- Nov 2016
“What’s unusual about Trump is he’s a leading candidate and he seems to have no interest in getting important things factually correct.”
Its open distortion of reality is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness.
The question is: how can we exploit the weaknesses to make the problem apparent to those who are too easily willing to believe?
He compares what Trump did to totalitarian propaganda, which does not attempt to depict the world but rather substitutes for it a ruthlessly coherent counter-narrative that is untroubled by any contradiction between itself and people’s experience.
Here I wonder if it's possibly the case that in an ever sub-specializing world that people have somehow lost the time, effort, or even inclination to attempt to put all of the facts together themselves to create a cohesive whole. Instead they rely on others to manufacture these stories on their behalf and thereby make it easier for such totalitarian propaganda to insert itself.
Perhaps the working man isn't spending time reading the paper anymore, and/or it's certainly easier to read third and fourth party stories on Twitter, Facebook, or listen to infotainment on Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN. Why try to follow more direct sources when we can read Facebook and worry about who's going to win this season of The Voice or The Bachelor?
Yesterday I read something by a philosopher, Jason Stanley, that illuminated what I mean by “a miss bigger than a missed story.” Beyond Lying: Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality. Stanley made the point that fact checking Trump in a way missed the point. Trump was not trying to make reference to reality in what he said to win votes. He was trying to substitute “his” reality for the one depicted in news reports.
Similar to the emperor with no clothes. Reality may be what you can manage to get others to believe.
The other thing at work is his clever (?) use of doubletalk. See also: http://boffosocko.com/2016/09/30/complexity-isnt-a-vice-10-word-answers-and-doubletalk-in-election-2016/