Friday, 22 July 2016

Death In The Arena.

Making America Grate Again: For the past week the world has watched with growing horror the fevered phantasmagoria of far-Right lunacy that the Republican Party is attempting to pass off as a political convention. Does the rise of Trump mark the fall of the American Republic?
 
WATCHING THE OPENING HOURS of the Republican National Convention was like encountering Bob Dylan’s prophetic visions made flesh. There were the ghosts of Belle Starr – resplendent in their blinding white Stetsons – all lustily cheering-on a procession of Trumped-up heroes, while the heads of chambers of commerce from across America looked on in ill-disguised embarrassment.
 
Even so, for sheer implausibility the opening day’s speakers would have taxed even Dylan’s surreal imagination.
 
Scott Baio – all grown up from his stint as “Chachi” on the television sit-com “Happy Days” – warmed-up the crowd. Speaking movingly to the teleprompter, he soaked up the startled audience’s applause like a parched field in the rain.
 
Bizarre enough for you? Well, you just wait, there’s more.
 
David A. Clarke is the Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Marching up to the podium, the gaudily decorated sheriff snapped out a brittle salute and almost immediately brought the Convention to its feet by declaring that “Blue Lives Matter!”
 
He was black.
 
The opening day’s theme was “Making America Safe Again” – making it just possible to discern the faintest outline of a rationale behind the Trump team’s extraordinary choices. If your slogan features a word as loaded as “again” where better to begin than with the Eisenhower-era certainties of “Happy Days”. And who better than a second-rate actor to sing their praises?
 
The same applies to the Convention’s response to the groundswell of anger and bigotry that has been whipped up by the recent attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Who better than a sheriff to make the pitch for law and order?
 
Not as good as Sheriff Andy Taylor from Mayberry, North Carolina, would have been, but Uncle Tom Clarke from Wisconsin was a more than adequate substitute. Better, perhaps, since having a white police officer poor scorn on the Black Lives Matter movement could very easily have been misinterpreted by the “liberal media”.
 
Not that was ever any fear of that.
 
The air of surrealism pervading the Convention’s agenda may have been disconcerting, but it was no more unsettling than the mainstream news media’s live coverage of the event. Veteran CNN broadcasters like Wolf Blitzer never batted an eyelid as the procession of freaks and fakes that had been billed as Republican movers-and-shakers made their way across the stage.
 
What’s been unfolding this presidential election year has been called “Post-Truth Politics”, and watching CNN’s coverage it’s easy to see why. The most mendacious misrepresentations of events; glaring sins of omission; outright lies: all are weighed carefully and analysed with the same ponderous gravitas of the seasoned news anchor. So determined are the big networks to escape the dreaded accusation of bias (in favour of what – the truth?) that all of them have steadfastly refused to acknowledge the blow-waved emperor’s nudity.
 
They justify this refusal to speak truth to power by citing their journalistic duty to remain “fair and balanced”. As if their failure to acknowledge the fevered phantasmagoria that the Republican Party is passing off as a political convention is somehow a noble gesture. That they will have to “balance” this week’s moral capitulation by presenting the Democratic Party’s Convention as a collection of equally freakish flakes and fakes only highlights the extraordinary damage “Post-Truth Politics” is inflicting upon the American electorate.
 
The Convention venue, Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, is billed as the home of the “Cavaliers, Monsters and Gladiators”. That these are all the names of Ohio sports teams in no way detracts from the thoroughly Dylanesque symbolism. Cavalier in his treatment of Republican Party tradition, and the fabricator of the most monstrous political expectations, Donald Trump has, predictably, turned his party’s convention into a four-day television mini-series for gladiatorial poseurs.
 
The noted American blogger, Richard Escrow, describes the man who would be crowned America’s king as “a bloated bleached-blond Narcissus transfixed by his own silhouette” – and it is hard to disagree. Who else would subject his party to night after night of saccharine tributes to his own greatness from his own family?
 
No stranger to Post-Truth Politics himself, Britain’s new foreign secretary will have little difficulty in making sense of the Cleveland spectacle. Boris Johnson has made a special study of Rome’s imperial dynasties. His classical historian’s eye will recognise the apotheosis of Donald Trump for what it is: the death of the American Republic.
 
This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 22 July 2016.

61 comments:

jh said...

I think when you criticise Trump you have to look the other way also. Politics has become like a big machine that is out of touch (including the media). It doesn't matter that Mrs Trump speech flopped as so many of those speeches have become vacuous nonsense. The public see a real person in Donald Trump.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

What fascinates me about Republicans in general and their politicians in particular is the number of famous Republicans, Trump and Bush to name two, managed to avoid their obligation to serve in the Vietnam war. And yet Republicans are so militaristic. How on earth can they support people like that? And it hardly ever gets brought up in the mainstream media, so maybe that's why people don't mind.
But Trump in particular has two 'qualities'? That should disqualify him from the presidency in Republican eyes.
Firstly he is not a good businessman, He's had four bankruptcies which he used to rip off investors and enrich himself. And he couldn't make money out of casinos. Which must make him the only person in the world that can't make money out of a casino for Christ's sake.
And secondly, he is not remotely religious. I cannot for the life of me understand how he is getting support from evangelicals. Now I know he's getting support from a few black people, but in every large enough group there are bound to be a few idiots – but evangelicals? He's been divorced how many times? He's a serial adulterer. How can they reconcile this with their beliefs? I mean he's not as bad as some – Newt Gingrich springs to mind – but it seems to me question should be running in the opposite direction as Trump. I suspect it must be their latent authoritarianism.
He also lacks ethics, more than any politician I've ever come across. Trump University seems to have been an outright scam , at least that's what they're calling it in the US. But that doesn't seem to matter either.
I guess this just goes to show that to some extent people's political beliefs are hardwired, and that True Believers in the Eric Hoffer mold are almost impossible to separate from their beliefs. I mean you come across that sort of person here 'occasionally', no matter what the evidence says they are not going to change their mind :).

