Incompetence or Deliberate?

7 mins read

Jae Gregory asked:

It’s mostly incompetence. Fascist leaders are not equipped to deal with a real crisis. They only know how to deal with a manufactured crises.

In a totalitarian society, the leadership would never be held accountable or blamed because they would control all information. The people would believe what they were told. In this case, they would believe that the deaths were the result of:

  • China launching a bioweapon against the US and/or
  • China lying to make things worse

They’d also believe that the Great Leader Trump was hampered in his efforts to mitigate the problem by domestic enemies (Democrats, liberals, and other critics of Trump.)

For more on why a fascist leader isn’t equipped to handle a real crisis, see this post from February.

Another source of the problem: The Republicans have been systematically dismantling the federal government (the “deep state”) and regulatory agencies. They don’t like agencies and regulations because they don’t want the government telling them what to do.

I’ve argued that MAGA means: Take America back to the 1920s (and earlier). The “again” in MAGA signifies reactionary politics.

For more on that, see this post.

Reactionaries want to return to the glorious days of yesteryear. In the US that means back to the frontier, or the age of robber barons, when [white] men had almost unlimited personal liberty.

There are a few things they forget, however.

They forget that in the Good Old Days, people died of diseases that are preventable now. The average age span was much shorter.

Ooops! Forgot about that.

Moreover, only a functioning government is equipped to handle a pandemic.

Double oops.

They really don’t want a pandemic because the rich are just as likely to get sick. Totally the wrong kind of crisis. Just today we learned that Sen. Paul Rand tested positive for COVID-19. Yup, that one. The Senator who voted against the relief package. The libertarian who loves Russia.

This morning, before receiving his test results, he swam in the Senate pool. Consider the average age of the Senators. Many of them have been exposed due to Rand Paul’s stupidity.

Really Trump was not hoping for a plague that might debilitate and maybe even kill Republican Senators.

Trump much prefers a “crisis” of defenseless, homeless “invading” migrants. They can’t really hurt him or his friends.

Here’s my other guess: When Trump initially downplayed the danger, he was most likely thinking of the stock market and economy. His vast “instincts” about medicine told him that it was nothing more serious than the flu, so he took a chance. If indeed it didn’t spread, he could save the stock market from taking a downturn.

Meanwhile, we know that at least a few Republican Senators downplayed the risk to the public while they unloaded stock (Here’s an article about Sen. Loeffler). In other words, their first thought was to profit from the pandemic.

Raise your hand if you suspect the Trumps did something similar? When they saw that there would indeed be a pandemic, they scrambled to protect as many of their assets as they could while continuing to downplay the risks. (Me!)

Republican Senators like Loeffler put their own financial interests ahead of the public. They don’t care if a few more people die as long as they have time to protect their money. But this is different from deliberately setting out to kill people in this manner.

By “in this manner” I mean they don’t mind if poor people die because they don’t have access to affordable health care. That’s what Timothy Snyder calls “sadopopulism.

A pandemic is different because it can also kill rich people and even Republican Senators.

As far as offering help and being proactive: It’s entirely possible that Trump had no idea how to do it, and he doesn’t have people around him who do.

Also he silences professionals and experts who don’t say what he wants to hear. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took Hannity’s word for how to respond.

This is what happened shortly after the Revolutionary War, when there was no functioning federal government. States imposed their own tariffs and border patrols, essentially fleecing each other. Alexander Hamilton wanted a strong central government so this wouldn’t happen. Thomas Jefferson wanted a weak central government with each state independent of the others. (Jefferson at one point suggested a central committee instead of a federal government).

The Hamiltonians (strong central government) and Jeffersonians (weak federal government) have been battling for the past few centuries.

Red states wanted a weak federal government. They got that. Plus (bonus!) they got a president who doesn’t think it’s his job to help the states.

The lesson: Be careful what you wish for. Maybe (just hear me out) just maybe the ideas that informed and underlaid the Confederacy—like a weak central government and powerful states—were stupid ideas.

Maybe Hamilton was right.

I don’t think Trump wants an actual war. He might get hurt or his properties damaged. He prefers manufactured crises that he can control. He prefers to stir racism. It keeps his base excited. When he takes on an “enemy” he prefers defenseless homeless migrants or enemies that cower when he tweets.

Originally posted on Musing about Law, Books, and Politics.
Re-posted with permission.


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Teri has written novels, short stories, nonfiction for both young readers and adults, and lots of legal briefs. She is currently writing an overlapping series of biographies called the Making of America. Her political commentary has appeared on the NBC Think Blog and CNN.com. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Education Week, Slate Magazine, and Scope Magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in the American Literary View, The Iowa Review, and others. For twelve years she maintained a private appellate law practice limited to representing indigents on appeal from adverse rulings. She believes with the ACLU that when the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled. She also believe with John Updike that the purpose of literature is to expand our sympathies. Teri lives with her family on the beautiful central coast in California.

2 Comments

  1. The one thing that no one brings up is that with a weak government companies have more of a say. That’s what republicans like, their rich companies telling them what to do so they can make money. More mergers go thought with a republican government, more good laws are taken away (look at net neutrality). A strong government has regulations and republicans don’t like those. Republicans only like to make laws that hurt the middle class and poor, because then they make money.

  2. Mr. Madison, what you just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response, were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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