The inchoate, vacuous emotionalism of Trump Derangement Syndrome

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased Trump Derangement Syndrome symptoms from moderate to acute, with rampant emotionalism erasing all sense and reason.

I didn’t like Barack Obama. My dislike for him started with his policies and, eventually, extended to his person. Policy-wise, I didn’t like his frequently expressed belief that America wasn’t a very good country, I didn’t like his open hostility to the Constitution, his endless plans to circumvent the Second Amendment, his disdain for American immigration and border laws, his love for the regulatory state, his Affordable Care Act, his embrace of the Islamists who emerged from the Arab Spring, his Iran Agreement, his willingness to break the economy in service to the idea of anthropogenic climate change, his appointing activist judges, the racial filter through which he viewed the world, his fondness for dictators such as Raoul Castro and Recep Erdogan, his using the military as a vehicle for gender and sexuality experiments, his hostility to Israel, his cronyism with big business (which I call “crony fascism”), and I could go on and on.

You’ll note that I am very specific about the policy disagreements I had with Obama. On those occasions when he acted in a way that comported with my political values, I tried hard to give credit where credit was due. Doing so pained me because I disagreed with him often enough that I just wanted him out of office, but just is just.

From disliking his policies, I came to dislike Obama himself. I didn’t like the way he constantly hectored the American people for their perceived failings. I laughed at the way he became stutteringly incoherent when he was off the teleprompter. I didn’t like all his nasty cracks about people (including when he said of Hillary, “you’re nice enough,” which is a mean insult). I didn’t like the cop-hating, Israel-hating bureaucrats, politicians, and celebrities with whom he hung out. I disliked his jug ears and his condescending, supercilious tone. I sneered at his frequently displayed ignorance about the world, about history, about culture, and about language.

But with all that growing dislike for the man, I never lost sight of the fact that what I really didn’t like about Obama was his ideology. More than that, I never melted down into a puddle of incoherent, inchoate, vacuous emotionalism that saw me literally howling my anger or working hard to dehumanize him. At the end of the day, I think I saw him for what he was: A leftist whose policies I disliked and whose mannerisms came to irritate me a great deal.

It’s very different on the left. We’re all familiar with the video of the screaming woman at the inauguration, her mouth open in an existential howl that comes from the very depths of her being:

The left has never stopped that screaming. Their hatred for Trump (aka Trump Derangement Syndrome) transcends any policy differences. While I hated Obama’s policies and therefore disliked the man, leftists despise the man with every fiber of their being and therefore are incapable of even seeing his policies. Everything is wiped out under blind rage.

On Facebook, where I follow some leftists, the posts are illuminating. Had I posted politically on Facebook, I might have said, “I think it’s a big mistake to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and I really hate that Obama is doing that.” I might even have added, “Typical Obama.” But I always would have led with the policy.

On the left, however, the posts are always along these lines: “Drumpf is a *&#@ $#@^* $@%@!!!” The people I know — otherwise perfectly nice, kind people — are either hurling unprintable obscenities at him (or his children, their spouses, and his wife) or they’re wishing horrible deaths upon him and his family.

With Trump Derangement Syndrome infecting them as acutely as COVID-19 could, policy no longer matters. Each post just sees them verbalizing that green-clad person’s endless howl. Their posts are the written equivalent of the two-minutes of hate from 1984, something the power brokers keep alive for the masses in order to prevent rational thought:

Looking at all this emoting, it’s not surprising to learn that leftists have higher incidences of mental illness. What I’m seeing is that they are people who too often think from the gut, the physical place where feelings reside, not the mind. Living life that way is going to be painful, and you’re not going to have a lot of resources to fall back upon when things don’t go your way.

So far, all I’ve given you are my impressions about leftism and my assurances that people I know really do say the things I allege that they say. Now’s the part where I simply quote the professional leftists, the columnists and comics, for proof that their hatred for Trump is no longer a rational thing. The difference between them and my friends is that the professionals express their Derangement more elegantly, going beyond mere howls and obscenities.

Take Frank Bruni, a New York Times opinion columnist. After praising George Bush, whom he despised with the heat of a thousand suns during Bush’s presidency, he turns on Trump a hatred equal to the heat of a million suns. Indeed Bruni even concedes of himself that he’s gone beyond rational thought (emphasis mine):

In Trump’s predecessors, for all their imperfections, I could sense the beat of a heart and see the glimmer of a soul. In him I can’t, and that fills me with a sorrow and a rage that I quite frankly don’t know what to do with.

