Hermitix: John Michael Greer and the Left's bad magic
When Bridget Phetasy spoke to Joe Rogan in my last post, she named a concept I hadn’t heard before: “Trump devotion syndrome.” It’s the counter-balance to “Trump derangement syndrome,” which the Red Scare ladies like to talk about so much.
Trump devotion syndrome is a the mental state where a person believes that the particular U.S. President that we have here in 2020 can do no wrong. It’s just as crazy as believing absolutely everything he does is terrible.
This point was a good one but didn’t have much to do with what I wanted to focus on in that post. It’s super relevant to this one, where I want to draw attention to the October 2 release of the Hermitix podcast, “The King in Orange with John Michael Greer.”
John Michael Greer may be Meta-Nomad’s most frequent guest on his podcast. He’s completed a new book called The King in Orange (part one) which will be out next year, and it sounds like it will be about Trump,in the main.
It’s Trump from a magical perspective, though, which might sound silly, but Greer’s way of talking it through is actually quite compelling.
Basically, Greer argues that you don’t defeat political enemies by attacking them. It very seldom works.
It does sometimes work — which annoyingly makes it difficult to convince people dead set on the strategy that it’s a bad idea. For example, when Sen. Rick Santorum lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006, that was very clearly a case of voters turning against him (not for whomever it was that beat him, some guy who I think continues to serve and still does not especially matter).
But a broken clock is right twice a day and in politics, stupid strategies work sometimes.
But Greer’s point speaks to something I have been just feeling on a visceral level for years now: All the vitriol directed at Trump is just giving him power. The simplest way to think about it is: We are allowing him to occupy all of our thinking energy, all of our thinking time. That’s incredibly powerful.
I dislike Trump. I would like him to not be President. Generally speaking, though, I try not to think about him that much beyond my plan to ultimately not vote for him, because that’s as much as I am actually willing to do.
The Left has put all it’s energy into tearing down Trump so he can be defeated, and yet we knew this before the man even got elected: attacks on him just don’t seem to stick. So why keep trying?
Greer puts it another way. He says that magicians understand that offensive magic isn’t really very effective. To beat an opponent, one must make yourself strong.
The Left could have spent these last four years creating an agenda that was stronger than: “Not that guy,” but they haven’t.
But Greer points out something else deeper about Trump that even the Left’s brightest stars never seemed to really understand.
Trump asked voters to vote for him by telling them what he would do.
Whereas people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren kept asking people to join their fight. In other words: My requests won’t end when the election is over. You need to join me in building a better world.
I used to work in politics and this is one of the reasons I left: people don’t want to do political stuff. It’s not fun. It’s not cool. It’s not enjoyable.
It would make me beyond ecstatic for Bernie or Liz to have been elected, but you also know they would have never stopped asking Americans to rally around them, to fight on, push a little more.
It’s exhausting. All Trump asked? Tell the pollsters you still support me when they call. That’s it.
Lefties can’t wrap their heads around this, but there is something very appealing about a leader who promises to take care of irritating political work on your behalf.
“Yes we can” worked for Obama because, like I said, bad strategies have their moments, but I do wonder what would happen if a compelling left-of-center candidate rose up and said:
Vote for me, and I’ll take care of the rest.