Trumpocalypse Now


 [How the unthinkable happens. Image source.]

And so it has come to pass.

This year, the citizenry of the crumbling empire elected as their leader an agent of destruction — to speed up the crumbling process and bring it to its conclusion, the full shape of which remains to been seen.

There has been palpable, at least to some — and I don’t mean Trump’s fans — inevitability to Trump’s presidency. It was apparent that The Donald would be selected for this mission of destruction the moment one saw him on stage with the other GOP candidates. There was no doubt he would vanquish them — not because he was a better candidate, but because he is so pathological. His character defect assured that. There was a small chance that enough American voters would be repulsed by that defect, but it quickly became obvious that in the eyes of too many it was the most desirable asset in a presidential candidate.

I started writing on this blog somewhat against my better judgment, what with it taking so much time ‘n all, compelled by the need to communicate just how dangerous President Trump would be.

And I want it to be on record that I did what I could to prevent the Trumpocalypse, which I saw brewing the moment Agent Orange stepped out on the national stage as a serious, this time, candidate.

Dr. Burkle, whom I have been privileged to know and work with, and I sent articles and op-eds to American papers and media outlets describing Trump’s character defect, its predictable influences on our electorate, and its dangerous ramifications for our future. Our letters were not published, and most were unacknowledged, as the press continued to be baffled by the man’s popularity and touted, especially toward the end of the election, Hillary’s sure victory. (The way I see it, if you refuse to listen and learn from people with hard-earned expertise, which includes, in addition to professional credentials, a lifetime of tireless world-wide work to save and heal humanity wounded by mayhem caused by psychopaths and narcissists in positions of power, you forfeit the right to denigrate the “poorly educated” supporters of Trump. At least they have a legitimate excuse for their ignorance.)

Part of my sense of the inevitability of Trump’s Presidency stemmed from my interest in narcissistic psychopathy, an interest which was fully engaged several years ago when I came upon the so-called manosphere and discovered how that vast and growing area of cyberspace was inhabited by men (and some women) with this distinct but not well understood character defect.

That chilling discovery led to further explorations revealing the manosphere’s overlap with the alt-right and other hate movements, all of which are led and populated by individuals exhibiting unmistakable signs of this character pathology. It is a rarely stated fact that mentally healthy, or even normal, people do not join these groups. (This knowledge is also something that PC-minded liberals recoil from. It is not uncommon to hear a bleeding heart, ableism-inspired liberal exhort that psychopaths are people too, we should not pathologize them, etc.)  Contrary to the prevailing pundity / Democratic wisdom today, this defect has little to do with one’s education and socioeconomic standing; and even though it is most commonly associated with the right wing of the political spectrum, those affected by it can be found on the left as well, just not as frequently.

It was obvious that Trump was Da Man for this segment of our population, which is always larger than we want to know. He used their language and expressed their desires, especially the unspoken but palpable one: for revenge and destruction that would heal their narcissistic wounds.

There is no force in the human universe more powerful and deadly at the same time than that of narcissistic rage — and that rage is the fuel of Trumpism (and fascism, and Communism, and other similar destructive -isms). Democracy and civilization are more fragile than we’d like to believe, and are certainly no match for the lethal power of this rage, especially when it becomes normalized and weaponized through totalitarian movements and regimes.

This week, I attended a gathering of liberal-minded folk that took place in a genteel setting where people were reassuring each other about the strength of our Constitution and laws and other protections inherent in our imperfect but enlightened system of government. And my mind couldn’t help but wander to familiar scenes of primitive rage destroying just such people and settings, a deed that’s frighteningly easy, particularly when done under the cloak of political necessity. Evil is most effective and proficient when dressed up as such. As Teju Cole writes in his NYT essay, A Time for Refusal,

Evil settles into everyday life when people are unable or unwilling to recognize it. It makes its home among us when we are keen to minimize it or describe it as something else.

