Sunday, January 21, 2018

Is Trump America's Hitler? Aldous Huxley might say so if he were alive today

It has been four months since Donald Trump gave Congress a six month window to pass a DACA law, and he and the Republicans have the nerve to accuse Democrats of playing politics with the issue after the initial failure to pass a temporary spending bill. Immigration reform has been an issue since 2006, and it was that racist Jeff Sessions who helped kill a compromise bill that George Bush was willing to sign back then. And that is not the only troubling item: Republicans have included rollbacks of ACA taxes in this spending bill, and together with Trump’s refusal to pay healthcare subsidies and the tax “reform” bill’s ending of the individual mandate, the ACA is suffering a death by a thousand cuts without a Republican replacement—that isn’t “better” than their others “plans”  that would have created such chaos in the insurance market that if passed would have created a greater number of people without health insurance than those who are benefiting from the ACA now. 

Trump had seemed “willing” until anti-immigrant hardliners, John-yes-that-John Kelly and Sessions’ racist worm in the White House apple, Steven Miller, got back into his ear. I will admit that “compassion” is not something that only Democrats can possess. Sen. Lindsey Graham—who crafted with Sen. Dick Durbin a DACA compromise that seemed to have that illusive quality of humanity—bemoaned the fact that the issue has been “turned into a 's-show' and we need to get back to being a great country where Democrats and Republicans work together to do something that we should have done years ago." Instead of a human being, he found that his “friend” may pretend compassion one day, and the next he was a guy he didn’t know. But Graham should have; when are people going to learn that lesson” Trump is not a “stable genius,” but as his Art of the Deal ghost writer, Tom Schwartz, recently said, Trump is “losing his grip on reality,” and is completely unstable? The next time they met, Trump—backed by anti-immigrant hardliners, “ran hot,” but so did Graham: “I got pretty passionate and I ran a little hot, too. Somebody needs to fix this problem,” he told Trump, and he didn’t believe it would be Trump, because he was taking advice from “people in charge at the White House who have an irrational view of how to fix immigration."

Among those people in charge is of course Chief of Staff Kelly, the “deacon of deportation” as the New York Times’ Charles Blow called him. Kelly is far from the “moderating” influence in the White House that people may have assumed that he would be. As Blow reported, as soon as Kelly heard that Trump was open to “compromise” on DACA, he phoned Trump and advised against it, calling in the hard-right “reinforcements” at that subsequent meeting in which Sen. Graham reportedly felt “ambushed” by Trump. Blow calls Kelly the “devil’s handmaiden,” who along with Miller (who speaks for Sessions’ views) is the current source to Trump’s hostility to any immigration deal that shows even the slightest “compassion” for people who migrated to this country for the same reason that the European ancestors of Trump, Kelly and Miller did—for a better life, and the cost of ship fare and being white the only thing required to make then “legal” immigrants. The Nation early on observed that Kelly’s promotion to chief of staff was a disaster for immigrants, having already turned DHS into a “deportation machine” while ignoring white-bread domestic terrorism. Blow noted that for being a “general,” Kelly displayed a “staggering” lack of historical perspective in respect to what the Civil War was fought over—mainly, the maintenance of slavery. Kelly, it was suggested, is in fact currently the most dangerous man in America, because of Trump apparently can be played by him like a puppet, being led to believe that his racist core of support represents the “will” of the people.

The truth of the matter is that immigration and race are too important to Trump, since he finds that these two issues are what “energize” his “base” more than any other issues. It matters not at all to him that racism is what motivates his core supporters, because it pleases them, and they please him. How many times have people given Trump a chance, just once, to demonstrate that he is capable of even a smidgen of human decency, only to be once again confronted by the reality that outside his lily-white family, Trump is capable of none? He can only think of the “others” in terms of their capacity for crime, and his sense of “superiority” over “them.” I look at those black men standing with Trump at some MLK Jr. event and think to myself “Are these people so enthused with having a photo-op with this faker that they will sacrifice any moral standing that they possess?” Apparently so. After all, this was a man who was sued by the Nixon Justice Department for racial discrimination in the Trump housing projects—where with the help of red-baiter Roy Cohn, Trump learned the “art” of lying and denying. 

