Those Who Climb Mountains: The miracle of Trump’s Fox and Friends press conference in “The Age of Envy”

I couldn’t help but to think of the great literary classic, and one of my favorite books, Thus Spoke Zarathustra as Donald Trump became the first president in American history to come out of the White House on a Friday morning and give an impromptu press conference specifically to Steve Doocy on an unscheduled Fox and Friends live show. Trump saw the press gathered on the lawn to do their usual morning broadcasts and he just stepped out in the light of day and gave an unprecedented, fearless all access question and answer session that literally had everyone’s jaws dropping on the ground. In Nietzsche’s great classic Zarathustra had come down from his mountain top where he had been living and visited a village to teach them the way of the Übermensch. Translated to English the German term invented by the philosopher Nietzsche means overman, or otherwise more than man and is an evolution of western philosophy. While the orient is concerned specifically with group assimilation in their philosophic references, the west has always been about advancing the individual away from the group toward exceptionalism. Nietzsche did great work on the matter, but Ayn Rand took the concept even further and flushed out the ideas more succinctly. To date there is still more work to do, but without question the long line of thought on the matter of the Übermensch manifested on the White House lawn on June 15th 2018, one day after the President’s 72nd birthday, the release of the now famous IG report on the FBI case against that same president which was very embarrassing to that same FBI. The event also took place three days after Trump met with Kim Jong Un for the first time any American president has met with North Korea with the intention of a peace settlement and has so far been successful. Trump also started trade negotiations at the G7 Summit and as of the morning of that press conference had stuck China with stiff penalties in the forms of tariffs. Trump had emerged as an Übermensch, and the world wasn’t sure what to think about it.

Two big events shaped my opinion on this matter long ago. The first was a continuation of the second but is relevant because it defined my view on these matters of eastern and western philosophies colliding in a healthy way for which I’m about to speak. I was listening to a lecture by the late great Joseph Campbell where he was talking about male initiation rites of passage in comparative religious cultures and he said something that just bothered me greatly. He said that it was an accepted and common practice for people not to do too well in manners of endeavor because doing such a thing was looked down on culturally. That perplexed me because to my thinking, if you were going to do something, why wouldn’t you try to do the best and be the best at it. Growing up I was an extremely rebellious kid. Not the kind who said too many curse words or was always up to no good. I was always in trouble for trying to be too good. When a bully picked on me to force me into some jar of human constraint I always fought back which led to a pretty bad fight between my dad and I on the matter. He was very impatient with me when he said that someday “they’re going to get you,” he was saying through clinched teeth with a finger in my face. The “they” he was talking about was of course the aristocracy of non-value which Ayn Rand described in her great book titled Return of the Primitive published originally in August of 1971. At that time, I had no understanding of Nietzsche, Ayn Rand or any of the philosophic history from western civilization that I was plotting my own course to completion, I simply knew that it seemed ethically wrong to allow my will to be bent by bullies in school or the social mechanisms that seemed to fuel their behavior. As it turned out, I was a pretty smart kid who was also uniquely gifted with physical aptitude, so I learned to fight early on and really didn’t grow up with any fears of being beat up—because honestly nobody could.

But my dad was trying to prepare me for the world and at that time he thought I was just trying to be a big fish in the small pond of my community, that once I hit the world, or the world hit me that those big waves would destroy me, and he didn’t want to see that happen. So he was telling me that people don’t want you to be the best, they don’t want you to be the fastest, smartest, or most courageous. The world wanted you to have flaws, and to yield to them because it made people feel less anxious about you if they could relate to your weaknesses. What he was talking about was the general acceptance of egalitarianism as the highest virtue of advanced western thinking—which many liberal professors in our colleges were teaching was a proper mixing of eastern and western ideologies for which the world would progress to the next states of existence. Only that never seemed right to me so I rebelled even more and by rebelling I meant to exhibit myself as removed from the rest of society whenever possible. I always wanted the best-looking girl on my arm, the fastest car, to be the best in a fight and the sharpest with my mouth. I simply wanted to be the best of the best and I have always expected that out of myself and to this very day, there has never been anyone—not even governments, who have had the ability to kick my ass. The legal system certainly tried to put me into that category once things really got serious—what my dad had warned me about, but I plowed through and reached my middle years much like Zarathustra himself in that classic Nietzsche novel.

