In the years following the devastation of the Civil War, a small band of combative and consummately ambitious businessmen emerged to repair and rebuild the country. These men were profiled in the excellent 2012 History Channel series entitled "The Men Who Built America." Among these great innovators and builders were Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan and Henry Ford. Personally, I found Vanderbilt to be the most intriguing of these luminaries and the one most like our current master builder and candidate for president, Donald J. Trump.
In his time, Vanderbilt was characterized as rough and uncultured, shrewd and aggressive, and almost absurdly ambitious. His lust for wealth and power seemed to have no bounds, and at the height of success he controlled around 5 percent of the nation's economy! Trump considers himself "really rich," but he is at the low end compared to Vanderbilt.
Many complain that Trump is too aggressive, too confrontational, brutally insensitive and lacking in courtly affectations, but, again, he is no match for Vanderbilt. Cornelius was a true "warrior extraordinaire" and frequently engaged in fist fights; the "Pugilistic Tycoon" was still winning them in his 50s. In Trump's 1987 book "The Art of the Deal," he tells of punching his music teacher in the eye and barely avoiding expulsion (p. 71), but he was no Vanderbilt in the arena of fisticuffs. With maturity, he clearly shifted from brawn to brains in his competitive encounters.
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Fist fights are a true guy thing, but most men have never engaged in even one. Nevertheless, such encounters tell much about one's assertiveness, pride, resolve and masculinity. When in the service and protection of others, they may be nothing short of heroic. When used to bully, harass, or intimidate, they are cowardly, stupid and unmanly. It is amazing how a good pop on the chops of a bully will immediately end his evil career and maybe even turn him into a friend.
Fem-thinking girly girls and girly men like Barack Obama or many of the appeasing "establishment" Republicans have no understanding of "real men" regarding physical aggression. In my view, men who are respected for their willingness to physically fight when necessary are a special breed of warrior hawks, and any tribe or nation with too few of them when needed is at a serious disadvantage.
Males appear to have a built-in brain program for recognizing and assessing the "intimidation value" of potential male competitors, and they tend to defer and submit to those who are out of their class physically and cannot be intimidated or bluffed. Those who recklessly provoke overmatched foes often receive serious injury or pay with their lives.
In "The Art of the Deal" (pp. 73-74), Trump provides an amusing anecdote regarding one of his teachers in military school – a very physical, no-nonsense, ex-Marine drill instructor. This fellow would "go for the jugular when he smelled weakness," and Trump immediately assessed that he was overmatched and had to walk a fine line of earning respect just short of dangerous provocation. This is just the kind of skill needed in international dealings with dangerous and provocative world leaders. In these encounters, intimidation meets intimidation, and shallow exhibitions of mirror-practiced "assertiveness" has the value of a Confederate dollar bill. The art of the deal here calls for not just talk and empty bluff, but genuine mutual respect borne of personal strength and character and the implicit threat of military might.
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Both Vanderbilt and Trump score high on the intimidation scale in terms of height (both about 6-1) and physical size, and both have reputations for winning almost every competitive encounter. Indeed, they do not just win, they squash those foolish enough to take them on. Paradoxically, supermales of this type are drawn to each other in an uneasy, elitist camaraderie founded on a mutual distaste for perceived weakness, incompetence and stupidity in others.
Nothing offends the sensibilities of girly girls and girly men, and liberals in general, more than this exclusive and solipsistic aristocracy of tough guys. Bluntly, there is no law, no Supreme Court mandate, or progressive "cultural change" that could ever force into the tough guy ranks the likes of professional victim Hillary Clinton, mommy-boys Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, shadow president Valerie Jarrett, or possible future shadow president Huma Abedin.
Unfortunately, even our tough guys like Vanderbilt and Trump are no match for the really tough guys out there shaking the world at its foundations today. These new guys represent a new breed of blood-obsessed, crazed and suicidal feral warriors – epitomized by ISIS – for whom the concepts of "mercy," "fairness," "negotiation," "compromise," or even "military threat" have no meaning. There is no possible art of the deal with them; their own death is the one and only antidote for their current march of death extending from Iraq and Syria, on through the Middle East, into the heart of Europe, and now our cities and byways.
Trump, Putin and Netanyahu are tough guys and strong leaders, but they are constrained by the rules, laws and cultural identities of the civilized world. The really tough jihadists now creating worldwide panic know no such constraints and are running roughshod over city after city and dividing entire countries. Who do we have that is as merciless and committed as Abu Bakr Baghdadi, leader of the ISIS forces, or Ahmed Abdi Godane, leader of al-Shabaab, or Abubakar Shekau, the really crazy leader of Boko Haram?
Certainly, the fluffy baby chicks of the Democratic Party – Obama, Hillary and Bill, and the socialist Sanders – offer little help at all in a world overrun by warrior hawks. At the very least, let's put some real men in there like Donald Trump who has thrown at least one punch, has a record of winning against strong competition, and who has spent much of his life dealing with some of the world's toughest and most challenging people.