Saturday, February 25, 2017

Revenge of the Deep State?

"Deep State" is a buzz phrase that's been around. It stands for the obstinate obstruction that political reformers may face - even when they win elections - from a nation's civil servants, bureaucrats, contractors, influential stakeholders and - especially - the security apparatus.  The term was used for many years on the left, citing the last moderate Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, who warned of excess influence by a "military-industrial complex." But the term faded a bit into the worm-eaten woodwork of paranoid fringes.

Now, "Deep State" is back, big-time. Suddenly it's being pushed by the far-right to explain the hostility they face, not just from bureaucrats but from all of the security services and "entrenched elites." Or, as my neighbor, Jordan Greenhall put it recently, in a highly circulated posting, we find ourselves in a manichean struggle  between a conservative “Red Religion” vs. the liberal “Blue Church” globalist establishment -- our current “Deep State."


As Greenhall put it: "My assessment is that the Trump Insurgency has identified the Deep State itself as its central antagonist and is engaged in a direct existential conflict with it."

Now, to be fair, Jordan's chief points were about communications flaws in the blue side's messaging, that might have made members of the "red religion" and "Trump Insurgency" immune to hearing or seeing. Others who have critiqued flaws in Democratic/liberal messaging include the always-cogent George Lakoff, whose explanation for the election is most on-target. Still, right here and now, I am discussing some the underlying "givens" that Jordan and many others base their arguments upon. These givens -- like Deep State -- are powerful meme-bombs, in their own right. 

For a very different take on the Deep State meme, see: "How the Trump regime was manufactured by a war inside the Deep State," by Nafeez Ahmed, who traces how Donald Trump's Goldman-Sachs-Bushite (Skull n' Bones) cabinet may be at war against other elements in Washington. Ahmed's detailed listing of administration appointees and their ties is unmatched.  


(Note: The latest battle in the War on Science has shifted into high gear with administration efforts to muzzle science that make the Bushites seem subtle, by comparison. "Do we want America to mimic failed regimes of the past, where knowledge and science were suppressed to benefit a few or to funnel more profits into dying industries?")

== What underlies the under-lies ==

Of course, there is an element of basic human psychology, here. We all have been trained - by Hollywood - to view ourselves as heroic and insightful rebels against some authoritarian elite. The meme - and I talk about this a lot - is called Suspicion of Authority (SoA) and we were all raised, suckling its core premise.


But which authority? If those on the left dread Big Brother arising from conniving oligarchs and faceless corporations, conservative Americans fret over different "controlling elites," ranging from snooty academics to faceless bureaucrats. Alas, both wings ignore the plain fact, that they share an underlying reflex that is especially American. A very well-founded fear that - yes - freedom does have enemies.


This reflex has been manipulated though. Today's "Red Religion" (to borrow Greenhall's term) lumps together as hate-targets every profession in U.S. society that deals in facts and knowledge. Their narrative is that these professions -- maligned for decades in right wing media, from science, teaching, economics, skilled labor and journalism to the civil service, law professionals, medical doctors and judges -- have colluded to create a truth-bending, Orwellian cabal! Yes, all the people who know stuff ... those whom you trust to cure your cancer, teach your kids, keep the electricity running, investigate corruption, ask questions, explore the laws of nature, invent better phones, catch criminals, deliver honest justice, make or inspect your cars... they are all conniving haters of freedom and truth! They are all your enemies.


 And now, two of the last knowledge castes have been added -- members of the Intelligence Community (IC) and the U.S. Military Officer Corps (MOC).  See: Is Michael Flynn the first casualty of a 'deep state' coup? from Salon.


This Deep State - the story goes - has been responsible for both liberal tyranny and American decline from greatness.  

== Believe! By ignoring inconvenient facts ==

Never mind that these same professions empowered the great burst of creativity and invention and entrepreneurial drive that multiplied our wealth a hundred fold, since the Second World War.

Never mind that every metric of U.S. national health improved, across the spans of both the Clinton and Obama Administrations, while nearly all such metrics plummeted across both Bush regimes. That only makes statistical "facts" the enemy.

Moreover, the lack of any significant foreign-planned Islamic Terrorism on U.S. soil can only be explained by conspiracy among roughly a million highly competitive journalists, cops, jurists and security experts who all magically agreed never to mention the true, bloody rampage.

Never mind that American lives were statistically safer, under President Obama, than at any other time in the history of the republic. Or that blue cities take in most of the refugees, yet blue citizens don’t feel in much danger.

Or that Iranians have harmed U.S. lives or interests far, far less than the graduates of Saudi-financed madrassas. So, why is almost every member of the Trump administration beating a drum for war (of some kind) with Tehran? Michael Flynn was a leading drummer. Indeed, if you want a more plausible “deep state” conspiracy theory, how about you start with the fact that no one in our military wants an Iranian War? 

I'll admit, when you compare the different ways that Democratic and Republican presidents wage war, any sage officer would loathe the idea of a GOP commander-in-chief, ordering our troops into battle. 

== Notice the trial balloons ==

Articles like this one – denouncing the “Deep State” – are trial balloons that test possible justifications. Sales pitches to rally the confederacy. They set the stage for actions against all the knowledge castes, but especially security professionals. And more harbingers have blossomed in recent days. 

President Trump is considering tapping billionaire friend and New York financier Stephen A. Feinberg to lead a broad review of U.S. intelligence agencies…. The appointment of Feinberg would send shock waves through the intelligence community, a frequent target of Trump’s ire both as a candidate and as president,” reports The Washington Post.

“Feinberg rarely gives interviews and once said of private equity executives, “We try to hide religiously. If anyone at Cerberus has his picture in the paper and a picture of his apartment, we will do more than fire that person,” Feinberg told shareholders in 2007, according to Rolling Stone magazine. “We will kill him. The jail sentence will be worth it.”

Even allowing for polemical exaggeration, the zeitgeist here seems chilling. Now look up the word: “Cerberus.” Dang, these guys aren’t even trying to be subtle, anymore.

The trumpists and other murdochians know it will be dangerous to try pulling Erdogan-style purges of the IC and the MOC. Those officers whom they fire will make lovely recruits for the Democrats to run in Red congressional and assembly districts. (I'll speak more about this, later.) 

Moreover those who remain will continue to be sources of leaks that (betrayal!) keep the public informed. And yet, what choice have the alt-righters, but to attack? Among all the despised fact-based professions, the IC and MOC are cadres who present the greatest obstacles to any oligarchic putsch. If forced to choose between the Chain of Command and their oaths to the Constitution, the People and the republic... a choice they desperately want to avoid... I put my money on their oaths.


Conservative by temperament, their resistance only drives home a key point that we all must remember: This civil war just isn't about "liberal-conservative" anymore. 


It is now blatantly revealed to be what it's always been. Culture war between an anti-knowledge Confederacy and the forward-looking, scientific and progress-seeking Union that it periodically betrays, about once per generation. Jordan Greenhall uses "Blue Church" cleverly, but he and others know that is a way of using the blue-scientific side's own fears against it. The implicit insult is as inaccurate as it is unfair... as it is devilishly clever. Like the "deep state" meme.

== The ("Evil") Empire Strikes Back ==

We should have no energy crisis, now that Ronald Reagan has joined Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, Dwight Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt, all spinning in their graves. But Ronnie is whirling at 50,000 rpm.  Why?

There is another buzz term that you'll get to know, promulgated in this article. "Anti-Russian hysteria." The notion being that the Deep State is rife with mongerers trying to re-ignite the Cold War, or worse. This despite the fact that a U.S.-Iran War is both a top administration goal and lusciously desired by the Kremlin. (And, in truth, it is desired by the Iranian mullahs, who see it as a rationale to crush moderate-secular elements in Persian society.) This catch-phrase -- along with "Deep State" -- will spew forth.  


(Oh, the richness of pleasure watching the silly confeds at CPAC waving little Russian flags with the word "Trump" on them!)


And yet…

…And yet, I have to figure that the murdochians have gone too far, this time.

Do you remember what finally brought down the equivalent of Steve Bannon, back in during the 1950s heyday of the Greatest Generation? The sceeching firebrand Joe McCarthy? It was when he attacked the U.S. Military Officer Corps. But, weaned on stereotypes, movie clich├ęs and pop-paranoid philosophers, I doubt that Bannon has a clue who he's leveling his lance against. The best-educated, most-pragmatically grownup and loyal clade of men and women in American life.

(You lefties, if you reflexively spit on these crewcut men and women, then you will be the fools. We need them, now, more than at any point in the last human lifetime.)

Moreover, whenever I think of those folks, I can sleep at night, and so should you, knowing that they are -- deep in their guts and bones -- on our side. 


135 comments:

D.G. Hudson said...

Bravo, David!

Brother Doug said...

Well written. I think it will be more difficult for the military now than in the 1950 but they may succeed if someone overtly blames them. Not sure of the purpose of the article or what you hope to accomplish by writing about it. Seems like a summation of many of your posts.

ReplyDelete

baron said...

why do you think its in Russian interest to see Iran at war with the US?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor Brin: You keep going out of your way to alienate the left (we don't spit on service people; that's a 44 year old smear that wasn't true back then, let alone now) and I can't figure out why. Do you really hold such a cartoonish and facile view of the left?
You can't save your country alone, you know. You need us. The DNC has clearly abdicated any leadership role (the election of Perez today was just another dose of Roundup on the grass roots) and that means the party is in the hands of people who believe the only way to defeat fascists is by cooperating with them. You need allies. Do you really think you should be spitting on them?

David Brin said...

Brother Doug, we in the rational America think that saying something once, or a few times, should suffice. Wrong. Repetition is (alas) necessary. Anyway, the context of this "deep state" meme is an essential element to bring into the open.

baron - think about it. Putin is trying to build an anti-western arc, from Ankara and Damascus through Moscow and Beijing to Manilla. Tehran would be a huge addition.... that is absolutely guaranteed if we engage in a nibble war with the mullahs, who can then repress the secularists Obama was encouraging.

Zepp, sorry, you have bad timing. Just yesterday I had to step in to defend a retired admiral who was under direct attack, at a gathering in LA, by a British MP - a woman who deliberately misunderstood what he said in order to justify a PC-bullying shitstorm.

Absolute bill that I am doing the spitting. I offered a piece of very necessary wisdom, to help our allies to break a habit that has PERSISTED for 44 years, sometimes as a spittle spewing reflex that could kill our hopes and play into murdochian hands.

Shantanu Saha said...

Zepp:
"Do you really hold such a cartoonish and facile view of the left?"

Which "left?" The left that has such a cartoonish, facile view of everyone not "left" that it portrays the former Secretary of Labor, who objectively has promulgated the most progressive labor policy since Frances Perkins, as a "Roundup on the grassroots" because he had the support of Barack Obama (the former president who has arguably over the most progressive administration in the last 50 years, if not the last 80 years). I submit that whatever "grassroots" cannot abide by Perez, an able administrator and progressive politician, are actually noxious weeds that deserve to wither under the boots of actually progressive people.

If you want Democrats to spit on you, just keep on spouting your True Left® bullshit. I'll start off. Until you learn how to play nice, just piss off.

dennisd said...

@Zepp. @Shantanu Saha
DNC Chair Perez
At first I was disappointed. Was hoping for someone who could articulate Values before policy details (as Lakoff has been advising for 20+ years). Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the only candidate who did this.

But you know what? Whether the DNC Chair is Perez, Ellison, or Buttigieg there's going to be more work than any chair can handle. If change is going to happen (change = winning elections) it's going to be a bottom-up process and not so much a top-down process. The DNC can do only so much. It's up to citizens to self-organize their efforts to contest elections from local to city, state and national levels.

nja said...

I am really confused by your comments about spitting on service people and defending retired admirals... but I will say it is pretty off putting.

Treebeard said...

So I guess by your logic, every government actually wants to be attacked by its worst enemy, since it allows them to solidify their control. In fact, Democrats should thank Japan and Germany for allowing them to consolidate their power and build the vast imperial American war state. Same thing with respect to the Union vs. the Confederacy and 9/11 for the neocons. Which puts the winning side ("liberals") in a similar position to the Iranian Mullahs after a long winning streak. Maybe we should call it the Blue Mullocracy? If Hillary had won, imagine how much power they could have grabbed if, say, Russia could have been provoked into attacking? The Putin-loving Confederate traitors could have been totally crushed, we could have burned their cities again, planted our flags on their capitols and totally erased their evil culture. Too bad; maybe in a few years you'll get another chance if we can stop the evil-doers from stealing our election again.

I like when the rational moderate mask falls off and the war-mongering Manichean fanatic is revealed. You would have made an excellent Mullah, old boy.

David Brin said...

