Donald Trump and the triumph of the stupid


What is happening in the United States is a matter of the gravest portent for the whole civilised world.

Throughout the last hundred years, individual Americans have done more to further civilisation than the individuals of any other country; today, Trump voters embark upon the task of degrading civilisation. At the present day the most distinguished names in the world of learning are still American; the most degraded and brutal government, shortly to obtain access to the levers of presidential power, is also American. Given a few years of Trump rule, the United States will sink to the level of a horde of barbarians.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We stand at an inflection point of history: the election of Donald Trump, arguably the most ill informed, brutal, corrupt, thin-skinned and narcissistic individual elected to the US presidency.[/pullquote]

These are not my words; they are a paraphrase of the famous philosopher Bertrand Russell writing about Germany at a critical inflection point of history, the rise of Hitler in 1933. His essay was entitled The Triumph of Stupidity.

The essay makes chilling reading at a new inflection point of history: the rise of Donald Trump, arguably, the most ill informed, brutal, corrupt, thin-skinned and narcissistic individual elected to the US presidency.

It has happened in much the same way that Russell described the rise of Hitler:

…What has happened is quite simple. Those elements of the population which are both brutal and stupid (and these two qualities usually go together) have combined against the rest.

Steve Bannon, the pied piper of brutality and stupidity has poisoned his minions with fake news in order to elect a fake president with fake values.

How did the rest of us let it happen? Russell is prescient in his assessment:

The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

Even those of the intelligent who believe that they have a nostrum are too individualistic to combine with other intelligent men from whom they differ on minor points.

Trump supporters were cocksure and Hillary supporters fretted over minor points: whether she was as liberal as Bernie; whether the fact that her State Department emails were on a private server meant anything; whether the DNC schemed to elect her, and whether Huma Abedin’s marriage to Anthony Weiner should taint her by association. Oh, and the Russians and the Republican director of the FBI conspired against her while obviously violating international law and American precedent respectively.

…It is, I think, undeniable that the best [people] of the present day have a wider and truer outlook … but [they] are impotent spectators. Perhaps we shall have to realise that scepticism and intellectual individualism are luxuries which in our tragic age must be forgone, and if intelligence is to be effective, it will have to be combined with a moral fervour which it usually possessed in the past but now usually lacks.

Russell’s essay ends in a grim irony; Germany may be in the grip of evil people, but America may save the day:

In this gloomy state of affairs, the brightest spot is America. In America democracy still appears well established, and the men in power deal with what is amiss by constructive measures, not by pogroms and wholesale imprisonment.

Tragically, that is about to change. The men soon to be in power (and it is almost exclusively men) do not believe in constructive measures. They believe in intimidation, self-dealing, score-settling and a never ending stream of lies.

Republicans, led by Republican-in-Chief Vladimir Putin, chide the Democrats to accept their loss and get over their disappointment. But Democrats aren’t disappointed; we are terrified. We remember that Hitler came to power because he and his supporters wanted to make Germany great again. The result was that Germany was reduced to a smoking ruin.

That could happen here too.

91 Responses to “Donald Trump and the triumph of the stupid”

  1. Steve Griffin
    December 31, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    Trump is arguably the most brutal president elected? Dr. Tuteur, please explain who you see as more brutal: George W. Bush for Abu Gharaib and Guantanamo, or Donald Trump for… for… help me out here…

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      December 31, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

      Lying, cheating, stealing, forcing innocent individuals to go broke. Just wait until he gets his hands on real power.

      • Sue
        January 3, 2017 at 1:07 am #

        yes I can’t wait.. the world will be a much safer place with him as President of the United state.. Yayeeee.. Obama gone.. Hillary gone.. Yayeeeeee

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          January 3, 2017 at 1:33 am #

          The triumph of the stupid. Thanks for proving that point, too!

          • Sue
            January 3, 2017 at 2:11 am #

            Now here you go again with that superior God like attitude ….thanks for proving my point..We’re you really a Doctor.. And to think Hillary thought she would win.. your time of deceiving is coming to an end doc.. much like Hillary..

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          January 4, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

          Well, you’re getting the government you deserve, at least. Good luck with it.

        • FigaroPho
          January 14, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

          Donald Trump will either cause World War III or make peace by turning America into a pitiful vassal state of kleptocratic Russia. How is making the US weak, poor, and subservient to a murderous dictator making America great again? Or would you simply rather have a bloodthirsty white dictator than a dignified African American President who saved the economy from Bush’s incompetence and has made the military better funded and more efficient than EVER? Apparently, you’d also rather have a functionally illiterate mentally unstable traitor who doesn’t even know what the job entails over a woman who was the most qualified Presidential candidate since FDR, America’s greatest president.

