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Generational Dynamics World View
(03-27-2021, 09:49 PM)John J. Xenakis Wrote: ** 24-Mar-2021 World View: Trump's legacy

A web site reader asked me to comment on an article on Trump's legacy.
The following are excerpts from my response to him:

The problem I'm having with this article is that it's making a number
of political judgments that may seem true today, but which could turn
out to be false at any time in the future, even a few months from now.
Making these judgments is definitely not the domain of Generational
Dynamics.

As with Strauss and Howe, one has at most generalities about the powerful tendencies in histories that follow cyclical patterns without expressing the details. The details are either how the "little people" do about overwhelming realities (such as machine-gun fire, ecological catastrophes, economic meltdowns, or dangerous epidemics) or the quirks of the  Great Men (and hyper-villains) of history. Some people fulfill their roles well (Sir Winston Churchill); some bungle them badly (Alexander Kerensky), and some fail due to their own vices (pick a high-level Nazi -- any high-level Nazi!). 

We can compare our contemporaries in a Crisis Era to the other leaders... and as I saw movies from this Crisis Era about Abraham Lincoln and Sir Winston Churchill and tried to figure out how Donald Trump would face analogous challenges to the survival of the orders for which Lincoln and Churchill stood, I could see Donald Trump coming up far short. Okay, okay, okay. We all have our preconceptions of what can work and what cannot... and what, even if successful for immediate objectives leads only to larger calamities. Donald Trump is a textbook example of a pathological narcissist, and although nearly all successful politicians have higher-than-average levels of narcissism, the effective ones can rein it in, at least on the public stage, when such is necessary. Many of us men might have pornographic fantasies, but we know enough that we cannot have a "casting couch" for subordinates (Harvey Weinstein), do date rape (Bill Cosby), or show self-made porn to our associates (which will likely take down Representative Matt Gaetz if something else related doesn't). Donald Trump is intellectually hollow, which makes him especially prone to being taken in by someone who knows how to press the right buttons on his personality.    

We've all read some Freud, have we not? One cannot understand any time after the start of the twentieth century without applying Freudian thought to him. In that light, Trump looks really, really bad. Good people do not mock the handicapped. Good people do not burn others in business dealings. A truly-good businessman tries to make others do repeat business, which distinguishes someone like Ray Kroc (McDonald's). Akio Morita (Sony), or Sam Walton (Wal-Mart) from Donald Trump. The best businessmen leave their customers in better condition than they were in before making the deals. Fleeces are good for one profitable, one-sided transaction after which one needs another to replace someone who can never be a customer again. I have seen him on the commercial stage for most of his adult life, and I never saw anything about him that made me want to have any dealing with him.

So much about him is cringe-worthy, including his inability to recognize a failure when it happens as such (good people learn from their mistakes), his expressions of ethnic and religious bigotry (obsolete and dangerous), his quickness to anger, his serial divorces, his connections to gangsters, his sadistic streak, his steadfast allegiance to falsehoods that have since proved "inoperable" (as one Watergate figure called such a lie), and a lack of faith in anything other than himself. Involvement with a porn star? Now that is reckless. I look at the virtues that I associate with political figures at their best, and I instead see cruelty, selfishness, hollowness, bigotry, deceit, greed, and irresponsibility. Were I in the position of hiring someone for a job with responsibility toward others, then those traits would cause me to give a resolute NO! to the proposition.                


Quote:Most likely, the only thing that will matter ten years from now is
whether and how well the country survives the war with China.  The
current political nonsense will end with a "regeneracy event."  This
is a concept in generational theory, referring to an event that
regenerates civic unity for the first time since the end of the
previous crisis war.  It's an event that presents a strong existential
threat to the nation or society, and forces all sides to put aside
their political differences and unite behind the leadership for the
common survival.

Or perhaps averting a war.  I can think of two regimes that I would gladly feed to the Panda. One is the military regime in Burma. The other -- you will see soon enough. 


Quote:In 1941, it was the Pearl Harbor attack and the Bataan Death March.

Today, it might be a missile attack on an American city, or it might
be a major military loss overseas.  Today, it's most likely going to
be whatever event triggers war with China.

North Korea. with leadership far more brutal and erratic, seems far more dangerous than the People's Republic of China. The official position of the PRC is its desire for a nuclear-free Korea. North Korea at the least is hemmed in by dangerous powers . one of which (China) could destroy the regime. Any two of the others (Japan, South Korea, and Russia) could also do so. Xi Jinping has some cause for caution in dealings with other countries. The Emperor-in-all-But-Name of North Korea has no caution.   


Quote:So if you take a look at the article, and evaluate the remarks in the
context of a Chinese missile attack on the United States, then you can
see that nothing that it says is something that anyone would care
about.

How will future historians evaluate Trump's presidency?  Maybe they
will praise him for increasing military spending.  Of maybe they will
condemn him for some policy that caused a Chinese advantage in a way
that we don't yet even know about.

