(Thread) Wishful Thinking, Deliberate Lies, or Complete Lunacy?
Spoiler: I suspect this particular lie ⤵️sprang from pure delusion.
For me, though, what matters more are the historical patterns, and why 40% of voters—including many who know Trump is lying—line up behind him. twitter.com/purplemonkey75…
1/ We know that lying is a fascist tool.
We know that disinformation is used strategically by tyrants.
We also know there are patterns. Trump, Putin, Orbán, and Bolsonaro use the exact same tactics. So did Mussolini. Ivan Ilyin explained why fascists leaders must lie.
2/ Steve Bannon calls the strategy of rapid fire lies, “Flooding the zone with shit.” twitter.com/brianstelter/s…
Bannon coached both Trump and Bolsonaro (who has been called Brazil's Trump). mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-…
3/ The Rand Corp. describes the “Firehose of Falsehoods,” a propaganda technique of overwhelming and wearing out the audience through rapid fire lies. rand.org/pubs/perspecti…
We’ve read Georgie Orwell. We know the drill.
4/ Most of us—unless we're lucky—had encounters with people who leave us wondering: “Is he deliberately lying? Does he believe his warped view of reality?”
Can both be true? Can a liar believe that his delusions are real, and tell a deliberate lie to get you to believe it, too?
5/ So, was Trump delusional when he said the virus would disappear, or was he trying to con us? twitter.com/atrupar/status…
Cases right now are surging. Moreover, Trump has now acknowledged that maybe we should wear masks.
6/ He has defended his downplaying of the virus by saying he feels the need to be a cheer leader.twitter.com/CBSNews/status…
He has also suggested that he wants to let the virus “wash over” the population. washingtonpost.com/politics/trump…
7/ To orchestrate a situation in which people will allow the virus to “wash over” the nation, he has to lie.
On the other hand, he’s clearly nuts. (“Nuts” is a technical term, right?)
The extent to which Trump’s lies spring from delusion, I think, involves some speculation.
8/ Locating the problem in Trump’s psyche may obscure the larger patterns.
For example, locating the problem in Trump's psyche obscures the fact that Trump’s lies are a direct outgrowth of decades of American right wing politics.
🔹Reagan’s “welfare queens”
🔹The “Swift Boating” of John Kerry
Locating the problem in Trump’s psyche can also give the false impression that removing Trump will solve our problems.
10/ I suspect that some (definitely not all) Never Trumpers want to return to the Republican Party as it was in 2015.
So they harp on Trump’s mental unfitness because they want to see Trump as an aberration: Get rid of Trump and the Tea Party marches happily along.
11/ Getting rid of Trump will not eliminate the conditions that allowed him to come to office.
We can look at Trump through different disciplines.
We can take @TimothyDSnyder's historical perspective.
Or we can take @jasonintrator's philosophical perspective.
12/ We can take the sociological perspective by starting with Max Weber’s sources of authority, one of which is what today we might call a leadership cult.
Or we can turn to political psychology to understand why so many people prefer authoritarianism.
13/ For me, history, sociology, philosophy, and political psychology are most useful because they help answer these crucial these questions:
🔹Why do 40% of American voters still support Trump?
🔹What can we do differently to help prevent this from happening again?
14/ Adding to the list in #9: twitter.com/ExiFanz/status…
Also the NRA, religious fundamentalism, and the Republican's embrace of white supremacy and nationalism. These things have been festering in the GOP for decades.
Recall @SenTomCotton's recent comments about D.C. . .
15/ He said that if Washington D.C. becomes a state, the Democrats will get two more Senate seats "in perpetuity."
Whites are less than 50% of D.C.'s population.
Cotton appears to be admitting that at no point in the future will the GOP reach out to minority communities.
16/ The problem is obvious: The GOP cannot embrace the KKK and BLM at the same time.
This brings us back to Trump's lies.
Lies and racism go hand in hand, because racism is based on a lie. The lie it is based on is one that a lot of people believe.
17/ Teasing out where Trump's delusions end and his deliberate lying begins may be an interesting exercise, but I'm not sure it's productive, or that— in the end— it matters.
Trump is the demagogue that Alexander Hamilton warned us about in the Federalist Papers #1.
18/ This comment was on Tweet #10, my suspicion that some never-Trumpers want to return to the GOP of 2015.
It's not a matter of accepting help. It's a matter of people with different political views coming together with a common goal, in this case . . .twitter.com/lynnteachquilt…
19/ . . we're working together to oust an autocrat. I was simply explaining why I shy away from too much emphasis on Trump's individual psyche.
My husband's family lived through the Pinochet dictatorship.
We can learn lessons from Chile about this⤵️twitter.com/Teri_Kanefield…
20/ I will note that the @ProjectLincoln is not simply trying to get rid of Trump. They also want to get rid of any elected officials who have enabled Trump.
For this, they have earned the anger of many GOP insiders.
I've mentioned that we may be in for a party realignment.
21/ We currently don't have a center-right party.
One way for the parties to realign is for those who we might call "true conservatives" to oust the KKK and other right wing authoritarians from the party, move the GOP toward the center, and appeal to those minority . . .
22/ . . . communities that would feel comfortable in a true conservative party, but are not comfortable in the GOP, which has turned into a fringe, right-wing white nationalist party.
For what I mean by "true conservatives," see⤵️ twitter.com/Teri_Kanefield…
The problem. . .
23/ . . . for true conservatives will be to figure out how to achieve an electoral majority without appealing to right-wing nuts (I am using "nuts" as a recognized technical term😉)
24/ I've considered this possibility. The problem I see with this is that, even though they are close together on the graph, center left and center right are fundamentally different animals. @JonHaidt has a good lecture on this. It's somewhere on my blog.twitter.com/Doriann200/sta…
25/ So conservative Never Trumpers and a life-long Democrat like me can work together, compromise, and share selected common goals, but we won't comfortably remain in the same party. So the problem is where do the conservatives go?
Here's that lecture⤵️ted.com/talks/jonathan…
26/ For new followers, I'll add that an important component of democracy is that it requires compromise and give and take. American democracy has gone off the rails partly because of the "never compromise" and "win at any cost" current GOP.
Good book to read if you missed it⤵️
I have lots of threads on this subject.
Check out this one on sadopopulism: twitter.com/Teri_Kanefield…
Or this older thread on the authoritarian dynamic: twitter.com/Teri_Kanefield…
Lots more on my blog.twitter.com/mdawes2/status…
The first part of this thread (up to the Hamilton quotation) is here: terikanefield-blog.com/wishful-thinki…
I'm going to add that the fringe elements on both sides of the spectrum are equally dangerous. There are left wing and right wing authoritarians.
Some people come along and accuse me of being center-right in my politics. My activism and long held beliefs are out there. . .
. . . for anyone to see.
To categorize people with my views and history of activism as anything other than liberal smacks of what we saw on the right wing, where Tea Party extremists used names like RINO to denigrate those we might call traditional conservatives.
The second half of this thread is a blog post, here: terikanefield-blog.com/is-a-party-rea…
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