Donald Trump is An Idiot

2016 December 15

If one goes back through the etymology of the word “idiot,” one finds the Greek word, “ἰδιώτης” (transliteration: idiotis). What one further finds is that the ἰδιώτης was a member of Athenian society so concerned with himself that he eschewed the public realm. Eschewing the public realm and failing to contribute to the affairs of state would find one looked at dishonorably and with scorn. Athenian society prided itself on its civic mindedness and part of the way it maintained a high level of participation in it was to look upon ἰδιώτης with aforementioned scorn.

ἰδιώτης were not lost to their fate. There was a way to redeem themselves in the eyes of society: by becoming a citizen. Funny thing, in the Cradle of Democracy, citizens were the opposite of ἰδιώτης.

How did one become a citizen? By becoming educated, thoughtful, reflective (not reflexive), and developing a sense of duty towards his fellow Athenian. Primarily, however, one was to cultivate the notion that one did not operate in a vacuum and by taking the first step towards wisdom: recognizing that one is an idiot and deciding to change it.

Donald Trump is an idiot.

He has been a fixture my entire life. He was well on his way to playing magnate with his father’s money and rolodex when I was born. His flamboyance and chislery have been shown across various media throughout my life. His body of work stands as an exemplar of the Athenian notion of what it meant to be an idiot. He has shown no interest in informing his views as he has made attempts to stumble into the public arena.

Do I really need to rehearse for the reader all of the ways in which this is true?

  • He lies without reservation or shame
  • He has lashed out at citizens and organizations in response to critiques of his dismal record of being a human being
  • He has shown contempt and disdain for the Presidency and for the men who, generally, have endeavored to leave the Office better than when they found it
  • He has bungled his way through attempts to explain any value his thoughts have with regard to public life, society, and public service.
  • He has defrauded customers and creditors and claimed to be a brilliant businessman, without ever recognizing that his creditors did not break him because he was more valuable to them hawking his delusions of grandeur
  • He has stoked dangerous currents of historical significance in the society without thought for the consequences of his words and actions
  • He has failed to recognize the resonance of similar times in history and how quickly and dangerously these times can get out of control

Is it not self-evident that he lacks the coherence of thought and the signs of curiosity one would expect in someone actually fascinated by the grand questions of life:

  • How do we build the Just Society?
  • How do we care for our fellow humanity?
  • How do we protect the individual Freedom and Liberty of citizens while balancing anarchy against the best interests of society

These are deep, involved, and complicated trains of thought. These are questions which the Athenians plumbed. These are questions to which there are no perfect answers, only a continuum rated in better and worse. Mr. Trump has not demonstrated the quietness of mind to have grappled with these questions. He has not shown the humility with which these questions must be approached. He has only shown that he chooses the path of the idiot: brute force, arrogance, and disrespect.

Even now, after careening his way to the Presidency, what could be considered the United States’ First Citizen, Mr. Trump has not shown the slightest inclination to attempt this transformation.

One thing is certain -

We, the People, of the United States of America, caretakers of the birthright of Athenian democracy, have elected an idiot.


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