and he wrote this personal e-mail:
I've been puzzled by the link you sent me in your last email.
In the probably fictional story about Diogenes of Sinope asking Alexander the Great to get out of the way and stop blocking his sunlight, Diogenes understood or would have understood who Alexander the Great was and the abrasive insult he Diogenes was giving. Diogenes also implicitly understood his own sense of being a maverick, being understood in his time and place as being a respected philosopher, or at least a respected oddity, eccentric, who spoke the truth and made sense. By the same token, Diogenes understood he would not be punished, ridiculed, or killed by the most powerful man in the Greek world. He understood that Alexander's respect and Greek tradition would protect him. Diogenes understood an important presupposition of Greek thought. Language is a means to the praxis of consensus, a means of creating a consensus about what is, a means of appealing to and using that consensus as communication of agreed upon facts as facts, and that communication was only possible if the "real," perhaps a fiction itself, was this consensus based on a shared reference to ascertainable facts. In other words, there was a kind of truth that referenced a shared agreement on the experience of what is and what isn't, i.e., what is fact.
The truth of Diogenes and the truth of your blog wrestles with the entire ambiguity of truth by revealing and uncovering what is really true and thereby exposing what is really false. The process employs paradox, irony, and insight, depth, wisdom, and intelligence. That kind of exposure exists NOWHERE in Trump's rhetoric. I am surprised you have been so misled, but then I am certain you in Europe have been spared the interminable, self-reflexive, self-congratulatory, bombastic, narcissistic rants of a full Donald Trump speech.
The diatribe and vitriol expressed in your suggested link are precisely the diatribe and vitriol Trump continually expressed during the election, making the important assumption that like Diogenes there was a tradition and a respect that would guarantee a lack of retribution, a kind of immunity. Trump lied and exaggerated and lied. He appealed to people's hatred and fears rather than their logic and desire for our common welfare. Repeatedly, the American press revealed that 73% on average of the claims Trump made in his Hitlerian rallies were provable falsehoods. Almost three million more Americans, the majority of those who voted, chose Hillary Clinton. The vagaries of the electoral college gave the minority candidate the win.
I do not understand how a man of your intelligence, who so carefully researches and presents so many fascinating facts about so much interesting information can defend Mr. DT (his initials now turned around in the US to denote the delirium tremens of his fantasy world). Trust me, you have been exposed to little of the information precisely because you are so far away. You don't have television. You have never seen an entire Trump rally (as I am certain you never saw an entire Hitler speech or rally). Your access is limited. Your information is limited.
Cynically, you have written that it is good he has shaken things up. Indeed he has. But consider this: When Trump refuses to pay the US national debt (at 13 trillion dollars or is it 17?), owed to foreigners, a key financial tactic he has employed in his many bankruptcies (he is by no means as rich as he says he is) of paying pennies on the dollar of his owed debts, and when world markets and currencies tumble as a result, whatever state subsidies you receive will vanish in value--at the very least. The US, Canada, Russia, and Brazil are the only countries on the globe with the natural resources to survive without reliance on any one else, including each other. The US and Russia as Trump's new lover, have the military power to enact their will anywhere. The dystopia that you have imagined and have suggested awaits in the shadows is potentially nearer than you think.
Get the facts, my man. Think. You can call me an alarmist. Okay. Enjoy your wine, your music, your reading, your rhubarb crumbles, your access to the world, your audience, and may they not be in as much jeopardy as I think they are, my feisty Irishman who lives so far away!
This is my reply:
Mr Mean-Spirited reflects, I think, Middle-American attitudes: the blacks are getting uppity again, Family Values are being destroyed by homos, we’re being swamped by Latinos, etc. etc.
Jim Crow is not very recently dead, just biding his time. Mr Mean-Spirited won’t travel by airplane any more because he can’t carry his gun on board !
You don’t realise the degree of Schadenfreude towards Big Brother USA that exists potentially in Europe. Many ordinary people would be thrilled at the collapse of the American economy, and would only realise too late that they had to pick up the pieces. But the pieces would not be that big – certainly not for people like me. Of course the internet would eventually collapse for lack of hardware, but it could be argued that it has had its day. People living in the countryside would hardly be affected: Europe could survive much better than Cuba, and look how well it survived! In fact, the economic collapse of the US would be a fantastically good thing for climate change: China would go bankrupt too, so no more coal-fired power-stations. India would go back to its fairly sane existence between 1947 and, say, 1987. Russia would lose its oligarchs and revert (like Ireland) to the not-so-dreadful state it was in just before WW1. California (already a bubble-state sailing in its cloud of self-congratulation towards The Singularity) would become a country in its own right, exceeding Switzerland, Holland and Belgium in its liberalism. Texas and Florida might become fascist republics, and New York might declare itself an International Zone (a turbo-charged and very rich version of Tangier or Panama). New Mexico might decide to re-join Mexico, which would then become rich from the legal and more-or-less controlled/taxed production of marijuana, financed by tobacco companies which would move south.
It might also be a good thing for the threatened EU – or else (as John Gray hopes) it too might break up or become a mere trading area with only food to trade. Not a bad thing. We would still get oranges from Morocco as in the 15th and 16th centuries. Former refugees might drift back towards the new Caliphate in Baghdad, Tehran or Damascus. Sa’udi Arabia etc. would go back to being a nasty little desert kingdom. And plastic bags might become units of currency… Fabulous and wholesome recipes for nettles would be invented, and wolves would again be heard around Caylus.