Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Is Trump No Longer God's Chosen One? Is America Returning to Nature's God?

Three years ago, I wrote a post on those Christians who believed that Donald Trump was God's Chosen One as indicated by the fact that his election in 2016 was a fulfillment of prophecy.  This was the argument of Pentecostal Christians like Stephen Strang, the publisher of the Pentecostal magazine Charisma.  Before the election of 2020, Strang publicized the new prophecies that God had foreordained Trump's reelection.  Last March, Strang apologized for this mistake.  "There were a number of prophets who were very certain that Trump would be elected," he explained.  He continued: "I hope that you'll give me the grace--and Charisma Media the grace--of missing this, in a manner of speaking."  As reported in The New York Times, Strang has written a new book--God and Cancel Culture--warning that "there are people who want to cancel Christianity," but the book is silent about his mistaken prophecies.

So where did Strang and the other fundamentalist Christians who believed Trump was ordained by God go wrong?  As I indicated in my post on Strang's book God and Donald Trump, there are two issues here--the interpretation of the Bible and the interpretation of the American founding.

Some of the Trump prophets saw a connection between the 45th chapter of Isaiah and Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States.  In that chapter of Isaiah, God spoke to the Persian leader Cyrus as His "anointed one," although God said "you do not know me."  They saw this as suggesting that just as God used Cyrus, He could use Trump to bring America back to God even though Trump himself is not a Christian believer.

There are lots of problems with this interpretation of the Bible.  For example, God used the pagan leader Nebuchadnezzar as "the servant of the Most High God" to punish Judah by taking them into the very Babylonian captivity from which Cyrus would later liberate them (Jeremiah 25).  So if God is using Trump, we can't be sure whether Trump is to be America's savior (like Cyrus) or America's punishment (like Nebuchadnezzar).

The second issue for the Christian Trump supporters is whether they are right in their interpretation of the American founding.  The idea that God would anoint Trump to save America assumes that God has taken America under His providential care as His Chosen People, just as He cared for ancient Israel.  The Christian Trumpists might argue that the American founders established America as a Christian nation specially chosen by God.  After all, the Declaration of Independence appeals to God as the Creator, the Supreme Judge of the world, and the Providential Caregiver for America.  So why shouldn't God miraculously intervene in history to support Trump?

But as I have noted in a previous post, Thomas Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration of Independence has only one reference to a deity--"Nature's God"--which is the naturalistic divinity of Lucretius, Spinoza, and perhaps Darwin.  This is the mysterious First Cause of nature, the ultimate source of nature's laws that never acts outside those natural laws to exercise any supernatural power.

If America's God is Nature's God, we can know that this God would never anoint Donald Trump to save America, because this God exercises no miraculous powers of providential intervention into history.

Against this, American fundamentalist Christians insist that America's God is the God of the Bible understood as the literal Revelation of God's will.  There is plenty of evidence, however, that most of the Americans of the Founding generation did not believe in this Biblical God.  There is also growing evidence that most Americans are moving back towards the deistic religion of Jefferson and the other Founders, a religion that explains the world as governed by the laws of nature that can be known by natural science, including the evolutionary science of human nature and human history.

Those who believe in Nature's God feel no need to participate in religious ceremonies of worship, to pray for God's providential care, or to expect eternal salvation or condemnation in the afterlife, because all of this falsely assumes a divine power--the Biblical God--acting outside of the laws of nature as known by natural science.

The number of Americans who believe in the Biblical God can be measured by tracking membership in religious bodies and participation in religious ceremonies.  Recently, Lyman Stone has published a report that surveys the data for this over 300 years of American history.  He shows that the percentage of Americans who are members of religious bodies hit a high of about 70% in 1720, declined to 20% to 30% in 1800, and then began rising over 150 years and hit a high of about 75% in 1960, but then has steadily declined to about 50% in 2020 (see page 12 of his report).  Notice that the lowest ebb of American religiosity was during the founding period (1770 to 1800).  So the recent decline in religiosity in America could be interpreted as a return to the Nature's God of the Founding.