At least Hispanics can say that they have never had to sink so low as to appear at an event with Trump; but then again, Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of Hispanic-Americans save to demean and dehumanize them is, as Jeb Lund of The Guardian has written, just a “cruder” version of the anti-Hispanic “orthodoxy” of the Republican Party generally. And frankly, I have no faith in white people in the generality (as opposed to the individuality, as Goethe noted in the Germans), since the only thing they really have to fear from Trump is the loss of their own moral standing. 

 If events in the past week have proven anything, it is that  Trump—far from being the “stable genius” and “least racist man you know” which he has repeated to increasingly noxious effect—is not only demonstrable unstable, veering unstoppably from “compassion” to cruelty. He has done this on health care, doing a 180 degree turn on “protecting” even Medicare and Medicaid, signing into a law a tax reform bill that will leave at least 13 million more people uninsured, lying about how his tax reform is “great” for working people (actually “great” for himself), and he has now gone completely bonkers on DACA. The unreliable media naturally went through its usual period of “outrage” over Trump’s “shithole” comments about black and Hispanic immigrants in a White House meeting that went completely atomic the moment Trump opened his stupid mouth, before then questioning of the “credibility” of the sources (Senators Durbin and Graham), and finally back to the latest revelation that the anti-immigrant hardliners who denied the terms (Senators Perdue and Cotton) and a couple of administration flunkies were bald-faced liars. Trump claimed he would sign a “bi-partisan” agreement that went from “about love” to about hate as soon as Kelly and Miller got into his ear. Trump is incapable of any moral or ethical stand.

It is for such a man that, as conservative pundit Jennifer Rubin noted, “Many GOP lawmakers now consider lying in defense of the president to be routine, part of their normal duties as card-carrying Republicans. They don’t care that it makes them look foolish to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. They, like Trump, now operate in the populist bubble that depends on protecting Trump and reaffirming their bond with the base on behalf of white grievance. For Perdue and Cotton, defending the preference for immigrants from richer countries — i.e. whiter countries — requires they not concede that this, at bottom, is about race.” Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast added that after only one year in office, Trump’s “outrages are so numerous that we can’t always know which ones will make the history books. We can be certain that this one will. A moment of national humiliation and disgrace.”

But has been pointed out many times, Trump’s narcissism is such that he sees “enemies” everywhere, and he fails to see any merit in their views. His total lack of self-reflection is such that he simply doesn’t see the evil he spews practically every day. Any attack on his person must be attacked “in kind.” This is a man for whom it is impossible to step back into self-examination and understand why a large majority in this country are disgusted not just with his own words and actions, by why they are also disgusted with the people who still support him unwaveringly; this man has defined himself so much in the white grievance and white nationalist mode that when his poll numbers finally do bottom out, we will then know how much of this country at its very core views everything through the prism of their own racism. 

Mike Huckabee—whose support of Trump explains why his distinctly  untelegenic  daughter Sarah (who Schwartz says has been completely “brainwashed” by Trump) has a ”plum”  job as his chief conduit of misinformation—resurrected the ghost of another undeniable racist when he “favorably” compared  Trump to Winston Churchill. This is the man that a recent poll in the UK labeled its “greatest” man, although Thomas More would have been a more appropriate choice. Churchill was a man who rejoiced in what he believed to be the imminent “extinction” of Native Americans and other “despised” races. Churchill throughout his career participated in or directed acts just this side of genocide against native peoples in the countries Britain controlled, most egregiously in South Africa and India. Despite being stalwart against the Nazis in World War II, by the end of it he and his party were wildly unpopular, and many blamed it on Churchill’s increasingly antiquated worldview, acquired from a lifetime of colonialist racism and white supremacist attitudes, which an exhausted country with limited resources no longer saw as reason enough to maintain an imperialist presence. 

