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May 25, 2020


A simpler change would simply have been to ask when are ‘they’ going to stop pretending? We never did. Interestingly some of them are. Virtually every single Western leader has received a poll bump from their response to Covid regardless of what they did. Except Trump of course. A few bulbs are burning a little brighter at least.

I am still surprised that a solid 40% of Americans pretended in 2016, want to pretend today and apparently will continue to pretend indefinitely. As to why these Americans choose to pretend and believe, I think Eric Hoffer provided the best answer decades ago. Unfortunately, he doesn't provide good solutions. I don't think hard core Trumpers can be swayed. They will listen to him and believe in him until he dies.

It's surreal, isn't it? I think he's done this magic trick where he's made himself the embodiment of them. To insult Trump, to just state facts about him or repeat his own words infuriates them like you've just spit in their face. If you don't worship Trump - and I mean worship - then you despise THEM. He is their reflection. And I don't know how he did it.

Oh and what did Eric Hoffer say?

The most unbelievable thing is that enough people voted for this man. I can't get past that. It's so unbelievable, yet it happened. Us watchers-on had no idea of what was to befall us. None whatsoever, but the reality has turned out to be worse than our wildest dream. But he prevails, he has his supporters and there is still a possibility that he might win, which is completely terrifying,

Let's be in no doubt that Trump has changed the world. He has altered the environment of trust, and allied cooperation. That which was taken for granted is no longer. It's a sensitive situation in Australia. Economically dependent on China, ideologically on the other side. As a guy with money said to me the other day, we're fucked. Except, that he is not. It's just the proles.

One might say that a solid 40% of Americans has always been beyond the Pale. Even in 1932, Hoover garnered 39.7% of the national popular vote. Think about that. Nearly 40% of the voters that year thought either that Hoover's do-nothing approach would work to lift the country out of the Great Depression, or else thought that the government had no business trying to lift the country out of it. For them, the pain was the point. And today, inflicting pain on people they don't like is their raison d'être. They don't care if they hurt, as long as they think people they hate hurt more. And they'd burn down their own house to own the Libs.

Hoffer wrote several books. The True Believer is the one I had in mind. The subtitle "Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements".

A movement appeals to people who believe their own lives have been spoiled. Movements do not have to believe in God, but they must have a devil, an entity or force or group that is responsible for individual failure. Followers are not neccessarily poor, but usually their lot in life was better in the past. Interestingly, the appeal is interchangeable between movements. The Nazis and Communists in Germany were enemies, but they appealed to the same groups of angry, marginalized people.

I think the pain is the point is exactly right (and I am still stealing from Hoffer.) Middle class wages have been flat for decades but that is misleading. White males are significantly worse off since 1970 or so. This is not the case for women or poc who have gained over the same period. Should we be surprised at increased misogyny and racism?

If I believe my life has been irredeemably spoiled, I do not expect dear leader to improve my lot - that is too much to believe possible, but I do expect him to take revenge against those who I think did the spoiling.

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