Sanctuary said...

"...They justify this refusal to speak truth to power by citing their journalistic duty to remain “fair and balanced”..."

Funnily enough thoough, this rule doesn't apply to left wingers. The treatment of Jeremy Corbyn, a full establishment outsider, has been hysterically hostile in the British press. It seems they are only afraid to speak truth to power with money.

Anonymous said...

Yes all well and good to bag such a fake as Trump but it merely encourages the angry mob to support him more if the brainy & smart dump on their Trump. I expect he has support all around the world and so the best response from we 'who know better than the dumb masses' is to ignore him. Best never mention his name again Chris is my advice. Don't even give him the oxygen of acknowledging his existence.

Anonymous said...

His grab for power is a monstrous fraud against Americans, America and the rest of the world.
He is actually charging his organization for his own appearances. He is making money off the campaign donations. He charges the campaign donations for the use of his plane. Should he be elected President he will become CEO of America INC and his siblings will be the board of directors.
Please God do not bless America with this monster.

greywarbler said...








I think you are being a bit hard on US Americans Chris. They love entertainment and the circus that is their electioneering certainly provides spectacle. And also celebrities. They elected Ronald Reagan, a favourite movie star. I believe he fitted the nation's requirements for a President, he was tall, carried himself well, had good hair, and could tell a good joke.

The example you give of a black announcing Blue Lives Matter is really a satire on racism and embedded prejudice. I attach a clip from Blazing Saddles where the cunning of the outsiders confounds them slow-thinking white old boys. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB1E0oAAc-w

And then the black actor carries forward the joke by doing a stand-up comedy routine playing himself as a black sheriff menacing himself as a renegade, desperate black with a gun. Everybody is caught up in the drama and drop their guns to preserve the sheriff's life.
Funny nonsense. But how can this compete with USA real life politics?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjPBp6DOwgU

Anonymous said...

what can you say?...the Imperial America is preparing to fall..

peter petterson said...

Vomit.com

Anonymous said...

Of course, if you are a daughter/son of a billionaire who's paid for everything in your life and given you a job in your family 'corporation', you are hardly going to stand up and say: 'Well, in fact, my father is a top candidate for arsehole of the century!'

Goes without saying doesn't it? You just follow the money and shut up etc

jh said...

Remember Helen Clark and "I want a New Zealand where Blah, Blah, Blah..." and then what happened. We got guaranteed high house prices thanks to China's economic growth being off the scale and money flowing into "global cities" across the world. And a National Real-Estate party legitimised by adopting Clark's ethnically blind New World Order
https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/fms/Colleges/College%20of%20Humanities%20and%20Social%20Sciences/Documents/college-profiles/Super-Diversity.pdf?1C3B355D24C33ED8C8EACA602C9C29C5
[everyone having fun - or Devoy will get ya with the cane]
And tus think Trump is the madman?

Jigsaw said...

Well in the tradition of sneering anti-Americanism that we expect from the left.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well such interesting responses. JH's first post ever that didn't mention immigration, though he did make up for it later. And jigsaw is back. With more sneering in 12 words than there was in Chris's whole column :). I would really like to know jigsaw if you would in fact vote for Trump.
Given that:
1. He has used his bankruptcies to further his own ends and make himself rich while ripping off other investors. I mean is pretty much no dispute about this. Legal though it is, it does show a lack of ethics.
2. Trump University has been categorised by Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York as outright fraud. It is involved in at least two federal lawsuits, and was pretty much forced to close its doors in Texas, even though no court case was involved.
3. Trump's involvement in beauty pageants (archaic though they may be) resulted in at least one out-of-court settlement for sexual harassment.
4. Trump was sued by the city of New York for discriminating in housing rentals on the basis of race.
5. Trump was forced to settle with tenants of one of his buildings who he tried to drive out by various unethical means, so he could tear the building down and create luxury apartments.
6. Trump has employed illegal workers on some of his buildings, paying them as little as three dollars an hour, yet one of his major platforms is immigration reform.
7. Trump has been find many times for unethical business practices with regard to his casino operations.
8. He has almost certainly lied about his net worth, and refuses to release his taxes as is customary with presidential nominees.
9. Trump is constantly being sued by small business people – people who I would have thought you had a certain amount of sympathy for – for stiffing them on payments. And getting away with it, largely because they can't afford long involved court cases and he can.

So. Is this a sort of person you would like to see in charge of your country? Is what the public sees the "real" person of Donald Trump JH? And would anybody in their right mind actually vote for him?
Not holding my breath for answers mind.

