Monday, March 20, 2017

An Epidemic of Der Trumpenführer Infallibility

The insanity reigning in the White House continues as Der Trumpenführer - much like Adolph Hitler nearly eighty years ago  - insists that things are true simply because he says so.  Objective reality and facts have no bearing on the self-centered world of the malignant narcissist now holding the presidency.  What is equally frightening is the fact that so few Congressional Republicans have the soine and honesty to confront the endless series of lies emanating from the White House.  One need only look at some of Germany's military disasters in WWII to realize that Republicans are acting little better than Hitler's generals who went along with Hitler's demands even when they knew directives were wrong and would have fatal consequences.  A column in the New York Times looks at the troubling phenomenon.  Here are excerpts:
Two weeks after President Trump claimed, bizarrely, that the Obama administration had wiretapped his campaign, his press secretary suggested that GCHQ — Britain’s counterpart to the National Security Agency — had done the imaginary bugging. British officials were outraged. And soon the British press was reporting that the Trump administration had apologized.
But no: Meeting with the chancellor of Germany, another ally he’s alienating, Mr. Trump insisted that there was nothing to apologize for. He said, “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind,” a commentator on (of course) Fox News.
Was anyone surprised? This administration operates under the doctrine of Trumpal infallibility: Nothing the president says is wrong, whether it’s his false claim that he won the popular vote or his assertion that the historically low murder rate is at a record high. No error is ever admitted. And there is never anything to apologize for.
Mr. Trump’s pathological inability to accept responsibility is just the culmination of a trend. American politics — at least on one side of the aisle — is suffering from an epidemic of infallibility, of powerful people who never, ever admit to making a mistake.More than a decade ago I wrote that the Bush administration was suffering from a “mensch gap.” (A mensch is an upstanding person who takes responsibility for his actions.) Nobody in that administration ever seemed willing to accept responsibility for policy failures, whether it was the bungled occupation of Iraq or the botched response to Hurricane Katrina.
Later, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, a similar inability to admit error was on display among many economic commentators.
Everyone makes mistakes. Some of these mistakes are in the “nobody could have known” category. But there’s also the temptation to engage in motivated reasoning, to let our emotions get the better of our critical faculties . . . . nobody is perfect. The point, however, is to try to do better — which means owning up to your mistakes and learning from them. Yet that is something that the people now ruling America never, ever do.
What happened to us? Some of it surely has to do with ideology: When you’re committed to a fundamentally false narrative about government and the economy, as almost the whole Republican Party now is, facing up to facts becomes an act of political disloyalty.
[W]hat’s going on with Mr. Trump and his inner circle seems to have less to do with ideology than with fragile egos. To admit having been wrong about anything, they seem to imagine, would brand them as losers and make them look small.
In reality, of course, inability to engage in reflection and self-criticism is the mark of a tiny, shriveled soul — but they’re not big enough to see that.
Many Americans no longer seem to understand what a leader is supposed to sound like, mistaking bombast and belligerence for real toughness. . . . . we can at least hope that watching Mr. Trump in action will be a learning experience — not for him, because he never learns anything, but for the body politic. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll eventually put a responsible adult back in the White House.

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