My support of Donald Trump initially, and even presently, was born out of this desire to see more Zarathustras emerging from their top positions in business and art and enter the world of politics, which is where they were needed the most to advance the concept of individualism over collectivism—and if the truth of the matter is ever really considered, the hatred that the FBI had for Donald Trump was summed up in Ayn Rand’s classic work, Return of the Primitive, specifically the chapter titled “The Age of Envy.” The established order of mankind has up to this point been made up of collective masses who used the thuggish practices of force to keep individuals of exceptional ability from emerging into any positions of influence. This conflict was essentially captured in all of Ayn Rand’s written works and are specifically an American creation philosophically which goes well beyond where Nietzsche was attempting to go. Nietzche’s version of the Übermensch failed to reach its proper escape velocity and remained a captor of socialism which led to eventually the Nazi who misinterpreted Nietzsche dangerously into a compromise with the routine collectivism of Europe which was the aristocracy of non-value spoken about earlier in this article. The evil of Hitler was that he tried to bring such a society about by essentially removing all other values from society and forcing all of Europe into seeing the world the way he did—book burning, mass executions of people who didn’t think the way he thought they should think, and any other rebellious elements. Needless to say, Hitler missed the whole point of what Nietzsche was trying to say, and Ayn Rand smoothed out the failures in her own works. Which brings us to Donald Trump, who is maybe the first of his kind in history to function at such a high level on the world stage.

About two or three times a week people ask me if its lonely at the top. My first thought is—“the top of what?” The top of a mountain in Appalachia country is not the same as the top of a mountain in the Rockies or even larger yet, the Himalayas. Being at the top of a company in West Chester isn’t the same as running a state or running a country, but they are all degrees of peaks that we achieve in life and I get the meaning. For me there is always some new mountain to climb and I’m always on the outlook, and of course the reason we do it is because it’s there. It’s a true human inclination to always look to advance ourselves—or rather is a more than human trait that comes with the experience of thought. Donald Trump at 72 years old is at the top of the world, the highest peaks a professional person can obtain in the world of earth, and he’s happy about it, and he had some fun living in that world with Steve Doocy on Fox and Friends. He was offering the same thing that Zarathustra was offering the villagers in Nietzsche’s book. However, unlike Zarathustra, Trump is driven to go further and instead of yielding to the lackluster aims of the lazy and corrupt of our human species, he is determined to break them, and that is an emotion I can fully understand. I am of the same mind. It’s that feeling you do get when you are the top of whatever you are trying to do. For me it’s never lonely at the top. I enjoy the view too much to be concerned about such things as companionship.

But one thing is quite clear, and Trump understands it, even if the rest of the world except for a few at the top who can truly see things for the way they are, the role that the FBI has played in American politics has not been to protect us from some criminal threat. But rather to protect our institutions from the threat of the overman—from the value of the bar setters who like to climb mountains and can reside at the peaks without needing the comfort of the aristocracy of non-value. This obsession with non-value goes back to the start of the human race where children born a little too perfectly were found to have flaws by their parents in hopes that some demon wouldn’t be attracted to the young child and take them over for the ways of evil. The gods of the Greeks and Romans—of every western civilization have the same quandaries—it is unsafe to expect humans to venture too far toward perfection. It is safe to see flaws, and to bow to the gods of the unseen realms and to know one’s place in the universe. It is dangerous to think that “one’s shit doesn’t stink.” It is safe to throw away values, to entertain evil with naked bodies in a mud pit of Woodstock smoking dope and setting ambitions no higher than that of collective society. It is dangerous to consider gene manipulation, to seek destinations in the stars, or to live longer than 100 years. Yet for those who like to be at the top and the perspectives that can be obtained there, the aim of the human race should always be to climb, to climb ever higher and higher anyway possible. The fuel that drives Trump is that he has the ambition of a child, a force that has not been driven from his mind, and it is bringing him and America great success. And that is very good to see. It is precisely why I voted for him and I am eager to see what mountains he can climb next because his perspective is setting the bar for the future that just might save humanity from its perpetual crawl back into the caves of the primitive. For a change in all of human history, we might just stay on top of the mountain and consider venturing even further—and that is something to get excited about.

Rich Hoffman

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