Saturday, February 18, 2017

Captain Trump

The Black Spot. Illustration
N. C. Wyeth for Treasure Island1911
I stopped listening to conservative radio years ago - just couldn't take it any more. But with Trump they've finally gotten "their guy". So after hearing how Limbaugh praised the press conference performance, I went to his site and read the transcripts of his commentary.
The perspective is that in which only he can see what is really going on, that he (and the audience) have some special insight into a level of reality that "they" don't understand. It belies a level of partisan paranoia and lack of good faith in the political dialogue that I had forgotten was so robust. There's a real sense of brotherhood (shared victimhood) within the group. Trump was obviously speaking directly to them.
I'm reminded of Carpenter's They Live, in which donning special sunglasses allows one to see the lizard people. Trump, Limbaugh and the fandom are all wearing the glasses and no one else "gets" them.

Bizarrely to outsiders, is how unreasonable they are. You can't listen to conservative radio if you know the first thing about logical fallacies and cognitive bias. It is unlistenable for all the flawed thinking immediately on display. And yet, of course, they believe it is everyone *else* who doesn't understand.
There are perfectly reasonable arguments for all of the conservative ideas they believe in. But they are not making them. Instead, it's a crazy, anarchic pirate ship, unmoored from patience, nuance, evidence and expertise, sailing wildly into the partisan night, engaged in relentless orgy of intellectual debauchery and group masturbation. Captain Trump has now led them ashore, and drunk with power they giggle goggley-eyed at the locals - with their stuffy adherence to reason, honesty and institutional restraint.