Ganging up on Trump

I photographed a magazine rack yesterday.

The Economist’s cover said “The debasing of American politics” with Trump’s profile as the ass-end of an elephant. The Atlantic’s editorial said “Don’t vote for Trump”. Time magazine said “Total meltdown”, and the New Yorker’s lead was “last chance to train Trump”.

My software does not show the covers as I would like.


I am wondering whether the people of the United States will be more annoyed at being told how to vote by their betters than they will be at Trump for his many faults. At least Trump is capable of outrage at the current situation.

Readers of this blog will do themselves a favour by watching David Stockman on the Max Keiser report of October 6th.  Stockman appears at minute 14:00.

Stockman, who was Ronald Reagan’s budget director, thinks the US central bank has created a huge bubble by its interest rate policy. His comments on Warren Buffett are delicious. “A moderately good insurance fund manager”. Buffett has not increased the value of his share holdings 35 times over by the genius of his investing.  The class war is being won by a few members of the owning classes.

David Stockman’s book, Trumped, is available here. A money shuffling economy has replaced the producing economy. If the doomsters are right, we are in one big fat bubble.






Best explanation why people support Trump



Trump is their spiked bat to smash their enemies with.

And if you dare complain, some liberal elite will pull out their iPad and type up a rant about your racist white privilege. Already, someone has replied to this with a comment saying, “You should try living in a ghetto as a minority!” Exactly. To them, it seems like the plight of poor minorities is only used as a club to bat away white cries for help. Meanwhile, the rate of rural white suicides and overdoses skyrockets. Shit, at least politicians act like they care about the inner cities.

This summer I listened as otherwise sane members of upper middle class America derided the poor whites of America in terms that exactly mirror those used in the article quoted from What the authors, Ted E. and Carolyn Burke,  say is not an exaggeration.

I have never in my life seen a political struggle that so closely paralleled the optimates versus the plebs in ancient Rome. Caesar is coming.

America’s Lying Media

How have the mighty fallen? Far, far. America, during the 20th century, was a beacon of freedom and a light to all the nations who had to suffer under communism and other assorted tyrannies.
As the hysteria of the election reaches fever pitch, insults and innuendo fly with abandon. The War against Trump, and ordinary Americans, fueled by the leadership of both parties, the Washington Beltway parasites and their army of wormtongues in the media, will stop at nothing to see that their candidate, the Crook Clinton, slithers into the White House.

Racist, xenophobe, Islamophobe, deplorable,…ad nauseam, flow from the media everyday in their attempts to defeat Trump. Rational debate with the political class is now impossible. Any questioning of the status quo is met with this same temper tantrum in the media. Late-night TV talk shows, with their unfunny comedians, have degenerated into frat-boy humor, without the charm. The major newspapers, as they call themselves, the New York Slimes, Washington Pravda etc. have become the open mouthpieces of the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party; they no longer pretend to be reporting the news.

One remark made by Trump in a private conversation ten years ago, recorded without consent, seems to be more important than Clinton’s disastrous record in government. Apparently, the destruction of Libya and the murder of Gaddafi followed by the Benghazi Affair and Clinton’s copious lies about it, are chalked up as “experience in foreign affairs” by her media lackeys.

The years of Bill Clinton’s rape-fest and assaults on women were consistently covered up by the media, and then excused when found out. Hillary’s protection of him belies her prattle of defending women’s rights. Remember the “bimbo eruptions”?

The recent email scandal demonstrated the corruption of the Department of Justice and the FBI. Betraying the country’s secrets and then lying about it (sorry, I don’t recall) and getting away with it has been grist for the Trump mill, but the media wormtongues have done their best to try to obfuscate at all times.

The Clinton Foundation, an enormous slush fund, receives millions of dollars from those bastions of women’s rights like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. No problem here as the Clinton’s have never been concerned about common decency.

The media have always claimed that they “speak the truth to power”. Now, they are the power. We know what they are—the toadies of the Washington establishment and its neocon fanatics. In unison, they repeat the propaganda. After one Trump speech, all the media lambasted it as “dark” and “divisive”; TV, newspapers, all repeating, word-for-word, what their masters ordered. The same is true with many of the fatuous fake “polls” we hear so much about. “Polls say Clinton leads by…” When you dig out the information, it’s a poll conducted by a Clinton propaganda PAC of a few hundred people, mostly Democrats, of no consequence at all, but repeated endlessly in every news-rag from Washington to Blown Skull.