          Thanks so much for destroying my country and declaring war on my human rights. You lost the election too, you know. Unlike me, you’re just stupid (or brainwashed by right wing and Russian propaganda) to realize it.

          • sdsures
            January 15, 2017 at 10:27 am #

            As a British-Canadian, I am absolutely heartbroken and terrified to see Obama leave.

    • FigaroPho
      January 14, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

      If you don’t realize that Donald Trump will make Abu Gharaib and Gitmo look like tea parties, I can’t help you. The statements he’s made about what he wants to do to protesters, activists, and innocent members of possible terrorists families are those of a man who wants to be an incredibly brutal dictator, just like his hero Putin.

  2. D/
    December 29, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    Partially OT update:
    Literally two days after learning of my granddaughter’s anencephaly, my daughter was notified that in just over three weeks her health insurance through work would be dropped (which somehow according to some of the same co-workers and family members so willing to share their unsolicited anti-abortion opinions, we have Obama to thank for that).

    Not incidentally, and well before 2009, neither of my adult daughters have ever been offered insurance through their work until the past year. And prior to Obamacare, with chronic pre-existing conditions, both were uninsurable without being on my work policy— which they’ve now aged out of— and require treatment that cannot be afforded without insurance coverage. For the next year at least, she can be insured through a health exchange policy with improved coverage and for the same cost as her employer’s policy … So, yes, thank you for that President Obama!

    These last three weeks have felt relentless in every respect, and if my own holds any comparison, I can barely imagine the added worry and anger on top of grief that all of this has placed on my daughter. I do not expect my little family to weather the Trump presidency (or its die-hard supporters) well and know others likely to fare much worse. This little sneak preview, including into how more than just a few of the people I actually know and see everyday think, only confirms my worries.

  3. Pck
    December 29, 2016 at 5:32 am #

    So they’re brutal and stupid. Does this imply that the looney left must all be kind and intelligent?
    I don’t think so. Clearly you still don’t get it.

    • Who?
      December 29, 2016 at 6:13 am #

      So it’s Trump or the loony left? Same catastrophising extremist thinking as the antivaxxer over the page.

      If you can’t see a middle ground, which is where most people are most of the time, more fool you.

      • Pck
        December 29, 2016 at 6:22 am #

        That’s right, the middle ground voted in their millions for Trump.
        Comparing Trump with Hitler isn’t catastrophising at all is it?

        • Who?
          December 29, 2016 at 6:41 am #

          Millions more of them voted for Hilary, but let’s leave that inconvenient little fact for another time, shall we?

          I don’t love the comparison of Trump with Hitler, but what I intended to comment on was your juxtaposition of Trump with the ‘loony left’ like they are the only two options.

          Trump is bad news and will make a lot of money for himself out of the next couple of years. Sadly, those who voted for him are likely to be some of the most disadvantaged by what he wants to do.

          Probably almost as much as women of childbearing age, LGBTQ people, people of colour and anyone else who doesn’t quite fit in with Mr Trump’s world view of the day.

          • Pck
            December 29, 2016 at 6:50 am #

            The history of the electoral college is well documented.
            You make massive assumptions and predictions as if they are truth.
            There’s an ongoing trend of arrogance and lack of insight in you anti-Trumpers.

          • Who?
            December 29, 2016 at 7:05 am #

            I’d think those who voted for Trump would be so happy-a new dawn with a
            great leader who will bring their once-proud nation back to glory. But
            no, you’re all scrambling around in the dirt sneering at anyone who
            disagrees with you. Much like your hero, actually.

            Sound like a recipe
            for greatness, does it?

            Part of all that is the dark hinting-which happens to be another anti-vax playbook theme.

            Share your insights and expose my arrogance, please do.

            Or, as is more likely, do you have nothing to say, except the hints and prognostications?

          • FigaroPho
            January 14, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

            Yes, the Electoral College’s history is well documented. It’s an horribly anti-democratic institution installed into the Constitution at the insistence of slave states as a way to give them more electoral power than they deserved. They wanted electoral credit for their slaves without having to give them human rights or a vote so the EC counts small rural states votes with more than three times as much weight as votes in California, New York, and Illinois, the economic, agricultural, and technical engines of the country. It should’ve been removed from the Constitution as soon as slavery was outlawed. Hamilton’s argument that it existed to save the country from demagogues voted in by ignorant masses has never been true. Quite the opposite. The voters have chosen wisely for the most part only to be usurped by the Electoral College, a pathetic relic of slavery.

