Saturday, July 15, 2017

Forget politics. This is all about fragile personality and dangerous psychology.

More and more we are coming  to realize that this is all about psychology. About personality. And while our Enlightenment Revolution has relied on some of the strongest positives in human nature, there are wretched reflexes -- e.g. fear -- that would-be tyrants exploit.

Elsewhere, I referred to George Lakoff's much-bruited appraisal of the 1/3 + of Americans who need a "strong father" in their politics, a desperate yearning that - ironically - led them flocking to the most fragile leader we've ever had. Indeed, this led to my proposal that the Democrats in 2018 should run retired military officers - whole sheaves of them - into every red Assembly district, providing men and women whose mien of strength is genuine, mature, fact-using and undogmatic. It's happening!  But much too slowly.

But above all, we must admit that facts will only play a minor role in this struggle. And righteousness will be an impediment. Instead, what we need right now is clear-eyed understanding of the dark psychology of our crisis.

Below, I will cite several books - one of them by Rebecca Solnit - that appraise our present danger in terms that are more subtle and accurate than shouts of good-vs.-evil. Moreover, while our much-maligned "deep state" public servants will do what they can to protect us from rash impulses at the top, this is also going to take savvy political leadership. And hence...

The French to the rescue.  President Macron is being criticized for "cozying up" to Donald Trump, during the recent Bastille Day visit. I shout "magnifique!" At last, someone in the West who understands the psychology of our peril. We already have one terrified, thin-skinned, nuclear-armed narcissist, in Pyongyang. We don't need a bigger one entering siege mentality, feeling that his only friends are family, fundies and Fourth-Turning apocalypse fans, all of them urging a spasmodic response.

Elsewhere, I offered up a proposal that the smartest democratic politicians (e.g. Al Franken) should draw straws, and the losers take on an onerous task for the possible survival of our republic and even species. These Short Straw Democrats should continue to denounce every loony administration policy! Only then, they would end every such statement with a flattering remark about how good looking the President is! Something shallow - certainly transparent - yet personal. 

You think this is a joke, I know. But I'm quite serious. This is a fellow who actually cares very little about the policy stances he's taken. All that matters to Donald Trump is his personal sense of pique. Sociopaths in his circle are taking advantage of that. Are democrats and adults in Washington too stupid or obstinate to even try?

You say that everyone will know what they are doing? Of course they will! Bannon and Kushner will scream at DT to ignore the obvious ploy. Franken & co. can even wink! It won't matter. The flatterers will be invited to dinner... to golf... and the Man With The Button will wind up being less isolated. Less under control of the Pence-Bannon cabal.

Alas, no Democrat has either the brains or the guts to grit their teeth and do what's necessary. But President Macron apparently does! Vive La France!

== The Loneliness of Trump ==

There are few essayists in America with the verve, sophistication and diversity of topics wielded by Rebecca Solnit, whose “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster” utterly smashed the pat notion that average Americans are wimpy little cowards. They are – as demonstrated by the heroes of flight UA93 – agile and adaptable and – as I portray in “The Postman” – capable of great heroism.

In "The Loneliness of Donald Trump," Solnit turns her perceptive gaze on our president… only with an added layer of compassion for a man whose mix of feral cunning and low-brow mentation blend with the insatiable yearnings of some Vonnegut character, unable to relish or enjoy any accomplishment other than brief episodes of delicious revenge. 

(Cue the photo of DT having dinner with Mitt Romney; all right, that was precious.)  

Have a look at Solnit's remarkable essay; both laugh and cry. And grasp that this fellow is not Satan! He’s dangerous and damaging, to be sure. But also a tragic figure and perhaps best neutralized - even drawn toward pools of light - rather than fought like an enemy. (There are, in his circle, genuine enemies of all that's good and American, to be sure.)

One of Solnit's paragraphs encapsulates the problem humanity faced, during the 6000 years that feudalism controlled most human affairs: 

I have often run across men (and rarely, but not never, women) who have become so powerful in their lives that there is no one to tell them when they are cruel, wrong, foolish, absurd, repugnant. In the end there is no one else in their world, because when you are not willing to hear how others feel, what others need, when you do not care, you are not willing to acknowledge others’ existence. That’s how it’s lonely at the top. It is as if these petty tyrants live in a world without honest mirrors, without others, without gravity, and they are buffered from the consequences of their failures.”

And oh, there is this wisdom I have pushed in so many places, like The Transparent Society, but not quite so well as Solnit does here:

 “We keep each other honest, we keep each other good with our feedback, our intolerance of meanness and falsehood, our demands that the people we are with listen, respect, respond—if we are allowed to, if we are free and valued ourselves.”

Oh, the tragedy that Americans have no sense of this history. That humanity – largely led by this nation’s Great Experiment – began to escape 250 years ago, via new tools of transparency, reciprocal criticism, gradually expanding rights, and yet more reciprocal criticism, of the kind that Donald Trump and his ilk so desperately seek to avoid. Solnit writes of the truest kind of friendship, which is non-destructively competitive, provided by: equals who are generous but keep you accountable, true mirrors who reflect back who you are and what you are doing.”

Alas, she paints a portrait of our chief executive that we should keep on our walls… comparing it to the pictures of FDR and Eisenhower and Kennedy that the Greatest Generation kept on theirs:

A man who wished to become the most powerful man in the world, and by happenstance and intervention and a series of disasters was granted his wish. Surely he must have imagined that more power meant more flattery, a grander image, a greater hall of mirrors reflecting back his magnificence. 

"But he misunderstood power and prominence. This man had bullied friends and acquaintances, wives and servants, and he bullied facts and truths, insistent that he was more than they were, than it is, that it too must yield to his will. It did not, but the people he bullied pretended that it did. Or perhaps it was that he was a salesman, throwing out one pitch after another, abandoning each one as soon as it left his mouth. A hungry ghost always wants the next thing, not the last thing.”

Have a look at “The Loneliness of Donald Trump,” so voluptuous in blending sad empathy with righteous anger. 

Mind you, I sometimes disagree with Solnit. Her dips into liberal finger-wagging can at times go overboard, though the direction that she aims is almost always wise. In this case she uses compassion as a weapon, to diminish our terror of what may, in time, turn out to be something pathetic, rather than truly dangerous. From that realization may come quiet strength.

== Bipolar politics ==

Oh, may we be so lucky! But meanwhile, we must prepare against the worst.  Here is another article that attempts a detailed diagnosis of what's happened. About half of it is spot-on, which is way above average.

But while everyone zooms in on a symptom -- Donald Trump -- far too few aim light at the disease itself. So, let me refer you back to my own recent diagnosis to explain the sudden veers of U.S. conservatism, as it re-enters one of its manic phases. 

See “How dangerous is Republican manic-depressive syndrome? While the normal GOP condition is sullen, lazy, depressive obstructionism, this can take a sharp swing to feverish frenzy. In fact, it always happens, when a Democratic President gets out of the way.

 Both bipolar phases are destructive, but the manic ones kill. Moreover, last time I described how the latest war-seeking cult in the Trump White House, lacks even the optimistic veneer of the Bushite neocons. Busily concocting any excuse for a violent distraction, their most-likely target would seem to be Iran. The Saudis want it and Vladimir Putin adores the idea! Any U.S. attack on Iran will strengthen the mullahs, weaken the modernists over there and drive Iran to seek shelter under Russia’s nuclear umbrella, making them a client state. Oh, and what better way to divert attention from the GOP’s domestic troubles?

But forget all those surface reasons. These people are propelled by zero-sum psychology. And war -- whether against Iran or North Korea or made-up aliens -- is its most extreme projection. That terrifying psychology is one reason that most of our senior officer corps -- steeped in Marshallian, positive sum traditions and trained to cope with a world of actual facts -- want nothing to do with war mania.

And hence, the fanatics will need pretexts. A cassus belli. Our intelligence agencies will balk at doing another WMD spoof. So it’ll have to be something violent and dazzling. A Tonkin Gulf or Gleiwitz incident. A 9/11 city disaster or a Reichstag Fire. Putin’s guys had better be very careful, though. Our intel guys are watching for this, now. Exactly this.

== What is the Far Right's Endgame? ==

Continuing with this posting's psychological theme... this article from Slate by Rebecca Onion plumbs the roots of the program of the U.S. aristocratic right, and in particular Charles Koch's relationship with a Nobel winning economist-philosopher, James McGill Buchanan - explored in Nancy MacLean's new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America. 

Even more than Leo Strauss or the oft-misquoted Friedrich Hayek, Buchanan concocted the incantations by which the Lords rationalize undermining democracy.

At surface, these incantations sound vaguely plausible, e.g. fear of mob rule and the mob "voting themselves largesse" by taxing the productive members of society. Then there's the "Iron Law" that bureaucracies lose track of their mission and soon work only for their own enlargement. 

I have attended many libertarian events and read a lot of their works. (I'll be speaking at Freedom Fest next week, in Vegas, hoping to wean some liberty-lovers away from their concocted bond with oligarchs.) Over the years, I've been dazzled by the effectiveness of these outrageously false memes -- how each and every one of them has been devastatingly refuted by actual facts... and that makes no difference to the devotion that feudalist zealots devote to them.

See - for example - my own evisceration of this religious cult... because that is what it is, when incantations are used to make adherents feel special and chosen, despite mountains and mountains of contrary evidence.

Alas, while Nancy MacLean's book is cogently necessary, Rebecca Onion's review leaves out that crucial word -- Feudalism.  The right's entire program is to concoct incantations, rationalizations and strategies for its re-imposition, despite 6000 years of history, in which 99% of human cultures used that governance method and failed calamitously. Indeed, this is the burden of proof that they skirt with their magical chants.

1. One civilization has achieved 100x as much success in each and every category of human accomplishment than all feudal realms combined.  So? Prove to us how that one success story should be deemed a "wrong path."

