Donald J. Trump would not get a job in a public high school. Not even as a janitor. He is not qualified and quite rightly his raging prejudicial attitudes and behavior, and his well documented serial “groping” would dismiss him as a candidate before his simple lack of experience, and observable lack of empathy for other human beings, would resoundingly disqualify him from being able to teach anything of any value to our young adults.
And yet here he is, with the same dearth of political experience and the same startling lack of human qualities on the verge of taking the reigns of the most powerful nation on earth, and self-appointed leader of the free world ™ . Why would someone with high scoring psychopathic tendencies be disqualified from teaching but get the job of President?
Applying science and ranking Trump by the standard test for psychopathy, prior to the election, Dr Kevin Dutton, of Oxford University using a standard psychometric tool – the Psychopathic Personality Inventory – Revised (PPI-R) rated the presidential hopefuls, noting that the test does not determine whether someone is a psychopath or not, rather it places them on a spectrum by rating eight traits that contribute to a psychopathic character. He commented that: “Both great and terrible leaders score higher than the general population for psychopathic traits, but it is the mix of those traits that determines success. For example, someone who scores highly for being influential, fearless and cold hearted could be a decisive leader who can make dispassionate decisions. If those traits are accompanied by a high score on blaming others, they might be a genocidal demagogue.”
Dutton’s results revealed that Donald Trump scored higher than his rivals, putting him in the same zone on the spectrum as Hitler and Idi Amin. Trump outscored the other candidates in ‘fearless dominance’, the area associated with successful presidents, but also in ‘self-centred impulsivity’, the set of traits considered potentially disastrous.
The rules in The Constitution and its amendments regarding presidential eligibility do not extend to an assessment of the experience or state of mind of wannabe presidents. Of course the authors of the Constitution, when the US was only thirteen states big, could not have anticipated that debatable interpretations of the right to bear arms would be used by the gun lobby to justify carnage regularly caused by the mentally unstable with freely available semi-automatic weapons, just as they couldn’t have anticipated that a confirmed psychotic would be Commander in Chief of the biggest and most technologically advanced super power in the history of the world, AND have his fingers on the nuclear button.
As the Trump presidency will prove, and like most other jobs in the world require, there needs to be some discretion applied to who actually gets to proceed in the process beyond filling out the initial application. Trump should have been disqualified from the outset, even where such rules were not in place.
The reasons he was not disqualified were because supposed the last bastion of human decency, the forth estate, at the mainstream level is as hopelessly corrupted as the electoral system, that enables the billionaire class to dominate US politics. And not least because the media is itself run by a handful of corporate billionaires who will sit down to state dinners with President Trump in the coming months.
Sure some columnists laughed at, and belittled the extreme behavior of candidate Trump, but they never took him to task because they know their own jobs would be at risk if they contravened the editorial line dictated by corporations who see news as a vehicle for advertising. And Trump was an absolute gift to the celebrity-ranking, advertising dictated selling of ‘news.’ He graduated from a reality TV Show for chrissake! Sure none of the major newspapers endorsed Trump but no one came out in force to strangle Trump’s bile when it would have made a difference. And here lies the second scientific rub.
Homo Sapiens evolved the arts because the arts were adaptive to our hunter gatherer forebears. In the specific case of narrative, as most people who has ever read a novel or seen a play or watched a movie, can intuit, particular parts of our brain crave action … drama … conflict and trouble wrapped up in the heightened exaggerated narrative of ‘the story’ being told. In evolutionary terms, from children’s untutored make-belief play as six year olds to the most complex and compelling of Shakespeare’s plays, this helps us develop our bullshit detector that helps us survive in the ultra-social world of being the most social species on the planet … it is our friend or foe simulator … it is our inbuilt liberal arts hard drive, custom re-installed to question the shit around us. And it enables us to get on with other people upon which our day-to-day survival depends.