          • sdsures
            January 15, 2017 at 10:29 am #

            Thank you for explaining what the electoral college is. I needed a primer on it to understand how the hell Trump won. (non-American here) It does sound horribly skeevy.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          December 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

          This moderate and monservative moderate spouse, like the actual majority of americans, voted for HRC

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      December 29, 2016 at 9:14 am #

      Kinder and more intelligent.

      • Pck
        December 30, 2016 at 12:01 am #

        And less deplorable of course.

        • FigaroPho
          January 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

          Yes, of course. If you can’t see how literally deplorable Donald Trump and his hard core supporters are, you are the one with a serious problem.

  4. yentavegan
    December 28, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    I am replying to this essay because I do not wish my silence to be misconstrued as acceptance. I am in disagreement with the comparison of Donald Trump to anything even remotely Nazi/Hitler.

    • sdsures
      December 28, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

      Agreed. Trump IS scary and dangerous. But can he actually do things to Americans the way the Nazi Party and Hitler targeted Jws, Slavs, Roma and Poles, to name a few? Could Trump dissolve Congress, the Senate and declare himself autocrat?

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        December 28, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

        Trump’s first, and for many months only, position was that immigrants in general and Mexicans and Muslims in particular are evil. If that doesn’t bring to mind parallels, I don’t know what will.

        Can he do it? Well, let’s see what kind of Reichtstagbrand he comes up with and how much resistance he meets.

      • FigaroPho
        January 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

        Yes, he can do all of those things. Congress is now filled with his obsequious sycophants. Republicans have been salivating for a dictator to worship and now they have him.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      December 28, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

      Normally I would agree–Hitler gets dragged out for every politician anyone disagrees with and it’s trite at best, but I’ve seen several people who are actual holocaust survivors say that this looks familiar to them and I respect their expertise.

      • FigaroPho
        January 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

        My great uncle who is in his mid-90s is now quite eager to die because he grew up in Germany and “can’t bear to go through this again”. Hearing him say that broke my heart.

    • SporkParade
      December 29, 2016 at 10:52 am #

      My great-aunt would disagree with you, and since she was alive during WWII AND she predicted in 2008 that the economic crisis would lead to the rise of the extreme right regardless of how quickly the economy recovered, I’m going to side with her on this one.

      • FigaroPho
        January 14, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

        Yeah, my great uncle said the same thing. That between the economic meltdown and the global terrorism furor, this would happen eventually.

    • FigaroPho
      January 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

      Why? The parallels are uncanny and we know from his first wife that he was an avid student of Hitler’s propaganda theories.

  5. Megan
    December 27, 2016 at 10:04 pm #

    Personally, Trump rather reminds me of Sylvio Berlusconi.

  6. MaineJen
    December 27, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    Terrified…yes, terrified is the word.

    The difference is, Hitler did not have nuclear weapons.

  7. hmmm
    December 27, 2016 at 6:42 am #

    Thanks to the internet, sexual fetishes exist now, that have never existed before. People who were into truly unusual things in 1954 had no means of finding each other. Thanks to the internet, 2 weirdos out of seven billion can find each other in seconds, and cram comic books covered in mommy blood into each other the next day.

    The internet empowers everyone, not just the smart and just, to spread their message and find one another. This fuels division as well as unity. You can just look for people who agree with your stupid bullcrap and never face disagreement. In 1972, I had to talk with my neighbors more and had to come to consensus with them more regularly. In 2016, I can just stare at a glowing rectangle and agree with hateful basement dwellers. A few dozen idiots can form a “community” on the internet and really believe in flat Earth, or anti-vaxx, or Trump.

    The internet is an equalizer in spreading messages. The problem is most folks are stupid. They cannot tell good data from bad. They do not know what a double blind control trial is, even after you explain it slowly. They get mad when you explain it again. Lots of racists do not wish to be educated in an evidence based manner. The love the thrilling fear of Breitbart, of going on a crusade against imaginary dragons. Nightly news and newspapers were clearly more elitists, they had a greater chance of having an intelligent adult in charge. The internet allows anything, including the lowest common denominator.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild
      December 27, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

      Outre beliefs and tastes have existed throughout history and the people who enjoyed them have managed to find a way to hook up with those who shared their interests on the small scale. The internet has allowed them to hook up en masse and spread their message to the world at large. Sometimes this can be negative: fake news, conspiracy theories, racism/sexism etc. But the internet also sped up the acceptance of LGBT people, the exposed police violence toward Persons of Color, and inspired a new generation of feminists. The internet spread anti-vaxx conspiracy theories but it also let Dr Tuteur spread the word that quackery kills.

