Why Trump Must Win

America is facing a grave crisis, not only in its struggling economy, but in its relations with the world. The last few decades since the collapse of communism (in Russia, at least) have not seen any change in the approach of the Washington Establishment to international affairs.

The neocon cabal remains rooted in the mindset of the Cold War. After the end of the communist threat to Europe, there was a chance to really ‘build bridges’ and welcome Eastern Europe and Russia back into the club of free Western nations. Far from cooperating, the US administration set about trying to loot Russia and turn it into another satrapy of the banking oligarchy in New York. This led to the rise of oligarchs in Russia, but, also, to the rise of Putin, who could at least see what Russia had to face in order to survive.

In the Middle East, the policy of the Hussein White House has been one of aiding and abetting Islamic terrorism everywhere, even to the extent of giving Iran a pathway to the bomb. Foreign policy in Syria has been a disaster, first with weakness in the face of ISIS, and second by refusing to work with Russia (the only nation with a legitimate right to be there right now) to conquer the terrorists and provide a basis for some sort of settlement there. The Hussein (and Clinton) foreign policy is to build bridges to America’s enemies and a wall against its friends. Trump’s foreign policy is to build bridges to her friends and a wall against her enemies.

Further, the refusal of the Hussein White House to recognize what Saudi Arabia is doing, fomenting Islamic terror around the world, stymies any rational approach by any other nation.

On the economic front, the financial crash of 2008 was brought about by a gang of banksters who looted the American and European taxpayer to pay for their criminal actions. The West has still not recovered. In Europe, Greece has been destroyed as a nation in order to serve the moneyed interests that run the EU. In southern European countries, youth unemployment approaches 50%. Such social decay is unsustainable, to use a trendy word.

In the US primaries, there were some very important and distinct differences between the Republican and Democrat campaigns. While it is true that Sanders represents a rebellion against the Establishment in the same way as Trump, the outcomes are very different. Clinton, the soulless robot of the banksters, was the anointed candidate for the Democrats. Despite the wholesale support of the Democrat machine, the New York Slimes, the Washington Pravda and all the other media toadies propping her up, vote fraud and a barrage of lies, she could barely scrape a victory against a 74-year old socialist from Vermont. This is not a candidate of strength.

On the Republican side, The Donald, in full New York brashness, took on 16 other candidates, whipped them all, and despite the Republican Establishment trying to nail him, and, of course, all of America’s lying media, TV networks etc., won a massive victory. This is a candidate of strength.

Throughout the campaign, the Establishments of both parties have shown their open contempt for ordinary Americans who are worried about all their jobs being exported to the Third World, their cities being torn up by ignorant rioters egged on by the press and TV, and their military being dishonored at home and abroad. Worst of all, is the open contempt of America’s great heritage and contributions to freedom through the ages by the traitor in the White House. The stench of corruption has all but destroyed the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Clinton is the candidate of the banksters, the corrupt political class and its toadying, lying media. This is why they are so desperate to destroy Trump. This is why they are squealing like a stuck pig with the approach of Donald Trump. He may not be the Second Coming, but he may well read the Riot Act to the political class that has been in power long past its sell-by date.

What Trump Must Do

This is what President Trump should do. First, fire all the senior management of many federal departments, to wit, the EPA, Department of Justice, the FBI, and the State Department (especially the State Department) and launch a full-scale investigation into corruption in State, Justice and the FBI.

Second, abolish the Department of Education and return that authority to the States, where it belongs. Ensure that First (and Second) Amendment rights are respected in all educational establishments and withdraw any funding for organizations that suppress freedom of expression through ‘political correctness’.

Third, rescind all of Hussein’s Executive Orders. In fact, have a TV ceremony where he can tear them up in the White House for all to see.

Fourth, immediately suspend all Islamic immigration until such time as adequate screening processes are in place.

Fifth, give notice to all nations, especially Muslim nations, that all foreign aid will cease unless immediate steps are taken to guarantee the rights of women, gays and religious minorities in their purview.

