2016-11-14 Trump

I need to start another of these link collection posts.

America is facing an epistemic crisis: “an increasingly large chunk of Americans believes a whole bunch of crazy things, and it is warping our politics. […] what if Mueller proves the case and it’s not enough? What if there is no longer any evidentiary standard that could overcome the influence of right-wing media?”

4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump. “Like the Hollywood heroes, right and left have been competing to become this new radical anti-/status quo/ party. And so far, in both Europe and America, the right has won, implying that, as Arendt predicted, the powerlessness created by bourgeoisie systems of capitalist exploitation might once again implode into far right totalitarianism.”

This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson. “As Thompson presciently wrote in the /Nation/ piece he later expanded on in /Hell’s Angels/, that kind of politics is ’nearly impossible to deal with’ using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favorite tools of the left.”

Authoritarianism and Post-Truth Politics. “[...] insisting on the difference between truth and lies is itself a part of the defense of freedom. Orwell, Arendt, and Havel teach us that the power to tell public lies and to have them repeated is evidence of, and a tool for the expansion of, a power that free people should resist and refuse.”

You Are Still Crying Wolf. A long piece debunking the myth that Trump is a racist. He’s terrible for different reasons.

It’s not elitism, but its absence. “[...] Brexit and Trump come as terrible reminders that the comfortably well-off are too removed from the bases of their own comfort to see they need to preserve them rather than taking them for granted. [...] abandoning Western civilisation based on Enlightenment values is a ridiculous proposition when offered as remedy for our current problems. It would be better for people opposed to political nihilism in the West to act like a resistance rather than a bunch of genteel, mannered bourgeois namby-pambies talking tolerance of intolerance.”

What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class. “{WWC white working class} men aren’t interested in working at McDonald’s for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is what my father-in-law had: steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life to the 75% of Americans who don’t have a college degree. Trump promises that.”

Donald Trump Will Dramatically Realign America’s Political Parties. “More and more, the downscale Republican voters felt they were being betrayed by their party’s elites. Eventually, the only thing that united these factions was the story that America was engaged in a Manichaean struggle between good and evil in which Democrats were definitely on the side of evil.”

Trump, the GOP, and the Fall. Hah, I think he’s right: Trump is not the problem. He is the symptom. The actual problem is that the Republicans made it possible with their fundamentalism, their anti-science stance, their fear of facts, their money worship, their callousness, their greed. You reap what you sow. Or as the case may be: Trump reaps what you sowed. But even if it had not been a lying, abusive, narcistic egomaniac candidate, it wouldn’t have been any better. With the kind of shit you sowed, with the Tea Party and your friends, you aren’t going to reap much better. Start over.

Autocracy: Rules for Survival. “I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect.”

A madman has been given the keys to the surveillance state.

Unnecessariat. “Here’s the thing: from where I live, the world has drifted away. We aren’t precarious, we’re unnecessary. The money has gone to the top. The wages have gone to the top. The /recovery/ has gone to the top. And what’s worst of all, /everybody who matters seems basically pretty okay with that/.” The best explanation for the rise of Trump. The Unnecessariat is not like the Proletariat of old, the people who worked hard, nor the Precariat, the people who feared for their jobs but worked. The Unnecessariat are the rest of us. No job, no hope, no future. I remember seeing the first glimpse of that as I watched the movie Winter’s Bones (2010). White trash and Meth. I also like the long arc the story takes. Gay men dying of AIDS. The economy is not coming back. You can practically hear Bruce Springsteen singing about the post-industrial landscape. Politics for the rich. New tech gadgets for the rich. Tesla! Mars! iPad! For the rich… The rest are simply – unnecessary. No matter who they vote for. But if they vote Trump, at least we’ll all go down in flames. Hello, Hofer, Petry, Le Pen, Orbán. Blocher.