However, our bullshit detector only works well if we use it, and if we keep it honed by participating in, and engaging with play and art. And, it is easily corruptible, as specialists in the mass media manipulation of public opinion, from Walter Lippmann, to Joseph Goebbels to Rupert Murdoch, have discovered to their benefit and our contretemps. It is no accident that the ascendency of neo-liberal predator capitalism over the last forty years, is in lock-step with an attack on the liberal arts both in universities and public high schools, where essential finance is withdrawn when educational administrators do not toe the line. Ditto the attack on actual investigative news reporting, meaning it is no accident that the exaggerated narrative of ‘living in fear’ from a thousand action movies is applied to daily politics as if it were reality. In fact, fear as ‘projected reality’ as well as being the bottom line for selling newspapers, is what has a proven ability to disengage the bullshit detector of many people who are otherwise too engaged in a subsistence struggle of just getting by day-to-day, to exercise said BS detector, and many of whom voted for Trump.
As mass media perception managers well know, the extreme bias in favor of the celebrity based ‘news’ regarding actual, and wannabe actuaries of the billionaire class, is the real reason why we have Trump—whose chief qualifications on public discourse come from a reality TV show—in waiting. (And he only wants to continue his role as executive producer of the show whilst being president). Reality TV is anything but real, but it is what much serious news reporting has become, because playing on our natural craving for the ‘heightened reality’ of fictional fear based and celebrity based narratives, it now comes wrapped up with the supposed kudos of the highest office in the land. Think about it? To become one of the billionaire club requires an absolute lack of empathy for ones fellow human beings, because it requires trampling on so many others to get there, and it is a plot line straight out of Celebrity Apprentice.
Psychopaths often gravitate to positions of hierachical power, and in the current political and corporate world, they are disproportionately enabled in doing so by deeply flawed selection systems and a deeply biased mass media. Science tells us that the crucial problem with psychopaths, is that they have deep problems in distinguishing actual reality from fiction. For those who learned human interaction in the real world through the perverted reality of being bullied, beaten and abused—at the expense of loving attention and the freedom to engage in imaginative and social play of childhood—the play and art instincts that helped us survive as a species are subverted by a mind that lacks basic human imagination and empathy and runs off of fighting real fear by imposing even more actual fear. In the big picture Trump and the trigger happy militarists he is pushing for his Defense team actually believe the fiction that a non-nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the US and should be taken out by interventionist war.
And if that were not enough our ability to come through the ongoing existential struggle for the continued habitability of Planet Earth is put in even more jeopardy aa trump prepares to entrust The State Department to Rex Tillerson; The Department of the Interior to Cathy McMorris Rodgers and the EPA to Scott Pruitt, climate change denying, pro-fossil fuel oil die-hards to the bone. It is worth remembering, that from the first singular celled life forms to the present day has been 3.7 billion plus years in the making, and our soon to be ruling elite has the capacity to extinguish human life and that of many other species in the relative first freeze frame stop motion of a blink of an eyelid. This then is the fight, choosing life over death.
Our job, and particularly as artists, is not least, to usurp the prevailing fear-stoking fictions of the billionaire class to prevent them being made into daily reality. We have to re-establish some actual truths put in the plain terms (and a stab at some such occur in bold type below) that our mainstream media is so incapable of doing. Here is one such truth: make no mistake, what will happen on January 20th 2017 is a coup d’etat by the billionaire class. Their rule is not by the people and it is not for the people. It is by the billionaires and it is for the billionaires. Whilst The Constitution in its current form may no longer help be of any help in choosing who is eligible to run for President, it does puts us quite within our rights to resist and overthrow the incoming oligarchy.
The resistance at Standing Rock will be multiplied across the country as Trumpworld seeks to carve up America for the benefit of the friends of fossil fuel. Across the broad spectrum of disciplines scientists agree en masse that it is game over for climate if that oil and coal and natural gas does not stay in the ground. That means Trump is our wake up call. That means it is game on. In order to undermine and destabilize the growing and unprecedented wave of resistance to a sitting President, Trump et al will doubtless choose from the playbook of fear based narratives in an attempt to instill the-actual- fear-reality of launching a racist war, with highly manufactured popularity ratings, probably against Iran. This we must meet with total resistance.
Updating Shelley ‘We are many. They are few.’ This is our opportunity to take down the billionaire class who have made the lives of so many, so miserable for so long, and will continue to do so for as long as we let them. It is our moral duty, it is our human right and our evolutionary imperative, to ourselves and to our children, to reject the false and self destructive ideology once and for all.
Evolve and Live the Resistance. Evolve and Live the Revolution.