Trump isn’t a toddler — he’s a product of America’s culture of impu...

Matthew Yglesias makes the case that much of Trump's behavior can be explained as that of a guy who takes enormous privilege for granted.

He’s a white male 70-year-old. A famous one. A rich one. One who’s been rich since the day he was born. He’s a man who’s learned over the course of a long and rich life that he is free to operate without consequence. He’s the beneficiary of vast and enormous privilege, not just the ability to enjoy lavish consumption goods but the privilege of impunity that America grants to the wealthy.

Trump himself has spent his entire career skating away from lawbreaking with a fine paid here and a political contribution there. He’s an unusual figure, but also very much an exemplar of his era and a product of a decades-long ideological campaign to do as much as possible to empower the wealthy and powerful.

 What a wealthy and powerful person faced with a legal impediment to moneymaking is supposed to do is work with a lawyer to devise clever means of subverting the purpose of the law. If you end up getting caught, the attempted subversion will be construed as a mitigating (it’s a gray area!) rather than aggravating factor. Your punishment will probably be light and will certainly not involve anything more than money. You already have plenty of money, and your plan is to get even more. So why not?

“They let you do it. You can do anything.”

[emphasis mine]

image sources: Affluenza definitiondenier-in-chief (religious)

Trump’s expressed view that a rich and famous man like him can get away with anything is both sincere and largely correct. From his empty-box tax scam to money laundering at his casinos to racial discrimination in his apartments to Federal Trade Commission violations for his stock purchases to Securities and Exchange Commission violations for his financial reporting, Trump has spent his entire career breaking various laws, getting caught, and then essentially plowing ahead unharmed. When he was caught engaging in illegal racial discrimination to please a mob boss, he paid a fine. There was no sense that this was a repeated pattern of violating racial discrimination law, and certainly no desire to take a closer look at his various personal and professional connections to the Mafia.

Trump is typical, rather than unusual, in enjoying this kind of slap-on-the-wrist approach to white-collar crime ...

He stands out from the pack, essentially, in how deeply he embraces the ethic of impunity, bragging about it to Billy Bush or screwing over small-time contractors as a routine business practice.

The entire culture of civil fines and settlements without admission of wrongdoing that dominates American business regulation is fundamentally odd. If the rules say you can’t keep your casino afloat with an unapproved loan and you respond to that by getting a shady secret unapproved loan to keep your casino afloat, shouldn’t you be out of the casino game? If compliance with money laundering rules is mandatory and you don’t comply, shouldn’t you be shut down?

 But the settlement racket too easily lets regulators feel like they’re putting points on the board even while criminals continue to roam the streets, having learned the lesson that they’re untouchable. That, fundamentally, is Trump’s problem. [emphasis mine]

To call the American culture of unethical privilege for rich white men merely "odd" sounds more than odd itself, as if normalizing criminality as if it were merely like ordering jellybean pizza. 

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Very well put! I gasped when I read the list of infringements and knowing he leaves a trail of economic and emotional wreckage behind. Just think about this. How did this situation happen? How many others are there who live their lives with impunity? When will it stop? Certainly, not by one person challenging him. It takes a community of people, a lot of people with stories of corruption, a group of people with a common goal of holding people accountable for their actions. 

Trump’s expressed view that a rich and famous man like him can get away with anything is both sincere and largely correct. From his: 

empty-box tax scam to 

money laundering at his casinos to

* racial discrimination in his apartments to 

 * Federal Trade Commission violations for his stock purchases to

* Securities and Exchange Commission violations for his financial reporting,

* Trump has spent his entire career breaking various laws, getting caught, and then essentially plowing ahead unharmed. When he was caught 

engaging in illegal racial discrimination to please a mob boss, he paid a fine. There was no sense that this was a repeated pattern of violating racial discrimination law, and certainly

* no desire to take a closer look at his various personal and professional connections to the Mafia.

When such blatant violation of fair and just laws occur, and for so long, there is an element of public irresponsibility. What is the old saying I heard when I visited the Supreme Court, "Justice delayed is justice denied." I realize people cannot afford to confront such a lawbreaker but can we afford not to do so? 

When I look at all the people that seem to justify Trump, what I am really seeing is people who envy him for his apparent impunity. They wish they had this ability themselves so he becomes their hero. This goes on into things like Pence giving a commencement speech and many people just walking away and not wanting to hear him. It was my understanding that Pence was talking about Trump and his achievements, but whatever the topic, these young people were said to be "snowflakes and libtards" in all the comments after the article. Is this because their hero was not respected?

Yes, I want to go through life doing exactly what I want to without any worries of any kind, no money shortages or fears of rejection, but life just doesn't work that way. When I want something I want it "right now" but life doesn't work that way. I think Trump supporters realize deep down that their hero is flawed but they see him as exactly how they would like to be.

You will never win an argument with a Trumpite. The closest I have come to it is to have a supporter admit the man is "not very presidential." While much about him is recorded in public record speeches and videos, most people want to ignore that and just talk about other nonsense instead.

There was something comforting in xianity's 'lake of fire' myth, but they are of use only to those who are powerless. I grew up, grew some power, and gave up childish things.

There are organizations who work to stop those who are harming others, such as the ACLU and FFRF, otherwise I have to hope that such people reach their level of incompetence without hurting too many others.

Has Trump risen to, or past, his incompetence level?

He won't see impeachment + conviction, or removal via the 25th Amendment, as just a money thing.

If he loses prestige enough, consumer backlash might impact his brand, despite retaining power politically. His loyal followers could get nasty if they realize how badly they were used. Trump will be the new Ugly American face.

Tom, the Peter Principle should have warned us about Drumpf about 10 squares back, when he relied on bankruptcy to discharge debts he found inconvenient.  As things are, right now, Drumpf's capacity to handle the White House is roughly equivalent to Caspar Milquetoast trying to go one round with Mike Tyson.

The results won't be pretty.

To show a contrast to this, I work with a man who just smiles and starts in saying "he's a genius" every time you mention Clump's name.

After the first day of testimony with Comey an interviewer met with 10 Republicans in a lounge and asked if Comey lied or if Clump lied. Four of them said outright that Comey lied. The other 6 did not think so. It was then brought to their attention that this would mean Clump had lied instead. The remaining 6 didn't think so on this either. Clump's words could be taken in many different ways, they said.

I think this means that the color blue could actually be orange.

Loren, it's religious folk who need results to be pretty.

I need them to be democratic, i.e., debated and decided by a majority restrained by the Constitution.

The Comey testimony today approached the level of damning, not just for its content, but in the way that Comey comported himself and delivered his statements.  If credibility were the sole criterion for a yes or no vote on indictment, Donnie would be in front of Old Bailey right now ... but then, even Dubya has more credibility than Drumpf!

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