By David Tulis
The appeal of Donald Trump is that he gives the impression that the federal leviathan is manageable, that it can be subjected to the whim of a national CEO, that a man who appears to care little for details can shape up the governmental structure with his whimsical and sharp-tongued way.
Because Mr. Trump appears larger than life and not easily intimidated, we Americans will do better, somehow, if he’s elected. We will stand a chance at being prosperous. We will have an opportunity to get ahead without being hammered down by Uncle. Vaguely, we believe that if a seeming straight talker like Mr. Trump takes the helm, we couldn’t possibly be injured by any aspect of the American state. We feel that in him we have a protector equal to what appears as a shapeless monolith that we simultaneously respect, love and dread, our American government. His presentation makes recede worries about tax liability, business losses, inflation, police state surveillance, police abuse, terrorism.
He gets it on Muslims
We are uneasy about the federal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 15 years of military conflict launched by the felling of three World Trade Center towers and an aerial attack on the Pentagon, and a perception that the federal president is a Muslim. Yet when we hear Mr. Trump talk about “the Muslim problem” in a Bill O’Reilly interview, we readily believe Mr. Trump will be unsparing and tough with a Jihadism in the U.S.
Mr. Trump is asked if there a Muslim problem? “Absolutely. Absolutely. I don’t know Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center. *** I came out very strongly against the mosque being built [near the WTC site],” he says. No one is “picking on” Muslims in opposing a mosque. Mr. O’Reilly presses on: Is there a Muslim problem in the world? Yes, “you just have to turn on your television set. *** Unfortunately, there is a Muslim problem in the world. You know it. I know it. And some people don’t like saying it because it’s not politically correct. *** There is something out there that brings a level of hostility that I’ve never seen in any religion. You can say what you want about the Koran. You can say what you want, there is something there — there is tremendous hatred, and tremendous hatred of us. *** I was looking at Iraq, I was watching the other day — we’ve spent all this money and all those lives in Iraq — and they hate us. They can’t get rid of us fast enough.”
Personalism of fascism
Such comments from the YouTube archive are replicated on many subjects — not very deep, but giving open admission to a problem. He made similar shocking statements in the area of crony capitalism and political donations.
Jeffrey Tucker writes about an hourlong speech Mr. Trump gave at FreedomFest. “He says things he should not, which is also a plus for his supporters. He is brilliant at making belligerent noises rather than having worked out policy plans. He knows that real people don’t care about the details; they only want a strongman who shares their values. He makes fun of the intellectuals, of course, as all populists must do. Along with this penchant, Trump encourages a kind of nihilistic throwing out of rationality in favor of a trust in his own genius. And people respond, as we can see.”
Mr. Tucker’s explains his appeal to lovers of local economy, namely that his approach is personal, intimate and compelling.
“He speaks of the United States as if it were one thing, one single firm. A business. ‘We’ are in competition with ‘them,’ as if the U.S. were IBM competing against Samsung, Apple, or Dell. ‘We’ are not 300 million people pursuing unique dreams and ideas, with special tastes or interests, cooperating with people around the world to build prosperity. “We” are doing one thing, and that is being part of one business. *** What’s distinct about Trumpism, and the tradition of thought it represents, is that it is non-leftist in its cultural and political outlook and yet still totalitarian in the sense that it seeks total control of society and economy and places no limits on state power. The left has long waged war on bourgeois institutions like family, church, and property. In contrast, right fascism has made its peace with all three. It (very wisely) seeks political strategies that call on the organic matter of the social structure and inspire masses of people to rally around the nation as a personified ideal in history, under the leadership of a great and highly accomplished man. Trump believes himself to be that man.”
Source: Jeffrey Tucker, “Trumpism: the Ideology,” July 14, 2015, https://tucker.liberty.me/trumpism-the-ideology/