Anonymous said...

Ronald Reagan was quite good at telling 'cowboy jokes' at the end of press conferences; nothing much else.

David Stone said...

Hi Chris
This is not a prediction, but Trump if he gets elected (not a prediction either) may turn out to be not nearly such a bad leader as we all instinctively assume. You would have to negate just about everything he has said in the last 12 months, but most statements he has made negate each other anyway. But apart from vowing to eradicate Isis in a tone that sounds like he's going to obliterate the whole middle east he did in one interview interview make perfectly moderate sense in his attitude to Syria. I don't think he is going in for regime change left right and centre like Hillary seems bound to continue to pursue.
How he got through the republican nomination process is remarkable considering his appeal must be his apparent anti- establishment image. He might be an utter disaster but he might not.
Cheers D J S

Anonymous said...

Jigsaw.
no sneering anti-Americism just justified anti-Trumpism. Why do you not ask the left in America what they think of Trump!!!!!.

Jh said...

Guerilla Surgeon said...
Well such interesting responses. JH's first post ever that didn't mention immigration, though he did make up for it later.
..........
You believe immigration is a net benefit to some one or some thing as do the establishment elite. That's where Trump comes in.

jh said...

The Standard says:
Smearing, bullying, belittling, vilifying, and group-attacks are the cracks by which liberal society starts to fall apart. No one said sustaining society was easy. It’s actual work. Labour’s written about that work in its recent centennial publication.

So let’s try the harder but far more helpful route.

What can we do more of, that makes such attacks here so unlikely?

What have we done for many, many decades as a society here that’s worked?

There you go, we talked about Islam, and it was good.
................

We set up the Race Relations Office and HRC who have an army of under employed to attack through newspaper and blogs; look what happened to Dr Greg Clydesdale "New Zealand's most racist acdademic". Spoonley wrote of "political psychopathology". Day in day out bank economists tell us the economy is ticking along nicely and immigration has been of "tremendous benefit". Editors and journalists are in raptures about diversity.... and through it all people remain by nature ethnocentric and people and place are not fungible (unless you are Dime on Kiwiblog who has made a "fortune in property" through Chinese immigration while enjoying "reasonably priced" blow jobs).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"You believe immigration is a net benefit to some one or some thing as do the establishment elite. That's where Trump comes in."

As I have said before, I believe in restricting immigration a lot more than we do now. As to the net benefit – I'm not at all sure what to believe there. I'm just sick of you turning every bloody topic round to the subject of immigration. It's unhealthy. You're a monomaniac. And if you think Trump's views on education are at all sensible or useful, you need your bumps reading.

greywarbler said...

GS on 23/7 12.51
You have produced a list of Trump's successes where he has trumped the USA system of regulations and laws. But he is behaving in the appropriate way for a master of neo lib business practices. Probably all the USA presidential candidates have equal malpractices, according to the view of non-neo-lib observers. It's just a matter of looking over the dross to see if there is some little real gleaming gold in the offering; being aware that any gleam might be fool's gold.

David Stone has been quite objective in his dissenting view. In a situation where there is no example of probity and unimpeachable standing worthy of enthusiastic choice, a trawl for Trump's possible factors in his favour is worthwhile in this lacklustre show of America's Got Talent!

greywarbler said...

Just a heads-up. RNZ on Wallace Chapman's show had some interesting discussions on political matters this morning (Sunday 24/7), The Spanish war and NZs involvement in it and the collectives started about that time, US correspondent on their political conventions, the rise of the right with a couple of our 'ivory tower' university professors having a chance to give some background for our information. Good stuff.

Recently another commentator from Britain said that there was an anti-intellectual trend in that country. Annoying as inconvenient facts and scenarios from specialists can be, we badly need these types to give us their version of the wider picture.

jh said...

peter Hitchens says
"I only wish the voiceless millions of conservative patriots had a spokesman as clear and resolute as Mr Corbyn is for his side.
The truth is that both major parties have been taken over by the same cult, the Clinton-Blair fantasy that globalism, open borders and mass immigration will save the great nations of the West.
It hasn’t worked. In the USA it has failed so badly that the infuriated, scorned, impoverished voters of Middle America are on the point of electing a fake-conservative yahoo businessman as President."
http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2016/07/peter-hitchens-a-british-trump-the-catastrophe-theresa-may-could-inflict-on-us-all-if-she-fails-to-r.html

He could easily be speaking for our Labour and the phoney "Geens" (Red Army advancing under brush).

greywarbler said...

jh
The inconvenient fact that you and Peter Hitchens ignore is that the great nations of the West aren't great future thinkers. They are reaping the results of their own shitty actions of the past. They have destroyed the balance of power in other countries, their economies, they have infiltrated and manipulated their political and social culture.

They have invested in armaments and attacks which form the basis of a horrendous economic business of continual conflict. They have not used their national intelligence and political manipulation into good neighbour programs that strengthen the ability of nations to rule themselves in humane and enlightened fashions.

There is no way to just turn their back on the fires they have started.
It is just wishful thinking and stupid of Peter Hitchens and his like to offer this idea as a viable policy on 'globalism, open borders and mass immigration'. And you are away with the fairies too jh. Try thinking of something practical that could be done.