Another piece of evidence for this is that as recently reported, the majority of Americans now believe that human beings arose by natural evolution from earlier forms of life, which denies the literal interpretation of the Bible, particularly Genesis 1-11.  The surveys clearly indicate this because the primary reason for Americans rejecting evolution is religious fundamentalism, which is measured by how people answer five questions.  (1) They agree that "There is a personal God that hears the prayers of individuals."  (2) They agree that "The Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally."  (3) They report that they usually attend at least one religious service in a typical week.  (4) They report that they pray at least once in a typical week.  (5) And they agree that "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith."

Still, one might argue that it is possible to accept both the Bible and evolution, both the Biblical God and Nature's God, by saying that the God of the Bible has chosen to work His creative power through the laws of natural evolution.  That's the argument for "theistic evolution" or "evolutionary creation," the position adopted by people like C. S. Lewis, Francis Collins, and Deborah Haarsma.  

But as I have suggested in a previous post, the problem with this position is that one is forced to distinguish between those parts of the Bible that must be read literally and those parts that are not literal.  So the evolutionary creationist will say that while the six-day creation story is not literally true, the Bible's teaching that God is our Creator and Savior who hears our prayers and who will resurrect us to eternal life really is literally true.  The fact that faithful Christians cannot agree about this--what is literal in the Bible and what is not--indicates the failure of Biblical revelation.

If the Biblical God has not clearly revealed Himself, then we are left with Nature's God, who has revealed himself through the natural order of things.


Alexander Gieg said...

He continued: "I hope that you'll give me the grace--and Charisma Media the grace--of missing this, in a manner of speaking."

I wonder what he'd say if one asked for the fulfillment of this Biblical commandment:

"When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD and the message does not come to pass or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken (...) if any prophet dares to speak a message in My name that I have not commanded him to speak (...) that prophet must be put to death." (Deuteronomy 18:22,20 -- reversed for ease of understanding.)

Still, one might argue that it is possible to accept both the Bible and evolution, both the Biblical God and Nature's God, by saying that the God of the Bible has chosen to work His creative power through the laws of natural evolution.

This can actually be done using Plato, in a very simple procedure. Consider the 4 DNA bases as digits rather than letters: ACGT becoming 0123. We then have the DNA of every single living being become a base-4 number, which we can easily convert to base-10. There's thus "being #0", "being #1", "being #2" etc., all the way up to "being #p" (me), "being #q" (you) etc. Since platonically numbers are eternals, it follows that all living beings, or at least their DNA sequences, are co-eternal with them. Or, to put it biblically, that "God created all beings since eternity".

If one accepts this premise, then it follows that the concrete manifestation of "being #n" at any specific moment in time, by any means whatsoever, doesn't affect the fact of that being "having existed since forever due to God's creative power". It appearing by magic in a puff of smoke, or via natural selection, or through genetic engineering (human, or alien), or simulated by a computer algorithm, or whatever, wouldn't make them any less eternal.

This can then be back ported into whatever version of Biblical or non-Biblical belief one may have as long as that person sticks, philosophically, to Platonist. Including, evidently, any branch of Realist atheism, in which case the term "god" may be changed to something else without it affecting the essence of the argument.

Barto of the Oratory said...

