Trumpism: Still fighting the science v fantasy war 600 years on

New York city's best-selling daily tabloid -- not Trump fans

New York city's best-selling daily tabloid -- not Trump fans


We, the whole world really, are in a crisis caused by our failed experiment with giving control of almost everything to corporations, which was based on the magical thought that businessmen would run things better than nations did. They don’t, so now we are in a worse mess than we were when “neoliberalism” -- a warm and fuzzy rebranding of “corporatism” – was launched by Ronald Reagan’s handlers, with a hand here in Australia from Treasurer Paul Keating.

This laissez-fairyland of corporate rule has brought us bailed-out banksters and declining incomes for the 99%, yet hucksters like Trump, Rupert Murdoch, and a gaggle of shock-jocks insist that the real problem is too much Political Correctness -- anti-PC is a bizarre crusade with a yuge following.

What are they on about? On the surface, they believe that jobs are vanishing, wages are dropping, and migrants are swarming over borders, because of feminism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism: these newfangled movements have taken goodies from the older and whiter people and given them to gays, trees, and wogs. Obviously, there’s something deeper at work here. 

Consider these four momentous developments of recent history:

 1. In the beginning, GOD MADE EARTH. Every human tribe had creation stories, also for life after death. God or gods made everything the way it is, and they gave the priests rules that the rest of us must obey. Various churches got rich and powerful from owning the stories.

 2. GOD DIDN’T INVENT US, WE INVENTED HIM. Came the enlightenment then the Renaissance, and sciences such as astronomy, physics and biology conspired to undermine the creation myths and led Nietzsche to declare God dead. Overstatement or not, in the course of the 16th through 18th centuries many powerful people realized that man had invented god not the other way around.

 3. “US” MEANS WOMEN AND MEN. In the 19th-20th centuries applied science -- ie manufacturing by machines -- moved peasants off farms and into cities, unraveling family relationships. Women were already somewhat freed by the decline of religious authority (male) and so came the first two waves of feminism the upshot of which is that Man was forced to accept Woman as co-pilots of Spaceship Earth.

 4. THE UNIVERSE REVEALS ITSELF AS INVENTOR OF EVERYTHING. In the past 50 years, we have come to recognise that we exist inside a complex of ecosystems outside of which we cannot exist, so the planet and ultimately the universe itself are what’s running everything. The main consequence of this is that, for the first time ever, we have a prescription for everything we do and how we do it – we must navigate within the realities of our ecosystems – instead of making the rules up and calling them god’s edicts or inalienable rights.

Back to today: ranters and ravers such as Trump, Abbott, Alan Jones in Australia and Alex Jones in America, Ann Coulter in America and Pauline Hanson here, are all powered below the visible line by a great resistance to the great leaps forward in moments 2, 3, and 4 above. We are still in the war between science and fantasy, 600 years on.

Trump is most fixated on #3 -- resisting women as co-captains of Spaceship Earth – for example by asserting a man’s right to grab a woman’s genitals (priests have never let that one go, so to speak), or #4 – I have no reason to act in our species’ interests let alone our planet’s. I will treat the Earth like I treat women, as a commodity. Trump has tweeted thus: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”.

In a recent essay, Deepak Chopra blames Trump and the Trumpsters on “the shadow”, which is more or less the Id. I have used the Id to explain Trump in previous articles but I believe the science v superstition framing is more useful, because we can do something about it, which is not so easy with the Id. We could, for starters, shift half our “defence” budget over to teaching science from pre-K to post-grad. For every conceivable threat Australia might face, having millions of young people with brains grounded in science will save the nation, and the planet, more effectively than our $50 billion 12 nuclear-compatible submarines will.


For an excellent review of the "deep christianity" lurking in Trumpism, go here


P. FrazerComment