A Critique of Donald Trump
This is updates to the main article The Confabulation of Trump. In that article I show how my concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is correct, especially when seen in connection with the election of the new president of the United States, Donald Trump. In the below updates I will further show this in connection with the influence of anti-intellectualism and anti-science, and the beginning of a new fascism (see my Matrix Dictionary entries Anti-intellectualism and Anti-science and The Matrix Conspiracy Fascism). I will end the article with a list of latest news on Trump.
Anti-intellectualism is hostility to and mistrust of intellect, intellectuals, and intellectualism commonly expressed as deprecation of education and philosophy, and the dismissal of art, literature, and science as impractical and even contemptible human pursuits.
Notable anti-intellectual philosophies include pragmatism, positivism, and Bergsonism, which advocate distrust of reason and promote feeling and emotion over thought, intuition over logic, immediate action over critical consideration, and results over means.
Anti-intellectuals present themselves and are perceived as champions of common folk—populists against political and academic elitism. They tend to see educated people as a status class detached from the concerns of most people, and feel that intellectuals dominate political discourse and control higher education. In short: popular culture is permeated with anti-intellectualism.
New Age is in that sense clearly a part of the popular culture, you might even say that New Age is the top ideology of popular culture. But in my Pop Culture Files I seek to bring Popular culture to philosophy, in order to show that many of the most popular themes in pop culture actually have very deep philosophical implications, which not at all are anti-intellectual and must be said to be in direct opposition with New Age.
The danger in anti-intellectualism is easily seen when one consider what it has been used for. Totalitarian governments manipulate and apply anti-intellectualism to repress political dissent. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and the following right-wing dictatorship (1939–1975) of General Francisco Franco, the reactionary repression of the White Terror (1936–1945) was notably anti-intellectual, with most of the 200,000 civilians killed being the Spanish intelligentsia, the politically active teachers and academics, artists and writers of the deposed Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939). In the Communist state of Democratic Kampuchea (former Cambodia in Indochina of Southeast Asia), (1975–1979), the Khmer Rouge régime of Pol Pot condemned most of the non–Communist intelligentsia to death in the Killing Fields.
Susan Jacoby's new book The Age of American Unreason might be viewed as a kind of sequel to Richard Hofstadter's 1963 classic, “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.” A cultural history of the last forty years, The Age of American Unreason focuses on the convergence of social forces—usually treated as separate entities—that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; and the triumph of video over print culture. Sparing neither the right nor the left, Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced a universe of “junk thought” that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion.
Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation, Susan Jacoby dissects a new American cultural phenomenon - one that is at odds with the American heritage of Enlightenment reason and with modern, secular knowledge and science.
With mordant wit, she surveys an anti-rationalist landscape extending from pop culture to a pseudo-intellectual universe of "junk thought." Disdain for logic and evidence defines a pervasive malaise fostered by the mass media, triumphalist religious fundamentalism, mediocre public education, a dearth of fair-minded public intellectuals on the right and the left, and, above all, a lazy and credulous public.
Jacoby offers an unsparing indictment of the American addiction to infotainment--from television to the Web--and cites this toxic dependency as the major element distinguishing the current age of unreason from earlier outbreaks of American anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism. With reading on the decline and scientific and historical illiteracy on the rise, an increasingly ignorant public square is dominated by debased media-driven language and received opinion.
At this critical political juncture, nothing could be more important than recognizing the "overarching crisis of memory and knowledge" described in this impassioned, tough-minded book, which challenges Americans to face the painful truth about what the flights from reason has cost them as individuals and as a nation.
Jacoby singles out their attraction to the pseudoscience of social Darwinism in the post–Civil War period, noting that the popularity of this ideological rationale for “untrammeled capitalism” demonstrated the susceptibility of intellectuals to irrationalism, the confusion of sociology with hard science, and the dangers of a little knowledge: “Many Americans possessed just enough education to be fascinated by the late-19th-century advances in both science and technology, but they had too little education to distinguish between real scientists and those who peddled theories in the guise of science.” Jacoby rightly identifies pseudoscience and religion as two “critical ingredients” of unreason since then. Indeed, they often work in tandem: The “sciences” of mind cure and New Thought flourished, and Mary Baker Eddy “discovered” Christian Science in the 1860s. Then came Scientology, the “science” of positive thinking, and, more recently, New Age healer Deepak Chopra’s nonsensical references to quantum physics (see the entries on The Matrix Conspiracy Fascism and Deepak Chopra).
