Plato’s weekend readings, episode 54, full Trump edition

readingsHere it is, our regular Friday diet of suggested readings for the weekend:

Two very important graphs embedded in this article on Brexit and Trumpism.


There is a line from Hayek through Thatcher and Reagan to Trump. And it’s time to change the narrative.

A semi-useful 12-step program to respond to the election of Trump.

Trump’s attacks on the media, they are only going to get worse.

No, Philosopher Richard Rorty did not prophesy the rise of Trump.

Education, not income, predicted who would vote for Trump vs Clinton.

Umberto Eco’s 14 signs of fascism.

279 thoughts on “Plato’s weekend readings, episode 54, full Trump edition

  1. SocraticGadfly

    What Alan said. That’s why I vote for ideas first, individuals second. Shit, if Hilary wanted to win an election, or if anybody wanted her to win, she probably could have whistled up Dick Morris.

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  2. dbholmes

    Hi Alan (and Synred),

    “this election actually affected my health, and I’m usually a pretty healthy guy”

    I hope both of you guys stay strong and not let this thing get to your health.

    “Dems may need to revise the means of achieving liberal ends, but I really doubt that many here at least are at odds about what those ends are.”

    While this is true, if the point is that people should vote for their interests (the goal) more than anything else, then arguably Hillary was not someone liberals should have voted for (either in the primary or in the election).

    That is to say, as a candidate in and of herself people were arguably just as deluded thinking she would serve their interests, as voters for Trump thought he would serve theirs (using examples given by Synred). She has a solid history (especially if you bring in the policies of her husband’s which she supported) of not delivering for the poor and minorities, in fact these communities were devastated. This is hardly a controversial observation, as she herself has had to backtrack on having supported so many things.

    Their rein of error included dismantling the New Deal social safety net, which I would argue is much worse than the flimflam Trump just sold coal miners. In fact, if they had not done that, it is likely the families of coal miners would not be in such a desperate position today that promises to keep or grow such jobs would have worked on them.

    Now it is certainly plausible to say that Hillary presented less of a threat to liberal voters’ interests than Trump, and since she was more likely to win (because two party system) they should vote for her rather than third parties (which would have ACTUALLY represented their goals).

    But then that would seem to concede what people like Dan and I were arguing. Means are very important to consider, especially when competing with someone who could strip so much of one’s goals if you lose.

    In any case, the point was not just about means of persuading people (though there was that). Equally important is the fact that by holding such dismissive positions one may fail to inquire and understand legitimate motivations you yourself did not understand and can address (better than Reps). That is about good governance.

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  3. dbholmes

    Hi Socratic, that last link was very interesting as was the one by Ralls, comparing Hillary policies with Trump policies.

    I’m still not getting how libs weren’t as much conned by Clinton, regarding what was best for them, as cons were by Trump. Maybe libs a little less… maybe. They were both snake-oil salesmen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. synred

    I hope both of you guys stay strong and not let this thing get to your health.

    Thanks. I’m still recovering well. My wife is in hosp. with one of her ‘altered state’ episodes (the docs come up with nada as usual). If anything P2F has been a useful distraction. Nothing like a few rounds with Dan to keep me alert.

    Indeed, I’m inspired to perhaps write one of my little essays that nobody reads on the liberal perspective and why we (or at least I) being in favor of civil liberties is not inconsistent with ‘smugly’ thinking many people are idiots. Maybe I’ll try to co-op the ‘smug’.

    Dan has meanwhile backed off from saying something to the effect that ‘he couldn’t take me seriously’ to suggesting a political strategy — avoid gaffes like Obama’s “cling to their guns and religion’ (which is true but impolitic to say).

    Anyway it passes the time though completely futile w.r.t. the Donald.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. synred

    t>hat last link was very interesting as was the one by Ralls, comparing Hillary policies with Trump policies.

    I really don’t see how you can say that. HRC laid out detailed policies, the Donald simple minded generalities. HRC might not implement her policice, e.g., I suspect she is at heart a free trader and after adding a little window dressing would go for something much like the TPP. She wouldn’t privatise medicare; the Donald says he wouldn’t cut medicare, but hist appoint to HHS belies that. If Ryan passes vouchers Trump likely will sign it. This will screw me over, not a case of interfering with somebody elses interest.