I'll use "Treebeard" because despite his snarky stupidity, he's actually asking question. And yes, I should distinguish between a war aimed at pounding hard and causing a regime change and a "war" whose purpose is lots of posturing and show. TB assumes the Trumpists aim for the first... and that's insane. Iran is no Iraq. It is huge, well-armed, and if we invade the whole country will coalesce against us. We would have to kill millions.

No, the aim would be a "punishment tiff." Drone strike some strategic assets. Sink some docked ships. Blast a couple of industrial sites. Lots of BOOM! to make goppers giggle and rub their hands and call themselves Patton. With the chief result that Iran will rush to an alliance with Russia. Russia will extend its umbrella. And in return get the warm water port and naval base it's sought for 160 years.

The mullahs will win, by ending and crushing even a hint of secular society among its tens of millions of middle class, college educated people who want out from under the theocrats' thumb.

Oh, the Saudis want it too! Because they think the bang! and Pow! will knock Iran down, when it will only strengthen their shiite rival.

So... ALL the powers want this thing. Russia and its White House puppets. The Mullahs. The Saudis.... though not our allies and not our military, nor any mature human who can both see and contemplate a mature, improving world. Oops, that leaves out the ent.

Jumper said...

Is everyone finished with the spitting now?

TCB said...

Also, maybe damaging Iran's oil output props up Russian oil prices for a little while...

In the main post Dr. Brin mentions the armed services, intelligence and deep state functionaries remembering that their oath is to the Constitution. This is precisely why it would be well to root out the religious zealots who have done all they could to turn the Air Force into a Baptist church with fighter planes. For when the chips are down, the Christian Taliban are going to tell their faithful officers and enlisted people "God's Law comes before man's law!" The other uniformed services largely have their heads on straight (especially the Navy). The Air Force, not quite so much...

Michael said...

You stated,
"I doubt that Bannon has a clue who he's leveling his lance against. The best-educated, most-pragmatically grownup and loyal clade of men and women in American life."

It's no secret Bannon is a former Naval Officer. Not a senior one, but one nonetheless. He likely has some clue. At least enough of one to ensure he secured a seat on the Principals Committee. I'm willing to bet few in the White House fully understood what that meant when he asked to be on it. He seems to be playing Chess when everyone else there is playing checkers.

Treebeard said...

Maybe Trump is actually a puppet of the Mullahs then? Or is it the Saudis? Didn't you have a theory that the Chinese were manipulating the GOP a while back? We can assert anything without proof. But given a choice between these four, I'd prefer to be Putin's puppet, because at least he seems to be competent and relatively pro-Western (as in not actively working to destroy Western nations like the open-borders Soros crowd). For the record, I think attacking Iran would be insane, but not as insane as the neoliberal establishment's current project of drumming up war with Russia.

Michael Bryant said...

^--- Recently retired US Army Praetorian. "If forced to choose between the Chain of Command and their oaths to the Constitution, the people and the republic... a choice they desperately want to avoid... I put my money on their oaths." - You would win that bet. Even if it came down to a sizable handful of veterans to vigorously lead the coup. America is not a person, group, place, or thing. It is an unwavering, protopian, and ideal state of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That very scenario is discussed and reinforced in every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine when they are huddled close for warmth and encouragement during a 3AM guard shift.

David Brin said...

What TCB said. Fortunately, the Navy has better pilots.

Treebeard: "I'd prefer to be Putin's puppet, because at least he seems to be competent and relatively pro-Western (as in not actively working to destroy Western nations like the open-borders Soros crowd)."

Eeeek! What a drooling psychopathic moron. Even when he is trying hard (and I admit that Treebeard was trying, this time, hence his full monicker) his "logic" and value system and phantasm rationalizations (Soros again!) are unfathomably loony.

Michael Bryant to be clear, I am not speaking of any coup! Mass resignations are far, far more likely. And work stoppages, if someone grabs the Football and starts stabbing buttons. Still the greatest of all DT/GOP crimes is having put such thoughts into military heads, and confronting them with such possibilities. The faithful sons and daughters of George Marshall should not be treated this way.

I never thought I'd push this book repeatedly, but get Tears of Abraham... a fairly good, but especially scary, novel about a new American hot Civil War.

https://www.amazon.com/Tears-Abraham-Sean-T-Smith/dp/1618688197



Insanity Claus said...

Mr. Brin, I love your books. I stumbled onto this blog. I like it. I had no idea you were this politically savvy.

Daniel Duffy said...

You really can't understand anything about today's America without understanding econoic inequality. This should be required reading:

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/our-miserable-21st-century/

We will soon have French Revolution levels of inequality as measured by the Gini Coefficient (a measure of income inequality):

http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/politicalcalculations/2013/12/05/the-major-trends-in-us-income-inequality-since-1947-n1757626/page/full

In 1968, America’s Gini Coefficient was 35.

By 2015 it had grown to 49, a growth rate of 0.31 per year.

The GIni Coefficient in France in the late 18th century at the start of the French Revolution was 59.

http://www.piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/MorrissonSnyder2000.pdf
Only 10 points higher than it is now in America.

At our current rate of growing inequality we Americans should be storming the Bastille in about 30 years, by the mid-2040s.

The Tea Party revolt against the Republican elite was just the first rumblings. That they are being led by Trump, a wealthy businessman turned demagogue, isn’t so odd when you consider that the French demagogue Robespierre was also a wealthy lawyer/businessman.

The 1% know this and are afraid.

Which is why they are buying up fortified homes and doomsday bunkers (at a time when mere violent street crime has fallen precipitously) like there was no tomorrow.
For them, there isn’t.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich

http://investmentwatchblog.com/elite-underground-bunkers-why-are-so-many-of-the-super-wealthy-preparing-bug-out-locations/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-14/doomsday-bunker-billionaires

http://www.forbes.com/sites/morganbrennan/2013/11/27/billionaire-bunkers-beyond-the-panic-room-home-security-goes-sci-fi/

Don’t be surprised if our children’s generation rolls out the tumbrels.
Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it

John Sears said...

David Duffy wrote: "You really can't understand anything about today's America without understanding econoic inequality. This should be required reading:

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/our-miserable-21st-century/

Hah! I had just emailed that link to Dr. Brin when I refreshed this blog's page and saw your post. I heartily agree that it should be read.

Jumper said...

Treebeard is a sort of idiot who can't figure the difference between countries and individuals. I doubt he's ever met a Russian, or said five words to an Iranian. Despising Putin is different from hating Russians, and vice versa. For that matter, I'd guess more urban dwellers have extensively toured the heartlands than have small-town dwelling Trump supporters have.

LarryHart said...

dennisd:

The DNC can do only so much. It's up to citizens to self-organize their efforts to contest elections from local to city, state and national levels.


That's kind of where I was going in the previous comments section. We voters have to consider what's best for us ourselves. We can't go on refusing to notice anything except what the campaign chooses to point out, nor is it a good idea to punish a campaign for its faults by electing the opponent when that opponent is against everything we want in the first place.

Sure we want to influence the campaign to be effective, but it makes little sense to allow Trump to become president because we had some issues with Hillary's campaign style.

LarryHart said...

Daniel Duffy:

Which is why they are buying up fortified homes and doomsday bunkers (at a time when mere violent street crime has fallen precipitously) like there was no tomorrow.
For them, there isn’t.


If only they'd just go there and leave the rest of us in peace. It would be a secular version of the Rapture.

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

But given a choice between these four, I'd prefer to be Putin's puppet, because at least he seems to be competent and relatively pro-Western (as in not actively working to destroy Western nations like the open-borders Soros crowd).


You mean because he's all for white nationalism.


For the record, I think attacking Iran would be insane, but not as insane as the neoliberal establishment's current project of drumming up war with Russia.


One man's "drumming up war with" is another man's "protecting our borders." Your positions aren't even self-consistent. If open borders are inherently bad, then we must "drum up war with" any country which violates those borders, not because we necessarily want a fight, but because the fight was brought to us. You're fine with drumming up war with Mexico or China or Iran or all of Islam, but when it comes to Russia, you're suddenly a pacifist?

Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" had a line (which revolved around the fact that "Destruction" was a character in the story) that those who seek destruction tend to find it. Likewise, those who "prefer to be Putin's puppet" will likely get their wish.

Lorraine said...

Is Greenhalls's Deep State the same thing as Bannon's Administrative State? Is that the same as Waldo's Administrative State? Is any of this a resurgence of 50's paleocon concepts such as "managerialism?"

TCB said...

It's hard to form a mental picture of the Deep State, but this might help a little:

Poster showing the 2014 US federal budget showing everything from the .341 billion dollars budgeted for Army test ranges and facilities to the 4.43 billion budgeted for the Indian Health Service and the .052 billion budgeted for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The CIA is in there and so is the National Labor Relations Board, the Library of Congress and Corps of Engineers harbor maintenance.

Now, obviously people mean some of these things and not others when they say Deep State, but it's not all that obvious where to draw the line. CIA leaks and Foggy Bottom defections count but the alt-Park Service twitter doesn't? Trump has foes in practically every one of those little circles in that chart.

In any case, the federal government is not an 'ism'. God Almighty Himself could not run an enterprise like this without a few hundred thousand bureaucrats and career professionals.

Robert said...

Here is something ominous which is happening now: Biometrics (retinal scans) are being forced on people leaving the country in the name of "national security."

The article makes an important point here. A nation that controls immigration? Controls emigration. And Red Staters who sneer and say "if you don't love the United States? Should leave!" ignore that fact... and the fact that someone trying to leave can be tossed in a private prison pending investigation, denied civil rights, and put to work as slave labor. Which is still allowed for prisoners.

Indeed, the American Prison System is a huge slave labor camp.

I know that changing the Constitution so that slaves - er, I mean prisoners are not forced to work would never go through. But what we should do is enact one change: Prisoners forced to work will be paid the minimum wage with that money put into a Savings Account. The money will not be taxed, nor will the Interest. Upon leaving Prison, the ex-convict will be given access to that account and the finances within, thus providing them with money with which they can live until they find employment.

This would destroy much of the private for-profit prison system. After all, profits won't be maximized anymore. But private prisons would still see some profits... and prisoners would have money available when they leave prison. While some might feel not taxing prisoners is wrong? These people already have no rights. Having their wages set at the minimum wage would essentially be a tax already.

Be that as it may... getting back to my original point? We need to take care that the freedom to move about is not eliminated. We need to have the right to emigrate should we so choose. And people need the right to immigrate as well... and the process of getting into this nation needs to be made far easier. Because ultimately immigrants create jobs and improve the economy, no matter what lies Red America spews.

Rob H.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Just yesterday I had to step in to defend a retired admiral who was under direct attack, at a gathering in LA, by a British MP - a woman who deliberately misunderstood what he said in order to justify a PC-bullying shitstorm."

Let's parse that. An unnamed foreign national criticized a officer. About what, we don't know. You say the attack was unfair, but I think it's safe to assume she didn't actually spit on him. Was it a personal attack? Well, we don't know. Was it a misunderstanding? Probably. Was it deliberate? Perhaps. But even deliberately misconstruing an argument doesn't rise to the level of spitting on him.

Having constructed your strawman, you double down on the smear.

Honestly, Doctor, I expect that sort of argument from Trump. Is that really the best you can do?

Saha said: "If you want Democrats to spit on you, just keep on spouting your True Left® bullshit. I'll start off. Until you learn how to play nice, just piss off."

I want you know know I greatly appreciate your object lesson on how to play nice.
Look, I don't hate Perez. I don't hate Hillary Clinton. I didn't hate Neville Chamberlain. All there are (or were) smart, capable, well-meaning people who do the right thing when facing a reasonable and ethical opponent, but are ill-equipped to battle the monsters of the far right.
You aren't going to beat Trump and his gang by trying to understand them and work with them.
I realize that demaning unquestioning allegiance makes your party stronger, but it will destroy it in the end. History shows that over and over again.

Treebeard said...

Actually Jumper, I lived in Russia for a year. Putin's motorcade drove by my apartment every morning on Kutuzovsky Prospekt. I've driven across Europe from Moscow to France and seen with my own eyes what the "Soros types" have done at the street level to the lands of my ancestors. I talked to taxi drivers, etc. and they are absolutely disgusted with what has happened to their homeland, and they can tell you stories about it. So my ideas aren't based on watching Fox News (I haven't owned a television in 10 years – highly recommended, btw).

As for despising Putin, hey, the guy won a middle eastern war where our leaders have done nothing but spread chaos and jihadism, hacked our election, has our president on puppet strings and is on the verge of taking over Europe for nationalist forces – obviously he's smarter than any of our leaders, so maybe we should let him run things for a while. Maybe he can make America great where our leaders have failed?

