There’s a reality TV star making all kinds of headlines lately, saying the most bizarre and flat-out crazy stuff. People have been calling him a liar for decades now, but that misses the core of it: When he speaks, at that moment, Donald Trump believes what he is saying is the truth.
It is a particular skill some people have, that everything they say is by definition true. The words might come out of his mouth from a place somewhere around his gonads, but by the time those words get out of his mouth, into his ears and from there to his brain, they are simple truth, wrapped by his wisdom and galvanized by his intellect.
Bonus reinforcement if a major media network slavishly parrots the nonsense.
By now Trump is surrounded by a hand-picked bunch of slavish sycophants who only feed him selected information that reinforces his entrenched beliefs. Those simpering toadies present only the data that reinforces Trump’s delusion — a positive result in a questionable poll, or an anecdote from someone who got laughed out of court. The laughing-out part is not part of the presentation.
All Trump hears is “facts” that prove him right, and Rupert Murdoch makes sure he sees that same nonsense on his television screen. If one carefully hears only that information, then one could come up with some pretty whacked-out ideas.
Trump has made sure that the only voices he hears are the ones that feed his delusion. Part of the delusion is that he can ignore that he has done that. It just so happens that the “best people” are the ones who tell him what he wants hear.
But I have to give credit where due. While Trump says things he (at the moment) believes, based on the nonsense his staff is feeding him, he’s not above using the moment to bilk his supporters. The money people are giving him for his shameful court challenges is going straight into his pockets. If he makes enough, maybe is pal/creditor Vlad won’t have to break his legs.
But it’s not just DJ T that believes this; it becomes part of the mythology for nearly half the country (e.g. a large majority of Trump supports genuinely believe the election was not fair, when in fact the voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, court stuffing, USPS slowdowns, very rare cases of fraud, etc. were all the actions of their own party).
I’m sure you’ve read some Neal Stephenson. Currently reading “Fall” (2019), which posits what happens over time when you have two halves of the population receiving two wildly differing versions of reality, and both sides believing that’s “truth.” It is (like most of his work) timely and fascinating, and it includes one or two other major “sci-not-fi” themes that seem like reasonable projections of the future (sadly). Highly recommend (although the beginning is a bit, well, Asimovian).