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.”



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