Anti-science views have been amplified by the political wave of populism that is sweeping not only over America but also Europe. Populism is the key factor in the election of Donald Trump as the President of US. The key elements of this kind of populism are anti-elitism and nativism, which can translate into anti-immigrant views. The role of globalization in the creation of not only economic but also knowledge inequality has amplified these feelings of resentment.
Populism is a mode of political communication that is centred around contrasts between the "common man" or "the people" and a real or imagined group of "privileged elites", traditionally scapegoating or making a folk devil of the latter. Populists can fall anywhere on the traditional left–right political spectrum of politics, and can often be characterized as centrist where populists portray both bourgeois capitalists and socialist organizers as unfairly dominating the political sphere.
Political parties and politicians often use the terms populist and populism as pejoratives against their opponents. Such a view sees populism as demagogy, merely appearing to empathize with the public through rhetoric or unrealistic proposals in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum.
Populism is most common in democratic nations. Political scientist Cas Mudde wrote that "Many observers have noted that populism is inherent to representative democracy; after all, do populists not juxtapose 'the pure people' against 'the corrupt elite'?"
Another facet of the politicization of science is the effect of the postmodernism movement, which occurred in the latter part of the twentieth century, but has roots back to the Sophists in ancient Greece. I have characterized postmodernism as the intellectualism (or rather anti-intellectualism) behind New Age and the Self-help industry ( see my article Constructivism: the Postmodern Intellectualism behind New Age and the Self-help Industry).
This movement represents a distrust of the Enlightenment principle of rationality. Although the term postmodernism has traditionally been applied to the humanities, it has broad implications for attitudes toward science, promoting the idea that truth is contextual, depending on one´s culture, education, and life experiences. This attitude is misplaced when dealing with scientific facts. Journalism has a great role in promoting the “other side” of disagreements regarding scientific issues, even when the weight of evidence overwhelmingly supports one conclusion. This mistakenly gives opinion the same weight as fact.
One of the unfortunate results of postmodernism is that individuals see scientific issues in ways that fit their preconceptions and make them comfortable. As individuals mature, they may gravitate toward the political party whose views they share on other nonscientific issues. The public´s gravitation to biased television reporting, social media, and Internet resources that fit their worldview as sources of information on scientific issues further calcifies their opinions. To see this in the New Age movement is especially disturbing, because New Age at the same time are promoting spiritual issues, which in that way are being deeply distorted. It is namely so, that when you make a google search on spiritual issues, you will almost inevitable end up on a New Age promoting site. Related to this is the Matrix Dictionary entry on The Illusion of Knowledge.
So, in our time with the spreading of subjectivism and relativism - and therefore Magical thinking - we are seeing how Confabulation somehow gets a justification. There is in fact - as I claim in my articles and books on The Matrix Conspiracy - a New World Order emerging: the world of Alternative History, Alternative Physics, Alternative Medicine and, ultimately, Alternative Reality.
As mentioned: that my concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is correct, is today especially emphasized by the election of the new president of the United States, Donald Trump, and his government, who are defending concepts of “alternate truths” about Trump´s ideas, and “fake news” about any critique of him. This without much consequence, and without much protest from his many electors. Already now, another president, namely the Syrian president Assad, has found this inspiring and is saying that the allegations of torture and mass hangings in his country is the product of “a fake news era” (paradoxically enough, in the moment of writing the main article, Trump has just ordered the missile attack on Assad).
Trump is completely indifferent to what is true and false, never speaks positively about democracy, equality before the law or human rights. He openly admires foreign dictators, who define leadership as the ability to suppress the opposition and who led an election campaign where people who contradicted him were removed by force. So, we actually have a quite good idea about what we are dealing with.
When fascistic, nazistic and communistic regimes took the power in the 1930s and 40s – often after an election where they did well – it happened with a combination of show, suppression and salami tactique, where layers of the opposition were peeled off one after one. The first, which leaders, who want to establish an authoritarian regime, go after, are the courts. They try to remove the judges, who might limit their exercise of power. And we have already in Trump´s style and rhetoric seen a high degree of hostility towards judges. As a presidential candidate, he declared, that a certain judge hadn´t the right to judge in a case against him, because he was of Mexican origination. As a president, he has referred to judges, whose verdicts were against him, as “so-called judges”. So, it is quite unusual for any American government official, not to speak of a president, to speak out so hostile about the courts.
