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Cracking Trump

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Remember that scene in the movie “Predator” where Arnold asks the alien “what the hell are you?” and the Predator repeats it back to him? Yeah, that. The world outside President Donald Trump’s immediate family has the same reaction. From Tony Schwartz (co-author of “The Art of the Deal”) to Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher, everybody’s got a take on cracking Trump.

The latest is from Jonathan Chait, who posited “Social Darwinism is what truly guides Trump.” I was intrigued by his twitter post claiming “instinctive social Darwinism,” to which I responded I don’t even know what that is. Social Darwinism is a belief that cultures and social groups are subject to the same “survival of the fittest” natural selection that Darwin observed in plant and animal species.

Social Darwinism is a mostly discredited philosophy in its conclusions, which favor the rich and dismiss the poor as outworkings of inferior moral or character traits. Trump has always attributed his own success as something ineffable, an “it” that one either has or doesn’t have. Chait quotes Trump from a 1990 Playboy interview:

“The coal miner gets black-lung disease, his son gets it, then his son,” he told an interviewer. “If I had been the son of a coal miner, I would have left the damn mines. But most people don’t have the imagination — or whatever — to leave their mine. They don’t have ‘it’ … You’re either born with it or you’re not.”

I am familiar with that interview, because I used it in my own hot take at cracking Trump, written back in February, 2016, where I too asked “what the hell are you?” and received the question back as an answer.

And this is where Chait’s attempt at the Gordian knot of Trump’s mind fails. Trump said he didn’t want a poor person in an advisory role dealing with the economy. I happen to agree with this logic. A poor person, upon winning the lottery, will most likely spend it all and have nothing. A rich person will be much more likely to invest some, and save most, because the rich are more interested in building and preserving wealth than the poor.

But do I want a rich person to be my military chief? Or my spiritual adviser? Almost certainly not. And Trump hasn’t picked millionaires for every key position. But in White House politics, those with access to the Oval Office do tend to be–well, rich. So what’s Chait’s point here?

Social Darwinism is the tissue connecting this shady conduct with the Republican Party’s highest policy priorities. Conservatives believe programs that tax the rich and benefit the poor illegitimately meddle with the natural and correct distribution of wealth produced by the marketplace. The Republican health-care bill — both what passed in the House and what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has brought to the Senate — confers a nearly trillion-dollar tax cut that overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy. That appears to be its sponsors’ primary consideration. Secondarily, it strips away an equal amount in Medicaid and middle-class insurance tax credits.

His point is that Social Darwinism isn’t just Trump’s issue, it’s the GOP’s as a whole. In other words, Republicans are bad people because they don’t believe that “the poor” as a class should be given everything social progressives see as a “right.”

Here I call B.S. Because all of Chait’s little jaunt into Trump’s mind is to support this one statement.

The best explanation for this grand act of self-sabotage (beyond his simply not understanding the policies he endorses) is that Trump, like much of the Republican Party, is an instinctive social Darwinist.

Trump is many things, in fact he is a walking contradiction depending on where the light catches him, but he’s not a Social Darwinist. Chait wrote that Social Darwinism “is the intellectual scaffolding, constructed by writers like Ayn Rand and various Austrian economists, behind the vision of conservatives like Paul Ryan and David Koch.” That’s also demonstrably false.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy was “objectivism” where happiness, productivity and objective reason were the measure of a man, mankind, and everything. Therefore, all would simply find their place in life’s Pachinko board, some of it from inherent ability, some from attitude, and some from sheer luck.

I don’t think Trump believes in this way. He believes that great people can inspire, and that the power of positive thinking (the title of his erstwhile pastor, Norman Vincent Peale’s book) can help anyone achieve their dreams. If anything, Trump sees himself as a walking example of this philosophy. He is his own hero, and therefore accountable to no one, especially writers, reporters and bloggers trying to crack his cerebellum.

Most Republicans believe some of Trump’s core philosophy, as do Democrats. Where most differ is in Trump’s unyielding belief in self, his shifting moral relativism, and his mistrust of those not unfailingly loyal to him. Therefore when we ask of Trump “what the hell are you?” we tend to get the same question back.

