Trump has overlearned one life lesson: Impulse trumps deliberation. There have been gaps in its success but overall, it has worked beautifully. His impulsivity now reliably outwits any wit.
He just learned that lesson again with his impeachment acquittal, another spin and win for the great Trump impulse machine. He’s on a roll, so what will he do?
If you were suddenly dropped into Trump’s shoes, you might remember that you have to rein yourself in since the world is no longer doing much reining. But then you haven’t overlearned Donald’s one life lesson.
No, Trump will take this as conclusive affirmation that he’ll never again need impulse-control –goodbye and good riddance. Trump’s impulses always trump deliberation.
Now maybe that life lesson works for him but not for everyone. That’s his assumption. His impulses are perfect. He alone possesses genius impulsivity. How else would he have gotten this far?
By random chance. People often mistake chance for personal skill. We humans do this about our own success, forgetting that if any species chanced to gain the power of speech and recognized its success running natural selection’s gauntlet, it would wonder why it was blessed with survival, it would tend to assume it had some God-given magic touch.
Apparently some luck through life and it happened to be us humans. For now. We don’t have some magic touch that makes us permanent winners.
Trump doesn’t either. His impulses happened to be the ones to run this particular gauntlet. No the Ukraine call wasn’t a perfect call; this is just a perfect storm.
Trump chanced to born on third base into a sub-culture that took impulsivity as a status symbol. He had a chip on his shoulder about his uncommon luck and quickly landed on the assumption that he was uniquely entitled, in effect, chosen by God. Dictators gravitate toward that interpretation. It purges them of all scruples, compunction and self-doubt, habits that would otherwise hamstring them since dictators prevail by means of terrorizing rashness.
There’s one in in every crowd in every century. Some escapee from deliberation climbs to the top and credits his own genius impulsivity. Trump just happens to be this season’s escapee. It’s not a magic touch. You can’t stay big and impulsive for long.
Trump’s house will fall, perhaps not in his life time, perhaps not in ours or even in our species’ lifetime given the powers his luck has amassed. Luck runs out. Impulsivity doesn’t launch the thousand-year Reich’s that their leaders think it will.
Again, natural history shows why. Organisms try to adapt to reality – that which doesn’t yield to our hopes, opinions, strivings or demands. They can only try. There is no surefire solution, no eternal formula for success. Life is guesswork. That’s the hardest pill to swallow with evolutionary theory, not that we evolved from apes, not a diminished role for God but that there is no surefire formula. Just when you discover the one true meaning of life, life changes.
We humans have language which gives us the capacity to claim last-word opinions with absolute certainty. But reality is indifferent to them. There is indeed a higher power that wins all debates. It’s not this or that cult’s opinion about whichever Lord lords it over us. It’s reality itself. It always gets the last word.
Trump will now double down on all past doublings down. His impulses will be thoroughly unconstrained. His guard is down. It can’t end well for him. In that sense we have him where we want him. He’ll make a beastly mess of things, shambling about impulsive and unconstrained.
And his prediction will be born out. His supporters will get tired of his winning since it invariably comes at the expense of their personal welfare.
Resist it, and let it burn. It will burn itself out. It always does.