The next target is the parlementary gatherings, which formally are maintained, but are deprived the ability to put up limits for the executive power.
A future tyrant can use terrorism as a tool to usurp power. This is relevant both in Europe and USA because terrorism – understandable enough in Europe´s case – takes so much attention. So far it hasn´t been a big problem in USA, but mentally it fills a lot in peoples´ consciousness. Modern tyrants need terror, they need a group, they can stigmatize, they need people who are afraid. Now we have an administration in USA, which talks about terrorism all the time, which associates muslims with terrorists and which could be reacting on terror-actions, when they occur, by suspending fundamental rights. And because Trump so openly admirers Putin and speaks of him as a “strong leader”, a man who is an expert in terror-management, who used the threat of Chechnya terror to build up an authoritanian rule and has done the state of emergency permanent.
Another paramount element in a potential tyrant´s takeover is of course the fight for the opinion-forming. Trump´s permissiveness dealings with easily verifiable facts is wellknown and the medias are themselves full of debates about fake news and the post-factual society. What the debate lacks is an understanding of the connection between the doubt about facts and an authoritanian political development.
Post-truth is pre-fascism!
There is a fundamental relationship between our opinions about what is truth, and the political risk of fascism, and it is important we understand it. The people who stand behind the Post-truth-industry – who, for example are responsible for the Russian medias – are fully aware that democracy is dependent on the rule of law, and the rule of law is dependent on trust. If you can make a large part of the population believe, that there are no truths, that all facts are uncertain, that everything are depending on the eye of the beholder, then the citizens have no basis criticizing the power, because you can´t formulate a critique without the existence of factuality. If we reach the complete post-factual level, the political society will be impossible, also the rule of law and the civil society. Then it will be the person who has the biggest megaphone or is the best to produce TV shown, who wins. Remember the management theorists´ slogan: It is not facts, but the best story that wins! The management theorists are leading Matrix Sophists.
The people who stands behind the spread of fake news know all this. It is therefore they do it. So, when president Trump for example spread completely undocumented information about that Obama has ordered him monitored, then it is not only a lie he is caught in saying; it is part of the war against truth. And it is something he is doing all the time. It is a part of the destibilization of the nation´s whole way of communication.
It is all manifested in Trump´s Mussolini-like facial expressions.
Don´t ease up with an authoritarian rule´s wishes! Defend the institutions! Stand by your professional ethic! Take care of language! Believe that truth exists! Keep the head cold during terror attacks! Don´t get used to Swastikas and other symbols of hate! Guard your private informations! Be alert to para-military units! Be so brave as you can! Remember anti-authoritarian thinkers such as Hannah Arendt and George Orwell! They seem to have been forgotten.
Latest News! (some relevant articles beginning with a clock that says exactly how long time Donald Trump has been president):
Donald Trump's Presidential oath was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts on January 20, 2017 at 11:47 ET. He has been president for: Click this link and get the exact time
This Facebook Post About Trump Supporters is Going Viral Because It’s Chilling AF
Future presidents must restore what Trump has destroyed
The President Is Losing Whatever Was Left
Sioux Leader To Trump: 'Leave The Office You Bought And Take Your Swamp Things With You'
Brendan Cox: Trump ‘spreading far-right vitriol’
IS DONALD TRUMP LYING, OR LOSING HIS MIND?
A growing body of evidence suggests the president has broken with reality.
'A Disgusting Low.' Elizabeth Warren Responds to President Trump's 'Pocahontas' Remark
Brendan Cox’s response to Donald Trump’s attack on Theresa May is the only thing you need to read today
The Trump Administration Is Mulling A Pitch For A Private “Rendition” And Spy Network - A private company has proposed that the US government pay it millions to undertake intelligence and covert operations.
Paul Krugman: The Entire Republican Party Is Rotten to the Core - Only a massive electoral defeat will prevent the GOP from destroying the country as we know it.
The Trump allegations - A list of the sexual misconduct accusations made against Donald Trump. He has denied the allegations
Related in The Matrix Dictionary:
The Matrix Conspiracy Updates
The Matrix Conspiracy Fascism
Anti-intellectualism and Anti-science
Bridge between Science and Spirituality
The New Thought Movement and the Law of Attraction
The Matrix Conspiracy
The Fascism of Theosophy
The Matrix Dictionary