Government by Gut Feelings
American government has entered into a new era. Instead of using experts and scientific data to determine the nation’s policies, President Trump’s instincts and gut feelings are the major factors in the choices that he makes in governing. In addition, Trump’s ego plays a large role, as he never wants to look bad or be seen to have made significant mistakes.
President Trump does not like to read and is particularly opposed to lengthy reports. He is willing, however, to read tweets and to respond to those he does not like and retweet those he does. His intellectual curiosity meter barely registers just above zero with much of his information coming from television programs he agrees with and that praise him unceasingly. He is wont to reject the recommendations of his close advisors as much as listen to what they tell him, usually following their suggestions when they tell him what he wants to hear.
Trump also does not like to listen to experts or academics who have studied the issues with which he has to deal. He tends to ignore scientific articles and scientists, using his ‘common sense’ in determining how to manage problems. The most important quandary of our times is how to control global warming which President Trump does not accept as reality. In fact, he and his appointees, particularly Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Perversion Agency have done whatever they can to increase global warming and destroy the environment. This is being done under the false pretenses of aiding the growth of the economy. However, there are more jobs available in the field of renewable energy than in fossil fuels, and Trump is ceding the lead in this area to the Chinese because of his lack of foresight.
In general, Trump tends to govern by instinct, following his gut feelings in making decisions rather than absorbing all the pertinent information first, discussing matters with his advisers, and then reaching a conclusion on what actions to take. As he is happy to tell you, he is the smartest person in any group and will match his IQ with yours at any time. Given his intelligence level, he believes the decisions he makes are almost always right, with or without his having obtained all the information relating to the particular problem at hand. His brain is able to understand the various ramifications of his actions even without the necessary information.
Having spent most of his life as a businessman (with his success questionable), and time as an entertainer, one would have expected him to immerse himself in the nitty-gritty of government and the background of the problems he would face before he assumed the presidency. One would think that he owed that to the people who voted for him as well as the rest of Americans. The world is a complex place with so many subtle inter-relationships that many not be clear to those who do not study them. And the intricacies of government and politics are a convoluted world unto themselves. Yet Trump was content to play golf a large proportion of his time and handle his business interests before and after he became president instead of gaining knowledge about his presidential duties and the concerns he would be facing.
Trump is not an introspective man with questions about his abilities. He believes in snap decisions on the basis of his gut feelings and what he thinks is common sense, whether or not the world agrees with what he does. In many ways, he is the antithesis of Obama who would analyze problems ad infinitum before acting or not acting. Neither of these patterns is necessarily good for the nation. Action on many issues is required after proper deliberation and advice from experts in the field rather than spontaneously shooting from the hip. Unfortunately, we are long enough into the Trump presidency to know that change in his behavior is unlikely.
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