Need I continue? A nation that has protection of the freedom of the press as the first amendment to its constitution is now thinking of trying to suppress the Russian news networks and deny access by Americans to them over the cable networks and the Internet (here). I doubt that this will ever work, but let me say candidly, Russia Today is, quite simply, a better news organization than pretty much anything in the US media. It may reflect the Russian government’s position on many things, but the American media do the same. Furthermore, RT has more interesting politicians, interviews and reporting from actual reporters on the ground than anything in the US. The BBC in Britain is standard left-wing propaganda all the time; and it is financed by a poll tax (called a “licence fee”). The same is true of the news media of many other nations.

I’ll make up my own mind, as will you, and not be lectured by any state commissar as to which news I will read and watch. The Internet is the greatest force for freedom since the printing press, ergo, expect the war against freedom to be carried out there.

This election campaign has been the most bitter for a long time because so much is at stake. In a word, freedom. It is a sad commentary on America, with its guarantees of protected freedoms, that its media are now subservient to its ruling class.
As for the election, expect the Establishment media to be spitting poison against Trump every day until election day.

Rebel Yell

Suetonius provides guidance



When I turned to Drudge Report for the latest on the Hillary versus Trump debacle, I saw the headlines about  Trump laying bare the sordid sexual goings on of the first Clinton President. I was immediately reminded of that astonishing piece of scandalous history: Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars.

Suetonius wrote the definitive report on the political, familial and sexual goings-on of the first twelve Caesars, the men who held near absolute power over the Empire. Names like Trajan, Nero, and Caligula ought to remind you of the scale of the depravity. One of the early emperors retired to the Isle of Capri, to which he had imported flocks of young children skilled in the arts of satisfying the sexual appetites of a man who had no limits on the capacity to indulge his tastes. Nero organized a gay marriage to one of his hunky German bodyguards, after murdering his mother – and she probably deserved it. The wife of the Emperor Claudius held orgies at the palace while hubby was busy administering the Empire, and all Rome knew of it for years before she was caught and executed with her paramours. Caligula was a very sick puppy. And so forth.

It ought not to surprize us then that the first Clinton president was and is a satyr, that, in his words, his wife has eaten more pussy than he has, or that, according to some reports, Obama is an active bisexual. John F. Kennedy shagged bimbos every day while Jacqueline Kennedy looked the other way, and he also took a large amount of painkillers and other medicines for back pain, thyroid problems, and hidden decrepitude. Lyndon Johnson boasted of his huge penis and shagged his way through Washington. About the only Presidents who behaved themselves while in office were the two Bushes and Jimmy Carter. The elder Bush was the soul of decency and the younger Bush achieved stability only after giving up alcohol and cocaine and taking to Jesus. Nixon was paranoid, alcoholic and possibly tormented by the repression of his homosexual impulses. Conrad Black’s excellent biography of Nixon relates that  the chief functions of Haldemann and Kissinger at times were to protect the American civil service from the drunken ravings of the President, who had holed himself up in the Executive Office with the blinds of his windows closed and stayed there drunk and unshaven for days. And we all know what a ghastly smarmy hypocrite Jimmy Carter was, parading about with his empty suitcase while pretending he carried his own baggage.

With the exception of the Bushes I would not invite any of them for dinner.

And so what?

Would any of our lives pass muster before a full disclosure of our sexual activities on the front pages of the newspaper?

In any age of digital cameras the ability to hide one’s sex life rests entirely on not taking pictures, and not being around digital cameras, which is nearly impossible. After all, when the session with your lover is over, you have to call a taxi to get back to your spouse, and a camera is now a telephone, and keeps track of where you have been.

Perhaps more importantly, the time it takes for sexual innuendo and scandal to be confirmed and written about is getting shorter. Thus the kind of private or tightly held information that used to be spoken about among the political cognoscenti – such as who is gay or not can now reach the tabloids and their Internet equivalents (Drudge report) within weeks or months, or days.

If Suetonius is to be relied upon, and I think he is, there is nothing new in scandalous behaviour. It is that, as America declines, its Presidents are behaving more and more like ….Caesars.


Ambivalence: Peggy Noonan on Trump’s electors



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.

The Flight 93 Election



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.




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




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.

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.
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.


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.
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.

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.