2.  You fellows howl that bureaucrats are at-best inefficient and at-worst tyrants. But prove to us that lordship, oligarchies or corporate CEOs and boards are any less prone to every single failure mode that you rail against.   Except the agile tech companies... whose leaders are mostly... democrats.

== Miscellany ==

So much happens, it's hard to sort it all. So...

Over the last 12 months, 70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – shell companies -- compare with 4% of buyers in the previous two years.  Oh, how you people would have screeched, had a democrat done even one of DT's hundred+ outrages.  Drain-the-swamp, indeed.

In a recent interview with The WorldPost, Singapore’s Kishore Mahbubani argued that the last 30 years of globalization have been some of the “best” ever in Asia because a new middle class of hundreds of millions has arisen out of the dead end of poverty. Als, does anyone else point out that the uplifting of the world was America's greatest project, and it has more than half succeeded?

== Final Words about the latest S#*+ storms ==

Meanwhile, the Russia Imbroglio just gets worse for the Trumps. Amid revelation after revelation... now about Donald Trump Jr.'s admitted-blatant meetings with openly-known Kremlin emissaries... 

...and those who claim that Donald Senior knew nothing bear a steep burden of proof. 

Dig the timing. Between Junior's "I love it!" email and the actual ("disappointing") meeting in Trump Tower, then-candidate Trump made excited predictions that "within days" there would be devastating revelations about Hillary Clinton. That promise dissipated - like many others - unfulfilled.  We now know why -- because in fact the Russians had found very little on the Clintons. Neither did 24 years and half a billion dollars in GOP-led "investigations" into the most thoroughly probed couple ever, in human history. 

Sure, the Donalds - Senior and Junior - must have been disappointed. Still, the timing remains on record, and stinks.


Tom Crowl said...

I've come to agree that flattery would be the best strategy... as cringe worthy as it would have to make the flatterer feel. It's the true Machiavellian approach.

This morning I ran across a popular YouTuber who made the same point; i.e. we may be better off with him than Pence (he may have gotten it from you):

David Pakman Show

Tom Crowl said...

Solnit article is beautifully written...

My favorite quote:

"One way or another, he knows he has stepped off a cliff, pronounced himself king of the air, and is in freefall. Another dungheap awaits his landing; the dung is all his; when he plunges into it he will be, at last, a self-made man."

DonRMontgomery said...

So much has been said about Trump in the last couple of years, it's hard to imagine that there could be more. And yet there always seems to be...more. The man is an idiot machine. Each action has a reaction - in The Donald's case the reaction is mostly disbelief. As much as I dig reality, politics and all, I also love science fiction, with a heavy leaning towards dystopian or post apocalyptic - anything that deals with unusual or downright collapsing social structures. Now all I have to do is read the news and I get a trip into uncanny valley.

Tom Crowl said...

Tragedy and farce are closely related... though usually not simultaneous.

Unknown said...

Here is another review of MacLean's book that you might find interesting:

(Thanks to Rick Perlstein for posting this on his FB timeline.)

duncan cairncross said...

From previous comments
Dr Brin
"There is a side to this that no one mentions. Because they get favored parasitism in US markets, the big Pharmas get a cash flow that subsidizes R&D that then sells cheaper around the world. It is another example of hidden US foreign aid!"

Which would be true IF big Pharma actually developed most new drugs - in fact the majority of new drugs are developed on the public dollar and Big Pharma only take over when the risky stage is over
Most of that extra premium is spent on marketing and CEO salaries

The US government does spend a lot on developing new drugs - but so do most developed countries

Unknown said...

New poster here

I have been following our host's bog for several months andI felt I had little to add.

Recent posts have me thinking and I figured I'd add my thoughts.

I agree with our host that the current cultural divide is due to the views of neo-conferderists and.. well.. the others to a large degree. (I'm a liberal democrat BTY)

The last post about "Preppers" etc got me thinking about what those people REALY want. Do they actually want a situation where they can blast away with impunity at bad guys from the city? Is it a "Feudalistic" economy where they (after surviving the apocalypse) are top dogs and can dictate the future? I propose that, based on what I know ( as a relative of rural Trump supporters and a lot of reading on the internet) that the largest reason for the Trump voters in "Red States" is the old urban/rural divide. They feel they are mocked and disrespected by Liberals" (as trademarked by FOX TV) They are not entirely wrong...

I like David's "Colonels" proposal for the democratic party. I would, however, propose a farmer/rancher paradigm for red state democrats. I base this on the fact that my state, Montana, Is one of the reddest of red states and yet we have a democratic governor and Jon Tester as a Senator.

Jon Tester is, I think, A great example of how a democrat can win in a Red State and the Democratic Party (as they have been advise) should really look to this model to this to achieve success in Red States. I disagrees with Tester on many things, (primarily environmental) but he and Bullock (Our governor) are SO much better than the Tea Party whackos like Gianforte that I have become an enthusiastic supporter of them.

Enough for now. I have thoughts on "Judo" vs "Sumo" regarding political issues that I can post later in regards to Red States.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

...for a man whose mix of feral cunning and low-brow mentation blend with the insatiable yearnings of some Vonnegut character, unable to relish or enjoy any accomplishment other than brief episodes of delicious revenge.

Hmmmm, I can't think of any Vonnegut characters who were like that. He went out of his way not to write comic-book supervillains.

Ok, maybe the aged grandfather in the short story with the anti-aging drug. "And anyone who lets on how good jail is doesn't get to come back."

David Brin said...

Steven Hammond, your thoughts are welcome here. And I am fine with recruiting ranchers.

Doug S. said...

Donald Trump reminds me more of Abraham Simpson than anyone else...

(Google image search for "old man yells at media)

Tony Fisk said...

Hello Steven.

You might find some more information on red state thinking via Sarah Kendzior's essays "The View From Flyover Country" (NB: I haven't got around to reading them myself, but her twitter commentary seems pretty on target with what's going on in the "Swamp". She's very aware of what Trump represents.)

Meanwhile, in Australia, in a talk about mandatory encryption cracking, Turnbull announced that the laws of mathematics must accede to Australian Law.

It's a bit like that formal definition of pi proposed in Indiana in 1897, except something that idiotic might actually pass at the moment.

It's not that Turnbull's an idiot (he isn't) so much as who has their hand up his back. I noticed that Sen. Palpatine/Brandis was in the room at the time.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB | I'd argue it started before Voltaire in a subtle, unnoticed way and that he helped enormously to bring it into the open. Many of his contemporaries did too even if they opposed it.

But compare today to 40 years ago. We appear to be going backwards. Everything eventually experiences diminishing returns.

Oh not even close.

1) At the end of the Cold War, 47% of humanity lived on less than $1/day. That number fell to 22% twenty years later and is still falling. $1/day in 1990 was about $1.25 in 2010 due to inflation. That means about 700 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty into the next group AND shown that there is hope in the world.

2) For something a little close to home for US concerns, consider what is happening in Latin America using a higher standard. At the $4/day level or lower in the year 2000, you could find roughly 40% of our neighbors slogging along. In 2010, that was down to 30%. In TEN YEARS.

3) How about education for something much closer to home for you? Around 1950, roughly half of humanity saw no formal schooling. In low-income regions, that percentage was 'the overwhelming majority of them.' By 2010, despite the huge increase in population, the number of adults with no schooling has dropped to about 1:7 world-wide or 1:6 if you focus on the poorest. The mean number of years in school for adults in 1950 was 3 years. By 2010 it was 8 years. What is even more staggering, though, is the GINI index one can construct for education inequality. It works much like a similar index for wealth or income inequalities. For education in 1950, the index was a little north of 0.6 for both men and women. By 2010, it was a little south of 0.4 and both genders were tracking downward steadily. If you focus strictly on the youngest adults, it is dramatically lower.

4) You can even make a GINI index for age at death. That one has been plummeting too. World-wide.

So... No. We are not in a diminishing returns situation. There are about 7.5 billion of us now and life is seriously improving for most everyone.

Don't stop.
Don't despair.

Alfred Differ said...

@matthew | I know I criticize your statements often.

Heh. I learned CITOKATE before I learned David's acronym for it, so please continue. I will do you the honor of expanding upon the gift and giving that in return.

The unfortunate part of believing that that things are going moderately well is that I wind up arguing for not screwing that up. That makes me sound like I don't want to change things unless I know the outcomes in advance, which is, of course, impossible. I wind up sounding dishonest or disconnected at times and I know it. Frustrating. 8)

Some of my co-workers have learned to be careful about asking me what I'm reading during lunch or on breaks. I usually have something with me... and I might spend the next 30 minutes telling them about it. Our team's financial guy has an econ degree. Go figure. He saw me reading Piketty's big book and hadn't learned yet. Hah! I take it as my personal mission to demonstrate the joy to be found in continuing education beyond the formal years. 8)

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Alfred
I agree - fings is much better now!
When I was growing up we were looking at WW3 and the population bomb
Obama as president would have been unthinkable

I also think that while most things are better we have lost decades economically - the UK and the USA (and NZ) were ahead of Germany and the Nordic countries
Now we are miles behind

Alex K said...

@Alfred Differ

I think what Paul SB was referring to is the situation in First World Countries, especially the Anglo-sphere, where the situation for the middle and lower classes has slowly been degrading and how the lower classes especially seem to be increasingly treated with contempt by those at the top.

Not sure how much British News make it your end of the pond, but look up the articles in the british press... the non Murdoch british press about the Grenfell Tower fire. It sort of a perfect text book example about how things have been going downhill for the lower classes in the UK.

As for Macron playing nice with Trump, he can get away with it because, unlike the Democrats or Theresa May, he has enough political capital for the time being that he can get away with being seen with someone his voters greatly disapprove of. He also was smart enough to before that make it clear to all how opposed he was to his policies and made very sure never to look like he was groveling. I'll admit he's clever like that. Pity Theresa May only manages to look like poodle mk2.

