Okay, so this is a series that I guess I should have done months and months ago, but like everyone else I thought Trump’s campaign was nothing more than a joke and figured that he wouldn’t actually get the nomination. I was wrong, and I’m sorry for that.
While Trump has always nauseated me with his “Americans First” and “Make America Great Again” slogans, it wasn’t until I heard a part of his speech from Friday (after the convention) that I got legitimately scared. The link takes you to NPR’s website and I think you have to listen to the tone of Trumps voice to get the full feeling I did. The specific part was when he was praising the unity of the convention and all I could hear was the condescension in his voice as he said this combined with my own picture of Ted Cruz getting booed off the stage (creating for me an image of Trump so thrilled at the way his minions backed his self-centered worldview). Assuming that Cruz had told Trump that he didn’t plan to endorse him and Trump insisted he go on stage anyway, it seems very likely that Trump was giddy to see the crowd turn on someone many had once liked because he wasn’t falling into line.
I’m starting with comparing Trump to Hitler simply because Hitler is always first on the list of evil dictators. I’m sure that if I pulled speeches from Mao, Stalin, Mussolini, etc, I’d find just as many similarities and depending on how upset Hitler makes me, I may go on with the others (more upset will mean that for mental health reasons I need to go back to re-reading Harry Potter instead of continuing this quest). I welcome everyone to do their own quest with whichever dictator(s) they choose and share the results with the world because I’m choosing speeches at random and the very first one I picked will be discussed below. If it’s this easy to find similarities, we’re in serious trouble.
This is from a speech Hitler made in Munich on April 27, 1923. This was shortly before the failed coup and before he spent a little over 1 year total (of his 5 year sentence) in prison.
“Further, changes are needed in our system of education. We suffer today from an excess of culture [Ueberbildung] Only knowledge is valued. But wiseacres are the enemies of action. What we need is instinct and will. Most people have lost both through their ‘culture.’ We have, it is true, a highly intellectual class, but it is lacking in energy. If, through our overvaluation of mechanical knowledge, we had not so far removed ourselves from popular sentiment, the Jew would never have found his way to our people so easily as he has done. What we need is the possibility of a continuous succession of intellectual leaders drawn from the people itself.
Clear away the Jews! Our own people has genius enough – we need no Hebrews. If we were to put in their place intelligences drawn from the great body of our people, then we should have recovered the bridge which leads to the community of the people.”
Of course, Trump isn’t blaming Jews. If that’s the deepest you intend to investigate these two paragraphs, you need to stop and reevaluate something. I’m not going to force my opinions on you, but you are the people I’m trying to reach today.
The main premise of these two paragraphs is on education and, more specifically, what is education. The Washington Post has an article about Donald Trump not being a reader. You can read it here. There’s nothing wrong with not being a reader. I’m a big advocate when it comes to the different ways people learn–visual, audio, kinetic, whatever. I personally learn best at work when I (ideally) read the manual first (and/or watch someone A LOT (not just a few times), then play with a machine on my own so that I can ask the right questions from whomever is teaching me. I cannot learn by just by being shown once or even a few times. I have to really think through what is going on before I can confidently say that I know how to operate the machine and feel comfortable using it on my own.
Anyway, the fact that Trump isn’t a reader isn’t my issue. It’s this quote:
He said in a series of interviews that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.”
Trump said he is skeptical of experts because “they can’t see the forest for the trees.” He believes that when he makes decisions, people see that he instinctively knows the right thing to do: “A lot of people said, ‘Man, he was more accurate than guys who have studied it all the time.’ ”
In other words, you can present him with books full of factual evidence and if it disagrees with his “common sense” he doesn’t care and will do whatever he wants anyway. He essentially says experts with their own version on intelligence overshadow old fashioned American ingenuity.
Let’s go back to that quote from Hitler. He complains that Germans have lost their instinct and energy because of too much emphasis on knowledge. He blames Jews for introducing their own version of intelligence that overshadows old fashioned German ingenuity. Sound familiar?
“Instinct and Will”–Trump promotes this as much as Hitler did. There’s nothing inherently wrong with following your gut, but at some point everyone needs to step back and look at the evidence. Hitler blamed Jews for taking all the jobs and for inciting violence within German communities. Trump blames Illegal Immigrants (all immigrants) and Muslims for taking all the jobs and for inviting violence within American communities. Both of these men use nothing but their “Instinct and Will” to draw these conclusions.