Andrew Sullivan complains at length about Donald Trump: America Has Never Been So Ripe for Tyranny
It was increasingly hard not to see in Plato’s vision a murky reflection of our own hyperdemocratic times and in Trump a demagogic, tyrannical character plucked directly out of one of the first books about politics ever written.
On the other hand, Sullivan sees the intensifying craziness of the progressives.
For the white working class, having had their morals roundly mocked, their religion deemed primitive, and their economic prospects decimated, now find their very gender and race, indeed the very way they talk about reality, described as a kind of problem for the nation to overcome. This is just one aspect of what Trump has masterfully signaled as “political correctness” run amok, or what might be better described as the newly rigid progressive passion for racial and sexual equality of outcome, rather than the liberal aspiration to mere equality of opportunity.
He goes on to describe how the white lower classes are vilified by progressives who are much higher up in the status and income hierarchy.
Much of the newly energized left has come to see the white working class not as allies but primarily as bigots, misogynists, racists, and homophobes, thereby condemning those often at the near-bottom rung of the economy to the bottom rung of the culture as well. A struggling white man in the heartland is now told to “check his privilege” by students at Ivy League colleges.
Well Mr. Sullivan, the progressives are only getting worse. GOPe figures cower before the progressives and offer little substantial opposition to their insanity. I say a charismatic figure is needed as a weapon against the progressives and Trump is the only one who has arisen. Nothing less will fight back effectively and the insanity (e.g. open borders, and the latest Title IX insanity: little boys going to the little girl's lavatory) keeps getting worse. We can count on the MSM to take the side of progressives no matter how insane they get.
Sullivan complains that Trump supporters are violent. Wait a second. Opponents of Trump literally block roads to Trump rallies. Trump opponents try to disrupt Trump rallies. Trump opponents physically attack Trump supporters. The Trump supporters get angry about this and Sullivan ignores their legitimate grievances - morally delegitimizing them just like the progressives do.
Sullivan goes on to vent at length about Trump. He should put so much effort into venting against the progressives and propose another way to stop them. I think Trump is reasonable compared to Sullivan.
What is happening in Venezuela is a horror story. Read it. Imagine a hospital that no longer has running water, let alone soap. In government hospitals the death rate of babies has risen over two orders of magnitude. Entrepreneurs are getting shafted. If your factory union forces you to buy toilet paper on the black market you'll go to jail. I think of Atlas Shrugged. Venezuela has become totally dysfunctional.
President Nicolás Maduro must be dumb. How else to explain the large number of appallingly stupid things the Venezuelan government does?
What I do not understand: Why haven't the Venezuelans risen up in revolt? Even though the lower classes are probably not bright enough to understand what has gone wrong I would at least expect them a lash out in anger sufficient to overthrown the government. But no. Not so far.
If I was king of the world I'd carve out a piece of Latin America for more talented Latin Americans and let them flee to this paradise while keeping out the rest of the population.
Likewise, sales at bunker builder Rising S Co. have never been better. They shot up 20% to 25% over the past two years for the radiation-resistant shelters, which can be sunk 33 feet underground and tricked out with gyms, greenhouses, and water filtration systems...
I do not buy the political instability argument for building remote second homes that can function off-grid. Maybe another Carrington Event is reason to prepare. Maybe a massive killer pandemic. But economic depression? Doesn't seem like a reason to move to a remote area even if the depression happens. There'll still be an economy and specialization of labor will remain a huge benefit of civilization. So I'm not seeing it.
"If it is a rebuilding, on what grounds do the NeverTrump forces think it will be rebuilt? As a neoconservative, functionally open-borders, slash-the-entitlements party? I am not sure, whatever happens in 2016, that there will ever again be a market for that product."
She left out "overthrow Muslim country governments" as a key part of the discredited product with "and pay to take in the resulting refugees" as another key part that is especially popular with the crazy woman who runs Germany.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is dismayed by the resulting populism. But Mitt chose open borders guy Paul Ryan as his presidential running mate. So fixing America has to involve changes that make Mitt Romney unhappy.
