Trump only cares about Trump

To the Editor:

As a freshman cadet at Norwich University 38 years ago, I was required to memorize a creed whose opening sentiment runs like this: "I believe the cardinal virtues of the individual are courage, honesty, temperance and wisdom, and that the true measure of success is service rendered – to God, to country, and to mankind."

While no candidate measures up to these lofty ideals in full, one candidate at least openly disparages them, and exemplifies a life lived in the service of only one cause – the enlargement of his personal fortune.

This same man mocks the idea of temperance as a virtue, playing up his strengths as a ‘counterpuncher’ to justify self-indulgent tirades against those who have piqued his ire.

As for courage, I suppose it takes a degree of fortitude to practice the black art of public shaming, and to open oneself up to the scorn that must inevitably follow from acting out an impulse to insult and libel, but it is a bravery, if it can be called that, devoid of any guiding moral principle.

Finally, a message designed to appeal to whatever the opposite of Lincoln’s ‘better angels of our nature’ might be called casts grave doubts on both the integrity of the messenger and the quality of his insights. While possibly ‘honest’ – if we dare to imagine that an educated man who took the time to study the world he would lead could actually hold with the simplistic pronouncements that flow from Donald Trump’s mouth – his rhetoric can hardly be described as wise. Indeed, his apparent disinterest in the details of the complex matters that would be his to master seems antithetical to the pursuit of wisdom.

Paul Loefstedt