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Analysing the Trump Phenomenon

April 25, 2020

I remember back when Trump was campaigning to get elected and it was all about going against the political correctness and calling out the liberal, establishment media for their one-sided narratives. This was how it started and continued for a long time. I agreed with him on this, and still do, for I still believe that particular establishment media is rotten to the core. Though, of course, the principles of a free press and free speech remain crucial, regardless.

As time passes it is more possible to see the Trump phenomenon in a more calm and neutral light. Initially I was mildly supportive of his approach. Then, when the extreme liberals went into some of sort of crazy and total emotional implosion, based on his success, and tried to accuse him and anyone of his supporters of racism, being nazis and the like, this only made me more determined and adamant in my position. As my grounds for liking the stance were reasonable and well grounded compared to the alternatives.

What was it that irked them so much? I think, on reflection, it was the fact that he is so unashamedly in love with himself and his image. It was the completely antipodean position compared to their own hatred of themselves that they had turned into a whole moral ideological belief structure about the whole of reality. Lack of shame in these cases can be a great and freeing thing. For, there are so many people who rely on targeting your sense of shame to control you in life in various ways.

I could never so much identify with his extreme love of himself and his own image. I am a much more self deprecating kind of person. But, certainly, this made him nothing like a Hitler or authoritarian style figure as was the accusation of many extremists on the left. The key difference here is that an authoritarian figure doesn’t really care what others think about him, as long as they follow the orders, stick to the protocol and keep up the appearance of obedience. Trump, on the other hand, I think he really does care that others think good about him.

We have seen this unfold in recent months in the light of the corona virus pandemic. It has brought out the true personalities of most of us, for there are no longer social masks to hide behind (even though we may be social distancing and wearing physical masks ironically). What we see is that he really wants to be seen to be doing good things and he is frustrated that the media only ever picks up on the bad things and focus on them. The last day or so, it seems the media have finally managed to get their gotcha moment, catching Trump out with a disinfectant comment. But, what does any of it achieve for dealing with this crisis?

Very little, I say, very little at all. The alternative that many of these smirking dissidents would offer is that we obey experts and never draw on our own common sense judgements. We know the road this leads down, it is the road already too much travelled. It is the failed direction that the liberal cult offered people: trust and faith in their appointed experts who can ensure a mono narrative is implanted in us all. Inevitably they would keep us firmly on lock down, centralise the state more, destroy more and more layers of small businesses, and independent workers until there was no human spirit left worth defending.

No, this simply won’t do. Smirking criticism is easy, but when all you can offer in its place is the tricks of an old dog, then its pretty irrelevant and redundant. Trump may clearly love himself and his image and how he is perceived by others way too much, but if the alternative is a puritan cult of self hatred disguised as altruism and all-caringness of the world, then it is the best we have got until we can learn to find some moderation in our moral values such that they don’t always run unhealthily in total opposition to our natural and instinctive way of being.

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