In another sign that our elites are not on the same side as us: Former Facebook workers say Facebook routinely suppressed conservative views. Consider what that article says the next time you think about using Facebook.
If Donald Trump wins this fall then not only will the Clintons and Obama's legacy be repudiated but also Dubya's as well. Their legacies are in need of repudiation. Hoping it will happen.
We are moving into an era where many colleges enforce ridiculous rules aimed at preventing assorted privileged groups from feeling offended by anything they see or hear. Piling on, the US Department of Education is shoving an interpretation of Title IX down the throats of colleges which makes the colleges throw out due process for accused students. So what about the realists who want to go to college to learn about and discuss reality in a legally fair environment?
Here is my modest proposal: Encourage non-leftist students to avoid the craziest colleges and go to the most rational colleges. We need groups to measure the extent of politically correct nonsense and due process violations at various colleges and universities and publish this info as scores. Then high school students looking to choose a college could consult such a list, avoid the most politically correct, places, and apply at the best places.
This will tend to make the most left-leaning colleges even nuttier than they already are. But rational-minded students would benefit from flocking together and creating intellectual environments where the truth and reason are highly valued.
Reactionary assumptions about human nature — the intractability of tribe and culture, the fragility of order, the evils that come in with capital-P Progress, the inevitable return of hierarchy, the ease of intellectual and aesthetic decline, the poverty of modern substitutes for family and patria and religion — are not always vindicated. But sometimes? Yes, sometimes. Often? Maybe even often.
Agreed. Turn away from Panglossian rah rah for your faction and you can understand and do a better job of predicting. A quick Google search confirms that Ross is familiar with Philip Tetlock's research on superforecasters. Wondering if reactionaries are overrepresented in the ranks of superforecasters.
Yes, both factions have far too much optimism about how the spread of their beliefs could make the world a better place. I think libertarians are especially guilty of this. They have a hard time realizing just how unnatural libertarian thinking is to most people.
Both liberalism and conservatism can incorporate some of these insights. But both have an optimism that blinds them to inconvenient truths. The liberal sees that conservatives were foolish to imagine Iraq remade as a democracy;
Really? Before the Iraq invasion major liberal commentators were saying that tribal Iraq with high rates consanguineous marriage and splits between Sunni and Shia and Arab and Kurd was not fertile ground for liberal democracy? I missed that commentary. Where is it? Since President Wilson the progressives have argued that liberal democracy is suitable and inevitable for a gradually enlargening fraction of the human race. At this point Hillary Clinton is hardly alone on the Left in holding a belief that the purpose of US foreign policy is to overthrow more regimes and democratize more countries. This has led to liberal support for the Iraq invasion, intervention in Syria, and the overthrow of the Libyan Colonel with many last name spellings.
Even today, what tabula rasa liberal is going to admit out loud that Iraq can't become a liberal democracy? Global liberal manifest destiny seems to be a core belief of Democratic Party POTUS candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Perhaps Ross hears more skepticism from liberals who trust he won't publicly reveal their heretical beliefs about human nature.
Western liberals are angry at Ayaan Hirsi Ali for saying mainstream Islam is misogynistic and hostile to non-believers. A very well funded Saudi lobby agrees wtih the Western liberals.
She notes that Congressional hearings held since September 11, 2001 have repeatedly cited the role of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in spreading an ideology that praises misogyny in particular and retaliation against non-believers in general, and yet there has been no discernible change in U.S. policy toward these nations. “It has gotten worse,” Ms. Hirsi Ali says of the Saudis’ role in fomenting fundamentalist Islam. “The Saudi lobby is so strong.”
Read the whole article.
Also read When Pieties Collide: Feminism and multiculturalism in Western Europe by Heather Mac Donald. She addresses the sexual violence by Muslim men in Europe and the Left's response to it.
