This is a provocative article. Indeed, it’s so provocative and your responses to some of the comments on it are so weirdly megalomaniacal, that your article comes across as a piece of trolling from the left. Another reader called it “gaslighting,” I think. Has Trumpism worn off on you?

You talk about the need to pardon Trump to give you time to fix the economy. Who do you think you are? Even if your Medium account is meant to be satirical, it’s worth thinking about a Biden pardon of Trump.

First of all, pardoning Trump wouldn’t remove the threat of prosecutions at the state level unless President Biden were to coordinate and call off the district attorneys.

Second, you speak as though Trump were a product of a broken economy. All he wants is money, you say. Have you forgotten about biology and psychology? Are you some kind of Marxist who thinks economics is the fundamental science? Trump is a malignant narcissist. He’s been warped by the rigged economy, sure, but also by bad genes and by his formative years under his father’s influence. That’s how real-world monsters are made.

Your article reminds me of the scene in the movie Braveheart when King Longshanks realizes he has to negotiate with William Wallace and muses that if he sent his weakling son to negotiate, that would only encourage Wallace to take over the entirety of England.

I agree that even if Trump were prosecuted, he’d get off on technicalities or he’d delay the trials indefinitely, because the American legal system doesn’t apply to the superrich. Trump’s been under audit for a decade because he’s managed to delay the reckoning on his tax avoidance schemes.

But it’s a question of symbolism. Symbols matter, because if nothing has symbolic power, there’s nothing worth believing in and in that case we behave as nihilists. Trumpism is liable to make everyone lose faith in American values (as Putin would want and perhaps designed). Indeed, Trump’s “presidency” may already indicate that American culture is dying.

So the question is what a pardon of Trump would symbolize. For many Americans, it would carry Christian connotations. I notice you don’t go into those. In reality, in pardoning him, Biden would speak about the need to heal and unify the country. That would be rhetoric to cover the neoliberalism Biden shares with Obama. That centrist neoliberalism is what brought forth the backlash of Trumpism in the first place. Biden would bring the two parties together not by fixing the broken system but by doubling down on that system’s dysfunctions (on globalization and rigged capitalism).

Trump exploited that system as a demagogue, whipping up misdirected (racist) resentment and deflecting it against Antifa, dark-skinned Obama, foreigners, the media, socialist Democrats, and so on. Trump was a tool of the plutocrats, since Trump never enacted the kind of European-style, democratic-socialist reforms that would actually make the economy work for most Americans.

Despite their rhetoric, both Obama and Biden have likewise been tools of those budding plutocrats. President Biden would pardon Trump because a civil war is bad for business. Biden would be acting as a neoliberal, taking his orders from Wall Street just as Trump has done.

But coming from a Democrat, that pardon would be received as an expression of what I’ve called toxic femininity. Trump’s values are toxically masculine: he’s an aggressive sociopath and narcissist. (I notice that your article glosses over that fact with the strange understatement that “That just isn’t the way he works.” This is where the conventions for attempting to broaden your audience work against the elementary obligation to tell the truth. You’ve dumbed down your sentences to the point where you’ve trapped yourself into hiding unpleasant facts.)

Meanwhile, left-wing extremists are toxically feminine, as is apparent from cancel culture and the totalitarian MeToo movement. Especially when combined with Biden’s dreadful oratory skills (at this late stage of his life), Biden’s pardon of Trump would come across as a sign of weakness. Far from weakening the parasites and predators that currently control both parties and that profit the most from the rigged economy, the pardon would embolden them.

Psychologically, Biden would pardon Trump because Biden’s a sentimental old man. Likewise, the notion that women are always right and that we have to listen to and agree with all their complaints and accusations is just sentimental deference to political correctness.

Ultimately, the pardon would be a sign of the continuing infantilization of American culture. When you spend so much energy consuming goods in a narrow-minded, unsustainable fashion, you begin to think like a baby. Babies just want to play; they don’t want to work hard by actually reforming a broken environment. They’re nowhere near equipped to handle that sort of task. Likewise, the centrist Democrats (as opposed to the disempowered progressives or quasi-socialists) aren’t interested in real reform; they go with the flow of neoliberalism, because they’re infantile and weak-willed (toxically feminine).

That’s what the pardon would symbolize: hyper-feminine weakness, infantile laziness, and surrender to the neoliberal, plutocratic status quo.

I’ll be writing up a Medium article on this topic that argues the opposite of what you’ve presented, in case you’re interested.

Anyway, thanks for the provocation.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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