This may come as a shock to people like Larry, but most human beings prefer to live around their own kind, want to be led by their own kind, and don't delude themselves into thinking that any large group of people who move into their neighborhood is interchangeable with any other. You can signal all day that you're one of the good-guys who isn't an evil "white nationalist" and has a Star Trek "homo federationus" badge, but like I said, I've seen what's happened in the homelands of my people, and I am crazy-normal enough to believe that my kind have a right to their own homelands, culture, peace and security like everyone else, and simply don't care about the words people like you use to try to shame us for it. This is the reality going forward for the West: liberal coastal elites shaming the native masses for not wanting their lands invaded is a non-starter; they are being swept out of power everywhere. You can signal among yourselves all day, but the rest of us are moving on and securing our nations. Maybe go crusade against "yellow nationalism" in Asia, "brown nationalism" in the middle east or "black nationalism" in Africa for a while to balance things a bit and prove that you're not frauds?

matthew said...

Nope, we'll just secure our nation from racist assholes like you, Ent.

Treebeard said...

Not possible matthew. "Racist assholes" are the vast majority, across history and the world. You are fighting an unwinnable war. You're fighting your own shadow, in fact. It's a form of delusion and psychosis similar to what drove other witch-hunts in the past.

BTW, how is your weapons factory for the Great Blue Revolution coming along?

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

This may come as a shock to people like Larry, but most human beings prefer to live around their own kind, want to be led by their own kind


This may come as a shock to certain Nazis, but despite his skin color, Barack Obama seemed much more "my own kind" than do Trump, Bannon, and Miller. Under your theory, people like me should be able to rid ourselves of Republicans and alt-righters from our homeland as much as you think you have the right to rid yourselves of us.


I've seen what's happened in the homelands of my people, and I am crazy-normal enough to believe that my kind have a right to their own homelands, culture, peace and security like everyone else,


The "homelands of your people" may have been established as the domain of a particular race or ethnic group. The United States was not. I don't get why people who claim to love America and believe in American exceptionalism keep trying to insist that we be just another European kingdom.


This is the reality going forward for the West: liberal coastal elites shaming the native masses for not wanting their lands invaded is a non-starter;


You don't get the irony here. You acknowledge that your "ancestral homelands" are somewhere else, but rail against the "invaders" of America who have as much right to citizenship as you do.

Why don't you go back to Russia? I mean seriously if you love it so much? Or help make Germany great again like it was 1939? If you hate America so much, what are you doing here? Trump's ban against those who "don't share our values" should exclude you.

And you still haven't explained the difference between "securing our borders" (a good thing) and "drumming up war with" a threat to those borders (a bad thing).

Treebeard said...

America was founded and built by white nationalists, so I guess I'm in good company. Show me where the founding fathers ever intended for America to be a place where millions of non-Western immigrants could flood in and transform the society over the objections of the founding population. That America was a place for expatriate Europeans was taken for granted until fairly recently, when some radicals unilaterally, without receiving consent, decided that America would be re-engineered into melting pot of tribes from across the world, and anyone who resisted was an evil racist. In the longer term this will probably lead to America's balkanization and failure, but revolutionaries don't tend to think long term. You may think you are on the side of angels because your media propaganda tells you so 24/7, but in a century or two you'll probably look like traitors to your descendants, who will curse your delusional, short-sighted stupidity. In places like France, where the Revolution is in its last days and the streets of Paris are becoming war-zones, it may only take a few decades.

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

Not possible matthew. "Racist assholes" are the vast majority, across history and the world. You are fighting an unwinnable war.


We've already kicked your ass twice.

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

America was founded and built by white nationalists, so I guess I'm in good company.


The grain of truth there is that America was founded by white people who took for granted that white people and their various countries were the ones who mattered.

But you're making it sound as if they carved out a homeland in which Caucasian features were the requirement for citizenship, and all whites were created equal. You haven't made clear where your "ancestral homelands" are, but unless they were England or possibly Holland, your white ancestors would have been just as unwelcome as any people of color, and might even have been referred to by the founding population as "niggers". Whatever nationality you came from was eventually acknowledged as having the right to become American after putting up with all sorts of s### from those who came before. The same process occurred with groups which were allowed to immigrate afterwards. So what makes you think your subgroup of humanity has the sole claim to America as a homeland?


Show me where the founding fathers ever intended for America to be a place where millions of non-Western immigrants could flood in and transform the society over the objections of the founding population.


Well when you phrase it that way... :)

Why don't you show me where the founding fathers intended for America to be a fascist state with white Germans and Russians in the role of first-class citizens. In fact, why don't you show me where the constitution mentions White People at all? Surely, if America was founded as a White Homeland, with White People in a privileged role, the race would be mentioned somewhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.

Marino said...

re: Treebeard

well,to me, being a a former Italian Communist, the irony of rightwing Americans plauding at a former KGB operative as savior of the Western civilization against the "decadence" is really more than delicious (I imagine a new powerplant built around the spinning renmants of Tailgunner Joe will solve forever the issue of energy dependence... :-)

Seriously: I feel part of an history of progress dating back to Reformation and Enlightenment, French and American revolution, struggles all over the world for labor rights and democracy, while someone like Putin grew under the ideology of late Soviet system that saw the West as culturally "decadent" (in the same way the rightwing nihilists like Spengler did), so for him everything from minorities rights, women's lib or avantgarde art is "decadent", and he'll feel at home more with rightwingers.

Same applies to the locum's nihilistic rant about making tabula rasa of all the current legal and political framework, both US and EU: it looks like something like the most demented extremism, craving for a Year Zero apocalypse, stuff from Khmer Rouge or Sendero Luminoso.
In Italian we have a saying about people being "tired to be alive and well". Like our European forefathers being tired of the Belle Epoque and craving for "war, the only hygiene of the world" on the eve of WW1, in order to "make Italy, France,Germany or Russia great again". And all they they got was poison gas, barbed wire and trench warfare. And a second WW twenty years later to boot...

TCB said...

Re: Marino's last paragraph, I have read the assertion that it is impossible to make a truly anti-war war movie because "film says yes to whatever it portrays" and thus makes the greatest crime, sin and tragedy of human life to seem glamorous and exciting. This is the very impulse that drives fascism, the will to dominate and destroy...

If I were King, one of my decrees would be that, in all movie theaters where war films are to be shown, putrescine and cadaverine should be pumped into the theater's ventilation system. Film-makers and moviegoers alike seek the most realistic depictions of war, do they? Very well, then: let it smell like war! Let the war fans go home with the stink of corpses in their clothing!

It would be... instructive.

Jumper said...

Well, I'll apologize for assuming you're physically parochial, Treebeard, but your view of history conflicts with reality. It's pretty well known who ripped off the Russian people, and Putin is, after all, the guy who ended up owning it. So if there are the Russian equivalent of "dittoheads," as there must be, they're idiots too.

And how you determine "your kind" is bound to be flawed. Your relatives lied about the African part of your heritage, just like most every other American. And the other parts. But the odd part is, you aren't "my kind" for reasons which you, as a sociopath, will probably not understand. Your blind acceptance of primate dominance games as inevitable just shows how low you sink. And your blind spot where you don't see how you so strongly resemble an impotent man, with no respect, the chances are your whole shtick is a result of it. You really can't be "led" by someone from Hawaii? Are you so scientifically ignorant you still buy that "racial inferiority" line?

Can all your type who are so about "leaders" and "followers" not just let it go, and hire employees to run government? Does the fact that I don't even need a President to be my "leader" and if I see them as my employee doing administrative work just
anger you?

What is "your kind?"

LarryHart said...

Marino:

In Italian we have a saying about people being "tired to be alive and well".


That sounds like Kurt Vonnegut's notion that people who think of their lives as stories weary of "living in an epilogue".

Zepp Jamieson said...

Treebeard: " ...revolutionaries don't tend to think long term. ...In places like France, where the Revolution is in its last days and the streets of Paris are becoming war-zones, it may only take a few decades."

I guess arithmetic isn't your strong suit. 1789 to 2017 would be two hundred and twenty eight years. That's a lot longer than any fascist regime the west ever had.

Zepp Jamieson said...

One question I have for the Putniks is how Putin came to be worth an estimated $2 billion (and that's the lowest estimate) in a job that only pays $100,000 a year. I realize "no fortune was ever amassed honestly" but that seems a bit extreme, you know?

David Brin said...

Had fun today, assaulted from both right and left. Makes me... contrary.

Well well, Treebeard says something about himself! And for once boosts his cred (or at least asserts to do so.)

Still, the Soros thing is hysterical! Soros has 1/20th the “media empire” of Murdoch. Have you any evidence for the SOros oligarchy? None but wild—ass assertions by media who know this: that average joes suspect the oligarchic putsch. So the Fox-zoids need a LEFTY oligarch to point at!

Are you remotely logical, falling for that? Billionaires of the left give a lot of philanthropy, they dupport raising taxes on THEMSELVES! They are the ones who actually invest in new enterprise, instead of inflating asset bubbles and armtwisting favors from the govt. (Today, Trump ended any requirement that US Coal barons pay us for coal taken from public lands. Oh be proud!)

Oh, I admit, Soros IS credited by the RIGHT with “toppling 8 foreign governments!”

So, wanna name them, ent? Your nostalgia for communist regimes is stunning hypocrisy.

The rest is strangely endearing because the fellow is actually revealing something about the roots of his passion! What is that homeland, sir? So that I can zero in?

What you neglect, in your passionate plea for the right to be a close-minded, insulated, nativist bigot… is that the most successful nations and commonwealths have been those who rose above that bullshit. Success by any measure. By every measure.

One trait is paramount in Red America. Un-manly fear. That is what causes close in horizons of inclusion. (See:
See http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2006/06/altruistic-horizons-our-tribal-natures.html

Who screeches about “terrorism!” Blue citizens, who are in the crosshairs? Or redders who are perfectly safe in their farms and suburbs? No. The underlying feature, Treebeard, is fear. Your horizons are close in… and you hallucinate that Trump and Putin are “strong” .. because you are shivering in fear.

Eep! “Show me where the founding fathers ever intended for America to be a place where millions of non-Western immigrants…” The founders expanded their horizons of inclusion prodigiously. Instead of English Lords, they empowered English descended farmers, then expanded to urban workers, the Scots-Irish and… a vast wave of Germans! Aliens and hated by the treebeards of that day, but protected and given land by the snooty, intellectual elites of that day. And this expansion continued, generation by generation. It’s what we do. And sorry, you did better, today!

But you’re still a pants-wetting moron. And Trump is the least popular incoming president in 140 years.

David Brin said...

And now to the less dangerous but still absurd far-left.

Zepp, why do you demand details? Okay, the admiral said “We need to broaden our perspective beyond worrying about angry young Islamic terrorists. The freaking loony woman MP screeched at him for being insenstive and intolerant, using “angry young Islamic terrorists,” utterly ignoring moving beyond that was his point! And, ignoring all subsequent efforts on his part to explain, she interrupted like crazy, would let no one else speak, shouted the same lecture over and over again…

…and clearly you have never lived or worked on a university campus, sir. Because this kind of behavior is rife, frequent and stunningly rude-relentless and hair-trigger. This problem does exist and there are fringes on the far left who would, if we let them, be Maos and Robspierres. Some say so, openly! The Bannons of their side.

That you would so react to my rare and occasional nods in the direction of that dangerous fringe is more telling about your tunnel vision than it is about my breadth of worry radar. I very very clearly am fighting the oligarchic putsch with all my power. But I have known that left-fringe. It does inestimable harm by giving Hannity & co examples to point to and scream “All liberals are like that!”

They do almost zero good, to compensate. Indeed, think, sir. Assholes will be attracted to every sort of dogmatism. If there is no way for them to join the cheating rampage of right-wing sanctimony, there are other avenues.