TCB said...

I picked up the CITOKATE idea from Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, back in my salad days. In the Illuminatus trilogy it's phrased as: "communication occurs only between equals."

Celine's Laws

LarryHart said...

The Rebecca Solnit article is spot on as concerns Trump personally. Unfortunately, what is at stake is not whether Trump himself succeeds or fails at achieving his personal desires. The damage that he, his followers, and the complicit Republican Party can do to our country in the meantime is considerable, and not easily remediated.

LarryHart said...

From the Australia/encryption article referenced above:

Regardless of what the laws of mathematics state around breaking into end-to-end encryption, the Australian government is determined to bring in laws that go against them, with the Prime Minister of Australia telling ZDNet that the laws produced in Canberra are able to trump the laws of mathematics

"The laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that," he said on Friday. "The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia."

Could he be purposely stating this in such a way as to highlight its ridiculousness? A dog-whistle to sane people as in "I have to say this, but we all know how self-evidently stupid it is."

I also note that the headline writer and the article itself make a point of using the word "trump" in that context. I doubt that is mere happenstance or coincidence.

Tim H. said...

LarryHart, if those laws are upheld there'll have to be something like an Australian version of information services, or none, lest Australia become a haven for computer crime. On the bright side, the cultural isolation may starve the Murdochs of cash.

Paul SB said...


Alex K. got it, but when you think about it, it goes further than just the First World. I'm sure you remember the days when "Made in Japan" meant cheap crap that will fall apart soon after purchase. But then the nation's economy got much better, and for decades now Japanese businesses have been manufacturing better quality than the US. We were starting to farm manufacturing out to Japan, but the quality of life improved there and people demanded higher wages. So American manufacturers starting going to Korea, and then Mexico. I have s friend who is a manager in one of these companies, and has spent years going to many countries, including former Iron Curtain nations, looking for the cheapest labor. But as time goes by, the standard of living increases and the labor start to demand higher wages.

This shouldn't be too hard to parse. The West is slowly turning the rest of the world into itself. So what is happening in the First World now will eventually happen to the rest of the world, as we run out of impoverished countries to farm out manufacturing to. So yes, the average standard of living all over the world is rising. That's great. What happens when all the peripheries become cores and there are no more peripheries?

I would prefer not to despair, but optimism needs to be built on something real, otherwise it is just delusion. Do you have a solution to what happens then? Right now it looks like the First World is slipping back into that feudal pyramid, just as the Third World is starting to come out of it. But our economies are so intertwined that the whole world system could go down with us. The one place where there seems to be a glimmer of hope is where they are trying something different - Europe. There the emphasis is less on cut-throat competition and more on sustainability. That includes social and psychological stability, and they have much less steep SES gradients, and lower levels of the debilitating conditions that are making America a miserable place to be. Reread that passage from Sapolsky I quoted. Better yet, read the whole book, as well as that one Dr. Brin recommended a few months back called "Born Anxious."

You are looking at history. I am looking at trajectory.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB in the previous thread:

Listen to her other podcasts. They have all been good. No one seems to be commenting on the site, though. It might encourage her.

I can't for the life of me see where one would comment on the site.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

You are looking at history. I am looking at trajectory.

North Carolina law explicitly prohibits that very thing, at least as pertains to global warming and subsequent flood threats.

Tim H. said...

Our gracious host might find this of interest:
Bruce Bartlett on why he is not a Democrat. The man does have a point, "Not licking guano off cave floors" is a great sales point, but more could be done...

Jumper said...

I know Japanese quality improved. What quality worsened in the USA? Curious.
Trump's election panel doxes critics.

locumranch said...

Push-back is what Reactionaries do.

By actively opposing and trying to 'win' against the conservatives, confederates, feudalists & the likes of Trump, David demonstrates limited binary thinking and ends up strengthening his opposition because that's what opposition (and/or 'competition') does:

It strengthens the opposition.

I lived in Europe during the late 1970's at the height of the Cold War when a Soviet Invasion was believed imminent, US Military & NATO presence were at an all-time high because of imminent Soviet threat and, most ironically, violent european anti-American sentiment was everywhere. Then, when those dastardly Soviets 'escaped when we weren't watching them' (to quote Jackson Browne), suddenly every european seemed to love the US military presence (in decline) up to the point of protesting US military base closures.

It seems counter-intuitive, but it was so: The Soviet military threat created NATO & the US military presence in Europe; the european US military presence caused violent anti-American sentiment among europeans; the Soviet collapse caused the withdrawal of the US military from Europe & a declining NATO; and the european US military withdrawal created a pro-US military & pro-NATO protest movement among europeans.

And, the take-away object lesson?

Assuming that David & his progressive ilk do wish to 'win' against the conservatives, confederates, feudalists & the likes of Trump in actuality -- and I'm not sure they do -- then their best path to success is to CONCEDE.

Let the opposition succeed to clear a path toward eventual progressive victory. Allow the conservatives to dismantle Big Government, destroy Obamacare & disband the Deep State in order to create a generation of Big Government Lovers; enable confederate secession to push pro-Union sentiment to an all-time high; give the feudalists free rein to achieve the opposite end result; and support Trump so he may hoist himself on his own petard.

The same approach works on teenagers, too.


LarryHart said...

locumranch is correct that the best way to deal with a rebellious teenager is to let him drive the family car off off a cliff (if all his other friends drove off a cliff) so that, in his next life, he'll be sure to listen to your advice rather than die horribly (again) and relieve your family of their car (again).

Letting Trump and the Republicans destroy Constitutional government so that those-who-formerly-were-voters end up hating them an wishing they still had a functioning democracy is a good idea for precisely the same reason.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the welcome, David!

Tony Fisk said:"You might find some more information on red state thinking via Sarah Kendzior's essays "The View From Flyover Country" (NB: I haven't got around to reading them myself, but her twitter commentary seems pretty on target with what's going on in the "Swamp". She's very aware of what Trump represents.)"

Thanks for the tip, Tony. I just bought a copy and I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm just finishing up Never Out of Season by Rob Dunn which is absolutely fascinating (and frightening). Well worth reading and some really interesting biology is discussed. Locum Ranch may even find it interesting as he has some agrarian sensibilities from what I can tell. :)

Jumper said...

I'll partially answer my own question with "automobiles" losing out in quality.

Jumper said...

Never take your eye off ALEC. Here's HuffPo, on the ball this time:

Paul SB said...


I went back and checked the site for the podcast, and it looks very different than last time I was there. There used to be a place to put comments at the bottom, but that seems to be gone now. A shame. I started my comment on that podcast with "Brachiators of the world, unite!" - but I don't remember the rest.

Paul SB said...

From the previous thread:

"The claim that "almost 50% of all reproductive aged EU, US & Japanese women are CHILDLESS" is statistically accurate…"
I read the article our faux rancher linked to, and nowhere did it say this. Anyone is welcome to read the one he linked to, or another from Pew below.

The Daily Beast has an interesting opinion piece on the subject that goes into some of the nuances of why people make the choice to not have children, and it is much more balanced than our faux rancher.

On the subject of mental imbalance:

"Our so-called western educators are little more than repetitive liars, dissemblers & propagandists of the status quo who will be replaced by commercial adverts & you're-a-boob videos none too soon."

It would be easy for me to respond to this by claiming that all doctors are self-serving cheats who only want money, but that would be as juvenile as it is untrue. I do have a doctor who fits this description, and if I can get another option from my insurance company he won’t be my doctor for long (and I have left a scathing yelp review in hopes that it will warn others away). But I also have know doctors that were decent human beings working in a caring profession for the good of their patients.

Dr. Brin has pointed out to this sad little man again and again that the people he despises do not share his reactionary biases, and have no intention of destroying him. Let the lunatic rant - he has the right to rant, and sane people have the right to ridicule the bile he spits. He is spitting at his own reflection. No doubt if we could count the cortisol receptors in his amygdala we would see something way above average.

donzelion said...

"This is all about psychology."

Yes, but not Donald Trump's. The question is hoe mamy clowns does it take to distract Americans from what Congress is (and more importantly, isn't) doing. The more we fixate on Trump, the more easily they can wreck the country, offer a couple dollars in change as a 'gift', and amass billions.

Donald is a silly scam that millions of Americans fell for. Like most scams, those most victimized are least likely to believe they've been victimized until later (it will take years). Like most scams, those victimized will feel almost as outraged at those telling them "I told you so" as those who fleeced them, and fury at those who failed to stop it rather those who did it.

David Brin said...

The Japanese kicked the snot out of US manufacturers in the 1980s, teaching us that quality actually matters. A huge (if rough) favor!

LarryHart, subscribe to Ari’s podcast on YouTube and you’ll be able to comment.

“Assuming that David & his progressive ilk do wish to 'win' against the conservatives, confederates, feudalists & the likes of Trump in actuality -- and I'm not sure they do -- then their best path to success is to CONCEDE.”

Oh! He’s taken his IQ pills again! Guffaw! Yep. Lincoln should have let Lee conquer the entire north and establish slavery everywhere, yippee! That’d show em!

“Allow the conservatives to dismantle Big Government, destroy Obamacare & disband the Deep State …”

Show us one example… one… just one… even one at all.. of Republicans dismantling big government! Ever!

Oh, All right. They eliminate restrictions on monopolies, Big Banks and Wall street and resource grabbers. But the size of government only increases under the GOP. Always.

