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The Morality And Decorum Of Gloating
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November 09, 2016, 06:13 AM
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Is it OK to gloat?  Or is gloating coarse, ungentlemanly, and, um, deplorable?

This is what we moral philosophers refer to as a nontrivial issue.  I chewed it over twelve years ago after the re-election of George W. Bush, and can't think of anything new to say.

Yes, gloating. Definitely uncouth, undoubtedly bad manners. Still, the fact that the good Lord gave us the capacity for bad manners suggest to me that He meant us to use that capacity — in a properly measured and carefully targeted way, of course. So let's talk about targeted gloating, precision gloating. There are, I mean to say, people who deserve to be gloated at, and people who don't.

John Kerry is in the latter category. He wasn't my guy, and I think he would have been a lousy President. What he did back in '71 was disgraceful and inexcusable. He's a pompous, stuck up, do-you-know-who-I-am? walking entitlement catalog. Still, he campaigned with energy and determination, and mainly with good manners. Nice try, John. No gloating at you … [Targeted Gloating by John Derbyshire; National Review Online, November 3rd 2004.]

Reading the whole thing through, am I a bit shamefaced now about my enthusiasm for W?  Yes I am.  We live and learn.  And remember, please:  the alternative was John Kerry.