In an article in the Independent recently, it was noted that “Of course, it's easy to dismiss any criticism of (Churchill’s) actions as anachronistic. Didn't everybody think that way then? One of the most striking findings of Toye's research is that they really didn't: even at the time, Churchill was seen as at the most brutal and brutish end of the British imperialist spectrum. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was warned by Cabinet colleagues not to appoint him because his views were so antediluvian (meaning primitive or outmoded). Even his startled doctor, Lord Moran, said of other races, ‘Winston thinks only of the colour of their skin.’" It was also observed that Churchill’s main point of contention with Nazi Germany was that he saw them as the gravest “threat” to Britain’s global imperial pretensions. One might suspect that Huckabee’s comparison is not as absurd after the second blush; as I’ll get too later, Trump also thinks of the people in terms of “colour.”

Is Trump in fact America’s Hitler? As would be expected, most people in the media and academia will rush to Trump’s defense in the face of such an accusation, but we are talking in relative terms here, about a moral philosophy. It can’t any “crazier” an idea than Trump himself. Trump may not have murdered anyone himself, but neither did Hitler. Trump excites his white audiences into a racist frenzy, just like Hitler did against the Jews, and when one of the “others” shows up to protest, Trump has “directed” his supporters to engage in thuggish fashion to silence the anti-Nazi. 

Save for the intent to exterminate Native Americans throughout much of the 19th century, the U.S. can claim to have had a political and social philosophy in which all men—or at least most of them—were “created equal” and was endowed with rights that were “self-evident.” But that doesn’t mean that similar abdication of morality and ethics as the Nazis exhibited is not in play. Hispanics have become America’s “Jews,” blamed by whites (and to a lesser extent blacks) for sundry ills that they require a scapegoat for, and in the media they are deliberately silenced in the face of much that is demeaning and dehumanizing. Like the Jews in Germany, they must be ridden out of the country because, as fascists like Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter have proclaimed, they are out to “destroy America” and it’s “culture.” or at least create a “browning” of currently “white” America. 

While the media has focused on black countries in regard to Trump’s “shithole” comments, he also included El Salvador in that group. America’s “influence” in Central America has been almost unrelievedly negative in nature, and the fact that American companies and their creation of “banana republics” first exploited mercilessly these countries, and then destroyed all the infrastructure so that the native population could not use it is only one aspect of the story. Does Trump mean to send 200,000 Salvadorans to possible death by reneging on their TPS status? Perhaps not (but who knows from his inhuman attitude), but El Salvador is currently not exactly a safe place live, no thanks to the U.S. Probably no country on this planet has suffered more at the hands of the U.S. than El Salvador (not even Vietnam), no more infamously so during the Carter-Reagan-Bush administrations, where Cold War politics was used as a rationalization to fund brutal right-wing regimes against insurgencies that had arisen inside a country where the one-percent Euro-elites controlled 95 percent of the nation’s wealth, and 75 percent of the population still lives in abject poverty; today the country is riven by the violence of the drug trade—a direct result of the social and economic inequalities the U.S. helped maintain, as it has in all its dealings with Latin America; the irony is that in Muslim countries it has “intervened” in, the U.S. at least pretended to support more “progressive” regimes. 

It is unknown precisely how many civilians “disappeared” during the time of U.S.-supported right-wing murder regimes and their U.S.-trained “death squads” in El Salvador, but the UN estimated that at least 85 percent of all civilian deaths were at the behest of the government, with the “assistance” of “counter-insurgency” paramilitary. That the murders of the Archbishop Oscar Romero and later the American nuns was “downplayed” by the administrations they occurred under reveal the depths of depravity that the U.S. would stoop to maintain right-wing oppression in Central America—also on full display by the secret,  illegal funding of murderous “freedom fighters” in Nicaragua. Even the El Mozote massacre in 1981, in which 1,000 men, women and children were butchered by the American-trained Atlacatl Battalion, was denied for years until the excavations of the murder sites revealed the horrifying scope of the massacre. To this day, the U.S. still refuses to acknowledge or apologize for its role in devastating the country. And this is the country the U.S. helped create that 200,000 people who only wish to live in peace and freedom that Trump, Sessions, Kelly and Miller wish to send back to—for no other reason but their personal racism and inhumanity. 