Sixth, invite President Putin, Prime Minister May and other European leaders to Washington to discuss ways of reducing tensions in the Middle East and wiping out Islamic State. Demand that other Western nations pony up the money too.

Seventh, end money printing, which only serves to bail out the banksters and further impoverish American (and European) taxpayers. Hold banks responsible for their financial decisions, not the taxpayer.

Eighth, cut the budget of the EPA by 50% at least and require all regulations passed in the past ten years to be reviewed, and, if not fully justified, abolished.

Ninth, abolish all affirmative action programs for jobs and college, except for military veterans.

Tenth, ensure that if an enquiry into corruption in the government results in successful prosecutions, the ne’er-do-wells go to jail.

The presstitutes, journos and all the nest of vipers in the media Establishment will always hate Trump, whatever he does. That’s why he should be ruthless, immediately; the tougher he acts, the more his supporters will love him.  Who knows, maybe the Republicans in Congress will develop a backbone?

I also have some ideas for some personalities who could serve in a Trump Cabinet.  Stay tuned.

Rebel Yell

Ambivalence: Peggy Noonan on Trump’s electors

ambivalence

 

Peggy Noonan is akin to Christie Blatchford in Canada, in that we have at work a sharp intelligence, a genuine curiosity as to how things work, and a compassionate but undeceived eye for the foibles of human nature. I read both of them  with interest, as I would intelligence agents probing reality.
Noonan’s latest is entitled “The Year of the Reticent Voter”, which explores the reticence of Trump voters to admit their intentions, not only because they fear the abuse that will be heaped upon their heads, but because they fear in part that Trump could break more china than necessary, or engage the US in an unnecessary constitutional crisis out of his ignorance of how the system works.

Every four years I ask people if they’ll vote, and if they have a sense of how. Every four years they tell me—assertively or shyly, confidently or tentatively. This year is different. I’ve never seen people so nervous to answer. It’s so unlike America, this reticence, even defensiveness. It’s as if there’s a feeling that to declare who you’re for is to invite others to inspect your soul.

I think this is true, not merely as a description, but as a genuine insight: the state of your soul will be revealed. On the one hand, a guy who has no experience in government, a one-man-band and with a taste for braggadocio, against a corrupt elitist who may not be able to manage a box of Chiclets, and who will continue the decline. These are not happy choices.

Voters who talk about 2016 are very careful to damn both sides, air their disappointment, note that they’ve been following the election closely. They know each candidate’s history.

In Tennessee I asked a smart businessman who he’s for. He carefully and at length outlined his criticisms and concerns regarding both candidates. Then, as I started to leave, he threw in, from nowhere: “So I think Trump.”….

A final observation, underlying all. Under the smiles and beyond the reticence it is clear how seriously Americans are taking their decision, how gravely. As if it’s not Tweedledum and Tweedledee but an actual choice between two vastly different dramas, two different worlds of outcome and meaning. The cynic or the screwball? Shall we go to the bad place or the crazy place?

I do not think anyone who observes is deceived here about the true nature of each candidate. Hence no one is happy with their choice. No one is voting with a clear conscience that their choice is unequivically, unambiguously the best.

Noonan’s article is worth the read, and the comments upon it are equally enlightening.

Another country you don’t have to worry about

sofiastatue

The statue of Sofia, goddess of wisdom, graces a pylon from which Vladimir Lenin lately perched in the governmental core of the city named after her. She is as hot as she seems, the wreath of glory in her right hand, the crown of power on her brow, and the owl of wisdom on her left arm.

She may not be as amusing as the statue of Darth Vader that replaced a statue of Lenin in Odessa, but she is the most sexually attractive 12 meter tall statue in the world. She looks down on the Bulgarian national assembly. One of the reasons you never hear about Bulgaria is that it is tranquil, and tranquil because well run. Consider the party composition of its national Assembly: a small group of leftists, a large block of centre-rightists,  and three or four brands of populists, xenophobes, and Slavic irredentists.

43rd_national_assembly_of_bulgaria_2014-svg

Only the red circles represent leftist parties, and I gather they are not especially left-wing. Everyone from the purple through dark blue is more conservative, until we reach the yellow, green and grey parties, who or more nationalist and may or may not be loons – I surmise wildly.

