Reality Versus Donald Trump

by stephenpalmersf

It was always going to end that way – violent, shocking, mad.

Narcissists as dangerous as Donald Trump have no connection with reality. In their earlier lives they have the option of controlling, dominating or otherwise changing reality so that it fits their personal fantasies, but for some, when in the end reality wins out – as it always does – there is no wriggle room. Hitler found this out in 1945, raging in his bunker that he had been “failed” by the German nation, operating a scorched earth policy in revenge, then doing the only deed left and shooting himself. Reality intruded into his totally unrealistic mental model of reality, leaving him trapped. Unable to move, and unable at last to deny the real world, he took the one last option available to him. The same thing happened to Napoleon at Waterloo. In my blog piece on Napoleon I wrote:

When reality finally did intrude into Napoleon’s world there were two distinct responses. Usually he would slip away from the scene of the disaster and pretend to himself and to others that it had never happened, or that some force other than himself had been responsible. On other occasions he would retreat into his fantasy world and simply ignore what was happening. But on at least three occasions the convergence of reality and fantasy was so intense that Napoleon’s inner world – his laboriously constructed self – was placed in jeopardy. When Napoleon was at the Champagne ecole militaire he was punished for an offence by being forced to eat his dinner upon his knees at the door of the refectory. The power wielded over him and the humiliation were so intense that he suffered a kind of fit; reality and his internal world became violently incompatible. A similar occurrence took place in the weeks before Napoleon’s creation of the First Consul. Sieyes’ coup de etat involved much chicanery, and at one point the parliamentary opposition became heated, questioning Napoleon about the army surrounding Paris and the general state of leadership. Questions about personal ambitions and current events Napoleon deflected, but at one point the opposition’s hatred of him became obvious, and it seemed the plan might fail. Then Napoleon panicked: he stuttered answers, his face white, his powers of manipulation and self-deception departed. A third occasion was the Battle of Waterloo. When it became obvious that Wellington and Blucher were going to take the day Napoleon did not stay to see the result, instead riding from the scene weeping, terrified and speechless.

Narcissists like Trump offer us a glimpse into their fantasy worlds when these kinds of reality intrusions occur. For Hitler, that fantasy world was one of Aryan purity and German domination. It was no accident that he made the equivalence between Germany and the Führer, as if the two were one and the same thing. In his mind, they were the same. Similarly for Trump, the number one requirement in those who work with him is loyalty – loyalty regardless of events in the real world. In this way Trump sucks individuals into his fantasy world, forcing them to deny reality in the same way he does. A loyal Trump follower is, in effect, the same as Trump. He does not understand that other people are independent of him, except in the most basic sense, from which his rage at their autonomy derives – that they do things other than what he wants. Meanwhile, in France:

By this time mere conquest could not appease the lust for power; what seemed a lack of human fallibility was metamorphosed into a belief that he was a deity. Part of the Imperial Catechism ran – Q. Why are we bound to show these duties (love, obedience, fidelity, service, etc.) to the Emperor? A. Because God has established him as our Sovereign, and has rendered him His image here on earth, overwhelming him with gifts in peace and war. To honour and serve our Emperor is, therefore, to honour and serve God himself.

The significant different between Trump, and Napoleon and Hitler however is that America for Trump is merely the nation in which he was born. Unlike Hitler and Napoleon, for whom nationality was crucial, nation for Trump is unimportant. What matters is him, and him alone. He is not only his own messiah, he is his own nation.

Trump is without doubt the most dangerous American president ever. That the political situation over there is so bad he actually managed to get to the top of the masculine pyramid is just one of many reasons the American way of doing politics, like the British way, is utterly unfit for purpose.