The Decline of Truth: Trumpism Is the New Conservatism in the Age of the Naked Emperor

The truth still matters. Inasmuch as the decline of truth signals the atrophy of a society’s moral standards, serious conservatives must possess the moral fortitude to resist the duplicity endemic to Trumpism, lest it consumes the conservative movement.

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The White House is now home to a new emperor, and judging by some of the deceitful actions of the Trump administration within just the first few days of his presidency (and all throughout the campaign prior to election), it is clear that we are about to be ushered into the age of the naked emperor.

Over the next four years (at least), we can expect to witness his ministers and sycophants attempt to convince the rest of us that he is fully clothed even when discernibly undressed.

Those who still have the integrity and audacity to call the emperor naked when he is perceptibly so—who remain steadfast in their commitment to the truth—will become part of an ostracized faction forced to the margins of the conservative movement. We will hear arguments asserting that lying for the emperor is the morally superior thing to do, and that ensuring that the emperor tells the truth is secondary to “winning,” however undefined.

There will be efforts to persuade those of us who still believe in common decency that deception is actually a commendable political tactic, no matter the ramifications. Gone are the days when we all acknowledged, yet abhorred the fact that politicians lie routinely. It will be revealed that many people hated lying not because it was inherently immoral, but because it was being done by those who hold opposing political ideals.

The Gaslighting BrigadeTM, chaired by Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer, will launch concerted campaigns to legitimize the emperor’s entitlement to “alternative facts” about even the most trivial things, such as presidential inauguration crowd sizes, in order to assuage his bruised ego and gratify his narcissism. One wonders whether an individual with such a fragile self-image (that press conferences must be held to defend it) can be trusted to ethically handle more serious situations that will pose much greater threats to his perceived popularity. One wonders whether the same people defending this campaign of lies would come so ferociously to Trump’s defense had his administration lied about YouTube videos causing the death of four in Benghazi.

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