The currency is pegged at just about half a Euro, it is a member of NATO, the European Common Market, and its GDP/capita is about $10,000 Canadian.

Its basic political impetus is resistance to the Ottoman Empire. This is the dedication at the Alexandr Nevsky Cathedral in the core of the city.

Alexandr Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral is a Memorial Church built with the efforts of the whole Bulgarian people in memory of the thousands of Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Moldavian, Finnish and Romanian soldiers who, from 1877 to 1878, laid their lives for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire.

Four hundred years of Ottoman massacres, oppression (look up “devshirme”), and Islam have left their scars. The remaining ten percent of the population who are Islamic are not a problem.

Yes the place has problems: declining population, some corruption, and a wave of emigration before the economy rebounded from communism in the aughts of this century. Yet, despite this, the place is  visibly transforming into a modern society,even as its one leva coin depicts an Orthodox saint.

alexander_nevsky_cathedral_sofia_by_pudelek

 

 

The Flight 93 Election

decadence3

 

Publius Decius Mus writes:

2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.

To ordinary conservative ears, this sounds histrionic. The stakes can’t be that high because they are never that high—except perhaps in the pages of Gibbon. Conservative intellectuals will insist that there has been no “end of history” and that all human outcomes are still possible. They will even—as Charles Kesler does—admit that America is in “crisis.” But how great is the crisis? Can things really be so bad if eight years of Obama can be followed by eight more of Hillary, and yet Constitutionalist conservatives can still reasonably hope for a restoration of our cherished ideals? Cruz in 2024!

Not to pick (too much) on Kesler, who is less unwarrantedly optimistic than most conservatives. And who, at least, poses the right question: Trump or Hillary? Though his answer—“even if [Trump] had chosen his policies at random, they would be sounder than Hillary’s”—is unwarrantedly ungenerous. The truth is that Trump articulated, if incompletely and inconsistently, the right stances on the right issues—immigration, trade, and war—right from the beginning.

As a Canadian, I find it necessary to distance myself, slightly, from the eleven-out-of-ten American hyperbole. Nevertheless, a strain in me thinks this is the correct analysis: that the United States cannot much longer endure a ruling class that despises at least  half of the people who compose the nation, and taxes the working classes to support the indigence and fecklessness of the ruling class’s welfare and disability clienteles.

 

Publius Decius Mus also puts his finger on an attitude in which I often take refuge: that things are bad but the decline can be endured  almost indefinitely.

Whatever the reason for the contradiction, there can be no doubt that there is a contradiction. To simultaneously hold conservative cultural, economic, and political beliefs—to insist that our liberal-left present reality and future direction is incompatible with human nature and must undermine society—and yet also believe that things can go on more or less the way they are going, ideally but not necessarily with some conservative tinkering here and there, is logically impossible.

Let’s be very blunt here: if you genuinely think things can go on with no fundamental change needed, then you have implicitly admitted that conservatism is wrong. Wrong philosophically, wrong on human nature, wrong on the nature of politics, and wrong in its policy prescriptions. Because, first, few of those prescriptions are in force today. Second, of the ones that are, the left is busy undoing them, often with conservative assistance. And, third, the whole trend of the West is ever-leftward, ever further away from what we all understand as conservatism.

I am forced to admit this: I think the United States is in a period of political decadence. Its constitution was designed by moral men for a moral people who, by and large, are being overwhelmed by relativism, leftism and its odious manifestation, political correctness. I think it is entirely possible that the United States as we have known it will cease to exist within fifty years, and some form of oligopolistic or caesarist government may yet replace the current constitutional division of powers. If you think like Decius Mus, this transformation has already happened. I could be persuaded of that too: think how the US has failed to react politically to the 2007 financial crisis by jailing its perpetrators and stripping them of their gains.

When Mus considers that, metaphorically, Trump may not know how to fly the plane, but that situation is better than the certain prospect of Hillary flying it into a mountain, it is clear that many conservatives in the United States think this is the last election they will ever see where the disaster could have been avoided.

