Remember when George W. Bush arrogated John Kerry’s pride in his war record? The Swiftboat Veterans, originally organized on behalf of John McCain, called Kerry’s military medals into question and virtually destroyed what he considered a personal strength for the duration of the 2004 election season. That was an example of the politics of personal destruction. Its purpose, in that case, was to destroy military service as an asset for public office, for the simple reason that George W. Bush had none. His performance as Commander-in-chief was nothing to brag about, either.
“All hat, no cattle” was, of course, the brief against George W. Bush, whose cowboy schtick was just for show. “All talk, no action” might be considered a variant. However, for the instinct-driven, whose fascination with appearance should be legend, talk, or chit-chat, seems to be the preferred alternative. If it’s talk v. task, the task is way last. That, I would argue, is what accounts for the denizens of the White House being so easily punked by fake messages. Seems like avery contact is first and foremost an opportunity for schmoozing. If they were focused on doing work, they wouldn’t be so easily tricked.
Here’s a puzzle. Why do the instinct-driven, who rely primarily on superficial optics (what things look like, appearances) as their sole source of information, ignore the written word?
Is there a significant difference between pictures and symbols?
Is there a failure to translate?
The authoritarians weren’t missed; they were just quiescent for a while in their righteousness. Now they’ve got a flawed leader and he’s not going to last long. Because, after all, the fans are fickle. His stand-up routine is wearing so thin, Ivanka has to be recruited as a stand-in. The purveyor of stolen shoes.
We say “birds of a feather flock together,” but since humans don’t have feathers, it might be useful to explore by what characteristic appearances or behaviors they recognize each other.
A love of gossip
Antagonism towards outsiders
Cause and effect confusion
Habit and Ritual
Call and response, the ritual of religion, in a secular situation.
It is, apparently, the mode of the Con to have people identify themselves and pledge support for the “leader.” “Personal responsibility” means that the individual responds (appropriately) when called upon. I’ve never been to an AA meeting but suspect it is the same. This ritual goes one step beyond calling the roll in a classroom to establish the teacher’s control. The response is effectively a sign of subordination. The language is indicative: “leader” “honor” “blessing” “deserving”
The cult of personality can only be properly understood when one recognizes that the essence of the cult is coercion. People are “honored” and “blessed” and “deserving” for subordinating themselves to the “leader.” Ass-kissing isn’t about the ass; it’s about sublimating the disgust occasioned by the act. The psychological process is similar to, but not as extreme as, a mobster’s initiation.
There is no interaction with the material world in the cult. No practical achievement of any kind. The meritocracy is not about action; never mind affirmative action. The meritocracy is about subordination and the result of subordination is the leader. Every individual is dispensable. In the cult of individualism, the individual person does not count. I suppose that’s ironic, but the Cons do not get irony.
Nothing else to add.
Oh, the latest news is that Preet Bharara refused to take a phone call from the Dude and 22 hours later he got fired. Gangster movies are popular. Having one in the White House maybe not so much.