Only democrats actually deregulate away whole agencies. (*Splice-in) The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) and Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) became captured eliminators of fair competition… and Congress abolished them! AT&T was broken up.  Or take Bill Clinton’s deregulation of the GPS system, freeing it for use by all, everywhere in the world. And the unleashing of the Internet — the greatest deregulation in history. Oh, and every one of those deregulations was done by democrats. The complainers - Republicans - never deregulate a thing, when they get power, except Wall Street and Banking and resource extraction. (With well-known results.) Oh yes and gambling.

But you know all that. Let me repeat, you know all that. And therefore you are deliberately openly and brazenly and proudly lying.

meat space time said...

The primary problem is psychopathy. Roughly about 1-2% of the population can be classified as psychopaths, or would be if the system that might expose them was not in fact built by and run by them. Humanity has 1000 years - no wait, 100 (thanks Dr Hawking) to wake up and get off this rock before the psychopath problem terminates the species. Psychopathy - and the lack of compassion, the lack of ability to see other humans as humans at all is at the root of every problem we face, or at the very least greatly exacerbates the problems and makes them impossible to address within a system that promotes "might makes right," a system beneficial to the few who float to the top (the dominant predators in the swamp, let us say) and harmful to everybody else in the world.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Jumper

US quality did not get worse - it (like UK quality) was always that bad - 1% wrong was OK
The Japanese simply showed us what could be achieved!

That Bruce Bartlett piece
Why should the democrats listen to somebody who was totally horribly wrong and had to have his nose rubbed in it multiple times to realize how wrong he was?
I would have thought that when deciding who to listen to you should look at past history -
Somebody who got it wrong repeatedly and took forever to see what was obvious to other people is a "broken reed" and not somebody that the democrats should be inviting onto their (lucrative) advisory panels

Jumper said...

I hope when psychopaths increase too much, tolerance goes down, and vice versa. Sort of like the open-doors number. In a theft-free community more and more people will leave their doors unlocked. This sooner or later invites a swarm of burglary to appear as if from nowhere. What percent of doors should be locked?

Tony Fisk said...

@LarryHart said:
Could he [Turnbull] be purposely stating this in such a way as to highlight its ridiculousness? A dog-whistle to sane people as in "I have to say this, but we all know how self-evidently stupid it is."

Yep! As I said, the Attorney-General Sen. George Brandis was in the room as well. He's a hard right heavy. Turnbull isn't, but is being paid to play their tune after last year's double dissolution gambit backfired spectacularly, leaving LNP with a one seat majority, and the minority parties *increasing* their presence in the Senate. That means the hard right wing of the LNP are terrified of seeing their support passing on to the rabid right like One Nation. That's the gallery they're playing to.

Interestingly, Abbott's recent squeaks of ascendency are being squelched.

Viking said...

Regarding nazification, some good news about courts affirming the right to look back at authority:

I don't have particularly high regard for potheads, but it is a victim-less crime.

Carl M. said...

Be very careful jumping on the Nacy MacLean bandwagon. This is looking like the left wing version of "The Rockefeller Files." I've seen multiple examples of McClean taking quotes way way way out of context -- outright academic malpractice.

For an in-depth scholarly critique, see this article by fellow Duke professor Michael Munger:

I particularly like this passage:

Buchanan also attended meetings sponsored by groups whose goals focused on free and responsible individual citizens. As a methodological individualist, he was concerned that concepts of “we” or collective goals or aggregate concepts in macroeconomics were scientifically misleading. Political science and economics, in this view, should always start with individuals. MacLean actually cites Public Choice scholar Pierre Lemieux as saying, “The Public Choice revolution rings the death knell of the political ‘we.’” Of course, Lemieux’s statement appears in a magazine, and it was an argument about the correct approach to understanding phenomena in political economy. MacLean seems to think she has uncovered a secret, even though Lemieux’s quote comes from Regulation, a widely read, refereed publication, because she has never met anyone who argued that starting one’s analysis with collectives is a methodological mistake.

It happens that Duke University’s Department of Political Science is located on Duke’s main campus, in Durham, N.C., and is listed in the phone book. Anyone at Duke who wanted to find it would have no difficulty doing so. Further, the department has important resources for any scholar with a serious interest in researching James Buchanan. The department has two past presidents of the Public Choice Society (Geoffrey Brennan and Michael Munger), and one current president (Georg Vanberg). We are not fringe members of the Duke community; I was chair of Political Science for ten years, Vanberg is the current chair, and Brennan was the long-time Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, Geoff Brennan was the long-time associate of Buchanan, producing three major coauthored books, more than ten journal articles, and two major edited works that dealt with Buchanan’s overall contributions to political science and philosophy.

In short, I would expect that a sophomore undergraduate who was writing a paper on Buchanan, even a one-off paper for a classroom assignment, would have recognized the value in consulting Brennan, at a minimum, and probably also Vanberg (who was a family friend of Buchanan since childhood). But neither Brennan nor Vanberg were ever consulted, nor even contacted, by MacLean. Nor, if it matters, was I.

To write a conspiracy story about an academic movement without bothering to talk to members of said school when they are on the same campus is the height of intellectual laziness and/or dishonesty. I know from personal experience that Dr. Munger is quite approachable. I quizzed him myself when he was chair of Duke's political science department while running for governor on the LP ticket.

Carl M. said...

Another piece of the same article with some highlighting of a passage you should appreciate:

Buchanan’s work certainly did have a perspective. He opposed state monopoly of education, but he was certainly not opposed to state participation in education. In fact, in the very document in MacLean cites (Buchanan and Nutter, 1959, 1) we can find this:

The case for universal education is self-evident: a democracy cannot function without an informed and educated citizenry....If education is to be universal, compulsion must be exercised by government - that is, by the collective organ of society - since some parents might choose to keep their children out of school. For similar reasons, minimum standards of education must be determined by government. Otherwise, the requirement of education is empty and meaningless...

The principle of charity would require at a minimum that a scholar not fabricate a set of evil motives that happen to fit an ideologically motivated narrative, but rather should take the argument as a possibly mistaken, but sincere expression of professed goals. In this case, however, Buchanan clearly says he favors state regulation and financing of education. In fact, he favored something that might surprise many observers: a confiscatory estate tax (Brennan and Munger, 2014, 337). MacLean’s description is more than uncharitable; it is grossly inaccurate.

Carl M. said...

As for people wanting a father figure, there is this groaner from the 1992 presidential debate:

To my continued embarrassment, it happened at my alma mater, which is probably why I remembered it.

Paul451 said...

Agreeing with the others, Ari is very good at that, and getting better.


Paul SB,
"I do have a doctor who fits this description, and if I can get another option from my insurance company he won't be my doctor for long"

[Emphasis mine]

You can't pick your own doctors in the US? WTF? I live in a country with universal healthcare and I can go wherever I want. As you move up the ladder of specialists, your options narrow, but that's more a limit in the number of specialists in a region, not any external limitation of my choice, if I'm willing to travel I broaden my choices.


"What quality worsened in the USA?"

Of living?

Paul451 said...

Re: Turnbull & encryption.

My concern is that the dumb comments are distracting people from the heart of the announcement. They are intending on passing laws requiring back-doors in software, phones and ISPs. Back-doors which will become the primary targets of every hacker (whether state-sponsored or criminal), rendering every online service, company computer and government department (since they use the same commercial software) completely insecure. Given the in-built nature of back-doors, you can't change them once they are pwn'd.

But hey, let's deliberately build a master-key into all our doors and then hand thousands of copies to tens of thousand public servants. That can't possibly go wrong.


"The question is hoe mamy clowns"

Thaaaat's racist.

David Brin said...

Carl M your CITOKATE is welcome into the mix. Still, the fact is that these guys are central planners of the lobotomization of half of America, and the desperate ply of riling that half against every single knowledge and fact based profession. Name the exceptions! Now that the FBI, intel agencies and military officers are included.

I am perfectly willing to append your asterisk to Nancy MacLean. Are you willing to recognize the lobotomization? And recognize those holding the scalpel are the very same oligarchic cheaters whom libertarians should oppose with equal fervor to mere bureaucrats?

The former crushed freedom and enterprise for 6000 years. Make your case that Swedish civil servants are as dangerous.

LarryHart said...

what we already knew...

But I have come to believe that question misses the point. Sixty-three million people voted for this. And make no mistake, they knew what they were getting. It was always obvious that Trump was a not-ready-for-prime-time candidate, but they chose him anyway. And the rest of us need to finally come to grips with the reason why.

It wasn’t economic anxiety. As a study co-sponsored by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic magazine reported in May, people who were worried for their jobs voted for Hillary Clinton. But people who dislike Mexicans and Muslims, people who oppose same-sex marriage, people mortally offended at a White House occupied by a black guy with a funny name, they voted for Trump.

That’s the reality, and it’s time we quit dancing around it.

This has been said a million times: Donald Trump is a lying, narcissistic, manifestly incompetent child man who is as dumb as a sack of mackerel. But he is the president of the United States because 63 million people preferred that to facing inevitable cultural change. So I am done asking — or caring — what’s wrong with him. Six months in, it’s time we grappled with a far more important question.

What in the world is wrong with us?

locumranch said...

Larry_H & others do not realise what hypocrites they are. Like so many other anti-democratic arses who attempt to arrogate authority over other autonomous adults, they would invalidate the very democratic process that reveals the 'will of the people' because they equate 'the people' to a credulously ignorant "rebellious teenager (who would) drive the family car off a cliff".

Positioning themselves as the Enlightened Elite (aka 'the sole possessors of superior knowledge, morality & merit') and having concluded that 'democracy is undemocratic' because the people lack the expertise to rule themselves, they would then appoint themselves as the feudal Lord Protectors of (cough cough) Democracy itself.

