The Trump of Myth and Legend

Recently, courtesy of Arktos Press, I received a book titled Esoteric Trumpism about the brilliant, heroic leadership qualities of former President Trump. The author, Constantin von Hoffmeister, argues with great eloquence that Trump is the leader America needs in her hour of crisis. We are reminded of the ways our society is disintegrating, as our borders are overrun by drug lords and other lowlifes. In one rhapsodically composed chapter after another, Hoffmeister explains how we must read mythic works so we may fully grasp the critical significance Trump has assumed for our troubled society. James G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough, with its detailed study of tribal magic and tribal redemption, and the horror science fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, whose evocation of evil, extra-terrestrial beings apparently presaged the swamp creatures with whom the Donald is now engaged, are just two of Hoffmeister’s many mythic or literary references.  

This following passage is in no way unusual for Hoffmeister’s sustained panegyric, which dwells on the cosmic meaning of Trump’s fateful appearance:

In such times, Trump bears the weight of a culture’s survival upon his shoulders. He vows with a determination as steadfast as the biblical Nehemiah, to shore up the nation’s faltering ramparts, to stem the relentless tide that could drown his homeland in the disorder that plagues unfortunate lands. Trump pledges to be steeped in ancient wisdom, as if drawing from the sacred texts themselves declaring the homeland shall not be tilled by foreign hand nor its harvest reaped by strangers, etc.

For those who might have missed some of the allusions, let me point out that the author is noting Trump’s promise to seal our borders and expel those illegals who entered under Biden’s sinister watch. In advocating this policy, the Donald is somehow emulating the example of the ancient Jewish leader Nehemiah who, when he returned to his land from Babylonian exile, drove out those foreign interlopers who had settled in what is now Israel. Needless to say, Hoffmeister could have expressed agreement with Trump’s border policy without inserting this overblown and arcane comparison.

Let me state unequivocally that given the current political choices one could do worse than to vote for Donald Trump. His border policy seems sound, and he is also right about other issues. But I see no reason to compare Trump to some biblical hero or a mythic savior in order to state one’s agreement with one or more of his stated policies. Allow me to reserve judgment about what Trump might do to divest us of the Washington Swamp until such a time as he is reelected and, in fact, does something to address that issue. His actions in this matter were unfortunately quite modest during his first term.

The hero worship that some on the right lavish on Trump seems indicative of the loss of historical perspective. These Trump supporters are clearly hungering for true heroes and therefore assign undeserved virtue to political personalities who fall well short of the standards of the great men and women of the past. One can appreciate Trump’s defiance of what he properly mocks as “the fake media.” Yet I’ve never heard him making a rational argument for why these media are dangerous other than complaining about his detractors and letting us know that they’ve gone after him (as, indeed, they have).

Moreover, the deeply personal and rarely substantiated attacks that he levels against his political opponents and those who dare to disagree with him are hardly worthy of a great American leader. I couldn’t imagine great American political leaders of the past sounding as crude as Trump does in his stemwinders, which are often a series of digs at Trump’s opponents. One can certainly strive to be a populist leader without sounding like a character out an X-rated movie or a self-pitying neurotic.  

Unfortunately, it also seems that the flourishing Trump cult is sometimes intertwined on the right with boundless adulation of Vladimir Putin. Some in this camp falsely imagine that a political figure must be good if neoconservatives denounce him as evil. Even those of us who question the American political establishment’s unbounded commitment to the Russian-Ukrainian war have no reason to exonerate Putin. While others may have contributed to this mess, it is hard to deny that Putin has had a large hand in creating and sustaining it.

Even voices usually sympathetic to Russia, like Chronicles’s Srdja Trifkovic and Tucker Carlson, freely admit that Putin’s war policy has been disastrous and that the neocons are far from entirely responsible for the Russian leader’s mistakes.

If conservatives need political heroes to honor, there are still some around. Perhaps we could start by looking across the ocean at Viktor Orbán, who has turned his small east-central European country into a model of what the right might try to establish elsewhere. And Orbán has achieved this without raging obsessively against his political opponents or invading neighboring countries. Still, I would caution against writing a book entitled Esoteric Orbán to take its place beside Hoffmeister’s well-meaning work.       

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.