Thursday, March 03, 2016

Donald Trump and the Pull of Nihilism

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are run by elites who have nothing but contempt for the average person. The only difference this year is that the Republicans have Donald Trump running, on the path to the nomination, a usurper from the outside who is not supposed to be able to get this far. And that has the elites panicked.

To show how out of touch these elitists are, their solution is to have Mitt Romney, perhaps the quintessential out of touch elitist, explain to the American people why they shouldn't be so stupid as to support Trump. Based on the success of all of the GOP's past attacks, that should boost his numbers just fine.

The elites (of both parties) are completely at a loss to explain Trump's appeal. The appeal is precisely that he acknowledges the feelings of a large number of dissatisfied people who see themselves as victims of the system. And the politicians we currently have are part of the system. Trump as an outsider appeals to these people.

Trump is appealing to the most basic drives, including tribalism. Those who are primarily tribal in their thinking consist of about 10% of the population, but only have about 1% of the power in society. Those who are primarily driven by the feeling of being a victim and who support empires are probably about 20% of the population, who have about 5% of the power in society. Groups like the Klan and people like Farrakhan are part of this group, and see themselves as victims of others actions. The next group Trump is likely pulling from are those who support a generally authoritarian world view, who believe in absolute right and wrong, and who see our culture as actively degrading those values and tradition. They make up about 40% of the population and have only about 30% of the power in society. They are the Christian conservatives, who support conservative social issues, but aren't really in favor of free markets. It may seem odd that someone like Trump attracts such people, but he does after all come across as an authoritarian, and his economic populism is very attractive to this group. And he's actively attacking those who seem to support relativity and political correctness.

If we assume only about half the people in the last group support Trump, that gives Trump about 50% of the population. Which is about where he polls.

The next group are those who have an entrepreneurial mindset and are generally classical liberals. They are about 30% (perhaps less) of the population, but have about 50% of the power in society. Almost none of these people support Trump. They are likely to be Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton supporters, depending on how close they are to also being egalitarians. Or, in their purest, postmodern form, these people are libertarians.

Egalitarians/communitarians are only about 10% of society (perhaps more), but have about 15% of the power of society. They are the primary supporters of Bernie Sanders.

The people who are attacking Trump are in the last group, or a combination of the last two. They come across as out of touch elites to everyone else, so the more they attack Trump, the more they like Trump, who at least says out loud what they are all thinking at some level. Trump is a bully? They want someone to be a bully FOR THEM. They don't perceive anyone else to actually be for them, and if those nerds/elites need some bullying, all the better.

More, Trump is tearing the curtain back and showing how superficial and stupid everything is. The wizards are panicking and trying to cover themselves back up, but Trump is exposing the absurdity of the entire system.

And that is a danger to the system itself. Its survival depends on everyone agreeing to the game and the rules of the game. Trump is violating the rules of the game, insisting that it's all just a stupid game anyway, so why take it all so seriously and follow a bunch of stupid rules.

The problem is that this is what all of civilization is built upon. If you go around and do like Trump and show that in fact there is nothing there, civilization itself will collapse. Trump promises to keep the barbarians on the other side of the wall, but in fact he is the very expression of barbaric nihilism that is the true root of the collapse of all civilizations.

But then, I'm just another elite complaining about Trump, too.
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