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The Unimaginative Hysteria of Umair Haque

“Never mind that it is the Trump administration standing up for Uyghur Muslims, actual victims of genocide, by imposing sanctions on CPC officials this past week.”

As of July 9th, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has  claimed the lives of approximately 135,000 Americans. In his recent Medium piece “America Can’t Take Four More Years of This Lethal Idiot,” Umair Haque, the London-based business consultant, writer, and former Harvard Business Review contributor, leverages a familiar strategy: not letting a crisis go to waste for political purposes. In this July 2nd piece, Haque uses the pandemic as a lede to argue that President Donald Trump is both the person to blame for the virus’ toll on the American people—and that President Trump is also responsible for turning the United States into a “fascist” nation. He asserts that “there’s no real debate possible about the reality of America becoming fascist.” For Haque, the United States has clearly become a “dystopia” under President Trump, whom Haque labels as the “textbook American idiot.”

The implication of all of this, of course, is also that the American public is too dumb to see what is truly happening to its society. As such, Haque unimaginatively concludes, “I have no answer for the world, except to have to state the truth. Maybe Americans are this dumb.” Now, the themes of alleged fascism, the evils of President Trump, and stupidity on the part of Americans are common themes throughout Haque’s prior work; in fact, it sometimes appears that these are the only topics he seems interested in writing about. Fortunately, for we, “dumb” Americans, however, we have Haque and his wise European friends to save us from ourselves. Haque, of course, leaves us with the warning that President Trump “can still pull off stealing the next election” and, if he succeeds, we must “reflect on precisely and fully why four more years of a lunatic—one every bit up there with Caligula and Nero—like Donald Trump” would look like.

In “America Can’t Take Four More Years of This Lethal Idiot,” Haque—joining many other commentators and television personalities—begins with the misleading premise that President Trump is solely responsible for the death and economic fallout that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. In his analysis, Haque asserts that, at first, President Trump “denied there was a problem, then minimized, then told people to drink bleach…after cutting funding for the WHO and backing out of global vaccine efforts.” This take is not supported by the actual record of events. In contrast, many could very reasonably argue that it was the World Health Organization (WHO), which is led by Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, along with Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), who both contributed extensively to the disinformation and inaccurate reporting on which many public health decisions rested. Medical professionals were silenced, certain scientific findings were suppressed, and misleading information was mouthed by officials at high levels of government the worldover.

Throughout December—even when it was clear that the virus was spreading from person to person, the official line of the CPC was that the virus was related to an animal market, and it was, therefore, assumed by many that once the market was shut down, the virus would disappear. However, when the virus did not subside, Dr. Ai Fen, the head of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital, went public, saying that authorities had stopped her and her colleagues from warning the world. She then disappeared, and her whereabouts remain unknown. Furthermore, Taiwan had sought to alert the WHO of the threat of human-to-human virus transmission on December 31th, based on reports that Taiwanese doctors were hearing from colleagues on the mainland. However, the alert was ignored because of Beijing’s policy of forcing international organizations to shun the democratic island. Two weeks later, on January 14th, the WHO issued a statement that Chinese authorities had found no evidence of human- to human transmission. Even though that was the official line, President Trump still acted to restrict travel from China to the United States on January 31, a move that was met with condemnation from many health experts and Democratic politicians. 

Finally, with regard to Haque’s claim that President Trump instructed Americans to drink bleach, that is simply a bald-faced lie.

Haque further claims that President Trump “doesn’t appear to care about the virus at all”—and that he is trying to thwart efforts to find a vaccine for COVID-19. In his blind rage towards President Trump, Haque fails to take note of Operation Warp Speed, which is a public-private partnership between various pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. federal government. The purpose of this effort is to answer President Trump’s call to develop 300 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine by January, 2021. Finally, with regard to Haque’s claim that President Trump instructed Americans to drink bleach, that is simply a bald-faced lie. The transcript of the April 23rd press briefing clearly shows that President Trump did not say people ought to inject themselves with alcohol or bleach to treat COVID-19, and he was merely asking the officials on the White House Coronavirus Task Force about the range of possible remedies for the virus. Despite this “Drink Bleach” statement being misleadingly peddled by numerous critics of President Trump’s, it has widely been debunked by fact-checkers, as well as contradicted by the transcript itself. In continuing to put forward this completely erroneous claim, Haque indulges in the very practices he accuses President Trump of using: manipulating the American public for his own ends. 

