Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Many people have expressed concern with the remarks that Donald Trump made in the recently released videotape, demonstrating as they do the candidate’s extreme crudity and his contempt for the humanity of women. However there is another aspect of the Don’s character readily observable in the celebrated tape that should be even more alarming. This is Trump’s complete inability to restrain his primal impulses.
Trump is clearly an aspiring dictator, and so has sometimes been compared to Adolf Hitler. However, while sharing Hitler’s national socialist method of invoking the tribal instinct to mobilize mob support for a program of unlimited government, socialistic policy, and one-man rule, Trump has a very different personal character. Until he went insane late in the war, Hitler was capable of a certain amount of intellectual focus and self-discipline. Trump, on the other hand, is completely lacking in those traits. Rather, he is a man of unlimited appetites who sees no reason to control himself, even when an appearance of such control is required to achieve his own strategic ends. Instead of Hitler, the mad Roman emperor Caligula serves as much closer historical model for the dissolute Don.
Trump’s lack of self-control, repeatedly demonstrated through such self-destructive behaviors as his late night defecations into the twitterverse, has long been an annoyance to his campaign staff, who find it objectionable because it decreases his chance of winning the election. However those whose priorities center upon the good of the nation rather than merely the good of a candidate may wish to consider the implications of Trump’s infantilism in a broader context.
The nation’s founders set a Constitutional minimum age requirement of 35 years for the office of president, because they recognized that the Chief Executive of the United States and the Commander-in-Chief of its Armed Forces needs to be a mature adult. Clearly a person who says that he cannot stop himself from spontaneously grabbing and kissing attractive women cannot be described in such terms. Indeed, he would not even qualify as an acceptable adolescent, since anyone who acted in such a manner would not meet the behavior standard required to remain enrolled in a public high school.
The human mind can be described as having three levels of operation, defined by animal lust, practical reason, and moral conscience. You see a desired object. Lust urges you to steal it, reason advises otherwise to avoid prosecution, while conscience tells you not to steal because stealing is wrong. An infant is born with only the lustful part of the mind operational, but we hope over time develops the capacity to act in accord with reason, and ultimately conscience.
An examination of Donald Trump’s life shows that he has not developed well in this respect. Rather, his entire business career has been one cheat after another, swindling his investors, his lenders, his vendors, his workers, and his customers. As a result, there are currently several thousand different lawsuits being processed against him by those he has wronged. Clearly he has no interest in acting according to moral conscience. For Trump, right and wrong are not relevant categories; only winning and losing matter. Furthermore, as demonstrated by the number of suits he has incurred, his practical reason exerts only weak influence in restraining his animal lust to take whatever he wants.
This brings us back to the subject of Caligula, the exemplar of a ruler with unconstrained appetites. According to Wikipedia,
Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor, as opposed to countervailing powers within the principate … Caligula reviewed Tiberius’s records of treason trials and decided, based on their actions during these trials, that numerous senators were not trustworthy. He ordered a new set of investigations and trials. He replaced the consul and had several senators put to death. Suetonius reports that other senators were degraded by being forced to wait on him and run beside his chariot..… Philo of Alexandria and Seneca the Younger describe Caligula as an insane emperor who was self-absorbed, angry, killed on a whim, and indulged in too much spending and sex. He is accused of sleeping with other men’s wives and bragging about it, killing for mere amusement, deliberately wasting money on his bridge, causing starvation, and wanting a statue of himself erected in the Temple of Jerusalem for his worship.
Much of the above account is startlingly reminiscent of Trump. But while in Caligula’s day the Roman Empire was completely secure against all external threats, and so his lack of restraint and desire for absolute power could only wreak serious harm on the internal soundness of the commonwealth, an infantile ruler of such character today could quickly lead the nation, and indeed human civilization, to quick and total destruction.
Say what you will, Hillary Clinton is an adult. Many of her policies are mistaken, but she is demonstrably sane. The same cannot be said about Trump.
America requires a president with a mental age over 35, not under two. Trump does not meet that criterion. Accordingly, he is unfit for office.Published in