The Problem of Trumpism

It Makes Religiosity Increasingly Incompatible and Less Credible With Humanity

If you are holding out for a “greater good” development from this presidency then you will be waiting in vain.

In other words The Problem of Evil

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Whatever this expected prophetic outcome may be, it cannot reasonably be due to a known evil that we must struggle to overcome to achieve an instance of greater good. That sort of prophesying is mired in malicious falsehoods that instigate evildoing. Having to overcome land theft and subsequent genocidal attacks Native Americans have faced at the violent tendencies of European colonization does not a destiny make. Having to overcome a history of malignant atrocities during the enslavement of Africans and their subsequent generational Jim Crow era treatment does not justify nor remotely compensate for the malevolence of this injustice predicated on pseudo-scientific racial quality of superiority. Having to overcome and go through the horrors of the Holocaust and endure skeptical treatment does not begin to ameliorate righteous indignation of suspicion.

Those who have suffered, and are presently suffering from the sort of injustice meted out by this religiosity are seen as the “unchosen”, whose suffering serves as a means to those who have been similarly “chosen”, to an end.

…is knowing the truth

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I am not alone when considering the perplexities of these religious interpretations which apparently laden the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent as only moderately powerful and human-like, but not nearly powerful enough that evil exists which actually challenges its immaculate existence. But once again affluential and influential doublespeak in religiosity dismisses that notion handily.

But although these challenges are important, and may very well turn out to be right, it is fair to say, first, that it has not yet been established that there is no coherent conception of libertarian free will, and, secondly, that it is, at least, very doubtful that one can establish that there cannot be cases where some evil is logically necessary for a greater good that outweighs it without appealing to some substantive, and probably controversial, moral theory.¹

The upshot is that the idea that either the actuality of certain undesirable states of affairs, or at least the possibility, may be logically necessary for goods that outweigh them, is not without some initial plausibility, and if some such claim can be sustained, it will follow immediately that the mere existence of evil cannot be incompatible with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect being.¹

But what is the truth?

In former FBI director James Comey’s debuted interview with ABC News, this interesting exchange prompted me to write this article about the problem of evil.

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JAMES COMEY: I worry that the norms at the center of this country — we can fight as Americans about guns or taxes or immigration, and we always have. But what we have in common is a set of norms. Most importantly, the truth. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” right? Truth is the fourth word of that sentence. That’s what we are. And if we lose that, if we lose tethering of our leaders to that truth, what are we? And so I started to worry. Actually, the foundation of this country is in jeopardy when we stop measuring our leaders against that central value of the truth.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Are we losing it?

JAMES COMEY: I think we are in part. But I think the strength of this country is that we’re going to outlast it. That there will be damage to that norm. But I liken President Trump in the book to a forest fire. Going to do tremendous damage. Going to damage those important norms. But a forest fire gives healthy things a chance to grow that had no chance before that fire.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How do we put it out?

JAMES COMEY: We put it out in two ways. We put it out first by not becoming numb to the fact that the truth is being assailed every day. By not deciding that it’s just too much to pay attention to because that’s the path to losing truth as the central value in this country. So all of us have to constantly be involved and call it out when we see the truth endangered, when we see lying. And then next, we need to get involved. The American people need to stand up in the public square and in the voting booth and say, “Look, we disagree about an awful lot. But we have in common something that matters enormously to this country. And our leaders must reflect those values.”

This guy, am I right!?

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Comey also extrapolated an emotional echange he had with then president Barrack Obama shortly after the election.

He wasn’t telling me, “You made the right decision.” He was telling me, “I know where it came from. I know you’re not a partisan hack. I know you’re trying to do the right thing.” And it meant a lot to me. I mean, I had not been a political supporter of President Obama’s.

I came to deeply respect him, and his higher loyalty to the values I care a lot about. And I g — I almost got emotional in that moment ’cause, again, I’d been walking around like Bruce Willis in “The Sixth Sense.” And have the president of the United States say, “I still respect you for the reasons I did originally,” meant a lot to me.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That was a real, in some ways a very raw conversation, in your telling. What else did you tell him?

JAMES COMEY: Yeah, I said to him — “Mr. President,” first of all, I said, “Thank you, Mr. President. It has been a nightmare. I’m just — I’ve just tried to do the right thing.” And he said, “I know. I know.” And then I said, “I think my wife would kill me if I didn’t take this chance to thank you, and to tell you how much I’m going to miss you.