Americans are dying by the thousands, and he gloats about what a huge, rapt television audience he has. They’re confronting financial ruin and not sure how they’ll continue to pay for food and shelter, and he reprimands governors for not treating him with adequate adulation.

He’s not rising to the challenge before him, not even a millimeter. He’s shriveling into nothingness.


He leaps from tone deafness to some realm of complete sensory and moral deprivation.

“I want to come way under the models,” he said on Friday, referring to casualty projections. “The professionals did the models. I was never involved in a model.”

“At least this kind of model,” he added. No context like a pandemic for X-rated humor.

The article’s title, by the way, is “Has Anyone Found Trump’s Soul? Anyone?”

Tom Nichols, of The Atlantic, doesn’t like Trump either and, again, this is an existential howl, not a political analysis:

There has never been an American president as spiritually impoverished as Donald Trump. And his spiritual poverty, like an overdrawn checking account that keeps imposing new penalties on a customer already in difficult straits, is draining the last reserves of decency among us at a time when we need it most.

Nichols explains that it’s not just that he believes Trump to be the least religious, most corrupt, most insane president ever. Nope. Aside from all that, there’s an inchoate, visceral hatred that transcends everything:

What I mean instead is that Trump is a spiritual black hole. He has no ability to transcend himself by so much as an emotional nanometer. Even narcissists, we are told by psychologists, have the occasional dark night of the soul. They can recognize how they are perceived by others, and they will at least pretend to seek forgiveness and show contrition as a way of gaining the affection they need. They are capable of infrequent moments of reflection, even if only to adjust strategies for survival.

Trump’s spiritual poverty is beyond all this. He represents the ultimate triumph of a materialist mindset. He has no ability to understand anything that is not an immediate tactile or visual experience, no sense of continuity with other human beings, and no imperatives more important than soothing the barrage of signals emanating from his constantly panicked and confused autonomic system.

Tell me that this isn’t the written equivalent of the visceral hatred that Big Brother’s supporters were taught to feel for Emmanuel Goldstein.

At the New Yorker, Stephen Marche is so overwhelmed by Trump’s awfulness that he believes it can be described only through the metaphor of nightmares — and, of course, Trump is Hitler:

It’s in Dreams That Americans Are Making Sense of Trump

A surrealistic dreamscape with multiple Donald Trumps.

Martha Crawford had her first Trump dream in 2015. In it, a friend who was going out of town on business asked her to check on his apartment while he was away. The address he gave led to an apartment on the top floor of a six-story building where, on the sofa, illuminated by the glare of an enormous television, she said, “Donald Trump, in a large adult diaper, sat sleeping with his chin on his chest.” She watched Trump sleeping for a while, then filled a large metal dog bowl with kibble and slipped it across the table. When Trump awoke, he began gobbling, loudly, with his mouth open. Crawford was alternately “filled with disgust and then flooded with pity.” She ended up buying him a flip phone, “for emergencies only.” This was to be the first in her collection of Trump dreams.

Trump’s Presidency was always surreal, even before his radical incompetence confronted a pandemic. Crawford has been a clinical social worker and a psychotherapist in New York for twenty-five years. Starting in 2016, her clients “were reporting dreams with Donald Trump in a way that’s not common for other Presidencies,” she said. “He was a looming figure in people’s psyches.” She realized that it was in dreams that Americans were making sense of Trump. “In the year after the election,” Crawford said, “I was on chemotherapy for cancer and I couldn’t do much. I couldn’t go protest in the streets. I couldn’t go volunteer. I needed to contribute in some way.” She took inspiration from Charlotte Beradt’s “The Third Reich of Dreams,” a portfolio of dream descriptions from German men and women that were collected between when Hitler became chancellor, in 1933, and the outbreak of the Second World War. In the aftermath of Trump’s election, Crawford started a blog on which people could post dreams anonymously. Then she started gathering dreams from social media. Soon she had three thousand.

This reflexive, mindless Trump hatred can be seen on the other side of the pond too. Leftists I know have been thrilling to Britisher Nate White’s answer on Quora to the question “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Note that the answer has nothing to do with policies. It’s all stylistic. Having created a sub-human caricature in their minds to describe Trump, leftists on both sides of the pond feel a reflexive revulsion to that caricature:

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.
So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.
I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.

But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.