When (not if) President Trump starts dismantling our democracy and threatening the precarious stability of the world, I will find no consolation in repeating “We/I told you so.” But I will take a moment here to briefly (though half-heartedly because I don’t really believe Trump could have been stopped) apportion some responsibility for this sordid state of affairs:

1.to the media — for normalizing this deeply pathological character and thus paving his way to power;

2.to mental health experts (not all) — for failing to see and/or adequately describe the dangers posed by the candidate’s character defect;

3. to various “normal” Trump’s associates — for knowing for decades just how disordered the man was, but pretending he was perfectly fine because their paychecks depended on it;

4. to Democrats – for nixing Bernie and for “taking Trump literally but not seriously;”

5. and last but not least — to those who voted for him, deceived by their misguided hopes, deluded thinking and/or deficient consciences. This includes “disenchanted” Democrats, like the woman who, when interviewed this week by NPR about her voting choice, explained that Hillary was not “charming enough.” Thankfully, narcissistic psychopaths have charm in spades, so she, like other charm-craving voters, should avail herself of it to her heart’s delight during the Trumpocalypse.

Predictably, further normalization of the profoundly abnormal continues and will progress until something dramatic brings to a stop. Now that this narcissistic psychopath has achieved his ultimate dream (so far) and the highest position of power achievable on Earth, we are being told to accept him and give him the chance to govern.

The offensive bizarreness of this call is breathtaking. We have handed a disordered toddler-man the world with its weaponry as toys to play with, and insist that he should have that chance because he is Really Important now.

Um, no.

Let’s be clear: #notmypresident is not just a movement of political activists disappointed that their candidate lost, but a swell of humanity concerned about its survival under the reign of a profoundly defective, conscience-free, and adulation- and power-driven character and his equally defective cabal.

Speaking of which: notice the forming of the narcissistic power circle around The Big Psychopath (TBP). His conscience-impaired sycophants are claiming their well-earned positions of influence, jockeying for power as they always do, while kowtowing to TBP’s huuge ego.

The disordered characters whose blatant lies and manipulations we were forced to endure during the election are here to stay and further shape the public discourse. This will take a form of a well-oiled propaganda machine supporting TBP’s agenda and covering its pathological aspects by more lies, deflections, denials, and obfuscations, of the kind we’ve seen a lot already; plus the predictable glamorization and glorification of his inhumane policies, soon to blitz us 24/7. The resulting schizoid split between reality and its propagandized version is familiar to every sensitive enough (i.e., conscience-equipped) citizen of a totalitarian regime.

My favorite economist with a heart, Yanis Varoufakis, wrote a piece on how Trump victory comes with a silver lining for the world’s progressives. In it, he outlines his vision of progress through trauma of Trumpism — and it is one to which I’m somewhat partial. I agree with much of what he says there, although I also believe that Varoufakis, overexcitable idealist as he is, may be overly optimistic about our future rescued from destruction by a Progressive International.

A more realistic, thus bleaker, vision was presented in the comments by the brilliant response from one Stephen Morris, which I’m reposting in its entirety. Even though Morris speaks of the EU, his observations are applicable to the US and the world at large, and, in general, to humanity as such:

So much for “self-determination”, one of the core vales of the Modern Era, the greatest battle of the 20th century, beginning in Sarajevo in July 1914 and ending there 80 years later.

All that is to be thrown away for a yet another neo-imperialist fantasy.

Only the truest True Believers, the most gullible “Useful Idiots” cling to the belief that the EU is there to promote the interests of the Subject peoples.

Witness the brutality inflicted on Greece. Witness the “Lost Generation” of youth sacrificed to the fantasy of the imperial Eurozone. Witness the enthusiastic embrace of “free-trade” agreements, signing away sovereign powers to opaque committees of Elite interests.

For all the pompous rhetoric, the EU is an unaccountable, undemocratic institution that exists to promote Elite interests.

Like any nascent empire, it attracts aggressively narcissistic, machiavellian political agents, drawn to the prospect of exercising dominion over hundreds of millions of Subjects.