Once a person or a group accepts biology as the ultimate foundation and justification for political order, said person or group is really admitting that he or they no longer have any effective principle to reject or safeguard against the rise of a Nazi type of political philosophy and a Nazi approach to war, conquest, euthanasia, and genocide.
This is the meaning of Daniel Dennett's "universal acid" metaphor.
Karl Marx read Darwin's "Origin" and so badly misunderstood it that Marx wanted to dedicate his own book, Das Kapital, to Darwin.
Henry David Thoreau, a devotee of the romantic, poetic Transcendentalism of Emerson, also read Darwin's "Origin" and sang its praises, not realizing that it completely destroyed the legitimacy of said Transcendentalism.
Present day biology professor P.Z. Myers reads post-Darwin biology and concludes that it means that we can have a society completely based on cooperation instead of on competition.
Misunderstandings of post Darwin-biology are rampant!
Biology after Darwin does undermine the Left's utopian ideas of human perfectibility.
But biology after Darwin also undermines the legitimacy of the moral principles of Classical Liberalism that call for a restraint of aggressive instincts.
I believe this can be clearly seen in the last paragraph of Darwin’s "Origin," starting with the sentence that begins, "It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank….”
In that paragraph, Darwin says that absolutely everything unique to biological beings is “produced by laws acting around us.”
Darwin’s talking about the Laws of Biology, which dictate all the conduct of biological beings, just as the Laws of Physics dictate all the conduct of non-biological matter and energy.
Thus, according to biology after Darwin, principles of political philosophy and of moral philosophy (whether those of Classical Liberalism, Socialism, etc.) can no longer be seen as the real basis for the conduct of human beings.
And so, the political philosophy of Classical Liberalism, insofar as it calls for and expects a restraint of the initiation of violence and threat of violence, is just as unrealistic as is Leftist Social Justice political philosophy.
So, then one might ask: “What then CAN safeguard against the rise of a Nazi type of political philosophy and a Nazi approach to war, conquest, euthanasia, and genocide?”
I believe the answer is: NOTHING.
Nazi type societies have happened innumerable times in human history, are happening now (at least in small scale, e.g., in cults), and will happen in the future. This is dictated by the Laws of Biology.
These “laws” are not anything like the “Natural Law” of the sort that is imagined by philosophers, politicians, and judges--but rather, these laws are Laws of Biology, i.e., real laws, just like the Laws of Physics (speed of light, gravitational force, etc.).
“Nature’s God” as mentioned in the U.S. Declaration of Independence is referring to the imagined and sometimes politically expedient “Natural Law” of philosophers, not the Laws of Biology of Darwin and post-Darwin biology.
Plato’s book The Republic is a sincere effort to design a sustainable form of human civilization, a form that would keep human aggression in check and would therefore prevent the destruction of civilization. But Plato’s solution was naïve, providing no solution to the “Who will guard the guardians?” problem.
Plato, having no knowledge of post-Darwin biology, believed that human beings could be transformed, by breeding, training, and education, into a type of benevolent ubermensch called the “philosopher,” and those philosophers as kings could keep everything under control and promote the well-being of all.
Whitehead famously wrote that all philosophy is “a series of footnotes to Plato."
The proponents of Classical Liberalism, and the proponents of Leftist Social Justice philosophy, are both children of Plato’s Republic, in that both are misunderstanding post-Darwin biology.

Larry Arnhart said...

If I understand what you're saying--I'm not sure that I do--you're making an argument similar to what is argued by most of the authors in DARWINIAN EVOLUTION AND CLASSICAL LIBERALISM, edited by Stephen Dilley. In August of 2013, I wrote a series of nine posts responding to them. Their position seems to be captured by a syllogism: Classical (Lockean) liberalism depends on Christianity. Darwinian evolution denies Christianity. Therefore, Darwinian evolution denies classical liberalism.

I don't see how the evolutionary account of the human moral sentiments--as developed by Darwin and elaborated by other Darwinian biologists--supports Nazism.

Barto of the Oratory said...

Let me just say that I find the blog "Darwinian Conservatism by Larry Arnhart" to be the most fascinating and most relevant blog on philosophy, politics, culture, and the social sciences that I have ever seen. I am constantly appreciative of the intellectual honesty of Dr. Arnhart. I am regularly amazed by the depths, heights, and breadth of the knowledge of Dr. Arnhart. I only wish I had more time to read this blog.

I have been a fellow traveler in the Conservative Movement, but I am no more. I'm not any sort of Marxist either.

A few years ago I finally actually read Darwin's books "Origin" and "Descent" and had a "Eureka!" moment, thinking, “The Laws of Biology explain everything!"

I memorized the last paragraph of “Origin,” which beings with "It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank…” That paragraph lists the Laws of Biology as Darwin identified them.

That paragraph also contains the claim by Darwin that “There is grandeur in this view of life.”