And the other part of me thinks that, even if this view is exaggerated, the long term leftist cultural decline is showing signs of accelerating. Safe spaces. Black lives matter. Anti-pipeline agitation. I see no signs that this rubbish is being rejected by the body politic. Maybe today I am at glass half empty. Maybe I should believe my own analysis.

Ninnies

screaming-hysteria

 

As the chattering classes begin to prepare themselves for the idea of a Trump victory, the blame starts to be scattered like blood from a severed jugular. Today’s column by Andrew Coyne was a blithering load of ninnyhood. After blaming Republicans, Democrats, and the electorate, he muses:

Perhaps it’s broader than that. Are the roots of Trump to be found in the coarsening of the culture, the celebrification of everything, the degradation of knowledge or civility in the age of social media, when everyone with access to a computer thinks he knows all there is to know about anything? Do they lie in the intellectual chaos of the times, the easy cynicism that claims all truth is relative, the nihilist pose that choices are without risk, that nothing matters because it’s all a joke anyway?

This is the man who wants to make Conservative government impossible by abandoning first past the post, and whose intentions may be discerned from what he preaches; who wants Canada never to have decisive government again, as parties, not citizens, decide who will be in government or not; who wants to fragment the country into enclaves of special-interest blocs; and who wants to make voting for this shit mandatory, so that we can all turn out like citizens of a dictatorship to approve the mess his ideas would create; this man, this learned, earnest fool.

He is not alone in completely losing all common sense about Trump. The New York Times is allowing itself to say:

“The creeping dread [of a Trump victory] has accelerated in recent days, reaching critical levels even by Democratic standards…

A cartoon in The New Yorker captured it best: A woman sits in her psychiatrist’s office, perspiring in distress. The doctor scribbles on a pad. “I’m giving you something for Hillary’s pneumonia,” the caption reads.”

I wish I could feel confident that Trump had the capacity to be an effective President, but I know that Hillary Clinton is corrupt, weak, over-proud, convinced of her own entitlement, and unlikely to fix any major American problem, and by not fixing them they will inevitably get worse.

There are many reasons to blame for Trump’s rise, but the major ones derive from the failure of American policies since Bush the Younger, and perpetuated by that self-regarding fool Obama.

Admit to yourself that your views are deplorable. Confession is good for the soul. Way more people  hold “deplorable” views than not, and way more people are tired of the tyranny of PC than who think political correctness is a just social arrangement.

If I could offer one, final, reason for the rise of Trump, it lies in the resentment that American people of good faith feel against the forces that prevent them from talking about their situation, without being labelled sexist, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic: their time is coming soon, and many more visits to psychiatrists’ office are in store for the Democratic elite.

 

I am a Deplorable

deplorables

 

 

The British Army of 1914 was called “a contemptible little army” by the German Kaiser, and so they called themselves “the Old Contemptibles”. “Quaker”, “Protestant”, and “hippie” were all originally terms of derision that stuck, and were neutralized with the passage of time. I think Trump supporters should embrace being called “deplorable” especially when you see what the liberal media call deplorable.

  • 79% of Clinton supporters thought treatment of racial minorities in the US was a “very important” issue. Only 42% of Trump supporters felt that way.
  • 47% of US voters appear to think the Donald is a racist. 42% do not. (nothing about the Deplorables’ values here)
  • 60% of US voters believe the Donald is biased against women and minorities. (ditto)
  • Are you bothered when you come into contact with immigrants who speak little or no English? 50% of Americans in general are bothered. 77% of Trump supporters are.
  • Is Islam at odds with American values? All American voters: 57% Deplorable Trumpians: 83%

So, as to the values held by Trumpians, they significantly are less concerned with American racial (read black grievance) obsessions, and are somewhat more concerned with Islamic aggression against the values of a liberal society than the already intolerant 57%. And I would  certainly be bothered when I come across an immigrant who speaks neither English nor French, but I never come across them, so sheltered am I.

