The remnants of
appear to have
Trump that rules are
only for the poor.
The American Spark
How Trump Sells A Lie
By Cliff Montgomery - Feb. 28th, 2021
Twice-impeached former president Donald Trump and his minions tend to follow the basic four-step rhetorical
process already set for them by the neo-conservative (called neo-liberal in the rest of the world) movement:
1.) Lie like hell;
2.) If the lies fail to convince, play the ‘Pontius Pilate’ card and ask “What is truth?”
3.) If that fails, stamp your foot and exhibit a lot of fake outrage, calling the opponent every vile name in the
book in the off-chance that a few names might stick;
4.) And if all else fails, simply ignore the opponent and treat them as if their statements are of absolutely no
What is different about Trump is his utter shamelessness in these rhetorical proceedings. The remnants
of American capitalism appear to have taught Donald Trump that rules are only for the poor, and that he
therefore lives in a world beyond the limits of rules.
In a world without rules, fortune favors the shameless.
But in a democracy, some rules can’t be broken.
Shamelessness can’t hide a failed coup. Nor can it hide the fact that a number of individuals died during
the failed action, all of which happened on Jan. 6th 2021. The attempted grab to maintain power was
perpetrated by followers of Donald Trump immediately after attending an incendiary speech on their need
to act - delivered by the now twice-disgraced former president himself.
Like any decent politician, Trump knows the truth of Schopenhauer’s dictum that the purpose of debate is not
to discover truth, but is simply “the art of winning a debate.”
In short, the point is not to tell the truth but to simply appear as if you are - which of course is an entirely
And like all good politicians, Trump openly engages in logical fallacies: Arguments that appear to be true, but
He switches up the usual neo-conservative rhetorical process discussed above, by beginning all arguments
with the tactic of childish name-calling and misrepresentation - for him ‘step 3’ is always ‘step 1’. Once begun,
he employs it constantly on the object of his derision: Anyone who stands between him and the object of his
narcissistic desires. And he always makes sure to deliver these ramblings with a whiff of fascistic violence.
But Trump’s most original tactics are his particularly shameless uses of the standard neo-conservative ‘lie like
He typically begins this defense with an Ad Hoc Rescue logical fallacy. The website Logically Fallacious
describes an Ad Hoc fallacy this way:
“Very often we ... desperately want to be right and hold on to certain beliefs, despite any evidence presented
to the contrary. As a result, we begin to make up excuses as to why our belief could still be true, and is still
true, despite the fact that we have no real evidence for what we are making up.”
Indeed, the Ad Hoc fallacy often is called “making stuff up.”
Logically Fallacious even gives this simple example to show its point:
“Frieda: I just know that Raymond is waiting to ask me out.”
“Edna: He has been seeing Rose for three months now.”
“Frieda: He’s just seeing her to make me jealous.”
“Edna: But they’re engaged!”
“Frieda: Well, that’s just his way of making sure I know about it.”
This is a method Trump has employed on several occasions, such as:
- When he sold the lie that Obama wasn’t born in this country, and thus did not rightfully serve as
president (in fact, Obama was born in Hawai’i);
- When he insisted that COVID-19 wasn’t really a health risk and that masks were not necessary
when one is in public (in fact, in one year COVID-19 has killed over 500,000 people in the U.S. alone,
according to Johns Hopkins University. Also, proper masks do aid in stopping the spread of the virus);
- When he falsely claimed that the 2020 presidential election was ‘stolen’ from him (in fact, Trump’s
lawyers failed to provide a shred of hard evidence for such a claim before numerous U.S. courts,
including the current conservative-leaning Supreme Court).
When the Ad Hoc tactic falters, Trump then follows it up with a second logical fallacy, the Argument From
Ignorance (Argumentum ad Ignorantium).
This rhetorical tactic falsely claims that an accusation must be either known to be false, or it is undeniably
true. The speaker then acts as if the burden of proof is on the side of the accused; so if the accused cannot
provide an undeniable proof that the accusation is wrong, that failure is treated as a definite proof that the
accusation made by the speaker must be right.
But if the accused provides a clear proof that the accusation is wrong, Trump then reverts to another Ad Hoc
Rescue to save his initial false claim - and the whole tissue of falsehood begins anew.
Neo-conservatives have employed these variations on the ‘lie like hell’ defense before - their lies denying
the reality of global warming and its attendant climate change are particularly clear examples. But they can’t
match Trump for the utter shamelessness and constancy in employing these deceptions.
Our final thought? Perhaps voting for someone who believes that rules don’t apply to them is not the best use
of your vote.
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