Wednesday, March 30, 2016

More Than Sea Change



I want, yet again, to try and situate myself within the context of early 21st century life.  It is a beyond-incredible time, with the environment blighting so fast, technology loping so fast, institutions deforming so fast.  In the center of all this is human activity, such a destructive and in some ways productive force.  It is a reckless, ignorant, hell-bent time, with the possibility that any single day could usher in the ultimate tragedy of nuclear annihilation. North Korea just recently threatened nuclear attack on the United States, and North Korea is an isolated, paranoid place of torture camps and Orwellian doctrine.  And that’s just one source of potential warfare.  The network of global nation-states seethes with tension.  Self-centered saber-rattlers increase the ante against each other.  In my country, the USA, a fascist fire-eater could win the presidential election.  If so, the great empire, with its supreme military, will be controlled by a racist, sexist, querulous, Machiavellian thug.

On another front, the environmental changes.  Global warming, still denied by a large percentage of Americans, is obvious and already devastating.  The scientific evidence, long abused, ignored or deflected, leans toward a much worse future, given the ominous prognostications.  Already the GW-inflicted changes are striking.  Permafrost melts, sea lanes open, creatures of all sizes migrate, coastlines flood, hurricanes worsen, ocean currents destabilize.  Add to this that we live in the midst of Earth’s sixth great mass extinction event, which has been caused by us. 

And on and on.  Without a paradigm-busting change in attitude, one that puts a noose on greenhouse-gas emission, many big coastal cities, in a relatively short time, perhaps a hundred years, will be at least partially underwater.

And on and on.  This is just the tip of the many radical things happening.  There are robots coming, and ever more ‘intelligent’ computers and machines.  Evolution as a natural process has been arrested, because humans now can manipulate DNA at a fine-toothed level.  We have begun the process of interfacing the brain with cyborg limbs.  The more I say here, it seems the more I will leave out.  The astounding technological nucleus snowballs toward even more astounding and unimaginable nuclei.

...

Perhaps this global mutation, metamorphosis upon metamorphosis, would be manageable if humans weren’t so badly unprepared.  Let me speak with brash concision;  we are acting with suicidal stupidity.

The early 21st planet is a crazy crucible of deep changes in the very nature of things.  It is a time of astounding human ignorance and unbelievable ethical and psychological blindness, a time whose main manifestation, I suppose, is the constant threat of civilization-annihilating war.  This war-tendency is propped by inveterate levels of sexism, racism, homophobia, and so on.  Linked to all this is a mindset of fanaticism.  Belief systems entrenched in faith that find reason loathsome.  Belief systems that, through their very design, must escalate tensions.  Anyone who is not a believer, according to a particular fanaticism, is bound for some version of hell, and so presents a dangerous threat.
 
Critical reasoning and scientific method ought to inform our political and social choices.  This is the level of maturity we desperately need.  Instead, unable to think clearly, we fall into line behind demagogues, sociopaths and narcissists, the most talented of them, those who emanate confidence and excel at manipulation, in large part because they have no qualms when it comes to oppression and deceit.  
 
Tremendous power alongside a feckless mentality.  That's the key dynamic leading us downward.  We are like violent, impetuous idiots who have stumbled across magical staves, staves that can extinct species, extirpate rainforests, pollute oceans, mutate worlds.

What is evil?  A full manifestation of evil would occur when a sick country, like North Korea, initiates a nuclear launch, and other countries, in paranoid response, counterstrike.  You could call such tragedy an ultimate dysfunction--a total lack of communication and a full failure to perceive with honesty.  I think the utter destruction of civilization, and also, equally, the infliction of radioactive poison on  the entire Earth, deserves an infernal title:  it is a paragon of evil.  

In the end, humans can discern and choose between right and wrong.  The problems we face are not hard to behold.  To be in denial, you have to work really hard not to see.  Intelligence isn't the problem.  We are psychologically pathetic.  We use our intellects, not to raise up the torch of reason, but instead to taint it.  We justify our biases with specious rhetoric, even when the malodor is obvious.  We find freedom where there is slavery (sweatshop workers making goods for the ‘free market’).   We find brightness where there is dark (the USA an agent of Manifest Destiny, not genocide).  We find liberation where there is bigotry (claiming that racism is gone, or that women are now equal, when so much violence-backed discrimination thrives).
 