And — and also to t — “ I told him that, “I dread the next four years. But in many ways, I feel great pressure to stay to try and protect the institution I lead.”

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This would be my response if I were Obama

But then a moment more into the interview thereafter, Mr. Stephanopoulos asked about the assessment of the intelligence community on the high confidence they had in agreement about Russian interference and Putin’s manipulation efforts to undermine the democratic voting process by promoting Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton in the national election.

JAMES COMEY: Right. Director Clapper explained to the president and vice president that there was additional material that had — came from a reliable source and that we had included as an annex in the report, that it was sufficiently separate, that we didn’t integrate it into the report, but it was sufficiently reliable that we thought it oughta be part of the entire report.

And there was a portion of it that was particularly salacious that related to allegations around sexual conduct of — before — President Trump was a candidate. And the president asked — President Obama asked, “What’s the plan for briefing that material?”

And he explained that we had decided that Director Comey would meet with the president-elect privately after we briefed the president-elect and his team on the general findings so that he could review it — in a more private, more sensitive setting with the president-elect.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That was James Clapper. How did President Obama respond to that?

JAMES COMEY: He didn’t say a word. President Obama has a great poker face. But he simply turned — so if I’m President Obama, he turned slightly to his left, looked at me, and went like this — and looked back at Director Clapper. So kind of gave me a — Groucho Marx is how I thought of it, double eyebrow raise. Didn’t say a word, but communicated to me at least — and I could be misreading it, ’cause I don’t know President Obama’s eyebrow raises, that sort of — sympathy and concern. Like, “Good luck with that.” And — and that was it.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Could it have been you again?

JAMES COMEY: It’s possible. But — you know, again, I could be misreading it. But I read it as, “You poor bastard.” And almost like, “Whoa,” and — but, you know, he didn’t explain it and so, like I said, I — I might be misinterpreting it.

Oh no there is little to no misinterpretation there.

It’s you Mr. Comey and the fact that “O” (we call him that in the hood) is too through with this nonsense and of the Trump idiocracy that is about to take a cultish hold.

Mr. Comey is completely unaware of how talented he is at doublespeak. He does this repeatedly with such precision and ease during his mental moments of progress or repress on what he was thinking or should have been thinking, what he thought he was doing versus what he could have been doing — with his multiple encounters alone with President Trump — after the fact.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You write that President Trump is unethical, untethered to the truth. Is Donald Trump unfit to be president?

JAMES COMEY: Yes. But not in the way m — I often hear people talk about it. I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia. He strikes me as a person of above average intelligence who’s tracking conversations and knows what’s going on. I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be president. I think he’s morally unfit to be president.

Wait a minute!

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But then again this is coming from a progenitor of the gifted art of doublespeak. Comey continues…

A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds. And that’s not a policy statement. Again, I don’t care what your views are on guns or immigration or taxes.

There’s something more important than that that should unite all of us, and that is our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country. The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be president.

But this is also a display of above average intelligence to Comey when it comes to the president’s awareness or lack thereof.

Comey, you also don’t care about the institutional callousness Trump’s presidency represents to the American people. Which alludes to why there must be something necessary about this evil that we must overcome in order to meet that glorious end. What that prophesied end represents is a status quo framed as some destiny for some of the privileged Americans, and those who have been conditioned to just acquiesce, who seemingly only benefit off of the demise and struggle of the injustice towards others. The united we stand call for us is to juxtapose ourselves behind men like Trump and the idiocracy that supports them. Just as it is found in the religiosity that there is this call to be led into salvation and to follow what seemingly is a necessary means to get to a greater good. And after the benefit of the doubt well runs dry, they will be searching for another religious bromide to get us through more remarkable evil.

The president kept bothering me about the so-called urinary record. I did not know what to tell him. He seemed very eager to have the “shadow” or “cloud” of this golden shower cleared away — for the sake, he said, of his wife. I have never sought any sort of shower of gold, either fiscally (as a member of the FBI, I do not accept gifts, as that would create the appearance of impropriety), or in the unhygienic manner described. The only shower I want is the shower of blessings that comes when we are lifted up into judgment by our creator.

So this placed me in something of a pickle. (Dill, I believe, although I cannot vouch with absolute certainty.) James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies, And Leadership, 2018

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So this placed me in something of a pickle. (Dill, I believe, although I cannot vouch with absolute certainty.)

The citations from the transcript of the ABC News interview with James Comey can be found below.

¹ Tooley, Michael, “The Problem of Evil”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2015/entries/evil/>.

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It appears the more that I write the better I perceive.

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