President Trump, to his credit, is frequently successful in pointing out how unfairly the press often treats him, such as when he draws attention to how media outlets—particularly of the cable news variety—frequently take his statements out of context, crop footage selectively, or fail to report on his administration’s successes. To this point, for all of Haque’s hand-wringing about President Trump’s alleged similarity with 20th century European dictators, Haque’s brand of rabid polemical, anti-Trump journalism has far more in common with propagandists and mass manipulators of decades past than do statements by President Trump or members of his administration. George Orwell actually alluded to this phenomenon in his 1945 essay “Notes on Nationalism,” in which he bemoaned writings that amounted to “plain forgery in which material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored to change their meaning,” and where “events which it is felt ought not to have happened are left unmentioned and ultimately denied.” And, then, needless to say, Haque becomes more explicit, throwing in the Left’s favorite unimaginative cheap shot, comparing President Trump to Adolf Hitler. (The staleness of this favorite go-to, Reductio ad Hitlerum, is also a subject I addressed in a previous Merion West piece, as it applies to over-the-top criticisms of Jordan Peterson.) 

Haque becomes quite blunt on this fascism point, describing a hysterical projection of what a second term for President Trump would, in his view, result in. He writes: 

“So if America had a fascist-authoritarian implosion over the last four years, what happens over the next four? The unthinkable does. Those camps get filled up with intellectuals, critics, dissidents, political opponents. Show trials are had, and any resistance gets quietly, quickly excised away. Secret polices and Gestapos becomes [sic] the forces which run society, along with paramilitaries. Martial law is the rule of the land—challenge it, or the leadership, at your peril. Hated minorities begin to be violently abused—even more so—right down to the point of genocide.” 

Joining other commentators and entertainers who have made similar outrageous suggestions, Haque falls down the rabbit hole of true anti-Trump delirium. Never mind that it is the Trump administration standing up for Uyghur Muslims, actual victims of genocide, by imposing sanctions on CPC officials this past week. Forget the fact that it is members of the far-left, whom President Trump has recently condemned, who are demanding purges of institutions, calling for books and authors they disagree with to be canceled, and threatening with bodily harm journalists whose opinions they oppose. It is people like Shaun King of Black Lives Matter, who are suggesting that depictions of Jesus Christ showing him as white must be destroyed, while his compatriots excuse political violence against conservatives. But Americans are not nearly as “dumb” as Haque claims they are, and we can see through the absurdities that he condescendingly champions. And, if anything, with reasoning as fallacious and misleading as Haque’s, when identifying who is “dumb,” perhaps he ought to look closer to home. More than anything, however, Haque appears to be little more than another unimaginative polemicist throwing whatever he can at President Trump, hoping against hope that something he spews—no matter how inaccurate it might be—will stick.

Tony D. Senatore graduated from Columbia University in 2017, at the age of 55. He is also a bassist and musician and can be reached at tds2123@columbia.edu. 

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Paul From Brooklyn
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Paul From Brooklyn

Thank you, Mr. Senatore, for this article. It displays for all to see what is, in my opinion, the most important outcome of the Trump Presidency; the revelation of the true motivations of the Leftist “Intellectual”. One can reduce everything Mr. Haque wrote to either prejudice or projection, the final refuges of the jealous, secular academic. The President is the perfect personality type to have brought this out into the open – he is the type of guy That academics just hate so intensely, they could pull their own hair out in a fit of rage! I must admit, it’s a been a bit of a guilty pleasure to observe. However, Mr. Haque does also warn us of the dangers of angry, disillusioned intellectuals en masse through his projections; his ridiculous assertion of the President rounding up dissidents in camps reveals what his type do when they claim the righteous high ground and power simultaneously. From Mao to Stalin, history has affirmed his projection. Men and women of good will… Read more »

Al Spahn
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Al Spahn

Excellent points and very well written. Thank you for this truthful perspective.

stephen dare
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stephen dare

Tony, you are an idiot.

tubby
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tubby

You are not fit to shine Tony’s shoes, you impotent scum

Mark Sarchet
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Mark Sarchet

No sir, YOU are the idiot!

