An illiterate president – the ultimate recipe for disaster
Illiterate? The word rings like an accusation. In itself, it is not. It is the combination of the two words ‘illiterate’ and ‘president’ that is accusatory. The dictionary says of being illiterate: ignorant in a particular subject or activity: uncultured or poorly educated; badly written or expressed.
Understanding requires knowing the necessary words and being able to develop the concepts that underlie that understanding. Without the words, understanding the world is just not possible. Having an extremely limited vocabulary implies that the person is incapable of grasping even the simplest concepts let alone the complex interplay and interconnectedness that characterise the modern world. Having few words to call on also puts the person at an immense disadvantage when faced with others, in particular those who are manipulative or who have a forcefully advocated agenda.
Laughing at people who are illiterate is cruel and unfair. They can’t help it. But when that person has been elected at the head of one of the most powerful countries in the world, he, and by ricochet his country, are risible. Worse, coupled with an intense desire to be seen as powerful and impressive fuelled by deep feelings of inferiority, all possibility of awareness of one’s shortcomings get shoved aside. The world can only be seen in simplistic terms and any ‘solution’ can only come from an extremely poor vocabulary of actions that are rarely appropriate.
Combine that limited understanding of the world, a drastically over-inflated ego and an entourage out to manipulate for their own profit or ideology and the fact that the president has the ability to launch a nuclear strike and the generals are sworn to obey him, you have the ultimate recipe for disaster.
See the full list of Disaster Cookbook recipes
Richard Wolffe, The Guardian | God save us from Donald Trump’s fire and fury
Sam Leith, The Guardian | Trump’s rhetoric: a triumph of inarticulacy