Last week I found myself in what is, as of late, an all-too familiar position: that of defending Donald Trump. How do I always end up in this position? Well usually its starts with someone talking shit about “Merica. I then explain that America is the greatest country in the goddamn world (although not as good as it could be, hence MAGA). They’ll argue that statement initially, but by so many metrics that statement is demonstrably true which inevitably makes making contrary contentions near-unwinnable. So, seeking an easier win (because of course people are trying to win and of course they want to do so easily and expediently) they’ll change gears and refine their position so as to be anti-Trump specifically, because surely I couldn’t argue with that position…
THE BROADER CONTEXT
To condemn Trump is to move focus away from a broader context, ignoring important details to focus on minor ones which are far removed from his actual competence as a president. His reality TV past, his ups and downs as a businessman, his scandals and his cavalier attitude toward them are seized upon by his detractors in order to paint a picture of someone unfit to lead. More important details, such as positioning America within a global system, maintaining a balance of power, and the amoral business of Real-Politick are hardly considered. Even worse, when they are, they are reductively and inaccurately represented: Improving relations with Russia is read as sucking Putin’s dick. Flattering Kim Jong-Un to inch forward a peace process is seen as bowing before a despot. It’s pretty embarrassing really, and it always amazes me that otherwise intelligent people who pride themselves on their rationalism can understand so little of nuance and the game that is statesmanship.
Whatever. People are retarded logically when they’re fired up emotionally. I try to avoid firebrands because of pearls, swine, and low-hanging fruit, but it is beneficial to talk to people who can look past their own knee-jerk reactions and follow a logical train of thought -German men are great at following such trains incidentally.
Following those trains all the way to Dachau, amirite!
Bad joke. Moving on…
THE BROADER CONTEXT II: THE B R O A D E R CONTEXT
So if detractors are focused on a microcosmic picture informed by trivialities, and they thus far always are, then I start with the macrocosm of the world and/or multi-nation federations such as the EU or the USA. I make a case for why an emerging global consciousness is a good thing; why it’s important to create decentralized hubs of human congregation and activity which are inter-related and linked through infrastructure, transportation routes and informational technologies, etc. I really harp on DECENTRALIZATION, contrasting it to the hegemonic imposition of centralized authority from the top down which I represent as bloated, monolithic, completely-detached-from-everyday-people federal governments such as, most saliently, the EU.
Centralization vs. Decentralization is a powerful argument. I think most people are suspicious of over-centralization but can’t imagine the laudable aim of global unification implemented without it. Painting a picture of what decentralization might look like; drawing parallels to natural systems and even internet infrastructure, is a powerful way to re-frame what people’s conceptions of the future look like.
When a picture has been sufficiently painted of a decentralized, inter-connected global system as put forward by The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project, I juxtapose Donald Trump against this hegemony as, at the very least, a brake on the establishment of total global hegemony.
At this juncture it is worthwhile pointing out to the other party that my diagnosis is predicated on the truthfulness of the narrative that Trump is an outsider to the established mainstream. This helps to build confidence in my position because I acknowledge that its falsifiable and possibly erroneous. More poetically, I describe Trump as chemo to the cancer of globalization. Is he toxic? Yes, but he’s also the lesser of two evils / a necessary one.
As of yet nobody has done a 180 degree turn right in front of my face and professed love for Trump where formerly there was hatred, but their frame has been compromised; their meandering and fragmented responses attest to this compromise, and it is very common to see a verbal diarrhea fill the void of their recently-held belief and coagulate into a temporary new scab over this new intellectual / egoic wound. I love this moment because it is a testament to our longing to always make sense of the world, even on the fly. And even if they manage to immediately form a scab which covers the wound for the rest of the discussion I feel little need to pick it and re-expose the void of lost belief because a seed has been planted which will sprout in their brains.
DO I BELIEVE MY OWN BULLSHIT?
Great question! “Yes, but!”
The but is because while I believe what I am saying I also understand that there are a multitude of narratives which accurately describe the current geopolitical situation, and any narrative which resonates has a kernel of truth of a size proportionate to the degree of resonance. So yes, in my view I am speaking a truth, not the truth.
I have often been accused of trolling and not caring about people, but in my heart of hearts I believe that by putting forward alternate / alternative viewpoints, well argued, I am expanding the limits of debate and I think that is God’s work.