Harry Binswanger’s article “Trump is a New Level of Bad” (June 6, 2016, reviewed here) is an afterword to a guest article by one John Gillis: “Knowing and Not Knowing What a President Would Do.” Mr. Binswanger published both articles together, collectively titled “Contra Trump.”
Mr. Gillis tries to write like Ayn Rand and ends up producing pompous platitudes and rationalistic absurdities.
“Knowledge is the key to any electoral judgment: one decides how to vote by means of applying one’s political philosophy to specific items of knowledge about the candidates.”
One must know about the candidates to vote intelligently, puffed up to 28 words. Then in a further 180 words Mr. Gillis elaborates the idea that you can tell roughly what a politician like Obama, Hillary and Bush will do in office “because each of them has presented the thrust of their view of life in their speeches, their past actions, etc.”
Trump is the subject of the article so you might expect Mr. Gillis to continue along these lines: “Few men have led a more public life than Donald Trump even before he announced his candidacy. Since then legions of mainstream journalists have been digging and digging, hoping to discover that he’s a made Mafia don. Thus we know, as with Hillary et al, the thrust of Trump’s view of life from his speeches, his past actions, etc.” If you expected that you would be disappointed. Mr. Gillis says the case of Trump differs from that of Hillary. You know what Hillary would do as president, but
“... in the case of Trump, most people don’t understand yet that it is impossible to gain knowledge of any sort about what he would do if elected.”
“Trump is unusual in the history of American candidates in that he is an epistemological blank: you cannot predict what he will do or say by referring to his previous ideas or behavior.
Mr. Gillis helpfully supplied the definition of “epistemological blank.” It’s a good thing too. Not one man in a million would have figured it out. We can only stand agape in the presence of an intellect so superior, so philosophical, as to squeeze from the tubes of its invention “epistemological blank.” I thought it was a new kind of gun cartridge.
“Trump holds no firm views on anything. ... he has no core principles on virtually any topic.”
According to Mr. Gillis, Trump’s character is unknown and unknowable, his policies as president will be as unpredictable as a dice throw. Apparently the Establishment has worked itself into a frenzy over an epistemic vacuity.
Forget ending birthright citizenship, enforcing immigration law, reducing Third World immigration, supporting the Second Amendment, lowering the corporate tax rate to encourage companies to remain here, and all the other positions on his website. Forget the accomplishments during his business career:
“What he would do as President is completely unknown.”
To illustrate, Mr. Gillis asks a number of questions about what Trump would do that will be completely unanswerable. His third question reveals a lot, not about Trump but about Mr. Gillis, and also about Mr. Binswanger who promotes his article.
First some background. Trump has become extraordinarily popular. Like Antaeus who got stronger every time Hercules threw him to the ground, Trump’s popularity grows every time the lying media trash what he says. He once encapsulated the loyalty of his supporters with an off-the-cuff, and admittedly tacky, joke at one of his rallies. It was on the 23rd of January 2016 when every mainstream pundit was saying he had no chance, no chance at all, of winning the nomination. Trump spent several minutes showing how they were wrong. At one point he reads from an editorial by Doug Ibendahl: Trump recognizes that “regular hard-working Americans are a lot smarter than any of the ideological eunuchs in all of their pontificating glory.” Then Trump says (imagine you are there at the festive occasion):
“It’s true. ... And you know what else they say about my people, the polls, they say I have the most loyal people, did you ever see that, where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s like incredible. [Extended laughter from audience.] No, they say, Trump [friendly shout from audience member, inaudibly recorded], we love you too man, Trump’s voters are by far, you know I’m at 68, 69 percent ...”Etc.  Midway Trump was joking, and everyone in the audience knew it. Anyone reading about it later, possessing an IQ over room temperature, knew it.
After that bit of history, here is Mr. Gillis, with stony face and rigid spine, asking his third question:
“Will he shoot someone in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue to see if he can really get away with it, as he has claimed he could? Who knows?”
Now Gillis and Binswanger cannot be so stupid. It’s a faux question, not even a rhetorical one. Desperate for anything against Trump they can lay their fuzzy minds on, they pretend it’s a question and think you are stupid enough to go along with them.
