Monday, January 30, 2017

Wolff on Trump: little baby

Robert Paul Wolff reflects on Trump's infantilism:
Let me say a word about why I consider him infantile.  This is a little tricky, so follow along, if you will.  It is clearly obsessively important to Trump to be the alpha male, as primatologists call it.  Now, this is hardly uncommon.  Indeed, it is hard to see how anyone could make a sustained and successful drive for the presidency without a deep and powerful need to be first, a winner, The Big Cheese.  But most adults who have this drive define winning, being first, being the big cheese in real world symbolic ways.  Holding the title of President is for them the goal, the measure of success.  Trump, like a child, obsesses about physically and visually immediate evidences of dominance.  A case in point is the size of the crowd on Inauguration Day as compared both with Obama’s Inauguration Day crowds and the crowd of the protest the day after Inauguration.  And it is not simply the numbers that he obsesses about, it is the pictures.  This is very primitive thinking.
All the evidence suggests that Trump is extraordinarily insecure, that he has, as many people have put it, a “fragile ego.”  I would say rather that he has an imperfectly formed ego.  This same old friend offered a judgment that startled me when he first said it, but which has struck me as more and more insightful on reflection.  He said that the day Trump walked into the White House after the Inauguration was the worst day of his life, because [if I am getting this right] he felt as empty, inadequate, and small then as ever, and he had just secured the biggest prize in the world, the prize that he hoped would make him finally feel whole.
If these speculations are correct, then Trump as president is a uniquely dangerous person.  What can we do to weaken him, undermine him, even, God willing, make him self-destruct?
Some thoughts.  Probably you all saw reports, and perhaps pictures, of the sign proclaiming “RESIST” that some brave souls hung from the crossarm of a huge construction crane within sight of the White House.  I applaud their courage and initiative, but I think the gesture would have been vastly more effective if they had instead hung a sign that said “LOSER.”  A sign reading “RESIST” simply tells Trump that he is dominant, that he is strong, that those whom he is dominating are reduced to calling for resistance.  After all, no one would call for resistance to someone who is weak.  It would not be necessary.  But Trump would be simply incapable of ignoring a sign calling him a loser, because that is what he really fears he is
Is there someplace visible from the Oval Office where, every day, picketers could stand carrying signs declaring Trump a loser, declaring him illegitimate, calling him small?  If so, it would be worth the effort to station people there.  Let him call the Capitol Police to drive them away.  That would be the news channel story of the day.
It's an interesting suggestion. One quibble: Trump is not the intended audience of the "resist" signs---we are. But the idea of constant, in his face, messaging to Trump, as loser, as a whiny baby, as small, is tempting, though somewhat dangerous, likely to drive him into a narcissistic rage. But he seems prone to fall into that rage weekly, so that danger is already present. But we need to be prepared. 

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