I had to write the article yesterday about the Metaphysics of Quality because an understanding of that is needed before understanding why Donald Trump was right about John McCain. I watched the full interview with Trump at the 2015 Family Leadership Summit on July 18th 2015 and saw the context of the McCain comments and I can say that they weren’t at all out of line from my own opinions. The firestorm that followed against Trump is because he hit a particularly raw nerve in established thinking, that just because a veteran served in the military that they are automatic heroes. But there is more to the matter and Trump boldly announced that just because John McCain was captured as a POW for 5 years during the Vietnam War that it didn’t make him an automatic hero. Trump declared that he preferred people who weren’t captured for performance evaluation, and thus the nerve. Watch the entire interview in the pre-pundit context.
I remember when it was fashionable to ridicule serviceman returning from Vietnam by many of the same types of people who now seek to exploit veterans for their own advances toward collectivism. You see, here is the process, a young person joins the military—goes to boot camp—has their individual identity stamped out of them by a drill sergeant—then they are rebuilt into a team player within the chain of command structure which the government controls. This assimilation into a collective unit is what government progressives like John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama live for. They would like to see that happen to all Americans starting with pre-school children. As adults this madness leads to Deming type thinkers at the back of the train. CLICK TO REVIEW. Old hippies and war protestors like Hillary have joined in the public praise of veterans to use them to sell collectivism as opposed to individualism.
Trump is clearly a front of the train guy—vastly different from a typical politician. He looks at the do nothing McCain who lost the 2008 election because of his passivity and has decided he doesn’t care for the guy. Being a veteran doesn’t give McCain a pass to be an idiot for the rest of his life living off the reputation of his 5 years spent in captivity. To Trump’s mind, and mine as well, McCain would have been far more effective if he hadn’t been caught to begin with, because it made him a liability to the United States strategically. McCain was a pilot who was shot down over Hanoi during a bombing mission. He was then captured, tortured and suffered lifelong physical limitations. To an A-type personality my first thought was that even with fractures to his right leg and both arms, he should have done what he needed to do to avoid capture—or escape by any means necessary instead of staying captive for five and a half years. Knowing now what we do about McCain it is likely that his natural inclination toward passivity is what kept him prisoner. An A type of personality would have escaped, or died trying—so there is reluctance to call someone a hero just because they suffered.
However, to the modern progressive, sacrifice, suffering and service to causes outside of individual motivation are what they are trying to sell to the world, and the American serviceman is ripe for that exploitation. Not to mention a fellow progressive who is one of their members in the Republican Party who has been instrumental in bringing conservatives more to a centralist position on most social topics. The Beltway political system is using veterans to preserve their static pattern way of life which assumes that people are heroes if they give up their thoughts and individuality in service to Capitol Hill. Trump is questioning that rationality which set off a firestorm of controversy. Reporters after the event lashed into Trump with a fury that defied reason—their assumption was that McCain no matter how effective he is, no matter what kind of quality person he is, is a hero because he was captured and tortured. That all his actions for the rest of his life would be forgiven because he was a war hero, meaning that any critical assessment of McCain was off the table—that’s not how reality works.
The cause of the ridicule of McCain from Trump started because of comments the progressive senator made about the 15,000 people who attended Trump’s rally in Phoenix, Arizona. He called the Trump supporters “crazies” which was an establishment desire to set the parameters toward acceptable behavior, because Trump’s support was growing well beyond the control of the GOP. That is the essence of the fear that the Beltway has about Trump, which he will not be able to be controlled by anybody, because he’s already a billionaire, so he can’t be bribed by money. So they have to try to build public consensus against him—and they started by calling his supporters “crazies.” Standard back of the train behavior. Trump then felt he had to defend his supporters which he did by questioning the performance of John McCain over the years, starting with his military service.
McCain pulled the ejection handle on his Skyhawk dive bomber at 500 knots breaking his right leg in the process. He passed out and landed in a lake nearly drowning until some North Vietnamese caught him and pulled him into the center of a nearby town. The peasants there were hollering and spitting on him kicking him when they could. They stripped him, his leg was broken at a 90-degree angle, and they stuck a bayonet into his foot. They interrogated him for the next four days then declared him for dead. McCain realized he had a major infection from blood pooling in his leg that would kill him so he agreed to give the North Vietnamese military information if they’d take him to the hospital. They declared that he was too far gone. It was only when they realized that McCain’s father was a “big admiral” that they took him to the hospital hoping to use him for political leverage. McCain was treated somewhat and spent the next five years in captivity. From the point of view of an A type personality, McCain made several mistakes. He didn’t have an escape plan during the crash. His survival instinct told him to pull the lever, to not drown in the lake, and to say whatever he could to keep from dying of an injury to his leg. But at his decision gates, he could have waited a bit longer to eject after scanning the ground for nearby villages. Once captured he trusted too much in the system as he was a soldier who accepted that his fate was up to others to deal with—even wounded, he took a passive position on his own safety which then put mission command at risk adding to the list of POWs that were being held in military areas they’d otherwise like to bomb. So strategically, McCain put the command structure of the United States forces at a disadvantage because of his capture that likely caused more death because of his natural impulse toward self-preservation. In hindsight it’s clear there were other options, but McCain didn’t use them. He was under duress, and surely terrified. But what made him a hero? He just wanted to live. That doesn’t make one a hero.
Is a kid who doesn’t know what they want to be when they grow up a hero because they are willing to trade freedom for security by joining the military as a young recruit? Are they heroes because they show a willingness toward sacrifice—because they were taught that in their basic training? Are they heroes because they accept orders without question letting other people do their thinking for them? And if they get into trouble like McCain did performing a mission that some bureaucrat came up with at a command bunker, are they heroes for trying to stay alive? These are legitimate questions. The political class wants to believe they are heroes for serving as congressman and senators, but in reality they are ineffective leeches who enrich themselves off the political process. McCain is one of those people. He had an unfortunate thing that happened to him, and he’s trying to cover up the many follies of his past with the awards of his desire to stay alive—which is human and quite natural. There’s nothing exceptional about wanting to stay alive. But in the real world where people like Trump live, he measures success off performance, not sacrifice. And under that lens McCain is a failure and not very heroic. Just because something bad happens it doesn’t make you a hero. Escaping and bringing back intelligence that would win the war would have. But just lasting from day-to-day barely alive doesn’t. It just makes you a survivor.
McCain all through his capture was very concerned about the other POWs who had been there longer than him getting home first. He to his very heart and soul thought of others over himself, which is what progressive society wishes to see. Trump wouldn’t be that way, and neither would I. I could not have stayed in a prison for over five years waiting for the war to end. I would have had to find some alternatives. But McCain believes in the static systems of the political orthodox, which is still a problem with him. He may be a good man relative to the politics of the Beltway, but is he a hero? That is a matter of definitions and who makes them, and whether those definitions come from the back of the train, or the front. In the end, McCain gave the communists what they were looking for, a confession of guilt that was beat out of him after years of torture. He had hit his breaking point and nobody can really blame him. That makes him a survivor. But a hero—only in Washington politics could someone conclude that. Donald Trump was right again.