On last week’s edition of CNN’s Global Public Square, host Fareed Zakaria ardently condemned Donald Trump’s attack on the election, drawing dark parallels to the rise of Hitler and Nazism after World War 1.
His first guest, former National Security Advisor, General H. R. McMaster, chided Fareed for “misusing history”, arguing that the US has modern institutions specifically built to withstand the will of an autocrat.
There is an essential truth in both of these perspectives. Fareed is right that pre-rational tiers of human consciousness can be dangerous and violent. They hunger for great myths, and thrill to the warrior leader who has come to set the world right.
McMaster is correct that the US government is designed to check these non-rational impulses, and seems to be doing so effectively against the onslaught of Trump the Red.
In this episode, I argue that integral thinking provides a next possibility beyond trusting leaders and trusting institutions. It is to trust in development itself, which in modernity and postmodernity has installed reliable new structures of rationality and sensitivity that dilute and contain (but do not eliminate) the premodern ones.
Maybe the lesson of Germany in the ‘30’s is not that it could happen again in the US., but is found in the subsequent evolution of Germany into a world-leading nation less than a lifetime later. And that the odious Trump, if not Trumpism altogether, is headed to the ash heap of history.