Goodbye, Cold War. “Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump marked the return of the repressed: the reemergence of two varieties of popular politics that were common until the 1940s but were eventually crushed under the pressure of the long cold war. [...] Often, instead of finding working agreements through shared policy goals, the inclination has been to resolve conflicts in advance through debate over the philosophical status of race or class—an impossible task. The result has been sectarianism that has only worsened a long-standing weakness of the left in this country: the lack of cohesive coalitional politics.”

When It’s Too Late to Stop Fascism, According to Stefan Zweig. “I wonder how far along the scale of moral degeneration Zweig would judge America to be in its current state. We have a magnetic leader, one who lies continually and remorselessly—not pathologically but strategically, to placate his opponents, to inflame the furies of his core constituency, and to foment chaos. The American people are confused and benumbed by a flood of fake news and misinformation. [...] I thought of one other crucial technique that Zweig identified in Hitler and his ministers: they introduced their most extreme measures gradually—strategically—in order to gauge how each new outrage was received.”

The Prophecies of Q: “QAnon is emblematic of modern America’s susceptibility to conspiracy theories, and its enthusiasm for them. But it is also already much more than a loose collection of conspiracy-minded chat-room inhabitants. It is a movement united in mass rejection of reason, objectivity, and other Enlightenment values. And we are likely closer to the beginning of its story than the end. The group harnesses paranoia to fervent hope and a deep sense of belonging. The way it breathes life into an ancient preoccupation with end-times is also radically new. To look at QAnon is to see not just a conspiracy theory but the birth of a new religion.”

What if Facebook Is the Real ‘Silent Majority’? «The conservative commentator Ben Shapiro has gotten 56 million total interactions on his Facebook page in the last 30 days. That’s more than the main pages of ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR combined

Dear news media, stop covering the US as if it’s a democracy: «Liberties aren’t eliminated, they are restricted and violated – until they erode. Rights aren’t abolished, they are undermined and trampled – until they become privileges. Truths aren’t buried, they are mocked and twisted – until everyone has their own.»

The Scalzi Endorsement: Joe Biden: «We get to decide whether we will get four more years of corruption, of white supremacy, of self-dealing and of, literally, plague… or at least four years of not all of that. Four years of probably decent, probably unremarkable governance, by and from people who mostly know what they’re doing and mostly want to be useful when they do it, headed up by Joe Biden.»

So What About That (Self)-Coup?: «This clearly wasn’t just politics as usual, and not because of the mob that took over the Capitol. This was a trial run for a self-coup that could very well be tried in the future. An overwhelming majority of the GOP representatives in the house spent the day in lock-down and came back and promptly voted to overturn the election. In a future scenario where the election had come down to PA—for example if Joe Biden hadn’t very very narrowly won Georgia and Arizona by a total of about 23,127 votes out of total of about hundred-and-fifty million cast, or if Trump hadn’t just contributed to the loss of two senate seats in Georgia for the GOP, and thus the loss of the control of the Senate. It’s absolutely plausible to me that even more Republicans would have joined this blatant attempt to overturn the election and that their base would mostly have been fine with that. The (self)-coup train wasn’t something that was just for show; it just wasn’t close enough to work this time



The age of Trump comes to an end but the a new age of disinformation has only just begun. Like the mysticism invading the Roman Empire in Russel’s view of the History of Western Philosophy, or Gibson’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but also like the stirring revolutions kicked into action by the pamphlet printing during the reformation, and boots and guns of the third Reich spurred by Göbbels on the radio, we have our own disinformation to fight.

educators must be explicit about the ethical frameworks and daily practices of truth-seeking institutions such as science, scholarship, and journalism. Social-media platforms enact values that are firmly grounded in beliefs about individualism, capitalism, and consumerism. Educators must make clear how those values differ from the pursuit of truth through other means. – The Librarian War Against QAnon, by Barbara Fister, for The Atlantic, adapted from her essay, Lizard People in the Library

– Alex 2021-02-19 08:34 UTC

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