The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

The Cruel World of Donald Trump

Donald Trump lives in a world inside his head, one that is invented to make him the grand leader of the world. His narcissism is out of his control. It is extreme and like every narcissist dangerous to those around him and anything he controls.

So, it is hard to pin point just one fatal flaw in the thinking of this sick man. But when it comes to long-term harm I would single out his false view of self and others, especially as it relates to his view of economic exchange or trade.

Out of his narcissism, something probably imposed on him by his father, Trump sees the world as two classes: winners and losers. To please daddy Donny has to be the winner, even if he has to fake it. So no matter how badly Trump bungles something he will proclaim himself a winner. He didn’t lie to America about Covid-19 in order to “protect” people; he did it to protect his own warped image of himself as a winner. To admit a deadly virus was killing hundreds of people per day would tarnish his record and he can’t live with reality.

When someone can’t stomach reality they tend to twist the facts and truth. Trump lies constantly about himself and others, but always to make himself look the success his daddy wanted him to be — even if the successes are imaginary and the failures real and deadly. In his fictionalized world he is always the winner and anyone or anything that points toward the truth of his failures is a loser and must be punished, if not destroyed.

He takes that sick view of reality and applies it to basic economics. In Trump’s world when two individuals make an economic exchange one of them is the winner and the other the loser. One exploits and the other is exploited. One cheats and the other is cheated. One steals…. Etc. Trump has said this quite explicitly.

But that is not the humane world of depoliticized markets and voluntary exchange. A basic principle of voluntary markets is individuals make exchanges because all parties to the exchange believe they will benefit. By their own values each participant is a winner and there are no losers.

If I buy a book for $15 it is because I want the book more than I want the $15. If the bookseller sells me the book it is because he or she wants the $15 more than they want the book. Each is free to reject the transaction so each trades because the result is “winners all!” In Trump’s world everything is rape not love, everything is cheating, not honesty. You are either the winner or the victim and Trump went through live victimizing others as a result.

This view of the world is why he has a history of refusing to pay his vendors. He’s a thief on a massive scale. He’s a man who inherited wealth but is pathetically poor at creating it. So his vision of winning isn’t a successful venture where all voluntary participants win, his vision of winning depends entirely on whom he can screw over and for how much. The more he steals the more of a winner he becomes.

This world view is at war of what is often called free markets, a world where individuals trade because they — not some bureaucratic dictator — believes they will benefit from it. Trump’s narcissism means he is drawn by the political process instead the market process. In politics he can force his will on others. He can always come out the winner because he can use the power of state to impose his “winning” on the rest of us “losers.”

He rules by executive decree not law, and everything he does serves one purpose, to make himself the winner, to make daddy proud. So, he constantly used political pull to manipulate markets. In free markets there are winners all but in politicized markets there really are winners and losers. And Trump wants there to be losers, it’s the only way he can temporarily assuage his own, well-deserved self-hate. For the narcissist this kind of “winning” is a temporary fix. It has to be repeated a hundred times a day in different ways. It may be sexually assaulting women, manipulating the political process to put money in your bank account, or by denigrating and insulting others.

In the end the narcissists is an authoritarian, someone who MUST impose his will on others and doesn’t acknowledge that anyone, other than himself, has rights. Most narcissists don’t have the power of the presidency behind their malignant nature—Trump does. Trump’s own niece, a psychologist, told MSNBC, “We’re looking at an authoritarian state if we allow him to continue unimpeded.”

The narcissist isn’t overly secure but totally insecure, they are compelled to seek these “victories” time after time after time. Screwing people over once is never enough because their gnawing self-doubt that really aren’t who they pretend to be never goes away. So they repeat their vicious, cruel and sometimes violent behavior again and again. These actions are a fix for the addict but they wear off quickly and more is needed. So the narcissist tends to ramp up their destructive behavior.

Trump took this to the field of international trade and “won” by throwing out imported products. Of course, that meant foreign buyers purchased less here. One results was farmers across the country suffered thanks to Trump’s trade war. That made Trump look the loser so he stole billions from taxpayers to give to farmers in order to “win” again. Trump won and taxpayers were losers. Trump destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs so he could convince himself he “won” over China, or over Mexico.

His winning was a tragedy for hundreds of thousands, actually millions, of others. But that’s okay, the compulsive narcissists thinks of no one else and nothing else. His universe is made up of one king and a world full of servants, it as world with one winner and a population of losers.

Trump never intended to “Make America Great Again,” that’s not what drives him. He’s still the terrified little boy wanting daddy to like him, to admire him, to praise him. He’s still the child who was told he’s a loser and can only become a winner by making others into losers. And he’s spent a lifetime putting that sense of “morality” into practice. He needs to win and that means he needs the rest of us to lose.

That’s is the complete opposite of free markets. That is the rant of nationalists, socialists, communists and fascists alike. That is Trump in a nutshell.

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