If you’re interested in how people use rhetoric or how they divide and classify social space in order to make a more persuasive image of the world that’s conducive to their interests, then give a listen to this interview that aired yesterday morning. (Or click here if the player doesn’t load properly.)
Sometimes so-called moral qualities are important (in the case of his assessment of Mitt Romney’s failings) and sometimes not (he doesn’t much care about Trump’s faith, he says — “he’s a business man,” after all). Faith, as we often see with others, is therefore strategically compartmentalized and thus entirely different from business and from politics. (Yet I recall plenty of other elections where this distinction wasn’t used by people commenting on the candidates, when so-called people of faith decried that sort of compartmentalization.) What’s more, being a politician is different from being a businessman — how you do one isn’t necessarily an indicator of the other, it seems. And sometimes a change in policy is considered “growth” while other times its “hypocrisy.”
Interviewer: What about moral probity? I mean, this is a man whose name is emblazoned on a casino that features a strip club. Is that not a concern for you?
Linzey: He’s a businessman. When he becomes president, he’s going to have nothing to do with his business. It’s going to go into a blind trust and all that. But as a businessman, there are things you do for business. And that is separate from running for president of the United States….
But I thought much of Trump’s campaign was premised on his business success…, as articulated by this supporter last August. (Click the image to see the video.)
This is not a critique of Linzey, however; instead, this is simply a particularly useful e.g. of how all social actors strategically use language and classification to shape a world that seems to be in-step with their interests — something rather evident when we think the stakes are high.
Like when you’re in the US campaigning for your candidate for the Presidency.