    • FigaroPho
      January 14, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

      Internet access amplifies people’s basic characteristics. It’s made stupid people dumber. It’s made smart people sharper. It’s made compassionate people better able to connect with people who need help. It’s given paranoid people new boogeymen to fear. And, sadly, it’s given hateful people a way to connect with other monsters in order to coalesce into very dangerous movements.

  8. The Computer Ate My Nym
    December 26, 2016 at 11:43 pm #

    Not entirely on topic, but North Carolina is not a democracy

    • December 27, 2016 at 12:20 am #

      Representative democracy has been all but dead for decades in the West – Brexit and Trump are final spasms. The fact of the matter is these systems were designed (or evolved) in a very different time, and reflect very different conditions than existed then. They were never built to withstand the scrutiny of 24 hour news or function under what amounts to a never ending election campaign. Trump and Brexit are symptoms of systemic failure – and maybe, in the long run, that’s exactly what those that voted for these were out to show.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        December 27, 2016 at 7:20 am #

        Why does 24 hour news make it harder for democracy to function? I’ve heard this mentioned before, but I’m not really sure what the mechanism of action is.

        • December 27, 2016 at 9:01 am #

          The press and politics are inextricably linked. We use the political information system to collectively process information, synthesize it and then use it to make decisions. Manipulations and the warping of factual information gives us less than what we need in order to make rational decisions,

          24-hour news creates ferocious competition among commercial media organizations for audience share. This, coupled with profit demands has led to a decline in journalistic standards. As a consequence this medium has moved toward sensationalism, entertainment, and opinion and away from traditional press values of verification and quality of interpretation.

        • FigaroPho
          January 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

          The turnover of 24 hour news inflates the importance of non-stories like Hillary’s emails while making massive earth shattering news like Russia utterly compromising the US’s POETUS seem as ordinary as all the other stories they discuss. The format warps the news so that you can’t tell which stories matter and which don’t.

          • ForeverMe
            January 15, 2017 at 11:03 am #

            So, are you saying that (with Internet news and 24 hour TV news) ….there’s no front page headline that most people will see?

            And this causes people to miss the important stuff and incorrectly focus on the unimportant stuff ?

    • sdsures
      December 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

      The US was never a democracy. It was founded as and remains a republic.

      • FigaroPho
        January 14, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

        The terms aren’t mutually exclusive, they modify each other. The US was designed as a democratic style republic. Saying they aren’t the same is like saying a porcelain mug can’t be red. Mugs can but don’t have to be both. Red and porcelain are modifiers that tell something about the mug but they don’t preclude each other. Same with democracy and republicanism.

  9. CanDoc
    December 26, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

    Thank you for continuing to speak out on this.
    These words, in particular, ring clearly: “…in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

    • MaineJen
      December 27, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      Dunning-Kruger in action on a grand scale.

    • Steve Griffin
      December 31, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

      So does willingness to wait and see what kind of president Trump will be constitute cocksure stupidity or intelligent doubt?

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        December 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

        Stupidity, considering that he has told us and showed us exactly what kind of president he plans to be: ill informed, brutal, corrupt, thin-skinned and narcissistic.

        Expecting him to change is like expecting the woman you hate to become more loveable if you marry her.

      • FigaroPho
        January 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

        Yes, he’s already proven himself to be utterly unfit, intellectually, emotionally, and diplomatically. His cabinet and White House appointments are utterly horrifying. He is not going to get better. Once he has power, he will only get worse. That’s what always happens with power hungry psychopaths. Just look at who he admires: Putin, Duterte, and Jong-un. Not exactly comforting. Especially when you take the whole “he lost but got installed by Russian malfeasance” thing into account. How does he pay such a monumental favor (and the $1 billion plus he owes Putin’s friends) back?

        70 year olds rarely change, especially for the better.

