The 2010s, for better or for worse, is the decade of Donald Trump. CHOATE News

Trump 45’s 2020 Cakewalk to Reelection *Postscript added 12–11–2020

Our first post-rational president, Donald J. Trump, is the personification of this new post-rational era.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

While Trump did not ‘win’ the 2020 election, he garnered over 74, 000, 000 votes — the most by a ‘republican’ candidate ever in “an historic event with the highest voting turnout in over a century in the U.S.” He has called into question our electoral process and disclosed to around half of America the hypocrisy of our political system.

What happened to the Rule of Law — Eric Weinstein’s article on Kayfabe (why are we so easily fooled by the act?).

For the future, will the Trump Presidency ‘sink’ from memory (as Tienhemen Square has been erased from that of the Chinese people by the PRC and Youtube) — According to Youtube, “We also disallow content alleging widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of a historical U.S. Presidential election.

My prediction: Trump will continue to beat the drum and hopes linger withthis Birther replacement of (unproven) election fraud. **postscript added on December 12, 2020**

According to my 15-year-old, a reporter for his school newspaper, all that is evil has now taken over our government. I can’t say I disagree with him. The world itself seems to have changed. My son appreciates this new world by designating the Trump Presidency as “the most important event of the decade.” He is right of course. Our first post-rational president, Donald J. Trump, is the personification of this new post-rational era.

How can I explain the rise of our post-rational era? This over-turning of our world order to my son?

Here is the kicker, after watching the recent Democratic party debates, I am sure President Trump will win a second term. Trump is speaking in pure Humanist Knowledge and it is the fabric of our post-rational era.

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash


President Trump’s strange inversion of style only makes sense if you realize that he is communicating Humanist Knowledge to his supporters. This is not intended to be pure Religious Knowledge (bible belters thirst for) nor Scientific Knowledge (empirically generated and claimed to be reason itself) but pure Humanist Knowledge sourced from hot messing intuition.

None of the Democratic candidates are able to communicate effectively in the new language Trump has mastered and used to reach the pinnacle of our political establishment. Understanding this new style of discourse and its constituent elements is essential if we are to debate in this new normal.

We all are held in its thrall as, like the air we breathe, it arises from our universal acceptance of Humanism as a belief system. The ability to speak in the Humanist Knowledge dialect is the hidden driver of President Trump’s rise and evidences our passage from the Enlightenment’s rationalist era.


San Quentin’s Main Yard by Eddie Herena

I discovered this truth in prison after all. Prison operates on lines of force and principles unacknowledged beyond its walls. Much to my surprise, prison life has brought into focus many of the mysteries I see in modern society as it enters this post-Rationalist/Humanist Age with all the anxiety that accompanies such momentous upheaval.

What I discovered in prison the modern world calls ‘identity politics’ where folk communities bound together by deep cultural, geographic and ethnic ties are the organizing entities. In prison, we did it ‘old school’ calling them gangs. The same value system — using Justified True Belief (which must rely upon another Justified Belief for its support thereby creating an infinite regress *Read David Deutch’s The Beginning of Infinity) instead of Objective Knowledge as authority controls in prison ‘politics’(actual term for race relations in prison jargon).

What I discovered upon my 2019 return was the same dynamics are at work in the real world — only driven by electronic media delivered by smartphone. On the outside, they call them identity politics constituencies. This identity politics populism is the evil twin of multiculturalism. One such folk community has orchestrated the takeover of the Republican Party, Jacksonian America, evidenced by Donald J. Trump’s election.


The call for President Obama’s birth certificate is an interesting start to a political career if ever there was one. I doubt Trump realized he was a natural politician until he saw how many people would follow him based on that ridiculous call for a birth certificate.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The strange inversion is this: What was presented as a constant demand for a birth certificate was really a call to look at the upbringing of the ‘great black hope’ that had pushed aside the expected Democratic Party nominee in 2008, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The birth certificate was irrelevant. Trump sought to demonstrate that President Obama was not what his campaign claimed him to be with the PR blitz of Audacity of Hope: African-American grown, community organizer, etc. President Obama’s membership in the African American community began as an adult and was only solidified by his marriage to a descendant of slavery and a life-long member of Rev. Wright’s African-American-liberation-theology church, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.

Beneath the shell of the ‘birther’ call, Trump’s message was this: President Obama used to go by ‘Barry’ and was raised by his white grandparents in Hawaii. His father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., went back to Kenya, having left little more than his naming of the boy, Barack Hussein Obama Jr. A name he would take up in his adult life, evidencing his multicultural heritage to the world. A product of a system of affirmative action created for the descendants of slaves but fully realized in the form of a boy born to a white mother, a free-African migrant father, and raised by white grandparents mostly in Hawaii.

By the shorthand of requesting a birth certificate, Trump highlighted the miracle of America where anyone can take advantage of the opportunities of this great land.

