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Some Truisms Validated by Our So-Called President

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opednews.com Headlined to H4 2/26/17

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SOME TRUISMS VALIDATED BY OUR SO-CALLED PRESIDENT

By Manfred Weidhorn

[1] THE FUTURE. Everyone has gushed over how the result of this presidential race was unprecedented and unpredictable. Here is a little secret. The future always is unpredictable because it is unknowable. Knowledge means facts, and the future, not being here yet, contains no facts. Just think of the surprises of 1929, Pearl Harbor, 9/11, 2008, etc. Or, better yet, read the funniest book ever, The Experts Speak.

The one knowable fact is that no one knows the future. Period. Yes, some people sometimes get it right, but that is because of the broken clock syndrome. So the election of Trump is merely the latest in a long list of historical surprises. Indeed, if one tried to sum up the human experience in one word, it would "surprise."

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[2] FAKE NEWS. That phrase has become the nom du jour, as if a new plague has been inflicted on us. But has there ever been a period when we were not inundated with lies? When governments, corporations, political parties, religions, and newspapers strove mightily to shelter us from reality by disseminating ideas for the purpose of advancing their own agendas? The only thing new here is the rapidity of transmission.

The phrase merely brings out our natural, normal condition, which is that we all are afflicted with wide scale ignorance. Skepticism is therefore to be directed not only at current purveyors of political misinformation but also at all sorts of supposedly legitimate information. We know who won last year's world series, but about all important questions we know nothing. That glaring ignorance does not stop most people from talking confidently about what will happen next or from offering a definitive explanation for what has already happened. There are only two labels for such self-assured persons--fools or scoundrels. As Nietzsche put it succinctly, "Convictions are prisons."

To see "news" in its widest ramifications, remember that "gospel" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word god.spel, good news. "Good" here means valid, factual, authentic, consequential; specifically that after physical death, the soul will go to eternal bliss in the hereafter. The trip in the opposite direction is likewise part of the good news, because sinners will get their due as well. "Fake news" is how secular people describe this narrative, because they do not believe in God, soul, afterlife, sin, or cosmic justice.

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That means that if you are a believing Christian, you hold that salvation is possible only through Jesus Christ and that the other five and a half billion persons, by ignoring that message, will be damned because of adhering to the fake news of their various religions. But, behold, the other five and a half billion believe that the Christians are deluded by fake news. So the conclusion is--since an objective observer cannot know who is right--that every human being believes that most people are deluded by fake news; they disagree only on which version.

[3] THE HITLER TABU. We are prohibited from comparing Trump to Hitler because the latter was uniquely malevolent. True, except that there are two Hitlers. There is the man who, from 1939 to 1945, started many wars and practiced mass extermination, and there is nothing about Trump that approximates these horrors. The other Hitler, the man from the period 1919 to 1932, led a political party which he tried to bring to power. He did so by using the "big lie" technique--tell a lie, repeat it often, exaggerate it. Starting with the birtherism in 2010, Trump did precisely that. That is Hitlerian, albeit early phase Hitler. This observation in no way implies that he will mature into a late stage Hitler.

[4] THE INSANITY TABU. The nitwits at Fox, led by their arrogant egoist, Bill ("your humble correspondent") O'Reilly, keep on asking why everyone, especially in the media world, keeps attacking President Trump in an unprecedented way. That is putting the cart before the horse; the question should be, Why is Trump so unprecedented, so unlike all other politicians? Indeed the earlier mantra coined by Charles Krauthammer--"Bush derangement syndrome," which was then applied to Obama--has now been resurrected for Trump. The answer is staring at everyone: We suffer from Trump derangement syndrome because Trump is himself indeed deranged.

We had an eminent psychiatrist objecting to Trump being categorized as insane but then describing the so-called president as having a welter of bizarre traits. So then presumably we have to settle for "deeply neurotic" instead of "insane," but the result is still having an unfit person in the White House. Are not the media professionally obliged to behave like the little boy who noticed that the Emperor has no clothes?

We are also asked how we dare analyze him without having had access to his private self. But his antics are on full display and are to be judged accordingly for their lunacy. Access to his inner self is necessary only if we seek to ascertain how he became such an unhinged misfit. But that is a matter for psychologists in their offices or classrooms, not for the give and take in the political arena.

[5] PROJECTION. This is a trait, long recognized by psychologists, in which one attributes one's own shortcomings to other people. Instead of confronting those vices in ourselves and mending them, we prefer to deflect attention from ourselves by emphasizing in others precisely those characteristics we are embarrassed by. This maneuver often functions unconsciously.

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Folk wisdom describes this as the kettle calling the pot black. How else can one come to terms with Trump having the gumption to accuse other candidates, reporters, newspapers, cable channels, of terminal mendacity when he sets the world's record for non-stop lying by a prominent person and when his targets are guilty of nothing more than merely keeping a scorecard on him?

 

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For 51 years Professor of English at Yeshiva University. Author of 13 books and over a hundred essays.

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