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Trump and the apocalypse

July 24, 2016

The apocalyptic mind is hard to fathom. In the US, it is apparent in a faction of the right for whom national or global catastrophe is always just around the corner. They feed on and generate fear. There are no small number who believe that America is falling into the abyss, that only faithful Christians can rescue it, and that the coming apocalypse is fore-ordained by their god and part of his plan. That last is not easy to reconcile with their desire to stop it.

Either entering or about to stop an apocalypse, it’s important and difficult to scry the sides. Those who seem evil may save the day. Those who seem decent may be a temptation of the few sent from higher powers. So it’s hardly surprising that the GOP convention hosted a Christian prayer against the enemy. The Democratic Party. Or to see a variety of evangelicals rally around Trump. Tony Perkins long has supported authoritarian policies, so it’s natural that he would boost a candidate who has announced his desire to use torture more, to close parts of the internet, and to make the civil service partisan.

Not all Christians are so quick to demonize those who politically disagree with them. Or to cast their lot for someone like Trump:

Trump is a misogynist and philanderer. He demeans women and minorities. His preferred forms of communication are insults, obscenities and untruths.

But this is the apocalypse, isn’t it? You can’t be picky about the guy who is going to fend off those hordes of Muslim zombies.

And you want to stay young and fit for that final battle. So it is entirely appropriate that the small business owner chosen to speak at the GOP convention is a distributor in a typical MLM scam, pushing naturopathic supplements.

History is full of unexpected catastrophes. But if history teaches us anything, it is that populist leaders promising to save the day are sometimes the cause of catastrophe, and never its preventive. The real dangers that lurk are not the ones that whip the crowd into a frenzy.

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