So, no… *you* piss off, sir. Your prickly defensiveness is uncalled for as is your unwillingness to admit that the left has some serious problems. That constitutes an excellent example of those problems.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Well, now, let's see: I didn't "demand details." I merely pointed out that your anecdote was vague to the point of speciousness. Honestly, any high school debate club would have kicked you out for that feeble effort at a debate.
It's odd that you raise the issue of "Islamic terrorists." Did you know that Trump's new NSC advisor, McMaster, came out publicly against the use of that phrase the other day? He feels that it smears a whole group of people for the actions of a very tiny minority.
Does that sound familiar, perhaps? McMaster understand something that most people--including you--understand. ISIS and Al Qaida another other terrorist groups are a considerably more immediate threat to Moslems all over the world, and they loathe such groups much more than the timid, shivering westerners who have persuaded themselves that "Islamic terrorism" is so great they must hate 1.5 billion people who are on their own side. McMaster recognizes the profound stupidity in alienating and antagonizing one's allies.
I haven't been to university since the early 70s, and of course there was no shortage of leftist ideologues back then. The story that students hated soldiers had gained currency amongst the mindless right and others back then, but for those of us protesting the war, we knew that our leaders were nearly all veterans of the war. Did you know that? The people who supposedly spat on soldiers were led by soldiers.
Now, you say there are dicks on the left; strident, insufferable and sometimes vicious ideologues, and guess what, Doctor? I agree with you. I remember in the 80s setting up a BBS, and when David Souter was nominated for the SC, I looked over his record and refused to oppose the nomination. For that, I was subjected to Ddos attacks (we called it "biffing" back then) and subjected to such harassment as having new users sign up whose names were culled from the obit page in the local paper. I've had quite a few fights with leftists ever since, most recently the morons who support Putin and say we deserve Trump because emails and Libya.
But I've been on your blog for--what? Eight months now. Where on Earth do you get the idea that I am one of them? Are your arguments so weak that you have to vilify?
Finally, there's this: "So, no… *you* piss off, sir. Your prickly defensiveness is uncalled for..."
I didn't tell anyone to piss off. I didn't feel particularly defensive-in fact I was amused at the guy who told me to piss off and learn to play nice. If you peer closely, you may see a certain incongruity in that admonition.
Oh, and as much as you love that old smear, there are no documented instances of leftists spitting on soldiers. I'm sure there were some who might have liked to, but those types tend to be a rather cowardly bunch, and may have discerned certain possible pitfalls in spitting on a man trained in arm-to-arm combat.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

It's odd that you raise the issue of "Islamic terrorists." Did you know that Trump's new NSC advisor, McMaster, came out publicly against the use of that phrase the other day? He feels that it smears a whole group of people for the actions of a very tiny minority.


I realize this is a complete tangent to what you're talking about, but I think worth mentioning.

Right-wingers insist that we utter the words "Radical Islamic Terrorists" as the name of the enemy. When liberals complain that doing so is offensive to Muslims, we miss the point. The fact is that we need to be vigilant against all terrorism, including the variety perpetrated by white Christians. By specifying the need to focus on Islamic terrorism, they're justifying taking our eye off of the other terrorists.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

This was probably the "offending" passage:


Honestly, Doctor, I expect that sort of argument from Trump. Is that really the best you can do?

Saha said: "If you want Democrats to spit on you, just keep on spouting your True Left® bullshit. I'll start off. Until you learn how to play nice, just piss off."


You switched from addressing Doctor (Brin) to Saha, but maybe the transition was missed. Even noticing the "Saha said", is it inconceivable that the "just piss off" could have appeared addressed to the same person you were addressing a line above?

I certainly don't mind getting into it for the right reasons, but this looks like a misunderstanding to me.

David Brin said...

RobH half of the min wage earned by prisoners could go to a victims’ restitution fund.

==
Zepp: “Did you know that Trump's new NSC advisor, McMaster, came out publicly against the use of that phrase the other day? He feels that it smears a whole group of people for the actions of a very tiny minority.”

Um, duh? That was what the admiral was saying. Yet that woman charged at him, and yes, spittle flying, because of reflexive assumptions and a bullying personality motivated by sanctimony without a trace of curiosity or interest in building alliance.

Zepp you most certainly did attack me for pointing out that there are spectacularly unreasonable sanctimony junkies and bullies on the left. You seem to feel that aren’t - today - like they were in the 70s. Numerically, that may be true. But in the levels of hysteria many of them behave and their nightmarish bullying, no change.

I do apologize for missing the subtlety of whom you told to piss off.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart: "Right-wingers insist that we utter the words "Radical Islamic Terrorists" as the name of the enemy. When liberals complain that doing so is offensive to Muslims, we miss the point. The fact is that we need to be vigilant against all terrorism, including the variety perpetrated by white Christians. By specifying the need to focus on Islamic terrorism, they're justifying taking our eye off of the other terrorists."

Quite so: since 1991, far more Americans have been killed domestically by right wing native terrorists than by Moslems, foreign or domestic. And NONE have been killed by refugees.
This past week we had a shooting in a bar in KC, some drunk screaming "Get out of my country" at a couple of Indian engineers, killing one and injuring the other. There's a long history of such attacks, mainly against anyone from Asia. During the hostage crisis, an aquaintance of mine was beaten up for being a "Mooslim" at FSU. He was, in fact, an Israeli.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Dr. Brin: "Um, duh? That was what the admiral was saying." OK, I need some clarification here. This woman attacked the admiral for decrying the use of the term "radical Islamic terrorist"? If she was a leftist, she was a pretty confused one. It's usually the righties who insist that odious term be used.

I challenged you over your assertion that "leftist" like to spit on soldiers. It wasn't true in 1972, and it's not true now.

And if you read my last message carefully, you'll find that I agree that there are quite a few vile ideological leftists, and that I've battled them myself many times over the years. Honestly, you are a great writer, but your reading skills need some work.

Hopefully you saw Larry's post. He's right: Saha told me to piss off. I didn't tell anyone to piss off.

TCB said...

@ Zepp, before the illegitimate Trump replaced the presidential President Obama, the latter was working on sanctioning Vlad the Imputin, and therefore needed the intel agencies to find out what assets Putin actually has.

The number they came up with was $85 billion, which puts him ahead of Gates, Slim, Buffett, all those guys.

Re: dogmatic, bullying left-wing nutcases. Yep, I've known a few. They'd be dangerous if they could organize their way out of a wet paper bag.

Zepp Jamieson said...

TCB wrote: "Re: dogmatic, bullying left-wing nutcases. Yep, I've known a few. They'd be dangerous if they could organize their way out of a wet paper bag."

I'm sure you've seen "Life of Brian." Remember the Zion Resistance League.
Yeah. Those guys!

LarryHart said...

The People's Front of Judea.

Not to be confused with the Judean People's Front.

"This calls for immediate discussion!"

Alfred Differ said...

@Zepp Jamieson: I’m not sure how old you are, but I’m guessing you are younger than David and probably younger than me. If so, please consider the possibility that some of us still remember the spittle flying at return Vietnam vets and we might be a little touchy about it. I’m almost old enough to remember it directly, but easily old enough to have learned directly from returning vets how they saw the experience.

In a nutshell, some of us might be a bit quick to react when someone gets into a full-on indignation rage directed at someone who has served us in uniform. Is it old guilt for which we feel a need to do penance? Perhaps. It could just be that we are highly tuned to a particular social evil, though. When someone offers his/her life to us and is trained to kill in our defense, there is something wrong with us calling them killers when they successfully conform to the rules of service. We should not dishonor them unless they are in breach of those rules.

No one should have told you to piss off, though. David was a little too fast in his skimming of the thread and has admitted as much, but even the person who said it should have been more civil to you. While I think you are mistaken in your opinion about the DNC, you are certainly entitled to express it. How else would they ever know?

So.... please do NOT piss off. Flip the birdie to those who say you should if it helps. 8)

David Brin said...

Zepp: "Dr. Brin: "Um, duh? That was what the admiral was saying." OK, I need some clarification here. This woman attacked the admiral for decrying the use of the term "radical Islamic terrorist"? If she was a leftist, she was a pretty confused one. It's usually the righties who insist that odious term be used. "

Whaaaaaaa? Does anyone else make any sense out of what he just said? I mean any? At all?

"I challenged you over your assertion that "leftist" like to spit on soldiers."

Utter stunning bullshit on two levels:

1- I saw it happen with my own eyes. Several times.

2- Obviously I was speaking in a general and metaphorical sense. And the very day that you objected, I saw it happen with my own eyes. (And yes there was even some unintentional saliva.)

Are you telling me that the left wing who screamed at Perez won't also yell when they see Blue Dogs put forward candidates all over America? They will see the rise of Blue Dogs NOT as a great tactic, to demolish the GOP and fill Congress with decent, honorable and mostly liberal men and women. They will screech that the party is "selling out."

Moreover, dear Zepp, you know that is exactly what will happen.


Alfred Differ said...

@treebeard: You are one gullible dude... dude.

The US is an existential threat to Russia and has been since the end of WWII. Putin knows this and can't afford to be a friend of the West. He will certainly claim he is in order to divide us from our potential allies, but Russia simply can't afford to adopt western culture. Literally. They can't afford it if they intend to defend their border and remain Russia. If they adopt our ways, they do not remain Russia for long.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I'm trying to find out if your leftist assailant was attacking the admiral for using the phrase "radial Islamic terrorist", or because he decried the use of such a term. Your accounts of the incident are confusing. I'm just asking for clarification.

"1- I saw it happen with my own eyes. Several times."

I'll take you at your word, but you're the first eyewitness I've ever encountered.

Other such stories have always turned out to be apocryphal. "My cousin knew a guy who was there, and he said..." That sort of thing.

But you're still wrong to attribute such a thing to leftists in general.

I haven't heard anyone screaming at Perez. And the blue dogs have a right to be represented. But blue dogs are not the left, and more and more, it's becoming clear they are diverging. It doesn't matter if you get angry at me for pointing it out: it is happening, will he or will ne.

Blue dogs are neutered when it comes to addressing working class and poor needs. It created a political vacuum that Trump capitalised on. He beat Democrats by using Democratic principles--falsely, of course, but effectively.

And centrists aren't exactly a group that will fight for what is right, are they?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Alfred Differ wrote: "@Zepp Jamieson: I’m not sure how old you are, but I’m guessing you are younger than David and probably younger than me."
I have sixty-four-and-a-half years. I'm a big boy now!
And my points stand, despite what Brin saw and what you "almost" saw; it had to be extraordinarily rare. By 1968, the anti-war movement was run by returning vets. And the thing they told us, over and over, was "Don't blame the poor assholes that are fighting over there. Most of them are draftees and don't want to be there. Blame the assholes that sent them there."
And it would take an extremely brave and/or foolish (with emphasis on 'foolish') hippie protester to spit on a man trained in hand-to-hand combat and who could possibly kill with his bare hands. No matter how annoyed I was at LBJ, I sure wouldn't try such a thing. Would you?

And if having someone tell me to piss off online was enough to scare me off, I would have burned my Apple //c by about 1986.

Marino said...

have fun: pity it's in Italian, but bar charts are easy to understand: polls about trust in US and Russia show that Euroskeptic populist voters all over Europe trust Putin on average twice more than the voters at large.
http://www.demos.it/a01359.php

Mr. Differ:
The US is an existential threat to Russia and has been since the end of WWII. Putin knows this and can't afford to be a friend of the West. He will certainly claim he is in order to divide us from our potential allies, but Russia simply can't afford to adopt western culture. Literally. They can't afford it if they intend to defend their border and remain Russia. If they adopt our ways, they do not remain Russia for long.

why? aside that the EU is another "existential" threat re: values, why Western values are so opposed to Russian identity? Expecially when Russian culture has always been part and parcel of Western culture?
(perversely, the October Revolution was exactly an attempt to adopt and enforce a certain subset of Western values...Lenin saw himself as someone "just adapting" German, and European in general, Social-Democracy to Russian settings)

Alfred Differ said...

@Zepp Jamieson: Heh. Okay. My age guess for you was wrong. You are close enough to David's age to slug it out with him if you like. I'll stay out of the way and you two can play 'Dueling Anecdotes'.

I will say that the vets I knew were scarred both by being there and by the response they received upon returning. My own father only got as close as Thailand (sole surviving son status) and didn't want to talk about it much. When he did he told the same tale you do about blaming the correct people, but he also raised an eyebrow now and then when people talked about the public's reluctance to do that now and then.

As for the Blue Dogs, you guys need them to form a governing majority. Diss them at your peril. I reregistered as a Libertarian partially because of a purity push within the Democratic party of California that demonstrated how little they thought they needed us. The truth is for governance of California, they don't. At the federal level, though, y'all still do.

Alfred Differ said...

@Marino: The EU isn't an existential threat to Russia. It is more of a run-of-the-mill threat in the sense that you all share a border with them and Russians are well aware of how easily they are invaded. Anyone living on the northern plains of Europe who knows their history knows there is no defensible border between Normandy and the Urals. Anyone living in the old Muscovy region who knows their history knows they can be attacked from three different directions and the ONLY viable defense is strategic depth. For Russia to be Russia, they must push their borders out in each of the three directions if they can. If they can't, they must ensure no organized opponent forms in any of those directions, thus they push for vassal states. Ukraine was such a state until recently. Poland and East Germany were too during the Soviet era. As long as the EU remains unified, Russia has to work to break up that unity, but it need not feel immediately threatened. For the EU to become an existential threat, Germany would have to become dominant (France won't cut it anymore) while the others either submitted or avoided opposing them. Until that happens, the EU is more like a wall than a threat.

