It seems part of my legacy is to bring glory back to the old reducto ad Hitlerum at least by providing examples of circumstances that are similar enough to those circa Germany 1933-1945. It’s been observed that the press was fact-checking Hitler’s lies in the early 1930s much the same way that the press is in the habit of fact-checking Trump’s lies in 2016.
It doesn’t matter. Recent polls suggest that Trump supporters disproportionately believe Trump over facts. As the old adage goes When at noon the Caliph declares it midnight, behold the stars! Trump supporters, including those related to me have donned their red hat. They like their red hat, and they’re ready to ride the Trump Train to its ultimate destination, red hats firmly on their heads, even when the Trump Train has them loading up the Deutsche Reichsbahn.
I wonder if I’m going to become an enemy of the next administration. This administration never decided I was radical enough to qualify for proper detainment. But the Trump administration casts its enemies net far and wide, and as an early and open dissenter, my number in the process queue may be low.
I may be a coward when facing the music. Most are. One never knows how he (she) will behave with a gun to his head until the barrel is cold and hard against the temple. But I also have a fantasy of showing my family what real rational integrity in the face of authoritarian persecution looks like. So I’d like to imagine for now that I should face the firing squad unblinking when at last they come for me.
It’ll be just my luck they’ll break me with torture and isolation first. No romantic exits for enemies of Trump!
Dead rodents are a common problem between farms and sewers. Rat cadavers are hotbeds for numerous dangerous pathogens, and it’s a gross job for our sewer and sanitation services to clean them up. It’s a frequent and disfavored task, and in a different era, I might suggest we make sewer-cleaning robots that can process rat cadavers, maybe even into useful biomass, like composted topsoil.
Rats have rat wars. It’s a part of their social cycle, accelerated by their proximity to human settlements. Really, they’re rat battles, grand mêlées. They’re not organized, and it’s every rat for himself (or herself). When food is plentiful, they eat and breed rapidly until they overpopulate. The food supply gets consumed and becomes scarce very suddenly. The rats then go mad from despair and famine and they turn on each other in a giant murderous rat free-for-all. They fight to the death until there are only a few left, who resort to cannibalism to live before seeking out other food sources.
Really, it’s all disgusting.
And it’s what we’re doing right now.
By we, I mean we human beings, here in America. We, the people of the United States. We’ve elected a hungry rat king. We allowed the electorate system to get so replete with glitches and exploits that he was able to get in with a considerable minority. And he’s going to lead us to hungry rat war. And as Bertrand Russell cleverly observed War is not about who’s right. War is about who’s left. Yes. Russell was being a smart-ass, but the saying is super clever.
More Important Than Facts
An essay is going around right now, The Seeds of a Fascist International by Hannah Arendt (1945) which talks about how lies often are not a misstatement of truth, but rather a statement of intent. It didn’t matter that there was no Jewish conspiracy to snatch a WWI victory from Hindenburg, rather the rumor allowed Germans to pretend it was true. It allowed them to act as if it was true, and direct blame and hatred towards German Jews.
In fact, this explains the whole deicide thing, which always was a stupid reason to hate Jews. But not stupid enough to fail at its function.
It doesn’t matter whether or not Trump’s millions of illegal votes in California are not at all evident, what matters is that now his supporters can act as if that were the case. What matters is that if the recounts change the results of the election, or enough faithless electors change the final count, Trump can (and will) challenge the veracity of the electoral system in entirety, and try to take the United States by coup. The alleged millions of illegal votes is deeper truth to justify Trump’s call to violence.
It also foreshadows what could happen if Trump loses in 2020.
Reince Priebus refused to disagree with Trump’s deeper truth and refused to say it was wrong for Trump to invoke deeper truth. Priebus is beholding Trump’s stars at noontime. Paul Ryan said who cares, and otherwise refused to comment on Trump’s deeper truth. Ryan is refusing to look at Trump’s stars, but will concede them for the point of argument. Both showed in this light they are red-hatted trump supporters in case it ever comes down to a conflict between President-elect Donald Trump versus the People of the United States. Ryan may declare himself neutral until the outcome.
Newt Gingrich has discussed this notion of deeper truth, or truth more important than facts, though his recent objections to Trump’s use of this kind of rhetoric shows everyone has their limits. Gingrich might or might not have coined deeper truth, or someone else coined it talking about Gingrich’s observation. I couldn’t tell.
But deeper truth is the same as truthiness, but it’s not funny anymore, because people are dying, or going to die because some people chose deeper truth over facts. For the sake of this post, deeper truth is truthiness that truthiness won’t touch.
Heck, Trump and Hitler have both weighed in on deeper truth.
The Wannsee Conference
On January 20, 1942 Chief of the Reich Main Security Office Reinhard Heydrich invited fifteen bureaucrats (including a significant contingent of SS) at 56–58 Am Großen Wannsee in Berlin for drinks, snacks and what has become known as the Wannsee Conference. With everyone in attendance, he posited the cost of sustaining the Jewish ghettos had become too much, and that Germany could no longer afford to sustain them. He then ruled out emigration of Jewish people as well as sterilizing them and letting them live, and instead declared it was necessary to evacuate them.