Maybe what is now a disaster, handled differently could be made a positive. The canker won't go away without intelligent input of a social development nature. Harsh methods will provoke responses into the future like ripples in a pond. A lot of the problem arises from war and conflict from western intervention. Did they think they wouldn't be hit by a backwash or a hot blowback?

Some relevant quotes
A long dispute means that both parties are wrong. Voltaire.
famous-quotes.com
Never argue with an idiot they'll drag you down to their level and beat you through experience. coolinsmart.com

jh said...

Anonymous greywarbler said...

Recently another commentator from Britain said that there was an anti-intellectual trend in that country. Annoying as inconvenient facts and scenarios from specialists can be, we badly need these types to give us their version of the wider picture.
.............
Like these specialists?
https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/fms/Colleges/College%20of%20Humanities%20and%20Social%20Sciences/Documents/college-profiles/Super-Diversity.pdf?1C3B355D24C33ED8C8EACA602C9C29C5

Anonymous said...

jh, well written, open borders and mass immigration is eroding our western cultures, fuck the supporters of Islamic immigration, they tell falsehoods and promote danger for our future.

jh said...

So. Is this a sort of person you would like to see in charge of your country? Is what the public sees the "real" person of Donald Trump JH? And would anybody in their right mind actually vote for him?
Not holding my breath for answers mind.
.....

That is hard to answer GS as you are comparing apples and pears. What matters is what Rump is going to do now. He seems loose in saying what he will do, but you just hope whemnthe time comes he will be practical about it. Anyway the alternative is more of the same as Hitchen's puts it:
"The truth is that both major parties have been taken over by the same cult, the Clinton-Blair fantasy that globalism, open borders and mass immigration will save the great nations of the West.
It hasn’t worked. In the USA it has failed so badly that the infuriated, scorned," I like the idea of a politician who doesn't use political speak.

Anonymous said...

So now that it is clear that Russia is beyond state level hacking on the DNC, and is using that to destabilise the democrats in order to get Trump elected, will we see Chris come out for Trump?

He does fit with some of Chris' wackier positions of late:
pro Russia, anti globalisation, pro outsider candidate, protectionist, populist, nationalist, anti establishment.

It's a check list for columns here over that last 18 months.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/fms/Colleges/College%20of%20Humanities%20and%20Social%20Sciences/Documents/college-profiles/Super-Diversity.pdf?1C3B355D24C33ED8C8EACA602C9C29C5


Yes. We need people who do actual research and try to come up with the truth, while recognising that everyone has biases. And the alternative to this is? Well, Chris doesn't want me to say it anymore. But I will anyway. The alternative to this is making shit up.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" I like the idea of a politician who doesn't use political speak."
You have been happy with Hitler then? Because it was people who had decided that the system hadn't worked that elected him. The system isn't working. But it needs reform, not Trump. Judging people by what form of speech they use, and hoping that they will come right in the end, is a recipe for disaster.

Anonymous said...

In the past, I've had the misfortune to deal with a number of real estate agents who talked & behaved like Trump.

Complete arseholes & complete losers who achieved nothing.

Nick J said...

Satan versus Lucifer methinks. I remember the Cold War and the nuclear threat. Under Clinton as Secretary of State it has re-escalated with NATO aggressively pushing up to Russia. So the choice: a meglomaniac corrupt woman who will risk nuclear war and a buffoon who favours less military expenditure. On that non choice give me Trump.

For the rest Hillary stinks of self enrichment with dubious deals, a woman so aligned with Pentagon hawks, military industrial contractors, banksters and neo libs that it is hard to imagine her as either "centrist" or "left".

Its funny how the "establishment" and "left" align Trump with fascism and certain prominent tyrants. That from a bunch who if you were to reas Mussolinis own definition of fascism are far to the Right of him. Im talking about our corporatist neo lib nexus which both Trump and Sanders (plus Corbyn) have called out. A vote for Hillary is a vote for continuation of an unreformable system. A vote for Trump is a vote to help it on its way (not that Trump realises that).

Jh it gets boring going on about immigration but in broad terms I agree with Peter Hitchens. As a person who values different cultures for their own paricular strengths I think it dangerous to experiment without debating immigration. In NZ we have not had this debate, we still havent even settled Waitangi and the relationship between pakeha and tangata whenua. Yet despite this the faith of economic growth has bypassed any debate as politicians and Treasury tell us its good for us. Is it? Ask those who vote for Brexit or Trump. Its a debate that wont go away by labelling people racist or by ignoring it.

jh said...

@ GS how do you account for population explosion in migration "source countries"

Syria grapples with surging population
Ibrahim Issa, a jovial Syrian taxi-driver who wears a blue robe over an ample belly, has nine children from two wives. He plans to marry a third wife soon.

He says it is up to Allah whether more children arrive, and not for him to interfere, say, by using contraception. Like all Damascus taxi-drivers, he complains about the cost of living and how hard it is to make ends meet on the $300 a month he earns.

Issa, 43, shrugs when asked if all those mouths to feed don't make life harder for him. "No, I'm delighted," he grins.

Syria now has a population of 20 million people, with a growth rate that remains one of the world's highest at about 2.4 percent. But it has declined since averaging 3.2 percent from 1947-94, according to the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs.

