The Caligula Candidate

 

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.

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  1. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    This article is not really up to Ricochet’s standards, is it?

    Robert Zubrin: Trump is clearly an aspiring dictator, and so has sometimes been compared to Adolf Hitler

    Robert Zubrin: Hitler was capable of a certain amount of intellectual focus and self-discipline. Trump, on the other hand, is completely lacking in those traits.

    Robert Zubrin: his late night defecations into the twitterverse,

    Robert Zubrin: his entire business career has been one cheat after another, swindling his investors, his lenders, his vendors, his workers, and his customers.

    Trump is Hitler, Trump is Caligula, Trump is Skeletor, etcetra.  It is insulting to everyone who supports the Republican nominee, and would be better posted on the Huffington Post.  Mr Kagan, you are right, we will remember those who have sold their souls and  gone the extra mile to sabotage the Republican nominee and elect the most corrupt presidential candidate in anyone’s memory.

    Robert Zubrin: Hillary Clinton is an adult. Many of her policies are mistaken, but she is demonstrably sane. The same cannot be said about Trump.

    Officially a Hillary supporter.  Nuff said.

    • #1
  2. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Although by Republican standards Trump may be a cad, a cheat, and a thug, do you seriously believe, for example, that he is: more of a cad than Bill Clinton or any Kennedy (other than Anthony); more of a cheat than Bill, Hillary, Obama, Reid…; more of a thug and/or race baiter than virtually any Dem.?

    The problem with Hillary’s alleged sanity is you are ignoring the sanity of her motive. Given her insane motives, she may be sanely pursuing them. She wants to destroy this country and everything good about it. That she will be effective in achieving that goal is not a selling point for me.

    Which brings us back to your going Godwin on us. If Trump is Hitler, Hillary is much worse. She hates democracy and the Jews even more than Trump/Hitler and she will be more effective at destroying them.

    BTW, Hitler was a nutty micromanager from early on. Consider his fascination with railway guns and his interference in the development of the Me262. But, like Hillary, much of his success was due to knowing he could get away with anything.

    • #2
  3. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    I think what he meant, @PHenry, is that Hillary is capable of restraining her lusts in the name of her own self-interest (if not for conscience!). That much is definitely true, and—at least if we are persuaded by the argument in the OP—provides some small comfort as we anticipate her possible/inevitable victory. One could, at least in theory,  constrain Hillary by making bad behavior contrary to her self-interest.

    Not a Hillary fan! Not going to vote for her! Just clarifying what I think the argument is.

     

    • #3
  4. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Kate Braestrup: I think what he meant, @PHenry, is that Hillary is capable of restraining her lusts in the name of her own self-interest (if not for conscience!).

    Her lust is her own self-interest.

    • #4
  5. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPxBjIuNIto

    • #5
  6. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Ahem

    • Personal attacks on an individual, group, or class.
    • Anything that makes the Ricochet Community look like a bunch of radical fruitcakes. This includes 99% of conspiracy theories.
    • Defamatory, gossipy, or rude comments. Imagine you’re a guest at a dinner party with a group of seemingly nice people you don’t know… how would you handle yourself?
    • Misinformation, particularly if it appears intentional or is a recurring problem

     

    • #6
  7. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    Kate Braestrup: Hillary is capable of restraining her lusts in the name of her own self-interest

    I agree, Hillary is far better at ‘restraining’ (keeping out of public view) her lust for power, but it is ONLY in the name of HER self interest.

    Hillary is a far better liar and much more adept at being two faced, one face for public display to get elected, another for her true agenda.  She admits as much in a speech to wall street, and then in the debate claims it makes her like Lincoln!

     

     

     

    • #7
  8. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    • #8
  9. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    • #9
  10. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    PHenry:

    Kate Braestrup: Hillary is capable of restraining her lusts in the name of her own self-interest

    I agree, Hillary is far better at ‘restraining’ (keeping out of public view) her lust for power, but it is ONLY in the name of HER self interest.

    Hillary is a far better liar and much more adept at being two faced, one face for public display to get elected, another for her true agenda. She admits as much in a speech to wall street, and then in the debate claims it makes her like Lincoln!

    Agree—exactly!

    So the only question is whether this makes her more or less dangerous to us and the world than someone who can’t constrain his lust (for whatever) even in his own self-interest. 

    This would be an interesting question to have in the abstract—that is, are we better off with an obvious lust-er or a secret lust-er— but the good thing about Hillary is that we already know this about her. Everyone knows. Again, this is just silver-lining stuff, and it’s a skinny little line around a big black cloud!