In the same vein, I offer you H. Beam Piper's take on where our democracy is headed, circa 1953, care of Project Gutenberg:

Null-ABC ===>


Poor PSB, he hasn't yet realised that repetitive ignorance is no substitute for fact:

(1) "According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, in 2014, 47.6 percent of women between age 15 and 44 had never had children" []

(2) European stats on Childless Women courtesy of the OECD []

I will shed no tears when a Khan Academy 'you're-a-boob' video analog disemploys him, just as I will shed no tears when "self-serving cheats" like myself are similarly unemployed. Soon, I hope, 2 years tops. And then the true meaning of ''self--service' will be known to all.

Carl M. said...

Regarding Swedish civil servants: how much of the Swedish welfare state is Swedish, and how much is local. See this article:

Carl M. said...

And I get especially angry when the conspiracy theorists try to put the racism tag on the Kochs. The tag may well fit with the von Mises Society crowd down in Auburn, but they are the anti-Kochs. Murray Rothbard went with that crowd late in life after getting angry at the Kochs for their moderating influence, and then becoming frustrated with the hippies in the LP. (I'm pretty sure it was Murray Rothbard who coined the term Kochtopus.)

Back when Reason magazine was drifting to the right, the Kochs funded a leftier counterpart, Inquiry.

The Kochs did not support Trump. In the previous election the Koch favored candidate was Herman Caine. Strange behavior for racists.

Paul SB said...


I must be confused - I thought you lived in Wisconsin, which is part of the US last I checked. Or do you just like to joke about cheese?

Not having choice of doctors has been an issue for a very long time. Most people in the US get their health care through an HMO, which tries to reduce costs by limiting their customers to doctors in their network, and pick up additional money by charging huge fees if you go to someone outside the network. In my case, I have a doctor who referred me for testing at a facility he works for, even though he knew that the facility was not in the network. I didn't know until I got a notice from the HMO after having taken that test, and now I am liable for the cost. Nice doctor, right?

Paul SB said...


"The Kochs did not support Trump. In the previous election the Koch favored candidate was Herman Caine. Strange behavior for racists."

- Racism isn't the issue, and fools who think only in those terms are doing more harm than good. Money is the issue, and power. People who are that rich couldn't give a rat's ass about race, religion, sex, orientation or any of the social variables that freak out the lower classes. Money is their addiction, but keeping the unwashed masses distracted with these social variables keeps them off the scent. As long as things like racism are seen as the primary issues, those hoi polloi are not focused on their real enemies.

Darrell E said...

Dr. Brin said:

"You fellows howl that bureaucrats are at-best inefficient and at-worst tyrants. But prove to us that lordship, oligarchies or corporate CEOs and boards are any less prone to every single failure mode that you rail against. Except the agile tech companies... whose leaders are mostly... democrats."

If I interpreted your article correctly this was aimed at L(l)ibertarians. Assuming that is correct, it seems to me that many self identified libertarians don't so much think that lordship, oligarchies or corporate CEOs and boards are less prone to the failure modes they rail against as they believe that somehow, given enough freedom from government for all actors in the system, the emergent properties of the system that would arise would constrain those entities enough that they wouldn't be significant problems. Given history, that seems like a belief in magic to me.

Or course I'm sure you are well aware of that as you have said as much many times.

LarryHart said...

locumranch doesn't know what he's talking about if he thinks I claim any kind of authority (elite or otherwise) to impose my will upon democracy. The only authority I claim is the Constitutional right to insist via Freedom of Speech that two plus two equals four. No matter how much you wish it to be the case that two plus two equals whatever a majority of angry rural white Christian men says it is, you are factually wrong to believe so, and my telling you this is no more authoritarian than is the fact that Stan/Loretta can't have babies.

That the electorate is willing to metaphorically drive the family car off a cliff is self-evident. That my only power to attempt to change that is by way of persuasion is evident as well. Now that we know that, what do we know?

Paul SB said...

Poor, sad little loco, who thinks his naive natalism is Gospel. Hopefully retirement will help him relax, once all that work stress is gone. It's not likely the old dog will be able to learn new tricks, but at least he might be able to spend his waning days free of witless hate and anger and finally get something out of life. It would be sad to go to the grave still full of such unfocused rage and sense of inadequacy.

matthew said...

Loco wants The Handmaids Tale to be in the non-fiction section.
His hatred of women and desire to subjugate them overshadows all he writes.
I'd feel sorry for him but it's a waste of empathy to feel anything but disgust for his views. I do feel honestly sorry for any female patients he sees (assuming he is really a doctor, which I still feel should come with an asterisk for "claimed but not proven")
Men's Rights Activists are among the biggest idiots ever created.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan | The US is not behind Germany unless you are cherry-picking your measures. ‘The West’ is essentially all in one group with some variation in how we do things, thus variation in particular details. Choose a measure and the set will order itself accordingly. Choose a different one and we shuffle up again. The differences are not large, though, until you leave the set of nations with liberalized economies. Only then will all the reasonable measures show you who is NOT at the top.

@Alex K | I understand that Paul SB was thinking more narrowly. I’m poking at him for his myopia. I also happen to feel he is incorrect about the US, but we’ve gone a few rounds on that topic already. As for the whole Anglo-sphere, I’ll point out to you that the quality of what we can buy has vastly improved in my lifetime. A decent econ textbook teaches that wealth isn’t measured in a particular currency, but in terms of what can be purchased with what one has saved and is merely denominated in terms of a currency. That means as income rises, we become wealthier. That also means as prices drop, we become wealthier. To cap it off, as quality improves, we become wealthier. As a result, I’m not that concerned about stagnant wages denominated in a currency. I look at wages denominated in terms of what we need to buy. In those terms, the middle and lower classes are not falling behind. Far from it. They are being lifted by the liberalization of our markets and the dignity we grant each other for having ‘a go at it’ as entrepreneurs who willingly face and act as fair competitors. McCloskey describes it as ‘The Bourgeois Deal.’

Jumper said...

I believe many of the Kochs' policies and support do indeed apply focused hurt on minorities. I don't bandy the word "racism" around, as it means all things to all people at this point, but the Kochs' support of, for one, ALEC, who wrote much of the legislation undoing the Voting Rights Act, and the voter ID legislation, is telling.

LarryHart said...

Jumper, re: ALEC

Don't forget "Stand your ground" legislation, which basically means a white man can bully a black man and then shoot him if the white man feels "threatened" with pushback. I understand that, technically, the same law should apply in reverse as well. But for some reason, it never does.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB | The West is slowly turning the rest of the world into itself.

I used to think that and then I got disabused of the silliness behind this ethnocentric (and egocentric) perspective. My first head-slap lesson involved a space project where friends of mine were trying to convince the Russians to privatize Mir. They needed money in the 90’s and my friends wanted to create commercialized volumes in orbit. Seemed like an easy match, hmm? Nope. If you approached the Russians as though you were going to turn them into western capitalists, you got Nyet when they were being polite. With a bit of vodka in them, it came out more like F@#% You. Why? One doesn’t have to understand that in order to move forward. Just do what your potential partner needs of you and maybe you’ll understand later. We Americans do that too, so the project DID move forward until the USG decided they didn’t want Mir in orbit anymore and offered a bigger incentive than we could.

In recent years, I’ve come to understand this in terms of identity groups. People don’t easily abandon what they think they are when a better option comes along and they certainly do NOT tolerate forceful conversion. How many Jews would be left in the world if that were not the case? In western ethics terms, faith is a virtue. The oldest definition of ‘faith’ is ‘loyalty to’ someone, something, or some abstraction. Those Russians who could control the fate of Mir were certainly loyal to something dear to them and we had to deal with it. We thought we had them in our fold too, until they proved to be loyal to something else where we could not compete.

The West isn’t turning the rest of the world into itself. The Rest Of The World is looking at The West and realizing how stunningly successful we are and then COPYING parts of what we do that they can tolerate. As long as they copy the liberalization of markets and the grant of dignity to fair entrepreneurs, though, the rest doesn’t matter. The act of copying is reproduction. The act of imperfect copying creates variation. Fair markets are natural selection forces staging acts between fair entrepreneurs. Do that and we all win. Evolution takes over and we get a world that is the result of human action, but not of human design. The old feudal attractor DIES in that ecosystem along with a few variations that didn’t do well.

I don’t think the first world is slipping backward. I suspect we are still moving forward, while the clade that prefers the old ways gets desperate. The world IS liberalizing, though, and that means the local clade that prefers new ways will find allies we’ve never had in the past.

locumranch said...

It's classic psychological projection, Larry_H's bigoted tendency to dismiss valid opinion on the basis of nationality (rural), race (white), religion (christian) & gender (male), while offering unconditional validation to popular opinion on the basis of secularity, the superior virtue of the oppressed & urbanity, just as it's projection for PSB to ascribe those 'poor, sad, little' qualities to others when they mock him mercilessly from reflective surfaces.

Politically Correct Progressivism is the philosophical inheritor of McCarthyism, always striving to silence its opposition.

Natalism is not Nativism & Gender Equalism (my position) is not synonymous with either Sexism or Misogyny. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of a nativist, racist or exclusionary party, or otherwise affiliated with one.

As mentioned earlier, competition, confrontation & the act of opposing others serves to strengthen those in opposition, insomuch as progressive militancy is complicit in the creation of a militant reactionary right. This is CITROCATE's reflective corollary.

First, ask yourself what any individual has to lose or gain through disagreement, confrontation & competition.

Second, silence the opposition in the name of political correctness.

Now, tell us what you've lost.


Jumper said...

Our minds.

Paul SB said...


You are right, of course, but it is always better to hope that a sickening blemish on the human race will one day at least find enough peace to no longer fight against humanity. This is the fellow who, a couple years back, stated that it would be worth consigning any number of people to death to advance his own goals. Despicable, most certainly. Reformable, very unlikely. But evolution has taught us that rivals are rarely destroyed utterly, and when they come back they are stronger than ever. Look at what happens with bacteria developing antibiotic resistance.

