Hitler & Trump: “The Great Man” Theory Debunked

Reading time: 6 pages, 2,150 words, 5 to 8 minutes.

We’re told that great leaders make history. Like so much of what we are taught, that’s a load of bunk. Yes, great leaders make it into the history books, but they do not make history. You make history. I make history. All we dirt people together make history. Government-run schools don’t teach us this because it makes us easier to control.

The “Great Man Theory” [Link] tells us that history can be largely explained by the impact of great leaders. This theory was popularized in the 1800’s by the historian and social commentator Thomas Carlyle  [Link] The Great Man Theory downplays the importance of economic and practical explanations. It is an appealing theory because its simplicity offers the path of least resistance. That should ring an alarm.

Herbert Spencer [Link] forcefully disagreed with the “Great Man Theory.” He believed that great leaders were merely products of their social environment. “Before he can remake his society, his society must make him.” Tolstoy went so far as to call great leaders “history’s slaves.” However, this middle ground still misses the mark.

At the other extreme is “history from below” [Link] aka ‘the people’s history.’ “History from below” takes the perspective of common people rather than leaders. It emphasizes the daily life of ordinary people that develop opinions and trends” as opposed to great people introducing ideas or initiating events.” Unfortunately, this too is only half the equation, and it is no surprise that it appeals to Leftist and Marxist agendas.

Having studied politics and history ever since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, I determined that although history is partly the environments and individuals shaping each other reciprocally, it is more than that. It is you and I who make history with every decision we make, every dollar we spend, everything we learn, every vote we cast and every opinion we voice. It’s even what we don’t do. It is mostly organic and cannot easily be explained in a simple, linear fashion the way the aforementioned political philosophers tried.

Great leaders are merely the right person at the right time and place. However, they do not lead so much as follow from the front. They stick their finger in the air to see which way the wind blows. They may be brutes, bullies or demagogues, but they are sensitive enough to understand the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times and so, they adjust their message accordingly.

That is one reason Jimmy Carter was a failed President. He was a nice guy, but he did not get an accurate reading of the times. Instead, he acted on the wishful thinking that is characteristic of liberals.

One of the significant shortcomings of many political philosophers is their ignorance of human nature. That is why Collectivism in all its forms appeals to the downtrodden. “Share and share alike” is a beautiful ideal so long as you get other people’s stuff, but the flip side of the coin is not quite so appealing.

I heard a radio interview with a self-avowed Communist:

“So do you believe in ‘share and share alike?”

“Yes, I do.”

“And, if you had more than one house, you’d give them away and keep just one for yourself?”

“Yes. I would.”

“And, if you had more than one vehicle, you’d give them away and keep just one for yourself?”

“Yes, I would.”

“And, if you had more than one shirt …”

“Whoa, wait a minute! I have more than one shirt.”

I can’t remember the rest of the interview as I was laughing too hard.

The Great Man Theory is one extreme, its critics are somewhere in the middle and ‘the history of the people’ is at the other end of the spectrum. Despite this, we are still fascinated by great leaders. That is human nature. Whether we are slaves at heart, or lack self-confidence or some other explanation is endlessly debatable. However, the fact remains that we are fascinated by great leaders and our inability to understand them further disproves the accepted theories.

Adolph Hitler is the ultimate example of our fascination with a great man. According to Alex Ross’s “The Hitler Vortex,” [Link] tens of thousands of books have been written about Hitler. “Books have been written about Hitler’s youth, his years in Vienna and Munich, his service in the First World War, his assumption of power, his library, his taste in art, his love of film, his relations with women, and his predilections in interior design (‘Hitler at Home’).”

Tens of thousands of books failed to explain Hitler. Ross, too, does no better when he writes, “What set Hitler apart from most authoritarian figures in history was his conception of himself as an artist-genius who used politics as his métier. It is a mistake to call him a failed artist; for him, politics and war were a continuation of art by other means.”  WTF? Are we to believe Hitler was simply an artist who used the world as his canvas? Equally pointless is the notion that, “Hitler debased the Romantic cult of genius to incarnate himself as a transcendent leader hovering above the fray.”

Although he was a brilliant orator, Hitler’s failures are too innumerable to list.  [Link] He was certainly a failure as a painter and his General staff considered him an incompetent military strategist (fortunately for the Allies.) However, Hitler was merely the right man at the right time and place to achieve power. As Ross explains, Hitler was, “the result of a large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality.”  That sounds all too close to home, doesn’t it?

Enter Donald Trump; the right man at the right time and place. He’s a brute, a bully, and a demagogue, but he understands the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times and he adjusts his message to appeal to his base.

I have known many bullies; on the playground and in the boardroom. A bully may achieve short-term gain, but for long-term pain. It is very easy to destroy corporate culture, but extremely difficult, if not impossible, to mend a toxic workplace after the bully was dismissed. Now, extrapolate this to the world under Donald Trump.