I was reading Aldous Huxley’s 1958 essay “Brave New World Revisited” and thought to myself that if he was alive today, what would he say about Trump? First off, it should be noted that Huxley himself was no saint. In Brave New World, he did not see a world where by the year 2495 that a country like Britain could be fully “integrated.” Instead, it would possess isolated communities where lived “savages” of the kind he “learned” from popular American “western” films of the time. Today the stereotypes in the book are clearly racist and born of ignorance, and one can’t help but to observe that the “savages” he describes more closely resemble “free love” white hippy communes of the 1960s and 70s. But like those of his eugenics scientist brother Julian, his views did evolve after what he observed in Nazi Germany: “The whole Nazi racial doctrine would have been impossible if individual Jews and gypsies had been regarded as what they were—each of them a separate human personality. Instead, each of these persons was reduced to being merely the illustration of a pejorative label.” Indeed, Trump’s success in vilifying whole non-“Anglo” groups (especially Hispanics) is predicated on this notion.

It was with self-reflective irony that he wrote "About 99.5 per cent of the entire population of the planet are as stupid and philistine as the great masses of the English . . . The important thing, it seems to me, is not to attack the 99.5 per cent - except for exercise - but to try to see that the 0.5 per cent survives, keeps its quality up to the highest possible level and, if possible, dominates the rest” a view that he now saw as having been the unfortunate result of being “born in the upper-middle, governing class of an independent, rich and exceedingly powerful nation. Born an Indian or brought up in the slums of London, I should hardly be able to achieve so philosophical a suspense of judgment." It is the kind of self-reflection that Trump lacks—who like Hitler was is under a “grand illusion” about how he will be judged by history. 

Would Huxley find as intensely troubling in what he sees in Trump as he saw in Adolf Hitler? He for all practically purposes is describing a man very much like Trump. Hitler’s hatred of Jews appears to stem from his belief that they were the ones who stood in the way of his becoming a “great artist” during his time in Vienna, and one wishes that someone had allowed him that fantasy. Trump once claimed to be a Democrat, so what changed? His battles with comedian/talk show host Rosie O’Donnell? Or that this man discovered that some countries expected him to play by their rules, not his?: The Mexican legal system is corrupt, as is much of Mexico. Pay me the money that is owed me now - and stop sending criminals over our border…I have a lawsuit in Mexico’s corrupt court system that I won but so far can’t collect. Don’t do business with Mexico!...Mexico’s court system corrupt. I want nothing to do with Mexico other than to build an impenetrable WALL and stop them from ripping off U.S.” When he sees himself “wronged,” Trump exacts vengeance, and he is using the highest office in the land to exact a very personal variety. Huxley would now observe that Trump’s political and social philosophy is very limited in substance, but if he has any “genius” it is that he, like Hitler, “understood” his audience:

When he writes about such vast abstractions as Race and History and Providence, Hitler is strictly unreadable. But when he writes about the German masses and the methods he used for dominating and directing them, his style changes. Nonsense gives place to sense, bombast to a hard-boiled and cynical lucidity. In his philosophical lucubrations Hitler was either cloudily daydreaming or reproducing other people's half-baked notions. In his comments on crowds and propaganda he was writing of things he knew by firsthand expe­rience. In the words of his ablest biographer, Mr. Alan Bullock, "Hitler was the greatest demagogue in history." Those who add, "only a demagogue," fail to appreciate the nature of political power in an age of mass politics. As he himself said, "To be a leader means to be able to move the masses." Hitler's aim was first to move the masses and then, having pried them loose from their traditional loyalties and morali­ties, to impose upon them (with the hypnotized con­sent of the majority) a new authoritarian order of his own devising. 

Let us see what Hitler thought of the masses he moved and how he did the moving. The first principle from which he started was a value judgment: the masses are utterly contemptible. They are incapable of abstract thinking and uninterested in any fact outside the circle of their immediate experience. Their behav­ior is determined, not by knowledge and reason, but by feelings and unconscious drives. It is in these drives and feelings that "the roots of their positive as well as their negative attitudes are implanted." To be success­ful a propagandist must learn how to manipulate these instincts and emotions. "The driving force which has brought about the most tremendous revolutions on this earth has never been a body of scientific teaching which has gained power over the masses, but always a devotion which has inspired them, and often a kind of hysteria which has urged them into action. Whoever wishes to win over the masses must know the key that will open the door of their hearts." . . . In post-Freud­ian jargon, of their unconscious. 