  10. Who?
    December 26, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    HL Mencken is also getting a workout:

    On some great and
    glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire
    at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    Read more at:
    On some great and
    glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire
    at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    Read more at:

    On some great and
    glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire
    at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    Read more at:
    On some great and
    glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire
    at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    Read more at:
    On some great and
    glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire
    at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    Read more at:

  11. J.B.
    December 26, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

    So we can’t ignore the parallels… but don’t forget that African American soldiers came back from war to Jim Crow. And Werner von Braun emigrated and came into the space race. We need to remember that and strive to be better. Otherwise American institutions may continue as we know them and double down on discrimination.

    Keeping people dumb and compliant is a huge problem. Like huge and orange.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      December 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

      I remember reading somewhere (I think the Economist but don’t have the reference immediately on me), that the best correlate with voting for Trump on a county level was poor health. The unhealthier the county, the higher the percentage of people in it who voted for Trump. This means that the Republicans have not just an ideological reason to end any measures that improve public health but also a practical reason: it increases their voting share if people are sick (even more than if they’re poor.)

  12. The Computer Ate My Nym
    December 26, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    When I first visited Germany in the 1990s, I saw an exhibit on Jewish military personnel in the Franco-Prussian war and WWI. The exhibit emphasized that Jewish people were largely accepted in German culture and were considered a part of that culture, not in any way outsiders. There was prejudice, of course, but it was not terribly severe, certainly not as bad as in eastern Europe and Jewish people held positions of rank and considerable wealth. Until the 1930s when, for no reason apparent to me, the culture suddenly decided that their former tolerance and acceptance were wrong and that Jewish people were the root of all evil.

    When Obama got elected and everyone was all about how racial prejudice was now over, I thought about this exhibit and thought that we were in a similar position: the election had demonstrated that people were willing to overcome their prejudices and elect a black man, but it wasn’t like racial prejudice had really disappeared and I was worried that the US would move as a society in the same way that Germany did between the 1910s and 1930s. I was universally told that I was crazy paranoid. Unfortunately, apparently not.

  13. The Computer Ate My Nym
    December 26, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

    So, WWII, the remake is coming. The US and Germany reverse roles (assuming Germany can avoid the evil that is the AfD.) France plays itself, once again, and completely without irony. The UK thinks it’s playing Japan, but it’s really playing Italy. Russia is playing the role of Imperial Japan. China plays the old USSR. Can Uncle Xi save the day?

    We’re all screwed, aren’t we?

    • Who?
      December 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

      That is the most disturbing thing I’ve read all year. And considering the year we’ve all had, that’s saying something.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        December 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

        It’s actually far worse than I said. Hungary and Poland already have “populist” leaders. France is a nose away from LePen. Austria barely avoided their own “populist”. The Netherlands are floating that way, if not already there.

        Then there’s the Philippines. Their current leader has compared himself to Hitler in a positive manner. He’s stated that he hopes he can kill millions of “drug dealers”.

        And those are just the ones I happen to know about.

        Like I said, screwed.

        • CanDoc
          December 26, 2016 at 8:34 pm #


        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          December 26, 2016 at 11:35 pm #

          Oh, and I forgot Switzerland. The Swiss People’s Party. Very nasty anti-immigrant idiots.

          • sdsures
            December 28, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

            Ugh! Worse than the people who caused Brexit?

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            December 28, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

            They did Brexit before Britain did…sort of, at least. Switzerland has a lot of agreements with the EU with respect to free movement of goods and people and mutual research. They tried to back out of them because, you know, immigrants. (The Swiss are so insular that they can’t handle immigrants from Germany, much less anywhere more “exotic”.) Then they realized that if they did that they’d lose a bucket of EU research money. They are now trying to be very, very quiet and make everyone forget that they ever said anything.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            December 28, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

            Nonetheless, I am keeping my eye on SwissMedic because their crazies are slightly saner than US crazies and slightly less powerful and I consider them a potential place to move in an emergency, if I can get residency and a job.

          • Pck
            December 30, 2016 at 12:07 am #

            How many of those movie stars who threatened to move to Canada have left?
            Not a single one I bet.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            December 30, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

            Don’t know about the “movie stars”, but Canada can’t keep its immigration web site up. 2017 census numbers should be interesting. Actually, of course, the US has had substantial emigration from it for decades, but it doesn’t keep records on number of people who emigrate so can pretend that the US is like a black hole that you can never escape from.

          • FigaroPho
            January 14, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

            So? Maybe they’d rather stay and fight for their country instead of just let it fall into the hands of psychotic fascists without any resistance. Isn’t that better? We’re in a world of hurt if the most privileged among us run away from this fight. If you don’t understand how horrifying our situation is, you will soon enough.

