The Monday Folies August 2020
by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ August 3, 2020
Our lives now resemble a hairball left on the carpet by a feline family member. It is not what we wanted. But wanted or not, it needs to be removed.
The cat, after making the dreaded urpping sound, admires its production and then walks, casually, away. The similarities to Donald J. Trump are difficult to ignore. But while cats leave hairball only occasionally, Trump has been wonking up metaphorical hairballs almost daily.
That Trump has no understanding of what he does is irrelevant for the disgusting messes he leaves behind. That his biggest messes are deadly raises this to a level of tragic absurdity. At least cats are affectionate and, otherwise, self-cleaning.
One of the great lessons of life is that even people we don’t like have virtues. At the same time, we may see them as obnoxious assholes; most people have some redeeming characteristics and may help us in a bad situation. Humans tend to be all or nothing unless they are forced to deal with the more difficult realities.
After four years, it amazes me to say that Trump appears unable even to pretend to be of any value. Without morally bankrupt stooges making outrageous claims as a smokescreen, there is nothing there. Nothing.
I find this profound and the fact that such a person is allowed to function as anything other than a crude and cruel comic character, a shocking symptom of cultural collapse. Yes, the US population has been numb to moral evil for centuries. Still, periodic struggles to overcome this and advocate for two-hundred-year-old ideals have given hope to billions. But the collapse into moral squalor always reasserts itself and now seems to have consumed us.
This condition is the allegory of the 21st century set in motion by the climate crisis and a pandemic — a tale of an avoidable, brutal failure brought on by self-delusion denied. Enough of the population buried in institutionalized lies both ancient and modern that the path to resurgence is lost, leaving a culture unable to distinguish sociopathy as anything but ordinary.
That is how the future is lost not in a tremendous fiery tragedy or military defeat, but in the inability to see that the elements of the old delusion have become themselves, delusions. Those ideas that once made us strong are now destroying us.
In previous times that delusional, often imperial, failure would wipe out whole geographic regions, but now it threatens our planet. The size of the threat seems to produce a kind of insanity in our species, with many of its members unable to grasp that reality. The old delusions are all that stand between that portion of humanity and what they see as chaos. Unfortunately, that chaos is the future they don’t understand.
After nearly four years of degenerating idiocy, there is little new that can be said. Unfortunately, we need to say it to keep up the hopes of the majority that are traumatized by the collapse of the once most powerful nation.
Trump’s pattern of desperately finding an enemy to attack is becoming more irrational and destructive. While China is a very large nation-state and on its way to defining a new technical form of authoritarianism, it is also now the richest nation on the planet. The US is now number two per the IMF. The world order is changing and the change has been put in hyperdrive by the pandemic and the collapse of the US.
Despite what it does to portions of its internal population, China is not an imperial power. It is not a threat to other nations as the US has been for many years. It is expanding its presence via constructed islands in the South China Sea to exert power on critical sea lanes, funding the great Belt and Road across Asia to Europe, and funding the development of Africa, all of this in cooperation with regional states.
Whatever the proportion of good and bad implications for these things how do they compare to the Trump regime? Trump’s total focus now is starting a fight with China by attacking TikTok. That, of course, was quickly abandoned when desperate regime functionaries panicked at turning everyone under thirty into enemies and everyone under twenty into revolutionaries.
This is not a small-time screwup. Whatever the moral details, the weight of value is on China’s side. As always Trump, as a mental incompetent, picks the most grandiose outrage and fails to see the risks. While TikTok is the symbol of the new Chinese world influence, TikTok can survive without the US. Ironically the loss of India to TikTok is far bigger than the loss of the US.
That is the message. We are rapidly becoming irrelevant and honking up embarrassing hairballs does not help.