Imagine a vegetarian pointing out to someone that factory farms torture tens of millions of innocent animals, showing them graphic pictures, providing the strongest evidence and facts.  And yet the person appealed to does nothing--except to pick up a pork chop, bite into it, and give a sadistic smile.

This is a literal and common response.  And yet also an allegory for so much of what is going on in general.

Behind that sadistic smile is hate.  The demagogues build up hate in their followers.  It binds them to demagoguery, and fuels a firewall against the intrusion of truth.

Our ethical sickness is easy to diagnose.  We use the power of our minds to repress, deflect, and project. And we use reason, in a perverted way, to hide from the correct application of reason.  It’s called “confirmation bias” in the discipline of psychology.  What it is, though, is an ultimate twistedness.  It's like saying that red is green so often that you believe it to be true and defend  that stance with brute fervor and stark fallacy.

It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes.  Embracing as real what isn’t there.

At rock bottom the culprit is fear.  “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” was a most wise and prophetic statement.

Humanity isn’t just bumbling along.  It is more like horror after horror.  The “Discovery of America.”  Genocide.  Slavery.  A Civil War that drove the mindset of slavery underground, where it festered and forged new methods of racism.  The Industrial Revolution, which turned a beautiful continent into a snarled mess of trash, fences, and carbon-puking traffic.  Metaphorically, we are still laying down railroad ties. We continue to erected barbed-wire.  We continue to slaughter tens of millions of buffalo, or whatever creature is available to expolit.  Why?  For power.  For profit.  For stock market numbers.  The short-sighted prerogatives of a  soul-stunted people.
 
The mentality of the Conquistadors--gross, cruel, stupid--is still with us.    

We’ve got to evolve our ethics to catch up to, and even surpass, our technological prowess.  It may seem impossible.  Still, sexism and racism have to go.  Fanaticism, somehow, has to go.  Critical reasoning and scientific method must be incorporated into a new ethos.  We need to open our minds, escape defense mechanisms like repression and projection.  “Mindfulness,” a spiritual practice shown to alter the brain in positive, expansive ways, can help.  Each fresh generation seems to bring greater understanding and ethical bravery. 

The collective human consciousness can and does improve.  The Civil Rights Movement.  The Women’s Movement.  Earth Day.  The UN Declaration of Human Rights.  All of these were seeds that now extend into vibrant plants.  Hopefully they can continue to grow and become tremendous interconnected forests of goodness, sheltering the world.  Younger generations have recently moved LGBT rights forward.  As technology spins us dizzy, it opens up opportunities to crack habitual patterns.  Idealism should never be equated with the impossible or the impractical.  Each new generation advances the collective consciousness.

The ultimate battle comes down to tremendous, primal forces:  love and fear (hate).

Within this primal dichotomy dwell two paths:  one that sinks toward destruction, and yet also another, one that ascends toward a continuous, evolving sprituality.


....

Monday, February 22, 2016

Donald Trump: The Edge of the End



The ascent of Donald Trump is a more-than-ominous ethical plummet that threatens world stability.  A political theorist at Harvard writes:


Like any number of us raised in the late 20th century, I have spent my life perplexed about exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany. Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I now understand.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/moment-of-truth-we-must-stop-trump/2016/02/21/0172e788-d8a7-11e5-925f-1d10062cc82d_story.html



Yes,  many of us have been perplexed by how Hitler could rise.  And now many of us understand.  Scarier still, that understanding does not stall the lie-spewing juggernaut whom the media coddles with the sobriquet, ‘The Donald.’  What excuse do we have, after the thorough historical analysis of the Third Reich, to be so ignorant as a nation?  What excuse after having read the wise words, such as those of Elie Wiesel in Night? 

Those aware must now drape themselves within the noble call of such words: 


There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.


Eerily, even some on the right seem to get it, although in a warped, disturbing way.  Here is Erick Erickson, a well-known ‘conservative’ pundit:


“I will not rally to Trump. Frankly, if Trump is able to get the nomination, the Republican Party will cease to be the party in which I served as an elected official ... It will not deserve my support and will not get it if it chooses to nominate a pro-abortion liberal masquerading as a conservative, who preys on nationalistic, tribal tendencies and has an army of white supremacists online as his loudest cheerleaders."

http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/02/erick-erickson-donald-trump-2016-219603



Erickson is more concerned with Trump’s alleged status as a “pro-abortion liberal” than his “army of white supremacists.”  Apparently the white-supremacy aspect would be acceptable if only Trump wasn’t secretly in favor of abortion.  Regardless, my point is that even ideologues like Erickson see the racism and the fascism.  And still--still--Trump ascends.