One of the ironies of “Trumpism” is that unlike Weimar Germany, this country is not in an economic downturn, and even black unemployment is at an all-time low. The reality is that illegal immigrants are filling jobs currently unfilled, and are contributing to the economy; that they are noticed at all has to do racial profiling, nothing more since most of the “despised” group are in the country legally, and most of those U.S. citizens. If there is an “enemy” it is those at the top, like Trump, whose apparent mission in life (as proven by the Republican tax reform plan) is to maintain not just his social “superiority” over the “commoner” but economically by a vast distance. In order to obscure this truth, the “masses” must be fed the “poison” of racism through his twitter page and his frequent "Nuremberg" rallies before all-white audiences which he uses to "reassure" himself of his "greatness"--in the expectation that they will lose all sense of moral and ethical responsibility, as he has:

Hitler made his strongest appeal to those members of the lower middle classes who had been ruined by the inflation of 1923, and then ruined all over again by the depression of 1929 and the following years. "The masses" of whom he speaks were these bewildered, frustrated and chronically anxious millions. To make them more masslike, more homogeneously subhuman, he assembled them, by the thousands and the tens of thousands, in vast halls and arenas, where individuals could lose their personal identity, even their ele­mentary humanity, and be merged with the crowd. A man or woman makes direct contact with society in two ways: as a member of some familial, professional or religious group, or as a member of a crowd. Groups are capable of being as moral and intelligent as the individuals who form them; a crowd is chaotic, has no purpose of its own and is capable of anything except intelligent action and realistic thinking. Assembled in a crowd, people lose their powers of reasoning and their capacity for moral choice. Their suggestibility is increased to the point where they cease to have any judgment or will of their own. They become very ex­citable, they lose all sense of individual or collective responsibility, they are subject to sudden accesses of rage, enthusiasm and panic. In a word, a man in a crowd behaves as though he had swallowed a large dose of some powerful intoxicant. He is a victim of what I have called "herd-poisoning." Like alcohol, herd-poison is an active, extraverted drug. The crowd-intoxicated individual escapes from responsibility, in­telligence and morality into a kind of frantic, animal mindlessness. 

As Hitler had managed to do, Trump has “mainstreamed” the most detestable in human nature, giving “courage” to  purveyors of hate to speak and act openly, in the expectation that they need fear no penalty now—and as comedian and talk show host Seth Myers recently said, “You can’t put the shit back into the hole.” 

During his long career as an agitator, Hitler had studied the effects of herd-poison and had learned how to exploit them for his own purposes. He had discovered that the orator can appeal to those "hidden forces" which motivate men's actions, much more effec­tively than can the writer. Reading is a private, not a collective activity. The writer speaks only to indi­viduals, sitting by themselves in a state of normal sobriety. The orator speaks to masses of individuals, already well primed with herd-poison. They are at his mercy and, if he knows his business, he can do what he likes with them. As an orator, Hitler knew his busi­ness supremely well. He was able, in his own words, "to follow the lead of the great mass in such a way that from the living emotion of his hearers the apt word which he needed would be suggested to him and in its turn this would go straight to the heart of his hearers." Otto Strasser called him "a loud-speaker, pro­claiming the most secret desires, the least admissible instincts, the sufferings and personal revolts of a whole nation." Twenty years before Madison Avenue embarked upon "Motivational Research," Hitler was systematically exploring and exploiting the secret fears and hopes, the cravings, anxieties and frustra­tions of the German masses. It is by manipulating "hidden forces" that the advertising experts induce us to buy their wares -- a toothpaste, a brand of ciga­rettes, a political candidate. And it is by appealing to the same hidden forces -- and to others too dangerous for Madison Avenue to meddle with -- that Hitler in­duced the German masses to buy themselves a Fuehrer, an insane philosophy and the Second World War. 