He left unsaid that the first African-American president was not a descendant of slaves but a true-blue American success story of a more traditional sort (migrant father, meritocracy-educated, and humble beginnings). Trump is calling identity politics a hypocritical sham. This was the message hidden beneath the shell of requesting a birth certificate.


The wonder of this message’s shell is this: With only a few words, Trump catalyzed the adoration of supporters and anger of opponents because both communities perceived its magical shorthand very differently.

Think of it as the two poles of a magnet. To opponents, Trump repels. ‘How dare Trump challenge our connection to our progressive champion!’ Opponents see his mantra as evidence of racism. To his supporters, it attracts. Trump is denigrating identity politics that has co-opted multiculturalism. Unfortunately, no one seems to look beyond that bi-polar wrapping and focus on the real issue.

This unique ability to present a bi-polar message of Humanist Knowledge is the driving force of Trump’s continued appeal, regardless of his obvious inadequacies as a person or a President.

TRUMP’S 2016 MESSAGE TO CITIZENS: a translation

Consider the 2016 iteration of Trump’s magic power, “build a wall” or “stop Muslim immigrants;” each versions of MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

Photo by Trent Yarnell on Unsplash

I’m not denying we are an arrogantly secular nation with a suspicious Christian core. While Muslims include violent extremists and Mexican undocumented include criminals, the cry of “build a wall” or “stop Muslim immigrants” and similar rallying calls are versions of MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Trump calls his supporters back to our common national heritage: become a legal citizen. Submit to American cultural nationalism over your continued fixation on a discarded cultural heritage from abroad. Multiculturalism is permissible, but not essential — America first!

For the educated Trump supporters, his actions question the competency of the establishment by demanding redress of both illegal and legal migrations with a wall or a temporary ban. America has over 13 million undocumented immigrants (and their 5 million American-born children). In total, the U.S. foreign-born population reached a record of 44.4 million in 2017. Since 1965, when U.S. immigration laws replaced a national quota system, the number of immigrants living in the U.S. has more than quadrupled. Immigrants today account for 13.6% of the U.S. population, nearly triple the share (4.7%) in 1970 according to PEW Research Center.

Photo by rob walsh on Unsplash

By identifying with only a segment of this population (legal and illegal), each side faces an obstruction to any reasonable compromise. Entranced by emotional empathy, we are compelled to identify them as DREAM ACT members (less than 800,000) or felons like one that killed a San Francisco tourist, Polly Klaas, who was a 5-time deported illegal alien (less than 700,000). Intuitive decision making is the natural result of electronic media that demands we identify with 800,000 as 13 million (love) or 700,000 as 13 million (fear) while at the same time the vast majority of the 44 million (U.S. foreign-born population) are left out of the debate.

Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN is Trump’s challenge to the politically correct identity politics crowd. Many of his supporters see it as the evil twin of multiculturalism that is destroying our nation’s social cohesion from the inside. The ‘melting pot’ that had Trump’s family claim to be Swedish instead of German was the America that gave them success. He would reassert these roots of citizenship “Über Alles’ — over everything else.

Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

The political elites just don’t get Trump. The parts of metaphor, vehicle and tenor are inverted by his target audience and opponents as opposite magnetic poles. Regardless of the magnetic pull, it is the substance we must discuss. These messages resonate with many and deserve to be part of our national and electoral discourse.

Metaphors strung together in an internally consistent system constitute a Homeric simile — in this case, the Trump candidacy as a Tragic Hero. Trump's role is to call out the hypocrisy of our political class. Those that dismiss it as pandering to ignorant racists do so at the peril of our nation.


That core of President Trump’s support is from a cultural community known as Jacksonian America (best summarized in The Jacksonian Tradition by Walter Russel Mead). These people, living mostly in rural-red America, are a hard people living by a simple code of ethics. Their goal is to get something done without selling your soul or destroying your reputation. Trump is authentic in a way few politicians have managed in recent generations. It is not his narcissistic pronouncements, plane, model wives or unique hairstyle that draws people to Trump. It’s his strong work ethic and he wins. You can smell it.

Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

I won’t deny his detractors see his pronouncements as dangerous and incendiary. I think these deliberately obnoxious catch-phrases offend the uninitiated, but are meant to draw attention to the flaccid platitudes and failed policies of the establishment more than to incite anger. Trump speaks the language of a united America. The world is a dangerous place and you have to be ready to fight. Fighting to win requires unit cohesion and a leader with a killer instinct — NOT THAT YOU HAVE TO LIKE HIM.

Trump supporters admire discipline and purpose. Trump doesn’t drink, and he works at building things. The ten thousand million — that’s ten billion — dollars he claims to have also demonstrates that he works and wins even more than he talks. That’s what matters and what the liberal elite establishment doesn’t get.

To Trump supporters, the blue urban centers of coasts and cities (AKA Primary America) are made up of a hedonistic and secular society driven by equal parts pleasure and self-identification as an oppressed class. The coast and cities live in a state of comprehensive dissatisfaction. True passion and sacrifice are unknown to them (here the religious right and Jacksonian Americans overlap); public assistance mislabeled as justice is what blue-America seeks. The socialist philosophy of Senator Sanders is a good match for these excellent sheep that seem to be permanently matriculating at American universities. As mostly atheists, they have discovered moral superiority in victimhood (not service and sacrifice) and seek to nurture it.