Unlike the US it doesn’t even have the rudimentary constraints of “elective” government, let alone anything approximating genuine (direct) Democracy.

Its leaders are deaf to any calls for reform. Even in the face of the imminent departure of Britain, they refused to contemplate reform of the organisation. They – and their sycophant supporters – can think only in terms of how best to inflict punishment on those who dare to defy them.

What does THAT tell us about the psychology of these people???

Haven’t we seen THAT sort of behaviour before in Europe??

There is another – far bleaker – way of viewing all of this.

What we are witnessing – in Brexit, in Trumpism, in the embrace of populist demagogues – is the desperate last stand of ordinary people seeking any way out of the ruthless New Elite Agenda of “refeudalisation”: the winding back of Modern Era values to restore the Elite’s historic privileges.

But like Elites throughout history, the new Elite seek to weave a cloak of virtue to conceal the nakedness of their self-interest. Their spokesmen use honeyed words to conceal the brutality of their ambition.

It is easy to forget that, stripped of its ephemera, human history up until the time of the Modern Era era was a story of aggressively narcissistic, machiavellian psychopaths competing (sometimes collaborating) to attain positions of power, then using that power to dominate and brutalise their fellow human beings. We know from the historical record that such psychopaths feel no remorse in wasting the lives of thousands – even millions – of people they regard as “their” Subjects.

In this behaviour, psychopathic rulers were abetted by “sycophants” – typically timid, less dominant males – who sought to promote their own survival and reproductive prospects by allying themselves with the dominant males. Articulate sycophants provide the “theology” of elitism, constructing elaborate justifications for the privilege of their patrons.

Historically, the ability of such Elites to dominate and brutalise others was limited by the capacity of individual human beings to kill each other, and therefore by the need to recruit and reward a circle of allies (a “praetorian guard”) which could carry out such such enforcement.

If that long-standing behaviour seemed to change in the Modern Era it was not because the psychopaths woke up one morning and said, “Oh my God, is that the time!? Is it the Modern Era already? Quick. We’d better start enacting social reforms!”

Human psychology has not evolved. Evolution operates over a MUCH longer time frame. The psychopaths (and their sycophant supporters) haven’t gone away.

All that happened in the Modern Era was a temporary change in the environment: the demands of the industrial economy made it expedient – for a time – for the rulers to make limited concessions to their Subjects.

The industrial state required the training of large numbers of Subjects to operate the complex – but not fully automated – machinery of industrial production. Having had so much invested in them, Subjects had value and their bargaining power relative to their rulers improved. In the extreme, they could withdraw their labour and quickly impose greater costs on the owners of capital than they themselves suffered.

Under such conditions, the optimal strategy for rulers (only after they had tried violent suppression and found it ineffective!) was to make certain limited concession to their Subjects. Thus we had the quintessential ideals of the Modern Era, culminating in the 20th century:

a) egalitarianism, the ideal that all people are entitled to the same basic opportunities irrespective of their ancestry;

b) democratisation, the ideal that Subjects are entitled to have some say in how they are governed; and

c) self-determination, the ideal that self-identifying communities are allowed to choose for themselves how they will govern themselves.

But, again, these concessions didn’t mean that the psychopaths had gone away. And there was never anything to say that the conditions of industrial production would last forever.

What we are actually witnessing now is the Elite’s response to the post-industrial world of AI and robotics.

No longer are large numbers of Subjects required to run complex but not fully automated machinery. Now it is small numbers of very highly trained technicians required to manage the robotic workforce. Small in number, they can easily be bought off, or better still reduced to the status of indentured workers through the weapon of crippling student debt.

As for the rest of humanity, they are now redundant or soon will be. Their rulers no longer need them. The earlier concessions are – as the saying goes – “inoperative”.

To be sure, the masses may get employment of a kind, especially in providing personal services. But it will be employment in the “Uber Economy” of savage competition between workers with all economic rent flowing to the owners of the monopolistic market platforms.

