Right now Donald Trump is in a hole. And when you're in a hole, keep digging. That seems to be the timeless motto at play in the latest phase of his "banning Muslims from America" wheeze.
The Don clearly does not retreat under any circumstances. He believes that if the free world unites in condemnation of you it is because they fear the awesome truth in your words.
Trump has absorbed a very important point about modern media, which is that the truth belongs to those prepared to shout for it. Beat a retreat and you're always going to be a Gastarbeiter someone else's reality. But just keep on plugging away, and even if what you said has no factual basis, it can become "your truth". It can occupy space and weight. The same cultural relativism and multi-POV-obeisance that Trump rails against as political correctness has also been his friend – it ends up aiding the fascists as much as the Islamo-fascists.
Throughout his arm-waving lectern-thumping campaign, he had already been quite successful in saying unsourced things and getting away with it. He famously opened his campaign by announcing that he had talked to some unnamed border guards who told him that Mexico was sending a bunch of rapists and gangsters across the Rio Grande (possibly getting confused with the opening scenes of Scarface).
So far so good. The problem for him arrives when you start making statements that can, potentially, be verified. As with his recent "Muslims-are-taking-over-London" polemic, in which he said that London police officers are "scared for their lives" due to "areas of radicalisation" in the capital.
If there is a provable right and a wrong, how can you continue to be garishly incoherent? What do you do? Rather than getting facts that support your opinion, you get other opinions about the facts that support your opinion. You cancel out the opinion bits on each side of the equation, and you're left with something which looks like the facts.
Throughout the week's sideshow, what has been the most comical over here has been how London is being treated like Addis Ababa. A far-off place of which Americans know little. Who can actually establish the facts of what is happening there? Do we have to send another scout boat up the Thames to find the lonely Colonel Kurtz of this mosquito-infested outpost of the caliphate?
Thankfully, there is one citizen left who has not gone native or been brainwashed by the Islamic hoardes. Thankfully, it is Katie Hopkins.
According to her Mail piece in support of the Don's views, which was Twitter-lauded by Trump, Hopkins believes that "there are areas of London where the police don't patrol" – ceded in the civil war between British Muslims and everyone else. She also states that her own family encouraged her to leave the capital for safety reasons. And that Muslims are changelings who will steal your soul and eat it with Harissa paste.
Or does she? She undoubtedly believes several acrid things, but as the queen of deliberately gainsaying obverse-journalism, is she, maybe more accurately, just parroting back the Trump's own beliefs? After all, an editor has most probably called her up and asked her to write an "In Defence of" piece. She has obliged, taking up her obverse mantle to run through the obverse reasons why the Don is right, simply so that people who click on the piece can fulminate self-righteously about how wicked she is.
In other words, Donald's supporting evidence is his own voice parroted back to him to as a contrived click bait-lead "defence", supplying a media market composed primarily of people who think he is wrong.
Thus, like BSE farmers feeding cows to their cows, the opinions of Hopkins, seemingly based on the unattributed hearsay of some policemen who are indeed afraid to patrol certain estates, are in turn recycled back into the Trump machine from whence they came. This now fourth-hand bilge then gets redistributed to his supporters, who use it to fertilise the array of dull prejudice that feeds so much of the sour tone of present US politics.
Still cut adrift from any hard facts, it's basically like footnoting your highly researched Lancet article about the extraordinary effectiveness of homeopathy with a lengthy list of citations from the American Journal Of Pseudoscience And Made Up Bullshit .
But the network can still hold, overall. It's just that in order to support your own implausible truth, you have to team up with similar implausible truths, until the passage of time knits all of your sources into their own self-reflexive network, their own reality-affirmation cycle.
The Tea Party strain, to which Trump doesn't belong but is vaguely related, has long had its own placemen at the borders of reality. Alex Jones' vast network of Truthers and Preppers and Bilderberg cranks being the most obvious case in point.
The key idea to come out of America's increasingly lengthy and uncomfortable sojourn through the looking glass is that there are facts and we should be on better terms with them. Some belief systems are more cruel than others. A woman's place is not two paces behind a man. Abortion on demand is not to be decided by the interpreted whims of long-dead Nazarenes. And London is certainly not in the grip of any angry Sultan, bar Saudi princes who've just lost at the Mayfair crap tables.
The same lazy pluralism that has driven the multi-kulti world Europe is now trying to back out of is the force driving the Trumps of this world. Longer term, we should probably thank the marvellous team of Don and ISIS for teaching us that.
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