Chait cheated and begged the question of how Republicans think, using Trump’s mirror ball to support his pretext.

That kind of cheating will leave us all exactly where we started. We don’t know anything new about President Donald J. Trump. We don’t know anything new about Republicans, other than Chait believes they are bad people.

Ultimately, Trump is guided by his own instincts, which are neither some form of “noblesse oblige” nor some innate superiority of the rich over the poor. He is guided by winning, defeating those who oppose him, and getting the upper hand in that struggle by any means possible for which he will suffer the least consequences.

In three words: Don’t get caught. The codicil: Have an excuse.

The ironic part about that philosophy is that both Bill and Hillary Clinton share it. Trump is just better at it than Hillary (but not necessarily better than Bill). How easily do intellectuals like Chait forgive one side’s addiction to self and power but attribute the other side’s use of the same to evil.

I suggest we all stop trying to crack Trump–which leads to headaches–and simply judge him on his actions and results.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Susan Malouff

    July 2, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    It has been proven that the teachings of Norman Vincent Peale are not only false but dangerous as well. Although he used other words to describe his methods of self empowerment they are, in fact, methods used for self hypnotism. Using self hypnotic methods consistently can lead to mental illness, Borderline Personality Disorder to be precise. Thus, you are mistaken, as Trump’s beliefs are clearly a combination of Prosperity Gospel and Social Darwinism, with both “religious” beliefs negating Biblical teachings and the true meaning and understanding of Christianity. Make no mistake, Trump has followed these beliefs throughout his life, as his father’s belief in Social Darwinism left a lasting effect on him as well as the beliefs and teachings of Peale, whom he refers to as “his pastor”. That being said, due to his behavior it is clear that Trump has been using Peale’s techniques consistently for years because he is, in no uncertain terms, showing signs of severe mental illness which makes him very dangerous to the United States and American people.

    • Steve Berman

      July 3, 2017 at 5:04 am

      Come now. Let’s not disparage the president or the dead. But you have proven my point and even acknowledged that I’m right. I’m not mistaken at all. Let’s assume Trump has BPD and look at some of the most common symptoms (I am not a psychiatrist, are you?).

      • Markedly disturbed sense of identity
      • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment and extreme reactions to such
      • Splitting (“black-and-white” thinking)
      • Impulsivity and impulsive or dangerous behaviours
      • Intense or uncontrollable emotional reactions that often seem disproportionate to the event or situation
      • Unstable and chaotic interpersonal relationships
      • Self-damaging behavior
      • Distorted self-image
      • Dissociation
      • Frequently accompanied by depression, anxiety, anger, substance abuse, or rage
      • I believe Trump has at least 7 out of 10 of these to some degree. Trump integrates some elements of the Prosperity Gospel but without the Gospel part. I don’t see Social Darwinism as integrated into his teaching. Social Darwinists do not say “I love all people” as a general rule. They focus on who in society isn’t pulling their weight. Trump never talks about that.

        The man is “me” all the way down. I actually think he is a well-adjusted sociopath who has learned emotional responses and mimics them as well as he can. His one-time friend and mentor Roy Cohn said (before he died) “Donald pisses ice water.”

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Immigration

Allie Beth Stuckey recognizes the cognitive dissonance of many on the left

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Allie Beth Stuckey recognizes the cognitive dissonance of many on the left

We need the wall. This is apparent to anyone who is being intellectually honest about the problem at the border and the infusion of illegal immigrants crossing over every day. Unfortunately, many Americans are not being intellectually honest about the wall simply because it’s being promoted by a President they hate.

If President Obama had tried to build a wall in 2014, every Republicans and most Democrats on Capitol Hill would have supported it. We’d have 1500 miles built by now.

But it’s not President Obama who’s pushing for the much-needed obstruction at the border. Instead, we have President Trump pushing it, and while a very clear argument can be made that be made that he should have demanded the Republican Congress fund it during the two years they had control, he’s pushing for it now and we need it immediately.

