I have struggled to explain exactly why the Trump administration alarms me much more than, say, the George W. Bush administration. People I know on the left side of the political spectrum, particularly, argue that, under Bush, much worse things happened — namely, the Iraq War — than have occurred under Trump. Yes, I admit, and don't forget the Wall Street collapse, also under Bush, which nearly brought down the world economy.
Others — hard-core lefties — argue that all modern administrations have been corrupt, in the pocket of corporations and untrustworthy. I don't subscribe to this view, that there's no difference between Trump and Obama, or even, that Obama was worse. (Lots of Trump supporters feel that Obama was worse, of course, but I'm talking about lefties.)
Much of my fear and loathing for Trump comes from what I see as the awful potential of his administration, because of its totalitarian style.
I found this today from George Orwell, part of his essay, "Looking Back on the Spanish War," written in 1942:
"A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be that body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys. Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as ‘the truth’ exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as ‘science’. There is only ‘German science’, ‘Jewish science’ etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ – well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five – well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs – and after our experiences of the last few years that is not a frivolous statement."
His supporters fly into hysterics when Trump is called authoritarian or totalitarian, or when the N-word (Nazi) is mentioned in the same breath. But Trump's style — the undermining of truth and the attempted substitution of falsehoods — is totalitarian and is terribly dangerous. Once that succeeds — and it already has succeeded to a large extent (if you doubt that, just read the inevitable, confident comments that will appear on this post), then Trump's power will be unlimited, because he will be able to do what he wants then describe it as he pleases. He will be able to break the law then say he didn't and be believed.
I'm not arguing that this sort of twisting of the truth never happened before in the modern presidency, but I am arguing it has not happened to anywhere near this extent, that it was not a central feature of past administrations as it is of this one. That is why I am far more alarmed by Trump than any of his recent predecessors.