As a student of ethics, focusing on oppression, I have studied human psychology much of my adult life.  I know about denial, about Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil”:  how the people in Germany who worked in or countenanced the concentration camps seemed so ordinary and mundane.  I have studied, witnessed, and experienced myself the difference between a stung person with a raised consciousness and a conformist person with a dormant, staid consicence.  Even so, having witnessed the profound ignorance around sexism and racism in this country (and all the rest), it still shocks me that so many people could embrace Trump.  The awful truth is that they want a racist, at least in the hidden corners of their hearts.

The babble of denial and apologism fills the airwaves.  ‘He’s not that bad.’  ‘He won’t go that route’.  From his core supporters the you get the forged, hardened hatred, ‘He’s not a racist, you are!’ 

Even among liberals, there is great dismissal of the threat. 

In Night, Moshe the Beadle escapes the Nazis and returns to warn the Jews: 

 He talked on and on about the brutality of the killers. “Listen to me!” he would shout. “I’m telling the truth. On my life, I swear it!” But the people were deaf to his pleas. I liked him and could not bring myself to believe him. (29)

Part of our general dismissal of the hellish threat posed by Trump maps with a phenomenon described by Arendt:  the banality of evil.  We make excuses like, ‘Nothing like Hitler can happen here, we are a civilized country.’  ‘We believe in the Bill of Rights.'  And so on.  For the record, let me state emphatically:  this attitude of dismissal is tragically wrong-headed.  Note that Trump has already called for a ban on Muslims visiting this country, a flagrant attack on the principle of freedom of religion.  That’s just for starters.

We liberals like to satirize Trump, erecting him as a fountain for endless streams of jokes.  But that release valve for stress, it seems, often trivializes what should be condemned.  It deadens what ought to cry out in protest..  Fun can turn even the most hate-filled narcissist into a cute effigy.  A caricature ultimately acceptable.  Notice how the media often describe Trump rallies as ‘Trump having fun.’

I’ve tried to imagine what it was like to live as an antebellum abolitionist, watching slaves in chains, yet hating slavery at a moral level, one that involves the necessary backing of the enlightened, passion heart.  The slaves suffered infinitely worse that the slavery-protesters; yet it would be painful to feel impotent, as an abolitionist, watching such evil transpire, clothed in the acceptance of the workaday.  (by calling this historical slavery ‘evil’ I have already alienated myself from many Americans, who claim the slavers were not evil, just products of a culture embedded in a different time).

What we all know, but don’t want to know, is this:  under our masquerades and habits lurk false premises and cruelties.  There is an epidemic of violence against women in this country.  Sexual assault is often casual and generally unpunished.  A similar truth can be stated about child abuse.  There is racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and on and on.  As these biases stack and extend to effectively encourage violence, our typical behaviors and scripted styles seem thinner and thinner, domino masks less concerned with care than disguise.

Those in Nazi Germany who lived out the banality of evil knew what was going on in the camps (1).  Their quotidian smiles hid their shadow frowns.  The manifestation of this dark side was not so hidden, really, just collectively denied, partitioned into a werewolf-like state.  The concentration camps were demonic yet real, infernal yet actual.  The people of Nazi Germany were as infected with hate for the ‘subhumans’, as they were bubbly with smiles for those they acknowledged as humans.  Jews, homosexuals and gypsies were vile, despicable lesser beings, worthy of disgust.

Donald Trump has mastered the language of disgust, wedding it to a rhetoric of anathema.  His outrageous lies push us to lower and lower norms.   He has said that thousands of Muslims cheered in New Jersey when the Twin Towers fell, an atrocious lie.  He has called to ban all Muslims.  More recently, he used an apocryphal story about General Pershing dipping bullets in pigs blood to kill Muslims:


“South Carolina (CNN):  Donald Trump on Friday cited an apocryphal story about a U.S. general who purportedly dipped bullets in pigs' blood to execute Muslim prisoners a century ago in an effort to deter Islamic terrorism.

Speaking at a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, Trump reiterated his claim that the U.S. should "go much further" than waterboarding suspected terrorists, telling the story of Gen. John Pershing in the Philippines, who Trump said captured 50 Muslim prisoners a century ago and dipped 50 bullets in blood.

"And he lined up the 50 people and they shot 49 of those 50 people, and he said to the 50th, you go back to your people and you tell them what happened -- and in 25 years there wasn't a problem," Trump said to the audience, which grew quiet as he told the story.”

