It’s Also The Lying Itself

orwell_1984_trump

Jack Holmes notes a particularly sinister aspect of Trump’s self-described nationalism

Inconsistencies and outright contradictions are fixtures of his rhetoric. He bangs on about “due process” and “the presumption of innocence” when his Supreme Court nominee is accused of sexual assault or Saudi allies are accused of murdering and dismembering a U.S.-resident journalist who criticized the regime. But he encourages his crowds to chant “Lock Her Up!” at the very mention of Hillary Clinton’s name—and, for that matter, of Dianne Feinstein’s. He sees no contradiction. Kavanaugh and the Saudi princes who may or may not be putting money in his pocket are his people. They deserve the protections of the law. Clinton and Feinstein are not just Democrats—enemies—they are powerful women, symbols of that which his movement was built to negate. The law can and should be used against them.

In Trump’s case, though, the flouting of the truth serves a particular purpose: it is always a declaration not of any moral or legal or philosophical principle, but of power. As Masha Gessen once noted in The New York Review of Books, authoritarians in the mold of Trump or Vladimir Putin do not lie or distort to truly convince the listener that what they are saying is true. They seek to demonstrate power over the truth itself, and thus dominate the body politic

Is it really that big of a jump for a true believer to take matters into their own hands to demonstrate tribal or nationalist loyalty (possibly with the assumption of protected status)? Maybe…though just as or even more troubling are the bottom feeders who twist themselves in knots trying to claim they’re the real victims…victims in desperate need of vengeance.

The midterms are a critical first step, but it’s a long march…

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