Like Hitler, Trump has no need for “intellectuals,” particular those with opinions on climate change and the environment. Intellectuals demand rationality and facts; Trump and those he speaks for view science and reason only with suspicion if not outright fear of being made to look foolish; better to shout over common sense with simplistic stereotyping and scapegoating so as not to “confuse” the masses and foster independent thought:

Unlike the masses, intellectuals have a taste for ra­tionality and an interest in facts. Their critical habit of mind makes them resistant to the kind of propa­ganda that works so well on the majority. Among the masses "instinct is supreme, and from instinct comes faith. . . . While the healthy common folk instinc­tively close their ranks to form a community of the people" (under a Leader, it goes without saying) "in­tellectuals run this way and that, like hens in a poul­try yard. With them one cannot make history; they cannot be used as elements composing a community." Intellectuals are the kind of people who demand evi­dence and are shocked by logical inconsistencies and fallacies. They regard over-simplification as the origi­nal sin of the mind and have no use for the slogans, the unqualified assertions and sweeping generaliza­tions which are the propagandist's stock in trade. "All effective propaganda," Hitler wrote, "must be confined to a few bare necessities and then must be expressed in a few stereotyped formulas." These stereotyped for­mulas must be constantly repeated, for "only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea upon the memory of a crowd."
While Trump frequently has given lip service to “bi-partisanship,” this has usually been quickly undermined by his political unreliability and mental and emotional instability. What he has been “reliable” about is the fact there are no “gray” areas in his worldview. There is no “two ways” about it. He cannot admit to being “wrong” or even adapt his way of thinking to obvious realities. He must always be on attack mode against those with a different opinion. He who shouts loudest—no matter how irrationally—is the one who is “heard”:

Philosophy teaches us to feel uncertain about the things that seem to us self-evident. Propaganda, on the other hand, teaches us to accept as self-evident matters about which it would be reasonable to suspend our judgment or to feel doubt. The aim of the demagogue is to create social coherence under his own leadership. But, as Bertrand Russell has pointed out, "systems of dogma without empirical foundations, such as scholasticism, Marxism and fas­cism, have the advantage of producing a great deal of social coherence among their disciples." The dema­gogic propagandist must therefore be consistently dogmatic. All his statements are made without qualification. There are no grays in his picture of the world; everything is either diabolically black or celestially white. In Hitler's words, the propagandist should adopt "a systematically one-sided attitude to­wards every problem that has to be dealt with." He must never admit that he might be wrong or that people with a different point of view might be even partially right. Opponents should not be argued with; they should be attacked, shouted down, or, if they be­come too much of a nuisance, liquidated. The morally squeamish intellectual may be shocked by this kind of thing. But the masses are always convinced that "right is on the side of the active aggressor." 

But there will still be those who say this is an “unfair” comparison. Trump hasn’t personally “murdered” anyone, but neither did Hitler; but like Hitler, Trump has his underlings only too eager to do the dirty work for him, such as ending temporary protected status for 200,000 people from El Salvador. But if you don’t trust just any “foreigner” to make such a judgment, how about from a country that actually knows something about this (not Russia, which has embraced dictatorship once again), but like, say Germany. I would trust the German media over the U.S. media inn recognizing the fascist tendencies of Trump; after the all, Germans have some “experience” with this kind of thing. The periodical Der Spiegel published an article before the last election which called Trump “the most dangerous man in America,” and that has only been born out since then. The article noted that it seems typical in American presidential politics that after eight years under one president, Americans tend to elect a candidate who is the ideological opposite:

By that logic, Obama the integrator, who fought against discrimination against blacks and gays, would be followed by a President Trump who stirs up hatred against minorities and claims that “political correctness” is the greatest threat to the United States. While Obama sought to explain complex problems, often sounding like an intellectual in the process, studies have shown that Trump speaks at a fourth-grade reading level. Problems, according to Trump, are “totally easy” to solve. And while Obama appealed to the common “we” in his campaign slogan “Yes, we can!” Trump’s version reads “Yes, I can!” – the solution of a strong leader.

Spiegel quotes New Yorker writer George Packer, who says that Trump “now exhibits several of the characteristics of a fascist.” 

In the past, as a reality TV star, Trump had to come across as somewhat likeable, says Packer. But now that he is playing the fascist, he suddenly resembles one, with his grim face, his pursed lips and the threatening and intimidating look in his eyes.

