Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Consensus

I've noticed a strong convergence on Twitter toward a sort of grand unified theory of Trump, focusing on his extremely abnormal psychology and our resulting inability to comprehend him. Of course many of us have had a general sense of this for a long time, even before he launched his presidential campaign, but the accumulated evidence has become staggering. Here are some recent examples, in no particular order.

That last tweet refers to Trump's decision to fire Comey after allegedly asking Comey to call off his investigation of Mike Flynn. That is to say, he fired a man he knew to have direct personal knowledge of his own (Trump's) interference in the investigation. It is impossible to imagine why anyone would follow that course of action, and it is easy to see why Podhoretz was uncomfortable. However, there has been no convincing denial of the allegations, and it appears that the uncomfortable explanation is that Trump's mind is deeply dysfunctional.

Ross Douthat put it this way:

Read the things that these people, members of his inner circle, his personally selected appointees, say daily through anonymous quotations to the press. (And I assure you they say worse off the record.) They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpitate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor.
 As I said, people's thoughts seem to be converging rapidly. A consensus is forming. Unfortunately it is far too late, and I see only a slight chance of Trump being removed from office. There is a slightly higher chance that he will resign, but I wouldn't count on it. Our nation is led by a man who is childish and damaged, and there is little we can do about it.


By the way, as I hazily pointed out earlier, all of this is grounds for humility in our efforts to understand what is going on. Trump is predictable in some ways and insanely hard to predict in others. The fact that we've put ourselves at the mercy of this man is the bizarre, incredibly scary tragedy of our times.


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