"We have a population problem, no question," said Nabil Sukkar, a Syrian economist formerly with the World Bank. "Unless we cope with it, it could be a burden on our development."
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-population-idUSTRE6522FS20100603

Dennis Frank said...

That rarest of creatures, a leftist with a sense of humour, gives his rationale for a Trump victory here: http://michaelmoore.com/trumpwillwin/

He's right to suggest a focus on the Electoral College is more informative than a focus on current polls. Did Putin really get his hackers to send those DNC emails to Wikileaks?? If so, clever him. I await this public statement from Vlad: "We can work with anyone called Boris, of course, and hope that soul brother Donald will change his name to Igor."

Betrayed by the undemocratic skullduggery of the Democrat hierarchy, Sanders supporters will vote Trump or stay home. Bernie is satisfied with whatever cabinet post Hillary offered him as part of their deal. Back in the '80s I had to keep reassuring folks who complained that you couldn't tell the difference between the left & right any more: "Yeah, they're both braindead, but the right are morally-corrupt as well." No longer accurate, sadly, as moral-corruption has since become just as pervasive on the political left.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

@ GS how do you account for population explosion in migration "source countries"

I'm unclear as to what you mean. Why should I have to account for population increase anywhere? Populations tend to increase markedly when people are insecure and societies breakdown funnily enough. Give people enough security and they will limit their families. That's possibly one reason for the increase in Syria – assuming it exists, and you haven't just taken it from the Alex Jones website.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"That rarest of creatures, a leftist with a sense of humour."

That's funny, I can't think of too many right-wing comedians on the whole. Apart from good old "Tay" Radar. Who actually isn't funny. I guess you could consider that arse Jeremy Clarkson as a comedian. And as Anders Breivik said, he is “one of the few things worth watching on the Burqa Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)”

And: "Caroline Raphael, BBC Radio 4’s commissioning editor for comedy, recently confessed to difficulty in finding unashamedly right-wing comedians to balance the left-wingers on her shows. "

You see, traditionally the role of the "fool" or as we now call them today comedian is to speak truth to power. When you ARE part of the power it just doesn't work :-). Right-wing comedians such as they are seen to make a living mostly making jokes about people they look down on. Which I guess suits the sense of humour of their fans.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I noticed that Nate Silver has Trump ahead. Let's hope it's just caused by the feelgood ending to the nomination process. I'm beginning to stock up my survival bunker just in case.

Nick J said...

Anon @ 23:42 It is claimed that Russia leaked the emails. It was Wikileaks, no great fans of Putin.

The DNC did not deny them. What do you make of that?

Anonymous said...

Trump is the best lightning rod of American society as it is now--the full rotten fruits of Reagan's sowing. But who wants a rod to rule you? The most difficult times are coming soon for Humanity's brief period of plenty judging by the weather records set every month. Even the most remotely of the Left like Hillary Clinton, you expect, given the right circumstances will do what is needed.

It's a very split decision though.

jh said...

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Yes. We need people who do actual research and try to come up with the truth, while recognising that everyone has biases. And the alternative to this is? Well, Chris doesn't want me to say it anymore. But I will anyway. The alternative to this is making shit up.
......
The real debate is (now) between those who think behaviour is molded by environment versus the role of evolution:
In The Blank Slate, he notes "that there is a quasi-religious theory of human nature that is prevalent among pundits and intellectuals, which includes both empirical assumptions about how the mind works and a set of values that people hang on those assumptions. The theory has three parts".
-------
Steven Pinker
One is the doctrine of "the blank slate": that we have no inherent talents or temperaments, because the mind is shaped completely by the environment§parenting, culture, and society.

"The second is "the noble savage": that evil motives are not inherent to people but come from corrupting social institutions.

The third is "the ghost in the machine", that the most important part of us is somehow independent of our biology, so that our ability to have experiences and make choices can't be explained by our physiological makeup and evolutionary history.

These three ideas are increasingly being challenged by the sciences of the mind, brain, genes, and evolution," he says, "but they are held as much for their moral and political uplift as for any empirical rationale. People think that these doctrines are preferable on moral grounds and that the alternative is forbidden territory that we should avoid at all costs".
https://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/pinker_blank/pinker_blank_index.html


The downside of diversity
A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?
http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/05/the_downside_of_diversity/

Spoonley
Racism is the ideological belief that people can be classified into ‘races’ ... [which] can be
ranked in terms of superiority and inferiority ... racism is the acceptance of racial superiority … It is often used to refer to the expression of an ideology of racial superiority in the situation where the holder has some power. Thus prejudice plus power denotes racism in the modern sense ... racism is essentially an attitudinal or ideological phenomenon. … A dominant group not only holds negative beliefs about other groups but, because of the power to control resources, is able to practice those beliefs in a discriminatory way ... This ideological concept structures social and political relationships and derives from a history of European colonialism. The idea of ‘race’ has evolved from its use in scientific explanation (now discredited) and as a justification in the oppression of
colonised, non European people "
https://medianz.otago.ac.nz/medianz/article/download/34/39

Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21220339

jh said...

greywarbler said...

jh
The inconvenient fact that you and Peter Hitchens ignore is that the great nations of the West aren't great future thinkers. They are reaping the results of their own shitty actions of the past.
.....
Name your sources (from where does this model come from)?

greywarbler said...

