I’ve been burnt out lately on the current events stuff I was to be posting about, and so have re-focussed more on food stuff lately, which I’m enjoying far more, truth be told. Perhaps I’ll do some sort of current bullshit roundup post every Sunday or something, just to keep some ideas and analysis flowing both ways. Plus, I’m just numb with leftist no-sense, and the social-justice stuff is enough to make me want to vomit my guts. I digress.
Here’s a very solid piece of writing and because it’s on Facebook (go give it a Like or Share), I’ll quote it entirely here, for the benefit of those who, unlike me, are smart enough to stay away from Facebook. It’s by Robert Bidinotto, author of the Hunter series of vigilante novels. I haven’t read them yet, but they’re highly regarded and I’m confident I’ll love them once I do. Bidinotto is a very smart man. I remember him from USENET back in the day, in philosophy newsgroups.
I’ve previously written that what I have liked about Trump being in this presidential race is his general iconoclasm…not in a nihilistic sense, but rather directed towards the entrenched elites who deliver failure upon failure, on both sides. I think Bidinotto is spot on here and delves a lot deeper than I have. I particularly like how he analyzes this as more about individual pride, self-esteem and worth than collective nationalism (we’ve seen that before).
Perhaps the bright spot is that If America’s cultural roots in revolution on behalf of individuals rather than collectives is strong enough to inoculate it from taking this to extreme nationalism, then perhaps it’s also strong enough to overcome a failed Trump presidency.
AN EPIPHANY ABOUT THE APPEAL OF MR. TRUMP.
I’ve read and heard many theories from clueless pundits, pollsters, politicians, and ponderers who are trying to wrap their heads around the Trump phenomenon. Why he, an impious secularist, is drawing more support from evangelical Christians than Cruz or Carson. Why he, with a remarkably elastic view of constitutionally limited government, polls better among self-described “conservatives” than those with far more claim to being principled constitutionalists. Why he, a man who buys politicians in order to turn the power of government to his own ends, is the leading candidate in a party nominally committed to free enterprise, beating even those vocally opposing crony corporatists like himself. Etc.
I’ve tried to wrap my head around all this myself, and until recent days, found myself at a loss. I find bits of truth in many of the proffered theories, but regard most of them as inadequate. The “Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant” keeps coming to mind: Each theorist seizes only a part of the beast that is Trumpism, then assumes that the part defines the whole of it.
Well, here’s my stab at it.
The most fundamental psychological need of any individual is self-esteem — a belief in his own significance, worth, value. Lose that, and life no longer feels worth living. Which is why people who become humiliated or depressed with their lives are prone to passivity, defeatism, and self-destructive behavior.
Millions of decent Americans, for decades — and most intensely during the past decade — have felt their self-esteem under daily, relentless assault. The attackers are the political, economic, educational, and cultural elites. Americans have heard their values and ideals demeaned, mocked, vilified. They have watched the institutions that are supposed to uphold, symbolize, and protect those values and ideals become subverted, perverted, and corrupted. They have watched helplessly as their own children succumb to the cultural rot. They have tried to protest and fight back — only to have their legal efforts stymied and repelled by morally bankrupt courts, their political efforts crushed by the entrenched political class and thuggish bureaucrats, and their reform efforts betrayed by self-proclaimed political champions, including a venal, self-aggrandizing Republican leadership.
Decent Americans realize that they have been played and betrayed by all the elites — treated as nothing but pawns to be manipulated, as serfs to be bossed, as sheep to be fleeced — all to keep those elites living in grandiosity and comfort, while they struggle and suffer. They realize that, while all of this is happening, they are being laughed at and treated with cold contempt by that same Ruling Class: insulted as ignorant rubes, demeaned as coarse brutes whose bellowing anger is unworthy of even a hearing.
Worst of all, they have been intimidated to silence about it. It is now being made ILLEGAL even to protest. Accurate language describing what is going on and labeling those doing it has been banned as “hate speech.” Mere accusations of “racism” and “bigotry” are sufficient to cause individuals to lose jobs. In the face of snarling thugs, decent people are being frightened into silence, knowing that the full force of the law — backed by all the cultural, media, and political elites — will take the side of the thugs.
Black Lives Matter can chant for the murder of cops…then be invited to the White House. Hollywood stars can advocate banning fossil fuels, and applaud when coal miners lose their jobs…while they are allowed to leave billowing carbon clouds behind their private jets and limos as they flit about to international “global warming” conferences or to embrace Venezuelan and Cuban dictators. College boys are accused of rape, then informed by feminist-coddling administrators that the mere accusations are sufficient to get them kicked out of school, without benefit of any trial or due process, wrecking their future reputations and careers. Christian bakers are forced by law to bake cakes for gay weddings, essentially becoming conscripts in the armies of their adversaries, in violation of the First and Thirteenth Amendments. Millions of consumers are promised they can keep their doctors and health insurance, and that their premiums will go down under “the Affordable Care Act”…then watch videos of the architects of that monstrous act chuckling to each other about how it was all a pack of lies to fool the ignorant masses. Risk-taking entrepreneurs who build the nation’s wealth are told by their president that, no, You Didn’t Build That — and that We’re Gonna Spread Your Wealth Around.
And on, and on, and on.
Now, don’t get bogged down in all these particulars. Look at the bigger picture, at what all of these things represent in common. Most especially, ask yourself how these slights and oppressions are EXPERIENCED by millions of Americans.
The answer is that they are all direct, crushing blows to their sense of personal self-esteem, worth, identity, and significance.