When feminists were cornered into addressing the violence, they tied themselves into knots trying to change the subject back to their favorite topic: Western white-male patriarchy. “The problem of sexualized violence has already existed here for some time and can’t simply be ‘deported,’” said German feminist Anne Wizorek to Der Spiegel. “It cannot be allowed to become the standard in gender debates that only male migrants are considered to be those responsible [for sexual violence].” In other words, the New Year’s assaults were continuous with the routine terror inflicted by German men on German women. Actually, there was no precedent in Germany or the rest of Europe for mass peacetime sexual assaults, much less ones where the police merely look on. “I have never experienced such a thing in any German city,” a victim told the New York Times. But people who did name the attacks for what they were—a manifestation of Muslim misogyny and an alarm bell regarding mass immigration—were vilified as racists.
We need more populist rebellions. The establishment is rotten.
The state still employs two-thirds of Saudi workers, while foreigners account for nearly 80 percent of the private-sector payroll.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to reform the economy of Saudi Arabia because of the financial crisis caused by cheap oil. The state is bleeding money at a fast rate.
Okay, lets do some math on the Saudi labor market. The third of Saudis who are in the private sector are one fifth of the private sector. The Saudis employed by the state are another two fifths. So we have something like 80:60 ratio of foreigners to Saudis total overall in the Saudi workforce. Is there a viable way to transform this situation into a healthy economy?
It comes down to what the Saudi citizens are willing and able to do in the labor market. If they aren't all that willing or able then what? The government could go with a plan B that, at least in Saudi Arabia, might be viable: import even more workers but of very high skill. Create an economy of foreigners in some portion of the Kingdom that has high earning power and high productivity.
In theory this could be done while still maintaining an overwhelmingly Islamic populace since India has the most Muslims in the world and Saudi Arabia could try to skim the intellectual cream off the top of India, Indonesia, and a few other countries with large Muslim populations.
United Arab Emirates has a largely migrant labor force with natives in government and defense.
In 2013, the UAE had the fifth-largest international migrant stock in the world with 7.8 million migrants (out of a total population of 9.2 million), according to United Nations (UN) estimates.
It is amazing how far the UAE has gone with this strategy. Natives make up only 10-15% of the UAE workforce. The imported labor is overwhelmingly male and so doesn't reproduce much.
To make this sort of situation work you need a ruthless government with natives in the military and police very ready to crack down and do mass deportations of any protesting imported labor. You also need some viable industries that would get staffed by all the imported labor. But I'm not clear how, say, a manufacturing industry with an export focus could do better in Saudi Arabia than competing companies in, say, low labor cost India. How could Saudi Arabia make use of all that imported (and harshly treated) labor in a way that is competitive with companies in other countries producing the same sorts of goods and services?
I think the Saudi government is going to need to lower the living standards of natives because it is not going to find sources of wealth that can replace oil. But disappointments from declining living standards could easily lead to revolution. So can the Saudis maintain political stability over the coming decades?
The Left's tendency to see each group as a whole as either oppressors or oppressed makes them opposed to punishment of individuals who are in supposedly oppressed groups. Those who most intensely embrace this model of the world really should be collected together into their own countries separate from the rest of us so that the rest of us do not have to deal with the consequences of their views. Seriously, we need a divorce.
I'm reminded of Stephen Fry on political correctness. But I do not get the sense that he understands the root causes of the problem.
Who has a firmer grasp of what's going on? NYU moral psychology researcher Jonathan Haidt. Listen to this podcast interview by a Spiked editor: Jonathan Haidt talks Safe Spaces, microaggressions and campus fragility. Haidt said many humanities fields lost their ability to have meaningful debates in the 1990s and now social sciences are going thru the same process. Progress is not inevitable. In a different interview with Tyler Cowen Haidt looks at what we are seeing in the Republican presidential primary:
JONATHAN HAIDT: You have to see politics as occurring at multiple levels simultaneously. Just as at a university we’ve got psychologists studying individual experiences, we’ve got neurologists studying neurons, we’ve got political scientists and sociologists studying emergent phenomena, that’s what you have to do to study politics.
