Sunday, May 8, 2016

Denial, Trumpism, Judgement

One of the essential ironies of our time is that world-changing events are happening, things unseen in all of human existence, or even since the beginning of the Earth--and yet somehow they fail to get much serious attention from the general population.  Ice sheets  melting away at the top of the world.  Land masses sinking.  Epochal extinction.  The rise of robots, artificial intelligence, precision genetics.  And so on.  The phenomenon of widespread numbness undercuts our ability to think clearly.  The  21st century citizen stresses and bustles along, abetting these changes, hampered by a conscience riddled with blind spots.  It’s as if lightning were flashing all around, and yet those in the storm insist on an appearance of drab blue. 

That the United States rose to greatness on the back of genocide, and continues to be propelled by violence and viciousness, this is, from the perspective of many Americans, basically irrelevant.  The general behavioral pattern of the population, in effect, proclaims, ‘Who cares?’  Consider the epidemic of sexual assault, mostly against women and children, that runs wild in our society.   What is the general attitude?  In the nature of the daily routine, the people basically respond, ‘So what?’ 

This ethical vacuum extends even to issues that threaten our very survival.  The environment is degrading in unprecedented ways.  Yet this merits a mere shrug.  Or you get the ignorant, “It’s always been changing.”  If you press a typical individual on even the most stark injustices, you often get an answer that endorses the horror, like “It’s just human nature.”

With social ease we endorse horror while not even admitting it is horror. 

One of the hardest lessons for anyone  to learn, because our culture makes it so, is that, although the system looks rational and honest on the surface, it is not.  It is dishonest and irrational.  It is ugly below the facade of a chiseled Justice, blindfolded, holding a scale.  Perversely, we use our minds to hide from the truth, not uphold it. The subtle acculturation includes all our institutions, and proceeds via multiple interlocking subliminal prods, backed up by the very real threat of poverty or imprisonment.

It’s very hard to learn about, and accept, that the ideals, rituals and celebrations trumpeted by our culture actually reinforce wrongdoing.  It’s like being Truman in the movie, The Truman Show, except far worse.  Every 107 seconds another person is sexually assaulted in America ( 

Nuclear war could occur any day.  It is quite plausible.  If somehow humanity survived it, future people would look back and label us as utter fools.  Indeed, we are utter fools whether or not nuclear holocaust occurs because we have fostered conditions in which it could occur. 

Magnifying our foolishness, if that were possible, are the constant proclamations about America's greatness and “exceptionalism.”

Donald Trump has, for a brief time, has made us look at our foolishness.  He has brought the ugliness out of the mental cage, yanked it from its hidden, numb niche. In so doing, he birthed his own shocking, amazing moment.  And he has done it so fast that our mechanisms of denial can’t keep up.  The virulent racism, xenophobia, sexism, and homophobia that infect the American public have been laid bare.  We are like bugs exposed by overturning a stone.  Even our institutions recoil.  Even the Republican Party, a longstanding proponent of (unstated) white superiority, is caught off guard.  The GOP never wanted to confront this side of itself.  It’s as if Dorian Grey were being forced to look into his secret sin-accumulating mirror.

It won’t last long, the shock.  The pain of inner conflict is too great.  We are too uneducated, have underdeveloped ethical and emotional skills, to wisely handle our feelings.  We turn to rigid ideologies--frameworks that split the world into black and white--for mental support, at the price of the ability to think freely.  Our media and institutions have already begun the process of normalizing Trump. 

Soon he will be seen not as a vulgar, unethical bigot, but rather as the new standard of an obnoxious, yet acceptable,  right wing politician.  A plausible enfant terrible.

Commentators are already tailoring their approach.  They claim that his followers are simply protesting the injustice of the establishment.  This “protest movement” explains and forgives Trump’s tendency to ballyhoo even the most outlandish and bizarre claims, to cock-a-doodle forth whatever he wants, even the most unwieldy lies.

This ‘protest’ slant by the media sugarcoats his sickness.  The truth is, Trump can’t just say anything he pleases.  If he stopped promoting white-superiority, he would fall.  If he ceased to champion the motto, “Make America White Again” (clearly that’s what it’s all about) the hatred he has amassed and stoked would abandon him.

It’s simple:

Donald Trump = bigot. 

And yet Hilary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, won’t say that.  She refuses to speak the obvious.  No doubt she’s afraid of offending some demographic slice.  She is known to drop racist cues herself, albeit not on the scale of her opponent.

Clinton embraces the mealy-mouth-ism that has made most Americans sick of politicians.  Our leaders, including Clinton, have perpetrated decades of corruption, transferring money from the middle class to the rich.  Their duplicity and prideful arrogance have fertilized a soil ripe for the xenophobia in which Trumpism takes root.

It is heart-wrenching to watch the national media bend around fascism, accommodating and shielding it.  The Republican Party is in an early stage of acceptance, pretending right now, it seems, that Trump is okay--forcing themselves to smile.  You can almost see the psychological struggle that results in awkward smiles and troubled faces, the mental pressure to accept that Trump isn’t so bad after all.   You can almost see the truth being stuffed away, deep into the subconscious, where it can’t be riled up by logic.