Just like his European counterparts, Trump is calling for isolation in the form of protective tariffs, entry bans and border walls. He inflames tensions against ethnic minorities and offers anxious citizens the authoritarian vision of a strongman who will solve all problems on his own -- while ignoring democratic conventions. Trump is presumably only the shrillest and most prominent embodiment of a trend that is becoming pervasive throughout the Western world.

Just as Germans, fearful of the future and searching for scapegoats, were receptive to the Nazis’ simple-minded sloganeering feeding on their worst instincts and promising a glorious “One Thousand Year Reich” under an unimpeachable Fuhrer who was incapable of wrong, 

Many Americans, especially whites and those with relatively little education, are now more receptive than ever to audacious promises and simplistic solutions. But they are also receptive to a form of politics that blames immigrants and minorities for their own fate, and for the race-baiting that has been part of every authoritarian movement to date.
Spiegel also spoke to Michael D'Antonio, author of the book The Truth About Trump, largely ignored at the time of its publication but clearly prescient now. D’Antonio’s observes that Trump and his clan live in a hermetically-sealed world of privilege that pretends to “understand” working people, but in fact feels the greatest contempt for them; they (and his principle “advisers,” Kelly and Miller) have decided racial eugenics theories by which they view the world, which also apparently has no room for empathy or understanding of how things “look” when they flaunt their good fortune:

Trump lacks any self-irony, any form of critical self-perception." The entire family is like that, he explains. When he tried to joke with Trump's children about their father's penchant for gold and glitter in his buildings, none of them understood what he was getting at. "They don't notice when something is ridiculous," says D'Antonio. "This is the most telling characteristic of the entire Trump clan: the persistent denial of reflection."

But what worried him the most, says D'Antonio, is Trump's belief that he is genetically superior to most people in the world. In all of their conversations, he notes, Trump kept returning to the notion that by virtue of his birth, he is simply better than other people in many areas -- from playing golf to being a businessman. "I'm a big believer in natural ability," Trump said.

His son, Donald Trump Jr., shares his father's conviction. He said he was a firm believer in the concept of breeding, in "race-horse theory." Then he pointed at the ceiling with his finger, in the direction of his father's office. "He's an incredibly accomplished guy, my mother's incredibly accomplished, she's an Olympian, so I'd like to believe genetically I'm predisposed to (be) better than average."

Apparently this sort of belief also helps Trump portray himself to voters as a strong man, as the person who will save the country.

D’Antonio also has observed that Trump both loathes and fears blacks—probably out of the fear that he will say something so racially outrageous that someone might approach him on a city street and knock his ass out. The irony of all this is that most people in the country do not think that Trump—who would probably more likely be an infomercial carnival barker peddling his “art of the deal” if he hadn’t been born with silver spoon firmly planted in his mouth—is a “great” man. Who would ever trust such a man if he didn’t have the backing of wealth and power in order to intimidate? Most people see him as a self-promoting fraud who created nothing on his own, and his children nothing more than jokes in their lofty positions that no one interested in employing “the best” would consider running or advising anything. 

Again, I would take it seriously when a German recognizes what racism is: “Racism has since become a core element of (Trump’s) campaign, but it has only intensified in recent months. At first, Trump was only talking about the need to stop illegal immigrants. Only when he realized that this was what got him the most applause did he become more radical. In June, he said that Mexico is ‘bringing drugs, crime and rapists’ to the United States, and that he would ‘build a great, great wall on our southern border,’ and ‘I will have Mexico pay for that wall!’”

Like the fascist Black Shirts under Mussolini and Hitler’s brown-shirted “storm-troopers,” Trump has his low-level racist supporters who he has encouraged to act out their hate-filled violent fantasies. “Almost every evening,” writes Spiegel, “Trump goads his supporters to shout down protestors or throw them out of his rallies. He often ridicules these individuals from the lectern. If one of them happens to be on the heavy side, he pokes fun at ‘that fat guy,’ which fans interpret as a signal -- that Trump won't mind if they get a little physical with the protester. When a TV host recently asked Trump, who was sitting with his back to his fans, whether he was serious when he said that he would also ‘take out’ the wives and children of terrorists, Trump replied: ‘We have to be more vigilant, and we have to be much tougher.’ The crowd behind him cheered. At a rally in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, his supporters attacked a black protester, while others shouted ‘shoot him,’ ‘Sieg Heil’ and ‘light the motherfucker on fire! These are the moments when it becomes clear how brutal Trump can be”—emboldening those who normally would fear public exposure. Racism that has often been denied because it wasn’t expressed publically is now said without fear—and the U.S. mainstream media still cannot bring itself to call it by its real name, out of “fairness.” But “fair” to whom? Certainly not its victims. 