If you look at the history, if you look at the higher‑level constructs, yeah, it’s bizarre what’s happening. It’s unprecedented, and people expected the past to predict the future.
But what if the emerging social constructs of the Republican Party have been getting progressively out of tune with the moral intuitions and the psychology of the voters? I think that’s what we have seen happening.
The Big Sort (see Bill Bishop's book with this title) is one of the factors responsible for the decay of academia. The loss of intellectual diversity in academia allows a certain kind of moral sentiment to dominate with ridiculous effects. I do not see how this is going to reverse. The demographic changes driving it are still driving academia deeper into absurdity and away from truth-seeking.
What I think would help: if some small number of colleges signaled that they wanted moderate and conservative students (or conservatives just chose some colleges and overwhelmed applications for them) then some places in academia would exist that are not crazy. I think this is best started by people in the Right talking up a small number of colleges (preferably schools with good engineering programs so useful skills can be acquired too). For example, the right wing elite could flock to Dartmouth or CMU. Does another school come to mind as a good candidate to target?
We brought this on ourselves, and we are the terrorists, too. This is status signaling of a destructive sort. It is a shame the Western civilization is suicidal. But it is likely to remain that way unless something extremely bad happens.
Salon's response was presaged by Douglas Murray's essay: A terrorist attack has happened in Europe. Let the standard response begin…
I think Westerners who are sane need to think about how to form a Western country of only sane people and separate themselves from the fools. Of course this proposed country should have excellent border barriers.
A woman from Cuba describes what it is really like and argues you shouldn't say you want to see Cuba before it is ruined. I agree. I think you should see Cuba as an education into what communism does to an economy and a people.
The old cars are not kitschy; they are not a choice. It’s all they have. The old buildings are not preserved; their balconies are falling and killing people all the time. The very, very young girls prostituting themselves are not doing it because they can’t get enough of old Canadian men, but because it pays more than being a doctor does. Hospitals for regular Cuban citizens are not what Michael Moore showed you in Sicko. (That was a Communist hospital for members of the Party and for tourists, and I, for one, think Moore fell for their North Korea–like propaganda show pretty hard.) There are no janitors in the hospitals because it pays more money to steal janitorial supplies and sell them on the street than it does to actually have a job there. Therefore, the halls and rooms are covered in blood, urine, and feces, and you need to bring your own sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and mattresses when you are admitted.
Communism makes it happen. Michael Moore doesn't want to believe it.
Check out these photos from Cuba. A shabby place with people waiting for better times.
The cultural code of silence in the heavily immigrant district, as well as widespread distrust of already weak government authorities, has provided what amounts to a fifth column or forward base for the Islamic State.
Donald Trump is derided in the mainstream media for saying he'd put an end to Muslim immigration. But look at what the conventional wisdom of our sanctimonious rulers has given us. Belgium has a fifth column (even the New York Times admits it) of ISIS/Daesh supporters living safely and plotting with the help of a surrounding community that keeps its secrets. We should want these sorts of people living in our midst?
Our elites and the elites in Europe are grossly irresponsible, incredibly foolish, and deluded. These people rule us.
The human race did not evolve to handle the complexities that result from the jet airplane, mass media, and the internet. Wishful thinking, status signaling, and an averse to truths that cause discomfort give us increasingly dysfunctional government.
A decade ago, the federal debt was just 35% of GDP. It is now more than double that and projected to reach 86% in 2026. But that’s just the beginning. The annual budget deficit projected for 2026 is 5% of GDP. If it stays at that level, the debt ratio would eventually rise to 125%.
The electorate is heavily divided by race, ethnicity, gender, class. Lee Kuan Yew understood and would not be surprised by the result. the finer points of fiscal prudence is no longer in the cards. Entitlements will grow, not shrink. Democracy is failing.