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/19/politics/donald-trump-south-carolina-john-pershing/



Can there be any doubt where this is going? 

It is time to act.  Act now.

What is the best way?  First, we need to acknowledge a terrible truth:  Trump’s many followers want white supremacy, even at the cost of liberty.  They will not say this, most of them are not even aware, I suspect, of their inner desire for white neighborhoods, white communities, a white America.  'White' being symbolic for sanitary.  But I find it ironic at its most perverse that those who call others vile are themselves the vile ones. They clad themselves in sterlized, cold metaphors that creep toward segregation. Extermination.  But they are not sanitary.  They are not objective.  They are not white in any sense of clean.  The racists are the ugliness.  They project their own sickness onto others.

 This is the best explanation for the unbending loyalty to Trump:  he champions racism.  Trump attracts a certain type of personality, the authoritarian; he is the only one on the right emphasizing the vast corruption of the US government-economic system; he is correct about some things, such as jobs going to China, the deterioration of US world-status, and so on; but none of this would matter, not to his followers, if he weren't, first and foremost, a visionary racist.  Racism is the sine qua non.

In the masses that support the fascist, then, we gaze  into a pit:  virulent entrenched bigotry.  The only answer I see is the response of Martin Luther King, Jr.   AgapeIn the face of the lowest  form of human behavior, the antidote is the highest form:  spiritual love.

If Trump wins--a callous, fragile narcissist who despises people as petty creatures--he could use the power of the US military to invoke dark self-aggrandizement.  For him, it would amount to tantrum.  For the rest of us, it means the end of freedom, or life, as we know it. 

The great global empire could tilt either way, at this historical moment, tipping the balance of civilization.  Nothing less will occur--as we struggle against the ladder-climbing and ego-inflation of Donald Trump--than a grand judgement of humanity en masse.  Our own collective behavior will be jurist, jury, and fate.


(1)  http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/feb/17/johnezard

Friday, January 22, 2016

Finale, Folly, Tragedy



The rise of Trump should be a great shock--a shock among shocks.  It brings a pivotal moment in American history.  Everyone laughed at him just months ago.  He rides a racist backlash to the election of Obama, and a seething unhappiness born from the 2008 crash, which occurred under George W. Bush, driven by Wall Street greed.  He collects those whose preferred reality is a fantasy milieu--a Griffithsian Mayberry that smells of the antebellum South--and forges that prejudiced nostalgia into a spearhead of hate. 

Reason cannot affect the claquish constituents drawn into this disastrous thrust.  Lots of op-ed writers and commentators have pointed out Trump’s “war on reason,” to quote Michael Gerson.  His  sexism, racism, xenophobia and anti-science pander to subconscious triggers.  If he can infect enough people with mental and spiritual blindness, he will become the next President.  The feat will be much easier if the rest of us, swaddled in apathy or underestimation, fail to stand up.

The latest analysis of Trump’s campaign has yielded two insights.  One is that his followers are best described (using a single trait) as authoritarian.  In times of fear--and he is a master creator of quivering puppets--they seek someone to obey without question.  However, I think it important to note that whiteness, maleness, and lack of education, taken together, are better indicators of a Trump follower than the single label of authoritarian. Bigotry and sexism are rudiments of his magnetism, and this is an essential part of a vast tragedy, as I elaborate below.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/donald-trump-2016-authoritarian-213533

Another insight:  recent analysis of Trump’s foreign policy, spanning decades, reveals regressive consistency: a mercantile, anti-liberal approach.  It involves the US breaking from alliances and treaties, and offering protection to foreign governments at a price.  Add to this Trump’s admiration of Russia’s de facto dictator, Vladimir Putin--even when confronted with Putin’s methods of oppressing the media and probable assassinations of rivals.  In other words, the USA becomes a fascist, nationalized mafia.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/donald-trump-foreign-policy-213546


Extraordinarily, large segments of the GOP establishment have done what they can to dethrone Trump.  The National Review just came out with an entire issue titled “Against Trump.”  The editors excoriate him, call him an unreliable, unstable  “huckster.”  An extreme danger.  None of this fazes his followers. They loathe experienced politician and intellectuals, both right and left.  Trump has never held public office or served in the military.   He just brought Sarah Palin on board as an endorser, and she is even more flagrant:  his own silliness, cruelty and rantish lack-of-argument, caricatured, colloquialized, and condensed. 

