Home / General / You know of what the prosecutions of Donald Trump remind me? The Dreyfus affair

You know of what the prosecutions of Donald Trump remind me? The Dreyfus affair

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I am not a crank:

One eerie similarity between the cases was the use of a secret document, a dossier in the case of Dreyfus that supposedly proved his guilt. His enemies had no proof of his perfidy, so they produced this phony document. If this sounds familiar, it should, because Trump’s enemies also cooked up the phony “Steele Dossier” that was filled with lies culled from Russian sources about Trump and treason. 

I forget who it was who formulated the law that the energy necessary to refute bullshit is exponentially larger than that necessary to produce it, but that aphorism is the key to understanding our present miserable age:

And then came the avalanche of charges cooked up by government officials: that Trump tried to bribe a foreign leader to go after his political rival; petty charges that he cooked books to hide an adulterous affair; that he overvalued his house in Florida in order to borrow money from banks; that he conspired to find votes in the Georgia election; that he stole, kept, and passed along state secrets to foreign enemies. 

Only the last clause of the last sentence remains unproven, but I know which way I’d be betting.

ETA: Commenter GeorgeSalt identifies the ur-text for the bullshit asymmetry principle:

That would be Alberto Brandolini, an Italian programmer. He said he got the idea while watching a an Italian political talk show with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and journalist Marco Travaglio. In many ways, Berlusconi was the proto-Trump.

He a formal statement of Brandolini’s bullshit asymmetry principle:

“The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than that needed to produce it.”

I would speculate that this is Peak Wingnut, but contemporary Internet cosmologists deny even the theoretical possibility of such a thing. This is known as the Ontological Argument for the Existence of Trump.

A tip of the hat to Karen Cassandra of Texas, whose journeys upriver to the Inner Station help us all witness the manful intellectual exertions of those who bear the splinter-laden cross of the contemporary white man’s burden.

The original Kurtz had been educated partly in England, and—as he was good enough to say himself—his sympathies were in the right place. His mother was half-English, his father was half-French. All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz; and by and by I learned that, most appropriately, the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs had intrusted him with the making of a report, for its future guidance. And he had written it, too. I’ve seen it. I’ve read it. It was eloquent, vibrating with eloquence, but too high-strung, I think. Seventeen pages of close writing he had found time for! But this must have been before his—let us say—nerves, went wrong, and caused him to preside at certain midnight dances ending with unspeakable rites, which—as far as I reluctantly gathered from what I heard at various times—were offered up to him—do you understand?—to Mr. Kurtz himself. But it was a beautiful piece of writing. The opening paragraph, however, in the light of later information, strikes me now as ominous. He began with the argument that we whites, from the point of development we had arrived at, ‘must necessarily appear to them [savages] in the nature of supernatural beings—we approach them with the might of a deity,’ and so on, and so on. ‘By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded,’ etc., etc. From that point he soared and took me with him. The peroration was magnificent, though difficult to remember, you know. It gave me the notion of an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence. It made me tingle with enthusiasm. This was the unbounded power of eloquence—of words—of burning noble words. There were no practical hints to interrupt the magic current of phrases, unless a kind of note at the foot of the last page, scrawled evidently much later, in an unsteady hand, may be regarded as the exposition of a method. It was very simple, and at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: ‘Exterminate all the brutes!’ The curious part was that he had apparently forgotten all about that valuable postscriptum, because, later on, when he in a sense came to himself, he repeatedly entreated me to take good care of ‘my pamphlet’ (he called it), as it was sure to have in the future a good influence upon his career. 

Commenter Nasser has acquired a transcript of Trump’s comments on this:

“And then Mr. Zola came up to me, he was crying, I kid you not, tears down his cheeks, he was so emotional, and he said, ‘You know, sir, you are the most innocent man who has been framed. The most innocent man since Dreford. You’ve been framed just like him. And I’m going to write another letter for you.’ You see, Zola wrote, long ago, a special letter to Dreyfoz called Jacques Use – that’s French, you know, Jacques Use. Because there was – and many people don’t know this – a French lawyer called Jacques, and he would set people free from jail, was the best lawyer, like my lawyers, and he would set everyone free that had him as a lawyer. So when the Jacques Use letter was written by Zulu it meant that Dr. Dre Fuss was sent free. And that’s what’s going to happen for me. How about that? A little history lesson.”

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