Mr. Lee: Why should I be against democracy? The British came here, never gave me democracy, except when they were about to leave. But I cannot run my system based on their rules. I have to amend it to fit my people's position. In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion. Supposing I'd run their system here, Malays would vote for Muslims, Indians would vote for Indians, Chinese would vote for Chinese. I would have a constant clash in my Parliament which cannot be resolved because the Chinese majority would always overrule them. So I found a formula that changes that...
People aren't voting for the good of the commonwealth. The donor class chooses most of the candidates. We have deep racial splits where most issues (e.g. the federal debt) is not even a consideration. Identity is a much bigger consideration. I am way past thinking the dysfunction can be turned around.
An article how whether Donald Trump can win the election has an interesting section about American views of free trade. The support is not so strong.
Trump's attacks on trade have the potential to win over voters. According to the Bloomberg Politics poll, 65 percent of Americans prefer more restrictions on imported goods to protect U.S. jobs, while 22 percent favor fewer restrictions. Forty-four percent said NAFTA, which took effect while Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, was in office, has been bad for the economy.
Trade and immigration are both subjects where the elites and masses differ in their views. The elites want more. The masses want less.
I do not think that Trump can win the election on immigration alone. He has to appeal to the lower classes more on trade. If he manages to win election will he put up trade barriers. My sense of it is that the President has very limited room for raising trade barriers. Legislation and treaties would hem him in pretty well. I suspect he would have more power to cut immigration than to raise tariffs.
Trump would have a lot more leeway in non-trade foreign policy. Primarily he'd be free to not do all the stupid sorts of things the last 3 Presidents have done abroad. So he'd make fewer mistakes by doing fewer foolish things abroad.
I think Trump still faces an uphill fight to win the Presidency because Hillary has striong support from the press, academia, billionaires, blacks, and Hispanics. Can the master persuader make inroads among women? Among the lower classes? It remains to be seen.
About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can’t be found in any history books—the written word didn’t become common in these parts for another 2000 years—but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology.
How did people from over a wide area (southern and northern Europe, areas east and west) know to come together and fight in one spot on a single day? Were polities organized over a wider area then than we have suspected? What were they fighting over? What were the two sides? Will we ever know?
What's interesting: DNA analyzes are being done on some of the remains. But the bones are intermingled from lots of dead people. It isn't clear that any of the DNA will be able to be assigned to rival groups.
Read Paul E. Gottfried's The Logic Of Conservative Purges. It is about the series of writers who, over decades, were purged from mainstream conservatism, especially from writing in The National Review.
What I especially object to: litmus tests for conformity. Even if I perfectly agreed with the purgers on a long list of specific issues I'd still object to stifling diversity of opinions. Uniformity leads to uniformity of mistakes and intolerance of opposing views.
Whenever (not often) I go to The National Review web site I'm struck by a much more crusading feel than going to, by contrast, The American Conservative. Have a look at both. The former seems more bent on promoting an agenda and the latter seems more like people kicking around a lot of ideas about difficult problems with no easy solutions. The latter comes across more as people earnestly thinking out loud with less worry about ideological conformity. You can also find purged National Review writers at Taki's Magazine. Neither of them are likely to run an attack on the white lower class who aren't able to compete in the globalized economy.
If you want to read a site with both liberal and conservative writers grappling with the problems of Western societies without political correctness or ideological crusading check out Quillette. It has a more data-driven bent. Another alternative opinion site: Unz.com. It also has purged conservatives but also writers who were never part of the mainstream commentariat.
Am I leaving out some sites I ought to mention? Post links in the comments and I'll have a look.
The top 5 US states in population are California (39 million), Texas (27 million), Florida (20 million), New York (20 million), Illinois (13 million). Well, California has a $15 per hour min wage voter proposition for 2016. In the New Jersey (population 9 million) state legislature a $15 min wage bill is drawing attention.
We could find a fifth or even a quarter of the American population living under $15 minimum wage laws by 2025 if not sooner.
Of course regular readers know my takes of the effects of $15 per hour min wage:
- Great news for robot makers
- Will cut illegal immigration by reducing supply of low skilled jobs.
