In the past week, we have been treated to another example of President Trump’s alarming brand of politics. ‘This time’, say his critics ‘the President really has gone too far’. But, of course, despite the fact that many Americans and many of us in the rest of the world feel that President Trump constitutes a risk for world peace and a risk for the future of our planet, he and his supporters will continue to celebrate his outrageous tweets and his crude remarks. For those who like this brand of politics, it can never go far enough.

Reflecting on why I find this all so depressing and worrying, I think the answer is - at least in part - that, in the Trump (and not only Trump) style of political utterance, there is little or no acknowledgment of the way in which causes and effects are linked in the real world. Crudity is popular because it seems to liberate us from pompous tedious concern with the results of a complex chain of actions and reactions, and provides instead the comfortable illusion that complex problems have simple solutions.

Part of what makes this so worrying is that the purportedly ‘simple solutions’ frequently involve riding roughshod over peoples’ feelings, peoples’ rights, stability of the ecosystem and much else besides. When it comes right down to it, the ‘simple solutions’ achieve their simplicity and their popular appeal only by callously disregarding all sorts of constraints that are fundamental to civilised life.

These tendencies will have been well understood by the distinguished American politicians whom the President recently told to “go home”. The reverberations of that proposition are profound, not only in a nation founded upon the principle of continuous migration but also amongst those of us across the world whose families have moved from one place to another in order to escape persecution and who have then attempted to play a constructive part in the affairs of their adopted homelands. This kind of disregard for things that really matter makes the crudity dangerous.