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  6. dbholmes

    Hi Synred, sorry to hear about your wife, two people down at the same time is never easy.

    “I really don’t see how you can say that.”

    First, I would ask if you read the Ralls piece? I thought he did a fair job explaining where she was likely to better, the same as, and potentially worse than Trump. She has a history that is not very good for minorities and the poor based on a neo-lib ideology. It isn’t like this is a secret, people were openly protesting at her events. Again her husband (and she approved) gutted our social welfare system. I can’t see how you wouldn’t admit that anyone (or at least the poor) having voted for a Clinton thinking they would be better off, failed to vote in their self-interest.

    About her platform… She supported TPP before it got questioned, then she lip-service back-pedaled on it but most analysts said she would end up supporting it after the election (and people went to sleep). She is weak on abortion rights (I can explain this further if needed but picking Kaine should tell you everything) and lgbt rights. You certainly did not see a plan put forward for those. About the only selling point that could be made is that it was unlikely she’d put another Scalia on the SC as Trump (unbelievably) bragged he would do (yuck!). How many people argued we had to hold our noses to vote for her and/or stated she was the lesser of two evils? That should tell you right there that people are not exactly voting for their best interests, only a block to prevent some interests from being more undermined than she would have.

    Second, and more importantly, voters had the ability to choose more than just Hillary on the left. Initially in the primaries and then in the election. They had candidates which had better (and better described) plans than she did. So they voted against their interests twice. That her victory in the primary was due in large part to super-delegates and a DNC backed secret quashing of Sanders, should have sent liberal voters into as much of a protest mood as they are now against Trump, actually more so since there is no evidence he (as opposed to Clinton) cheated their way to the top.

    While I understand the disgust about a Trump victory, I was stunned and disappointed by liberals not being concerned about a Clinton presidency. That we would dodge one bullet by not having Trump, would not mean we had dodged both heading our way.

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  7. synred

    I really don’t see how you can say that.”
    First, I would ask if you read the Ralls piece? I thought he did a fair job explaining where she was likely to better, the same as, and potentially worse than Trump. She has a history that is not very good for minorities and the poor based on a neo-lib ideology. It isn’t like this is a secret, people were openly protesting at her events. Again her husband (and she approved) gutted our social welfare system. I can’t see how you wouldn’t admit that anyone (or at least the poor) having voted for a Clinton thinking they would be better off, failed to vote in their self-interest.

    I’m not that fond of Clintons. They did lots of bad stuff including gutting and finish off the Reagan revolution and almost throwing us into a depression. I also thing blacks like her so much. They too were voting against their own interest and being idiots) in preferring her to Bernie.

    However, I don’t think she worse than Trump. He’s a blow hard nut who spouts meaningless gibberish and he seems to think Nuclear weapons can be used. His appointments so far don’t comfort me.

    His guy Price at HHS is a threat to my economic interest.

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  8. synred

    .>About her platform… She supported TPP before it got questioned, then she lip-service back-pedaled on it but most analysts said she would end up supporting it after the election (and people went to sleep).

    Indeed I don’t trust her on TPP and Trump has opposed it more less consistently. Still it’s not the biggest problem and wouldn’t chose Trump on that basis.

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  9. synred

    Dan, You did rather specifically say you ‘couldn’t trust synred’ if I thought ‘Reality have a liberal bias’. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was directed more at my opinion (which is a bit more subtle than the joke) than at more well known liberals saying stupid truths.

    I did actually did make an attempt to influence Bernie by send my talking points about transaction tax to assorted obscure Bernie advisers via their academic emails. No reaction of course. The only person I implied was stupid was Chris Mathews who seemed not to understand what a transaction tax is.

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  10. synred

    Eugenics? Margaret Sanger yea. Fighting Bob, I doubt.

    Anyway current progressives would not tolerate eugenics. It makes no more sense to blame them for that, than it does to blame current democrats for Jim Crow or Repubs for freeing the slaves <{;_]=

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  11. Daniel Kaufman

    Of course current progressives wouldn’t tolerate eugenics. Who ever said they would?

    The point is just that eugenics was not incidental to progressivism. If it isn’t eugenics now, it’ll be whatever horrible thing is deemed as “progress” next. That, indeed, is precisely the problem with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. michaelfugate

    “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.” G.K. Chesterton

    Liked by 4 people

  13. synred

    The point is just that eugenics was not incidental to progressivism. If it isn’t eugenics now, it’ll be whatever horrible thing is deemed as “progress” next. That, indeed, is precisely the problem with it.