The US is different. We are very wealthy and we export cultural revolution of a kind that goes much farther back than the one Lenin pitched. It's not really our revolution (it started with the Dutch and spread to the English), but we are very highly equipped to export it in this century. If the Russians fail to oppose us, they will be broken into smaller states until they are a threat to no one except perhaps themselves. It's not that we will show up with an invasion force, though. It will happen through the markets. The revolution we export redefines parts of a society's code of ethics. ALL western nations export this in some manner and it is anathema to those who would rule in Russia. Pick any of the virtues and look at how we define them in terms of stories in the west. Now look for those defining stories for Russians. For example... courage. In the west, courage as a bourgeois twist to it. Does it in Moscow?

If you want to see this revolution in action, look at the Persians. There is an internal fight underway between those who have been 'westernized' and those who have not.

Marino said...

Mr. Differ:
and Russians are well aware of how easily they are invaded. Anyone living on the northern plains of Europe who knows their history knows there is no defensible border between Normandy and the Urals. Anyone living in the old Muscovy region who knows their history knows they can be attacked from three different directions and the ONLY viable defense is strategic depth. For Russia to be Russia, they must push their borders out in each of the three directions if they can. If they can't, they must ensure no organized opponent forms in any of those directions

I understand the logic of it, but I think it's also wrong (even for the Russians themselves).
Yes, the Warsaw Pact was a way to get stragic depth, but undermined the Soviet soft power far more (the harm done to the Euro left is staggering, from Prague coup in 1948 to Hungary 1956, Prague 1968 and repression against Solidarnosc', which led the secretary of the largest Communist party in Europe to state that he felt safer under NATO umbrella. )... with no military advantage.

Does really the Russian leadership believe in another Barbarossa or Golden Horde? Really? In the nuclear age, or even in the age of precision-guided conventional weapons you could either destroy the advancing wave with tac nukes or cripple the industrial resources of the attacker back at its home by selective targeting of infrastructure, the way the US did in Irak. IMHO it's more a case of waving the flag of the Eeevil Invaders who want to destroy our values, sack our wealth and rape our women (TM) to legitimate a brutal and incompetent leadership.



David Brin said...

Jiminy. I like Zepp and we are allies. But his every single paragraph was locum in its utter diametric oppositeness to true.

Jumper said...

Where I was, the "left" were returning soldiers, and no one in Gainesville was spitting. Now Republicans did spit on returning vets protesting the war, that's well documented. No doubt at least some vets who gradually became Republicans began to forget the fact that they heard the stories about protesting vets... and accidental spit flying from yelling either "traitor!" or "baby killer!" doesn't count on any side. And accidental spit is probably where more than a few of these tales begin.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Alfred: Yeah, my cat can beat up his cat, I bet.
At least some of the troops thought they would get the reception returning soldiers from WW2 or at least Korea got, but Americans supported the war out of a sense of duty, and that slowly evaporated as the lies collapsed.

I don't blame them for feeling like they got screwed because they did. Vietnam may be the worst crime the government perpetrated against its people. But they paid the highest price. Courage wasted on a carrion cause.

One thing I will say, and this may make Doctor Brin's head explode, so please step back from the screen. It's always a mistake for a society to worship its military. Respect the sacrifice, surely, but glorification of the military gives power to a tool of society that at its very heart is inimical to freedom or democracy. (This applies to police, as well.) Americans equate questioning the power and prerogative of either as unpatriotic, and it makes it very easy for an unscrupulous government to get its way through spurious appeals to an ersatz sense of patriotism.

Don't hate the military or the police, but don't trust them. Despite the claims, they are not there for your benefit, even though a lot of their own members think they are. These entities are necessary tools, but they are very dangerous tools.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Dr. Brin: "Jiminy. I like Zepp and we are allies. But his every single paragraph was locum in its utter diametric oppositeness to true."

And I like and respect you, as well. But I wish you would read rather than skim. There really is nothing confusing about a request for clarification, for example.

Zepp Jamieson said...


Alfred Differ wrote: "I reregistered as a Libertarian partially because of a purity push within the Democratic party of California that demonstrated how little they thought they needed us. The truth is for governance of California, they don't. At the federal level, though, y'all still do."

Well, I am a resident of California and I'm an independent. I am an independent. Up until 2004, I was a Democrat, even headed up the local Democratic club from 2002 to 2004, and left after the 2004 election.

California politically is so at odds with the rest of the country that the pipedream known as "Calexit" makes sense at first glance. It is a pipe dream; the US would take a harder economic hit from California leaving than it did in 1861. And California would be likely to disintegrate, since 2/3rds of the state by area is deep, deep red. And that area has the water, the arable land, and the power generation. Calexit ain't gonna happen.

But I think the state will be the core of the Resistance against the fascists in Washington. As predictions go that's a bit of a slouch because it's something that's already happening. I also predict the Lakers are going to have a rotten season. Cash and in small bills only, please.

I note that Independents are the biggest voting bloc in CA, It includes moderate Republicans along with leftist Democrats. There's a lot of others, of course, but those are the two biggest groups amongst the Indies, and they will have to work together.

Anonymous said...

From the Vietnam vets I know, what hurt them was not what the hippies did, it was how they were treated by the VFW crowd. (aka treated as a bunch of crazy, drug addicted losers) And the difficulties finding jobs when they got back, you know there is a good reason why it was made illegal to discriminate against Vietnam vets.

LarryHart said...

Is it worth mentioning that "Moonlight" is the #IllegitimateOscarWinner, that "La La Land" won the popular vote, or that Russia hacked the Oscars?

Seriously, what's going on this past year? Since Brexit, the unexpected, unprecedented outcome of a contest has become the norm. I count the Cubs World Series victory, the Trump upset, the Super Bowl, and now, the "Dewey Defeats Truman"-show at the Oscars.

Is this the result of global warming? I mean, why now?

Robert said...

The fringe campus Left can be really amazing - and David got to experience UCSD, the home of Herbert Marcuse and Angela Davis, in the Seventies! And there were Maoists there too, actual supporters of the Cultural Revolution while it was going on. And just a few days ago, he gets to enjoy a real, honest-to-God foaming-at-the-mouth Labour backbencher. This is all giving me a reverse nostalgia attack...

Of course, out in the real world, it's the post-Right that acts like that. When the Tea Party was getting started, organizers were urging each other to read Alinsky for tactics. The Tea Party itself, like the Right itself, is also something that was taken over. Before Obama, a Tea Party was a Libertarian Party event held on April 15. In addition, Bannon has called himself a 'Leninist' - he certainly seems bloodthirsty enough.


Bob Pfeiffer.

raito said...

Zepp Jamieson,

While I wans't present for that incident, the phenomonon is faimilair to me. For some, ANY use of a particular word or phrase has the loony fixating on it, rather than attempting to put any meaning to what's actually being said. They don't care even when it's being used as a megative example -- they want to go all Lanugages of Pao and banish it entirely on the theory that that will somehow prevent the thoughts behind its existence.

Ever get harangued for saying ;black'? I have. My response was that I'm getting on in years and don't have time for all those syllables, nor do I know the particular origin of the people I was speaking about, nor do the bigots. And further more, they wouldn't care anyway.

AS for the anit-war movement, where I lived the local news would adivse you when to stay out of the downtown area, because the main drag there had the campus at one end, and the Capitol at the other, and the protestors and National Guard would meet somewhere in the middle.

And it's a mistake for a society to worship any part of itself.

LarryHart,

Biorhythms. It has to be biorhythms. Maybe Gaian biorhythms, I don't know...

Zepp Jamieson said...

Riato said, "Ever get harangued for saying ;black'?"

Oddly enough, I never have. And I use the term for African-Americans myself. I do get called out from time to time by people who think my old-fashioned use of the spelling "Moslem" is in some way anti-Islamic, although it's nothing more than personal idiosyncracy. I had one guy who put in three months on Usenet trying to prove my calling a certain SC justice "Slappy" was racist somehow. In fact, the nickname, coined by the late Bartcop, referred not to his skin colour but to his reported enjoyment of pornography.

Alfred Differ said...

@Zepp Jamieson; Heh. Yah. And my cat is just a pussy. 8)

Worshipping the military IS a terrible idea, but I don't think David does that. He defends them where he thinks it makes sense to defend them. The line he draws is of the kind we all get to draw for ourselves. Failure to do so leaves us open to dumb arguments of the kind offered by politicians who wrap themselves in a flag. I suspect each of the regulars here gets this, though. It is the line between patriotism and nationalism. It is the line between chest thumping and critical thinking.

Don't hate the military or the police, but don't trust them. Despite the claims, they are not there for your benefit, even though a lot of their own members think they are. These entities are necessary tools, but they are very dangerous tools.

Yah. Very classical liberal of you. My only quibble is that they ARE here for my benefit IF I don't trust them and instead find a way to mitigate the risks they pose. Dangerous tools still benefit me as long as I'm careful.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Alfred: "Worshipping the military IS a terrible idea, but I don't think David does that."
Ah. I probably wasn't clear there. No, I wasn't claiming that he did. What you call a line I think of as a bell-shaped curve, and Brin strikes me as being toward the centre of that curve.

I suspect that the more powerful the tool, the more likely people are going to gravitate towards one of two polar views: either a "very useful and may save the world" view that stretches into Panglossian idealism, or suspicious fear that stretches toward monkey's paw/Frankenstein monster dread. Usually a balanced approach is best.

Alfred Differ said...

@Marino;

It’s hard to say what the Russian leadership believes, but if you are a believer in geopolitical theory, it doesn’t really matter what they believe. Consider for a moment the Russian nation as if it was an organism capable of thought, purpose, and feelings. That is pretty close to how geopolitics practitioners deal with information. The Holodomor can be thought of as an attack by Russia on Ukraine in 1932-33 if one stays at this level of abstraction. At a more concrete level, it can be viewed as an effort by Stalin to starve ethnic Ukrainian people and kill Ukrainian nationalism. In both views, though, Russia acquires strategic depth while using an industrialization project as moral cover for genocide.

At the higher level of abstraction, nations have long memories or they die. Russia has proven particularly sturdy over the long haul, so one should expect it to remember the lacerations inflicted upon it. People come and go, but cultural artifacts endure, thus national memory endures. For example, we in the US call the war between 1939-45 World War Two. They don’t. It is the Great Patriotic War. Small thing? Not really. It wasn’t even the second world spanning war, but it was for us. For them, WWII was the result of a betrayal by Germany that had been a basket case nation just a decade earlier. In a few short years, Germany rose from the mud and smashed through France. Modern Russians have built into their institutions and language some reminders of how quickly things can change. Even the name of the war reminds them.

At the higher level of abstraction, the Russian nation has a few geopolitical imperatives for securing itself. Stratfor put them this way in 2012 from the perspective of the original Muscovy heartland.
1. Expand north and east to secure a redoubt in climatically hostile territory that is protected in part by the Urals. This way, even in the worst-case scenario (i.e., Moscow falls), there is still a “Russia” from which to potentially resurge. (Complete and used in the war between Poland and Muscovy between 1605-18)
2. Expand south to the Caucasus and southeast into the steppes in order to hamper invasions of Asian origin. As circumstances allow, push as deeply into Central Asia and Siberia as possible to deepen this bulwark. (Siberian expansion completed in 17th century. Caucasus under Catherine.)
3. Expand as far west as possible. Do not stop in the southwest until the Carpathians are reached. On the North European Plain do not stop ever. Deeper penetration increases security not just in terms of buffers; the North European Plain narrows the further west one travels making its defense easier. (Peak expansion during Cold War, but depth helped defeat Napoleon.)
4. Manage the empire with terror. Since the vast majority of Russian territory is not actually Russian, a very firm hand is required to prevent myriad minorities from asserting regional control or aligning with hostile forces. (Constant effort and very expensive. This cost is bites back.)
5. Expand to warm water ports that have open-ocean access so that the empire can begin to counter the economic problems that a purely land empire suffers. (US strategy during Cold War was to prevent this.)
These imperatives exist independent of the people ruling the nation. They are also independent of whether or not Russia can afford them. At this highest level of abstraction, the Cold War as a kind of trap limiting Russian expansion but not the costs associated with occupying all the territory they had. The US had to maintain the wall and then wait. THIS is how Russian power is limited and during the inevitable collapse phase, the python constricts them. They know this and can see the same strategy in play today. Last time they lost their control of the northern plains of Europe and their anchor in the Carpathians. Next time they will lose their anchor in the Caucuses IF the US remains committed. Don’t think for a moment the US intelligence and military communities don’t know this.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I suspect that the more powerful the tool, the more likely people are going to gravitate towards one of two polar views: either a "very useful and may save the world" view that stretches into Panglossian idealism, or suspicious fear that stretches toward monkey's paw/Frankenstein monster dread. Usually a balanced approach is best.