Many foreign leaders who could not rely upon him to do the right thing (Angela Merkel is about as blatant an example as is possible) chose to wait him out, expecting him to be defeated in the upcoming election. Xi Jinping, who could not make a coherent deal with him, made none. Donald Trump is simply too erratic. Maybe one pulls off fait-accompli  after another upon an inattentive leader. Donald Trump is not a hands-on leader unless his ego or personal assets or indulgence is at stake. Good leaders can make personal sacrifices for something bigger, at the least as an example for others in a rough time.    
  

Quote:These are the kinds of issues that I watch for and write about.  The
creation of a Stalinist state by the Democrats, mainstream media and
Big Tech is probably the scariest domestic development in my lifetime.
The mindless destruction of the country by the Biden administration in
order to stay in power is heartbreaking.

As it is inappropriate to compare someone to Adolf Hitler unless showing some of the salient characteristics of Hitler's ideology or practice, like racism, mass murder, racism, militarism, despotism, and the personality cult it is unfair and inappropriate to compare someone who does not do what Stalin did to the vile tyrant himself. Then again, I see far more warning signs in Donald Trump than in any prior President or his one successor.

Yes, I know -- 74 million people voted for Trump in 2020 despite all that went wrong under him, so after he is off the political stage someone with a similar ideology but fewer troublesome eccentricities and much more political savvy might get elected. This sort of figure has supporters who want super-cheap labor, lax regulation, low taxes on themselves, Big Government that serves their interests that the Common Man pays for but gets little from  except for threats, the destruction of labor unions, and privatization on the cheap of government assets to be managed by monopolistic exploiters. 

That Donald Trump was able to egg people on into breaking into the Capitol building to disrupt the formality of recognizing his electoral defeat indicates the level of fanaticism  among some people on the Hard Right. The people who broke into the Capitol building were not dregs of society, like addicts, lunatics, the mentally-retarded, and hardened criminals. Many were people who seemed mainstream enough before January 6. These people did not become losers until January 6, when they lost their credibility and put their positions and assets at grave risk.    


Quote:And yet, I can't really say whether Biden's policies will help or hurt
during a war with China.  For example, Biden's Open Borders policies
is creating a massive cartel force in Mexico using children for sex or
as slaves or drug mules.  The Democrats are doing this because they
assume that these abused children will vote for Democrats.  How will
these cartels act when there's a Chinese invasion?

These children are coming almost entirely from countries poorer and less stable than Mexico. Those countries have internal violence fueled by by funds that came from American addicts whose purchases become blood money. You can be sure that the INS does check for drugs in possession... and many of those children have good cause to hate drugs. America has plenty of people to take them in and guide them -- a large and well-entrenched Mexican-American community that does much well. Mexican-Americans "underuse" drugs and even smoke less than other Americans.  

I see no reason for these children to grow up to be supporters of the PRC in a struggle with the USA.   

Quote:Trump is promising to launch a new "Trump Big Tech Platform" within
the next 2-3 months, and he expects his 74 million supporters to
become subscribers.  That may be the next event that will define
Trump's legacy.  And then we might begin to see whether your article
is relevant.

The legacy that Trump has left is that 81 million people voted against him, and that even after he was defeated he disgraced his Presidency with his promotion of an insurrection. His approval numbers were short of what was necessary go get re-elected even after a spirited and competent campaign, or at least one in which the opponent had the metaphoric hands tied behind his back. He got close, even miraculously close, to winning a re-election. 

He scared me when I saw images of Chevrolet Suburban vehicles with a US flag and a Trump banner letting out people who harassed protesters. Like or dislike Antifa, that is how one of the aspects of a dictatorship emerges: a secret police. Trump got his supporters to commit crimes on his behalf and even risk their lives of death from a pandemic, the response to which he bungled severely. He refused to advocate any lockdown at all.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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Messages In This Thread
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by radind - 05-14-2016, 03:21 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by radind - 05-23-2016, 10:31 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by radind - 08-11-2016, 08:59 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by SomeGuy - 01-18-2017, 09:23 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by tg63 - 02-04-2017, 10:08 AM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by Galen - 03-13-2017, 03:33 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by SomeGuy - 03-15-2017, 02:56 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by SomeGuy - 03-15-2017, 03:13 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by Galen - 05-30-2017, 01:04 AM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by Galen - 07-08-2017, 01:34 AM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by tg63 - 08-09-2017, 11:07 AM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by tg63 - 08-10-2017, 02:38 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by Galen - 10-25-2017, 03:07 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by rds - 10-31-2017, 03:35 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by rds - 10-31-2017, 06:33 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by noway2 - 11-20-2017, 04:31 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by Galen - 12-28-2017, 11:00 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by Galen - 12-31-2017, 11:14 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by JDG 66 - 06-22-2018, 02:54 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by JDG 66 - 07-11-2018, 01:42 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by JDG 66 - 07-11-2018, 01:54 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by JDG 66 - 07-19-2018, 12:43 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by JDG 66 - 07-25-2018, 02:18 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by JDG 66 - 07-11-2018, 01:58 PM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by Galen - 08-18-2018, 03:42 AM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by Galen - 08-19-2018, 04:39 AM
RE: Generational Dynamics World View - by tg63 - 09-25-2019, 11:12 AM