When Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines,” he suggested that absolute consistency can blind us to learning and possible growth.

Is it possible Republicans have taken Emerson’s wise aphorism to heart?

When it comes to infrastructure, love of country and respect for the law, Republicans have apparently learned a lot since Biden’s election. They have certainly proven to be very open to changing their minds.

During the Trump administration, repairing the nation’s roads, rails and bridges, expanding our electric and internet grids, and upgrading water and sewer service in local communities was a rhetorical centerpiece of the Republican Party.

But the recent passage of the bi-partisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that will do all that Republicans promised, and more, has made Republicans change their minds. They no longer like infrastructure so much. In fact, some Republicans have called for punishing House Republicans who voted for the bill, treating them as traitors to their party. (Washington Post)

The party of President Lincoln, under whom the Union Army withstood a Confederate invasion of Washington, D.C. in 1864, now maligns the two Republican House members willing to serve on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the same capital.

Leaders of the “law and order” party now casually defy congressional subpoenas, while most Republicans still swear allegiance to a president who repeatedly showed little respect for the law by pardoning scores of convicted criminals whose offenses ranged from fraud to murder. (Politico and Wikipedia)

What would Emerson make of so much inconsistency?

Would he think that by taking his advice, today’s Republican leaders were transformed into superhuman statesmen, possessing minds large enough to span galaxies?

Or would Emerson, himself a theologian, say their behavior demonstrates an entire absence of principle?

Ken Winkes


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