“Being is an empty fiction.”
f you’ve ever taken a philosophy course or read an introductory book on philosophy you know something about Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic philosopher known for his doctrine that “change” is the underlying reality of the universe, captured in this famous statement:
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
The great 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche affirmed this observation:
Heraclitus will remain eternally right with his assertion that being is an empty fiction. The “apparent” world is the only one: the “true” world is merely added by a lie.
As we have seen lately, Tr-mp and his policy positions are a river flowing. He is not the same politician today that he was year ago. He is not the same politician today he was two weeks ago. And we know he will be yet a different politician two weeks hence. There is no “true” Tr-mp, nothing to hold on to, nothing about him that is real except his mindless modulation and mutation, his careless contraction-expansion-contraction, his numbing novelty. Tr-mp is an empty fiction.
We have now watched him metaphorically stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and murder his previous assertions about NATO, kill his prior criticisms of China’s currency manipulation, shoot down his past promise to stay out of Assad’s business, assassinate his old position on the Export-Import bank, and liquidate his past dislike for Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and turn it into love. Oh, and he now has a gun aimed at Steven Bannon, who helped get him elected but has lately been in the way of “family” business.
Today we find out that, after holding numerous and contradictory positions on healthcare and the health insurance system, Tr-mp may have a new plan:
That ABC News article says:
Since the failure of the GOP health care bill in the House nearly three weeks ago, President Donald Tr-mp has suggested letting Obamacare explode to bring Democrats to the negotiating table.
Now, he’s threatening to push the detonator.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Trump suggested the federal government would hold back key subsidy payments made to health insurers offering insurance to low-income Americans.
“Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” Trump said. “I haven’t made my viewpoint clear yet. I don’t want people to get hurt.”
He doesn’t “want people to get hurt.” That’s today’s Tr-mp. Tomorrow’s Tr-mp could override today’s Tr-mp and we could see what Republicans have wanted to see and tried hard to accomplish ever since the Affordable Care Act was passed: the murder of Obamacare and the collateral damage that will come with that killing. But don’t bet on that happening. Tr-mp told the Journal the purpose of his threat:
What I think should happen and will happen is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.
The alleged master of The Art of the Deal (a book he continues to get credit for writing even though he did not write it) thinks he might set himself up for a big deal with Democrats, who being the good-hearted folks they are, won’t let Tr-mp hurt millions of Americans and will come running to work things out with him and the Republicans. If nothing else proves Tr-mp has no talent for deal-making, it is this pitiful and quite nasty attempt to hold millions of Americans hostage to get what he and Paul Ryan want. Jonathan Chait explains why this is a dumb political strategy:
If the exchanges collapse, the public backlash will redound to the benefit of the opposition party. Democrats may have a strong humanitarian rationale for preserving the system, but their political interest runs in exactly the opposite direction. Trump is threatening Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to meet his demands or else he will give them a majority in Congress.
This whole thing is insufferably stupid. We have a president who is lost in the complexities of governing, who is facing an ocean of problems without a seaworthy ship. To move from philosophy to literature, Stephen Crane, in his most famous short story, “The Open Boat,” wrote:
A particular danger of the sea is the fact that after successfully getting through one wave, you discover that there is another behind it. The next wave is just as nervously anxious and purposeful to overturn boats.
If only Tr-mp could figure out, like the characters in Crane’s story, that the waves he faces, the issues that face each and every occupant of the White’s House, are not really out to get him, not bent on overturning his boat. They are simply problems to confront and, if possible, solve. And they should be confronted without threatening to hurt millions of Americans just so Tr-mp can make a deal, just so Tr-mp can claim a win, just so Tr-mp can prove he is more than an empty fiction.
But he’s not. He is Tr-mp.