ROB TWO HAWKS
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ROB TWO HAWKS

A fine article serving as an intelligent counter to Umair’s somewhat rigid perspective! And,congrats on your later life graduation from Columbia.Now,Tony…why not go a few cerebral rounds with a Timothy Snyder or Christopher Hedges? That might be a bit more challenging….but then,wisdom does derive from holding the tension-of-the-opposites….long enough & well enough.Sadly,prior to that we are quite limited by knowledge. Thanks for the article!….

WJMKNIGHT
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WJMKNIGHT

Trump is killing the country. What do you think you will by following this path? Just a broken nation.

Lee Muller
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Lee Muller

Since I cannot stand to read much of the repetitive rantings of Umair Haque, it is an enjoyable reprieve to read critics of him sanely itemizing the symptoms of his delirium. It does not need to be heavy-handed, as Umair is not a heavy thinker. He puts out very few concrete ideas. Mr. Haque is supposedly some sort of deep thinker, and prominent management consultant, though he has left scant trail of any successful business ventures. That seems to be a common trait of people who hate “capitalism”. Umair’s fixation on labeling President Trump, and most of America, as “fascist”, is no different than the shouting of coffeehouse radicals who actually behave like fascists. They all think their emotional wants are ideas, although they seldom articulate exactly what it is they would do better than the world they despise. They people who reject their ideas are dismissed as “stupid”. Since the rabble cannot be convinced, they vision of the self-anointed must be imposed on the unwashed savages, Christians, Jews, and… Read more »

Mopster
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Mopster

Looking from the outside (Australia,) Haque’s “American idiot” and “American idiot in chief” seem apt.
When experts of the high calibre of Dr Fauci are shouted down, their work and expert opinion opposed or “modified” something is terribly wrong.
Trump has clearly laid the ground work to deny an electoral win by the Democrats and is rushing the selection of a sympathetic supreme court judge to ensure favourable treatment.
Glad we are half a world away from the declining nation that was the United States of America.

Jeffrey Boyd
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Jeffrey Boyd

Still stickin’ with this POV, Tony? Sure looks like Mr. Haque was right about what your buddy the Mango Mussolini is up to in September.

UmairYuck
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UmairYuck

Umair Haque is the slime on the bottom of a shoe

Bogg
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Bogg

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. So I asked Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of, if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting. ACTING UNDER SECRETARY BRYAN: We’ll get to the right folks who could. THE PRESIDENT: Right. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number… Read more »

Sarah Freeman
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Sarah Freeman

So Trump actually believes that somehow all the top researchers around the world at all the best facilities, seeking desperately to cure Covid-19 have overlooked a simple cure: disinfect the lungs with… disinfectant! That’s amazing, and to think he didn’t even need to go through formal training to come up with that solution… he’s a genius!

Christopher M. Case
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Christopher M. Case

It’s pathetic how many people do not let themselves be ingibited from expressing an opinion by anything as trivial as total ignorance of the subject. You have to be pretty ignorant to assume that any disinfectant must be bleach, although the term can be used to refer to alcohol, hydrogen peoxide, or a number of other chemicals whcih disinfect. . It has been substantiated that what Trump was clumsily referring to is chlorine dioxide, a very powerful and safe killer of pathogens, which has recently shown a 99% cure rate in Ecuador trials, but which is repressed with disinfo by the FDA because there is no money in it for Big Pharma.

Jack Yan
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Jack Yan

I’ll admit I’ve enjoyed some of the interactions I’ve had with Mr Haque over the years, and I’ll even say I agree with numerous aspects of his writings, but I appreciate your using an accurate timeline and facts as rebuttal. I would like to add one more misstep from the WHO: declaring that COVID-19 was not a public health emergency of international concern in the days leading up to the lunar New Year—which, as everyone knows, is the biggest migration of humans on the planet. I called it out on Twitter then, to say it was very much of international concern. The trouble is if a regular Joe like me sees it, why didn’t the WHO? I believe this is how the emergencies are raised: they require WHO members to agree to it. It is public record that they met on January 23, two days before the New Year, and failed to do so. In my opinion, it is gross negligence that they did not, until January 30, when plenty… Read more »

Cathy B Glenn
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Cathy B Glenn