Benjamin Wittes has penned an inadvertently funny article trying to square the caricature of Trump as an authoritarian (never mind that Trump has relied much less on Executive Orders than Obama did) with the reality that, during this pandemic, Trump has been anything but authoritarian. Because Wittes cannot acknowledge that the caricature might be wrong, he’s added a new layer to the man who works every day and sleeps four hours a night — Trump is lazy, says Wittes (along with the usual hint that Trump is Hitler):

Before the pandemic occurred, worrying that President Donald Trump might take advantage of a crisis like this one to chip away at democratic constraints on his power would have been within reason. Yet Trump has taken a different approach: complaining.

Three years into Trump’s presidency, his approach to governing continues to be authoritarian in character: He lacks any appreciation for the importance of democracy and the necessity of checks on his power. He admires strongmen around the world, as he’s expressed again and again in his declarations of affection for leaders such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The powers of the presidency that he seems to take the most pleasure in exercising are those best suited to aggressive, unilateral wielding and entirely free from constraint—most notably, the pardon power. Add this all up, and there is a case for real worry about how the pandemic—a bona fide state of emergency—might allow Trump to exercise his most antidemocratic instincts in the name of public health.

The seminal thinker on dictatorship in the time of emergency is the German jurist Carl Schmitt, who famously wrote that “the sovereign is he who decides on the exception.” In the view of Schmitt—notorious in political-theory and legal circles for his membership in the Nazi Party—any liberal constitutional structure will eventually be swallowed by a state of emergency, when law recedes and dictatorship emerges to counter a crisis. For a sovereign willing to seize the opportunity provided by a state of emergency, a pandemic would certainly seem to provide one.

One could be forgiven for having been concerned that Trump might unleash his inner Schmittian in responding to the virus. He certainly talks like he would. But had Schmitt seen Trump, his famous axiom might have read a little differently: “The sovereign is he who purports to decide on the exception but actually sloughs off all the work on Andrew Cuomo while reserving the right to whine about whatever Andrew Cuomo does.”

Finally, I commend to your attention David Horowitz’s smart analysis about the “Trump Derangement Pandemic.” He does an excellent job separating the reality that is Trump — a larger than life man who loves America, has good sense, can be very kind, and can make mistakes and be vulgar — from the soulless monster that lives in the leftist psyche. I’ll quote the first few paragraphs to whet your appetite and strongly urge you to to FrontPage Magazine to read the rest:

In this spring season, America’s future is fraught with uncertainties as a result of the pandemic unleashed by Communist China’s malicious concealment of a virus it had apparently developed in a Wuhan laboratory. Will the nation be able to “re-open” as the president desires, or will it descend into a long-lasting depression with millions unemployed? At the same time, a much greater uncertainty haunts the horizon. This uncertainty is a product of the ferocious hate for the president and his supporters ginned up by the political Left ever since the 2016 election. The anti-Trump fervor is so intense it has divided the nation into two alien camps until there is hardly any longer a national conversation, or a united front in the face of the deadly contagion.

For anyone not in thrall to anti-Trump obsessions, the spectacle of Trump hatred is mystifying, even unfathomable. It’s not that the criticisms of Trump are harsh – that is the currency of democratic politics. The problem is that they are not merely harsh but veer on the lunatic until communication with those who voice them seems impossible. It is why the national conversation and a semblance of national unity in the face of threats seem almost hopeless.

A recent New York Times interview with the comedian and Bernie Sanders impersonator Larry David crystalizes the problem. “You know, it’s an amazing thing,” David told the Times, “[Trump] has not one redeeming quality. You could take some of the worst dictators in history, and I’m sure that all of them, you could find one decent quality. Stalin could have had one decent quality, we don’t know!”

Where to begin? Stalin was a totalitarian dictator who killed 40 million of his own countrymen – in peacetime. How does such a preposterous comparison even occur to a man as intelligent as Larry David, who as a comedian is also a student of character, and would normally be more judicious. How could he be so far off the mark?

I’ve seen people wondering since the pandemic started whether leftists will revisit their principles. After all, it appears that, on their side of the aisle, all of the things they’ve promoted — urban dwelling, public transportation, socialized medicine, re-usable bags, and reverence for China — have accelerated the virus’s spread in America. Meanwhile, the facts on the ground show Trump reacting with remarkable promptness to the virus, increasing his response every time new information about the virus’s seriousness appeared.

