Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Picking through the ruins

[random incoherent reactions to the slow-motion in-progress disaster]

Jesus those posts from yesterday about whether “the narrative” changes or not seem so feeble today. Of course the narrative changes, but that is the least of it. People are going to lose heath insurance and their right to get an abortion. Mexicans and Muslims will be subject to discrimination, press freedoms will be muzzled, climate change will be ignored, the supreme court will be packed with authoritarian shitheels. And that՚s just off the top of my head. The Trump administration (gag) is going to be a cesspool of corruption and bad ideas and incompetence (I guess our only hope is that the incompetence beats out the other stuff).

As a parent I feel an extra helping of sadness and pain. The job of a parent is to create a safe and nurturing environment for their children, and our society has just decided to do the opposite. Clinton՚s most powerful campaign message was structured around what a horrible example Trump was for children, girls especially…I really thought that would resonate even with the Republicans, because aren՚t they parents as well? Do they really want for their children the kind of world Trump represents? For whatever reason, we have collectively failed to improve the world and are heading into a new, uncharted, and very dark territory.

I՚ve been lately defending the very idea of politics – on the grounds that it is an essential and inescapable of life and cognition. I still think that՚s true, but I wish it wasn՚t. Right now my impulse is to go off and study category theory or quantum computation or something else that is as far removed from human group dynamics as possible.

Oh yeah in terms of reactions, here՚s the latest hot take:
Donald Trump's presidential election victory has already been cheered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a constellation of right-wing European populists, a former Ku Klux Klan leader and a Middle Eastern strongman. But there's another curious constituency that seems to be happy about the new American president-elect.
Shortly after Trump was declared the victor, a number of prominent Salafist ideologues linked to jihadist outfits in the Middle East took to social media to cheer the prospect of a Trump presidency…the remarks signaled the militants' apparent belief that the victory of a candidate like Trump, who has suggested potentially unconstitutional blocks on Muslim immigration and advocated torture, undermines the United States' moral standing in the world.
Which in turn reminds me of some stuff I was writing about ten years ago on polarization and conflict and how the real war is between those who incite conflict (because they profit from it) and those who want to make peace.

Here՚s something I wrote last night:
Trying to imagine the future under Trump. Occurs to me that the federal government will be a complete shambles leading to increased importance of state and local gov and devolution of power. No idea if this is right, maybe it's wishful thinking, I'd sure rather Jerry Brown was running my world than Trump.
File under “desperately searching for a glimmer of hope”.


Anonymous said...

You've made some good posts in the past, but reading your rants about Trump is kinda disappointing.

No, we do not actually know what Trump will do or what will happen under his presidency. It seems you've taken Trump's campaign words very literally, which is a basic mistake and shows a slightly autistic reasoning (or alternatively just being very young, but I know you're not that). And you seem to have drank some kool-aid from the Clinton campaign.

What we do know is that Trump is a vulgar (yet somewhat charismatic) opportunist, who loves attention and doesn't really think too much about what he says.
But going from that to him being Hitler 2.0 requires some imagination and/or brainwashing.

>we have collectively failed to improve the world
Even worse, you have failed to take care of a huge part of your country, which is one of the main reasons Trump won! How about you do that instead of worrying about the world.
(And as someone from "the world", I'm glad you didn't elect that warmongering sociopath. The current conflicts/migrants/refugees in ME and Europe are at least in part her fault.)

Recommended watching:

Oh and you should really read "The Righteous Mind" if you haven't (it's written by a liberal). It can save you from some frustrations when it comes to political matters.

Anonymous said...

Agree with anonymous above. You seem unhinged on this topic. As your nemeses like to say, politics is the mind killer.

mtraven said...

Thanks for commenting. Sorry if you are disappointed; these particular posts don՚t purport to offer any original or even coherent content.

It՚s true we don՚t know exactly what Trump will do, and almost surely he won՚t do half of the things he has promised to do, such as build a wall to keep Mexicans out. The stuff he will do is scary enough (eg – today he announced he is appointing a denialist to head the EPA).

He՚s not Hitler 2.0, in that he doesn՚t seem bent on actual genocide, but he՚s most definitely has a fascist mindset and seems to be enabling all sorts of existing fascist elements in the populace.

> Even worse, you have failed to take care of a huge part of your country, which is one of the main reasons Trump won!

Well – if you are referring to the economically depressed areas of the country, you are right that they haven՚t been well taken care of. However, if you think a Trump administration will make life better for those left behind by the modern economy, you are frankly nuts or stupid. At least the Democrats made some efforts in that direction (eg Obamacare).

Ben Anhalt said...

Have you seen this from Brian Eno?

Anonymous said...

As far as failing to take care of a huge part of our country, would that be the same part of the country that keeps sending obstructionist Republicans to Congress?

Anonymous said...

This explains it better, or in more detail than I could have bothered to, so:

mtraven said...

You know, while I generally admire Scott Alexander, I thought that post was a steaming pile of horseshit. To me, it sounds like a deliberate effort to not see the forest by focusing on a selected subset of trees. It՚s a typical aspie move to try to interpret Trump in a very narrow and literal way, but it is painfully stupid and inappropriate. From a political standpoint it does not matter, really, what Trump has said or what he believies (he seems to have no actual beliefs), but what he represents and what political forces he has enabled.

And aside from that, the post omits (quite unforgivably, even given its narrow focus) Trump՚s most explicitly racist statements, like his attack on Judge Curiel or his activism against the Central Park 5 even after they were exonerated.

Dain said...

Right, Scott Alexander can't deconstruct the argument that Trump is a Hitler and a total game-changer because it CAN'T be deconstructed. It's a vibe, it's a feeling. It can't be falsified. Fact-based nerds don't get it.