Unlike Darwin, I would never use the word “grandeur” to describe what Darwin depicts in that paragraph: the “war of nature,” “struggle for life,” “extinction,” and “famine and death. I assume that Darwin felt the need to provide a bit of an “apologia” for the monstrous (though true) theory that his book has just given to the world.

I do think that men like Hitler and Donald Trump do see grandeur in the “war of nature,” “struggle for life,” “extinction,” and “famine and death.

I know that Darwin the man was, morally speaking, the very opposite of a Nazi or a Trumpist. This, I suppose, it the basis of Darwin’s personal agony regarding his discoveries. Thus, I see Darwin as being a brilliant, epic, and tragic character, somewhat like Oedipus and Odyssey, and much as per the view of life proposed in Unamuno’s book “The Tragic Sense of Life.”

As I see it, Darwin’s discoveries, which led all scientifically literate people to recognize the fact that we human beings are animals essentially just like all the other animals, and which led us to see that we are completely under the control of the same mindless, mechanical, amoral Laws of Biology as all the other animals, IS NOT GOOD NEWS for humankind.

This means that the fundamentally “Better World” that so many have been hoping for during the last one hundred or two hundred or so years is never going to arrive, or, at least, will not be sustainable for very long.

It also means that, due to the awesome powers that humankind now wields via technology, we are headed pretty soon toward a civilizational or species denouement akin to what is revealed in the final scene of the Rod Serling scripted movie "The Planet of the Apes" (1968), and also similar to what is depicted in Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” (2006).

And so, I find myself in disagreement with some of what is written on this blog.

Still, I am fascinated by what I find on this blog and have learned a lot. Thank you.

Roger Sweeny said...

To be charitable to Barto of the Oratory:

I don't think he is saying that evolutionary theory supports Nazism. I think he is saying that it doesn't support anything. Which means that it can't oppose Nazism.

It's the argument of one of Dostoevsky's characters (and I'm fairly sure of Dostoevsky himself), "If there is no God, all is permitted." Most honest philosophers are pushed to it. Science, most people will say, can tell us about "is" but not about "ought". A thorough-going naturalism can only make moral statements of the if-then variety: "If we want to send a rocket to the moon, it must reach a velocity of 11.19 kilometers per second." It can't tell us whether we should do it or not.

It can even make statements of the sort, "Since we evolved in social groups, we have moral senses, predispositions to help out friends and family, not to kill members of our group, etc." But it cannot say that it is wrong for those born without those predispositions--sociopaths--to kill. The moral sense is an "is", not an "ought", like red hair or high intelligence.

Fortunately, none of this matters to most people, who just live their lives unreflectively feeling, "killing is wrong."

Larry Arnhart said...

Yes, a Darwinian morality is a morality of hypothetical imperatives rather than categorical imperatives. When we say we ought to obey some moral norms, and someone asks why?, ultimately our answer must be that given our human nature as social mammals and the ordinary circumstances of life, following these norms is desirable for us and thus secures our happiness. We feel guilt and shame when we violate these norms, because we want to look good in the eyes of others, and we sympathize with their moral emotions. That the unjustified killing of innocent people is wrong is one of those norms.

If psychopaths do not sympathize with these moral emotions and do not find these moral norms desirable, then we cannot persuade them that they are wrong; but we will punish them to protect ourselves and others from their wrongdoing.

Many people find this morality of hypothetical imperatives deeply unsatisfying, because they want a morality of categorical imperatives rooted in some cosmic Good of God, Nature, or Reason--some transcendent or noumenal order as Kant called it--something beyond our evolved animal morality. They will say that a morality of hypothetical imperatives actually makes morality fictional or illusory, because they believe any true morality simply must claim cosmic imperatives.

I don't agree. It's good enough to say that the good is the desirable. After all, when we ask why some putative Cosmic Good is good for us, the only possible answer is that it is desirable for us.

It is good enough to say that we rightly condemn the unjustified killing of innocent people because that norm is desirable for us.

I have developed this thinking in various posts. For example: "Does Darwinism Make Morality Fictional?" (1-9-10), "Philippa Foot and the Hypothetical Imperatives of Natural Goodness" (3-14-10), and "Nietzsche and 'Morality as Animal'" (3-22-09).

