Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson on Trump Derangement Syndrome

Trump now literally has to be Hitler. Why? Because @TheDemocrats have now taken their ideological corruption so far that only such a comparison suffices to make [him] a threat more dangerous than the one they themselves clearly pose: Trump Derangement Syndrome: Because no matter how horrible we [Democrats] are, he has to be worse.

Harvard and University of Toronto professor of psychology and practicing clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson, June 10, 2024

Jordan Peterson gives an excellent analysis of the irrational hatred against Donald Trump but more can be said.   Peterson begins by stating that “The degree of animosity people express for Trump is somewhat of a mystery to me. I can’t quite crack it.”  That is, it is never particularly surprising that people have an exaggerated hatred for political figures but the hatred for Trump goes way beyond what is understandable.  Peterson does, however, have an hypothesis,

There’s a class thing there … Elitist people are annoyed that someone like Trump, or someone who they think Trump is, has dared to enter the upper echelons of the establishment. … There’s something about it that’s very classist … Trump is a brash salesman-y sort of character.  … He ran ‘The Apprentice’ for years.  He’s a huckster. And I don’t mean that in a denigrating way.  Part of what’s made America great is its ability to sell … [But] the shadow [Jungian concept] side of the salesman is the huckster [which irritates liberals].  Especially anti-capitalist, elitist leftist types.

Peterson gives a general and a more specific explanation for the irrational Trump hatred:

First, there is a class prejudice against Trump.  This is interesting because Americans like to think that, unlike the peculiar British, we don’t have classes in America.  Except that we do.   The sense of superiority at any Ivy League University, as well as some of the other top universities, is so thick one can cut it with a knife.  These people know they are born to rule and be wealthy.  They deserve it.  The peasants are lucky to have them as their overlords.   Yes, Trump graduated from the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, but he didn’t belong there either.  He should have been selling cars or shoes in accord with the natural order of things.   In other words, the irrational hatred of Trump is precisely the form of prejudice that “liberals”, the Left and the all-knowing elites, constantly accuse the peasants of.  Except that the “liberal” elite is one of the most prejudiced segments of America.  

The more specific reason for the irrational hatred is that Trump does not merely belong to the wrong class but to the “huckster” segment of the wrong “capitalist” class that devotes their life to making this distasteful thing called “money.” Of course, the elites love money too, and manage to amass quite a lot of it in their relentlessly self-aggrandizing careers, but they do so in the respectable way, by separating it from the peasants in their careers in government.  The elites would certainly not think of grabbing their satchels of money by actually producing something in the evil capitalist market.  This is fortunate for them because the elites generally have no idea whatsoever how actually to produce anything.  For, politics, in the broad sense, is that field where one can be very successful and make tons of money without actually knowing how to produce anything.  Thus, self-glorifying elites make a virtue of their inability to produce anything by rebranding it as a kind of purity superior to greedy “material” capitalist market activities (the ones comrade Marx warned us about).  Whereas the “liberal” elites get their money by talking, or filling out forms, or begging on TV for donations, or insider trading, etc., this Trump guy gets his money by building the skyline of New York.  He gets his hands dirty (working).  Only the peasants do that.  Ugh!  So, part of the hatred for Trump is the Left’s foundational hatred for capitalism. 

Peterson admits, however, that this does not explain all of it:

Is it Trump’s rough edges? There’s that.  Is it his proclivity to bully, with which he does it very effectively and sometimes very usefully? It’s that, he’s déclassé, you know.  The elites really hate that. They feel he’s contaminating their domain… it’s very mysterious and there’s multiple levels to it.

I think Peterson is partly mistaken here.  Granted that Trump can be a bully sometimes. Who wouldn’t be after being accused, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, of stealing the 2016 election by colluding with the Russians or of removing the bust of Martin Luther King from the Oval Office on Day One of his presidency, etc., etc?  However, this cannot really be the real explanation because the Left love bullies, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Maxine Watters, James Carville, Sunny Hostin and Biden himself: “If we were in high school, I’d take [Trump] behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”  Nor is the point here, although this is part of it, merely that the Left likes leftist bullies but not conservative ones.  The point is that the Left likes leftist bullies who cloak their bullying with a fake moral veneer.  When Biden said he would beat the hell out of Trump it was in response to the access Hollywood tape that was falsely claimed to expose Trump saying that he grabbed women by the p***y (Actually, Trump said “stars” do it, not that he does it).  Biden represents himself as justified in using violence against Trump because he is a heroic defender of women, although his underage daughter and Tara Reid may not agree.  When Trump bullies, he does not cloak it in a fake morality.   Trump simply says, like a street kid from the Bronx, “you whack me and I’ll whack you harder.”  In other words, Trump is more honest about his bullying, and that, in the political world of imposters, is déclassé.  Trump doesn’t pretend he is Saint Francis.  Trump is despised on the Left because he is a fighter, not, like most politicians, a faker.

But there is an additional element to that Peterson overlooks, namely that there has been a relentless systematic campaign by the Left to foment hatred for Trump.  That campaign may have been more successful than it would have otherwise been for the reasons outlined above, but it cannot be denied that the Left has worked non-stop with one hoax after another to make Trump into a hateful figure. 

Saul Alinsky Rule 13: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Trump is polarizing because the Left deliberately polarized him, like they do to everyone who stands in the way of their money and power.

The effect of this systematic hate-campaign cannot be underestimated.  The Left has used this same strategy for one Republican president, Reagan, Bush II, etc., after another, but they pulled out all the stops on Trump because, as a real fighter, with real accomplishments in various areas of the cutthroat New York free market, he scares most of them, who do not actually know how to do anything except spend taxpayer money and virtue signal. 

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Richard McDonough

Richard Michael McDonough, American philosophy educator. Achievements include production of original interpretation of Wittgenstein’s logical-metaphysical system, original application Kantian Copernican Revolution to philosophy of language; significant interdisciplinary work logic, linguistics, psychology & philosophy. Member Australasian Debating Federation (honorary life, adjudicator since 1991), Phi Kappa Phi.

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