The latest controversy surrounding the wall is with his national emergency declaration he announced last Friday. As one might expect, the push back from the left has been rapid and severe. While there are some who are willing to listen to reason, there are plenty who are invoking the Berlin Wall in their arguments against the border wall. Conservative millennial Allie Beth Stuckey expressed her frustration on Twitter.

She’s so right. What the left fails to understand is that comparisons are ridiculous. The Berlin Wall was built to keep people from escaping the oppression of East Berlin. The Mexican border wall is intended to keep people from defiling our nation’s sovereignty.

The problem isn’t that they don’t understand this. It’s that they’re unwilling to disregard the cognitive dissonance that keeps their unhinged thoughts and actions intact while shielding them from the common sense associated with their recognition of the problem and the obvious solution.

 


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Culture and Religion

PragerU: Does race really matter?

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PragerU Does race really matter

Leftwing talk about race frightens Dennis Prager and it should frighten you as well. There is a dangerous precedent being set by the left that is creating division where it no longer exists. Unfortunately, it definitely did exist in the recent past, but modern America generally does not look at race as much of an indicator anymore EXCEPT when the left makes it an issue. This is ironic, of course, because in their quest to supposedly eliminate racism, the left tends to make race a bigger issue than it needs to be.

We hear about cultural appropriations, certain races whose lives apparently matter more than others, and the deconstruction of our nation’s history based upon cultural norms from the time that are no longer acceptable now. Yes, many of America’s first people were racist. Some even owned slaves. Even after slavery was abolished, we experienced racial divides that continued through the civil rights movement all the way into modern times. But today, those divides are no longer as prominent. A black President was elected with a strong number of non-black voters behind him. Congress is more racially and sexually diverse than ever in our country’s history. We have more CEOs of major corporations who aren’t just “old white guys” than ever.

We’re crowdfunded. We need your help. Please donate today.

America is making strong strides to effectively eliminate racial inequality, but the push to keep the divide as wide as possible isn’t coming from the general conservative side of the political aisle. Yes, there are white supremacists who claim a portion of the right-leaning mantle, but they are infinitesimal compared to the standard masses of conservatives who have seen beyond race. The real cultural and racial divides are being perpetuated by the left, and in particular by our leaders from the Democratic Party who cannot have a future if they do not play the race card incessantly.

This video by PragerU shows the stark difference between Dennis Prager and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). As she vies for votes by playing the race card, Mr. Prager calls out the real racism in America that’s coming from the left.

 


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Guns and Crime

6 illegal aliens, rivals of El Chapo, arrested in massive drug sting

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6 illegal aliens rivals of El Chapos arrested in massive drug sting

A massive drug trafficking operation by law enforcement in North Carolina resulted in the arrests of six illegal immigrants with connections to a Mexican drug cartel. The organization, which is a competitor of the Sinaloa cartel made famous by its jailed leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was operating along the east coast pushing drugs ranging from cocaine to methamphetamine.

Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez, Raul Rangel-Gutierrez, Regulo Rangel Gutierrez,  Rodolfo Martinez, Rigoberto Rangel-Gutierrez and Francisco Garcia-Martinez were arrested and tied to the Jalisco New Generation cartel.

“Members of the investigative team believe — based on wire intercepts, surveillance and other facts discovered from the investigation — that Oscar and Regulo transport illicit proceeds, derived from the sales of narcotics, when they travel from Myrtle Beach to Charlotte,” according to federal court documents, as WMBF reported.

My Take

What makes this so concerning is that Jalisco New Generation cartel is known to operate mostly out of Tijuana on the west coast of Mexico, shipping drugs along the porous southern California border. For them to be reaching all the way to the east coast is telling of their influence and reach.

Unfortunately, leftists believe in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s solution, which is to stop drug trafficking by making it harder to cross the border at the ports of entry.

Progressives often refer to statistics that show most drug busts happen at the ports of entry, ignoring the obvious fact that fewer drug traffickers are caught when they breach the border away from ports of entry.

 


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