2017 February 04 Saturday
Illiberal And Stressed Responses To Trump, Milo, Closeted Repubs

The response to Trump is part of a larger phenomenon that preceded his rise. The violent attack at Berkeley to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking is also part of that larger phenomenon that notably includes a long run pattern of shutting down right-wing speaking events by leftists that stretches back many years. There is considerable support by media leftists for the violence against right wing people they detest. Is the motive really aimed at shutting down free speech of non-progressives? Here is an interesting interpretation: the aim is to prevent freedom of assembly that would allow like minds of a particular faction to boost each others' morale.

Free assembly can be twisted into an individual right -- for a particular person to congregate with his fellows in some group -- but the natural interpretation is that it is a right of an entire group to manifest itself somewhere, sometime, for some purpose. It wants to pump itself up, get the members resonating on the same wavelength, and come away from the gathering stronger and more unified.

Denying the group to gather in this way is not meant to restrict their communication about beliefs and opinions, but to weaken the group by leaving its members feeling more isolated than unified. Collective action by such an atomized "group" will not be possible, and the assembly disrupters will be able to push their own agenda as a team with ease.

By contrast, the Right did not organize attacks on the Women's March. And, aside, it is truly bizarre that a co-leader of the Women's March is pro-Sharia Law, makes light of prohibition of women driving in Saudi Arabia,and vehemently opposed to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Is this a fearful rage against the loss of narrative control? But I think the attempts to silence right-wingers precedes the loss of narrative control. So the loss of narrative control is only part of the cause of the increase of illiberalism on the Left.

The rage against Milo bears the hallmark of impotence that comes from the loss of a narrative. The entire narrative of the Western left is one of structural, systemic exploitation by the forces of patriarchy, economics, and social-conservatism. Milo, regardless of how odious and abhorrent some of his views may be, is a living antithesis to this narrative. He is a charismatic gay icon, with a tremendous ultra macho conservative/libertarian male follower base. His followers, contrary to conventional wisdom, include leftists as well as right wingers, classical liberals and neocons, both men and women, joined by a common cause of defending free speech and opposing Islamism.

Assembly in secret is still possible if you trust the people who you assemble with to keep it a secret. In San Francisco Bay Area some on the right wing already do their meetings in total secrecy out of necessity: Bay Area Conservatives Keep Meetups Secret Fearing For Their Safety.

The big emotional upsets about Trump which you will find in the mainstream media aren't just a simple reaction to Trump. A lot of changes had to happen preceding this moment in order to make media and academic elite and tribal reactions so intense. Brendan O'Neill thinks the deep emotional reactions are a result of the breakdown of the media's power to filter and interpret events to give people a greater feeling of safety. As he explains, many are not handling this well. Read this essay.

I find this response to Trump intriguing. I also think it is too widespread and honestly felt to be written off as stupidity, or ‘snowflakeism’. Something more serious is at work. What I think we’re witnessing is the end result of the dismantling of all the filters through which people once viewed, experienced, understood or kept at bay the political world. Where once we had ideology or institutions with which to interpret or simply protect ourselves against the vagaries of life in modern society, today, with the decline of ideas and corrosion of institutions, things seem to come at us more directly. Unfiltered, untranslated, psychically rather than politically.

This is all made much worse by the postmodernist teachings about safe spaces and microaggressions. First, convince the kids that they shouldn't ever have to hear views they disagree with and convince the kids that lots of neutral statements are really attacks. What happens? Academia and the media produce a society that gets upset a lot more easily.

Also read The Hindu interview of economist-mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb: ‘Trump makes sense to a grocery store owner’.

Also read a few Scott Adams posts on cognitive dissonance: The Time That Reality Forked Right in Front of You, A Lesson in Cognitive Dissonance, and The Cognitive Dissonance Cluster Bomb.

Scott Adams thinks we are living thru a period of severe cognitive dissonance for Hillary Clinton supporters and that this period of emotional upset will pass. Well, will it? It is not clear to me. Peter Turchin is forecasting a surge in political violence in the 2020s. If he's right then what we are seeing now is a run-up to a more violent future.

By Randall Parker 2017 February 04 11:14 PM 
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2017 February 03 Friday
Republican Border Tax Gets Some Big Corp Supporters

Check out this Reuters article:GE, Boeing, Oracle form coalition to support Republican border tax.

These aren't companies I would expect to be in such a coalition. What is their benefit? Oracle? Are they trying to protect Sun server sales? I do not understand why Oracle is going to be part of this coalition. Boeing: Do they want to put up barriers to import of Chinese passenger aircraft? Boeing is one of America's biggest exporters. They taking this position against Airbus subsidies?

Still, big companies taking a position that isn't as globalist as one might expect. What they might see in it: some Republicans are proposing a cut in US corporate income tax funded by tariffs on imports. That is an interesting proposition. US corporations currently get taxed domestically for profits earned abroad. They see this as an unfair competitive disadvantage and they want to be able to bring back money they made abroad. So basically lower the tariff on imported foreign profits but raise the tariff on imported foreign goods.

Retailers will oppose tariffs as will some manufacturers who have moved much of their manufacturing capacity abroad. But a tariff would be great news for robot makers. Higher tariffs would drive up the demand for equipment that cuts labor out of manufacturing. A tariff would probably speed up the rate of innovation in robotics.

This is a year where a lot of previously frozen solid political deals and rules become unfrozen. A lot of rules are in play. We can expect to see new alliances pop up in business and politics. It is hard to guess just how much the fortunes of different business interests will change. But Trump's changes are likely to cut supply and drive up demand for less skilled labor. That will, combined with the push by Democrats to raise the minimum wage, drive up demand for equipment that automates work.

By Randall Parker 2017 February 03 07:20 PM 
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Executive Order Shock From Lack Of Political Education In USA

Executive orders aren't dictatorial abuse of authority. They've been used since the beginning of the republic. They are subject to overturning by the Supreme Court and by a veto-proof majority in Congress. Don't panic. Ignorance causes much emoting.

Abrams connects the shock and media frenzy based on Trump's executive orders to a lack of political history education in the US, amplified by outrage in social media. For young people, particularly, he says, the outrage feels brand new, even though protests over executive orders have a long history.

I suspect we are in for a very emotion-filled year.

Executive orders are a subset of all executive actions. In the first 12 days Obama signed more EOs than Trump.

In America a lot of more politically motivated people who feel very strongly they are in the moral right are going to tend to assume that their moral preferences must be constitutional and the opposing view must be unconstitutional. How can the law be anything but fair? How can my moral preferences be anything but the best and highest moral views possible? Plus, I've got so many like-minded friends and social media acquaintances who agree with me that surely anyone who disagrees with me is the hell spawn of Satan. Such is the level of reasoning we can see among many angry people.

The more I read the fewer people with whom I'd want to discuss politics, history, or human nature. There is just too much appalling ignorance out there, proud self-righteous appalling ignorance.

My worry in all this is that the level of dogmatic certainty is rising, especially on the Left and that rising and expanding set of doctrines held to be true is putting the Left and Right on a course of ever increasing bitterness across partisan lines. I've said this before: read Bill Bishop's The Big Sort. Left and Right are increasingly segregated from each other in different counties and different states. They do not know each other and think worse of each other every year.

By Randall Parker 2017 February 03 12:59 PM 
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