Before Asimov, stories about robots were always Frankensteineque stories about the hubris of messing with creation and that sort of thing. Asimov wrote his stories with the Three Laws as if to say "Nonsense!" Tools can be made to function safely, or at least more safely. I believe Asimov put it as "That's why knives have handles."

Jerry Lambert said...

The talk of the "Administrative State" reminded me of a history professor's lecture on the survival of the Roman Empire. He maintained that it was the imperial administrators (I think he said beauracrats)who kept the empire running through the Caligula's, Nero's, Commodes', and their like.

Alfred Differ said...

Muscovy survived early weak Romanovs because their bureaucracy kept serving no matter who ruled.

That nations have a 'deep state' should surprise no one. The question to ask for the US is who is served by our deep state. If it is The People, I'm fine with it because in a sense it IS us.

Alfred Differ said...

@Zepp Jamieson; I suspect that the more powerful the tool, the more likely people are going to gravitate towards one of two polar views: either a "very useful and may save the world" view that stretches into Panglossian idealism, or suspicious fear that stretches toward monkey's paw/Frankenstein monster dread. Usually a balanced approach is best.

My experiences taught me that there are usually more than two options and that where N options exist there are advocates for at least N(N-1) options. Maybe even N(N-1)(N-2). We have a way of coping with cognitive dissonance, but tend to talk about so-called opposites. 8)

Treebeard said...

That's fine Alfred, because I would never want Russia to adopt American ways. They would be foolish to anyway, because Russians are pretty indestructible, whereas Americans go crazy at the slightest thing, lack resilience and would die off en masse if their supply chains broke for a few days. I had this tough bodyguard who killed a rabbit near his house and gave it to me as a gift and thought it was normal. This was in Moscow. Big city Americans would probably freak out and call the authorities at the sight of a dead rabbit in their house. Russians used to ask my why Americans were so "dainty". LOL. America looks strong on paper, but culturally the place is very fragile and decadent.

The main thing I am against is universalism: the idea that there is one system or culture that is so great that it should be imposed upon or adopted by the whole world. This kind of imperialism is essentially what American progressives push for. So we have uncultured, arrogant, dainty people passing judgement on ancient cultures who have been through much harder times than they have and expecting them to adopt their values. Such people to me are a kind of uncultured scum. Imagine a whole world like modern America; isn't that horrifying to you? I want Russia to remain Russian, China to remain Chinese, Japan to remain Japenese, the Islamic world to remain Islamic, and all history-ending McWorld New World Order projects to be blown to smithereeens.

Catfish N. Cod said...

More on Mercer, the bankroller of Bannon, the Trump campaign (and the Cruz one before that), Breitbart, Cambridge Analytica, and this entire effort to reassert feudalism before it's too late:

via the Guardian.

Alfred Differ said...

@Treebeard; Russians are pretty indestructible. No doubt about that. They’ve demonstrated it through the centuries with the tragedies they’ve suffered and yet the survive them. I’ve no doubt they’d be phenomenal if they weren’t held back by a small mistake. They want a strong man leading them, but they don’t actually need one.

Universalism is an illusion. Even in the so-called West, we are multi-cultured. What isn’t an illusion, though, is the role played by the bourgeoisie. We effectively level the social classes until everyone left is bourgeois. There are still differences between us, but not on the scale of serfs/bourgeois/aristocrats. However, if you don’t like this levelling, I don’t much care. I will lend my support to flatten the world and see how far we get with the project. If we succeed, the Russians will come out of the experience better for it. If we don’t, it is still worth trying for moral reasons.

I’m not a fan of leaving the world as it is/was. When I was young, Chinese were starving by the millions under Mao. Now they aren’t. When I was young, smallpox still took lives. Now it is extinct. At no time in history does history stop, but it is also true that at no time in history does history do what people tell it to do. No matter how many Americans want others to be like them, it won’t happen unless those others want it. Even then, they will probably invent a variation on a theme and be what they were at the same time. If they don’t want it, there is simply nothing we can do about it… nor should we.

Americans aren’t dainty, though. Russians who believe that wouldn’t be the first to make this mistake. Germans committed a similar error. Confederates did much the same relative to the Union and visa versa. Nah. It’s not daintiness they are seeing. It’s just that we aren’t flexing our muscles all the time. We are usually busy trading with people and don’t flex anything until someone pisses us off by getting in the way of our trades.

Russians will remain Russian, but the Russian Federation will change if we remain focused upon the threat it poses to our markets.

Slim Moldie said...

@ Treebeard

"Tradition, tradition! Tradition!
Tradition, tradition! Tradition!
Who, day and night, must scramble for a living,
Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?
And who has the right, as master of the house,
To have the final word at home?
The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.
The Papa, the Papa! Tradition."

The enemy isn't universalism or your poor "uncultured scum." I share your distaste for turning the world into a homogenous American strip mall with suburbs, but enabling a band of incidious --------s blast everybody back to the dark ages under the false pretense of making America great again--will do just that--allowing the wealthiest to keep their world tour nice and rustic, just like an old zoo--with plenty of colorful photo opps well out of the way of the starving villagers and mass graves.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Americans aren’t dainty, though. Russians who believe that wouldn’t be the first to make this mistake. Germans committed a similar error.


The Japanese committed an even similar-er error. :)

Treebeard said...

Alfred you're talking about an older breed of Americans. I'm not sure about the snowflake/facebook generations winning any big nasty wars going forward. Americans are more excited about fighting each other than other countries, but even there I don't think anyone is seriously going to fight a nasty civil war, it's all bluster. Americans don't seem to have the stomach to fight wars to win these days. Martin van Creveld wrote a book about it called "Pussycats: Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West" that's pretty interesting.

LarryHart said...

The idea has gained traction that liberals think people are basically good, while conservatives think people are basically bad. I agree with that more than I don't--I think people are basically good when they're not starving, cold, and desperate--but I'm starting to notice a variation on the theme as follows...

Liberals think that life is supposed to be a positive experience, and that when it is not, that is a problem for society to address and (if possible) fix. Conservatives think that life is supposed to suck, and that if you're enjoying the experience too much, that is a problem for society to address and (if possible) "fix". The whole "comfort kills careers" meme is the tip of that iceberg.


Robert said...

Treebeard, I take it you are not a recent emigre of Russia?

I have family there. Family that is desperate to come to the United States before their eldest son can be drafted and killed in a fruitless non-war. Fortunately, my cousin was born in the U.S. and thus her children are all American citizens as a result. They speak of the decay and rot in Russia. The children do not want to be there - especially the youngest children.

Russia is dying. Lenin and Stalin were poisons which have created cancers which are rotting the body of that nation. The men are busy drinking themselves to death while the women are refusing to have anything to do with the men unless they have no other choice.

This is the Russia that Putin doesn't want known. It is the Russia that will succumb within the next 100 years and never recover from except as a fragment of nation-states with no real size, while ethnic groups eventually reclaim what the Russian Empire and Soviet Union tried so hard to destroy.

----------

Dr. Brin, while your idea of a "victim tax" has some merit, part of the minimum wage aspect was to provide these people with a nest egg from which they can survive outside prison for at least a short while. The better method of a "victim tax" would be to have these prisoners actually making an additional $5 per hour with the entire amount put into programs for the victims... and for programs to help these prisoners deal with substance abuse problems.

Of course, the other thing that is needed is moving our punishment system away from punitive aspects and toward actual rehabilitation. But that is probably asking too much of this nation.

Rob H.

Donbury said...

Tribal views -- like yours, Brin -- are about "them" and "us" where "us" is right and "them" is bad or evil or must be resisted. A win-win viewpoint is about common goals and how to work together for the common-end and sharing. "Some things I know," and "somethings you know," and "with good communication we can share those and find things to do that will benefit both of us." The current political discussion, I notice, is akin to the discussion of the New Guinea tribesmen about why it was reasonable to eat Rockefeller's son. The tribe is working hard on how to eat Trump and his appointees, preferably roasted, but raw if necessary. There is no thought at all -- as in your current post -- as how to work together in America's interest.

Alfred Differ said...

@Treebeard;
Your so-called snowflakes are changing the world with their cognitive surplus. Have you noticed that TV watching times have been shrinking in the US? They aren’t all just fighting with each other on FB. There has been a burst of entrepreneurial activity and much of it has international scope. They won’t need to win wars if they win hearts and minds. 8)

If you like to think the West is being beaten, you are welcome to give away your money for books that re-enforce your thought bubble. In the meantime, the kids are crowdfunding their projects, getting things done, and leaving the deniers in the dust. Even if American culture spreads farther, it won’t be strip malls and suburbs speckled all over the planet. That vision is already fading. The kids don’t like it.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart;

Yah. And they got nuked for it too.

I was trying to avoid invoking Hitler, thus ending the conversation. Instead, I forgot to include the many other examples of leaders failing to understand the US. We ARE an odd duck, though, so it really shouldn't surprise people that we are misunderstood. It goes hand-in-hand with our own inability to comprehend them in return.

@Rob H.;

It won't take 100 years. I give them less than 15, though I'll extend that by 4 years if our current Chief Buffoon manages to undermine our long term strategy a bit.

LarryHart said...

Donbury:

The tribe is working hard on how to eat Trump and his appointees, preferably roasted, but raw if necessary. There is no thought at all -- as in your current post -- as how to work together in America's interest.


You've got the roles reversed. Dr Brin is speaking for the ones being eaten.

Treebeard said...

Robert I was there in the early 2000s. People have probably been saying Russia is dying and has no future for its entire existence; that's just how they are. You think they were more optimistic before Lenin and Stalin? It's a harsh environment, people there will never think like Californians. Russia will endure, it's what they do. I'd be more concerned about future of Western Europe than Russia.

Alfred, I'm citing one of the most influential military thinkers of modern times, but maybe he is clueless. I have serious doubts about the whole world adopting merchant values; the existence of ISIS in an age of twitter suggests that this is an eternal struggle, and the entrepreneurs of war will be busy too.

locumranch said...


David's thesis can be reduced to three arguments:

(1) That the knowledge castes, by virtue of a (more) enlightened upbringing, education & indoctrination, are more godly than than the common man (Credentialism);

(2) That the more godly, by virtue of their superior upbringing, education & indoctrination, are entitled to rule over the crude, rude & less enlightened common man (Elitism); and,

(3) That the bureaucracy, created by the knowledges castes, is also godly & sacrosanct, being indivisible from either the knowledge castes or godliness (Hierarchism) because (1) and (2).

This, I fear, is how he rationalises the political supremacy the Knowledge Castes and attempts to justify the subjugation of the common populist man for ever & ever.

And, this is what he really means when he compliments the Intelligence Community (IC) and the U.S. Military Officer Corps (MOC) because Credentialism, Elitism & Hierarchy.

So much for representational government.


Best
______
@Alfred: TV viewership is in decline because many can no longer stomach the poison spewed, so much so that national polls rank the trustworthiness of the news media at sub-Trump levels.

Zepp Jamieson said...

For years I had a sig on Usenet that read, "Liberals are kind, generous, open and compassionate because they believe most people are like themselves. Conservatives are cold, miserly, secretive and withdrawn for the exact same reason."

Zepp Jamieson said...

Locumranch wrote: " the knowledge castes..."

So what do the ignorance castes bring to the table?

Brother Doug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brother Doug said...

Treebeard o please "whereas Americans go crazy at the slightest thing, lack resilience and would die off en masse if their supply chains broke for a few days."

You have no idea what you are talking about my ancestors survived valley forge in winter with no supplies. My best friend survived days cut off in the first gulf war surrounded by Iraq republican guards during the first gulf war. He grew up in the liberal suburbs of California. I could give a dozen more examples. The Japanese thought the Americans were weak and soft and lacked a warrior spirit. They found out America underneath its soft exterior has an underbelly of titanium as one famous writer said. It is our diversity and open mind that gives us strength.

David Brin said...

Funny how people yell at other, but see only their own darkest qualities, in their enemies. Treebeard and Locumranch are only rotifer level examples of how confeds have to view their opponents as being like what they see in a mirror.

Blue/urban Americans have proved their resilience over and over, as documented in Rebecca Solnit’s A PARADISE BUILT IN HELL. The heroes of UA flight 93 were exactly opposite to the ent’s insult, city folk who reacted with stunning speed, agility and courage, forming a “militia” in the sky that was vastly braver and more effective and historic than any white nationalist bunch of camo-wearing pansies.

Every generation of Americans must disprove the “decadence” slander by our enemies., who cannot wrap their heads around the positive sum notion that we can both have fun and toys WHILE being deepdown tough and strong. Every single time we prove it, we must do it again 20 years later.