    • #10
  11. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Kate Braestrup:

    PHenry:

    Kate Braestrup: Hillary is capable of restraining her lusts in the name of her own self-interest

    I agree, Hillary is far better at ‘restraining’ (keeping out of public view) her lust for power, but it is ONLY in the name of HER self interest.

    Hillary is a far better liar and much more adept at being two faced, one face for public display to get elected, another for her true agenda. She admits as much in a speech to wall street, and then in the debate claims it makes her like Lincoln!

    Agree—exactly!

    So the only question is whether this makes her more or less dangerous to us and the world than someone who can’t constrain his lust (for whatever) even in his own self-interest.

    This would be an interesting discussion to have in the abstract—that is, are we better off with an obvious lust-er or a secret lust-er— but the good thing about Hillary is that we already know this about her. Everyone knows. Again, this is just silver-lining stuff, and it’s a skinny little line around a big black cloud!

     

    • #11
  12. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Oh, seriously?  Trump is Hitler is so very past it’s sell by date.  Caligula?  Do we now have a horse made contributor to leave things on the main feed in our future?

    • #12
  13. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Robert Zubrin: America requires a president with a mental age over 35, not under two.

    Also true of Ricochet and its contributors.

    • #13
  14. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    TKC1101:Oh, seriously? Trump is Hitler is so very past it’s sell by date. Caligula? Do we now have a horse made contributor to leave things on the main feed in our future?

    Caligula is from Mars; Hitler is from Venus.

     

    • #14
  15. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Pseudodionysius:

    TKC1101:Oh, seriously? Trump is Hitler is so very past it’s sell by date. Caligula? Do we now have a horse made contributor to leave things on the main feed in our future?

    Caligula is from Mars; Hitler is from Venus.

    Who’s from Uranus?

    • #15
  16. mezzrow Member
    mezzrow
    @mezzrow

    I would suggest that when the author of this post has the urge to unburden himself in this manner on this forum that he might sit down and wait for said urge to pass before taking action.

    That said, Trump would also do much better taking the same advice.

    • #16
  17. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Criticism of a candidate is not a personal attack. Criticizing a candidate is not an attack on his supporters. Mr Zubrin may be wrong and over wrought but he’s not doing anything outside the CoC. Some of you should practice what you preach and attack the idea and not the man.

    • #17
  18. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Basil Fawlty:

    Pseudodionysius:

    TKC1101:Oh, seriously? Trump is Hitler is so very past it’s sell by date. Caligula? Do we now have a horse made contributor to leave things on the main feed in our future?

    Caligula is from Mars; Hitler is from Venus.

    Who’s from Uranus?

    Oh, you are a bad, bad man Mr. Fawlty.

    • #18
  19. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    At this point in the dinner party Mr Zubrin was asked to leave by Jay who apparently wanted to subject him to a chunky swirly for his extreme rudeness.  The man fumbled through his coat for his keys as the dinner guests closed around him chanting “chunky …swirly” and sadly for our hero he had quite a dry cleaning bill as well as no friends on the subway due to horrific stench.

    • #19
  20. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    I’m much more interested in how the U.S. and, specifically, the Rockefeller Foundation created Hitler’s eugenics program.

    California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the Twentieth Century’s first decades, California’s eugenicists included potent but little known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate and Polytechnic benefactor Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles M. Goethe, as well as members of the California State Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents.

    Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists hailing from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics’ racist aims.

     

    • #20
  21. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Man you all take criticism of your candidate really personally don’t you?

    • #21
  22. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    With all due respect to you, my dear friends, what do you think of the basic point of the OP, which is that Trump has no evident built-in checks on his lusts—not even self-interest?

     

    • #22
  23. Typical Anomaly Inactive
    Typical Anomaly
    @TypicalAnomaly

    Robert Zubrin: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.

    Robert is certainly permitted to have his opinions. But according to his final paragraphs (above) hyperbole is a proper justification for them. Have any of us heard a 2 year-old brag using crude claims about sexual exploits? (Imagine: I gwabbed her by the kitty-cat…)

    And then there is the part where he characterizes the former Secretary of State as having many mistaken policies. Breaking the law on the handling of classified documents is a mistaken policy? Collusion with the media is a mistaken policy? Failing to comply with court orders to surrender relevant emails is a mistaken policy?