John Feeley is the former U.S. Ambassador to Panama portrayed in The New Yorker magazine article “The Diplomat Who Quit the Trump Administration.” [Link] After his first meeting with Trump, he wrote that Trump “saw every unknown person as a threat and that his first instinct was to annihilate that threat. ‘He’s like a velociraptor. He has to be boss, and if you don’t show him deference he kills you.'” 

Feeley fears that “the country was embracing an attitude that was profoundly inimical to diplomacy … ‘If we do that … we will become weaker and less prosperous.’” He is correct in that regard. China is building a large, new embassy at the mouth of the Panama Canal visible to every ship “as they enter a waterway that once symbolized the global influence of the United States.”

Feeley is also correct in warning that the Trump administration’s gutting the diplomatic corps will have negative repercussions. Throughout Latin America, leftist leaders are in retreat, and popular movements reject corrupt governance. Yet, Amerika is losing “the greatest opportunity to recoup the moral high ground that we have had in decades.”  Instead, the U.S. is abandoning the region to China. Feeley calls it “a self-inflicted Pearl Harbor.”

China is replacing U.S. influence in Latin America and Chinese banks “provided more than a hundred and fifty billion dollars in loan commitments to the region … In less than two decades, trade between China and Latin America has increased twenty-seven-fold.”  Although that began long before Trump, “We’re not just walking off the field. We’re taking the ball and throwing a finger at the rest of the world.”

Feeley says that he felt betrayed by what he regarded as “the traditional core values of the United States.”  Sorry, Feeley, but Amerika lost its core values long before Trump was elected. Trump is not the cause; he is the symptom, the result of the declining Amerikan Empire.

Hunters know that one of the most dangerous animals is a wounded one. The same is correct about failing empires because they are a danger not only to others but to their own citizens as well. The elites are running out the clock in order to loot as much as they can before it hits the fan.

We dirt people will continue to suffer from stagnant wage growth while the so-called increase in national wealth goes to a tiny minority. [link]

wages stagnant

 

Moreover, nobody wins a trade war that raises consumer prices even if Trump eventually triumphs.

 

Tariffs see what happens

 

The economy staggers under the weight of phony wars, fake finances, fake GDP, fake CPI, fake employment, fake pensions and fake everything. [Link] The national debt increases $1 trillion every year, consumer debt is at an all-time high [Link] while the tax cuts benefit only the ultra-wealthy. Also, the fake news tells us everything is wonderful. Don’t believe it. “If everything is so awesome, why are Americans drinking themselves to death in record numbers?” [Link]

It is said that every few generations, money returns to its rightful owners. That is what’s happening now.

Amerika emerged relatively unscathed from the Second World War whereas many other countries were bombed back into the Stone Age. The Marshal Plan helped rebuild countries that were to become both America’s future customers and its competitors. Amerika’s busy factories transformed from war production to consumer goods, the demand for which was created by “the Father of Spin” Edward Bernays’ marketing propaganda. [Link]

As well, the U.S. stole the gold that the Nazis had stolen from others, [Link]  and that wealth in addition to robust, productive capacity temporarily propelled the U.S. far ahead of other nations. However, it would not last. Eventually, the undeserved prosperity of the 1950’s and ‘60’s began to run out of steam as other nations rebuilt and competed with the U.S. President Nixon defaulting on the dollar in 1971 by “closing the gold window” signaled the end of Amerika’s good times. The subsequent debt creation now unconstricted by a gold basis helped to cushion the blow for several decades, but wealth was now flowing to Asia along with factory jobs.

For 5,000 years, China was a world superpower with only a short, two-century hiatus that is now ending as China again emerges as an economic superpower. Such a massive shift in wealth cannot be attributed to either leadership or the people below. It is a painful reversion to the mean. All the finger-pointing and wailing and gnashing of teeth … not even bombastic Trump and his tariffs can stem the tide and make Amerika great again as money continues to flow back to its rightful owners.

Uncle Sam

The USA is a declining, bankrupt, warmongering police state and most of its indoctrinated citizens think they live in a free, peaceful country. China is a corrupt police state, but most of its citizens know it. We have met the enemy, and he is us. The future awaits.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREPARE?

You cannot stop the inevitable, but you can prepare for it.

– Get out of debt because debt is how they enslave us. Stay out of debt and stop buying stuff you don’t need with money you don’t not have to impress people you don’t like. Live beneath your means.

– Do as much of Jim Sinclair’s ‘GOTS’ (Get Out of The System)  program as you can.

– Keep only as much money in the bank to pay your bills and avoid future Bail-ins.

– In fact, stay away from banks altogether. Use a Credit Union. They are safer, friendlier and easier to deal with. Let the banks be the canary in the coal mine that warns you when to flee your Credit Union.