    • MaineJen
      December 27, 2016 at 11:33 am #


  14. momofone
    December 26, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    Last night as I was watching The Office, it hit me that Dwight Schrute is the quintessential Trump supporter. I hate to think that this has become a nation of Dwight Schrutes.

    • December 27, 2016 at 6:55 am #

      Strange, since Jim is the narcissistic bully.

    • FEDUP MD
      December 28, 2016 at 7:05 pm #

      I always thought of him as libertarian, but like the crazy Bundy type.

  15. Empress of the Iguana People
    December 26, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    thanks, doc. i can dream up nightmare scenarios without help

  16. fiftyfifty1
    December 26, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    In the 1930’s, Germany really was the most advanced country of its time. It had brilliant philosophers, theologians, engineers and scientists. (When I was in college in the early 90’s, chemistry majors were still required to learn German, because scientific literature out of Germany had been so ahead of its time that it was still influential 50+ years later.) And then this brilliant country took all its expertise in philosophy and theology and engineering and chemistry and used it to produce the most sophisticated and efficient death machine the world has ever known.

    And now it could be us (USA). This is too painful.

    • Roadstergal
      December 26, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

      And all of those brilliant contributions to science were squelched when certain types of science were considered tainted by association with Jews (relativity was ‘Jewish science’) and pressured out of existence in Germany. Trump’s ‘politicized science’ is just the next flavor.

  17. December 26, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    While the rise of Trump is far from good, I take some comfort in the differences between the political conditions that exist here and now compare to those that existed there and then. Most importantly, the U.S. still has a strong and independently thinking legislative branch that I doubt will be any kind of rubberstamp for the incoming administration. As well the courts, although somewhat weakened, will not roll over to excesses either. Don’t get me wrong, the U.S.A. is in for a rough four years, but it is too soon to predict it will become a smoking ruin.

    • Roadstergal
      December 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

      Trump will play a huge role in reshaping the judiciary over the next four years. Not just the SCOTUS, but judgeships all of the way down.

      Besides, remember Jackson? He showed that a president can just ignore the judiciary, if he wants.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      December 26, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

      Four years? Are you sure? The Republicans have just demonstrated that voter suppression laws work. Think they’re not going to put more in place? Eight years? More? Maybe not: Trump’s old and sick. But will his successor be named Ivanka or Eric? They might last quite a while as president-for-life.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        December 26, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

        Pence is quite enough, thanks. Dunno, though, Historically, a lot of times the Dear Leader’s children were not up to ruling in his stead.

        • LaMont
          December 26, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

          I am, depressingly, more than 100% certain Ivanka will succeed him, whether in 2020 or 2024. Our first female president, a woman-hating paragon of evil.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            December 26, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

            And the Bernie Boys will vote for her happily because they’re totally not anti-women, they just don’t like Clinton.

          • December 27, 2016 at 6:57 am #

            You’re joking, right?

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            December 27, 2016 at 7:19 am #

            No, not really. A fair number of the Bros did vote Trump (or stated that they did–it’s not like I went into the voting booth for them so I don’t know what they really did.) If I have any doubts, it’s about whether they would really ever vote for a woman. They might suddenly discover that they can’t vote for a Trump if it’s Ivanka.

            Nothing against Bernie himself who behaved very well throughout the campaign. But some of his followers seem to have gone left and somehow ended up on the right side of Trump.

          • December 27, 2016 at 7:37 am #

            Well, I was pretty excited about Bernie, but he lost the primary so I voted for Hillary. I think the defectors made up for small numbers with a big noise rather than actually being a significant electoral force.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            December 27, 2016 at 9:33 am #

            I suspect that everything, no matter how small, mattered.

          • December 27, 2016 at 9:55 am #

            Probably, but I blame election fraud (targeted cross-check, targeted restriction of voting times/places, etc.) much more than the Sour Grapes Bloc.

          • MaineJen
            December 27, 2016 at 11:35 am #

            She’s already the “first lady.” (How creepy is that? Why is no one talking about how creepy it is to install your daughter in the ‘wife’ role?)

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            December 27, 2016 at 11:50 am #

            it has happened before in the “designated hostess” way, but the pres was a widower

    • December 28, 2016 at 3:24 am #

      There is much more diversity in the US than there was in 1930s Germany. Comparisons can be made, but only go so far. I DO think there will be major global power shifts during the next 4 years, but I’m not arrogant enough to try and predict exactly what.

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