    Horrible things like universal health care, regulating the street, cheap college [a] (even Bernie’s is not literal free — you still have to eat and sleep someplace).

    What the hell do you think is so horrible about progressive program? Safe places and such? Not the domain of the feds anyway.

    And HRC ain’t much of a progressive anyhoo…

    [a] Good for you!

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  14. SocraticGadfly

    More on Stein’s recount, including that the Green Party executive committee officially opposed it, in large part because she did not ask for a recount in just-as-close blue states Minnesota and New Hampshire, the back story to that, and a sidebar on how this is opening the door to election hacking conspiracy theorists, all right here in my second piece on the recount: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2016/11/recount2016-green-party-split-calling.html

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  15. synred

    Gore made the mistake of not asking for a full recount in Florida, but only in the ‘blue’ counties. A full recount made more sense as the vote in all the counties and if there was any cheating it was likely to against gore in the ‘red’ counties and for him in the ‘blue’.

    However, Jill is not trying to win an election. There been something strange about exit polls since 2000 and it makes some sense to try to investigate it.

    It also bugs Trump which I count as a plus.

    And from the Green party point of view Jill has got more time on ,TV than at anytime during the entire election. Having the Trumpistak call her names is also a positive.

    As for not picking a close ‘blue’ state, she has to pick her battles. She hasn’t collected that much money. We gave her 20 bucks. I like seeing Trump and his sycophants squirm.

    Incidentally Rober Traynham (a Republican)

    https://www.everipedia.com/robert-traynham/

    was supportive of the recount on MSNBC.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. sethleon2015

    The Chesterton quote is humorous but has me wondering a few things:

    Was the left-wing naming convention move from ‘liberal’ to ‘progressive’ due to any actual ideological change or was it just a branding move due to the way conservatives were able to make liberal into a pejorative term?

    It seems more of a branding attempt to me than a real substance driven change but I’m asking as I don’t actually know the details well.

    Also, isn’t it sort of endemic to the nature of a two party system that we would end with folks identifying themselves under brands that emphasize a mutually exclusive difference in ideology that works against compromise?

    I mean if we look at the idea of progress, and the conservative aspect that values tradition it should be clear that any real progress must always begin from where we are and take into account what has been useful in getting us there (tradition). So being stuck in tradition for traditions sake alone is problematic because not all aspects of tradition were truly useful and because the world is contingent and what was useful may become outdated, but of course building of what exists often makes a lot more sense than starting from scratch. So a better model would both look forward taking the true and tried into account for each problem in context.

    What would be a good branding name for a model like this and would it have a chance of attracting common folk not in the 1 percent who currently identify as both consrvative and progressive?

    Just asking 🙂

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  17. synred

    Was the left-wing naming convention move from ‘liberal’ to ‘progressive’ due to any actual ideological change or was it just a branding move due to the way conservatives were able to make liberal into a pejorative term?

    The latter. Liberals are such wusses that a little right-wing name calling (‘smug liberal’) cause them to change there application. A modern progressive is just a liberal by any other name.

    It does have the advantage that it isn’t confused with old Adam Smith era meaning. ‘Liberal’ is fraught with ambiguity. Neo-liberal is old-liberal with an overlay of warmongering.

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  18. synred

    it would be nice to have an ‘ism’ for regulated capitalism. Capitalism has it uses, but it needs to be restrained from excessive greed and gambling that drives us into the ditch.

    Per FDR the was a depression about every 20 years. After the new deal reforms these stopped. A bit more 20 years after Reagan started the dismantling of the new deal, we have a near miss. If we don’t fix it … a depression next time. Maybe sooner with Trump or maybe an artificial boom.

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  19. brodix

    Arthur,
    While I don’t have it sourced very extensively, it does seem FDR borrowed a lot of underemployed capital to put underemployed labor to work. As with the last 36 years, it doesn’t get much attention that government borrowing is integral to the functioning of capitalism.
    I think that if economists were truly objective, an entirely different understanding of the nature of finance would emerge.
    As it is, with all that government debt, the holders of those bonds will eventually cash them in for public assets. Aka public/private partnerships.