- Will make more high school kids idle. If you are bright then Code Academy beckons.
- Hastens the day when low IQ people become unemployable (already a reality for some of them).
- Will greatly boost quality of restaurant food and many basic services as they become automated.
I look forward to automated cooking robots that can whip up recipes downloaded from internet recipe sites. The quality of fast food will soar.
Update: California politicians have just reached a deal for $15 min wage by 2022. Venture capitalists take note. Restaurant automation opportunities await the right start-up.
Reihan Salam says To save itself, the Republican Party must finally put the working class ahead of the donor class. I assert that the Republican Party is incapable of doing that. James Pethokoukis says Paul Ryan just revealed that the GOP has learned nothing from its Trump debacle. Yes, and it is rallying around the viewpoint that it has to defeat Trump so that it does not have to learn anything. Ross Douthat presents Profiles In Paralysis on how Paul Ryan won't give an inch in the face of rebellion of the Republican base. Ryan's faith is strong.
What do most of the rich want?
- Low taxes, at least for those who get most of their income from capital gains or dividends. Also. the corps want to continue to use arrangements such as the double Irish with Dutch Sandwich tax avoidance scheme.
- Low regulations (unless the regs entrench a profitable monopoly).
- Low trade barriers.
- Open borders for migrants for cheap labor.
- Perpetual war in the Middle East.
Some of these desires, translated into policy, set in motion changes to society that make other of these desires increasingly less attainable.
Imagine yourself a donor class billionaire. You going to meet many people who disagree with you? You'll have lackey employees, think tanks begging to take your money to prove you are right, peers who agree, quotes from famous libertarians to tell you that you are right and as smart about your wants as you are about how to accumulate lots of money. Not conducive to second guessing your judgments.
But these desires are not mutually compatible. First off, open borders undermines electoral support for their other wants. Open borders brings in a much more left-leaning population that remains that way for many generations, perhaps centuries. Most of that population is lower earning for many generations and is therefore eligible for and wants more welfare payments for themselves. That puts them in conflict with older natives who want promised old age retirement benefits.
Also, open borders cuts wages for the lower income levels in the Republican base. Similarly, lower trade barriers has sped offshoring of jobs and makes a lot of those who have suffered job losses and status and income losses a lot more willing to vote for someone who says he wants to make America great again.
If the donor class manages to get its way in this electoral cycle it is setting itself up for a much bigger loss in the future. The country will go Left (see youth for Bernie Sanders) and turn against lower taxes and lower regulations. It might well go protectionist as well.
But here's the thing about the donor class: they want it all and they are not willing to accept trade-offs. They want to believe they can convince any future American population of their shopping list of wants. They can't even convince a majority of Republican primary voters today, let alone Democrats. This ought to set off alarm bells in their heads. But they'd rather see the problem as due to a skilled demagogue rather than to them having mutually incompatible desires rather than face that they can't have it all.
The middle and lower classes are going to get even more restive in the future as more kinds of jobs get automated, outsourced, or staffed by imported labor. Even an end to lower skilled immigration (say anyone with less than an engineering degree) isn't going to stop automation and outsourcing. A long list of once reliable jobs for the working class are going away in 10-20 years (e.g. taxi driver, truck driver, and even sooner, fast food cashier).
Perpetual war in the Middle East is also going to get harder to do. The new Americans do not feel special affinity to Israel that evangelical white Christians feel. Also, the old American ethnic groups don't want to see their kids coming back with brain damage from improvised explosive devices. The government can not afford it and also afford the growing welfare state that is driven by both an aging population and less skilled immigrants.
I'd rather that the donor class hit its limits sooner, before more damage gets done to the commonwealth. But they might find a way to put down the political rebellion against them. They have a lot of resources (think private investigators, friendly prosecutors and IRS agents). They might find a way to keep getting what they want come 2017. But they face an increasingly uphill battle as demographic changes that they caused undermine their ability to get what they want.