Jonathan Kraut | The ‘Good Person’ Theory


Many Dems think that those who entered the border illegally or overstayed their visas, so long as they are henceforth law-abiding, family-oriented, and hard-working, are “good” and should automatically be immune from deportation. Many Dems agree that most hard-working immigrants are good persons and deserve an opportunity to seek the American dream.

I think some, like children brought here too young to have any criminal intent, should be allowed to stay. What troubles me is that some Dems also believe that those undocumented who commit crimes but are otherwise family-oriented and hard-working should also be allowed to stay.

The argument by many Republicans in favor of mass deportation is that “we are a nation of laws” which means we cannot forgive any criminal act.

But “a nation of laws” does not forgive even those who appear to be “good.”

Mob Boss Trump will of course issue presidential pardons to his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and other “good men.” Manafort was just convicted on eight felony counts in federal court, which relate to 20 years of money laundering, perhaps a hundred million dollars in tax evasion, and acting as a foreign agent representing Russian-backed Ukraine interests.

But Trump, apparently impressed that Manafort stood trial rather than flip, and despite Manafort’s years of criminal conduct, called him “a good man.” Former Trump attorney and confidant Michael Cohen, who told the truth to federal investigators, on the other hand, Trump has labelled a bad man.

Trump’s logic seems to go like this: flipping regarding criminal testimony for cases such as MS 13 drug trafficking and not involving Trump, is good. Flipping, i.e. telling the truth about high-priced call-girl payoffs, violations of campaign finance laws, and money laundering via the Russian oligarchs, because Trump is involved, Trump says is bad.

This illogical process might make Democrats crazy, but many Dems are as guilty of having the same issues with undocumented immigrants.

Forgiveness of even the most heinous acts because at the core a person is perceived to have a good heart is what I call the “Good Person Theory.” In other words, there is forgiveness, if not a free pass, for a person who is liked and “is judged as good,” no matter what they do.

I believe this theory is not only childish but also is inherently destructive. Judging one first and ignoring the facts that follow is like buying an automobile and finding out it has no engine but not complaining to the dealer because the car looks so nice anyway.

Dems and Republicans are both saying there is no consequence to any act if it is already decided a person is “good.”

A person is the whole package. Illegal and selfish conduct is the person, just like good and noble conduct is the person.

If we were a nation of laws, the law would be the test of whether an illegal act was committed and the associated penalty would be issued without hesitation.

But we are not a nation of laws — we are a nation of ideology.

Many Republicans will forever give Trump a full pass on whatever his personal conduct shall come out to be because ideologically they agree. Curbing illegal immigration, tax breaks (albeit for the rich), trade wars, making America “great,” and anti-abortion sentiment apparently outweighs any seedy, sleazy, lying, or criminal activity by Trump.

The same stupidity moniker should be labelled for liberals who are willing to forgive serial killers, violent illegal immigrants and sex offenders. I see no difference between the two — forgiving or ignoring criminal acts, which itself should be a crime.

If no one is above the law, then no one should escape the consequence of misconduct, including illegal aliens and Mob Boss Trump.

Although I do not always agree with our Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ policies or practices, I admire how he has stood up to his bully boss by stating the other day “While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”

Neither our legal system nor we the voters should be fooled or influenced by the “good person theory.” How can we both tolerate misconduct if we like the person, but want maximum punishment for the same misconduct if we dislike the person?

Shame on us. This view of allowing the good person theory to forgive misconduct is the first perspective that has to change if we are to make America great again.

Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations firm, is the CFO private security firm, is the COO of at an Acting Conservatory, is a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.     

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