For those sick with Trump Derangement Syndrome, though, there is no cure. Facts are irrelevant. Trump-hatred is every bit as much a religious faith as anthropogenic climate change is. As is true for all faiths, it cannot be falsified. Every new fact must be pushed through faith’s prism until it aligns with faith’s principles. For true believers, nothing will change how they see Trump. To them, he will always be a confusing amalgam of Satan, Hitler, an evil genius from a Hollywood movie, and the most stupid man alive.

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The end of Russian collusion reveals entrenched Leftist delusions

Reading unhinged Leftist delusions about Trump’s criminality — despite the Mueller report’s exoneration — reminds me strongly of people with dementia.

When she was already in her high 80s, my mother had to go to the hospital for heart surgery. The surgery went very well and gave my mother another five good years. What didn’t go well, though, was the hospital stay.

Those of you with elderly parents may already be familiar with something called “sundowning,” which is a form of dementia that worsens at night. Although it’s technically a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s also very common in elderly people who do not have dementia, but who are thrown into an unfamiliar setting — especially a hospital setting that sees them woken up at all hours of the night and living in a sort of perpetual twilight. (As you may have guessed from its name, sundowning is associated with disrupted Circadian rhythms.)

On my mother’s first night after surgery, the nurses telephoned me at 3 a.m. because Mom had been hysterically calling out for me to rescue her. They hoped that I could talk her down. I couldn’t, though, because although she recognized my voice on the phone, she was convinced that I was an alien being who had kidnapped her daughter and taken the daughter’s (that is, my) place.

Because the phone call didn’t help, I threw my clothes on and headed to the hospital. I shouldn’t have bothered. My mother was in the grip of a deep hallucination and didn’t recognize me. It was very strange having her desperately calling me to rescue her even as I stood there in front of her. I went back home.

When I returned to the hospital the next day, Mom filled me in on exactly what had happened to her that night. The nurses, she told me, were using the mobile computer carts that they brought to the bedside to run an illegal retail business selling designer clothes. They had kidnapped her and brought her down to a cellar beneath the hospital, put her at a sewing machine, and brutally forced her to sew clothes for ten hours to make products for their illegal business. She’d demanded that they bring her daughter to her (that would be me), because she knew I would rescue her. I never came, though. Instead, they sent an impostor to trick her. Later, when they returned her to her bed, the patient in the next bed was dying, and they forced mom to nurse the patient.

As my Mom was otherwise lucid that morning, I tried to show her that the patient in the next bed was alive and well and that the computer in her room was limited to patient data. I told her that I had talked to her on the phone and come to the hospital. I also pointed out that Mom wasn’t any good at sewing now that her vision was diminished. None of that mattered. Even while she acknowledged as true every single fact I told her, she nevertheless clung steadfastly to her narrative. It had happened and nothing could persuade her otherwise. She believed in that delusion until the day she died.

The next night, Mom called for me again and again I spoke to her on the phone without her recognizing me. This time, though, I didn’t go to the hospital because doing so would be pointless.

When I visited her the next morning, she had a new night-time adventure to report. She told me that she had been sleeping in her bed when she saw three Germans arrive from “there” (pointing to the window). The Germans came to her bed and stood around her as they discussed using her body in strange and torturous ways for scientific research. She was frightened and called for me, but I didn’t come, which was a tremendous betrayal of my alleged love for her.

This morning, Mom was able to walk, so I took her to the window — the same window through which, she assured me, the Germans had arrived. When we reached the window, I pointed out that (a) it could not open and (b) her room was on the third floor of the hospital. Because that evidence was before her eyes, she readily agreed that my facts were correct. But again, she refused to deny her hallucination. It was another one she clung to until her dying day.

Although my mother was an intelligent woman, had a lot of common sense, and was closely tied to reality when she wasn’t in the hospital, those visions were all-encompassing. They felt completely real to her. It was apparent that they had interwoven themselves so completely into her synapses that she could not accept that they were anything other than the truth — even if they conflicted with common sense, physics, trusted sources, whatever. They had happened.

You all know where I’m going, of course. People suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome invested themselves so completely and thoroughly in the Russian Collusion theory that nothing will shake their belief that it happened. That mass delusion, that collective hallucination, has become as real to them as the chair on which they sit, the food they eat, or the face they see in the mirror. And because it has profound emotional resonance, playing as it does on their fears and their fantasies, their hates and their hopes, they cannot let it go.

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you two posts I saw on my real-me Facebook page. One is from a die-hard Proggie and the other from a #NeverTrumper. Both are people whom I’ve known for decades, so I can attest to the fact that they have jobs (one of them, indeed, is a leader in his field), they have families, they have friends, and they manage their lives with reasonable skill.

