Disclaimer: If you are uninterested in establishing world peace, this post won’t be relevant to you.
Humans have been fighting each other since we were less-evolved primates, and it’s not surprising. Evolution occurs because life is programmed to perpetuate itself, which means killing off the competition and/or possessing traits that allow you to survive longer than the competition. Early humans evolved to be tribalistic and more social than other animals, meaning we lived in large groups where everyone (mostly) cooperated. Each tribe had its own ideas about right and wrong, as well as a desire for self-preservation, so when it came into contact with another, different tribe, a fight generally ensued.
We may not have evolved much in the last 10,000 years, but social evolution has been huge for humanity. We no longer think it’s acceptable to just slaughter someone because they might be a threat, and those who do kill others in our modern world are generally afflicted with bad neurological programming (for whatever reason) that is not typical of mainstream society. Instead of everyone chipping in for the good of the tribe and people being kicked out and left to die if they refuse to cooperate, we now have taxes, which (theoretically) allow us to help our now-huge national “tribe” and the weakest among us, as well as providing us with other important things, such as a working infrastructure.
Unfortunately, we’re still pretty stupid in how we run our world, and politics are the perfect illustration of this. Neuroscience, psychology, and sociology are now advanced enough to allow anyone (theoretically) to understand the causes of human conflict, especially conflict between tribes — I.E. international conflict such as that between the United States and the Middle East. We have enough knowledge of the human mind and tribalism to recognize what is likely to increase or decrease conflict, but our politics aren’t caught up on it. Instead, politicians — people often lacking a solid scientific education, especially if they’re Republican — make huge global decisions based on rhetoric, lobbying, public opinion, and in the Trump administration’s case, the bigoted, outdated, and totally ineffective ideas of an old man.
I’m not suggesting that all politicians are idiots who can’t make any good decisions — I think Barack Obama had a relatively pragmatic and evidence-based approach to foreign policy, despite his weaknesses, and I imagine he was also held back by the flawed political system in the U.S. (I’m very aware of how much I don’t know here, but based on what I do know, that’s my view.) But despite his pragmatism, he still made war-related decisions that were more PR than sound sociology, as all presidents have done.
If you read this far into my post, you probably don’t think Trump is any kind of strongman who will save America. I get frustrated and exhausted by the constant “us vs them” approach that plagues political discourse in an age where everyone thinks they’re a thought leader, because it’s not just that Trump is wholly unqualified to be a politician or someone watching your kids. It’s that he completely lacks the scientific and philosophical understanding of the world necessary to facilitate world peace. And isn’t world peace the ultimate goal here? (Included in my definition of “world peace” is people not starving to death while others have an excess of resources.)
Past presidents have had a better understanding of philosophies necessary to run a country effectively. This quote from Abraham Lincoln highlights that well:
“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it, ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read, ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” ― Speeches and Writings, 1832-1858
You just don’t see that kind of deep thought going into the words of our current president, do you?
“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.”
Trump is a businessman and reality TV star. He is too driven by carnal desires like power to even understand his own psychology, and many who know him have described his temperament as dangerous and unhinged. He is obviously narcissistic, and surprise — narcissists don’t get LESS narcissistic the more power you give them. Many dictators and generally awful leaders were elected “fairly” (Russian influence aside, in this case) and plunged their countries into the ground. Trump lives to win — thinks he’s great at winning — but nobody is winning when human beings are still dying unjustly. That’s something I don’t think he is even capable of comprehending, because he is still five steps behind, social evolution-wise, and has lived such a privileged life that his desires have been totally unfettered. As a result, he craves power, because that’s what men evolved to crave. He is just the standard product of evolution and privilege, and he certainly doesn’t possess any special intellect that will help him succeed at his new job.
Humanity as a whole does not understand its own programming. So it elected a man who also doesn’t understand his, or anyone’s, programming, and it’s not going to solve anything. We will keep fighting each other and killing each other and allowing our economy to rely on war manufacturing until something changes. The Dunning-Kruger effect also means we won’t recognize a smart politician when he/she comes along unless we are smart ourselves, which we generally aren’t — and won’t be if we continue to let science play a backseat role in how we run our world.