December 3, 2016
Donald Trump wants to spread his STD to all Americans. His entire plan for governing, if it could be called either a plan (or governing), is Strategic Truth Destruction. Through a nonstop bombardment of lies, equivocations, contradictions, and wilful ignorance, he (with homunculus Steve Bannon at the helm) is on a mission to destroy the very existence of truth. The ultimate goal is of course profit, which is to be gained through the power vested in him by a baffled and desperate populace.
So how can we possibly stop him? Barring an electoral college hail Mary on December 19, we can’t stop him—in the short term. But here’s a medium-term plan:
- Continue asserting the Rational, Factual Perspective (RFP), but don’t expect to win any particular argument;
- Reach out to help the people who suffer—all of them;
- Prepare a plan that responds to the suffering, one based on the Rational, Factual Perspective.
Back when I was designing board games, my co-designers and I often faced the dilemma of how to design a game that didn’t reward cheating. In the end we decided you can’t prevent cheating if someone is determined to cheat. All you can do is design a game that’s worthwhile playing even if you lose to a cheater—and give people a reason to keep playing after the cheater either grows bored or is banished.
We have a game worth playing—the American republic—and the reason to keep playing is this: the only hope for the world is for a superpower lead the way into the future with policies based on the truth. If the United States can’t get its act together in the next twenty or so years and commit to a set of policies based on a rational interpretation of scientific and economic facts, we will have to hope that China, India, or (cough) Russia does so. Which, obviously, is hoping for a lot.
So, even though the RFP is currently losing to the STD, at least in terms of power (if not in terms of percent of Americans), we must continue to voice all rational, factual viewpoints. It is essential that these viewpoints be present, persistent, and practiced when the impacts of Trump’s truth destruction (and fascist agenda) start to be felt by Americans, many of whom voted for him. We must do this at all levels, from local to national.
We must also become active in our communities, and—in states run by rational administrations—at the state level, to help anyone and everyone who’s suffering. This should absolutely start with minorities who look like they will bear the brunt of a Trump administration, but it must also include Trump supporters who get burned by his inevitable betrayals.
Lastly, the RFP must take charge of the Democratic party, because that is the only viable national platform from which to launch a comprehensive response to the suffering caused by STD and the political havoc it will surely wreak. Progressives must choose leaders capable of crafting concrete solutions based on fully-faced facts, so that we are not once more seen as a possibly well-meaning party with nothing useful to offer.
We face an unprecedented regression in rationalism and truth over the next four years, but we must not let those who seek to baffle us all with bullshit leave the table with the game in hand. The game is ours, and even if we have to play with cheaters for a while, we must believe that the rules will triumph in the end. Truth, action, and organization can trump the cheaters, but only if we play on—and play to win.