Trump and Ignorance

May 28, 2016 Stephen Murgatroyd

Why do we treat Donald J Trump, now the guaranteed nominee of the GOP for US President, as if he is a rational, sane and intelligent human?


All the evidence points to the fact that he is a narcissistic, ego-centric, extroverted bully who has a reprehensible level of knowledge about the world, about his own country and about Government. He seems unaware of simple things, like respect, courtesy, and compassion and is seemingly incapable of understanding complex things like energy markets, science, foreign policy or economics.


He looks to be a successful business man, but in this claim he is also delusional. He makes claims about his business acumen which are nonsensical – like his net worth (much less than publicly stated), his Art of the Deal being the “best-selling business book of all time” (nowhere near close), his ability to enter and conquer new markets (string of business failures), his avoidance of tax, his use of foreign workers and his profiting from companies he publicly derides. He is successful in some things, of this there is no doubt, but not everything he touches turns to gold.


He is a dangerous man. So far he has promised to break international treaties (NAFTA, WTO and the Paris Climate Change Agreement), actively intervene in markets (restore coal jobs), build a “beautiful” wall which Mexico will pay for (not going to happen), deport 11.5 million Mexicans, ban Muslims from entering the country (with a few exceptions for Muslims he likes), criminalize abortion, raise the minimum wage while at the same time lowering taxes on the rich, charge countries the full costs of American troops defending American interests on their land, pay for his supporters legal fees if they are charged with assaulting those who oppose him. This week he denied that California has a drought problem – preferring instead to buy into conspiracy theories that the Government of California is denying the flow of water (where does he think they are hiding it?) to much-needed areas. Trump is, let's say this out loud, an ignorant and dangerous person.


But the press treats all of his statements as if he were a serious thinker. They place him against Noam Chomsky and treat their statements as if they were on the same level. They are not.


Trump is ignorant, not just about social sensibility (just follow his twitter feed), but of how government works, the role and limits of the Presidency of the United States, how energy markets work, how treaties work, the law, science ..one could go on. It is if he was a petulant teenager who had missed a lot of schooling while partying and having a good time who we are now expected to treat with the seriousness of a great philosopher.


And then we get to the nub of the issue. He is a Mussolini figure – doing for the US what Mussolini did for Italy before World War II. Giving hope, through ignorance, appeals to raw emotions and offers of action which could not possibly lead to good outcomes. He is feeding on and adding to anger, passions and a sense of lost identity which many Americans truly feel.


“Make America Great Again” is his slogan. He has offered a set of suggested actions which will make America poor again, a laughing stock and a place which many smart people feel not only uncomfortable staying in but unwelcome. Thinking will not be encouraged – more likely prosecuted. One thing for sure – Trump will do well for himself. It is actually all he cares about.


What is even more disturbing is that a growingly angry American electorate are more than likely to elect this bigot to the Presidency. It will not be the first time someone with a very high General Ignorance score has occupied the Oval Office, but it will be the first time someone has done so in an age where scrutiny is intense and every word uttered can be analyzed to death. He will be subject to global abuse and shaming, which will just make him angry.



Trump will not be a happy President – he will spend most of his time frustrated, angry and threatening legal action. I also suspect that impeachment will never be far from the lips of some members of Congress. It will be especially difficult for him if, as some suspect, the GOP loses control of congress.



Trump will not make American great again. Trump will make Trump rich again. That seems to me to be the prime agenda.

Written by Stephen Murgatroyd - contact stephen.murgatroyd@shaw.ca for permissions.

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