Class Warfare Blog

August 6, 2017

Why Is Donald Trump Still So Horribly Witless About the World?

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 12:01 pm
Tags: , ,

The New Yorker magazine currently is running an article with the above title.

Here are a few representative quotes within that article that show the tenor of the article:

“Trump has an appalling ignorance of the current world, of history, of previous American engagement, of what former Presidents thought and did,” Geoffrey Kemp, who worked at the Pentagon during the Ford Administration and at the National Security Council during the Reagan Administration, reflected. “He has an almost studious rejection of the type of in-depth knowledge that virtually all of his predecessors eventually gained or had views on.”

“He’s impatient, decision-oriented, and prone to action. It’s all about the present tense. When he asks, ‘What the hell’s going on in Iraq?’ people around him have learned not to say, ‘Well, in 632 . . . ’ ” (That was the year when the Prophet Muhammad died, prompting the beginning of the Sunni-Shiite split.*)

“’The sheer scale of his lack of knowledge is what has astounded me—and I had low expectations to begin with,’” David Gordon, the director of the State Department’s policy-planning staff under Condoleezza Rice, during the Bush Administration….

The authors seem puzzled by the fact that Mr. Trump hasn’t gotten, well, better. (If one were to ask Mr. Trump that I wonder whether he would say he had gotten better as that would imply he had been worse at some point.)

This is not puzzling to me. If you or I were faced with an important foreign policy issue in such a position (gulp!) we would want to learn as much about the problem as we could because any solution we might create, or choose from those proffered, is bound to fail and possibly make things work if it doesn’t address the real problem, rather than the fictious one we have made up in its stead.

This is why most presidents got better and better at digesting the information they were given as their tenure proceeded.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, does not think that way. His world is really quite small (as is his intellect, moral core, etc.). My guess is that he has very capable people on retainer and they are ordered to solve problems in the manner depicted above and if they do not, they are fired and another is given the chance. I have never heard Mr. Trump’s creativity lauded or his problem solving skills, etc. I suggest they are nonexistant.

When Mr. Trump is presented with a problem, the focus is on himself. How can this be turned to my advantage? How can this make me look good? His thoughts do not run toward solutions and information that may provide them, that is for minions to do. Mr. Trump is always taking the “big picture” and the largest element in that picture is “Mr. Trump.” To expect otherwise is inverted magical thinking.

February 14, 2014

GOP Preaches Individualism as an Act of War

The GOP is all about individualism right now: if you are poor it is your fault; there is no War on Women, it is all about individual choices women make (bad ones typically); if you are doing poorly in this economy you need to borrow from your parents and start a business; and so on. All freedoms are defined as individual freedoms and collective action is bad, bad, bad. Unions are bad. Bleeding heart social programs are bad. The social safety net is bad, and so on.

The other day, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas screwed members of his own caucus by filibustering the debt limit bill. Consequently members of his party trying to get re-elected had to vote “yea” on a bill unpopular with their conservative bases. Why did Cruz do this to his own Party? His reasons are due to his personal (individual) ambition.

What is driving all of these displays of support for individualism.?

Just maybe it is part and parcel with the 40-year campaign to reshape this country to one more to the liking of the very rich. There are very few very rich people investing in politics. To counter their prestige, power, and influence would take a great many ordinary citizens working together to have any effect at all. So is “working together” now the target? It seems so.

College students used to demonstrate in the streets for issues of social justice. Four decades into the Conservative Class War and students have huge financial debts hung around their necks, debts that make them beholden to the system and less likely to oppose the plutocrats plans. Unions, especially teachers’ unions, used to support progressive agendas and candidates with both the cash and their bodies. Four decades into the Conservative Class War and teachers have had their social positions eroded substantially (all education woes are due to bad teachers, if we could just get rid of the bad teachers, et. al.) and their unions are under duress in state houses in red states.

The success of these efforts have lead to the battle plan of taking the idea of the “Me Generation” and embracing it in the form of more and more focus on “you” as an individual. Narcissism is promoted (Take another picture of yourself and post it on Facebook; it is all about you!). Collectivism is pooh-poohed. We aren’t all in this together. You have to think about yourself. You have all of that debt to pay off. Keep your nose to the grindstone and shoulder to the wheel. There is nothing to see here, just move along.

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