@Dennis Franks
I don't think it's called moral corruption now - 'pragmatism' is the common parlance.

jh said...

One reason people vote for Trump is having to listen to the likes of Gary McCormick on the Panel talking about Trump voters as "red necks and bigots with little education"; "No Comments".
You might have noticed a change around these parts in recent days. Yes, we’ve deactivated the comment function on the Green Party blog.

We think it’s a good move that will allow us to keep delivering the views of our MPs direct to you. This isn’t a decision we’ve made lightly and we really appreciate our commenters who have engaged with us over the years. Still, it’s time to change things up.

Let’s be clear. The Greens love debate. We love hearing the views of New Zealanders. Indeed, one of our core Green principles is appropriate decision making/whakarite totika, something that only happens when you listen to others speaking. On the other hand, our values also mean that we should:

engage respectfully, without personal attacks,
actively respect cultural and individual diversity and celebrate difference,
enable participation with dignity, and challenge oppression, and
foster compassion, a sense of humour and mutual enjoyment in our work.

Over time, we’ve come to the realisation that the comments section on our blog doesn’t really fit with those values. Moreover, as social media has become the main tool people go to for news and discussion, we’ve decided to move with the times.

We’re not alone, indeed we’re in quite distinguished company. Radio New Zealand recently switched off its comment section, something news sites across the world have been doing for a while.

https://blog.greens.org.nz/2016/07/21/a-change-to-our-blog-switching-off-comments/

jh said...

Michael Reddell post refers to the motives behind Vogel's scheme of mass migration and public works:
In Vogel's own words:
"I will tell you the real facts, and I think I may say there are only two or three men now living who can speak with equal authority. The Public Works’ Policy seemed to the Government the sole alternative to a war of extermination with the natives. It comprised the construction of railways and roads, and the introduction of a large number of European immigrants. The Government argued that if they could greatly increase the population of the North Island and open up the means of communication through the Island, and at the same time give employment to the Maoris, and make their lands really valuable, they would render impossible any future war on a large scale. They recognised that in point of humanitarianism there was no comparison between the peaceful and warlike alternatives.
https://croakingcassandra.com/2016/07/27/a-former-prime-minister-and-minister-of-finance-on-immigration-policy/

Marama Davidson says
"We are a diverse, multicultural country"
https://blog.greens.org.nz/2016/07/19/racist-place-names-have-to-go-an-open-letter-to-the-minister/

What is interesting is why this got dropped from the lexicon when it is trendy to flagellate ourselves.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The real debate is (now) between those who think behaviour is molded by environment versus the role of evolution:"

Actually no it's not. The debate is how much of our behaviour is influenced by evolution versus how much is influenced by environment. I can't think of anybody who thinks behaviour is created either by one OR by the other.

"A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?"

I read it. I have a good idea why you posted it, but his conclusions were not nearly as clear-cut as you seem to think. He says there are advantages as well as disadvantages to diversity. Again, it's a case of where do we draw the line.

The rest of it, as usual I have no idea why you posted it at all. Still, if one of the challenges in my life is going to be to figure out your shit I guess that's life. I can always just ignore you.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I've been looking around various American websites – the ones that still allow comments anyway. This sort of thing is not uncommon,

"I don't really support Trump, it is more of a protest against the establishment vote. If Romney were running against Sanders I'd vote for Sanders.
It sounds stupid but the entrenched political class in Washington isn't listening so we have to make it more painful for them to do so."

That was a direct result of me asking a known libertarian (of all people) why he seem to support Trump. People all over the western democratic world seem to think that politicians simply aren't listening. It's not 1968 yet, and maybe the frustration is expressed in voting rather than on the streets mostly, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was coming.

Dennis Frank said...

GS wrote "traditionally the role of the "fool" or as we now call them today comedian is to speak truth to power". Yes, I knew that actually - seems to have been useful to rulers. Not just as entertainment, but like a reality-check. A tip-off illuminating some deeper dimension of current situations that everyone could share as a helpful insight. Culture-enriching.

And you're correct re lack of rightist comedians (unless you wanna count Paul Henry). Comedians tend to be apolitical due to inability to take politics seriously.

Andrew Little made a cute play at being the funny guy today: calling the Greens irresponsible for creating a plan to drop Ak house prices 50%, as publicly called for by a former Reserve Bank chairman (Grimes) & a former Reserve Bank Governor (Brash). The idea that leftists ought to demonstrate prudence and competence in the handling of government financial policy is anathema - a joke. He must've consulted with Grant Robertson: `to impress more voters, we need to seem wackydoodle’.

greywarbler said...

jh
Your long comments block my screen. As for me passing an opinion and then having a source demanded of it? I have a lifetime of remembered information not just one plus my reading, observation and attempted understanding. I don't have to quote some learned person to back everything general that I say.

If required that would result in firing excerpts of others' statements at each other like bullets. I wonder if Monty Python has ever done a skit on this. Personal cogitation must occur sometime or we will be replaced by talking books.

jh said...

Guerilla Surgeon said...


"The real debate is (now) between those who think behaviour is molded by environment versus the role of evolution:"

Actually no it's not.
........
Well how about the Standard Social science Model versus Evolutionary Psychology?

