Quotes: The genius of America is that it is good and if it ever ceases to be good it will cease to be great (paraphrase of Ronald Reagan 1983 “Evil Empire” speech re Russia quoting Tocqueville)
People are “cocooned in information) because of social media…hard to be obnoxious and cruel in person as people can be anonymously on the internet. (Barack Obama, BBC interview with Prince Harry, 12.27.17, per Arjun Kharpal)
In the news: Pentagon calls on allies for “damage control” after Trump NATO trip (John Bowden, Politico, 7.13.18)
Rattled or frustrated, Trump lashes out all over (Stephen Collinson, CNN, 8.23.18)
In context: The allure of Donald Trump for a third of America is no mystery. He represents the basest of the three elements that Sigmund Freud identified as components of the human psyche.
Donald Trump is the essence of the id, the most primitive part that humans share with animals. The highest level is the superego, the part that has absorbed a culture’s most noble values and built on them to move society forward and upward. Between the two is the ego that in well-balanced people mediates between the easy greedy id impulses and the greater social needs greater than individual concerns. When the free flow of energy between the three levels is blocked, the most likely obstruction occurs between the ego and superego, simply because it is harder to be good than to be lazy. In someone like Donald Trump, who seems to have an overflow of base or libidinal energy, the blockage leads to a bloated ego as the id forces explode like a choked pressure cooker.
All tyrants apparently have bloated egos and exploding ids. They have invested their lives in mastering the art of satisfying themselves without thought to greater society while honing the wily craft of using all id means possible to achieve their ends. It is, after all, easier to cow and coerce than it is to persuade. The tyrants who succeed in a big way are not only ruthless but charismatic. They have perfected the skill to bend the world to their will. True dedication to self-worship is the hallmark of the tyrant, mostly because most people have some sense of social morality and because they are satisfied with less than a total chokehold on a country or even the world.
Only America could have bred a Donald Trump. The land of opportunity gave him free rein to run amok indulging avarice, and when that country’s business indulgence ran dry under constant overreach amid failures, he turned out toward the world where laws were no impediment. Those dark arrangements ultimately took Trump into the American presidency where he sprang for the golden ring by whole-hog unleashing the urges of his id.
The naked display of id forces at the presidential level rocked the country and the world. A core base of Trump supporters in the young United States bear the characteristics of worshipping someone daring what they never would. Others in the US fell into thrall of an unpalatable man’s success, believing they would sail on his coattails to some portion of his accomplishment.
Whether pro-Trump tyrant or anti-Trump traditional ally of American democracy, the more mature rest of the world looked upon the US Trump phenomenon with disbelief, the world allies aghast and the world despots with marvel at the unexpected bounty that had fallen into their corner. Thus in an increasingly interconnected world of a complex brand new kind of large society, Sigmund Freud has been proven both right and universal. The Trump mystique amounts to no more than a bloated ego blocking id energy from accessing higher cultural values.
The Trump mystique that has captivated a third of the American population is shrouded in the confusion of too much information in the internet age. But when the fog is cleared and the bare bones of the mystique are unmaked, Donald Trump and his global tyrant counterparts are blowhard bullies who have wrested ultimate power for themselves by any means necessary.
Amic all the confusion about the Trump mystique, the words of Noble laureate Bob Dylan seem to hold true. “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” In other words, Trump has unleashed the id forces that have a third of the world population in their grip. It is up to the other two-thirds to reinvigorate efforts to ensure that a healthy world ego mediates between the world id and superego. Put in another way, Donald Trump has raised to the global level the age-old battle between good and evil.