Aaron James, a Ph.D. from Harvard and professor and chair of philosophy at UC Irvine, has a theory about a**holes:
While James may be the first professional philosopher to squarely hang the a**hole designation on politicians in print and other forms of media, the great amateur philosopher George Carlin advanced this theory in his own wry way to a gathering of Washington journalists:
The back jacket notes of Professor James’ new little volume on A**holes reads as follows: “We are note asking whether Trump is, in fact, an a**hole. On this much there seems to e broad consensus. (Can you think of a better one-word name for him?) Indeed, to many of his supporters, this may be a primary selling point. The question, instead, is what kind of a**hole could pull off such a [political] feat so spectacularly, which is to say, it is a question of a**holeology. Among the many species in the a**hole ecosystem, what exactly is Trump’s type? And should it, or should it not, qualify him for high office?” With that kind of buildup I couldn’t help resist taking this short, stubby volume home from Booktowne to read and savor.
James positions Trump as the class-clown type of kid who tries to get a rise out of his classmates and craves attention. Only in the designation of a**holeology, he is an a**-clown – a toxic blend of Barnum and bully – as James cites from an opinion blog by Nicole Hemmer on Trump’s Gaslighting of America. In the current genre of disruptive innovation in business, Trump the political anti-politician has successfully disrupted the Republican Party. Can Trump keep the Republican Party united? One wonders if that’s really important to him, once he formally wins the nomination.
Until several months ago, few aside from Trump envisioned The Donald capturing the Republican nomination. But once he ditched the tie, adopted the Make America Great Again hat, and hired Don Rickles as his campaign manager, the other candidates succeeded in self-destructing. As Marc Rachmuth commented last September on the blog piece, Is Donald Trump Saving Our Democracy?, “Trump’s run for the Republican nomination may be ‘great’, in that it provides a mirror for where we are as a nation and as a civil society.”
Update 5/10/16: Savannah State University will offer a summer course to study The Trump Factor (political deals being more art than science).
Update 5/10/16: How Political Dysfunction Fueled the Rise of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.