Alexander Gieg said...

A serious problem with divine morality is that it is no more certain or consistent than a morality derived from biologically evolved impulses. The Bible, for example, has at least six different moralities:

In the Old Testament:

a) The moral code valid for non-Hebrews, aka, the Noahide Commandments;

b) The moral code valid for Hebrews, which in turn is split in two sub-codes:

b1) The moral code valid for Hebrews towards other Hebrews;

b2) The moral code valid for Hebrews towards non-Hebrews.

In the New Testament:

c) The moral code valid for alive Christians, which also splits in two sub-codes:

c1) The moral code valid for alive Christians towards other Christians;

c2) The moral code valid for alive Christians towards non-Christians;

d) The moral code valid for dead/resurrected Christians.

There are some intersections between these moralities:

i. b can be thought of as supersets of a, so that b contains a;

ii. Ditto for c also containing a;

iii. With b and c also intersecting a little beyond their shared a core;

iv. And, evidently, b1 and b2 intersecting a lot more than that;

v. Ditto for c1 and c2;

vi. But then comes d, which is radically different and opposite all of b and c, except for one single commandment from a (that of worshiping a single god).

If we restrict ourselves to the New Testament alone, I simplify and refer to c as the "moral for life" and to d as the "moral for death". And I like to point out that d is not only terrible(*), but also the definitive one, since it's the one that the person is presumed to be going to practice for infinitely-many years in future, compare to the mere 60 to 100 years of practicing c.

So, if a divinely-mandated morality is such a mess of several degrees of contradiction, it really baffles me that someone may think of it as better or in any way more comprehensive than biologically-derived morality.

(*) As for why the "moral for death" is terrible, that's because it's fundamentally the opposite of the "moral for life". While the later calls for doing good towards the needy and lots of other nice things, the former calls for enjoying the view of the needy being tortured etc.

Barto of the Oratory said...

Professor Arnhart's explanation in a comment above about how "Darwinian morality is a morality of hypothetical imperatives rather than categorical imperatives" is very interesting to me. I'd never seen that explanation before. Much to think about. Thank you.

When the billionaires and the big power world leaders have their secret meetings about how they are going to reorganize the world order to deal with existential threats to human civilization, human flourishing, human dignity, human solidarity, and human liberty, I hope they invite Prof. Arnhart to be present and to advise them.

Larry Arnhart said...

Notice that the morality of hypothetical imperatives denies the is/ought distinction, because these imperative "oughts" are empirical claims about human beings and their world.

They have a given/if/then structure. Given what we know about the evolved nature of human beings and their world, if we want to pursue happiness in harmonious social cooperation with one another, then we ought to adopt a Lockean liberal social order that conforms to our evolved human nature in promoting human happiness in society. Similarly, given what we know about human vulnerability and human propensities to violent aggression, if we want to pursue happiness, peace, and prosperity in our society, then we ought to have laws against murder, rape, assault, theft, and breach of contract. Such hypothetical imperatives make empirical claims that are open to debate.

Roger Sweeny said...

I don't see how "the morality of hypothetical imperatives denies the is/ought distinction." The "given" part is an "is" statement and the "if" part is an "ought" statement. The "given" part "make[s] empirical claims that are open to debate." The "if" part states a desirable outcome, and the "then" part tells you how to get there.

Of course, there are many, many possible "ifs". Your "if" could be "if you want to purify the human race", in which case depending on how you define pure, you can get some sort of Nazism. What "if" you want depends on your moral judgment. You can talk hypothetically about any "if" but which "if" you choose to actually act on is a moral judgment, an "ought".

Larry Arnhart said...


I'll have to think more about your point here.

Alexander Gieg said...

I think I can complement Roger's point. The "is" of human nature, morality-wise, are the 20 natural desires, in the sense they're all present and active, while the "ought" is in how those 20 natural desires are hierarchized.

Taking the final listing in your 2016-04-12 post, at first glance it's possible to say that Lockean Liberalism hierarchizes them with these three at the top (in no special order):

* Liberalism: (8) justice as reciprocity, (13) property, (14) speech.

