a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless
b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths
a : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility
That is not a nice word. And yet, the Washington Post’s editorial board has used it to describe the entire GOP. Not only that, they double down on it by calling it “rank:”
The rank nihilism driving the GOP’s acceptance of Trump
Here is the heart of their argument:
Rudimentary adherence to the truth and respect for openness matter. Mr. Priebus and his confederates in amorality dismiss or excuse Mr. Trump’s mockery of these precious political values because they believe politics matters more than principle. Mr. Trump’s campaign will end, one way or another, in November. The disgrace of the Republicans who have supported him will not.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
This is the same Washington Post editorial board that praised the SCOTUS decision mandating same sex marriage with the headline, “The Supreme Court officially catches up with America on gay marriage.” Apparently, a court decision which turns on its head the basic moral sense of the entirety of human history is perfectly justified because the American public seems to want it. But when the rank and file of a political party, through voting and caucusing make their will expressly known and the party follows that will its nihilism. Who precisely is it that is unmoored from any objective grounds of moral truth?
Even worse is that the fact that the editorial Board cites only Reince Preibus – while accusing the entire GOP! As if the GOP consists of nothing more than the RNC. Trumps received only about 40% of the GOP votes cast to date, enough to win under this circumstance, but hardly a ringing endorsement of the entire party. The party’s leading elected official, Paul Ryan, has yet to endorse Trump. The party’s last presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is a decided #NEVERTRUMP. Many leading Republicans have expressed their reservations about Trump, publicly expressing their desire for him to improve on many of the issues the Post cites in their editorial.
There is no basis whatsoever for the editorial board of the Washington Post to accuse the entire GOP of “rank nihilism” under these circumstances save for rank partisanship. Reince Preibus is simply doing his job, following the expressed will of the voters in the party he helps organize, just as Debbie Wasserman Schultz has done on any number of truly morally bankrupt positions adopted by her constituency. This editorial is nothing more than an effort to stake out the moral high ground in an election where the moral high ground is undefined.
My personal jury on Trump remains out and the same is true for many, many of my fellow Republicans. But one thing is for-sure-and-for-certain. I will not stand by and be accused of nihilism by people that long ago abandoned the moral truths upon which western civilization has advanced to its current heights.