Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Trump's use of false history

Paul Rosenberg describes how Trump uses fake history as a narrative to base his lies on in Bigger than fake news: Trump’s rise was fueled by a deeper narrative of fake history.
A lot of ink and a lot of electrons have been spilled on the subject of “fake news” during the last election cycle. But too little attention has been paid to something deeper that plays a crucial role in Donald Trump’s worldview: fake history. Although vague in its outlines, and more often alluded to than directly mentioned, that fake history is central to Trump’s worldview, his sense of self and the ways he connects with his audience.
Of particular interest is the description of different ways of understanding the world:
In “The Battle for God,” Karen Armstrong highlighted an ancient distinction between two different ways of understanding the world: Logos is concerned with the practical understanding of how things work in the world, while mythos is concerned with ultimate meaning. “Unless we find some significance in our lives, we mortal men and women fall very easily into despair,” she noted. “The mythos of a society provided people with a context that made sense of their day-to-day lives; it directed their attention to the eternal and the universal. It was also rooted in what we would call the unconscious mind.”

The power of memes is clearly related to how well they fit into a mythos. For decades, conservatives have nourished a mythos that sustains them, one in which liberal betrayal plays a central role, and where conservatives alone are the “real Americans,” the most exceptional people on earth. (Their mythos has always had a strong ethnocentric core, which they’ve drawn on to achieve other policy ends. Trump won by doubling down on that core.) Liberals, meanwhile, have been much more engaged in logos, in the actual how and why things work in the world. Trump’s campaign intensified this polarization, identifying all educated elites as the liberal establishment that had betrayed “real Americans.”

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