They’re also completely delusional. Here’s the Proggie’s take on what we know to date about the Mueller report:

Just remember that the report says there was not enough PROOF to prove collusion at this time.

He is still a criminal.
He is still a liar, cheat and fraud.
He is still a horrible person.

Not enough proof? At this time?! Let’s talk about what 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents, and all their support staff did for two years (and here I’m quoting from the Barr letter): They “issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.”

And after all that effort, here’s what Barr summarizes as the Special Counsel’s findings on collusion:

The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel’s investigation was whether any Americans – including individuals associated with the Trump campaign – joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Do you see any language there about “not enough proof at this time,” because I sure don’t. Or how about in this paragraph about Russian efforts at sowing disinformation:

As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.

Again, I’m not seeing any hedging statement saying, “The Special Counsel thought there was something there, but damned if he could find any proof after those 2,800 plus subpoenas, after reviewing God alone knows how many documents, and after talking to approximately 500 people.”

That’s just disinformation, though. What about the computer hacking? Surely that’s where my Proggie friend saw language about “not enough proof at this time.” Hmmm, not so much:

But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.

This wasn’t a case of “not enough proof.” As Barr summarizes it, this was a case of NO PROOF. NADA. ZILCH. NOTHING.

There was no proof whatsoever that anyone in the Trump campaign, from Trump on down, did anything wrong with regard to the Russians. Indeed, reading between the lines, blame can only go to one place for Russian behavior vis-a-vis the 2016 election: The Obama administration, which failed to (did it even try to?) stop the Russians.

But facts are irrelevant. My Proggie friend is in the Stygian depths of Trump Derangement Syndrome. He’s in the political equivalent of that hospital basement with my Mom, sewing clothes for nurses to sell through their hospital computers. He can no longer distinguish reality from his fantasy. The fact that the Special Counsel’s efforts, aided by a team of die-hard Hillary supporting Democrat attorneys, couldn’t find diddly-squat to tie Trump to collusion is meaningless. He has hardwired himself to a fantasy and cannot let it go.

And then there’s the #NeverTrumper. . . . He was absolutely horrified that Trump said that the people in government who pushed the collusion story had done a very bad thing — indeed, a treasonous thing — and that he intended to look into their conduct. Here’s what the Proggie had to say:

He should be thankful for possibly dodging a bullet but instead he seems to want to demonstrate he is unfit for office (as the National Review once wrote – any office, even Travis County dog catcher…)

Huh? Did I just understand this man to say that someone who has just been exonerated entirely (go back to the Barr quotes) should be grateful that he “dodg[ed] a bullet”? What bullet? Is the #NeverTrumper saying Trump should be grateful that he survived a treasonous cabal of political operatives anxious to hang onto power, aided by a Special Counsel staff composed entirely of his political enemies, all trying to stage a coup that successfully wiped out the 2016 election? That bullet?

I don’t think that’s what my #NeverTrump buddy is arguing. I think he’s arguing that, despite the most thorough exoneration in American political history, Trump’s lucky he didn’t get caught . . . doing whatever nefarious hallucination is winding around like some tapeworm in the #NeverTrumper’s delirious imaginings. No wonder, then, that this #NeverTrumper thinks that Trump, an innocent man, is “unfit for office” because he stated that he intends to bring justice to those who almost succeeded in carrying out the first true political coup in American history.

My mother’s excuse was that she had an aged brain. All of us who are aging can look at her and think “there but for the grace of God go I.”

It’s different when it comes to the people who wrote those ludicrous statements, both of which are untethered to explicit and undisputed facts. These permanently sundowning Proggies and #NeverTrumpers who proudly display their hallucinations for all to see on Twitter and Facebook, and in MSM articles and TV shows, can’t claim age-related dementia. They’re in the primes of their lives.

Instead, like drug addicts, they did this to themselves. They’ve wallowed for years in unwholesome, destructive, dishonest, and deranged fantasies, and now they’re trapped in a state of permanent sundowning, completely unable to distinguish their sick fantasies from reality.

And if that analogy doesn’t work for you, I’ve got one more, from the late, great C.S. Lewis. If you’re a C.S. Lewis fan, you may remember a scene from The Last Battle, his parable about the Apocalypse. In that scene, although the dwarfs have survived Aslan’s judgment which allows some eternal life while consigning others to perdition, they are unable to appreciate their good fortune. Even though the dwarfs are sitting in a glorious sunlit field, they are convinced that they are in a dark and dirty shed. And when Aslan places a feast before them, they perceive it as disgusting refuse that they trample into the dirt as they fight each other.