It's funny how our faux rancher's response to calling him out was to pull figures from a different web site than the Yale site he originally cited. There is also a bit of irony to him calling an Ivy League institution a reliable source of information, given his stance on educated urbanites. Then he pulls out The Huffington Post, that bastion of balanced journalism. ;] His natalism doesn't seem sexist or misogynist to him in the same way that O.J. doesn't see himself as a murderer. He doesn't see subjugating half the species to slavery air the hands of the other half to be sexist, he sees it as the natural, God-ordained order. That's how he can sleep at night - by calling evil good and good evil.

Now there is a big demographic shift happening, and it's likely to get messy. With a falling birth rate there will be an explosion of demand for geriatric care but fewer people to fill that role. That is, as long as we keep our doors closed to legal immigrants who come here with skills. The Grope Administration is reducing those visas. Hopefully we will not resort to treating the elderly in any manner similar to how Ceausescu handled the Romanian population explosion. But when the nation is run by a party that insists on budget-cutting, tax-breaks for the wealthy and slashing social services, that is what we are likely to get, I am afraid. Private nursing homes have very bad reputations for being little more than death camps for the elderly.

In the long run, though, the falling birth rate is probably just what the world needs. You would think with his urban/rural Us/Them fanaticism he would welcome the falling birth rate, as it means fewer Thems in the future.

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.
- Booker T. Washington

What he said!

LarryHart said...


It's classic psychological projection,

Yes. Yes, it is.

Larry_H's bigoted tendency to dismiss valid opinion on the basis of nationality (rural), race (white), religion (christian) & gender (male), while offering unconditional validation to popular opinion on the basis of secularity, the superior virtue of the oppressed & urbanity,

No, that's you (except in the reverse direction). I don't do any of those things.

One would think I'd be used to you lying and slandering me on this forum, but with all due modesty, do you really think anyone is buying it?

Paul SB said...


In your reply to Alex you said:

"I’m not that concerned about stagnant wages denominated in a currency. I look at wages denominated in terms of what we need to buy. In those terms, the middle and lower classes are not falling behind. Far from it. They are being lifted by the liberalization of our markets and the dignity we grant each other for having ‘a go at it’ as entrepreneurs who willingly face and act as fair competitors."

- That would be fair enough, except there is the problem of defining what it is we need. If you are a monk you probably only need your robes, your Book, food and a quiet place to contemplate the Universe. But the majority of people aren't monks (or nuns). Read that quote from Sapolsky again. It's not so much poverty as it is relative poverty. /Relative/ is the operant term here. As long as there is a class of people who look down upon the masses from their palaces and drive past them holding their noses in their prestige automobiles, that affects the health and well-being of those masses. Yes, we have better quality junk today than we had in 1967. But we also have more people dropping dead from stress-related disorders. It's not how many toys we have, it's how we compare to the rest of society. In his book Sapolsky mentions an experiment in which people were given pencil and paper and asked to draw a simple ladder, then indicate where they stand on that ladder. The lower people placed themselves on that ladder, the higher level of serum cortisol they had.

"The West isn’t turning the rest of the world into itself. The Rest Of The World is looking at The West and realizing how stunningly successful we are and then COPYING parts of what we do that they can tolerate."

- Way to split hairs, there! It's not that the West is intentionally turning the rest of the world into themselves, with the exception of attempted regime change in some cases, it's the fact that this is what is happening. It's just like the Nuer turning the Dinka into themselves. They do this by capture and then very harsh initiation rituals. if South Sudan was never incorporated into a nation state there would be no more Dinka in a few centuries.

I don't have a problem with markets and competition per se, but I do have enough human compassion to wish that life and death did not hang in the balance of market forces. Market forces are fine for luxury goods, but I would rather they had nothing to do with necessities. Market forces make monopolies and trusts, and they made a diamond largely because the power of corporations was balanced by the power of labor unions, but that power has waned and the pyramid is returning. Presuming that the "tooth and nail" laws of natural selection should apply to the markets is missing the fact that humans are social animals, not solitary predators. It works differently with humans.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

But evolution has taught us that rivals are rarely destroyed utterly, and when they come back they are stronger than ever. Look at what happens with bacteria developing antibiotic resistance.

Just look at what happens with the Republican Party.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Alfred
From the POV of a normal working man the USA is MILES behind Germany!!

Jumper said...

I don't think it's useful to claim it's mandatory to keep up with the Joneses, volunteer for rat-race status-seeking on let's face it, a menial level, or any of that. It's idiotic, but no one coercing you, twisting your arm to make your jealousy of your neighbor's new SUX-6000 anything other than a character flaw. If they are, they should be told where to insert their rat-race, and how much torque to apply.
That takes the concept of leveling of outcomes to a ridiculous level. It's not a game I am willing to play, or pay for either.

Alex K said...

To Alfred Differ and Paul SB

Thank you for taking the time to answer my points. While I agree that on a purely material in terms of possessions point of view, we are mostly doing better than at the beginning of the century, there are other metrics by which things are getting worse.

The contempt the higher classes seem to be more and more openly showing for the lower classes is having deadly consequences beyond just the increased stress levels. The Grenfell Tower disaster serve as a perfect example. Long story short for those who didn't follow, the Council that owned the tower bloc decided to cut corners by using cheaper and flammable isolation foam, despite the many times the residents brought up fears about a possible fire. Now now dozens are dead and more have lost their home and possessions because society does not consider poor people's safety worth the cost. It's basically the British remake of the Flint water scandal.

There is also what appears to be a gradual loss of control of the path society is taking by the majority in favor of the wishes of the elite, either through direct ways (privatization, lobbying, increasingly militarized law enforcement, private armies...) or less direct ways (the race to the bottom in terms of employee welfare/taxes/environmental laws.... to remain "competitive").

David Brin said...

Alfred I cried when Mir fell, because a manuscript copy of GLORY SEASON was aboard!

“Donald Trump is a lying, narcissistic, manifestly incompetent child man who is as dumb as a sack of mackerel.”

All of this proves there are many types of intelligence and DT has a very strong “feral” kind. He is simultaneously a whiner and a knife-fighter. His followers tend to be the former but admire the latter.

Locum is part of a confederate-oligarch cult that gerrymanders, “loses” millions of registered voters, buys can’t-audit voting machines and still lost the popular vote, not only this time but in 7 of the last 8 Congressional totals… and he declares that the US president & Congressional majority owe nothing to citizens who didn’t vote for them… yet he calls US in this community anti-democratic. Har!

CarlM I believe the Kochs would be marginally nicer kings than many of the other oligarchs who flock to their secret meetings to undermine democracy and cheat and throttle competition and to foster the war on science. Huzzah! If I must choose between kings, I’ll pick the brothers who say “we really shouldn’t be so racist, people.”

Yes, I can see you feel that distinction matters. And that you cannot perceive a third - American - option of no-kings.

Locum’s fixation on reproduction is interesting though! Never a thought to how the women who don’t reproduce are removing themselves — and that trait — from the gene pool. So if this brings us down to a sustainable population of under 3 billion… then that trait will subside by natural selection. Oh, wait, he cannot follow reasoning, I forgot.

But the real reason many of them aren’t breeding is likely that they are stuck with males who they don’t wish to breed with. Natural culling all right.

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Duncan. I wonder how much of the success of the German worker is due to the requirements that the workers have representation on the boards in German companies.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB | I understand the distinction you are making between absolute and relative poverty. I’m still not going to get overly worked up. Relative poverty will always be with us as long as the haute bourgeoisie hold up their noses and pretend to be aristocrats. I suspect that is a human thing that won’t go away as long as there is some biological advantage to it. Sexual signaling is truly ancient. Fortunately, markets (including black markets) bring forces to the task of providing for the relatively poor. We can see this in the fact that the absolute brackets keep changing.

I’m willing to argue over what goes into the basket of things we need. Monks don’t buy 70 inch TV’s I suppose. I don’t either, but I’m no monk. Instead of defining one basket, we could define a collection of them and a hierarchy like Maslow described. Then we could argue over what goes in each one. That might be fun for the academics, but it doesn’t change the underlying point I’m making. It is those baskets that define what wealth means. I could cash out my retirement savings, convert it all to dollars, and then go live like a hermit on a deserted island and utterly impoverish myself. Those baskets wouldn’t be available where I have no access to the markets.

But yes. I understand your cortisol concern. I think the solution to it, though, involves squashing the people who pitch doom and gloom in a world where things are getting better. Okay. I don’t suggest actually squashing people. I suggest squashing them in the marketplace of ideas and news. 8)

Way to split hairs, there!

You think so? Heh. I can see that you might, but I see it more as a cart before the horse thing. Americans are VERY ethnocentric to the point of pissing off people from elsewhere. Even our host speaks in terms of us lifting the world by running a trade deficit. Ego much? I suspect the truth is much less satisfying to our national ego. We ARE doing spectacularly well AND we are being partially copied, but not because it is such a grand thing to be an American. Don McLean’s song ‘Everybody Loves Me Baby’ exaggerates outrageously, but it makes the point. We aren’t making them into us. They are choosing for themselves not to be left in the dust.

Yes, and the ocean parts when I walk through, and the clouds dissolve and the sky turns blue
I'm held in very great value by everyone I meet but you
'cause I've used my talents as I could, I've done some bad, I've done some good
I did a whole lot better than they thought I would so, c'mon and treat me like you should!

Because everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?

I don't have a problem with markets and competition per se, but I do have enough human compassion to wish that life and death did not hang in the balance of market forces.

Spoken like a good family man. Deep down in my heart I agree. Unfortunately, different families have different goals, thus we cannot coordinate resource uses efficiently. We can’t even define efficiency. The ONLY way we can cope in communities too large to force common goals on us is with our markets. Every other option kills us, wastes us, diminishes us, and traps us on a path that will lead to extinction. Markets aren’t enough to avoid that fate, but they are absolutely vital.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan | Who speaks for the normal working man in either nation? Why? In what way do they benefit for speaking form him?