– Buy assets. Depending how much money you have; if you’re wealthy, buy the company rather than its stock because the stock markets can crash, but companies earn cash.

– If you have average wealth, purchase cheap land (admittedly hard to find) as well as hard assets and gold as insurance.

– If you have little wealth, diversify into one-ounce silver coins, long-term food & water storage, and durable necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, etc. In other words stockpile. [Link]

– Acquire as many skills as you can so you can do for yourself without relying on others.

Govern yourself accordingly.

Gerold

August 8, 2018

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About gerold

I have a bit of financial experience having invested in stocks in the 1960s & 70s, commodities in the 80s & commercial real estate in the 90s (I sold in 2005.) I am appalled at our rapidly deteriorating global condition so I've written articles for family, friends & colleagues since 2007; warning them and doing my best to explain what's happening, what we can expect in the future and what you can do to prepare and mitigate the worst of the economic, social, political and nuclear fallout. As a public service in 2010 I decided to create a blog accessible to a larger number of people because I believe that knowledge not shared is wasted.
This entry was posted in Collapse 2018, Economic Collapse, News & Views, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Hitler & Trump: “The Great Man” Theory Debunked

  1. Willy2 says:

    – Speaking of debt: Under Hitler Germany stopped paying principal and interest on the debts Germany had to foreigners. And that freed up the german economy from a (giant) financial burden. That way Germany was able to recover in the early 1930s.
    – Similar story with the socalled (german) “Wirtschafts wunder” of the 1950s. In the (very) late 1940s or early 1950s all the debts Germany had were finally written off by Germany’s creditors.
    – Similar story with the US in the 1940s. As a result of the giant spending program called World War 2 the private sector was able to pay down their debt load. This is – more or less – common knowledge. But at the same time there was rationing in the US. It meant that workers couldn’t spend all their money and were FORCED to save. So, it was the combination of a stimulus program in combination with forced saving that helped the private sector to reduce the private debtload during WW 2.
    – During the 1950s and 1960s the US debt to GDP ratio started to rise again. In other words: already in the 1950s and 1960s people had to spend an increasing % of their income to servicing the growing debt load.

  2. Willy2 says:

    – A LOT OF people (sheeple) aren’t aware of the dynamics of the current weak US economy. It’s actually quite simple when one knows in which corner to look. It has to do with debt. Before 2008 the average US citizen was willing (although reluctantly) to take on more debt. That meant that – on average – a lot of US citizens were able to spend more than their income. That changed after 2008. Then a lot of people started to decrease the rate of growth of their debts. Or even started to reduce the amount of debt. But reducing debt means that one can spend less than one’s income.
    – A lot of people are feeling the pain of thatreduced spending in their wallet. They start searching for a scape goat. And Trump and his buddies (Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, etc.) are giving them a good distraction by blaming mexicans for all the woes of the average citizen.
    – I think the Trump administration will build the wall on the mexican border. But it will be a distraction from the fact that Trump and his cronies are looting the country even more. (think: taxcuts).

    • Loner says:

      I would like you to expand on this statement, “But reducing debt means that one can spend less than one’s income.
      – A lot of people are feeling the pain of thatreduced spending in their wallet”

      I don’t see the correlation. I’m listening with an open mind, not “hating on you”.

      I don’t agree that our country is benefiting from destitute peoples (of UNKNOWN countries) entering my country without papers.

      You saying, “blaming Mexicans for all the woes of the average citizen”, is inaccurate.

      Looking back on you later writing, I see other flaws, WW2- merely a “giant spending program”? I think not, we were invaded by the Axis powers.

      During the ’50’s and ’60’s the US was the economic powerhouse never before seen, producing over 50% of the worlds goods and services.

      Sorry, but trying to have an intelligent conversation with you, is futile.

      • gerold says:

        Loner, the sentences you quoted didn’t ring any bells nor are they my style of writing. I did a CTRL-F (BTW – that’s an excellent search function on many platforms) and found the following: “But reducing debt means that one can spend less than one’s income. – A lot of people are feeling the pain of that reduced spending in their wallet” and “blaming Mexicans for all the woes of the average citizen” and “giant spending program” are, in fact readers’ comments and not my writing.

        In other words, if you take issue with the foregoing quotes you’ll have to take that up with the readers who commented. I’m accountable for my words, but I cannot answer for what someone else wrote.

