The douchebags and bullies are in charge
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post wrote that Donald Trump might be our dimmest President ever. While I agree with her assessment, she also presented two possible explanations for his ignorance: either Trump doesn’t care about the facts, or he doesn’t understand them. I would argue that both views are actually correct.
Earlier I wrote that Brett Kavanaugh was a perfect specimen of a douchebag, a person of extreme privilege who believes he deserves everything he has. He believes he hit a triple when he really was just born on third base. Despite his character defects, Kavanaugh at least appears to be an intelligent human being who is an accomplished professional.
Not so with Donald Trump. He is nothing but a small time crook who got his fortune by defrauding the United States from the taxes he owed on his inheritance from his father. Despite this good fortune, he has filed Bankruptcy multiple times, and analysts believe he would have enjoyed greater appreciation on his inheritance had he simply taken that money and put it into an index fund. So much for a business genius.
Trump does have one talent, and that is self promotion. But his self promotion is based upon telling the crowd exactly what they want to hear. There is no content, there is no creativity. He simply lies to people to get them to like him.
So with Trump we have someone who is both ignorant and arrogant — the worst combination. In other words, he believes that he is brilliant, thoroughly unaware of his own ignorance. The result is someone who believes his understandings are correct despite their lack of basis in fact.
Rather than looking up to people who take the time to understand complex issues, he views them as suckers, wasting time to learn things when the answers are so obvious. They are nerds, and he is one of the cool kids.
His base of support shares his resentment of the nerds. They are the people in high school who never put in any effort, because they didn’t feel they had to. It wasn’t that they were so smart. It was that they had zero prospects and so high school was pointless. Again, those who did make the effort were suckers.
To them, as to Trump, it seems so clear how to solve our problems. Immigration is a problem? Just build a wall. How could others not see the obvious answer? Space is cool, so let’s set up a space force, as long as it doesn’t cost us anything and doesn’t involve nerdy things like scientific inquiry and exploration. Instead, let’s have soldiers up in space shooting guns. When the nerds tell us such ideas are silly and pointless, they are just wasting our time. They are being no fun, just like those kids in high school who took the time to study.
Trump liked to party, as did Brett Kavanaugh apparently. They’re the cool kids. Those liberals who care about things like climate change and education are so boring. But now, those kids, the bullies and the douchebags, they’re the ones in charge. It’s the ultimate revenge of the anti-nerds.
The newfound status of the anti-nerds is now reflected throughout government policy. Those nerdy scientists release a report on climate change? We’ll just ignore it. It is certainly no fun. In fact, let’s remove any reference to climate change from anywhere on government websites. And those nerdy liberals have made such a big deal out of healthcare. All we need to do is get rid of that nerdy Obamacare and everything will be great.
In the 1984 movie, the nerds ultimately overcome the stupid jocks who ruled the campus. In my experience, by college, people were starting to understand the fact that the world is a lot more complex than you realize when you’re in high school. Back then, because we knew so little, all the answers seemed self-evident. But then in college, we start to learn that the world is much more complicated than we thought. Certainly, by the time we graduate from college, we value the hard-won expertise of those who work to understand and find solutions to the world’s problems. For that reason, it is this group who ends up in the positions of responsibility.
But the people who were the big wheels in high school, who dominated the social scene through their bullying or their unearned unappreciated privilege, they look out at the people they once looked down upon with jealousy. As Bruce Springsteen sang, the glory days passed them by. But to those of us who studied in high school, went on to work hard in college and beyond, those were not our glory days. We are still moving forward.
It’s fair to say that Trump didn’t learn much in college, despite his boast of having graduated from the Wharton School. The bullies and douchebags from high school recognize a fellow traveler in him. So it is not surprising that the less education one has, the more likely that person is to support Trump. For once, one of them, the uneducated, who shares their view of erudition and expertise, is in charge.
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