Summary: Trump has been called an authoritarian, a fascist, and another Hitler. What is his true character? The question becomes more important as Trump approaches the White House. An interwar insight from a German general can help us evaluate him. The answer helps explain why Trump did so well on November 8, despite his many obvious faults.
“For all Trump’s bluster, missteps, foibles and crassness, nobody can question his astonishing energy.”
— An interesting comment posted by Bernie.
Is it good that Trump has “astonishing energy”? For a perspective on this we can turn to an insight attributed to a German General, Freiherr (baron) Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord.
“I divide my officers into four classes as follows: The clever, the industrious, the lazy, and the stupid. Each officer always possesses two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the General Staff. Use can under certain circumstances be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy qualifies for the highest leadership posts. He has the requisite nerves and the mental clarity for difficult decisions. But whoever is stupid and industrious must be got rid of, for he is too dangerous.”
These terms apply to officers’ execution of their duties, not in some abstract or general sense. Where will Trump appear on this chart?
Trump is intelligent (more or less), as shown by his success in the cutthroat real estate business. But he is dumb in the sense of being misinformed — about a great many things. That made little difference in his little world of real estate (but a casual attitude to facts might have contributed to his six companies that declared bankruptcy). But getting fake news from fringe websites about geopolitics and economics could have calamitous results as president.
As for personal energy, I am skeptical that Trump has much of it. I doubt that Trump will be industrious at his often boring duties as president. So at best he will be “stupid and lazy”. High energy combined with his poorly stocked mind might make him more dangerous, putting him in the “dumb & industrious” box. Neither kind of President will work well for America.
Why Trump won
This exercise suggests one reason Trump won. He is everyman, like John Doe — quite unlike Hillary Clinton. Twitter, Facebook, and website comments overflow with the words of folks like Trump — people of both the Left and the Right. People who are cocksure (even about highly technical matters), grossly misinformed, with rigidly ideological thinking. Articulate, friendly and entertaining, usually with completely closed minds.
This might be a long hard four years for America.
For More Information
- Three big things to expect from the Trump era.
- Will Trump and conservatives inflict payback on their foes?
- Trump and the 1% lead America back to its past, to its roots.
- Here’s the news about Team Trump. See the promises fade away.
- Trump assembles a Strategic and Policy Forum to better hear the 1%.