And the Elite are responding precisely as one would expect an aggressively narcissistic, self-serving Elite to respond. They are relentlessly winding back any concessions hitherto made, while their sycophant economic theologians are busy trying to justify it as being for the “Greater Good”.

Inequality is quickly returning to its historical norm, as Piketty has documented. We are returning to a feudal state in which property is owned by the magnates and almost everyone else is reduced to the status of dependent serf.

Where conventional property is insufficient, they invent novel forms of “intellectual property” to expand the scope of private ownership.

As for democratisation, in most countries it never developed beyond “elective” government dominated by Elite parties. Moneyed interests and pressure groups found it a trivial exercise to subvert that.

To entrench their gains, they are taking ever more critical decisions out of the hands even of elective government: the privatisation of strategic monopolies, essential services and critical databases means that elected politicians are forced [to] negotiate with private magnates on terms dictated by the private magnates.

And finally, self-determination has been eroded by the growth of opaque and unaccountable neo-empires (like the EU) and so-called “trade” agreements (which actually have little to do with trade and everything to do with signing away sovereign powers to unaccountable opaque committees of the Elite interests).

Elite theologians might talk superciliously about the “end of borders” but do not be deceived. They do not intend to abolish ALL borders. They simply want to replace “national borders” (over which the mass of ordinary citizens might have had some control) with “private borders”: Elite private property.

The Elite do not intend to rub shoulders with the Stinking Masses, the Riff-Raff, the Plebs. Not one bit of it! THEY retreat to their private mansions, their private country estates, their private campuses, their private gated communities, all surrounded by private borders marked with “KEEP OUT. Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted!” signs.

From there they sermonise piously on the supposed intolerance of those outside!! Hypocrites blind to their own hypocrisy.

On all fronts the trend is the same: the alienation of public rights – over which the citizens used to have some say – to Elite private interests.

At some point, the Elite may even decide that the continued existence of masses of redundant human beings is a threat to their own security.

The recent development of lethal weaponised robots shows where this will all end. Not only do the Elite not need workers. They don’t even need many human members of the Praetorian Guard.

Remember that the individuals we are talking about here are not like the rest of us. They are aggressively narcissistic, machiavellian psychopaths with a strong appetite for attaining power and dominating others. Homo sapiens psychology has not evolved.

Had it been possible to establish genuine Democracy with the right of recall, veto, initiative and referendum there might have been some hope for the rest of the human race. THAT is why the theologians abhor Democracy in favour of the corrupt system of “elective” government.

Corrupt elective government provides no safeguards. It will prove no barrier to containing the psychopaths once the cost of pacification falls as a result of robotics.

You don’t need to be Einstein to see how this game will play out.

For most people it’s not going to be a happy ending.

 

====

See also Masha Gessen’s piece on Autocracy: Rules for Survival.

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27 thoughts on “Trumpocalypse Now

  1. Thank you. Just thank you. I’m feeling like I’m on the edge of having a stroke right now, so I’m going to settle a bit for my own health’s sake. However, I feel like I’m going somewhat crazy by seeing so many people, even friends of mine, stand up for a man like him. So many tell me that we should unite now, and I just don’t get why.

    Thanks for the work you’ve done. I have done it too, and I found the hard way that logic, decency and using videos and recordings as evidence for argument have not swayed the supporters. I also love that you have attributed blame to various groups who’ve certainly deserved it. Absolutely! Many contributors made this happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, polymath.

      There is nothing to unite with — unless one is into sadomasochism and self-destruction. Telling us to unite with Trump/ism is beyond obscene. Typical, though. Kinda like telling the victim of abuse to make nice with her or his abuser. Because reasons — most important of which is to make the abuser feel good and enable the continuation of his or her abuse without such annoying obstacles like the protestations of his or her victims.

      No, thank you.