        – Gerold

      • Willy2 says:

        – Quite simple. Look at the following formula: Income + change in debt = aggregate demand. With income at 1000, change in debt at +100 means that total spending is at +1100.
        – Now assume income still at 1000 and change in debt = -100 (=reducing debt) means that total spending has dropped to 900. A decrease of (1100 – 900 =) 200.
        – This decrease of spending by 200 could mean that a producer is forced to reduce working hours for all its employees from 40 down to say 30 hours per week. Leading to lower incomes for all its employees. That way reduced spending leads to lower income for someone else in the economy. It’s (keynesian) economics 101.
        – In the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s there were A LOT OF houses build here in the US. There was a shortage of US workers and that’s why A LOT OF illegal (e.g.mexican)immigrants were working on US building sites. In those days it wasn’t a problem. But now people blame those evil immigrants for their woes. And when they are here in the US working on e.g. building sites then these people will spend (some) of their income here in the US (=extra demand). Even now some producers have difficulty to find US workers and are forced to hire (e.g. mexican) workers.
        – The US invaded by the Axis powers ? The US was hell bent on waging WAR against Japan. That’s why the US imposed an oil boycott against Japan in 1940/1941 in the first place. But that’s NOT what the school books want you to know.
        – The US invaded by the Axis powers ? Did the US have colonies in Europe ?

  3. Boris says:

    Cretin.

  4. Willy2 says:

    – Similar story with one Mr. Ronald Reagan. He is a hero for many Americans but he simply had the fortune that the economy started to recover as a result of rising debt (=increased demand), falling oil prices and falling interest rates. If interest rates would have continued to go through the roof in the early 1980s then Reagan would have been blamed for the economic disaster, instead.
    – Trump and his buddies are making sure that the US becomes a banana republic much and much sooner than anyone expects. But one Hillary Clinton would have been only slightly better.
    – Read the work of one “David Cay Johnston” for a scathing review of Trump’s character. Or search YouTube for videos with Mr. Johnston. Johnston is – more or less – “on the same page” as you.

  5. A single politician, to show his power, can destroy the whole of civilization.

    Moscow, New York, London, Beijing, any place can be vaporized within seconds.

    The whole point of a war is to win, but in a nuclear war nobody wins.

    So war has lost its basic foundation.

    Just a few bad people have been ruling the whole of humanity, and millions of good people, seeing destructiveness, seeing violence, seeing criminality, just remain silent.

    They don’t want to get involved in any trouble.

    What are you doing to prevent the calamity that is coming closer every day?

    https://whenwardisappears.wordpress.com/

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  9. H says:

    You and I do not make history any more than a distinct cell type makes a human. It takes an entire history leading up to the emergence of a great man. When conditions are ripe, a great man may or may not emerge. But those leaders who do are a consequence of emergence out of the conditions of the time. These men are something far beyond ordinary humans. Society’s hopes concentrate and congeal in them. They then lead from the front as did Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Napoleon, Mahatma Gandhi, Adolph Hitler, and others without whose existence the course of history would not have turned until some other great man came along. Your task is to determine if Donald Trump is such a man. For that you will truly have to open your mind. Brute, bully, and demagogue give little hope that you can. You do not even know the crux of why Trump came to Washington.

    • gerold says:

      No distinct cell makes a body, but without any cells, there would be no body whatsoever.

      We would never have heard about any of the so-called great leaders you mention if no one had supported and followed them.

      It never ceases to amaze me how we underplay our own roles in the making of history. It is a testament to government indoctrination that so many people underestimate their own power and overestimate the role of government leaders. Most people are sheep and government tools.

      – Gerold

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  11. Jake says:

    Truly a very insightful analysis of what is happening, while we are mesmerized by struggles which are not ours. Like deer staring at the headlights of a runaway truck coming straight at us.

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  15. alx west says:

    super power ??????

    china EVEN DIDN’T HAS OWN SOVEREIGNTY for 1000+ years UNTIL AFTER WW2

    since 10 century AD China was divided and ruled by NON Chinese rulers (sic)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_China#Song,_Liao,_Jin,_and_Western_Xia_dynasties_%28AD_960%E2%80%931234%29

    after that by Mongols

    and after that since 1644 BY Manchus!!!!

    and in even 20th century small Japan occupied parts of China!!!

    • gerold says:

      Sovereignty is over-rated. Two thousand years ago, more than fifty non-sovereign Germanic tribes withstood the mighty Roman Empire. Anarchy rules!

      You are a well-indoctrinated government tool!

      – Gerold

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  32. Annette says:

    Enjoyed it also. Our politicians in the western world have become weak sycophants that are only in it for the long term benefits to themselves. Same with bureaucrats. This is where it started going wrong. No oversight, no patriotism, no love thy neighbour. And the dirt people had absolutely no power. Votes mean nothing today.

    • gerold says:

      You’re right, Annette. Once upon a time our leaders at least paid lip service which checked their predations somewhat. Now, they don’t even bother hiding their corruption. We’ve long ago passed the point-of-no-return.

      – Gerold

  33. Tom Jones says:

    Really enjoyed reading this. Some fascinating insight into Trump and the US for a non-American like me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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