Trump the Solipsist - Liberal Resistance

Trump the Solipsist

Donald Trump, so called president of the United States, is a solipsist. “Solipsism” is fairly well known in ordinary English usage, but it is well to have a more elaborate than ordinary definition of an unusual term with as much freight as this one has. From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

For the solipsist, it is not merely the case that he believes that his thoughts, experiences, and emotions are, as a matter of contingent fact, the only thoughts, experiences, and emotions. Rather, the solipsist can attach no meaning to the supposition that there could be thoughts, experiences, and emotions other than his own. In short, the true solipsist understands the word "pain," for example, to mean "my pain." He cannot accordingly conceive how this word is to be applied in any sense other than this exclusively egocentric one.

On this account, for the so called president, there really is no United States of America as such, there is only Trump’s own mind and a projection within it of what the rest of us, who do not exist for the Donald, would call a “nation” that has no significance apart from the Donald’s fantasies of his own grandeur and importance.

This is clear from any number of events that have occurred from the beginning of his administration, including the absurd claim by his press secretary that his inauguration had broken every record for attendance despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Evidence that others (who do not exist, remember) find compelling, means nothing to the solipsist, who interprets all sensory inputs as just more mental toys for the mind, which is the only reality, to play with and dismiss at will.

So, the Donald can dismiss any and all critical reporting about his various, nefarious actions, no matter how credible and robustly verified, as “fake news.” To the solipsist, this is literally true. Because our solipsist president is also a narcissist, he cannot envision any valid criticism of himself, so anyone writing critically about him must be a fake projection of his own mind. I guess. It’s kind of hard to come up with a rational explanation of something so profoundly irrational.

The problem of the solipsist president becomes more significant with respect to the question of Russian interference in U.S. elections. Since the summer of 2016, virtually every relevant U.S. intelligence agency – and we have more of them than one might think we need or want – agrees that Russians very deliberately tried to help Trump win the presidency, and they seem to have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. He now in fact occupies the office of president and has now twice delayed the implementation of sanctions against Russia in the face of overwhelming Congressional support for them. Russian president Vladimir Putin is virtually the only world leader – except for the notoriously dictatorial president of the Philippines – with whom Trump has a positive relationship.

For Trump the Solipsist, the choice between serving the United States, which doesn’t really exist, or Vladimir Putin, who doesn’t really exist, is a mental coin toss. Since the United States projection produces much more cognitive dissonance in the form of these critical voices that he somehow can’t eliminate, Putin is a far more congenial comrade.

The good news is that the rest of actually do exist and have the power to remove Trump the Solipsist from office, once the political will to do so exists.

Soon, we hope. Soon.