Now let's look at the top three natural desires in the hierarchy of other major systems:

* Fascism: (9) political rule, (10) war, (11) ethnic identity;

* Socialism: (9) political rule, (15) practical habituation, (20) intellectual understanding;

* Ancien Regime: (5) familial bonding, (7) social status, (19) religious understanding;

* American Conservatism: (8) justice as reciprocity, (16) practical reasoning, (19) religious understanding;

* American Progressism: (2) sexual identity, (9) political rule, (20) intellectual understanding.

And those are just five of the 1,140 potential systems that can be generated by picking any 3 of the 20 natural desires and placing them at the top of the hierarchy.

Therefore, unless there's also, in addition to the 20 natural desires of evolved human nature, a naturally evolved hierarchizing principle (or set of hierarchizing principles), the is/ought divide would seem to remain, only moving one layer up, into discussions on how best to hierarchize them, and so many divergences and disagreements.

Roger Sweeny said...

@Alexander Grieg - Interesting exercise. I never thought of doing that but it may explain some things.

There may be a certain amount of "hierarchizing principles" in the "given": certain things will lead to more or less "human flourishing" and if you are trying to maximize human flourishing, some things just have to take priority over others. Which gets you back to "make[ing] empirical claims that are open to debate." In fact, much of the difference between ideologies may come down to differences in the respective "givens", different ways in which people think the world works.

Pushing further, the "ought" goes a lot deeper, not just how to prioritize the 20 natural desires, but what to have as an "ought" in the first place. Lots of religious and philosophical traditions do not think that "human flourishing" is the most important thing.

Barto of the Oratory said...

Darwin wrote a lot about human emotional & moral instincts, and so did Smith, Locke, and others in the “classical liberal” tradition. Dr. Arnhart focuses on what Darwin and these pro-Capitalist philosophers have in common—which is quite a lot.
Based on his new synthesis of the science of Darwin with the philosophy of Classical Liberalism, I think Dr. Arnhart foresees a true & genuine “End of History,” with everyone on the planet earth living in harmony with their hardwired human moral instincts, everyone playing by the rules of the game of Classical Liberalism, & world peace & human flourishing being the persistent & universal state of affairs across the globe, forevermore.
But then comes along the brute and barbarian Trump, with all of his smashing success in business, fame, & politics.
Trump represents and promotes a focus on a different aspect of Darwin’s theory & writings, what some have called the “red in tooth & claw” aspect.
Trump rejects the notion that the moral instincts of human beings lead us to peaceably and nonviolently follow well-ordered rules of the game of Capitalism (“classical liberalism”).
Consider the following quotes from Trump, which might be regarded as his “Darwinian Manifesto”:
“Man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat. You just can't let people make a sucker out of you.”
“The world is a vicious and brutal place. We think we’re civilized. In truth, it’s a cruel world and people are ruthless. They act nice to your face, but underneath they’re out to kill you. You have to know how to defend yourself. People will be mean and nasty and try to hurt you just for sport. Lions in the jungle only kill for food, but humans kill for fun. Even your friends are out to get you: they want your job, they want your house, they want your money, they want your wife, and they even want your dog. Those are your friends; your enemies are even worse!”
Trump’s quotes above are similar to what Sigmund Freud wrote:
“The bit of truth behind all this--one so eagerly denied--is that men are not gentle, friendly creatures wishing for love, who simply defend themselves if they are attacked, but that a powerful measure of desire for aggression has to be reckoned as part of their instinctual endowment. The result is that their neighbour is to them not only a possible helper or sexual object, but also a temptation to them to gratify their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without recompense, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and kill him. Homo homini lupus; who has the courage to dispute it in the face of all the evidence in his own life and in history?”
Dr. Arnhard is just as hard on Freud as he is on Trump.
Dr. Arnhart:
“Freud was despicable…“Freud has revealed the ugly depths of his character--arrogance, pettiness, shallowness, narcissism, and refusal to face up to his paralysing anger and fear.”
I speculate that Dr. Arnhart hates Freud for the same reason he hates Trump: Freud throws a monkey wrench into Dr. Arnhart’s theory and project.
Darwin’s theory is based on the inevitable recurrence of what I’ll call “Malthusian shortages.” Sooner or later, & regularly, there arise acute shortages of vital resources, & then all the civilized rules of the game are thrown out by most of the players, & “red in tooth and claw” savagery ensues.
And these Malthusian shortages can be psychological in nature, as in the case of Hitler & the Nazis in Germany. The Nazi leadership were acutely aware that by 1920 Germany had ended up a small, mostly landlocked, petty republic in a world dominated by the great and sometimes brutal empires of Great Britain, USA, USSR, & Japan. Thus, the Nazis & others in Germany felt the acute pain of a psychological Malthusian shortage of glory, power, greatness, & dominance.