Do I need to say more? It’s enough to know that, like my mother in the hospital cellar, those in the grips of Trump Derangement Syndrome are forever mired in a dark, smelly stable, eating dirt.

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The LGBT crowd, driven mad by Trump, supports Iran’s anti-gay laws

When a gay magazine praises Iran’s treatment of gays and calls Trump a racist for challenging such laws, you’ve reached peak Trump Derangement Syndrome.

In 2005, Iran hanged Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, for engaging in homosexual sex (although the Iranian authorities tried to cover by claiming the boys were rapists).

Just to show that the above was not an aberration, in 2017 Iran again executed someone for being gay, this time Hassan Afshar, 19.

Iran executed these three young men because it follows strict Islamic law which, while affirmatively allowing sheep shtupping (as long as you don’t kill the little gal and eat her after sex, which is really baaaad form), imprisons, tortures, whips, and executes men for homosexual practices.

Just a couple of days ago, the Trump administration, led by Richard Grenell, its wonderful ambassador to Germany, who also happens to be gay, announced a new initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality throughout the world. Most sane people think doing so is a good thing.

Here’s the $64,000 question, though: Are you sane if you suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome? Don Surber makes a good argument, riffing off a Reddit comment, that you are not.

But if Don doesn’t persuade you, perhaps you’ll believe that TDS does in fact make people insane when you read an article from Out Magazine, one of the best known LGBT publications in America. The author, Mathew Rodriquez, argues that Trump’s effort push for a worldwide end criminalizing homosexuality is racist and that, really, it’s cool to be gay in Iran:

Rather than actually being about helping queer people around the world, the campaign looks more like another instance of the right using queer people as a pawn to amass power and enact its own agenda.


Homosexuality has been illegal in Iran since the theocratic 1979 Islamic Revolution. By at least one Guardian account, since the exit of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2013, enforcement of anti-gay laws has softened somewhat. Homosexuality, according to the writer, is an “open secret” and most queer people fear homophobic reaction from fellow citizens more than the authorities.

Grennell’s sudden interest in Iran’s anti-gay laws is strikingly similar to Trump’s rhetoric after the 2016 Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida. After the deadly shooting, Trump used the 49 deaths as a way to galvanize support for an anti-Muslim agenda rather than find a way to support LGBTQ+ people. In pushing for immigration restrictions and a Muslim ban, Trump argued, he was the true pro-LGBTQ+ candidate. Rather than honor those who died, Trump used the tragedy as a way to stoke fear among the American people, and Grennell is taking similar actions with Iran — trying to reach an economic goal by painting the administration’s opponent as anti-gay.


The truth is, this is part of an old colonialist handbook. In her essay, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” postcolonial theorist Gayatri Spivak coined the term “White men saving brown women from brown men” to describe the racist, paternalistic process by which colonizing powers would decry the way men in power treated oppressed groups, like women, to justify attacking them. Spivak was referencing the British colonial agenda in India. But Grennell’s attack might be a case of white men trying to save brown gay men from brown straight men, to the same end.

The article goes on and on, a semi-coherent rant from someone who manifestly majored in Queer Studies and America hatred at college and who has been rendered incapable of making sense in the real world. It is a classic example of tribal notion that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” — except that the first enemy in that formulation isn’t supposed to be trying to slaughter you, even as the second enemy in that formulation tries to save you.

If you’re a C.S. Lewis fan, you may remember a scene from The Last Battle, his parable about the Apocalypse. In that scene, although the dwarfs have survived Aslan’s judgment which allows some eternal life while consigning others to perdition, they are unable to appreciate their good fortune. Even though the dwarfs are sitting in a glorious sunlit field, they are convinced that they are in a dark and dirty shed. And when Aslan places a feast before them, they perceive it as disgusting refuse that they trample into the dirt as they fight each other.

For those whom Trump has driven mad, there is nothing he does that can be understood or appreciated. While we sane people glory in the sunshine of a president who works hard for Americans, who supercharges our economy, who strengths our borders, who may have sparked peace on the Korean peninsula, who recognizes Iran as a place of terrible evil, and who generally seeks to extend true freedom at home and abroad, those in the grips of Trump Derangement Syndrome are forever mired in a dark, smelly stable, eating dirt.

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