They are in turmoil, experiencing cognitive dissonance, but the GOP is stepping into line, more and more eager to take up the banner of hate.  The more they accept Trump, the more the hate coils over their hearts, like tendrils of a weed, taking control in increments.

Calling Trump the leader of a “protest movement” is fallacious.  It ignores much, and implants a twisted suggestion:  that Trump’s message is somehow enlightened, like the protest messages of the 1960’s. What a sad misuse of semantics to satisfy the specious mind.

A common normalizing statement is, ‘He will bring jobs.’  In other words, it doesn’t matter if he is a virulent racist so long as we get some money.  Racism isn’t so bad, not next to a paycheck.

It’s shocking, amazing.  Or it should be.  So many politicians who said Trump was terrible just months ago, who lambasted him with the darkest rhetoric, now kowtow and roll over behind his monstrosity.  It is gut-awful to watch.  It validates how petty humans can be.  No liberty.  No equality.  Not decency.  Just an hypocrisy beyond abhorrent.

There is opposition to Trump.  Tens of millions of people.  But many of them are making the mistake of thinking that  Hilary Clinton, a longtime member of the establishment, isn’t part of the problem. 

The Huffington Post, to its great credit, runs the following editor’s note after pieces on Trump:

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

Don’t expect the obvious to affect Trump’s followers.  They epitomize the key insight that, first and foremost,  humans are not rational, but rather psychological creatures.  Trump is consistently inconsistent.  He speaks in contradictions.  This is not only fine with his claques, it gives them an outlet for their hate.  Hate thrives on ignorance, especially the most willful.  And what is more willful than disregard for logical contradiction?  As long as Trump promotes whiteness and offers outlets for hate, he can curry mass favor.   He recently accused Ted Cruz’s father of involvement in the JFK assassination.  Ridiculous.  And yet it worked for his hardcore followers. It worked from the perspective of championing ignorance and energizing hate.

If human society is to move forward, we must admit that human beings are primarily psychological.  Advertisers and political campaigners already know this and act accordingly.  It’s a dangerous myth that citizens will vote rationally, and thereby steer the country well. 

Trump’s style goes back to despotism, the scepter-heavy standard of might makes right.  History tells us that this leads to cycles of revenge and great bloodshed.  But knowing this history requires education.  Trump has said, “I love the poorly educated.”  He surely also loves fear.  It’s hard to imagine someone admitting they love fear--perhaps the most hardened criminal--but at some level, Trump must.  Fear is his grease.

In regard to normalizing Trump, Paul Krugman is perhaps the best op-ed writer.  He points out the danger of “false equivalence”:

One candidate is engaged in wildly irresponsible fantasy while the other is being quite careful with her numbers. But beware of news analyses that, in the name of “balance,” downplay this contrast.

This isn’t a new phenomenon: Many years ago, when George W. Bush was obviously lying about his budget arithmetic but nobody would report it, I suggested that if a candidate declared that the earth was flat, headlines would read, “Shape of the Planet: Both Sides Have a Point.” But this year it could be much, much worse.  (from “Trump and Trumpism”)

We should all be shocked and amazed at the slide into dark conformity taking place.  The shameless kowtowing.  The descent into a yawning prejudice.  Trump ‘s aggression is innately bellicose, and threatens not only the moral nature of western civilization, but also its very life.  To quote Denzel Washington’s character in the movie Crimson Tide, “In the nuclear age, the real enemy is war itself.”

To put it another way, the mottos of ‘winner take all’ and ‘might makes right’, in the nuclear age, are the real enemy.

The spoiled-brat aspect of all this adds to the ethical grime.  The American people have been the number one consumers of energy, the number one spenders and guzzlers of endless products.  They have wallowed in materialism and excess.  Other people on the planet, billions of people, live in penury.  Those who aggress for the right to carry a gun everywhere seem to forget that their fancy piece of steel costs a year’s salary to many laborers around the world. 

A few weeks ago, 60 Minutes aired a segment about a region in India where mine work is done by families, including children, using hand tools.  They break rocks down with hammers.  On the show, a family couldn’t afford their first meal of the day until they had earned enough money, which didn’t happen until around noontime.  It was emphasized that a  seven-year-old girl was going hungry, until she and her family broke enough rocks with hammers.

We need empathy, if humanity is to survive, not hate.

In the 21st century, you would think that some of the wisdom of the civil rights movement, of the women’s movement, of the LGBT movement, might have taken hold.  But progress has meant some people progressing.  It has meant a bifurcation, two subcultures going different ways.  The subculture of white superiority, if it gets strong enough, will impose its will by force.  As long as you win, all is good and fine, according to the new puppetmaster of this faction, Donald Trump.  America was built on taking land from the indigenous peoples, after all.  Because we were wicked yet mighty, we got a new continent to ‘develop.’  We got to spread our genes.  And because we won, we got to write the narrative, a narrative that claims we really weren’t wicked after all.  We were only exercising God’s decree.  Manifest Destiny.

In the end, despite the sophistical rhetoric, we do get judged.  We are sworn in and sentenced by our own actions.  As individuals and as collectives.  Greed, as with previous empires, has been America's decline.  The fuel of the country's immiseration.

 The final judgement could come very soon.  If ignorance ‘wins’,  we all go down.  In the nuclear age, the real enemy is ignorance itself.

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.

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."

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.”

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.