Har! GTB is doing it again with his ’snowflake’ yammering. Look in a mirror, scaredycat.

Blue Americans are in the terrorists’ crosshairs, yet we aren’t the ones screeching like banshees and carrying on in utter, drooling [panic over a ‘threat’ that’s statistically insignificant… so far. And that is always always worse under republicans.

Do Russians have admirable qualities? Yes. I describe them with more depth and insight, just in my story “The Logs” - in my recent collection- than TB will muster over the sum of his long (may it be long) life.

That has squat to do with the matter at hand. Which is which culture has a chance of breaking out of the dismal feudal trap that wrecked all human hopes for 6000 years. The Putin regime… and the Trump… are aimed with every fiber at restoring oligarchy’s insane stupidity - with zero accomplishments compared to ours. NONE!

Moreover of course, Jesus says “by his fruits you shall know him.” And Putin and Trump cheat and lie! It’s the plain basic fact. Anyone who admires them IS a cheat and a lie.

BTW indestructible? Tell that to the Russian women who are refusing to breed with alcoholics.

---
BTW I wrote all that to supply you guys with ammo for wavering uncles. I know it is useless for TB &L

David Brin said...

Robert I hope your Russian family can escape. The son is more in danger from sadistic drill sergeants than from even the hidden Putin wars.

Donbury, you ought to know that your advice to turn the other cheek fails after you’ve been waged war upon for the upteenth time. Tell me, is there ANY level of outright aggression where you’ll realize you’re the patsy and it is time to fight?

The Union always puts its hand out to our mad confederate cousins. When they take it, we move together. When they carve the hand with a knife, we keep extending it… as Obama did for 8 straight years… until we must admit that civilization itself is at stake.

But there’s a 50-50 chance you aren’t a sappy preachy fool… that instead you are one of the soft-trolls paid by Koch boiler rooms to go around preaching “turn the cheek one more time!

Locum - you are screeching at a strawman again. Hey fellah, I am waaaaay over here.

How many times have I tried to teach you to paraphrase instead of strawmaanning?

Jelly Gamat QnC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jumper said...

Look at people in the '40s and look at physical fitness now. The circus strongman of the '40s looks ridiculous and is challenged by a huge number now who can do 1000 crunches a day. I rarely met anyone like that a few years ago; now they're all around. Rock climbing as a sport? Insane! Also common. It's true there are some problems. see:
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/18/military-physical-training-its-a-problem-bigger-than-obesity-with-no-easy-solutions/

LarryHart said...

@locumranch,

What do you have against competence and expertise? Because that's what you're ultimately railing against. "Someone who has studied and worked in a particular field for many years is no better at that subject than someone who read a tweet about it on the internet."

You self-identify as a doctor. When you hired an assistant, did you look for someone who had training and experience in the medical field, or did you just stop someone on the street and invite them to work for you? Did you feel that your patients were just as qualified to diagnose and treat their ailments as you were? Are these examples of "elitism"? If not, why not?

LarryHart said...

editing locumranch:

David's thesis can be reduced to three arguments:

(1) That the knowledge castes, by virtue of training, education & experience, are more competent than than the common man ;

(2) That the more competent, by virtue of their expertise, education & experience, are better suited for their job than the random man off the street; and,

(3) That those who prove their abilities through performance rise in the ranks of their organizations because (1) and (2).


There, I fixed your typos.


So much for representational government.


In representational government, the people choose representatives who (they expect) know how to do their jobs. They don't just pick names out of a hat. Well, sometimes they do, and we're now witnessing the result.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Har! GTB is doing it again with his ’snowflake’ yammering. Look in a mirror, scaredycat.


I can't take credit for this one, but as someone pointed out on Stephanie Miller's radio show, the Republicans are the true snowflakes: They're white, and cold, and if you get enough of them together, they'll shut down the public schools.

LarryHart said...

This must be a token conservative at the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/28/opinion/what-the-gop-wants-trump-to-say-tonight.html


His [Trump's] decision to push ahead on the Keystone pipeline is the triumph of common sense over environmental orthodoxy.


So allowing a fossil-fuel producer to despoil the environment in the name of profit is some sort of bold, unexpected, refreshing move? This sounds like Paul Ryan describing the "courage" it takes to cut benefits for the poor and powerless in order to give tax breaks to the donor class.

Tim H. said...

LarryHart, there might be a bit more courage in promoting low and no carbon energy development, I suspect it could be sold to climate doubters as a prudent tactic to ensure feedstock for plastics & chemicals, as well reducing the leverage of the mideast. Or maybe not so courageous, since electrical energy can't easily be loaded on a tanker, having a lot here might stimulate a bit of economic development, allowing "He I'm loathe to name" to claim a fulfilled promise, if his minions aren't entirely stupid...

Victoria Silverwolf said...

"The idea has gained traction that liberals think people are basically good, while conservatives think people are basically bad." (Larry Hart)

I have also heard it the other way around -- conservatives think people can be good without government interference, while liberals think people need regulation to be good.

Both ideas are too simplistic, of course.

Alfred Differ said...

@Treebeard;

I’ve never read any of van Creveld’s books, so I’ll accept that you see him as an influential thinker. I HAVE read a few economic history books, though, and they taught me to look past the State to what people are doing. The West is not being beaten if you care to take on such a perspective. Instead, we are displacing the older code of ethics with one largely defined by the bourgeoisie. In that system, the virtues are slightly redefined. In that system, it is a matter of justice that we permit people to be largely free to attempt destructive innovations as long as they also face the natural selection effects of the free market. No cheating. In that system, attempting such innovations is an entrepreneurial act of courage. Those natural selection processes can be quite brutal leaving failed innovators as broken husks. In that system, prudence is not the prime virtue pitched by social contractarians or utilitarians, but part of a wider system where we require balance. The story of Scrooge demonstrates the moral flaw of being too focused.

DAESH exists in the age of Twitter for the same reason each revolution is opposed by reactionaries. Reformations generate Counter-Reformations. The merchant value system revolution started when the Dutch opposed the Spanish Hapsburgs and proved to be extremely good at generating wealth for the average person. That’s how the Dutch managed to oppose them for so long. The English adopted it later along with many other Dutch behaviors and the world has never been the same. This revolution is still underway and you can see it in the global numbers. Subsistence level incomes were the norm for 99%+ of humanity for countless generations. Not so anymore. That kind of poverty is vanishing from the planet much like smallpox did.

I’ll stick with the only moral system proven to be successful at bettering the lot of the common man in this world. It has its ugly components, but it works. We can debate with the Progressives how to fix those parts, but I won’t consider abandoning the enterprise.

LarryHart said...

Victoria Silverwolf:

I have also heard it the other way around -- conservatives think people can be good without government interference, while liberals think people need regulation to be good.


That might be true of libertarians. Most self-styled "conservatives" justify a pro-police, pro-military, and pro-authoritarian stance based on the notion that the masses can't be left to their own devices, or they'll do all sorts of bad things.

Of course, conservatives think that corporations can be good without government interference, while liberals think they need regulation to be good. Since "Corporations are people, my friend," maybe that's what you're thinking of.

matthew said...

@treebeard, my Blue munitions factory is doing just fine thank you. I expect business will be booming for a while.

matthew said...

Catfish, that Mercer article was the most important thing I've read this month. Gold Star!

locumranch said...



"What do the ignorance castes bring to the table?", asks an ignorant Zepp.

A: The same as anyone. Their humanity, of course, along with their constitutionally protected rights to free speech, free association, representational government & self-defence.

That's the problem with knowledge caste progressives like Zepp & David: They are elitists & would-be aristocrats who believe that their competences ('scientific' or otherwise) make them 'more equal' and 'more moral' than everyone else, giving them additional rights & leadership privileges that are nowhere described in any democratic constitution.

This is a sad state of affairs, the arrogance exhibited by our knowledge castes, who believe themselves superior to the ignorant masses.

They forget that their authority is NOT a right. It is a gift from the masses which is based on hierarchical utility, limited to hierarchical function & does not extend beyond bureaucratically-imposed hierarchical limits.

Now, as Larry_H mentions, I am a fully-credentialed medical doctor who (1) has the power to ARREST anyone (California Code 5150) if I judge them to be 'a danger to self or others' and (2) was recently granted the authority (by public referendum, no less) to euthanise the old & sick on my discretion.

Does this knowledge make you happy?

If it does not, then you know how I feel when David & all natter on how necessary it is to allow other Deep State experts to decide my fate (and the fate of humanity in general) because Credentialism, Elitism & Hierarchy.


Best
______
How about this? Since I'm a credentialed expert & a card-carrying member of an extensively-vetted bureaucratic elite, then I deserve 10 votes to your every vote because Credentialism, Elitism & Hierarchy. Now, go put on a wool jumper because (1) I'm cold and (2) you're too inexpert to make that decision on your own. And, don't talk. You're not even qualified to speak.

Jumper said...

Arrest yourself immediately for psychiatric reasons.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Locumranch wrote:

'"What do the ignorance castes bring to the table?", asks an ignorant Zepp.

A: The same as anyone. Their humanity, of course, along with their constitutionally protected rights to free speech, free association, representational government & self-defence. "

Well, you know, ignorant people do have the same rights as educated people. In most western countries, that includes the right to select their leaders. They also have the right to get rid of those leaders if they are corrupt, or abuse their authority in some other manner.

But leaders need to be educated and experienced, otherwise they are hopelessly crippled as leaders. Look at Trump for a marvelous example of what happens when you put an ignorant jackass in a position that demands experience and knowledge. It's one thing to substitute the corrupt and uncaring with capable and compassionate leaders, but you can never, ever replace educated with uneducated and hope for better results.

Zepp Jamieson said...

OK, but my parting words are "And yet it moves".

LarryHart said...

@locumranch,

You really don't get that...

1) No one but you asserts that competence and expertise at a particular job gives you extra rights in general

2) Competence and expertise gives you superior ability to guide someone how best to get from point A to point B, which is a different thing from whether point B is the best destination in the first place


This is a sad state of affairs, the arrogance exhibited by our knowledge castes, who believe themselves superior to the ignorant masses.


Whereas the ignorant are actually superior to the knowledgeable?

They forget that their authority is NOT a right. It is a gift from the masses which is based on hierarchical utility, limited to hierarchical function & does not extend beyond bureaucratically-imposed hierarchical limits.


In a democracy, yes, authority is granted by the people. Competence and expertise are not. The people are free to (for example) elect Donald Trump, whether or not he's competent or expert at anything, but that doesn't make it a good idea.

I am a fully-credentialed medical doctor who (1) has the power to ARREST anyone (California Code 5150) if I judge them to be 'a danger to self or others' and (2) was recently granted the authority (by public referendum, no less) to euthanise the old & sick on my discretion.


Ok, many things.

What happened to your rural red-state credentials if you practice in California?

If you are not Dave Sim, I wonder why you spell "defence" and "euthanise" the Canadian way.

How about this? Since I'm a credentialed expert & a card-carrying member of an extensively-vetted bureaucratic elite, then I deserve 10 votes to your every vote because Credentialism, Elitism & Hierarchy. Now, go put on a wool jumper because (1) I'm cold and (2) you're too inexpert to make that decision on your own. And, don't talk. You're not even qualified to speak.


You're not my mother. And you're not likely to earn the credentials or expertise to be.


Does this knowledge make you happy?


What makes me happy is the knowledge that the six months with seven-or-more letters in their names are coming to an end. Not that there's any great improvement on the horizon, but I can't wait to see this season in the rear view mirror.

May the coming six months with fewer-than-seven letters treat us better.

LarryHart said...

...and in 1422 days, the national nightmare will be over. Or at least it had better be.

Jumper said...

The real question is, "is locumranch lying about being a doctor with an MD?"

Alfred Differ said...


@locumranch;

It doesn’t matter why they are turning away from TV. I don’t really care. What matters is what they are doing with the surplus time. Projects like Wikipedia wouldn’t exist without a lot of cognitive surplus spilling into it. There has been an explosion of entrepreneurial activity of late and I suspect that is where some of the surplus time is going. Causation instead of Correlation.

TV always reminded me a bit of alcoholism. Some people use them to escape reality. For addicts, turning away from either one is a healthy thing to do and it really doesn’t matter why they choose to do it. Just do it.

Now, as Larry_H mentions, I am a fully-credentialed medical doctor who (1) has the power to ARREST anyone (California Code 5150) if I judge them to be 'a danger to self or others' and (2) was recently granted the authority (by public referendum, no less) to euthanise the old & sick on my discretion.

Don’t forget that we also tried to protect your ability to decide when parents need to know what their underage daughters are doing with respect to pregnancy. Remember Prop 4?

