Why are all Trump haters so jealous

The pandemic separates the wheat from the chaff


Read on one side

The brilliant Irish columnist and literary critic Fintan O’Toole has made a name for himself in the New York Review of Books preoccupied with the question of why Trump is fatally failing to fight the pandemic and is convinced that Covid-19 cannot hit him, the most powerful man in the world. O’Toole noticed that Trump was obsessed with germs and other subcellular pathogens in contradicting ways in his books and speeches; he washes his hands at every opportunity - and still believes that bacteria and viruses cannot harm him, just like all the other powerful leaders who have hardened their bodies in the steel bath of life. O'Toole's explanation: In Trump's worldview, the harmful microorganisms only attack people who radiate negative energies; The big and strong, on the other hand, who shied no risk, are immunologically privileged and enjoy a natural inviolability with their positive energies. Viruses become weak before the strong.

What O’Toole is getting at: Trump has contracted the social Darwinian virus; he too sees society as the scene of a natural selection that rightly promotes the strong up and the weak right down. According to O’Toole, he cursed the "haters and losers", those allegedly "envy-eaten" contemporaries whose only purpose in life was to spit the successful, i.e. him, into the soup. The haters other losers, the failures, weaklings and rabbits seem to be a kind of inferior species to Trump, while only big shots give the impression that with their killer instinct they are fully fledged human beings. In any case, his congregation heard the ringing of the Darwinian night bell. In Tennessee, a protester demands: "Sacrifice the weak!" - "Sacrifice the weak!"

Trump's opponents miss the crucial point when they, with moralizing glare, accuse him of dividing the country instead of reconciling America in the hour of national need. Mr. President doesn't want that at all. For him, every crisis marks the moment of social cleansing, after which everyone sees more clearly. Fintan O'Toole cites a remarkably cynical sentence from 2013 in which Trump expresses his satisfaction that America's economic crisis will "separate the winners from the losers." He is likely to have viewed the coronavirus outbreak as a natural cleansing as well: the pandemic separates the wheat from the chaff, the hardworking from the lazy, the cunning from the stupid, and the tough from the weak. Therefore everyone has the freedom to infect others. In any case, the virus only hits those who are not up to the struggle for life. "You’re fired. "

In hardly any other country is the virus raging as badly as in the United States; meanwhile the first states are ordering refrigerated trucks for the corpses. But Trump reacts to the national nightmare with booming silence or searches for "culprits" in nasty tweets ("Dr. Fauci!"). Mourning and sympathy are not something that can be found in his semantic poison cabinet, and he would presumably deal with the bereaved just as succinctly as his brother in spirit, the Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro: "We all have to die at some point."

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Such platitudes are heard more often these days, and they save politicians from distinguishing between natural death and avoidable death. Why also? If the same laws prevail everywhere as in nature, even more: if the whole of society is subject to biological processes, then every death is a natural one, including death in a mass death that is partly the responsibility of governments. Admittedly, Trump still has a subsequent consolation in store for the dead, namely the good news of the life of the US economy. A few days after George Floyd was choked to death by a cop, he cheerfully commented on the falling unemployment rate by saying, "Hopefully George is looking down from the sky right now and saying it's a great day for him, a great day for him all is. "

If one believes the American political scientist Mark Lilla, then his country, torn by "virtue terror" and a new class of "plutocrats", is currently returning to the late 19th century, that is to say exactly to the phase of high capitalism described by Richard Hofstadter (World, July 14, 2020). Lilla's finding can still be added: In America's great crisis, people die for a social Darwinist liberalism that no longer seems to know any other goals than struggle and competition, only the bare interest of power in itself - and the shameless self-enrichment of the infinitely rich, one percent of which already owns forty percent of the total assets.

Recently, the news came that Donald Trump had surprisingly shown insight and put on a face mask during a performance in a military hospital. He said he looked like a Lone Ranger, like a Texan watchdog in the Wild West. A ranger is a man who maintains order when the armed freedom of one collides with the armed freedom of the other. The crucial question is always: which of the three shoots first?