The Emperor Has No Clothes

donald-trumpThe unnatural disaster that is called President Trump is continuing to threaten the stability of the world, if only because it directly involves such a large and powerful country as the United States of America, formerly known as the leader of the free world.

Following a recent mea culpa admission by co-author Tony Schwartz of Donald Trump’s 1987 book The Art of the Deal, for realizing that this superficially positive and flattering portrayal of Trump’s approach to business glossed over the incredible shallowness of the main character, and so ended up promoting what appears to be a charlatan entrepreneur into the status of (for some) credible presidential candidate.

In addition, in the case of the current  President of the United States we appear to have the actual instantiation of what has been described in the field of psychology as the the Dunning–Kruger effect.  This effect manifests itself as a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority comes from the inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence.

We were subsequently treated to Michael Wolfe’s 2017 book Fire and Fury, a presumed  reasonably accurate sketch of Trump’s first year in office, showing a largely  dysfunctional administration around a clueless president who is so out of his depth that you can’t help but to feel sorry for the folks assigned to assist him through the daily turmoil of trying to keep him in some semblance of presidential demeanor. One particular astute observation from it, as provided by White House staff that Wolfe has interviewed, was that to interact with Trump can be akin to “… trying to figure out what a child wants”.

Now, former G. W. Bush speechwriter and Republican columnist David Frum has published his new book Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic, described by the SF Chronicle as “a persuasive and detailed account of how Trump is undermining American institutions, including the presidency itself”.

Frum is no light-weight Republican; he is as astute as they come, as evidenced by the following analysis of Trump’s first year in office, and his warning that despotism doesn’t necessarily begin with violent disruption.  “It can come on little cat feet”

The thing to fear from the Trump presidency … is not the bold overthrow of the Constitution, but the stealthy paralysis of governance; not the open defiance of law, but an accumulating subversion of norms; not the deployment of state power to intimidate dissidents, but the incitement of private violence to radicalize supporters.

Frum is not holding back either when it comes to his opinion of the quality of the man now in charge of the White House, and has summarized him as follows:

… an amateur, a charlatan, a con artist, a manipulator, a poseur, a serial fibber if not outright liar, a vulgarian, a swindler, a skimmer and a trimmer, a man-child lacking character, intelligence, integrity, judgment, clarity of thought, a coherent philosophy or a worldview and management and organizational skills.

Now that is a lot of ugly name calling, but the scary thing  is that none of this surprises me in any way. Just watching Trump during a TV appearance, now or in the past during his presidential campaign, leaves me with an instant feeling of unease – well, distaste, really – and reach for the mute button on the remote to avoid the insipid bombastic language, or just the sound of a bragging, brawling, or denigrating tone of voice. Combine this with the pouting face, the silly hairdo, and you are presented with an image of a larger than life windbag, someone with an obnoxious personality so  devoid of any real substance that it would suck all the air out of the room the moment he entered it.

Lastly, as stated by David Remnick in a January 15th article in the New Yorker titled “The Lost Emperor” ….

…. there is little doubt about who Donald Trump is and the harm he has done already, and the greater harm he threatens. He is unfit to hold any public office, much less the highest in the land. This is not merely an orthodoxy of the opposition; his panicked courtiers have been leaking word of it from his first weeks in office. The President of the United States has become a leading security threat to the United States.

While much of this commentary makes the Trump presidency sound like something akin to a toxic spill – and equally difficult to contain – it  can be claimed that  much of this negative appraisal of  is based on anecdotal accounts,  and then primarily by biased individuals who simply don’t like him to begin with.  But for those not convinced by now that Trump is in fact the blowhard that millions of Americans have  already made him out to be, you may want to read a Newsweek article from  October 18, 2016,  written by Kurt Eichenwald and titled  A People’s History of Donald Trump’s Business Busts and Countless Victims, .  Trump’s specialty, it seems, was  to snatch huge fistfuls of cash from a companies that were about to go broke, wiping out the savings of millions of people who had invested in them after he had convinced them to do so.

God  – or somebody – help  America, and in the process the rest of the world.