    The only problem is I’m not sure if these claims employ hyperbole or demonstrate a willful disregard for law and ethics. Either way…all are welcome to post their opinions.

    • #23
  24. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Can we get a picture Trump tossing Zyklon B in to a room of skeletal Jewish kids after he’s raped and eaten a couple of them.    Give him a Hitler stache and an evil grin as the kids die.   OK perfect.

    Oh crud now the boss wants Trump as a Roman emporer but it’s the same.  Photoshop him raping and eating kids while tossing babies on his sword.   Title the picture ,” accuracy in journalism “

    • #24
  25. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Jamie Lockett: Man you all take criticism of your candidate really personally don’t you?

    Hi Jamie. I used to have expectations of the main feed contributors being a level above dressed up insults and Hitler metaphors.

    I enjoy well founded criticism that is thoughtful, original and decently researched.

    This ain’t it.

    Jon Gabriel does not get a reaction like this, and Mona gets arguments not dismissal. Tom Meyer is worth reading, even if one disagrees.

    This is juvenile silliness and unworthy of Ricochet.  If the author does not have the writing chops to be original, thoughtful and create thoughtful disagreement then pull the contributor badge and send them to the minors at Huff Po.

     

     

    • #25
  26. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Kate Braestrup:With all due respect to you, my dear friends, what do you think of the basic point of the OP, which is that Trump has no evident built-in checks on his lusts—not even self-interest?

    I think the OP is a clown and has zero insights worth gleaning from his pitiful article.    He always loses me at Hitler and he always mentions Hitler.

    I’m voting Hitler .

     

    n

    • #26
  27. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Kate Braestrup:With all due respect to you, my dear friends, what do you think of the basic point of the OP, which is that Trump has no evident built-in checks on his lusts—not even self-interest?

    Kinda gets lost in the Hitler/Caligula comparisons.

    • #27
  28. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Typical Anomaly: Collusion with the media is a mistaken policy?

    No, collusion with the media is a good policy, with whatever part of the media that will go along.  Anyone who has seen Trump’s nightly appearances on Hannity, who then has the gumption to complain about “collusion with the media,” has an impressive capacity for irony.

    • #28
  29. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    DocJay:

    Kate Braestrup:With all due respect to you, my dear friends, what do you think of the basic point of the OP, which is that Trump has no evident built-in checks on his lusts—not even self-interest?

    I think the OP is a clown and has zero insights worth gleaning from his pitiful article. He always loses me at Hitler and he always mentions Hitler.

    I’m voting Hitler .

    n

    Yes. It was a bad move. Derailed the conversation.

    I’ve done this a couple of times here at Ricochet—buried the interesting-discussion part in a bunch of unnecessarily inflammatory fluff.

    Neither candidate is actually Hitler or Caligula (even Hitler wasn’t Hitler until an evil constellation of events made him so!).

    Do you get the feeling there really isn’t much left to talk about when it comes to Trump and Hillary? Three more weeks, and then we will all have the glorious luxury of agreement: this president SUCKS.

    Let’s do better next time. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease…

    • #29
  30. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    TKC1101:Hi Jamie. I used to have expectations of the main feed contributors being a level above dressed up insults and Hitler metaphors.

    I enjoy well founded criticism that is thoughtful, original and decently researched.

    This ain’t it.

    I actually agree with you. I think this piece is ripe for criticism on it’s merits, or lack there of, but to say it’s a personal attack is just untrue. If we were to hold this standard to every other candidate in the race there would be absolutely none of the “Hillary is a murder” pieces that have littered this site for months. Attack the argument not the man.

    TKC1101: Jon Gabriel does not get a reaction like this, and Mona gets arguments not dismissal. Tom Meyer is worth reading, even if one disagrees.

    Mona absolutely gets dismissal, same with Jay Nordlinger. Responses to their pieces contain all manner of “You’re just not worth reading anymore because you’re anti-Trump.”

    TKC1101: This is juvenile silliness and unworthy of Ricochet. If the author does not have the writing chops to be original, thoughtful and create thoughtful disagreement then pull the contributor badge and send them to the minors at Huff Po.

    Say what you want but I thought the argument was novel. If he had just stuck to the underlying premise and left out the incindiary language I don’t think there would be anything objectionable about it – Trump does operate primarily from his lizard brain. He does show a complete lack of practical and ethical judgement. The metaphor is overwrought and intentionally incindiary but there’s no need to make it worse.

    • #30
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