So I am definitely a Deplorable. You probably are too, with your two university degrees if you are reading this website. Imagine what all those coal-mining hillbillies feel like. Deplorable, indeed.

This is your mind on “diversity”

The picture is of the editorial board of the Huffington Post, the leftwing website aggregator. It was posted in all unconsciousness by its Executive Editor as an example of “diversity”.

huffingtonpostdiversity

It is unclear whether, when Liz Heron posted this photograph on Twitter, that she was even aware that it showed an all female board with two or three Asians among the whites. No blacks, of course, and no men, of course. If I am right, Heron invoked the term “diverse” the way a Spaniard in the 16th century would have invoked the Virgin Mary or the Holy Spirit, where rote mental formulas have supplanted thought, or self-awareness. Irony has been abolished, because irony requires an understanding that there is a gap between reality and our aspirations.

Hence, my interpretation of of the totalitarian slogans of our time:

Diversity = uniformity

Inclusion = exclusion

Multicultural – monocultural

It is the purest Bolshevism.

We are in a totalitarian age, and it did not stop with the destruction of fascism and the repudiation of soviet communism. No sir. It has transmuted into political correctness, which is anti-male, anti-white, and anti-Christian, among other things. Its real nature is explored in this article by Frank Ellis from 1999 found at American Renaissance. I recommend that you read it because it captures the essence of the cultural transformation which is being tried out in North America, and which, in my mind, goes from strength to strength.

What we call “political correctness” actually dates back to the Soviet Union of the 1920s (politicheskaya pravil’nost’ in Russian), and was the extension of political control to education, psychiatry, ethics, and behavior. It was an essential component of the attempt to make sure all aspects of life were consistent with ideological orthodoxy — which is the distinctive feature of all totalitarianisms. In the post-Stalin period, political correctness even meant that dissent was seen as a symptom of mental illness, for which the only treatment was incarceration….

Today, of course, we are made to believe that diversity is strength, perversity is virtue, success is oppression, and that relentlessly repeating these ideas over and over is “tolerance and diversity.”

This, of course, is the beauty of “racism” and “sexism” for today’s culture attackers — sin can be extended far beyond individuals to include institutions, literature, language, history, laws, customs, entire civilizations. The charge of “institutional racism” is no different from declaring an entire economic class an enemy of the people. “Racism” and “sexism” are multiculturalism’s assault weapons, its Big Ideas, just as class warfare was for Communists, and the effects are the same. If a crime can be collectivized all can be guilty because they belong to the wrong group. When young whites are victims of racial preferences they are to-day’s version of the Russian peasants. Even if they themselves have never oppressed anyone they “belong to the race that is guilty of everything.”

The purpose of these multi-cultural campaigns is to destroy the self. The mouth moves, the right gestures follow, but they are the mouth and gestures of a zombie, the new Soviet man or, today, PC-man. And once enough people have been conditioned this way, violence is no longer necessary. We reach steady-state totalitarianism, in which the vast majority know what is expected of them and play their allotted roles.

The longer I watch this phenomenon in action, the more I am persuaded, nay, convinced, that such apparently extreme descriptions of political correctness are exact, precise, correct, and right. It makes me want Trump to win, just to break through the carapace of political correctness.

“Communism would not last a minute if we just spoke the truth,” said Solzhenitsyn. I am appalled that what he said about Communism has become applicable to our own society, and it needed neither war nor revolution in the conventional sense to impose this totalitarianism on us.

 

 

 

Random facts aka Obama’s Legacy

Posted without comment.

Finanz und Wirtschaft

There is not quite a bestseller, but a very substantial book called «The History of Interest Rates». It was written by Sidney Homer and Richard Sylla. Sidney Homer is no longer with us, but Richard Sylla is alive and well at New York University. So I called him and said: « Richard, I’ve read many pages but not every single page in your book which traces the history of interest rates from 3000 BC to the present. Have you ever come across negative bond yields?» He said no and I thought that would be kind of a major news scoop: For the first time in at least 5000 years we have driven interest rates below the zero marker. I thought that was an exceptional piece of intelligence. But I notice however that nobody seems to have picked up on it.