How does Spoonley's definition (and implied explanation) of racism fit with the fact that ethnocentrism is moderated by oxytocin?

Putnam believes immigration is beneficial to the US (unlike Paul Krugman and George J. Borjas) he continues:
"Given these manifest benefits [immigration], what is the impact of this diversity on social solidarity and cohesion in the short to medium run? I won’t try to summarize complex social science in a few sentences here; I urge you to read the “E Pluribus Unum” article. Suffice it to say that retaining social cohesion in the context of increased ethnic diversity is one of the pressing issues of our time.
As you will see when you read “E Pluribus Unum,” my intention is not to argue against diversity and immigration but to point out that if we do nothing,
the reweaving of our communities may take half a century, judging from our past experience. By focusing concertedly on bolstering social solidarity in the
decades ahead, we can dramatically shorten this period."
.........
Really what we see is National Realestate (MBIE) teaming up with those who want to prove (force) an ethnicless society works (and a borderless world).

This is covered in The Great Debate: xenophobia.

Guerilla Surgeon said...


"Well how about the Standard Social science Model versus Evolutionary Psychology?"

How about it indeed? Why don't you explain what the funk you're on about in simple words instead of quoting huge chunks of other people. It surely isn't that hard? I mean I have a working knowledge of what evolutionary psychology is, I studied anthropology sociology and psychology a bit, but you don't make sense. If I was a perfesser marking your stuff, I just put a line through it and say "plagiarism". Or – "put it in your own words." If you want to put forward an argument, you have an obligation to be clear.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" Comedians tend to be apolitical due to inability to take politics seriously."

No kidding? Maybe you should tell Stuart Lee, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Lewis Black, Jon Stewart, Alexei Sayle, Frankie Boyle, Bill Bailey, Eddie Izzard , Russell Brand, Ava Vidal, Samantha Bee, Sandy Toksvig............. I could go on. I doubt if you could come up with a similar right-wing list. The problem with right-wing comedians of course is that the essence of comedy is being anti-authoritarian. And punching up rather than down. The only real anti-authoritarians on the right are libertarian, and they don't have much of a sense of humour due to reading too much Ayn Rand I suspect.:) Their hero is particularly humourless. So basically you're stuck with that arse Clarkson. Unless you count Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. Good luck with that.

Dennis Frank said...

Okay GS, looks like I was over-generalising huh? I give you Jon Stewart (which I thought of myself yesterday) and George Carlin. I'll give you Lenny Bruce, too, even tho you never mentioned him. I'm unfamiliar with the others.

Toby Manhire, in his column, described Boris as a human bouncy castle. Apt, eh?
I agree with you re anti-authoritarian. Media owners tend to the right, so comedians targeting the right are liable to be excluded from any mass audience.

I was adolescent when I discovered the Goons, and those three used no political satire in their shows. Next decade Monty Python reached their heights only a few times (dead parrot, ministry of silly walks) but likewise apolitical content. Barry Humphries doing the Oz cultural attache (Sir Les Patterson) was brilliant, but none of his characters took a political stance. Nor Marty Feldman, although I vaguely recall the straight guy in At Last the 1948 Show did political satire (David Frost) - strictly non-partisan.

greywarbler said...

jh
Really what we see is National Realestate (MBIE) teaming up with those who want to prove (force) an ethnicless society works (and a borderless world).

I think you mistake MoBIE's purpose. It appears to be pushing to use borderless, global hegemony to harvest cash from wealthy outsiders, ethnicity is of no consequence. Wealthy dudes from anywhere are welcomed, that's the motto. Whoever looks our way and has dosh is okay with us.

It's an opportunity to import the wealth needed to balance off the outflow of NZ money to pay for our imports of goods. Goods that we should be manufacturing here and employing NZs to make. And facilitating employment rich businesses here should be the work of the Min of Business, Innovation and Employment. But under National Min stands for minimum.

They are just part of the importing culture of our economy.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if for the lack of clarity, this election isn't a case of the plutocratic establishment coming through the middle of the people's general dissatisfaction.

That however would place Trump as the candidate of the people.

The divide between those who find their way by thinking (Sanders) and those who do by feeling (Trump), however, is as serious as that between over-dogs and under, judging by what I think of my born-again brother.

Can't help feeling, re Clinton, 'trust the rich, sure can't'. 84 taught us that about the middle class Labourites. Tho' you and me , Chris, are alright.

Maybe if Trump had offered Sanders the vice-presidency...

jh said...

here's a better candidate than trump
Laurence Kotlikoff
https://croakingcassandra.com/2016/07/30/an-economist-for-president/#comments

jh said...

The Syrian government convened a high-level committee in the mid-1980s to draw up a long-term population strategy but, according to officials working in the field, it was effectively mothballed for more than two decades and growth occurred without interference.

Now there is a renewed sense of urgency, with population growth continuing to far outstrip economic expansion and the ability of the country to provide jobs, schooling and food for so many extra people.
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/population-surge-in-syria-hampers-countrys-progress

Just like MBIE population growth (through immigration) is a "critical economic enabler".