I don’t want to give you 10 votes to mine, though. I’m also credentialed, so I’ll accept you as a peer at most. Nor do I want to ask for 10 votes for each of us relative to our neighbor peons. I know many of them too well to think of them as peons. However, I will trust you to use the powers you mentioned above until you demonstrate you can’t. If you don’t want them, that’s fine. Just don’t use them. I’d still rather you had them in case they become morally necessary to you.

You are failing to understand David, though. You are mapping a reasonable fear you have of others onto him. People like me watch you do that and scratch our heads. You really should take the time to meet him. Some of your fear would evaporate.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart; 2) Competence and expertise gives you superior ability to guide someone how best to get from point A to point B, which is a different thing from whether point B is the best destination in the first place

My current suspicion is that locumranch is looking at this from a doctor’s perspective. In the last few years, I’ve been on the receiving end of a need for medical guidance and both times my doctors followed a very strict approach. They told me what was possible and the rough probabilities as they knew them, but then they refused to push my decision one way or another. Only once in the last few months did I meet a doctor who gave me a look that strongly suggested I had only one decision to make (to get the surgery), but even he avoided voicing it for me. I could ask, but they wouldn’t do it. The lesson I draw from this is that each of them was telling me not to abdicate my responsibility to make personal decisions.

My suspicion is locumranch thinks some members of the knowledge caste are stepping over that line that he thinks is ‘too far.’ If so, I’ve no doubt that I’d agree with him regarding certain people. David is not one of them, though.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

My suspicion is locumranch thinks


My suspicion is that he doesn't. :)

I haven't quite decided what to give up for Lent yet, but "suffering fools" is in first place right now. A close second is "reality".

Duncan Cairncross said...

The argument about authority and capability

As a furriner I see that in the USA you often elect people to jobs that we use Civil Service professionals to do

We tend to elect the "leader" the guys/girls who have to turn his/her visions into reality are the professionals

This should mean that we can all vote for our "leader" - but voters don't actually need to know enough to select the actual experts

LarryHart said...

Ok, the pseudo-State-of-the-Union hasn't started yet, but from what I read, His Illegitimacy will be asserting the need to eviscerate the budget in order to pay for a massive military build up, even though we're not actually at war with anyone. Why?

Also, he might actually defend Social Security and Medicare against Ryan and McConnell. Which leads me to wonder if that will be the cassus belli for a Republican impeachment effort. And would it behoove Democrats then to not only refrain from joining in the impeachment, but denying the votes needed in the Senate. Then the Republicans would have tried to "kill the king" but failed, and they'd be stuck with him for the next 1422 days, including both election seasons.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan; You'll find we have a mixed approach. In some locals, we elect everyone down to the dog catcher. In others we stick to electing the leaders and let them divide the spoils. On average, we do a little better with deeper elections. If you want to see what can go wrong when we don't pick the experts too, look for places where the ratio of elected officials to the voting public is lowest. You'll find Louisiana high on that list. Next up, look up a fellow named Huey Long and see how he died and possibly why the shooter did it.

It is annoying to have to work at choosing the dog catcher, but I suspect less bullets are needed to deal with abuses of power in those places. 8)

Treebeard said...

Russia has demographic problems, but things are worse further West. Everywhere progressivism goes, birthrates crash through the floor, and it's not because the men are drunks. The cocktail of feminism, secularism, birth control, etc. is like a weapon of mass demographic destruction. A German leader said "we are old, weak and rich" as if that was a great accomplishment. Their solution of importing people from alien cultures is simply suicide. The effects are slow, but come back in a century and i doubt the West will have much resemblance to Star Trek. Europe will be facing mass third world migrations sort of like the fifth century, America will be balkanized and semi-third world, climate chaos will be normal and the new dark age will be getting rolling. To me this seems like the most likely scenario. These things have happened before and they'll happen again, and real conservatives don't forget that. History goes in cycles; it's not a straight line to the stars. Sometimes currents of history are so powerful that even people who believe themselves the vanquishers of history and gods in the making can't do much about it.

Alfred Differ said...

@Treebeard; These things have happened before and they'll happen again, and real conservatives don't forget that. History goes in cycles; it's not a straight line to the stars.

I agree there are no straight lines or inevitable futures, but I think you are being too trusting of conservatives when you suggest they don’t forget things like that. These things have happened before… except that they haven’t happened this way. The bourgeoisie altered the social landscape beginning about four centuries ago. While other events seem to be repeating, the context within which they are happening is NOT the same. When previous leaders were old, weak, and rich, they usually got displaced by younger, stronger, hungry aristocrats. There is good evidence of this cycle through history. Barbarism wins because it is energetic. This time around, though, the 99%+ of the population ruled by the aristocrats aren’t poor, uncoordinated, and docile. Peasant revolts in the modern age won’t look like they did even 200 years ago.

I don’t know if Star Trek will happen. I kinda hope not. I think we can do better and do it faster. I DO suspect we are going to witness the demise of some old tribal boundaries. For example, the Roman Catholic Church will mostly be a Latin America and African phenomenon during this century. Much of Europe will recede to second-tier status in terms of military power, but their people will remain wealthy by first world standards and their children will breathe a sigh of relief. They might even begin to figure out how to get along with each other and share what power they have. Maybe. America won’t balkanize this century, but we WILL fight over our need for immigrants from Mexico and further south to beat our own demographic problems. We will argue over whether or not assimilation works even though we have a long history of success in that arena.

You are a pessimist and maybe even inclined to be a cultural xenophobe. Okay. We’ll manage with you as a neighbor, but the kids aren’t going to listen to you when you turn emotionally dark. They won’t believe you. I encourage you to stop fretting about the future, though. Just listen to the kids for a while. Some of them are actively trying to build a Star Trek future. There is no harm in letting them make the effort.

David Brin said...

Let's continue editing as a process to shift from nasty strawman lying toward something closer to true.

David's thesis can be reduced to five arguments:

(1) That the knowledge castes, by virtue of training, education & experience, are more competent in those specialties than than the common man ;

1a) though the most "elite" knowledge professions - like science - go to great lengths to welcome amateur participation and have lowered - not raised - barriers to participation, each decade for generations.

(2) That the more competent, by virtue of their expertise, education & experience, are better suited for their job than the random man off the street;

2a) though all of these professions engage in extensive lateral rivalry, vigorously competing, exposing each others errors and welcoming input from outside the profession, diametrically opposite to the notion of any closed cabal.

(3) That those who prove their abilities through performance rise in the ranks of their organizations because (1) and (2).

Um, duh? Though (3a) these professions practice wide DISPERSAL, so that the criteria for advancement at one university, or industrial lab, or government center, will differ from those at others, so that unconventional approaches that do bear fruit will always find a home.

(4) We all know that "Just because you are smart and know a lot, that does not automatically make you wise." Today's knowledge professions consist of people who were raised by that same notion in every story or meme they imbibed. And yes, should there ever arise a genuine technocracy -- rule by the technocrats -- then suspicion of that centralized elite would be called for, as Suspicion of Authority is justified toward any self-serving, narrow cabal.

(5) A cabal of self-serving oligarchs has paid billions to spread a perverted mutated version of "Just because you are smart and know a lot, that does not automatically make you wise."

That version implicitly declares "Just because you are smart and know a lot, that automatically makes you unwise." This perverted insanity is blatantly false... in fact, there is a small but very real correlation of knowledge WITH wisdom. There can only be one reason for this propaganda campaign. To divert healthy suspicion of authority away from those who are seizing the exact same kind of oligarchic-feudal power that made life hell for all of our ancestors for 6000 years. Declaring every single knowledge and skill profession to be the enemy serves to undermine the one force that has defeated feudalism and the past and that might defeat it in the future.

Keeping an eye on smart folks may be called for. Hating them boils down to one word. Idiocracy.

locumranch said...


Alfred gets it.

In medical lingo, the term 'paternalism' refers to "a type of medical decision making in which health care professionals exercise unilateral authority over patients", interacting with a patient as a dominant father would with an ignorant child.

Paternalism most often takes the form of a commandment (moral imperative) like 'must', 'have to', 'need to', 'ought to' and 'should'. It is a partial falsehood designed to restrict autonomy, minimise individual choice & compel obedience.

I don't do this. Instead, I prefer to ofter options on a graduated rating scale, varying from 'optimal' to 'strongly recommended' to 'recommended' to 'acceptable' to 'poor' to 'advised against' based on my expertise & experience.

David does do 'paternalism', however, and I've called him on it multiple times. He starts with sound scientific argument -- he is very smart -- but he weakens his well-defended positions by infantilising his target audience:

"Either do this," he thunders, "or, Death & Dishonour", implying that we (his target audience) have No Choice but to obey on every topic from NATO to HRC to federalism to climate change.

But, this No Choice argument is false without exception because we ALWAYS have a choice, no matter how desperate the situation, even though that choice may be very very bad, because (in many circumstances) "Death is not the worst of evils".

At least, according to John Stark.


Best
______
Have you heard this one, Jumper?
Doctor: It's what they call someone who graduates at the bottom of their class.
:p

LarryHart said...

A few observations of His Illegitimacy's address to congress...

How did they get Trump to read off a telepromter and stick to the script? He certainly affected presidentiality more than I've ever seen before. I'll grudgingly give him that.

He led off with a denunciation of attacks on Jews and the shooting of two Indians in Kansas. I'd like to have been a fly on the wall listening to Steve Bannon being talked into allowing that.

I didn't hear any outright Spcicer/Conway-level lies i.e. #AlternativeFacts.

Build up the military. Check. Friend to Israel. Check.

There was a funny laugh moment when he mentioned that he's draining the swamp.

He made a good case for Gorshuch as qualified for the Supreme Court, except that any such argument is undermined by the fact that the same applied to Merrick Garland.

He mentioned infrastructure and education spending, which Democrats actually clapped for, but I suspect the Republicans mean those things should be run like a business, focusing on profitability rather than level of service.

As far as I heard, he didn't mention Social Security or Medicare at all.

Also, I don't recall any attacks on the media, lying or otherwise.

Or so-called judges.

The ten-minute thunderous applause for the widow of the Navy SEAL who died in the botched Yemen raid was nice at first, but became kinda creepy as it went on, especially since his blood is on the hands of a badly-executed operation by the man on the dais.

But not as creepy as his new organization of victims of crimes by illegal aliens. The clear implication was "These people had their lives taken because America didn't enforce immigration laws." I get the point, but why isn't there an organization of victims of crime by white supremacists? Or victims of NRA-inspired gun licentiousness? Why can't any cause of death and mayhem be "politicized" except for immigration or Islam--the only subcategories we are allowed to crack down on a larger group because some of them might happen to be dangerous?

All in all, not quite the usual Trump experience, although toward the end, my cat did try to smack him on the tv set. Good boy!

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

"Either do this," he thunders, "or, Death & Dishonour", implying that we (his target audience) have No Choice but to obey on every topic from NATO to HRC to federalism to climate change.


Again, you mistake advice for orders.

It's not Dr Brin's fault if certain choices have inevitable consequences. You want the right to make bad choices? Fine. But you want the right to make bad choices without the bad consequences and then you blame the ones who told you so.

But, this No Choice argument is false without exception because we ALWAYS have a choice, no matter how desperate the situation, even though that choice may be very very bad, because (in many circumstances) "Death is not the worst of evils".


Agreed. But some people think more than one step ahead and try to avoid falling into situations where all choices are bad. You sound a bit like His Illegitimacy suddenly stumbling upon the fact that health care is complicated. "Who knew?" Well, everyone who had competence or expertise in the field, or who even put any thought into the matter at all.


Have you heard this one, Jumper?
Doctor: It's what they call someone who graduates at the bottom of their class.


I'm not sure that quip implies what you think it does. To me, that's like saying there's something wrong about being poorest billionaire.

LarryHart said...

Tweet by Nicholas Kristof, @NickKristof :

Obamacare had genuine problems. But it was in no death spiral. If it collapses on Trump’s watch, it’s not of natural causes. It’s murder.


Heh.

LarryHart said...

A better blow-by-blow than I did on the address to Congress:

https://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/02/28/my-take-on-trumps-address-to-congress/?_r=0

G'night all. "See" you in March.

David Brin said...

TB: “Russia has demographic problems, but things are worse further West.” Um. No. Italy and Spain, maybe. Otherwise, you are Mister Fact Free.

“History goes in cycles.” Um… Imbecile.

An earlier me gave you all the answer you Spengler nuts deserve. GUYS! Here’s the shootdown of those “cycles” idiots.
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-tytler-insult-is-democracy-hopeless.html

Locum is just boring. His strawmen don't resemble or map onto me at all.

onward

onward

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