No Country For Smart Men
The reason your brother-in-law chooses to believe a game show host over knowledgable experts and what it means to your health and safety.
By David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, May 13, 2020
In the 1980’s television series Cheers, Cliff Claven was the idiot mailman who loved to champion a constant barrage of uneducated, illogical and unbelievable theories, in an effort to appear educated, managing only to confirm that he was nothing more than the buffoon everyone assumed he was. He liked to enlighten the bar with “little known facts” that were themselves complete fabrications; glorious figments of his imagination and lack of knowledge, such as, “Everyone is the Swiss Army owns a Swiss Army Knife. That’s why no one messes with Switzerland.”
Ironically, given his current distain for the Postal Service, Cliff Claven left his bar stool behind and rose to the very heights of power in our nation’s capitol. Donald Trump, the former game show host, became President of the United States and brought with him his distain for those with experience and expertise, because he has neither. He has changed his tact only slightly, so that now when he does learn something new, he likes to tell the entire world that, “a lot of people don’t know that.”
Donald Trump is intimidated by anyone who knows more than he does, so he pretends no one actually knows anything. He believes most of the world’s knowledge is made up of mere opinions, and that his are just as valid as anyone else’s. He trusts his gut, he tells people. If he thinks it’s true, it’s true enough. He likes to believe that his gut is a better barometer of truth than scientific study, scholarly pursuits or even decades of experience. Specialists don’t impress the President as he feels that having an emotion is more important than making a knowledgeable assessment based on past experience or intimate knowledge of the subject.
This just might be why he is so admired and worshipped by the masses of idiots who flock to hear him ramble incoherently. He’s one of them. He’s not smart. He’s not elite. He’s like a wealthy redneck with a fancy car and a big house. If he could grow a beard, he’s be hawking duck calls in the Bayou. He’s an idiot, but he’s their idiot, which is how he is able to pull off the common man routine while also claiming to be fabulously rich. He never talks down to his disciples, because he is fundamentally incapable of doing so.
But Donald Trump would never have been able to achieve his incredulous climb to the Presidency if it weren’t for the chorus of enablers in the Republican Party and within the conservative news media, that didn’t just defend him, but gave him cover. Without the likes of the Fox News propaganda machine and the Republican Party, he would have been exposed as the buffoon he is, wandering around the South Lawn in search of a cheeseburger. Instead the political machine, that needs him in order to deconstruct the institutions of government that keep their donors profiting off the ignorance of the American people, covers for all his insane lies and unforced errors.
Because they are constantly having to lie to back up Trump’s outrageous claims, the conservative news media has become the embodiment of the very thing they accuse the mainstream press of being, which is actually fake news. It would be bad enough if the President of the United States was constantly attacking the experts in his own administration, but the acting state media at Fox News take it and run with it, not just defending his comments, but echoing or even amplifying his message, no matter how crazy or convoluted. Not even gravity is safe from their willingness to defy logic and settled theories of science and history.
The result is millions of Americans who distrust the very people and institutions who would normally act as the guardians of facts and truth. They question the legitimacy of government and the dedicated public servants that actually understand how things work. The very concept of the Deep State is Itself an effort to discredit any accidentally uncovered or inconvenient truth, especially anything that might contradict the narrative that either the President or the right wing is spinning at that very moment.
There are no facts. There is no truth. There is only opinion and spin, and everyone has an opinion, so no one can own the truth. There is literally no arguing with a logic that discounts expert opinion, facts, statistics, experience or scientific knowledge.
Enter your brother-in-law, your very own MAGA-wearing, Cliff Claven. He has no need for your fancy talk, your well-researched rebuttal, your facts and figures. He knows how he feels, and what he’s heard, and anything else is Fake News orchestrated by the Deep State, designed to cripple a populist President and establish a New World Order. Frankly, he couldn’t really tell you what any of that means, except to say that if President Trump isn’t wearing a mask, then neither is he.
He is one of the roughly 43% of American voters that think Trump is doing a great job, despite 81,000 Americans dead from a preventable pandemic, an economic crisis that could very well dwarf the Great Depression of the 1930’s in size and scope, and a planet that is actively trying to kill us.
Your wife’s brother is, in fact, being told every day on Fox News, Conservative talk radio, and within the echo chamber of social media, that the Coronavirus is nothing more than a hoax perpetrated by liberal haters, that the death toll itself is being exaggerated, that the Deep State is coming to get him, and that he has nothing to fear except gun control and immigration.
So despite your protests and pleas, he will go back to business as usual, back to his job and his bar, rejecting social distancing, refusing pansy-ass safety protocols such hand-washing and masks, and he will do so because he is a Patriot, trusts in the Lord Almighty, and is not afraid to die.
Then he will come to your house and get you sick.
Follow David Todd McCarty on Twitter @davidtmccarty and The Standard @capemaystandard