Truth for us nowadays is not what is, but what others can be brought to accept …
[Dissimulation has become] one of the most striking characteristics of our age. …
Our understanding is conducted solely by means of the word: anyone who falsifies it betrays public society.
It is the only tool by which we communicate our wishes and our thoughts; it is our soul's interpreter: if we lack that, we can no longer hold together; we can no longer know each other.
When words deceive us, it breaks all intercourse and loosens the bonds of our polity.
— Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 92), On giving the lie, Essais, Chapter 18, Book II, 1580.
We live in a time when:
- political passions run high,
- channels of free expression are dwindling, and
- organised lying exists on a scale never before known.
— George Orwell (1903 – 50), New Statesman and Nation, 9 January 1943.
I Am Your Voice
(Michael Kirk, Trump's Divided States of America, PBS Frontline, Episode 2, WGBH, 2017)
|Hillary's Margin per 10,000 voters||Donald's Margin per 10,000 voters|
|Religion||Non-Christian or No Religion||1035||Religion||Christian||1149|
|Residence||Urban||816||Residence||Suburban or Rural||721|
|Marital Status||Unmarried||714||Marital Status||Married||580|
|Age||18-44||528||Age||45 and older||504|
|Education||College Degree||450||Nativism||American Born Citizen||455|
|Military Service||Non-veteran||435||Education||No College Degree||400|
|Income||Under $50,000||396||Military Service||Veteran||351|
|Orientation||Queer||390||Income||$50,000 or more||128|
|Nativism||Overseas Born Citizen||297||Orientation||Straight||95|
(Barak Goodman, Clinton, PBS American Experience, WGBH, 2012)
(Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election, ODNI Statement on Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 6 January 2017, p 11)
Richard Nixon (1913 – 94), 8 August 1971:
[As] president, I must put the interests of America first.
Therefore, I shall resign the presidency, effective noon tomorrow.
(The United States vs Nixon, The Seventies, Episode 2, 2015)
Paleoconservatives like the former Nixon speechwriter … Pat Buchanan hearken back to the anti-New Deal, America First ideologues of the 1920s and 1930s, such as the aviation hero and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh (1902 – 74) and the radio priest Father Charles Coughlin (1891 – 1979).
George Wallace's presidential campaigns of the late 1960s and early 1970s and Pat Bucanan's in the 1990s all incorporated tropes from the America Firsters of the 1930s, inveighing as they did against elite academics and the media, globally minded Wall Streeters and multinational corporations, homosexuals, immigrants, and, implicitly, international Jewry.
In 1947, Gerald L K Smith (1898 – 1976) … founder of the America First Party, launched the Christian Nationalist Crusade, which called for the deportation of Zionists and blacks, and the dismantling of the United Nations.
(Isms and Ologies, Quercus, 2007, p 210)
Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) [1 September 1980]:
This country needs a new administration with a renewed dedication to the [American] dream …
An administration that will give that dream new life, and make America great again.
(The State of the Union Is Not Good, The Seventies, Episode 5, 2015)
[The Taj Mahal casino was] the biggest deal of his lifetime …
[Trump] spent a billion dollars on the Taj. …
Burdened by debt, [it] would not turn a profit [and closed in October 2016.]
The Plaza Hotel — a financial disaster; the airline, Trump Shuttle, was bleeding money. …
Trump and his companies owed more the $3 billion, much of it to the banks …
[But as the bankers] stared into the Trump Organization's abyss, [they] came to believe that Trump's assets … were worth more with his name on them than in foreclosure. …
They sold the yacht and the airline; and they put Trump on a $450,000 allowance.
In exchange he would continue to promote the business.
Donald Trump had survived but his casinos were deeply in debt.
He was looking for a way out.
He found one: Wall Street. …
Trump paid himself $44 million for services … even as the stock price began to fall.
The company filed for bankruptcy 3 times, investors lost billions. …
Trump characteristically described his time in Atlantic City as a success.
For Trump — real estate was increasingly a side business — marketing his name, a full time job. …
For 14 seasons [of The Apprentice,] millions of Americans watched a carefully crafted Donald Trump. …
And for his political guru … the TV audience could become Trump voters.Roger Stone (1952):Now he saw an issue he could turn into headlines … the birther issue …
Now, I understand that the elites say:Oh that's reality TV!Voters don't see it that way.
Television news and television entertainment — it's all television.
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)
Omarosa Manigault (1974) [Director of Communications for Donald Trump, September 2016]:
[If he wins, every] critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump.
[Everyone] who's ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him.
It [would be] the ultimate revenge [for him] to become the most powerful man in the universe.
