A friend was researching a story, and the more questions she asked the more she felt she really didn’t know anything about the subject.
She discovered neither did anyone else she was asking.
That reminded me of Apple founder Steve Jobs’ epiphany, which goes something like this:
When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is, and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to fit in, and everything will be OK. That’s a very limited life.
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
This explains the root of the Washington Establishment’s dysfunctional relationship with President Trump.
The antipathy is deeper than “he’s not our kind of people,” or policy disagreements.
Consider Jobs’ epiphany.
The Washington Establishmentarians went to the finest schools where they learned “the world is the way it is,” the world being “the trans-Atlantic alliance,” “the international rules based trading system,” “the post-war architecture and institutions,” concepts formulated 70 years ago and considered sacrosanct in the empyrean precincts of Washington and academia.
The gilded reptiles of the swamp make a comfortable living as experts on the world The Way It Is. They don’t “bash into the walls” – they know their place and they fit in.
Then along comes Donald J. Trump. Rather than “Try not to bash into the walls,” he’s made a living bashing down walls, quite literally, and doesn’t apologize for it.
Unlike previous candidates who ran as outsiders but went with the Washington status quo once elected, President Trump doesn’t accept “the world is the way it is.” Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it.
President Trump didn’t accept the received wisdom on China that let Beijing get away with cheating, stealing and breaking every promise it made. He knew that China policy was made by people who were no smarter than he and that he could change it.
President Trump didn’t accept the status quo with NATO, a 70-year-old military alliance against a Soviet threat that no longer exists. The Establishment experts told him he deserves to be impeached, convicted and removed from office for suggesting allies pay their fair share. But then the allies ponied up more.
President Trump doesn’t accept America’s decline is inevitable, nationalism is bad, nations are outdated, and we are merely cogs in a “global economy without borders.” Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it.
Washington is full of people who base their self-worth on issuing great pronouncements telling us “the world is the way it is.”
President Donald J. Trump doesn’t accept “the world is the way it is,” and it drives them nuts that he has the gall to change it.