Such treatment makes mockery of the basic American creed: that all men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights to individual life, liberty, and the pursuit of personal happiness. Americans no longer feel equal — not in rights, not in opportunities, not in RESPECT. They instead feel dehumanized, viewed and treated like second-class citizens — but too frightened of the consequences even to protest. Each day they feel they must bite their tongues while ubiquitous cultural Stalinists smugly, loudly, insolently insult and trash every value, belief, institution, and freedom they hold dear. Meanwhile, the Ruling Class Elites are enjoying their lives unmolested and indifferent, having completely insulated themselves from all the harm they are doing.
SO NOW a brash billionaire comes along and “tells it like it is.” Unconcerned with any consequences to himself — indeed, insulated himself from any blowback by his great wealth — he insults those very elites, right to their faces. Unlike most Americans, he is not intimidated. He calls female politicians “ugly,” he calls senators “liars” to their faces, he calls a famous former war-captive-turned-politician a “loser”… and, mygod, he even calls THE POPE “disgraceful.”
Who dares to do that these days, when everyone is terrified about saying the Wrong Thing, and committing the unforgivable mortal sin of Giving Offense?
Many observers have seen and said as much about Trump. Yet they haven’t tied it to the broader issue of his campaign themes — nor tied those themes to the issue of Americans’ battered sense of self-esteem. Donald Trump says “We don’t win anymore.” I believe the “we” resonates with millions who FEEL that they, as individuals, aren’t winning anymore. His campaign theme is that “We’re Going to Make America Great Again!” — and again, I believe those millions hear: “I, as an individual, can be great again.”
Donald Trump is promising, by implication, to restore their damaged PERSONAL self-esteem, just as he is promising directly to restore the esteem of the damaged nation they love and feel a part of.
Everyone wonders why Trump doesn’t have to be accurate, logical, or especially knowledgeable about policy to hold his supporters — why he can say and do things that would disqualify any other candidate — why evangelicals give him a pass on his dubious Christianity and personal morals — why Tea Partiers give him a pass on his crony corporatism — why constitutional conservatives give him a pass on his affronts to individual rights and limited government — why even members of the left’s favorite “victim” classes, including some blacks and Hispanics, not only give him a pass, but like what he represents.
Trump is succeeding with them all, not by what he thinks, or what he makes them think. He is succeeding by how he makes them FEEL about themselves and their country (which they experience as interconnected).
So, to Trump’s fellow critics (I remain a vocal one), please understand that what we have been interpreting as a rise of “populism” and “nationalism” may not be rooted in ideological preference, or in pragmatic expediency, or even in “irrationalism.” It may well be rooted in psychological desperation: in a quest by truly “downtrodden” and humiliated classes of people to reclaim their shattered sense of self-esteem…to reassert their “manhood” (if you will) against the political/educational/media/cultural Ruling Class that has emasculated them.
This is also why Trump’s supporters seem closed to even the most obvious and rational criticisms of their hero. Their support of him isn’t grounded in his specific policies or views about this or that. It’s because those policies and views — whether by cunning calculation, or from authentic emotion — symbolize the reclamation of a feeling of personal and national dignity and pride. Note how Trump always ties his specific, even mundane policy pledges — whether it’s about taxes, hiring decisions, Supreme Court appointments, his “Wall,” foreign trade, dealing with foreign leaders, the military, veterans, cops, you name it — to his themes of “winning” and “American greatness.” He can remain completely vague or utterly impractical, yet his supporters don’t care. That’s because his critics are paying attention to his often-confused and incoherent lyrics. But his supporters are listening to his music.
And the music he’s playing is the theme from “Rocky.”
Yes, Donald Trump is directing his theme music to all the long-suffering, long-humiliated Rocky Balboas in America. He is telling them that even if THEY can’t stand up to the rich and powerful bullies who have been intimidating them, HE can do it for them. He will be their champion in the political/cultural ring.
Sadly, much of his pitch is b.s. I believe Donald Trump is a narcissistic con man who, even if elected, would break the hearts of his followers. But don’t expect them to listen. They won’t believe you, because they don’t want to. They NEED to believe in him, because they think he’s fighting for their pride, their manhood, their souls. They have identified him with their personal need to believe in THEMSELVES — because he’s telling them that, with his leadership, he’s going to make them feel great about themselves once more.
Really solid piece, and from someone who’s a Trump basher. But, not a dishonest one, like people who do stuff like this:
So shamefully dishonest. Profoundly so. Cheerleading or jeerleading tends to do this to people.
Success is always riddled with failures. The mark of a true entrepreneur is that he or she is not afraid to fail at anything, is bold enough to try, but conservative enough to not just throw money at anything.
Here’s a list of 30 people who failed and filed bankruptcy (nobody understands the true purpose of BK, nobody) and went on to do very well, even make millions. I thought Conrad Hilton would be on that list, but turns out he just barely escaped it. Even Abraham Lincoln filed BK, over $10,000, a pretty substantial sum in the mid-1800s.
Please stop being so pathetically dishonest on this, especially those of you who’ve never risked everything to start a business, or ever signed a paycheck. I failed 3 times before success, and I’ve signed around $15 million in paychecks.
Never become either cheerleader or jeerleader for anything except yourself and what’s your own business. Be like this:
The life of someone like me who generally regards both the left (they are not “liberals”) and the right (they are not “conservatives”) as wrong just about all of the time.
I give a pass to the right often though, because they have a love and respect for values, imperfect as they often are, that nonetheless have been demonstrated to advance life, liberty and happiness for individuals who take efforts to pursue them.
By contrast, the left is always intent on tearing down those values without offering better alternatives. In fact, their only admonishment is that people pursue victim status and dependency in order to “justify” the mass extortion of those who produce by means of the forgoing honest pursuits.
The left is a cancer and it’s growing. Shun all leftists in your life. There’s a worthy pursuit of happiness right there.