There is an exquisite irony reflected in Susan Reitman’s letter of February 9 disparaging socialism.

Those of us of a certain age were raised since we were knee-high to rigidly believe that anything socialist is evil. Unremarked is the fact that some elements of our society have been informed by socialism since the earliest days of the republic. Notable among those is public education. I would include the post office, supported by Ben Franklin, one of the staidest of American patriots.

As for China’s “secret” plot to replace the U.S. as a world power, China has always regarded itself as the “middle kingdom,” essentially the center of world affairs. As such it is hardly secret. Our American notion of our exceptionalism makes us relative newcomers. Many Americans are unaware that Russians have a similar perception of their own exceptionalism, as being the “chosen of God.”

As for the referenced “pathological” hatred of Trump, I would submit that it is hardly pathological to reject a president who has lived his whole life as a criminal. What is truly pathological is the craven worship of an individual who has spent his whole life flouting the law.

We have seen other individuals with a similar ability to attract a worshipful following: Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler and others who have had the uncanny ability to demand and win such worshipful allegiance with no apparent merit beyond demanding it, [as Trump did] from his first days in office, when he assembled all the members of his administration around a table and expected and received the adoration of each in succession, including such elder statesmen as senior senators, all avowing admiration for his person. At the time I found the vision sickening, with all members bowing to his superiority in glowing and sycophantic terms.

How did he command that adoration aside from his almost magical personality? All that occured before he had actually done anything. That is why I contend that his attractiveness to a large number of people has a biological basis. What else could explain his ability to attract such adoration?

We humans are a stongly hierarchical species, as are our primate relatives. Frans de Waal has spent his life studying other primate species, including chimpanzees. If we seriously see our behavior as having evolved from other species, we must consider the possibility that our need for hierarchy shadows theirs. Most people are unwilling to equate our behavior with that of other species despite overwhelming evidence.

What may have been overlooked in all the speculation about Trump’s motivation is the possibility that he suffers from a pathological feeling of guilt if he does not cheat! If he wins something fair and square, he may feel as if he cheated himself because he did not push for an even better deal that he might have gotten if he had only cheated a little more. So his definition of “fair” is only operative if he wins! If he does not win, he has by definition been cheated!

What is really inexplicable is his ability to convince numbers of people to accept his definition. I believe that it resides in some instinctive biological ability.

Eddie Glaude said the plain truth: Donald Trump did not create the present Republican narrative, they are one and the same; “the Republican party vomited up Donald Trump!”

Ray Janes, Rockport