Spiegel also observed that studies have shown that Trump supporters have a desire for “authority,” despising independence or open-mindedness. Furthermore, Trump’s refusal to consider the opinions of others was revealed when “On some evenings, Trump even has potential audience members questioned about their views. Before his appearance in Burlington, Vermont, a security official dressed in black stood in the lobby and asked every visitor: ‘Are you a supporter of Mr. Trump?’ Those who said no or were undecided were turned away, even if they had tickets to the event. In a democracy, an election campaign is supposed to be an opinion-forming process. But in Trump's case, people are either for him or they are thrown out.” This is the definition of a man dictatorial inclinations, who brooks not even “suggestions”:

Those who have experienced this man's temperament know just how thin-skinned and aggressive Trump can be when criticized or provoked, and how mercilessly and excessively he pursues revenge. One shudders to think what could happen if a man like that had his finger on the button of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. "An ally, let's say from Europe, who didn't follow him into war would be considered a traitor by Trump and would have to expect massive retribution," D'Antonio believes.

Spiegel was also prescient in observing Trump’s bizarre desire to spend excessive sums for a “great” military, yet disinclined to actually use it. “His foreign policy essentially boils down to a bizarre mix of isolationism and a simultaneous show of superiority through a military build-up. ‘I'm the most militaristic person there is,’" Trump says. Trump is paying for this pointless military spending more to build-up his own “greatness,” at the expense of social and health care programs. Once more, Trump is revealed to be a man whose lust for power for himself is insatiable, and he cannot see the harm that it is causing to the vast majority of people in this country, because he simply doesn’t care. Neither, apparently, do the people who blindly salivate at his every hateful word.

Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, is quoted: "Trump is erratic. He is emotionally unstable, has authoritarian tendencies and a certain cruelty. He is a toxic figure, a demagogue. Trump would cause a lot of damage to the Republican Party. If he won the nomination it would be a hostile takeover. We must prevent it." Well, it has been done, and outside of a few lonely voices, like Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake—who last week likened Trump to Joseph Stalin, a dictator who also ruled by inflaming passions against the “enemies of the people.” This helps explain why, as Spiegel notes, that “For a long time, the Clinton camp fantasized about taking on Trump. The way they saw it, it would be Clinton, an experienced, middle-of-the-road candidate, versus Trump, the radical leader of the old, white guard. Many democratic strategists viewed such a matchup as a unique opportunity. Vice President Joe Biden said if Trump won the Republican nomination, Hillary Clinton would "win in a walk." 

But most observers who regarded themselves as “intellectual” underestimated the power of simple-minded rhetoric that turned on racial and media “enemies,” dividing the country into “us”—meaning white nationalists, and “them,” meaning the "others" and those opposed to their fears and phobias. These are the people who Trump hoped to impress with his “shithole” countries reference just as he had when he likened (nonwhite) immigrants to “poisonous snakes.” And don’t count on Republicans to see “sense,” since many of them harbor only a less “crude” version of racism than Trump.

As Huxley warned, we have denied the individuality of people, rather defining them as a whole “group” all with negative traits, or “not as good” as “other” groups:

From his point of view and at the level where he had chosen to do his dreadful work, Hitler was perfectly correct in his estimate of human nature. To those of us who look at men and women as individuals rather than as members of crowds, or of regimented collec­tives, he seems hideously wrong. In an age of accelerat­ing over-population, of accelerating over-organization and ever more efficient means of mass communication, how can we preserve the integrity and reassert the value of the human individual? This is a question that can still be asked and perhaps effectively answered. A generation from now it may be too late to find an answer and perhaps impossible, in the stifling collec­tive climate of that future time, even to ask the ques­tion.

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