Washington Post

The typical American might not be able to quote statistics about how if the labor force participation rate were the same today as it was when Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 9.2 percent instead of 4.9 percent…

CNS News

President Barack Obama may become the first president since Herbert Hoover not to serve during a year in which the growth in real GDP was at least 3 percent.

New York Times

President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.

Liberal Democrat and Dalwhinnie exchange polite disagreement

I had the privilege of exchanging views with a very liberal democrat on another listserv. Herewith is the exchange. It did not start with anything I wrote, but we capture it in the middle, when Liberal Democrat is responding to other Republican commentators.

Liberal Democrat wrote:

I’d rather be smug than entertaining treasonous delights.
…. I have absolutely no shame in being a coastal liberal.  We’re a key cog in how this Union stays together. Last I checked, it was the states full of coastal liberals that subsidize all the poor, downtrodden, and left behind conservative states that cry about how horrible the federal government is while they use all the services and infrastructure it pays for, hand out for the next round of transfer payments. Do I complain about those payments? No. I see it as the price of national progress and a hope that the next generation of Mississippi kids might not live in abject poverty, get an education, and maybe escape the crushing cycle that has kept many citizens of these states in perpetual marginalization, which is exactly where their right-wing political leaders want them.
I, for one, am fine with the moderating effect that our two party system has on marginalizing political extremism, and will gladly vote for Hillary in November.  No, she is not my preferred candidate, but she is the only candidate qualified to be President. It is the outcome of compromise, just like it was when I begrudgingly accepted no public option in the ACA and less than ideal restrictions on Wall Street in Dodd-Frank. We can’t always get what we want. Somehow, there is a vocal minority who seem hell-bent on ignoring that reality.
But back to Crusty Conservative’s original point. I don’t think Twitter, Facebook, or traditional media should close speech because it’s abhorrent and it’s because of what I fear.  I am not afraid of ISIS. I have not need afraid of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, or any other Hitler of the week we’ve had propped up as our enemy in the past twenty years. I am afraid of the next Timothy McVeighs and Dylann Roofs, the people in our midst who want to destroy our consensus in this country because they think they’ve been left behind by history. And they have, because they seem to think our greatest days are in the past and they’ll do what it takes to force us backward, where women, minorities, LGBTQ and non-Christian people are second-class citizens and the advantages of being born white and male were enough to succeed. That is what scares me and if we close public speech to what scares us, that speech will go underground and rot. At least we know who to fear when these monsters speak.
LD
The last paragraph caught my attention. I ventured a reply:
Greetings all:

I cite our worthy LD:

I am afraid of the next Timothy McVeighs and Dylann Roofs, the people in our midst who want to destroy our consensus in this country because they think they’ve been left behind by history. And they have, because they seem to think our greatest days are in the past and they’ll do what it takes to force us backward, where women, minorities, LGBTQ and non-Christian people are second-class citizens and the advantages of being born white and male were enough to succeed. That is what scares me and if we close public speech to what scares us, that speech will go underground and rot. At least we know who to fear when these monsters speak.

I would put it to people of this view that we all live and want to live in a reasonable, tolerant and dare I say liberal society. By liberal I mean freedom loving, not left wing conformist. At least I do. And you do too, else you would not be on this list. So in the  contest between Islamist nutcases and nutcases like Dylann Roof, Anders Breivik, Timothy McVeigh (name a few more if you can), the clear and present danger seems to be coming much more from the Islamic direction than from fundamentalist Christian direction. At least the body counts seem to be a numerical expression of the scale of risk, and from what direction.

The question for the pragmatic among us is: Who has the most power actually to “force us backward”?. I would put it to the people who are more concerned with Christian and white-nativist reaction than they are with Islam, that they are straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

My second assertion is that vastly more people agree with this view of mine than they do with the benign views of my colleague Mr LD.