The guests then spent the next half hour trying to clarify what evacuation was, since no-one, not even Heydrich was willing to say we’re going to process them through a massacre machine by killing them with execution gas. Then we’ll burn them to ash in a massive oven, the very process by which the international community was inspired to coin the word genocide.
Note how our German bureaucrats got from a budget crisis — a scarcity problem — to mass murder. By the time of the conference, the dehumanization of the Jewish people was already fairly thorough, where one (maybe two…it’s unclear) of the attendees still recognized that Jews were still human beings, and to disregard them as such was to also surrender their own humanity. Some attendees worried about labor shortages, for which the Jews were utilized, and another worried about pure(r) Germans with relationships to Jews and children with Jewish blood, and how they would respond to their kin being collected and processed.
Where attendees could not be swayed to agree to the final solution to the jewish question by an appeal to logistics, Heydrich resorted to threats, hence the SS contingent show of force.
No one at the conference brought up the fact that the war machine, including an extravagant technology-development budget, required funds larger by magnitudes than sustaining the Jewish ghettos in comfort. The shortage was an accepted deeper truth. A truth more important than fact.
When Fact-Checks Fail
Arguing online, or with my family, or watching media pundits and officials, I’ve seen the same thing: It doesn’t matter if what Trump says is false. What matters is that they pretend it is true, because these opinions, this fake news, these Twitter lies are a set-up to convey intent.
• Obama is a Kenyan Muslim terrorist justifies regarding Obama as a military enemy with whom we do not negotiate.
• Obama founded ISIS justifies capturing, imprisoning and even executing President Obama once he is no longer in office.
• Hillary is a criminal justifies capturing and imprisoning Clinton.
• Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists justifies imprisoning or executing all Latins in or out of the US.
• Islam hates us justifies all out war against all Muslims, both foreign and domestic.
• Women are gold diggers justifies disenfranchising and re-chattelizing women
• Illegal immigrants were let in to vote justifies taking authority in the United States by force, once the electorate system fails to leave Trump in charge.
When people say outrageous things in support of their candidates (whether Trump or Clinton or Sanders or whoever) and then they cannot consider facts to the contrary, this is known as attitude polarization. In some cases (e.g. The Cardinals are the best baseball club evar!) such a belief can be relatively harmless. But once policy is defined by these baseless claims, they become deeper truth, especially when they are used to deny rights, liberty or even life to given populations.
The next step is to examine what kinds of actions can be justified if a deeper truth were true. When a deeper truth leads to specific policy, that can lead back to the subtext behind the desired policy or action. Deeper truths don’t have to be true because they’re a veneer to justify action based on personal beliefs or feelings. They can trace back to a valid truth, but the generalization is less socially acceptable. When we indulge deeper truths, we lie to ourselves to hide the underlying paradigm, but it is hidden in this narrative in which the greater truth, and the higher-order course of action is concealed.
For those of us pedants, deeper truth presents a good time to practice our Socratic suppositions. For those who find themselves believing them , deeper truths present an opportunity to examine intent and underlying beliefs and feelings.
Sadly, it’s hard to uncover those things, because they’re humbling and vulnerable and have self-judgements connected to them. And for now we’re not going to be able to psychologically evaluate all the Trump supporters in America that really want to exile or annihilate all non-whites.
Others who hold on to deeper truth have to be responsible for their own beliefs and actions. (id est, we can’t change others: they have to change themselves.) And to be fair there is no cure (at least none that I know) for those who are determined to wear their red hats all the way to the death camps. But we can call it out when it’s being implied. Even Heydrich was hesitant to say outright, We should massacre all twenty-one million Jews in Europe. Because fuck those guys. When we state our policy openly, it allows for us to address that what we are doing is shameful and monstrous. (e.g. The United States is not merely a torture state, but is now a mass torture state.)
Here in the US, we now have Jewish ghettos of our own. We won’t have to wait for Trump to make internment camps. We have our grossly impacted prison system into which we’ve been already vectoring our less-than-desirables. The conditions in them are already inhuman, and a subject of criticism by human rights watch groups. They also present an environment fecund for incidents of prisoner abuse, in which inmates are murdered by guards (in gross Final Destination / Blofeldian ways), usually with complete impunity.
Here in the US, it’s an old deeper truth that convicts deserve whatever terrible things happen in prison (hence we crack jokes about prison rape in our kids’ cartoons). The same deeper truth justifies our death penalty. It’s another deeper truth in the US that we never get false convictions. And none of this conflict with the deeper truth that all acquittals are false. Acquitted suspects escape justice, and we never look past the first suspects once they are ruled out by the facts. Deeper truth doesn’t require logical consistency.
Indeed, our nation is suffering from scarcity, not because the resources don’t exist. Some figures suggest that we have five vacant houses for every homeless person. But the wealth disparity in the United States is extreme enough to create the illusion of scarcity, in which 40% of our population share 0.2% of America’s wealth. And it is only getting worse. This kind of wealth disparity is happening across the world as well: The US is less than 10% of the population and yet holds over 75% of the global wealth, most of which is held by the top 0.08% of the US population.
About 25,000 people hold about 30% of all the Earth.
And, like starving rats, the rest of us are going to kill each other off, by war or by genocide, so that that handful of people can preserve their hoard.
Again, please, America: Prove me wrong. Make me dine on crow.