Exemplifying Trump’s vampire-hold on his followers is the incredible insult he hurled at John McCain, a decorated right-wing war veteran, saying he, McCain, is not a hero, due to the fact that he was captured, and hence a “loser.”  

Indeed, Trump has made insults supreme tools of recruitment and dark titillation.  All Muslims should be banned from visiting the US.  Mexican immigrants are “rapists and criminals.”   Females who challenge him have “blood coming out of [their] wherever.”  And on and on.  He not only mocks reason, he does it at the level of a fifth-grade bully.  And because of this, his invidious tragic fulminations, masses of white people will vote for him.

It is tragedy, worthy of Shakespeare but in kingdoms far more powerful than those he penned.  Even the magic of Prospero pales before our ability to irradiate continents and alter DNA, the essential blueprint of life.  It is not only tragic, it is a stain of colossal shame on white people in modern-day America.  It is also a raw warning about human nature in general, its propensity to sink.  Trump embodies the victory of hatred over intelligence, in the wealthiest country in the world, where citizens are quite privileged, a country that has, by far, the most powerful military.  Even if he loses the election, global society has been tilted farther away from humanism--a celebration and encouragement of creative, scientific and virtuous thought--toward narcissism, toadyism, and fear.  If he wins the Presidency, the USA could take its place next to China and Russia as centralized police states, ones that quash enlightenment ideas such as freedom of speech or religion.  Expect in-or-out bifurcations. Protestant versus Islam (the Pope is against Trump, so an enemy).  White race versus other races.  Male role versus female.  Work ethic versus the indolent humanities.
 USA versus foreigners. 

Selfishness is key, brittle egos that need to be superior and suppress any evidence to the contrary.  It is a strategy of hierarchy and contempt.

On a planet infested with nuclear silos and submarines; with gene tech and robotics rushing forward; with global warming intensifying (Trump thinks it’s a hoax); with Earth’s sixth mass extinction proceeding; and with the geopolitical orientation shifting against freedoms of speech, religion and other rights, not only have the American people failed to pick up the candle of reason, they have put on the jackboots of the oppressor, raised them high, in salute of Trump, and crashed the benighted soles down to snuff out that special flame.  Because it is a collective act against reason, it is an act against what makes humanity special.  It is an act of self-contempt, of self-degradation, at the human core.

Narcissists have a psychic hole.  They crave constant reinforcement and validation.  But the hole is unfillable, a demanding trench.  More attention requires more performance, greater thrill, more reckless risk, to satisfy the fawners.  And so the bottomless folly takes everyone down, lower and lower.

A Trump biographer, Michael D’Antonio, claims that Trump brings out the worst in people, magnifies it, and exploits it (1).  He hawks a mental substance that is anti-ethical (and so, I would add, in effect, evil).  Those who buy in are also bought.  Fear over Love.  Ignorance over Enlightenment.  History tells us that demagogues like Trump conduce to dramatic rises in tension that inflame massive war.  We had two world wars in the 20th century.  America viciously and unnecessarily dropped atomic bombs.  When WWIII comes, how many nuclear missiles will detonate, each stronger than those that annihilated Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

To Trump, it all seems just “fun.”  He will probably laugh and say it is fun when the warheads detonate, cackling deep within his privileged bunker.  D’Antonio, doesn’t think 'the Donald' has much respect for humans.  He considers them petty creatures, at essence detestable.

We live in a time where final judgement, in the form of extinctive warfare, could end the human race.  To survive, we need to evolve our ethics and become psychologically alert.  We can’t be susceptible to narcissists and sociopaths who excel at rhetoric.  Our minds have such beautiful potential, to expand and fill with light and compassion.  But it seems likely now--as Stephen Hawking recently postulated--that we will destroy ourselves.

Whatever happens, each of us is like a miniature, unique world.  Alone or in small groups we can seek the Good, work with our emotions, even the most vehement, to reach catharsis and sublimation. Individuals can achieve grand milestones--moral victories and enlightenments.  If just some of us overcome the pull and pressure of ignorance and hate, reaching new levels of awareness, that is a special accomplishment.  That says something about life, and its possibilities, within this multifarious universe, full of billions of galaxies, that we all share.


(1)  http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/12/donald-trump-and-the-seven-deadly-sins-213440

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Neurochemical Warfare





 In only a matter of months, Donald Trump has made the unthinkable real.  Many laughed, at first, at his candidacy, dismissed him as a clown.  Now his fascism snowballs with increasing weight.  Even mainstream media outlets have compared him to the Fuhrer.  His every latest rant conjures a reminiscence of that terrible Nazi rise. 