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)
On May 1, 1989, [Donald Trump spent an estimated $85,000 on] full-page advertisements in all four of the [New York] city's major newspapers [calling for the return of the death penalty for the Central Park five. …]
In 2002, [Metias] Reyes declared that he [had] assaulted and raped the jogger. …
The city [subsequently reached] a settlement of more than $40 million in the civil suit brought by the five defendants.
In June 2014, Trump wrote an opinion article for the New York Daily News in which he called the settlement "a disgrace" and said that the group's guilt was still likely:Donald Trump:[In] October 2016 [he again] refused to acknowledge the Central Park Five's innocence and stated that their convictions should never have been vacated.
Settling doesn't mean innocence. …
Speak to the detectives on the case and try listening to the facts.
These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels. …
(Central Park jogger case, Wikipedia, 6 July 2017)
Tom Switzer (1971):
We are into the sixth month of the Trump presidency [and, according to the Wall Street Journal,] of the 558 key positions requiring senate confirmation 427 have no nominee. …
Jake Sullivan (1976):
[Trump] is not actually interested in doing the job of president.
He's just interested in being the president.
( American policymaker Jake Sullivan on US foreign policy, Between the Lines, 15 June 2017)
Nicolas de Caritat (1743 – 1794) [Marquis de Condorcet]:
If we cannot find voters who are sufficiently enlightened, we must avoid making a bad choice by accepting as candidates, only those men in whose competence we can trust.
William King (1874 – 1950) [Prime Minister of Canada, 1921-26, 1926-30, 1935-48):
The extreme man is always more or less dangerous, but nowhere more so than in politics.
(Margaret MacMillan, History's People, Text, 2015, p 51)
George Orwell (1903 – 50):
The energy that actually shapes the world springs from emotions —
— which liberal intellectuals mechanically write off as anachronism, and which they have usually destroyed so completely in themselves as to have lost all power of action.
- racial pride,
- religious belief,
- love of war
(Wells, Hitler and the World State, Horizon, August 1941)
Totalitarianism has abolished freedom of thought to an extent unheard of in any previous age. …
The totalitarian state tries to control the thoughts and emotions of its subjects at least as completely as it controls their actions. …
It sets up unquestionable dogmas, and it alters them from day to day.
It needs the dogmas, because it needs absolute obedience from its subjects, but it cannot avoid changes, which are dictated by the needs of power politics.
It declares itself infallible, and at the same time it attacks the very concept of objective truth.
(Listener, 19 June 1941)
Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945):
I know perfectly well … that in a scientific sense there is [no] such thing as race …
[But] as a politician [I] need a concept which enables the order which has hitherto existed on historic bases to be abolished and an entirely new and antihistoric order enforced and given and intellectual basis …
[For] this purpose the concept of races serves me well …
With the concept of race, [we will] recast the world.
(Anthony Grayling, The Meaning of Things, Phoenix, 2001, p 51)
Don Watson (1949):
Noble and creative as it has often been, provider of an essential thread in the best of the American ideal and source of a rare grace one encounters only in the United States, American Christianity also disguises fear and feeds ignorance, paranoia and prejudice, along with a readiness to smite enemies with weapons of unspeakable destructive force.
(Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump, Quarterly Essay, Issue 63, 2016, p 23)
Alice Miranda Ollstein [Political Reporter]:
According to a book written by [Argentinian President] Macri’s father Franco, Trump threw a tantrum after losing a round of golf to Mauricio Macri and broke his friend’s golf clubs — one by one.
(There is a lot more to the Trump Argentina story, ThinkProgress, 23 November 2016)
Ying Ma [Deputy Director of a Trump Super PAC, The Committee for American Sovereignty]:
[We] know that in state-craft, every now and then, to be unpredictable is not such a bad thing in negotiations. …
One of the reasons Donald Trump won is that … he is able to simplify a lot of issues that the GOP have not been able to simplify for voters …
(The Trump victory, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 10 November 2016)
John Ashton (1956):
Our mainstream politics is less connected to the base of society than [it has been] for generations.
Into that gap scurry opportunists, attention-seekers, populists, pied pipers and demagogues, always good entertainers, peddling the illusion of simple solutions in a complex world.
We don’t feel close to our politicians, or trust them. …
We yearn for a real conversation about who were are and where we are going as a country, a vision for the future.
(Lifting the Lid on the Politics of Climate Change, RSA, 16 May 2013)
Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 65):
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new Nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. …
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us,
(Soldiers' National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 19 November 1863)
- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion,
- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,
- that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and
- that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.