Meanwhile: This just in from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson: Is Trump our Napoleon? Excerpt:
Comparing great things to smaller ones, is Donald Trump, in spirit, becoming our version of Napoleon Bonaparte?
For a decade and a half Napoleon wrecked Europe. He hijacked the platitudes of the French Revolution to mask his own dictatorship at home and imperialism abroad. Yet today, two centuries after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, he remains an icon for many in, and a few outside, France. Why? How could geniuses like the novelists Victor Hugo and Stendhal both acknowledge Napoleon’s pathologies and the damage that he did to the early 19th century European world, and yet enthuse that he made the French feel both politically and morally “great?” Most French even today believe that he did.
Of course, for a while at least, Napoleon really did “make France great again,” at least in terms of territory and power. At its pinnacle between 1806-11, Imperial France ruled the continent in a way not seen again until the Third Reich’s briefer rule between 1940 and 1942 from the Atlantic Ocean to the Volga River. It threatened to do away with the incompetent and reactionary regimes in every European country and replace them with a supposedly meritocratic class of social reformers, beholden to a natural Napoleonic hierarchy.
Moreover, Napoleon’s own political agenda was a mishmash of conservative authoritarianism and populist social justice. So effective was the strange brew that even to this day scholars fight over whether Napoleon was a proto-Hitler whose unhinged ambitions led to millions of innocent European, Russian, Caribbean and North Africa dead, or was a loyal defender of the French Revolution, whose eleventh-hour iron hand alone kept alive the threatened ideals of fraternity and egalitarianism.
Donald Trump is not going to invade Russia, but he is starting to sound a lot like Bonaparte, well aside from a similarly-narcissistic convergence of America’s future with his own Napoleonic persona.
Far be it from me to question Dr. Hanson’s expertise in comparative history; his expertise in such matters far exceeds my own. But, still, I can’t help thinking that Napoleon isn’t the comparison we should be worried about.
For some time now, yr. obdt. has worried about the idea of an American Caesar; a strong man, perhaps with an army at his back, who sees a Republic grown too soft and corrupt to be redeemed, and who decides to seize dictatorial power. Some worried that Barack Obama had that desire, but President Obama lacks the strength or (let’s be honest) the intelligence to make himself a king.
Trump? Perhaps not.
The Donald does have some pretty dedicated followers – just read the pro-Trump commenters on any story such as the one linked above. He is egomaniacal, but he’s not stupid; you don’t amass a business empire like his by being witless.
I honestly doubt Trump has any intention of making himself a king, but I do think he has good intentions overall – and you know which road is paved with those.