Beware the intellectual who speaks for a clade to which they do not belong. This is Piketty’s ultimate error and so common among us all that we should be embarrassed... but we aren't.

Alfred Differ said...

@Alex K | I encourage you to read McCloskey’s tomes on the subject. She argues that we are benefiting in ways that cannot be measured by purely material possessions too. Plausibly.

The contempt the higher classes seem to be more and more openly showing…

Yah. The internet is making that very easy to see. There used to be relatively high transaction costs associated with publishing that contempt AND reading it. Not so anymore. We are going to have to figure out how to deal with the stress this causes as we easily learn what others think of us.

There is also what appears to be a gradual loss of control of the path society is taking by the majority in favor of the wishes of the elite

You’ll get less sympathy from me on this. I’m not convinced anyone should be controlling the path society takes into the future. If a minority wrests control of their own path, I’m inclined to side with them until they force everyone else to walk it too. Whether a minority is an elite is a matter of perspective.

Still. It is important to pause occasionally and review both what is working and what is not working. Absolute poverty is becoming an endangered species. Famine already is. Small Pox IS extinct. Large-scale, organized violence now faces a formidable opponent and not the old toothless one offered by the priestly clade. Yes. The world is warming up, but not without a lot of us giving heaps of attention to the problem. The impact of the violence one person can commit has grown dramatically, but so has our ability to notice them and often early enough to stop them. The lists for both types are long, but only one list sells well. We LOVE doom and gloom. Fortunately, the world goes on improving anyway.

Flypusher said...

Here's another Dem "Colonel" taking a shot at TX-31. A long shot, but you can't win if you don't field candidates:

Alfred Differ said...

@David | I didn’t realize your manuscript was up there. Sigh. Brings back memories of that time. Some of them were good, though. I think it was back when the people in ORPHANS OF APOLLO were trying to secure that future that I actually met you face-to-face. You spoke at one of their conventions near LAX, but I didn’t get to watch. I was busy in the vendor room and you were kind enough to drop by and give more than a cursory glance at all of us and our starry-eyed ideas. Mine involved solar sails. 8)

Jumper said...

I might have misunderstood you, Alfred. I thought you were talking about, at some point, improvements which don't show up in flat numbers. Such as eating the veggie plate five times a week in 1985 gave you five vegetables. In 2017 for the same price the veggie plate five times a week gives you nine vegetables.


Here's an article trying to explain Bannon
Inside the Secret, Strange Origins of Steve Bannon’s Nationalist Fantasia

David Brin said...

Alfred kewl memory! BTW we are collecting new essays and stories to re-issue a new edition of PROJECT SOLAR SAIL.

Alfred Differ said...

Heh. In 1985 I was in grad school and eating as cheap as I could. I still gained weight, though. I could blame my girlfriend from then, but it was my own damn fault. 8)

The qualitative improvements of which I speak are more ephemeral. We occasionally have a choice where we buy stuff and when variation occurs, we often choose places that deliver the best customer service. There are constraints, of course, but a smiling waitress draws us back more often than a grouchy one. When the barista actually cares about us and our order, we pick them over ones who only appear to care. Essentially, we are judging behaviors for examples of virtuousness. The barista who cares is loving. The bartender who listens displays temperance. The nurse who actually looks out for you demonstrates hope. The sports team that involves you in their successes and failures (interviews, ball signing, etc) exemplifies faith in the sense of ‘loyalty to’. When we pause and look at some of our choices, we can often see how WE reward virtuous behaviors in the people around us. So when an entrepreneur latches on to this inclination of ours with a successful product, service, or experience, they turn their profit motive into an opportunity for all of us (including them) to make a better world.

McCloskey’s first book in the recent triplet focuses upon the virtue system on display in our markets. She once gave a talk (before the book) titled ‘Bourgeois Virtues’ and she got a lot of snickers from people. What do you mean? They can’t virtuous, can they? By definition? Pfft. The first book takes on that attitude and shreds it. She waxes a little religious for my tastes, but manages her translations moderately well. By the end of the book, I could see her point. Liberalization of our markets DOES make the world a better place well beyond the material things associated with prudence. (Prudence is just one of the virtues. In her system inherited from Aquinas, there are six others.)

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Huzzah! If I must choose between kings, I’ll pick the brothers who say “we really shouldn’t be so racist, people.”

I do remember that you had the Holnist General Macklin admonish his lieutenant (Shawn, was it?) that Nathan Holn wasn't a racist, and they shouldn't be either. I also remember that the lieutenant grudgingly obeyed his superior, but wasn't really on board with that.

Alfred Differ said...

Good. I'll keep an eye out for the book.

One thing I worked on survives that period. I wrote a software library I tried to build and use to construct a decent orbit propagator that could be specialized for sails. It was my open-source itch. I learned about geometric algebras as a grad student and fell in love with them, so bringing them to an older love of space travel and sails made my heart sing for a while. I doubt the propagator is needed anymore and it is really nit-picky work, but it was a blast back then.

Paul SB said...


I'm not advocating redistribution to that level, by any means. I would be willing to experiment with UBI, under the presumption that if people are not living in desperate, abject poverty they will be able to do more for the economy than if they have to beg on the streets or steal for a living. The SES Health Gradient happens absolutely everywhere you have humans, but there are places where it isn't as bad as it is in the United States. In fact, the United States is by far the worst of the developed countries (if you take worst as meaning the steepest health gradient - many of our aristocrats would disagree. In their minds it proves their genetic and moral superiority to the unwashed masses.). Compared to the Third World the US is better, that much is true, but that's a bit like comparing Mark Spitz to the fastest swimmer in the Special Olympics.

Paul SB said...


That was the one song on that album I virtually always skipped. I got the point even when I was 14, but I still found it annoying to listen to. I still say you are splitting hairs, regardless of which is the cart and which is the horse. The end result is the same.

And on merchants of doom and gloom, I resemble that! Oh, but hey, it's summer and my serotonin level is up, so I don't so much right now. Ask me again in October... And while you are at it, see the comment I wrote to Jumper. It's not the merchants of gloom and doom that are causing the epidemic, though they probably play some role, negativity bias being what it is. The fact that the SES Health Gradient exists everywhere that SES exists should tell you that there is something more fundamental going on than markets, sexual signaling, rural/urban divides, political divisiveness or the kosher/halal continuum. Regardless of cause, it is very clear that inequality is key, and more diamond-shaped profiles suffer much less than pyramids.

Here's an amusing quote from Sapolsky:

"It's probably even the case that if you stoked up some Buddhist monks with tons of testosterone, they'd become wildly competitive as to who can do the most acts of random kindness."

He's talking about our common misconception of the role of a specific hormone in human life, but I would like to point out that competition does not have to be about grinding people under our heels. People compete in all sorts of ways that are not financial. During WW II ladies competed with each other over who could sacrifice the most hair pins for the war effort. It's a cultural thing. When the culture emphasizes competition as an end in and of itself, you get people like Bernie Madoff and Martin Shkreli, you get Andrew Carnegie dropping a nickel in the hat of poverty with one hand and stealing a quarter from it with the other, you get the Ludlow Massacre - all sorts of fun.

JeremyA said...

I feel like the news cycle is being held hostage by Trump I wish one network would just set aside a 5 to 10 minute segment each night for "Crazy Trump Stuff" and spend the rest of the time on more substantial matters (both the good and the evil).
I know it's important that we remember that this is not normal, but talking about it so much seems to be making it normal, and detracts from less entertaining news, like the manufactured sanctions against Qatar. Who benefits from this?

Still, I admit I enjoyed Trump Jr's defense of his collusion meeting. He sounded like Homer Simpson: "I want to make this clear, I through the officer was a prostitute."

The part of the Trump demographic that still puzzles me is the exit polls showing 83% of evangelical Christians voted for him. Which of the Christian virtues has he ever exhibited? I looked for justification from evangelical's on line and came across the line "it's not about morality anymore it's about grace".

LarryHart said...

@Jerry Lambert,

Evangelicals support Trump because he's unapologetically mean to the people that they don't like. He's not an exemplar of their faith, but an attack dog in their service.

David Brin said...

“I do remember that you had the Holnist General Macklin admonish his lieutenant (Shawn, was it?) that Nathan Holn wasn't a racist…”

A version of that made it into the movie. I give Brian Helgeland credit for trying…

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Alfred. "Who speaks for the normal working man in either nation. Why? What do they gain for speaking for him."
In Germany they passed a law in 1976 that says that any company with over two thousand employees must have at least six members on the board of directors that represent the interests of its workers. Those six members are voted on by their fellow employees. It is called codetermination other European nations have tried to pass similar laws but as far as I know have failed.

Phaedrusnailfile said...

As an aside, if it is rude to butt into your conversations, I sincerely apologize. I don't get the opportunity to communicate with educated adults very often and so I try to do so here because I respect how civil you all are with one another.

Phaedrusnailfile said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony Fisk said...

@Shane: Welcome. It would be interesting to find out why similar laws have failed to pass in other countries. Marino might know?

No, you're not being rude, but you might consider deleting the duplicate post.

Marino said...

Tony Fisk, re: German style Mitbestimmung (workers's representatives inside the board). It's a German thing. Italy's unions had a more adversarial stance and focused more on having elected shop-stewards and a union board of representatives ("factory council", which sound a lot like the 1917 "worker's councils" :-) ) in charge of bargaining. The same happens in France. In both cases it's something inherited from the Communist tradition of the larger unions, CGIL and CGT. Unions from a Christian-Democrat background have a different approach, but they also prefer collective bargaining at local level more than Mitbestimmung arrangements

A form of worker's representation is proposed by a EU draft directive: but it has still to be turned into binding law by national legislation.