Given the grave threat, which has left many stunned, it is vital to break out of such incredulity, to accept that Trump will keep escalating as he seeks the next crest of attention.  Now that he has called for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims, it is only a matter of time before the violence slouching in his rhetoric spurs a rash of physical attacks.  Hate groups are already benefitting (1).  A few days ago a severed pig’s head was thrown at a mosque in Philadelphia, and in general attacks on Mulisms are on the rise.  Trump didn’t create this hysteria but he stokes it and focuses it in monstrous ways:

http://www.vox.com/2015/12/1/9822452/muslim-islamophobia-trump

Instead of standing by and saying things like, “Can he get any dumber” and dismissing his campaign as “foolish,” we need to open our eyes.  The blitzkrieg-quick momentum of the demagoguery, and how far it has taken America (and the world) into darkness, is probative and prophetic.  Painful though it is, we need to confront this fascism.  We are not doomed to repeat history, yet if we do repeat it, WWIII will end history.  Notice how divorced from fact and reality Trump’s narcissism sits, on its throne of lies, and realize that his ego needs more and more, which requires pushing the tension to extremes (the desire to hate in his followers demands it, so Trump is also a pawn).  The ultimate end, as his grandstanding meets stronger and stronger resistance, will be a nuclear launch.  Deified hate, in its supreme reach for anti-glory, will not shy from sacrificing the human race.

The brain is far different from a computer, so I am leery of analogies.  But we’ve begun to discuss how computers “think, see, hear,” and so on.  They continue to complexify, and rudimentary comparisons can be useful.  So, I want to bring up the concept of a psychological virus  The psychological virus as a correlative of a computer virus.

Computers are adaptive and malleable but when a computer virus takes hold, it attenuates the machine’s ability.  It does so by infiltrating and spreading into command systems, wherever they might be in the operating system. The result is an infection, a terrible hobbling of the machine’s reach.  Likewise, Trump’s insidious, demonizing phillipics send out a psychological virus, a trojan horse  for the mind. 

The hate seeps in, solidifies a black-and-white worldview, creating what psychologists call confirmation bias.  Perception gets skewed, sees what it wants, regardless of evidence.  The neuroplasticity of the dendrites gets locked down, with an emphasis on the higher, cortical regions.  The mental garden of neurotransmittters, with all its capacity to bloom with candor, hardens into a warren of intransigence.

Once a psychological virus is in place, it can’t be removed, unlike its computer counterpart.  Our society embraces the idea of the adult human being as a rational autonomous agent.  However, as marketing firms, scholars, and political advisers know, this is far from how life actually transpires.  Simple emotional appeals, the ‘big lie’ (to reference the infamous Hitler quote) are far better ways to reach much of the population, especially when they are disaffected, as by a cruel, unjust economy.  Better to channel thought rather than appeal to its noble rational side.  Better to strap autonomy within a harness of prejudice rather than let someone steer their own  well-considered course.  The followers of hate-speakers can be incredibly intelligent and yet also psychologically trussed.

When capacity for thought has been subverted so much that it modifes fact for specious, fallacious ends, the sort that sustain and expand a militarized, racist march, the person in question has been fully co-opted into the darkest of mental diseases.

The use of such techniques (I'm calling them psychological viruses to show how vulnerable, how susceptible, we truly are; and to belie the great myth of our simple rational autonomy) is well-known.  They have been investigated and documented throughout the bellicose record of human discord.  In light of this scholarship, we can talk of the psychological virus as being the weapon of 'neurochemical warfare':  the use of rhetoric to mobilize people into a crusade, and instill a devotion to whatever atrocity is demanded by the collective delusion.  That there is one great leader, a singular force akin to a god, a perfect being who can do no wrong, that is the historical exemplar, and it is one that Trump clearly craves.

The stronger he gets, the weaker he will get.  Even the slightest hint of disagreement could become a slight:  a lack of fealty to the Father.  He will lash out, thinner and thinner, needier and needier.  At some point, the very existence of the world itself must offend him.  He will then try to make it pay for imposing the truth:  that he is not really a god, not always right, not even close; and, in fact, he pushes to become something far different, the opposite of what he claims:  a spearhead, not of the good and pure, but rather of global evil.


(1) http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/donald-trump-white-supremacists-216620