Trump’s electoral fiction floats free of verifiable reality. It is defended not so much by facts as by claims that someone else has made some claims. The sensibility is that something must be wrong because I feel it to be wrong, and I know others feel the same way. When political leaders such as Ted Cruz or Jim Jordan spoke like this, what they meant was: You believe my lies, which compels me to repeat them. Social media provides an infinity of apparent evidence for any conviction, especially one seemingly held by a president.
If a lunatic in a mental hospital tells us that a voice in his head, or from the ceiling fan, or from a pigeon at his window tells him to cut off the other patients’ heads, we place him under close surveillance and label him a menace to the rest of the hospital. We would do this long before he commits any act to prove his willingness to submit to the imaginary voice. If a man says God told him he would be Chief Justice, or that he thinks God approves of him taking that office, we consider it perfectly socially acceptable – because firstly, many other people labour under similar delusions and secondly because it doesn’t include any promise to do harm. Is there much difference though? Surely a delusion is still a delusion, even if many millions believe it? – Garreth Cliff, writing about Mogoeng Mogoeng’s claim that he received a sign from God to become Chief Justice over at the Daily MaverickBACK TO TOP