‘I Alone Can Solve’: Trump’s Cult of Nihilism

The Russians are laughing at America. I mean laughing hard between shots of cheap Zhouravli vodka. They’re watching with amused sadness as our country descends into the worship of nothingness. Nihilism has creeped westward, and the nihilists would cheer that except they don’t care because nothing matters.

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

King Solomon, the richest man described in the Bible, wrote that. Nihilism is the dissatisfaction with everything. But it’s far from fatalism, which accepts the nothingness with a sigh and a bottle. Nihilism attacks everyone and everything that actually does care.

I was called an idiot and accused of not being conservative by a friend I’ve known for many years because I wrote bad things about Donald Trump. Erick has to keep security at his house because he’s said bad things about Trump, starting when he disinvited Trump from the RedState Gathering last summer. I can’t discuss politics with some of my relatives who support Trump without risking permanent family fissures and feuds.

It’s never been this bad for me. Even with the liberals in my family, in 2008, we could agree to disagree (ironically, the Obama supporters in my family have mostly swung completely against him in the last 8 years). But Trump has split friendships and families.

This is, of course, wrong. Unless you’re a nihilist.

Nihilism eschews morality. If nothing matters, then we should pursue what pleases us. In this presidential race, both Hillary and Bernie are secret nihilists, but only Trump has the chutzpah to wear the badge openly. Hillary Clinton affects a fake southern accent when she speaks in the south. President Obama rolls his “R”s when saying Spanish words, like he’s Alex Trebek. Either Clinton or Obama would  lie–and have lied–their heads off to advance their agendas.

But Trump has no agenda other than to be elected. Trump sells people on fake dreams. Nobody became a billionaire by attending Trump University. Trump Network–the vitamin-hawking MLM–is gone. Trump Steaks is gone. The gilded glitz of Trump’s casinos is leveraged to the hilt by the same banks he trashes in his rambling diatribes.

To Trumpism cultists (Erick calls them “Branch Trumpidians”), nothing matters. Only Trump, the miracle worker and deliverer of dreams. “I alone can solve.

That statement “I alone can solve” boils Trump down to his essence. That and nihilism.

Trump wears it like a badge of honor. Speaking to a rally in Racine, Wisconsin Saturday, Trump defended his abortion-supporting flip-flop in the media.

Trump told the audience on Saturday that his words had been repeatedly taken out of context, and complained that he was being held to a different standard than his rivals. He called his comments on “Face the Nation” “perfect” and “so good.”

“They took words out that I said,” Trump told the rally, implying CBS had edited his answer about keeping abortion laws as they are. But the video made clear there was no editing in the exchange about abortion and his response was given in full.

“It’s a tough question,” he added of abortion. “You know, 50 percent of the people hate you. Fifty percent of the people love you, very simple.

It’s not a tough question. Either abortion is wrong, or it’s not wrong. Unless you’re a nihilist.

People who fall into Trump’s “gravitational pull” (as Jonah Goldberg put it) become nihilists. They care about nothing except hearing what pleases them. I would call them political nihilists, but it goes beyond that because they’re willing to sacrifice friendships, family relationships, and deeply-held religious beliefs for a man who whispers “winning” in their ear.

King Solomon lamented.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“All is vanity.”
Ecclesiastes 12:8

Then he finally rejected nihilism, and this is important.

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

The answer to nihilism–and Trumpism–is God. Remember God and keep His commandments. Nobody is the solution to everything. Nobody can say “I alone can solve.”

When you go to church this morning, meditate on this: “God will being every work into judgment.” Don’t buy a big bag of nothing and sacrifice your own integrity to nihilism.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

View all posts