      I abhor everything Trump and his clan represent. To “unite” with them would mean self-mutilation and soul murder. Luckily, I can no more unite with them and accept their ideology than I would fascism, the raw memories of which shaped my life as a child, and Communism which I was fed in my formative years. These ideologies, like Trumpism — to the extent its stark primitivism can be even called an ideology — are the kind of poison to which I have been (luckily) allergic probably since birth, and I do consider this allergy a sign of health. As should everyone similarly affected. It is not healthy to be well adjusted to a disordered world. That’s what psychopaths do — they destroy the world and its people, but want us to think it is the norm, the way things should be; and they also want us to believe that our maladjustment is our personal problem.

      No, thank you. (See how kind I am? 😉 )

      As a prole by upbringing and heart, though, I also understand and share the pain of those who voted for the Orange Menace in hopes he will actually bring that change promised us long ago. It is possible they let the pain shut down their conscience (I believe many of them still have it) and threw their lot with the worst possible presidential candidate out of desperation. I suppose a person drowning in an ocean may latch on to a shark perhaps, hoping that s/he can make it to shore on its back somehow.

      Liked by 2 people

      • “I suppose a person drowning in an ocean may latch on to a shark perhaps, hoping that s/he can make it to shore on its back somehow.”
        Damn good analogy. And yes, a drowning person would, given the chance, latch on to a shark. Take it from a river kayaker… 🙂 I still think that the Trump vote is anything but thought out or rational, it is a protest vote against an elitist DC alien government, even if Trump can only be WORSE. Was Hitler a better choice than the weak Weimar Republic for the German people? They knew it wasn’t, but it was a desperation choice. People were starving in the streets! Desperate times call for desperate measures, and such measures are seldom beneficial but “man” is a short sighted creature with only short term memory. We who can see, and who can remember must now accept the reality so as not to fall into despair. Heal where we can, hide when necessary (as in, stay silent when words can only bring more harm) and quietly live our non compliance in satyagraha: non-violent, non cooperation. No demonstrations, no street marches, no public speeches. Just a powerful silence, not of the lambs, but of the self empowered who can see past the chaos of the moment.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You’re a kayaker? So that’s why your pic. I see.

        Trump vote, like that for Hitler, is a sign of desperation, yes — but also group psychosis. Not the institutionalized kind, but the mob mentality kind where people lose their minds in the frenzy of a common pursuit that’s meant to alleviate their fears and worries, and make them feel better about themselves. It’s the kind of tribal psychosis that leads to scapegoating and ritual sacrifice, spontaneous or organized. It is one of the worst aspects of humanity, because it unleashes and elevates our most primitive destructive impulses. That desire for change, expressed by Trumpists, when channeled through Trump, cannot be anything but destructive. That’s why his fans voted for him.

        “Just a powerful silence, not of the lambs, but of the self empowered who can see past the chaos of the moment.”

        Well put.

        There actually is a way to healing through Trump/ism — it is a way of positive disintegration and I hope to write about it soon. I started it in the summer (I have 80+ unfinished posts in my “Draft” folder, sigh) and just may be able to finally complete it, gods willing. Though I have less time now than ever. Gaah.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Positive disintegration. Yes, you are correct, though it will rub many the wrong way. Had I been an American (well, I am but not of the USA!) and if I did vote, I would have deliberately voted for Trump. Not blindly, not even unkindly, but in the “hope” however slim that his “reign” would be like a professional demolition that brings down a dangerous building without destroying the entire neighbourhood. Perhaps he will bring an implosion from which the nation can fix itself. Slim chance, but it is there. Here’s to the completion of your thoughts on the matter!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Morris response is superb.

    But no to Bernie, seriously. He is equally as sexist differently. Nasty piece of work.

    You aren’t seriously saying, they chose the woman, but the man was better?

    Yes. You are. That’s the current blame. Should have picked Bernie. Bollocks. America can’t handle women?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The way I see it, RS, this was the year of change. There was no more patience for status quo as people’s desperation reached its limits. Hillary was seen, largely correctly, as a representative of status quo. Bernie and Trump were the harbingers of change.

