Links and Comments: Loyalty, Defiance, Imagined Realities

A revealing piece in today’s Slate: The Only Truth Is Trump, in which William Saleton reveals the subtext of Kellyanne Conway’s response to the Flynn debacle. His points:

  1. Loyalty within Trump’s circle is more important than loyalty to country.
  2. The only information that matters is what comes from Trump’s circle.
  3. The only standard of right and wrong is what Trump thinks.
  4. Trump’s secrets are as sacred as the country’s secrets.

This is autocracy, not democracy. Tribal loyalty, not adherence to the constitution, the law, reality.

On every principle—loyalty, secrecy, truth, right and wrong—Trump’s circle acknowledges only one standard and one master: Trump. That’s why the catastrophe of this administration won’t end with Flynn’s departure, or even with an investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. It will end only when Trump is impeached and convicted.


Related is a piece on one of the NPR/PRI radio shows I listen to most days, a talk with Yale University professor Jason Stanley, author of a book called How Propaganda Works.

He quotes Hannah Arendt (author of The Origins of Totalitarianism):

What convinces masses are not facts, and not even invented facts. But rather, open defiance. The movement is, the leader speaks, and you’re a follower if you repeat what the leader says. And that’s attractive.

This goes back to Bush’s “we’re not a reality based administration.” Karl Rove: “We’re an empire now, we create our own reality.” Always rooted in conservative, Republican administrations. (Since conservatives in general are more prone to imagined realities, and almost no scientists, whose devotion is to reality, are conservatives.)

Thus the familiar phrase, “Reality has a liberal bias.”

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