My third and wholly superfluous assertion is that this group of people are becoming very tired of the net direction of society in the post-Christian world, insofar as what appears to be a tidal wave of Islamic reaction to modernity is ignored by the bien-pensant elites, while the lingering outposts of people unpersuaded by the world view of the New York Times are held to be the true enemy. To me this seems both mistaken as to fact, in a very large way, and to be the result of a failure to imagine what a truly alien political religious ideology Islam is. It is off the map, so to speak, and cannot be conceived. Since it is inconceivable, whereas Christian fundamentalism is a more familiar target, the enemy of my enemy is somehow imagined to be my friend. Here I speculate as to motive and am less certain than I am of the previous assertions

The gap between the bien-pensants  (the well-thinkers, the morally superior) and ordinary opinion has seldom been wider, and the views of the ordinary people less tolerated by the morally superior, and held in greater contempt.

I have seen this past summer normally quite conservative (that is to say sensible, centrist, moderate, well educated ) people explode in rage at the effrontery, ignorance, cretinism, red-neckery of the less educated classes in daring to disagree with the least jot and tittle of the Official View. It is stunning to see the contempt directed at the lower orders by their social betters.

It will not end well, regardless of the outcome of the current US presidential election.

Dalwhinnie

LD replied:
Excellent points.
I have to disagree on the Islamic fundamentalism threat, however, as I believe it is wholly related to conservative American Christianity. Whether a crusade in name or in practice, the Christian west has used the infidels in the Islamic world for a millennium as a useful rallying point for unity and a distraction from more localized concerns.
But, look on the other side of the equation? How easy is it to teach western decadence when we abandoned Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion was repelled? How can you not be swayed by stories of the infidels’ crusade when planes drop bombs on your civilian neighborhood? How can you not be angry when your all-knowing occupiers failed to account for civil disturbances after de-Baathification in Iraq, leading to countless deaths?  We applauded Arab Spring, but did little to nothing to help these countries transition to democracy and establish stability.
We all know Wahhabist clerics are breeding this hate, but no one wants to mess with the flow of oil from Saudi, so it’s almost American policy to let it bleed.  And don’t get me started on Turkey, where European islamophobic policies and the unaddressed Syria threat has let it drift closer to religious-based totalitarianism.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the Middle East and Arab World–Bahrain, UAE, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi, Morocco, to name a few–and seen both the good and bad with my own eyes. They’re still humans, still just trying to survive.  They love American movies and music and, based on the Popeye’s at Amman’s airport or the Dunkin’ Donuts in Dubai, some enjoy our weaponized cuisine, but are vastly under -educated as to who is inhabiting our countries. If we spent 1/10th the money on cultural engagement as we did on military ones, both to show them our values and counteract the nutbag imams, we’d be in a different world. But, for the most part, Americans stay here and they stay there, and the only cultural references point Americans have is screaming idiots on Fox and CNN telling us how much they hate us. That’s a horrific foundation for dialogue.
I am just not as easily convinced that the creeping Islamic threat is any worse than when it was in Spain or on the steps of the Holy Roman Empire. I am convinced that, as you said, it is alien enough to Americans–who generally only had a two week crash course in Islam during high school and still think history ended after we won World War II–that it’s still a useful crutch to rile us up and I think we’re afraid to learn that our “enemy” is not that much different than us on Maslow’s hierarchy. Parents in Virginia two years ago pulled their kids out of class for learning about Islam and Arabic script, like the language, script, and the Koran are Instant Soup-style indoctrination.  That is just fear and ignorance. We are afraid of the unknown, even if it’s knowable, and I think it makes it easier to dehumanize 1/5th of the world because of it.
The greatest risk our children have from Islam today is, as it was for our generations, one thing: Al Gebra. As it seems, fear of complex math is at the center of Republican tax policy. 😉
As for our Republicans, I wish we had a Canadian-style Conservative political party. I miss the pre-Newt GOP, one that wasn’t so anti-science and anti-compromise, even if I could not align on its policies.
LD
My final response was this:
Thank you for a civilized and well written reply.

I remain unpersuaded that the main issue of our time is somehow American ignorance, or policy errors. They exist, and Americans in their ignorance keep making errors, as any nation does. Perhaps the US elites have been making more than their fair share of late, and this is the subject of the election now underway.