      The Dems’ narrative from the very start strongly favored Hillary. They did their very “best” to marginalize Bernie and his agenda — which was THE agenda a majority of Americans support (single payer universal health care, for one).

      It was/is about issues more than about gender (though gender obviously matters). Bernie, not Hillary, was the candidate in the election who was capable of defeating Trump because he offered change-based proposals and was perceived as not affiliated with big money and shady influences, unlike the Clintons.

      It became obvious — but unspeakable — that once Bernie conceded to Hillary, Trump’s path to victory dramatically opened up.

      It would be fantastic to have a woman president. I, for one, voted for Hillary. Alas.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for that Emma. My ill informd view is very mch of an outsider. A bit like others view Brexit I guess.
        I understand the rebellion against status quo, exactly like Brexit, and people absolutely sick to the death of being told what to think, do, eat, by their betters and superiors and richers (I know, not a word, but it fits).
        It’s just that voting for a billionnaire business person, with six bankruptcies behind him and facing court for fraud and rape, doesn’t seem such a bright idea.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It surely does not. And just how bad it is, remains to be seen.

        There are psychospiritual reasons behind that choice, too, though they are murkier and hidden and easily denied, especially by the non-spiritually-minded.

        We, as a nation, are overdue for a confrontation with our shadow. The selection of Trump is the Universe’s way for making sure we won’t skip the lessons that we, collectively speaking, must learn about ourselves from this confrontation. (Though most will not anyway.)

        It sounds like woo, I realize; but the older I get, the clearer the spiritual dimensions of our lives become in my mind. (It could also be a recurrence of my brain tumor, mind you. 😉 )

        Liked by 2 people

      • “It’s just that voting for a billionnaire business person, with six bankruptcies behind him and facing court for fraud and rape, doesn’t seem such a bright idea.”
        I’m sorry but those last line just cracked me up. Funniest thing I read this morning on WP!!! Perhaps it’s my warped sense of humour, perhaps my acceptance of a cartoon suddenly manifesting as the real world.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Morris has it right. It’s how it is. I saw that happening during the Reagan decade; only got worse after. But I saw that in essence in America there is no difference between Dems and GOP’s. I’m not going to spout any more vituperation against “America” now that Trump has won except to say that I’ll just watch how his reign affects the polis. In the early 80’s I predicted the downfall of the US military/industrial empire. Since then I’ve been watching as every throw of the dice it has made to secure global hegemony has backfired and the world’s hatred has grown in proportion to the bloodshed, the war crimes, support for terrorism, overthrow of non-aligned governments and endless crimes against the environment. The world isn’t either blind, deaf, dumb, ignorant or fearful of raising a fist or a gun against its rapists. Let’s just see how Trump handles the contradictory expectations he has set in motion. Après moi, le déluge, Donald?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Let’s just see, yes. It’s not as though we have some other choice anyway.

    Melania said once, in that perpetually offended tone of a Trump Woman,

    “My huzband iz no Hitler.”

    Prove it, is what I say. Now is your chance.

    Not that I will hold my breath.

    Like

  5. Pingback: “The Inner Soul of the People” | good marriage central*

  6. ‘and even though it is most commonly associated with the right wing of the political spectrum, those affected by it can be found on the left as well, just not as frequently.’

    Hmmmm – psychopaths are equal opportunity predators. I suspect they are found in equal numbers on the left, just not as obviously.

    JFK? (Don’t know, still reading, but he seems to have had a huge number of the characteristics of a P.)
    Bill Clinton?

    Where there’s an ideology there’s a psychopath. Just as female Ps seem to hide better than male Ps (perhaps because we’re not educated about how they hide?), Ps professing to be left-wing might hide better than Ps professing to be right-wing. In the left wing they have to pretend to believe in equality, compassion etc.

    Which would make them harder to detect and harder to deal with.

    Liked by 1 person

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