Photo by Julian Schöll on Unsplash

Rural-red America, (AKA Fly-over Americans or Secondary America) still value citizenship. It creates space where a person can choose to sacrifice. To believe in something larger than yourself — something worthy of sacrifice — that is what Trump calls people to acknowledge with his “Build a Wall.” It is a shared belief in freedom, equality expressed as justice, and to battle against any tyranny under the banner of the Stars and Stripes.

I have lived across our great land and know many of its peoples. Most of them would be considered hard by my Primary American coastal liberal-elite peers. Hard is out of fashion in blue Primary America. Most of these hard people live by a simple code of ethics still practiced in the backwoods and rural-red America. The goal is to get something done without selling your soul or destroying your reputation. Trump is authentic in a way few politicians have managed in recent generations. Again, not likable, not honest in the secular-elite sense, but very authentic.


The greatest danger is believing only your opponents are infected with this Humanistic world-view. While I hate to admit it, I am basically intuitive, not rational. Just like all people, practically all the time, I make hasty judgments. These are not based on reason. My false reason comes from the hidden operations of cognitive predispositions and a two-track brain. Instead of my mind acting as a judge weighing the facts, it acts as a press secretary seeking to justify my beliefs.

That’s right, “humans are not designed to practice reason. We are designed to make arguments that aim to support our preconceived conclusions, not yours,” The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.

If you don’t believe me, ask yourself what’s wrong with having sex with a dead chicken. This and other taboos, given to us by reason’s boss, were a key advantage to our evolutionary development. We are made to compete, but the winners are those that compete for social status. Reason developed to help us spin, not to help us learn. If you want to understand yourself, don’t appeal to reason. Appeal to reason’s boss: the underlying moral intuitions whose conclusions reason defends.

Patricia Wall/The New York Times

In AGAINST EMPATHY, Paul Bloom, a Yale professor, reveals empathy (our humanism defined) to be one of the leading motivators of inequality and immorality in society. Far from helping us to improve the lives of others, empathy is a capricious and irrational emotion that appeals to our narrow prejudices. This emotional empathy, unleashed by humanism, has unmoored our society from its traditional rationality.

Allowing intuition’s emotional moral mathematics to guide our ethical and political decisions can lead to perverse outcomes, including the election of Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of these United States of America.

The best explanation of this all-too-human trait is The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion is a 2012 social psychology book by Jonathan Haidt, in which the author describes human morality, its mapping to the physical reaction of disgust, and how as it relates to politics and religion. The new field of positive psychology asserts that you can train your mind to deploy mental rigor instead of blindly allowing it to act as a press secretary, who uses the persuasive and comforting words of reason but only acts to justify our actions to others and to ourselves.


Western societal values have transitioned from religious thought as blind faith — to skeptical science-empowered — to a post-scientific Western liberal humanism (individual feeling as truth) that reigns today. The best summary of our current civilization’s conversation to humanism can be found in Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. Humanity’s belief in the value of human life (first as religious souls, now as humanist universal human rights) is what brought us to today. This belief has infected every facet of our civilization from science to politics.

Homo Deus

Religious Knowledge = Scripture x Logic. Read the Bible as authority itself to answer your questions.

Scientific Knowledge = Empirical data x Math. Run experiments, and calculate conclusions professed as theory.

Humanist Knowledge = Experiences x Self-awareness. Search your feelings, and choose what you know to be true.

*Good Medium Article*

Humanism, a revolutionary new creed that conquered the world during the last few centuries. The humanist religion worships humanity and expects humanity to play the part that God played in Christianity and Islam, and that the laws of nature played in Buddhism and Daoism. Whereas traditionally the great cosmic plan gave meaning to the life of humans, humanism reverses the roles and expects the experiences of humans to give meaning to the great cosmos. According to humanism, humans must draw from within their inner experiences not only the meaning of their own lives but also the meaning of the entire universe. Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

What is unacknowledged by humanists is that they consider their ‘rationality’ equivalent to reasoning based on empirical facts. Of course, anything based on scientific theory can be measured, however, Humanism has given rise to universals (e.g., universal human rights) that by definition cannot be measured. What Humanism has created in society is the rise of emotional empathy ‘the highest good.’ THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE FAILURE OF HUMANISM AS PRACTICES TODAY. By the recognition that emotional empathy “distorts our moral judgments in pretty much the same way that prejudice does,” recognition of Humanist Knowledge can come into focus.

By using President Trump’s rise as a template, I hope to define a new term — HUMANIST KNOWLEDGE.

  • *I am preparing a detailed piece titled Humanist Knowledge as well** (here I focus on the Cakewalk)

Father, attorney, essayist, thinker, and active manager who found the courage to create through the chrysalis of San Quentin prison.

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