The Conspiracy Theory

We are simply the product of our times. And our times thrive and grow daily with conspiracy theories of all sorts. Here’s ours.

1918, the Versailles Treaty, the treaty that instigated World War II because its terms were incredibly harsh on the Germans, was signed. Many said its terms were deservedly punitive.

Until world economic conditions, including the Great Depression, allowed the leaders of Germany to combat their punishment, allowed them to rearm, allowed them to sweep through the Low Countries of Europe and Poland to start the Thousand Year Reich.

We needn’t remind anyone who the German leader at that time was.

He was not a man of property. He was an angry man, a man who felt inadequate most of his life but who – despite having come up “the hard way” managed to construct and maintain a nation of terrorists. This did not happen overnight. From 1918 until 1933, Hitler had to work, lead, write, orate, plot and plan. He served time in prison in effect for rabble-rousing. But when he emerged, with “Mein Kampf” under his arm, he began to solidify his “base.” He had learned how to be persuasive.

He was a phenomenal public speaker. Not entertaining, but frightening, driven. He had found the weak spots in his country’s combined egos, and worked them for all they were worth. Which, as we know, was a very great deal. When the Depression hit Germany, when the value of the deutsche mark sank to all time lows, when people could not afford to live as they had before the war, when unemployent reached record highs and people spent days, weeks, months worrying about their futures, Hitler had solutions. And they were simple ones. Ideas that went straight to the heart of his countrymen because they were so simple, so speedy, so deserving.

That they were also the very ideas that would bring about the collapse and downfall of his nation was too far in the distance for Germany to detect.

In time, the population bought what Hitler proposed.

The difference between Adolf Hitler and Donald J. Trump is money. That and America’s history.

We are not equating Trump with Hitler. We are only pointing out how fortuitous economics have made his candidacy. Just as the economic hardships of the 1930s gave rise to Hitler.

Trump is not quite as egocentric as Hitler. He does not, we think, imagine himself as emperor for a thousand years. He has a sense of humor, which was missing in his German predecessor. He’s not, we believe, fascinated by blood-sports. He doesn’t seem inclined to marshal his troops in order to terrorize people into his way of thinking. (He can’t. He has no energy left to consider anyone but himself.)

But US economics, the world’s economics, are conspiring to give Trump an opportunity to “Hitlerize” solutions, which is to say, go for the easy, the simple, the unreal. And one thing the two do have in common is their belief that only they can see the way forward, only they understand the stakes of the game and the rules thereof. Everyone else is stupid, or short-sighted, or the worst ever.

They also instinctively grasp that their countries want one man, one answer, one direction. Neither offers alternatives. This, in time leads to cult worship, or, if you will, the ability to remain in office for years and years, regardless of what the US Constitution says.

Should Trump actually become his party’s nominee, should he actually win the election, we’re in the middle of an American US Jonestown.

We have enormous joblessness. Those less fortunate than others are frequently laid off or forced to accept wages far smaller than what it requires to daily live in this country. Immigrants are storming the bastions, and the fear of losing what they have so little of has grabbed the people at the bottom of our economic ladder, made them angry and suspicious. We no longer, as a nation, offer succor to the tired, the poor and the humble of the world. We’re sealing ourselves into an isolationism purposely designed to keep others away. And to keep others from knowing and seeing what we’re doing.

A man who believes, as Trump does, in the single payer health plan – long a grail of the nation – is also a man who believes in only one source of power. Himself. He does not mention working with Congress, or even scarcely acknowledges its existence.

Through no fault of his own, Trump inherits a nation where its legislature is nearly useless. The voting population wants action. He promises to give it to them.

Is Trump smart enough to understand how closely his path resembles that of his German predecessor? We think probably not, although who can say? He is not a man to answer questions.

Adolf was a rotten poker player. Donald is not.

But when a civilization begins to fragment, one solution to its demise is the strong-man solution. Put aside reason and debate. Rely entirely on one man, one idea, one solution. It may not be democracy, but it makes people feel that problems can be solved. Yes, it’s expensive to solve them Donald’s way. It may also be unconstitutional. It certainly isn’t an approach that will please either the press or the intelligentsia. It will probably appeal to the one per cent.

If Donald does understand the bridge on which he stands, we’re in trouble.



  1. The office of the President of the U.S. may offer its holders a bully pulpit when in office. But if the past is prologue, it also offers its holders a chance to find how little power they have. Our presidents swear to enforce the laws and uphold the Constitution of the U.S. History tells us that successful presidents are not only strong executives but also consensus builders. Consensus building is, for better or worse, perched on the art of negotiating.

    Mr. Trump has always been able, from the time he was a very young man, to negotiate from a position of strength. He seems to have chosen his parents wisely and to have inherited well. The truth is that he has been spectacularly successful at two things: he craftily uses other peoples money (read “debt financing”) and he builds impressive structures. But, always negotiating from strength can give a skewed view of the world we live in. And, since political power ebbs and flows, what will Mr. Trump do when the inevitable ebbing occurs? Great negotiators find mutual interests. Mr. Trump isn’t looking for mutual interests, only a dictated, top-down solution to the troubling issues of the day. This gives me cause for concern.

    As usual, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

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