"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Deconstructing Donald Trump–It’s Not What He Says But What He Means

The progressive Left is nonplussed at the mania of Donald Trump.  To them he is a misogynist, xenophobic, sexist homophobe - has always been and will always be.  He is an inveterate, congenital liar, a braggart, a capitalist who built his fortune on the backs of the poor, and an unreconstructed egotist.

Of course he is none of the above.  As a son of Hollywood and Las Vegas; a performer, vaudevillian, and big tent revivalist in the old American tradition, he doesn’t mean what he says.  He says what he means.  His is a political circus act with a semiotic foundation.  Crazy as a fox and as smart as a whip, The Donald speaks a firestorm but is as rational – more rational in fact – than his opponents who speak in platitudes, shopworn nostrums, and old-fashioned appeals to ‘experience’.

No one but unreconstructed liberal elite take him at face value.  Everyone knows that his call for expatriating all illegal immigrants is purposeful hyperbole, circus act exaggeration, and vaudeville at its very best.  Everyone but older Eastern progressives and young idealists understand that there can never be an impenetrable wall on our southern border.  Everyone but academics who have insulated themselves from the world outside Cambridge, the Upper West Side, San Francisco, or Chicago knows that there will be no mass deportations, no electrified wire fences at Dulles Airport, no Gestapo on the Canadian border to keep immigrants out. Hyperbole to make a point.  Illegal immigration is a serious problem which must be addressed no longer with the tentative, hesitant gestures of the past, but forcefully.

Deconstructionism has had its day, although because of tenure there are many academics who will preach this secular animism until the day they die.  All texts are equivalent, they say.  There is no such thing as artistic genius, and the works of Shakespeare, Aeschylus, and Dostoevsky should be read only within the narrow context of  race, gender, and ethnicity.  Hamlet and Macbeth are nothing more than plays about political power, the corrupt nature of elites, and the alienation of the many to serve the powerful.

 If one reads the text carefully, deconstructionists say, one will discover the true meaning behind the words which are mere and artificial constructs of individuals who can but express political zeitgeist and the particular configurations of social, economic, and cultural conflict.

So where are these deconstructionists when it comes to parsing the stump performances of Donald Trump? Why are they so literal in their interpretation of his words?  How could they assume that his hot button rhetoric is anything more than getting sinners to walk up the aisle and accept Jesus as their personal savior?

This myopia is not surprising, for despite progressives’ claims to objectivity, rationality, and on-the-one-hand-on-the-other tolerance and consideration of differing opinions, they intend no such thing.  Their canon of diversity, race-gender-ethnicity, and social liberalism is as enshrined as any.
Such political and philosophical absolutism ipso facto requires blinders.  In an a priori world where right and wrong are pre-determined and absolute there is no room for due consideration or rational debate.

Put more simply, the progressive Left has made up its mind about Donald Trump and nothing can change it. 

To be fair, most of us hear what we want to hear, make up our minds early and quickly, and use information to confirm or consolidate our opinions.  Once we have concluded that a public figure is worth our attention because of his commitment to our causes, principles, or ideals, we stop parsing his speeches, analyzing his white papers, and listening to his debates.

How many women fall deeply in love with men who continually feed them a line about fidelity, respect, and intimacy?  How many daughters continue to idolize fathers who have done nothing to merit their love let alone respect? How many of us fall hook, line, and sinker, for outrageous advertising claims because we have been brought up on Campbell Soup or Heinz ketchup?

We are not a nation of disciplined, rigorous rationality, and we fall for lovers and politicians equally.  But those who have staked their reputation on rigorous contextual analysis and intellectual rigor and who pride themselves on coming to the right moral and ethical decisions based on this reason should be held to a higher standard.

It is very clear – except to progressive deniers – that Donald Trump is a revolutionary president, even more so than Ronald Reagan.  Reagan, it must be remembered, challenged the legacy of FDR, LBJ and the American liberal establishment when he said, “Government is not the solution.  Government is the problem”, and went on to challenge the received wisdom of liberal America.  He tossed liberal accommodation and concession aside when he stood up to the Soviet Union. 

Donald Trump is as radical as Reagan in his challenge of the culture of entitlement, diversity, and cloture of free speech.  The Trump presidency is welcome not only in political quarters where the final internment of liberal progressivism will be applauded; but in intelligent quarters whose residents will be happy to see the last remnants of dire, extremist, post-modernism buried along with it.

The Trump presidency gives lie to many things – the arrogance of the liberal Left which has refused to acknowledge the realities of the white, working poor; the isolation of liberal academics who talk a great story about equality but who reject the legitimate claims of the middle class in favor of the oppressed and put-upon minorities; and the absolute myopia of progressives who refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of a conservative populist president.

Americans are all lay deconstructionists.  They understand that what Donald Trump says stands for something else and is not license.  They get it.  He gets them  And they get him.  They can read between the lines, and they like the narrative they find there.


  1. Excellent, excellent article Ronald, thank you!

  2. What a load of crap this article is.


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