Their question is as crazy as the claim that at these rallies Trump asks the audience to give him the Nazi salute. They sling lots of mud and hope the trust of their readers will let it stick.
The sixth question Mr. Gillis asks about Trump is:
“Will he choose terrible or good Supreme Court Justices? Who knows?”Everyone but Gillis, Binswanger and the village idiot. The above was written days after Trump had (1) released a list of judges he was considering, (2) insinuated he would reject judges like Sonia Sotomayor (“I am a wise Latina.”) and Gonzalo Curiel (member of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association – “This organization was founded so that it could advance the Latino community through political activity and advocacy.”) 
Trump put his finger on what is happening to America, though even he isn’t politically incorrect enough to say it out loud. Because of white demise America is beginning to break up into warring racial factions. The beginning breakup is a fact, and (to underline it, since in a moment Mr. Gillis will slur Trump as a subjectivist) an authentic, objective, fact.
Mr. Gillis pretends to be unaware of Trump’s speeches and interviews and his list of judges. He shuts his eyes and hopes you won’t see what he is doing.
He also knows the answers to his other rigged questions. The answers are (think the Jeopardy game): (1) No, insulting Trump personally will not make him, as commander in chief, invade another country. (What a dumb question.) (2) He will encourage Apple Inc. to manufacture in the U.S. by lowering the corporate tax rate; there may be a tariff for foreign manufactured goods. (4) He cannot issue an executive order changing the general minimum wage, such orders apply only to the wages of federal contractors;  he has repeatedly said that Hillary/Bernie’s plan to double the minimum wage is a bad idea, but has said he would consider asking Congress to pass a “modest” raise; his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller wants no national minimum wage and to leave minimum wages to the states because their economies differ. (I’ll vote for Trump anyway.)
As for (5) “Will he ‘enhance’ ... the IRS, to deal with his enemies, such as those Republican donors who rejected him? Who knows?” – where on earth did this come from? Mr. Gillis places “enhance” in quotes but he’s sure not quoting Trump. In fact he’s not asking a question at all, he’s making an accusation without any foundation. It’s a totally arbitrary question.
Will Gillis start beating his wife if he’s elected dog-catcher? Who knows?
In his own article Mr. Binswanger repeats the first sentence of the following paragraph by Mr. Gillis. The sentence originated with Jeb Bush:
“Trump is the Chaos Candidate. The only thing we can know about the nature of his future actions as president is that they would come from massive subjectivism and bring chaos.Setting aside the slur at the end, would that it were true. But as we saw during the nomination process mainstream Republicans hate Trump as much as the Democrats do. And when it comes to immigration anarchy Hillary, like Obama before her, will if president face little opposition from either side of Congress. Most of these “elites,” these well fed Congress-critters, are out to destroy the middle class.
“On a political (not an epistemological) level, Hillary Clinton as president would at least face major opposition from what remains of the Republican Party. But with a Trump Presidency, most Republicans would be neutered, providing Trump with free rein to destroy the economy, our foreign policy, and our freedoms.”
“Choosing Trump, as the lesser of two evils, would be terribly mistaken.”The mistake would be thinking Trump is evil, period. Must he be virtue personified? In my book and lots of others’ he’s pretty damn good.
The Objectivist epithets keep a-comin’. Subjectivist above, now nihilist, the lowest of the low:
“Trump is in a different category. His nihilism  and his utter mental chaos means that his future path is unknowable. For the sake of one’s moral conscience and mental hygiene, one should not vote for Trump.”Oh brother. President Hillary, future statist path well known, is better than Trump, voting for whom will soil your mind. Are these Ayn Rand Institute people for real?
Mr. Gillis’s beautiful mind is unable to see or think. Many people must be asking: How is it that Ayn Rand of all people left so many dead brains in her wake?
We are reluctant to hold Rand responsible. The people at ARI, at least, do not follow Rand, they use her. They have their own agenda. They saddled up courtesy of Leonard Peikoff and now ride on her reputation for all it’s worth, running it into the ground.