A friend recently posted a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, entitled “The Real Reason They Hate Trump.” Some of his friends, Republicans, commented that “This writer says what a lot of people think and feel about what’s going on … I like this article more and more with each reread.”
The author of the article is a professor of Computer Science at Yale University. I’m one of the “them” who despise Trump. I figured I’d take a read. With those credentials, and that commentary, I thought I might learn something interesting about how the Right views Donald Trump.
What I learned, most of all, is that the author does not begin to understand where I’m coming from. Also, I learned that a Professor of Computer Science at Yale need not use basic logic in his writing.
For future generations, the Kavanaugh fight will stand as a marker of the Democratic Party’s intellectual bankruptcy, the flashing red light on the dashboard that says “Empty.” The left is beaten.
From my perspective on the left, I rather think that future generations, led by strong and intelligent women, will look back at the Kavenaugh fight (and essays like this one) as the point when the Republican party admitted their complete and utter moral bankruptcy. The Republican party no longer stands for anything except “beating the left.” Nothing matters, evidently, as long as you’ve won the political battles.
Many left-wing intellectuals are counting on technology to do away with the jobs that sustain all those old-fashioned truck-driver-type people, but they are laughably wide of the mark. It is impossible to transport food and clothing, or hug your wife or girl or child, or sit silently with your best friend, over the internet.
This is emblematic of the problem with the triumph of the “average” and the dismissal of intelligence: you deeply misunderstand important things. Holy crap, I just looked up your Wikipedia article… you apparently used to be brilliant. But this — this paragraph represents a complete and incomprehensible lack of real understanding of what is happening in the industry — sad, Mr. Gelernter. Really sad.
I suppose I’m a “left-wing intellectual,” but I’m not “counting” on technology to do anything. I’m a software engineer at Amazon working on machine learning, and I am keenly aware of the changes that are coming — coming like a tidal wave, with changes that are going to be so profound I don’t think we’ve even begun to understand them. As it turns out, it is entirely possible to transport food and clothing in a self-driving vehicle. It’s entirely possible to run a store with no cashiers. It’s possible to run a warehouse with robots. It’s increasingly possible, in fact, to do almost everything people do. I’m not “counting” on it; I’m simply stating the facts. This is coming. Wishing, even wishing hard, even wishing in a way that blames and insults people you don’t like, won’t make it go away.
Frankly, the hugs of family and camaraderie of good friends are exactly what the liberals care about. What are those truck drivers (and cashiers, and warehouse personnel) going to do when their jobs have been automated? Without Social Security, they won’t be able to eat. When insurance is unaffordable, and anyone with a pre-existing condition can’t be treated, they won’t be able to heal their children.
Republican policies are aimed directly at harming these people, these “average” Americans. It’s a shame that the contempt with which people like this author treat “intellectuals” makes them unable to see who is actually harming them.
Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?
That is a stupid question. Trump is a lying, corrupt, nihilist. As you point out at the beginning of your article, he’s been filthy rich and dodging taxes since before he hit puberty. What I despise about Trump is his contempt for the average American: for his own personal profit, he is intentionally harming the very people you’re suggesting he’s quite like. You are a professor at Yale? My respect for the institution has been diminished.
Mr. Trump is the unconstrained average citizen.
No. Mr. Trump is a filthy rich tax fraud.
You might dislike [Trump’s] whole package. I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, nor would he choose me. But what I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.
You are a professor of Computer Science? You are a man that Bill Joy once described as “one of the most brilliant and visionary computer scientists of our time?” Wow, what happened?
Because this is deeply illogical. “People are proud of their hatred, which means they must hate average Americans.” That’s…. that’s… wow.
I don’t think Trump has anything to do with the “average American.” I think he has everything to do with Cesar Sayoc (who sent pipe bombs to people he perceived as Trump’s political opponents) and Robert Bowers (who killed eleven jews in a hate filled mass shooting at a synagogue a couple days ago). I think Trump lies; I think he’s corrupt; I think he is corroding the government; I think he is racist. My daughter is disabled, and I think he is harming her. My other daughter is gay, and I think he his harming her.
I couldn’t possibly say it better than this writer, a friend of a friend: “My loathing for this man is sullen, inky, without bottom. It’s a tangible force of its own, like a cursed pet that trails me from room to room. Even through the very worst moments of my life, I don’t think I’ve ever nursed such a combination of rage and despair. Far beyond the incessant lies and proud stupidity and corrosion of government is the fact that this country is in the grips of a wave of far-right terrorism and Donald Trump is the chief propogandist.”
That’s what I think of Donald Trump. Don’t demean that fury with the trite phrase “hate.” Don’t dismiss the motivation as though it has something to do with the “average American.” That’s contemptible.
Granted, Mr. Trump is a parody of the average American, not the thing itself.
Look, we’ve been over this. He really isn’t. He’s a parody of nothing but himself.
Average Americans, as I think about it, are people who want to do a good days work and get paid a fair wage for it. Who want to go home to a healthy family they can provide for, who want to give their children a hug and know that those children have a shot at a better life. Who have good friends with whom they can share their lives.
Donald Trump is absolutely none of those things.
Those who voted for Mr. Trump, and will vote for his candidates this November, worry about the nation, not its image. The president deserves our respect because Americans deserve it … the basic human stuff that has made America great, and is making us greater all the time.
Sigh. This essay is a plastic bag full of rotting leaves.
Edit: removed the misinformation that one of Robert Bower’s victims was a Holocaust survivor. Should have done my research! Thanks, Geoff Arnold, for the correction.