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Trumpophobia #5: Absurdistan

Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine this week:

“President Donald Trump is absurd. His presidency is absurd. His party is absurd. We have known this ever since that absurd journey down an escalator, and the surrealism has only intensified since. Perhaps it takes a sane foreigner, not subject to years of almost hourly Trump abuse, to point out the obvious. We have no Executive branch in any meaningful or serious sense. We have a joke that’s wearing thinner by the day. There is no institution or company in America, small or large, that would allow Donald Trump to run or represent it for more than a few days — because most sane institutions see immediately that a rape-y racist with no knowledge base or capacity to learn is an embarrassment, and a huge liability. If appointed the head of, say, a local library on January 20, 2017, Trump would have been fired by January 21.”

Sullivan continues in the same mode of frustration, shame and derision, about Trump’s economic policy, his appearance, and his narcissism.

“He is a tragic farce, driven by and captive to a form of narcissism that is, quite simply, incompatible with any form of responsibility. He is delusional. And the only persuasive thread of his reelection pitch — that the economy is booming — is beginning to fray. And that could make his absurdity even worse: “We know that a humiliated narcissist must release his narcissistic rage somehow.”

After last week’s ugly behaviour towards the Danish Prime Minister about the proposed purchase of Greenland, I could begin to see some of the justification for the outrage. If only a bit. So it was a pleasant refuge to be with two other Trumpophiles last night. One of them was a European immigrant of long ago to the United States, a successful boat builder and designer.

My friend’s point was that everything Trump is doing is necessary to get control of the vast increases of the US population that have occurred in the last sixty years. In 1960 US population stood at 180.7 million people. In 2017 it stood at 327.2 million: it less than doubled. In Canada, the population in 1960 was 17.9 million people, whereas it is 36.9 million, which is more than double the 1960 figure. There would be few in Canada who would object to the level of immigration to Canada. Why the difference in feeling about population growth through immigration?

The essential feature of Canadian (and Australian) immigration is the points system that assures us we are creaming off the best the world has to offer. The problems with US immigration policy are many, but most of it concerns the inability of the US authorities to be more discriminating. Most of their immigrant streams are qualified by family unification, rather than by their talents. And the quasi-open border on its southern frontier is allowing a huge influx of illegal migrants. A useful description of how US immigration works (or does not) is given in Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation, still relevant after twenty four years, since the law has not changed.

The other feature of President Trump’s regime that we were able to see – it takes a little space of tolerance – was the following. No President in my memory has demonstrated having as much fun with the job as Trump. Every day he makes a move; he takes apart an opponent. He shucks and jives. He distracts. He whacks. He appeals to the kind of low information voter who likes to watch wrestling. Those who have seen the connection between Trump and professional wrestling are on to something. Trump’s vulgarity dismays the upper classes, and enthuses the lower, for his regime. I feel a little perverse, perhaps, but I really enjoy Trump as an entertainer. “Life is a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy to those who think.” Trump is high comedy, and no one is calling him on it.

Above all, Trump is enjoying his job and his own performance. I know it goes with being a narcissist, but his attitude is also compatible with being conscious of doing a good job.

I know, the idea is scary. For a good and rational description of what Trump and his regime are up to, try Peter Zeihan’s latest video presentation. The whole purpose is to overcome the effects of all the off-shoring of US jobs that has occurred in the last forty years. Whether he succeeds or not is unknown, but that he is trying is a certainty.