Here I am, stuck in the middle with you. I was astonished to find that my tea party prepper brother and new age sister shared the same anti-science, anti-government beliefs. Yes, the tea party brother owns a ton of guns while my new age sister does not. But both share the same world view that government is hacking our brains, whether it’s Bill Gates and vaccines or a pandemic hoax designed to frighten the masses into conformity. Both reject science and quote vague conspiracy theories ranging from the obscure to the downright laughable.
Yes, our president isn’t very bright; he has little grasp of political concepts, even those that underlie his country’s democratic traditions; he knows almost nothing about history and, worse still, sees nothing wrong with that. But all this has long been clear.
The true significance of Trump’s summit performance—a word that too many journalists invoke, as if they were drama critics—is that it solidified a trend we’ve been seeing for a while: his unabashed emergence as a member of what Daniel Sneider, in Asia Times, calls “the axis of authoritarianism.”