Op-ed: Freedom and discipline

Op-ed: Freedom and discipline April 27, 2020

I hate to say it, but there is such a thing as too much freethinking, or at least free thinking. There are people whose thinking is so free that it’s chaotic and worse.

The Independent tells us of one such person, Donald Trump:

In a furious, misspelled Twitter rant on Sunday, the president lashed out at The New York Times over what he called a “phony story” about his daily routine. The Times story claimed the president often doesn’t arrive in the Oval Office until noon, after spending mornings watching Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

He said: “I work from early in the morning until late at night, haven’t left the White House in many months (except to launch Hospital Ship Comfort) in order to take care of Trade Deals, Military Rebuilding etc., and then I read a phony story in the failing @nytimes about my work … schedule and eating habits, written by a third rate reporter who knows nothing about me.”

But that thinking, and the subsequent tweeting, are too free. We know it’s not true that he works all day long, because we can see for ourselves that he’s tweeting, watching television, fuming, shouting at reporters, free-associating about injecting disinfectant into The Body to kill a virus, bragging, lying, insulting, bullying.

Shell Fisher (shell-fisher.wix.com/websites)

Some of that may take some effort, but that doesn’t quite mean it’s work, and it’s certainly not the work he is meant to be doing in his actual job. Anyway it’s hard not to conclude that it’s not work for him, because it comes so naturally to him. Insulting people is as recreational and refreshing to him as eating hamburgers and drinking Coke, so even though he does sometimes stand up to do it, I don’t think we have to agree with him that it’s sweated labour.

The Independent goes on:

The president said that reporters who covered the Russian interference scandal — and the subsequent investigation that led to the indictments and imprisonments of several of the president’s allies — were “proven totally wrong” and should return their “Nobles” to “the REAL REPORTERS & JOURNALISTS who got it right.”

He appears to have mixed up Pulitzer prizes with the Nobel prize, which he spelled incorrectly four times.

The president said: “I can give the Committee a very comprehensive list. When will the Noble Committee DEMAND the Prizes back, especially since they were gotten under fraud? The reporters and Lamestream Media knew the truth all along … Lawsuits should be brought against all, including the Fake News Organizations, to rectify this terrible injustice. For all of the great lawyers out there, do we have any takers? When will the Noble Committee Act? Better be fast!”

There again, we would have to be very generous to call that “working.” If a child wanders into the Oval Office and plays a little game with a doll and a stuffed dog we don’t say the child is “working,” and if a grown man types an illiterate and unhinged series of tweets about journalists getting Noble prizes and lawsuits against … someone, we don’t say the grown man is working either.

All this is blowback from the real excess of free aka chaotic thinking Trump indulged himself in while on camera the other day: his gormless questions about whether it might be a good idea to inject disinfectant products inside the body, and while we’re at it what about hitting the body with light, getting it inside somehow, through the skin or some other way, which we can do.

Don’t believe me? Here is the official White House transcript:

So I asked Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of, if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting.  So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it.  And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too.  It sounds interesting.

Interesting and, if you’re the one having the light brought inside the body which is yours, alarming.

And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute.  One minute.  And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning.  Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs.  So it would be interesting to check that.  So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with.  But it sounds – it sounds interesting to me.

So we’ll see.  But the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute, that’s — that’s pretty powerful.

This I think is where we can really see how his thinking is free to excess. Your thought processes have to be very free indeed to go from being told how disinfectant works on hard surfaces, to thinking well then why not put it inside the body.

The body has some hard surfaces inside it, I suppose, but they’re not what we mean when we talk about bleach on a hard surface. It’s damp in there, it’s gooey, it’s slippery – and there are all kinds of organs and blood cells and whatnot that probably don’t thrive when doused with bleach. Thinking that knows when to wander freely and when to stay on the path is better at remembering that kind of thing than the jump and dart and pratfall all over the place style that Trump goes in for.

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