Many explanations are proposed for the continued rise of Donald Trump, and the steadfastness of his support, even as the outrages and criminal charges pile up. Some of these explanations are powerful. But there is one I have seen mentioned nowhere, which could, I believe, be the most important: Trump is king of the extrinsics.
Some psychologists believe our values tend to cluster around certain poles, described as “intrinsic” and “extrinsic”. People with a strong set of intrinsic values are inclined towards empathy, intimacy and self-acceptance. They tend to be open to challenge and change, interested in universal rights and equality, and protective of other people and the living world.
People at the extrinsic end of the spectrum are more attracted to prestige, status, image, fame, power and wealth. They are strongly motivated by the prospect of individual reward and praise. They are more likely to objectify and exploit other people, to behave rudely and aggressively and to dismiss social and environmental impacts. They have little interest in cooperation or community. People with a strong set of extrinsic values are more likely to suffer from frustration, dissatisfaction, stress, anxiety, anger and compulsive behaviour.
It’s boys and girls, all things nice and puppy dog tails. And it’s not more than that.
It’s a setup with all the things that are – claimed to be – admirable in the one group and yep, I’m one of them! Everyone who disagrees with me is puppy dog tailes. And that’s it. There is no more here.
It’s a nursery rhyme to run the world by.