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  20. dbholmes

    Hi Synred,

    “I’m not that fond of Clintons. They did lots of bad stuff including gutting and finish off the Reagan revolution and almost throwing us into a depression. I also thing blacks like her so much. They too were voting against their own interest and being idiots) in preferring her to Bernie.”

    Then you agree with my point almost entirely.

    “However, I don’t think she worse than Trump. He’s a blow hard nut who spouts meaningless gibberish and he seems to think Nuclear weapons can be used.”

    Since I didn’t say she was worse than Trump, that has no effect on my argument. My argument was only that people who voted for her could be equally, though arguably slightly less, voting against their own interests. In the end it comes down to what they were voting for. Realistically there were some issues where she could be worse than Trump, some identical, and some better. On SC nominations she would almost have to be better, which formed a very strong case to vote for her.

    On the nuclear weapons thing, I’m not sure how many times I have to point out that she and Trump had the exact same policy! This was acknowledged during the debates by the moderators themselves (who were not his friend), and then he made explicitly clear he would not have the US launch first. You are severely quote mining one quote which has since been put into solid focus. If you are concerned with tracking reality you need to re-calibrate on that issue.

    “The latter. Liberals are such wusses that a little right-wing name calling (‘smug liberal’) cause them to change there application. A modern progressive is just a liberal by any other name.”

    No no that isn’t true at all. But see the next post where I address seth on the issue of “progressivism”.

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  21. dbholmes

    Hi Seth (and Synred),

    “Was the left-wing naming convention move from ‘liberal’ to ‘progressive’ due to any actual ideological change or was it just a branding move due to the way conservatives were able to make liberal into a pejorative term?”

    No. Absolutely not. Progressivism as a subset of the left is an actual thing with an actual history which predates the “shaming” of liberal as a term. Not meaning to sound sharp but all one needs to do is google or wiki to find this out…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Era
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressivism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressivism_in_the_United_States

    It is a mixed bag of policies some that classical liberals would like side by side with genuine horror shows. The difference is that historical progressivism was authoritarian in nature believing that gov’t powers should be used to create a better society (according to their understanding).

    I was a liberal who was invited to join progressive groups prior to the word liberal becoming totally despised (pre-Dukakis) and it was clear to me they had a different idea of what was “progressive” and “liberal” meant. I read through the history and was appalled. This was decades ago.

    And Progressivism has not changed, outside of denying prior excesses/failures like Republicans deny Bush Jr today. Currently the idea still supports (though my guess is the tune will change) the costly war on drugs, as well as anti-sex and speech laws (using feminist or just plain prudish ideology). Given its acceptance of authoritarian mechanisms to enforce “improvement” on society based on whatever whim is popular at the time, I expect more horror shows in the future.

    “Horrible things like universal health care, regulating the street, cheap college”

    Again you can be a liberal and support such things without being a Progressive (according to the actual historical concept) which allows for garbage like prohibition, other anti-drug laws, anti-sex legislation and policies, and eugenics.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. dbholmes

    Hi Synred, my promised reply to Seth with added info for you had (I guess) enough links that it is stuck in moderation. Hopefully it will be approved soon.

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  23. brodix

    Seth,

    The issue goes fairly deep into basic psychology, aspects of which I’ve tried pointing out.

    We are naturally linear creatures, given our narrative function logically evolved from our navigation function and history and thus civilization arise from narrative.
    So we apply this basic sense to nature in ways which don’t always apply. Specifically if a little is good, more must be better. Whether politics, economics, wealth, happiness, whatever.
    Yet we exist in a binary, polar, reciprocal, cyclical reality, in which all motion is balanced by other motion.
    So if we were to develop a more complex understanding of politics, where, say we understand that bottom up organic, social energy is necessarily balanced by top down cultural and civil forms and structures, we might better understand why people with opposing views naturally and necessarily exist in the same reality and that freedom taken to extremes is chaos and anarchy, while order taken to extremes is totalitarian and often in conflict with similar cultures.
    Yet I can’t even get the very reflective and intelligent people in this conversation much interested in the idea, so you have some idea why it is not going to happen anytime soon in the larger world.
    So we have Trump in charge, because he “knows how to make money.”

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  24. synred

    Since I didn’t say she was worse than Trump, that has no effect on my argument

    i was not responding to you specifically, but more various statements along the lines that Trump is no worse than Hillary.

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