Barto of the Oratory said...

Trump’s ambition, aggression, lawlessness, cruelty, & immorality, & his never-ending campaign to be & remain “Number One Man,” all this is compelled by the acute feelings of psychological “Malthusian shortage” that frequently recur in his brain, & in the brains of many people.
When an interviewer asked Trump what he thought of President George H.W. Bush, he replied: “I disagree with him when he talks of a ‘kinder, gentler’ America. I think if this country gets any kinder or gentler, it’s literally going to cease to exist.” I think that statement makes no sense, until you view it through the lens of psychological Malthusian shortages & the fundamentally unalterable “red in tooth and claw” Laws of Biology that Darwin delineates in his book “Origin.”
Trump wrote in his first book that in 1953 his mother Mary was intensely watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on television, when Donald's father, Fred Trump, came along & said, “For Christ’s sake, Mary. Enough is enough, turn it off. They’re all a bunch of con artists.” She just ignored him, & kept watching. Now, why would Fred Trump describe the British royal family as a “bunch of con artists”? I speculate it is because the British royal family, in the minds of many, represents a world order & national order of peace, benevolence, gentility, good manners, good intentions, morality, fairness, decency, & the rule of law. But Fred Trump, who by 1953 had been slugging it out for thirty years in the rough and tumble world of construction, sales, & local politics in Brooklyn, knew in the core of his being that what the British royal family represents is a fantasy, something deeply fake. And I speculate that the fact that Fred’s wife was deeply attracted to that royal fantasy of a “kinder, gentler” world was interpreted by Fred as a sign of her rejecting Fred’s own savage philosophy & brutal way of doing business.
Like father, like son. According to the philosophy of Fred & Donald, anyone who speaks of, as a present reality or future possibility, a well-ordered, peaceful, fair-to-all, stable, law-abiding, “kinder, gentler” world is person who is being “fake” or has been duped by fakery.
Thus, “fake news” & “fake people” are among Trump’s most common phrases. In Donald’s mind, we are all fake, unless & until we realize, accept, & embrace the essentially Darwinian “red in tooth and claw” nature of life. And this all goes back to what he meant when he wrote “We think we’re civilized.”
If the meaning of Darwin’s laws of biology is that civilization will not & cannot be saved by Socialism or by Classical Liberalism, what then will save civilization?
That’s the meaning of Darwin’s laws of biology in our modern age of dire existential threats such as weapons of mass destruction, artificial intelligence, bioengineering, & anthropogenic biosphere changes.
And the “philosopher” Trump saw and expressed all this decades ago.
Trump was asked by an interviewer, “Do you think Trump Tower and your other buildings will bear your name a hundred years from now?” Trump answered, “No, I don't think so.” The interviewer asked, “Why?” Donald explained as follows: “I don't think any building will be here…the world will not be the same place in a hundred years. The weapons are too powerful, too strong. Access to the weapons is getting too easy, so I think the landscape we're looking at will not be the same…I had an uncle who was a great professor and a brilliant man—Dr. John Trump, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology…he would tell me weapons are getting so powerful today that humanity is in tremendous trouble. This was 25 years ago, but he was right. The world is rocky, and some terrible things are going to happen. That's why I lead the life I do. I enjoy it. I know life is fragile.”