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Clive James just described Boris as something like – looking like he's been rolled over by a horse and then seduced by one. But then he's a humorist rather than a comedian perhaps :).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

The problem is anonymous, that Trump attracts true believers. I was talking to one the other day who said "well he's a good businessman." I had to explain to her that he had been bankrupt for five times, not necessarily because he was bad at business – though he was because he couldn't make money out of casinos – but that he used it as a business strategy. I hope I had some small influence on her appreciation of the man, but I doubt it. But those who think he's been sent by God, I cannot for the life of me think of an answer to, except that God has exceedingly terrible taste, and is possibly trying to destroy the USA. That goes over like a lead balloon.

greywarbler said...

GS at 11.50
Your meaning is obscure. But then he's a humorist rather than a comedian perhaps :). To whom are you referring, Boris or Clive - it could be a moot point?

Boris has the colouring of a palomino pony gone to seed, don't know if he would attract more than a horse (hoarse) laugh though. Strangely, he and Trump are growing closer to being fraternal twins.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I go on the rule of thumb – don't know if it's grammatical or not – that the subject of the previous sentence is always the he/she and the next one. So yes I was talking about Clive James. I don't know what his politics are, but if he was right-wing I would still read him. Similarly with PJ O'Rourke, the only right-wing humorist or columnist for that matter that's worth reading.

jh said...

Put aside all the fancy academic jargon and analysis, step back, look at what’s actually going on, and apply some basic common sense.
It’s really not that hard to see what’s happening. It’s no mystery. You’re making it harder than it needs to be.
Trump’s appeal is a backlash against political correctness.
He’s decisive, unafraid, and unapologetic.
He’s the only candidate in the entire race, Republican or Democrat, who is NOT walking on the eggshells of political correctness, constantly in fear of “offending” this or that identity group.
His actual words and ideas are secondary to this, if they matter at all.
He’s a breath of fresh air amid the staleness of modern politics. It’s as if he’s thrown open a window to let a cool breeze rush through the stagnant smoke-filled room of politics as usual. Many people who’ve felt trapped in the room – frustrated, disenfranchised – are rushing to the open window. The view out the window is immaterial.
http://righteousmind.com/the-key-to-trump-is-stenners-authoritarianism/
From comments

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Put aside common sense, because common sense often tells us things that aren't true. It's just lazy thinking. Don't worry too much about jargon, but try to do some analysis. Like this.

"Trump's appeal is a backlash against political correctness."

When you look at what Trump's supporters have actually said, it's an excuse for the most vile, racist, bigoted bullshit you've ever seen. It was the New York Times that published their unedited comments.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/04/us/politics/donald-trump-supporters.html?_r=0

See – when you say the words political correctness you have no argument.

"He is decisive, unafraid, and unapologetic."

Well, I can dispose of decisive, because he's changed his mind about letting Muslims into the country at least two or three times. First of all he wants to ban them all. Then he wants to ban them all except for friends and Muslims serving in the military, then it's just a suggestion, then it's just Muslims from countries with a history of terrorism – I could go on about that but I won't.

On taxes? First he says the rich should pay more taxes. Then he says no they shouldn't we should cut taxes for the rich. Then it's cut taxes by 10 billion in its cut taxes by 3 billion. That's really decisive.
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/history-donald-trumps-flip-flopping-issues-presidential-campaign/story?id=39063811

I'd probably use up too much space to explain his indecisiveness on building a wall, guns, intervention in Libya, Japan having nuclear weapons, climate change, debt abortion, minimum wage, political spending, torture, David Duke's endorsement and the Ku Klux Klan, Iran, healthcare. You see if you abandon your "common sense" and actually do some research you can avoid the jargon and find out the truth.


Unafraid? Unafraid of what? You managed to avoid war service in Vietnam. Unapologetic I'll give you.

"He’s the only candidate in the entire race, Republican or Democrat, who is NOT walking on the eggshells of political correctness, constantly in fear of “offending” this or that identity group."
He's the only candidate who makes racist remarks, sexist remarks, and encourages violence against minorities in his speeches. Again – research.

"His actual words and ideas are secondary to this, if they matter at all."

That's the most idiotic statement I've ever come across. His actual words are what provoke – or at least bring to the surface – the seething anger in his supporters. These are the words that caused several protesters at his rallies to be assaulted. These are the words that cause his supporters to get out on the streets and assault Muslims – or maybe Sikhs because his stupid supporters can't tell the difference. You think his offer to pay their legal fees (something I doubt he actually will do) is secondary or doesn't matter? That's pure FUCKING stupidity.

Now here is my opinion, based on common sense. He's a breath of fresh air to those people who want to go back to the 1950s, when white people were on top. When women couldn't get a bank loan without their husband's permission. When you could beat up gay people without any consequences. When women "provoked" rape. When you could call people chinks, kikes, niggers, and people like Clint Eastwood would laugh, because it's not racist.
People have latched onto him because they are becoming less and less relevant, because their wages have consistently gone down since the 1970s, and because they are becoming a minority in the US and they are afraid of losing power.
He plays them like a violin, he's got no policies worth the name – except perhaps for spending money on infrastructure – he's completely illogical, indecisive, and not even a good businessman. There – fixed that for you.

Chris Trotter said...

To: "n"

Send me your e-mail address and I will send you the relevant article.