In respect of Islam you wrote:

“I am convinced that, as you said, it is alien enough to Americans–who generally only had a two week crash course in Islam during high school and still think history ended after we won World War II–that it’s still a useful crutch to rile us up and I think we’re afraid to learn that our “enemy” is not that much different than us on Maslow’s hierarchy.”

I recall a liberal American official at the FCC one time complaining about Republicans, insofar as their world view and knowledge came from one book, the Bible.

I admit the justice of that critique. One book is not enough.

But we have had a Reformation, and its subsequent wars and reorganization of the European state system;  we have religious freedom, we have social freedom, we have a large measure of political freedom, even if, in your view, it is used in error.

Muslims in Islamic countries have none of these things. They still hold, in principle, that all necessary knowledge of the world, comes from one source only, given one time to one prophet, indelibly, indisputably, inerrantly, and that not a word can be revised or re-interpreted. Exclusive reliance on the Koran for guidance in all matters has led to social, intellectual, political and economic stagnation across the Islamic world. When they had strip mined the contributions of the previous Christian, Zoroastrian, pagan, Buddhist, and pre-Islamic intellectual accomplishments, they were culturally unable to generate new insights because inquiry is haram, forbidden. Most of what we call Islamic contributions to knowledge were pass-throughs from previous cultures.

At the same time, they were promised that they would be the final revelation, and that in principle and by right, they would be the conquerors of the world by now.

So they are caught in a gigantic cognitive dissonance between what they believe they ought to be doing, that is, governing the world, and as a part of their regime using its non-Muslim women as their sex toys, on the one hand, and the fact that they are at the back of the class in every dimension of accomplishment. A UN report of 2004 or thereabouts, and written exclusively by Muslim intellectuals, pointed out that the people of Finland, population 4 million, produced more absolute GDP than 77 million Arabs produced in non-petroleum exports. The economic value created by Finns, population 4 million, was greater than the economic value created by all of the Arab world, excluding petrochemicals. Arabs are excruciatingly conscious of their inferiority, and many seek simple answers, found in the Koran, as to what is to be done. Its name is jihad.

So here is my second point.

Weighed in the balance against the 1/5 of humanity, a large proportion of whom seem to be stuck in the cultural assumptions of tribal Arabia in the 6th century AD, or who wish they were so stuck, then purely domestic squabbles among the citizens of the US do not seem to carry the weight or importance that many Americans think (or believe passionately) that they have.

My observation is that a serious engagement with the issues requires one to step back from exclusively and parochially US partisan concerns. Even if we assume that Republicans and Democrats say largely true things about one another, we do not engage the relevant question or questions. It is of very little use to suggest to an American that they see things in excessively partisan terms. You are likely to get your head shot off. Especially in a presidential election year.

I am ducking behind a wall as I write. Thank you for an entertaining discussion.

Be well.

Dalwhinnie
LD’s response was a cheerful paean to the valour of the Finns, in which we were both agreed.

 

Time in Chicago, time in the country

This summer I have been a submarine, surfacing rarely. I have been surrounded by Democrats and by liberal Republicans, all of whom are shocked, shocked to hear a word in favour of Trump. So by and large I have kept my mouth shut, and listened to the ranting.

I recently attended a board meeting in Chicago. One of the board’s close advisors is now a member of Hillary’s team. He was purring with satisfaction at the chances of Hillary winning. The Democratic electoral team is expecting an October surprise from Putin in some form or another, and they are confident enough of their chances that they are threatening Putin with dire consequences should  he unleash intercepted or stolen emails, after Hillary wins.

I see polls, and Hillary is generally somewhat ahead at the moment. Trump occasionally catches up. Frankly, unless there is a high degree of suppressed opinion out there, Hillary will win. I happen to believe that, like Brexit, a large number of people are holding their mouths shut lest they be mistaken for troglodytes by their more liberal neighbours. But I was equally mistaken about Romney, and was confounded by Obama’s second victory.

Stay tuned folks. Trump has an uphill battle.