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The 1st of June 2020

I was born in 1945 in the east of the Netherlands. I think I was pretty lucky with that. My life devoted to the science of law, with computer models. Maybe the drive behind it was incomprehension. About how (in Europe) a world of religious sectarianism, social classification, economic exploitation, national socialism, holocaust and war could have arisen. And about how my personal world of regional prosperity and peace has grown from it. Today is June 2, 2020. I watched the news full time for almost 48 hours. I experienced how the black lives matter movement (sic!) got more and more a face that I started to understand. This was mainly due to President Trump’s speech and CNN who reported.

From the statement by president Trump on June 1, 2020, in de Rose Garden of the White House a few minutes after 6.30 PM and a few minutes before his walk to a church nearby for a photo session while waving a bible. For this, a group of peaceful protestors was cleared away from public space by the military using batons, tear gas and rubber bullets. The protest was against how George Floyd had been killed by the police in Minneapolis a week earlier. I cite:

… All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd. My administration is fully committed that for George and his family justice will be served […] but we cannot allow the righteous cries and peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob. […] I will fight to protect you. I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters. But in recent days our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, raiders, antifa and others …

This text is nauseating for those who realize that at the time of speaking, a group of protesters was driven out a few hundred meters away with sticks, tear gas and rubber bullets. To make room for a walk by the president for a photo session, the result of which will be fake or artificial news. In the most literal sense, because the image can be forgotten by nor erased from the media.

My problem with understanding how a world of religious sectarianism, social classification, economic exploitation, national socialism, holocaust and war has emerged in Europe is, I now think, in my inability to believe that men like Trump can become President of the USA and can concurrently accept their own words and actions as coherent.

But how individuals like Trump do this has been known for centuries. Designate a group as a hazard and treat its members as such. Lepers, Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Women, Negroes, Communists, Protesters, Anarchists. Chances are that it will work if group memberships can be made visible. And if a story can be told that links immanent danger to the group.

Then the incredible happens and lies become credible. And science can forfeit and/or lose credibility.

PS. When I made a Chinese translation of this message using Google translate, I noticed that what Trump is doing now may have originated in his interpretation of how the Communist party maintains its authority in China. And in his ambition not to lose face in the eyes of Xi. But perhaps this is far-fetched. Maybe something to come back to.