“The Lowest Form of Life” – The Annotated Trump, Vol. 1

In which we test time-honored wisdom against a selection Donald J. Trump’s public statements.

August 12th, 2016

According to the New York Times, at his rally on August 12th, Donald Trump said, “These people are the lowest form of life1, 2, I’m telling you,” pointing at the journalists3 covering his rally. “They are the lowest form of humanity.

…and, Scene. Let’s have a look at this week’s lineup: An American badass named George S. Patton and Bacteriologists at Stanford seem to disagree with this assessment of the “lowest form of life”.

Meanwhile, lo and behold, journalism itself seems to be in keeping with the spirit of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and the U.S. Constitution.

1. “Politicians are the lowest form of life.” Attributed to U.S. General George S. Patton.

2. “Mycoplasma genitalium has one of the smallest genomes of any free-living organism in the world, clocking in at a mere 525 genes. That’s a fraction of the size of even another bacterium like E. coli, which has 4,288 genes. M. genitalium‘s diminutive genome made it the first target for Stanford and J. Craig Venter Institute researchers who wanted to simulate an organism in software.”

3. Journalism, and therefore the press, are bedrock institutions of a democratic society. “The term ‘fourth estate’ has become shorthand to denote the role of the public media as a pillar on which the smooth functioning of a democratic society rests, together with the other three estates – legislative, executive, and judiciary. A free press is also a counterbalance to these powers, a watchdog guarding the public interest, and providing a forum for public debate – a public sphere – that underpins the processes of democracy…

The origin of the term ‘fourth estate’ is attributed to the eighteenth-century English political philosopher and commentator on the Revolution, Edmund Burke, referring to the three sections of the French Estates-General, an assembly consisting of representatives from the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners (in practice, the bourgeoisie), whose gathering in 1789 is said to have paved the way for the French Revolution.

The ideas of freedom and democracy enshrined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, passed by the French National Assembly after the 1789 Revolution, also inspired the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”