the family, self-sacrifice for a great cause, the beauty of a chaste love, and virtues such as integrity, compassion, fidelity, and many others. Once a society begins to mock these values, it begins to decay. Is this not what we see in America today?
Naturally, Lewis had disdain for subjectivists and saw them as a deadly threat to civilization. In The Abolition of Man and in other essays, Lewis found three key flaws in their thinking. First, subjectivists are snobs. When they declared that homosexual marriage was a fundamental right, for example, they were proclaiming that all individuals and societies that banned such behavior for the past five-thousand years were ignorant, bigoted, or both. The subjectivists, on the other hand, see themselves as the enlightened chosen.
The second flaw is that subjectivists are hypocrites. Although they claim that there are no absolute laws or values, when they feel attacked, they cry foul. “You can’t say that!” they protest. “That’s unfair and insensitive.” But, again, who or what determines fairness and insensitivity?
Lewis’s third argument against subjectivists is that they laud their progressive agenda. Peter Kreeft, author of C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium, an insightful explanation of Lewis’s philosophy, puts it this way:
The subjectivist . . . almost always believes in moral “progress” –the “progress” from the traditional, “unenlightened,” objectivist morality to the modern “enlightened,” subjectivist morality. But progress implies a real, objective standard to judge it as progress rather than regress. Progress means not just change but change for the better.
For example, one shudders to think how this nation’s experiment with so-called homosexual rights will play out in the next few years. Between progress and regress, I’ll bet on the latter.
So, by what standard was Trump wrong to say what he did on that infamous tape? A Catholic who knows his faith can easily answer that question. But for those on the Left, they can point to no moral authority, no higher law that condemns such language. They feign outrage because it serves a political agenda. Nothing more, nothing less.