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The Politics of Narcissism in the age of Trump: the End of History?

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The bitter truth is that when narcissists gain power, they not only embark on a path of self-destruction but they take the rest of us down with them. The only way to avoid this, and to begin the transformation of personal self-aggrandizement (with the Presidency being the ultimate prize) back to the common good (which Rousseau defines as all that is desired minus all the personal desires) is to echo the words of the most powerful critic of the merely individual, the solely narcissistic, with the words: workers of the world unite. For in union, we reclaim our common bonds and transcend our selfish obsessions. Or as Camus put it in The Rebel:

""When I rebel, WE are."

For Camus, out of saying no to injustice arises a "strange love", a solidarity based not on personal friendship but on the renewal of the social bond: the people united can never be defeated! This is the logic by which the serial collection of individuals (such as standing immobilize in line waiting) becomes a collective unity energizing a communal response such as the mass protests in Eastern Europe in 1989 which took down (without violence) 10 heavily militarized totalitarian regimes. Just as neoliberal capitalism has destroyed the social nexus of society, it is the rebellion against this isolating order which recreates the social bonds which make human life bearable and create a committment to that which we all share together, as real as the air we breath.

We may say that with Trump, embodying the ultimate destruction of the Commons and elevating the selfish to a divine level, the pendulum has reached its most extreme point. We are not at the end of history but at the end of a radical shift from the common bonds that unite us as family, as community, as humanity, to the narcissistic claims of the entitled, who have taken blessings they have not earned and turned them into a form of self-worship: Max Weber traced the connection of Calvinism and capitalism in his insight that in the message that the mark of being 'saved" is to have arrived at great wealth. And in political terms, our First Chief Justice John Jay foreshadowed both corporate fascism and the transition from the common good to the private good when he said: "Those who own the country should run it." All that is solid, under the atomizing logic of capitalism (from the Communist Manifesto) melts into air, and all that we own in common under capitalism dissolves into private property

The Commons once loved and protected by all, has been fenced off and destroyed. Those who lived off the commons (the British free yeomen who gathered wood, hunted and took no more than needed) were reduced to wage slaves by the Enclosures Act, by which the Commons was transformed into private property, an act of theft which is the original sin of capitalism: Great fortunes are founded on great crimes, as the French say.

Founding Father and slave owner John Jay's advice has been fully realized in the Presidency of Donald Trump, our richest President, slave owner, p*ssy grabber, and a man who openly has declared his lust for his own daughter, a woman who herself claims to be a kind of Nemesis in moderating her father's uncontrolled passions. The only question that remains, if you tolerate my speculative interpretation of current politics thru the myth of Narcissus, is whether the pendulum will swing back the other way with an echo of past demands for a change on behalf of the common man.....or will the pendulum, swung too far careen out of control and take us all into nuclear winter or a Mad Max future devoid of common sympathy and ruled only by private passions.

To put it another way (for this essay is a search for meaning in the chaos of the moment): will the Trump Presidency lead to self-destruction not only of the man himself but the nation (and world) he seeks to rule....or will his lust and his clownish nature just lay an egg, out of which will burst a beauty whose abduction leads to war? Will the clown or the tyrant prevail? Should we laugh or tremble?

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dale ruff Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

retired, working radical egalitarian/libertarian socialist old school independent, vegan, survivor

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