Alternative Facts? Or the Power of Positive Thinking?

“We have a president capable of standing in the rain and saying it was a sunny day,” John Oliver recently observed on Last Week Tonight, as he called Donald Trump a “pathological liar”. But what if he isn’t lying? What if his press secretary, Sean Spicer, is correct when saying that Trump really believes that what he says is true?

It should be clear by now that Trump doesn’t subscribe to a conventional notion of truth, related to verifiable facts and an independently existing reality. For Trump, truth is subordinate to attitude, an attitude that can be modified at will. This whimsical notion comes straight from Norman Vincent Peale, an American minister and motivational speaker who was close to the Trump family, even officiating at Trump’s first marriage, with Ivana. In his 1952 bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking, Peale presents a simple and “workable philosophy” to help people live more effective and successful lives. The technique is simple: “prayerise, visualise, actualise”. By using this technique you can overcome defeat and take control over the circumstances of your life



4 Responses to “Alternative Facts? Or the Power of Positive Thinking?”

  1. March 20, 2017 at 4:14 am

    National Public Radio (with television’s PBS, part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is consistently rated highest for accuracy of all U.S. news organizations) did a piece in January on Trump’s religious background, also highlighting his connection with Norman Vincent Peale’s teachings. I find spot-on their characterization of that teaching as what we would today call a type of the “prosperity gospel.”


    NPR also noted the Peale connection in Trump’s over-blown estimate of the size of his inaugural crowd.


    Interestingly, Trump’s parents and family were members of Peale’s church at the same time as the defeated Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon and his family. Peale officiated at the marriage of Nixon’s daughter to David Eisenhower, and at Trump’s first marriage. Peale was also a personal friend of Ronald Reagan.

    Many theologians and psychiatrists were highly critical of Peale’s “self-actualization” teachings. Prominent Democrat Adlai Stevenson also weighed in that “I find Paul’s gospel appealing, and Peale’s gospel appalling.”

    (I note too that Norman Vincent Peale was the great-great grandson of Charles Wilson Peale, through his son Raphaelle Peale, both noted American artists.)

  2. March 20, 2017 at 7:21 am

    “I find Paul’s gospel appealing, and Peale’s gospel appalling.”


    One of the cleverest quotes I’ve seen for a while – not only amusing word-play, but also a very astute statement of truth.

  3. 3 Marleen
    March 20, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Trump’s proposed budget reflects the long-standing desire by the right
    to stop funding public broadcasting.

    He’s also against Meals on Wheels; the thinking likely that people
    who think right don’t need such help. Any need is to the disdain of the needy.

  4. 4 Marleen
    March 21, 2017 at 4:12 pm


    John Dean: White House is ‘in a cover up mode’

    44 years after he testified against Nixon, John Dean watched another high-profile hearing focus on an official investigation that could potentially have similar consequences to Watergate.
    Duration: 6:59

    Russia attacks to demonstrate parity with US on cyber-power

    Rachel Maddow reports on the testimony before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Donald Trump and Russian cyber attacks and points out Russia’s desire to be seen as equal to the US in the sphere of cyber-power.
    Duration: 21:37

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