Marino said...

Nice strike by pope Francis against Bannon and the "Ecumenism of hate" joining together fondamentalist evangelicals and integralist Catholics (and there is even a remark about "Religion, political Manichaeism and a cult of the apocalypse", not to mention a blow to prosperity gospel)
The article signed by a Jesuit and a liberal Protestant together and La Civiltà Cattolica is a very old Jesuit magazine, and it's obvious that the article expresses the views of the pope

Some who profess themselves to be Catholic express themselves in ways that until recently were unknown in their tradition and using tones much closer to Evangelicals. They are defined as value voters as far as attracting electoral mass support is concerned. There is a well-defined world of ecumenical convergence between sectors that are paradoxically competitors when it comes to confessional belonging. This meeting over shared objectives happens around such themes as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values. Both Evangelical and Catholic Integralists condemn traditional ecumenism and yet promote an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state.

However, the most dangerous prospect for this strange ecumenism is attributable to its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations. The word “ecumenism” transforms into a paradox, into an “ecumenism of hate.” Intolerance is a celestial mark of purism. Reductionism is the exegetical methodology. Ultra-literalism is its hermeneutical key.

Carl M. said...

David writes:

"CarlM I believe the Kochs would be marginally nicer kings than many of the other oligarchs who flock to their secret meetings to undermine democracy and cheat and throttle competition and to foster the war on science. Huzzah! If I must choose between kings, I’ll pick the brothers who say “we really shouldn’t be so racist, people.”"

Compared to the Clintons, the Kochs are hippy-dippy flower children. They were calling for legalized gay marriage, a non interventionist foreign policy, and an end to the Drug War back in the 1970s.

Anyway, instead of our continuous arguing over whether ogres are worse than vampires or vice versa, I've done something that might lead to some less horrible options on the ballot. I've written a book on starting a third party that could actually win elections.

Paul SB said...


While I like it, I would half to say that the article is written in such scholarly language that most people, Catholic or otherwise, would start rolling their eyes and give up after the second sentence. Maybe that's just in my country, but I have met very few Catholics who actually follow the teachings of the Pope. Instead they just assume that their prejudices and pre-conceived notions must be in line with the Pope's thinking. I have often showed my students what the Pope has written about evolution when I had to teach the subject, and none of them care. And worse yet, their parents start calling the principal saying I should be fired for teaching Satanism. Their eyes just roll right over all the big words. The same is true for evangelicals.

Marino & Tony,

In the very first graduate level class I took we watched a video which included a board meeting in a German corporation that had a few American execs as guests. When one fellow, who was dressed more casually than the business suits everyone else wore, spoke up, one of the Americans asked, "Who the Hell is that guy?" When it was explained that he was a labor representative, the Americans shouted that this is Communism and stormed out of the room. Corporate culture! Well, American corporate culture, anyway. American execs aren't much different from European aristocrats in their disdain for most of the human race.

Carl M.,

The Clintons are politicians, and at this time Democrat politicians have to avoid appearing to be extremists, so they don't show the kind of hippy-dippy face that many of their voters would like. It's been that way since at least the Reagan Administration, when that double standard that Larry H. has so often points out set in. Republicans can be as flaming extremist as they like and they win votes that way, but if Democrats come across as being even slightly left of center they are accused of being communists and traitors.

LarryHart said...

Carl M:

Compared to the Clintons, the Kochs are hippy-dippy flower children. They were calling for legalized gay marriage, a non interventionist foreign policy, and an end to the Drug War back in the 1970s.

Too bad they don't do that now. They could use their powers for good instead of evil.

LarryHart said...

The review of Carl M's book:

Branding and Positioning. A wealth of possible party names and market positionings which take advantage of the loopholes.

This is not a criticism--just honest curiosity. Have you been listening to Norman Goldman? I ask because "branding and positioning" is practically his catch phrase.

Carl M. said...

LarryHart: the Koch Foundation has been pushing sentencing reform and hiring ex-cons lately. Koch Industries has stopped doing background checks in order to give ex-cons a second chance.

Pretty hippy-dippy. Definitely not Trumpy-grumpy.

LarryHart said...

@Carl M,

The examples you referred to as hippy-dippy seem more small-l libertarian. I don't object to that aspect of the Koch brothers. It's when they get all polluty and benefit-cutty and stand-your-groundy that they go awry.

Naum said...

In defense of Nancy MacLean Democracy in Chains

Andrew Seal
Libertarians and Historical Research

Carl M. said...

@Naum. A pathetic defense.

Socialists and liberals frequently tapped into black discontent to further their cause. This does not prove they didn't care about black injustice. It's just taking advantage of coincidences of interest.

As for Calhoun, I rarely hear him mentioned in libertarian circles. Jefferson, yes. Calhoun no. Lysander Spooner gets a couple orders of magnitude more mention than Calhoun.

Lysander Spooner was a prominent abolitionist and an anarcho-capitalist. He got in trouble for competing against the Post Office.

Therefore, by modern liberal logic [sic], if you believe in government or use the Post Office, you are a racist who believes in slavery. ;-þ

Unknown said...

This is my first time visiting this blog. That said, a friend recommended I read this post along with Solnit's “THE LONELINESS OF DONALD TRUMP.” I did; five times. And the results are in:

1--It takes first place in the amount of Hyperbole (capital H) one has ever written in a biography (which it purports to be).

2--Solnit's article fell short by not including the word “bombastic.” It used to be an enormously popular description of Trump but has since fallen out of favor (due to overuse it started sounding banal and began reflecting poorly on all of the talking heads and their “panelists”). However, the article did manage to use the description “buffoon” (twice, and for that Tosh and I thank you).

3--It reads like it was written by an armchair psychologist who watched too much Dr. Phil.

Of course, I could be wrong about the above but you decide. Anywho, thanks for listening.


David Brin said...

CarlM so? How about a quick summary for this community of your “two loopholes”?

Fact: in blue states various reforms have reduced bipolar partisanship. In California we have non-partisan primaries with top—two runoffs. With the result thatthe minority 40% in each district is actually listened-to. Yesterday, dems and goppers crossed party lines in the 2/3 passage of world-leading cap and trade. And Gerrymandering has been taken down only in blue states.

Face it, friend, your book will only be read by dems and libertarians. The people who should be reading it… the half of republicans who have a scintilla of decency and brains … won’t because their overwhelming personality trait is loyalty. And I doubt your loopholes punch a hole in that.

2016 should have been the year for a burgeoning LP! But that collapsed. Because Koch-paid propaganda has made 99% of libertarians reflexive “hold my nose” republicans, who can stomach oligarchy and proto-feudalism, but loathe above-all civil servants.

But sure. What are the loopholes?


As for the Koch's noblesse oblige, sorry. Does not work. They are generous with top-down largesse... while doing everything to seek actual, actual power. They finance propaganda that favors feudal oligarchy and reverence of property above competition, till that flip has become standard to libertarians. They finance every single endeavor to advance electoral cheating, from gerrymandering and voter suppression to fake "voting machines." They promote the War on Science and every other fact profession.

Patting the poor on the head and saying "let me grant you a boon" is nicer that some other would-be kings. Show me that kingship is inevitable, and I might go with you. And yes, across 6000 years, kingship does seem inevitable! (Yes, the 6000 years that you always always always and always utterly ignore.)

Me? I fight for the revolution.

David Brin said...

Marino, wow. The Pope is at war on our behalf. I hope he has a good taster.

Shane, future generations will wonder how we could ever have imagined that company boards would lack input from the folks who actually make the stuff. The moguls who oppose this are dumb as the union folks who oppose it.

MIND YOU… the Nazis allotted board positions to the aryan-purified workers’ unions. But those were obedient party members.

LarryHart said...

Determined to dismantle his predecessor’s legacy, Mr. Trump in the space of a couple of hours Monday night reluctantly agreed to preserve President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and failed in his effort to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care program.

George Washington (in the musical "Hamilton") could have told him:

Winning is easy, young man.
Governing's harder.

Meanwhile, Jefferson's eulogy continues to channel Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell:

I’ll give him this:
His financial system is a work of genius.
I couldn’t undo it if I tried.
And I tried!

LarryHart said...

...with "financial system" replaced by "health care system"

Tom Crowl said...

Republicans especially should become familiar with where their Party has gone...

The Scary Ghost of Ayn Rand Looms Over the Trump Cabinet

Misinforming the Majority: A Deliberate Strategy of Right-Wing Libertarians

Carl M. said...

The two loopholes can be found in the free sample on the site. Amazon gives out the secret sauce. They have also been posted on the web for about a decade.

I turned the manual into a book because of popular demand. A lot of people have been asking for it; traffic to my manual went way up due to Trump. The requests have come from people all over the political map.

David Brin said...

I couldn't spot the explicit loopholes. But I will comment on one sentence in your intro: Carl.

“Who will we vote for to give a balanced budget?”

How about the party that did it under Clinton and under Jerry Brown?

Oh, how about the only party that deregulates? The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) and Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) became captured eliminators of fair competition… and Congress abolished them! AT&T was broken up.  Or take Bill Clinton’s deregulation of the GPS system, freeing it for use by all, everywhere in the world. And the unleashing of the Internet — the greatest deregulation in history. Oh, and every one of those deregulations was done by democrats. The complainers - Republicans - never deregulate a thing, when they get power, except Wall Street and Banking and resource extraction. (With well-known results.) Oh yes and gambling.

Yes the dems want "freedom of the bedroom." They are also the ones under whom we have more economic growth, entrepreneurship, inventiveness and small business startups and better outcomes in every single metric of capitalism competitive health.

Here's a great idea for a third party. Savagely smash the GOP and take over its voters! The half of them who aren't feudalists and fundie haters.

I've posted a new blog, so onward