Musing about law, books, and politics

All Those Lies

[View here as a Twitter thread]

Trump supporters don’t care if Trump lies. If they repeat something Trump says, and then find out it isn’t factual, they don’t care. That’s a hard one for non-Trump supporters to wrap their minds around.

1/ I wrote about this in my Slate article a few months ago. hWhen you argue with Trumpsters and use the truth as a weapon, it doesn’t really faze them. They’re holding onto something they think is more important than literal truth.

2/ @jenmercieca posted a quotation by Hannah Arendt that she thinks is probably the best explanation for Trump voters. I think she’s right. Accepting the lies comes from cynicism and anger. 

3/ When Hitler’s followers learned he lied, “instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.” [Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 382] h/t @jenmercieca

4/ @annapplebaum made a smart observation: Trump framed the shutdown fight as being between him and the Democrats: It is

Trump (who he presents to his followers as the leader who embodies the mythic destiny of the nation) v. the Enemies.

5/ But, as @annapplebaum points out, the Senate Republicans are responsible for the shut down. The Constitution offers simple solution to the shutdown: Enough members of Congress veto the president.

6/ But the Senate Republicans refuse. And then they all blame the Democrats. It’s a clever lie. Sarah Sanders said the lies “point out an important truth.”Maybe like metaphors? The world isn’t really a stage.

7/ Maybe Deep State is a metaphor for stubborn holdouts. “The deep state is trying to bring down Trump” means that people like Preet Bharara are stubbornly holding out, refusing to see the higher truth that Trump is “rescuing” the country

8/ They lie because they want to destroy a government that they don’t believe is legitimate. Libertarians think the federal government has overreached. Others think it’s illegitimate because it gives rights to “others” over “real” Americans.

9/ The strategy is effective because the opponents of autocracy must stay grounded in the truth. Lies are easier to spread. Truth is nuanced and complicated and doesn’t fit as well into sound bites.

10/ Adding to this thread. @ChrisKurselArtasked, “What breaks the spell of not truth?”

11/ Ultimately they must be outvoted. Studies (I’ll find my thread) show that about a third of the population tends toward authoritarianism. It’s an interesting number. Hitler came to power with 33% of the vote. Authoritarians, though, always exert much more power . . .

Teri Kanefield Retweeted Teri Kanefield

12/. . . because they adopt anti-democratic methods. The side that lies and cheats has an advantage. If pro-democracy side adopts the same methods, it’s all over. So they can’t. [Click here for an overview of authoritarianism v. conservatism.]

13/ 20th century fascism & the KKK were never eradicated. They lost their respective wars and went underground. As they see it, they were silenced by “politically correctness.” But they never went away. I’m afraid they’ll always be with us.