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The Trump Diversion
Society Matters More. Why are you heeding politics?
I don't sufficiently hate Trump.
That is because I don't believe nearly as much as opponents of Trump that he is running the country. It was 12 years ago that I concluded that populist politics ran the political establishment of the US and therefore deserved my scorn and abandonment. But perhaps it's fair to say that until Jonathan Haidt and the IDW correctly put all of the Culture Wars into fine relief that I may have been playing politics by other names. My hopes (and therefore my writing efforts) are for society to work, but I am convinced that the entire problem with politics and social media are that society has been dumbed down and escalated into conflict through very narrow channels. We have been turned from chimps to T-Rexs and have lost the ability to play piano. We are no longer dextrous.
My association thus with the IDW and with Stoicism have resulted in me appearing not to give a rats about society. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a staunch civil libertarian. It is completely consistent. But I think (as one example) the passage of the legalization of gay marriage has given its supporters the false confidence that political activism is the engine of positive social change. It is not. Politics is about government policy, not about social engineering. And yet that is what we've decided as a nation that politics is supposed to be, and for those of good intent on the Left it is the greatest failing of our age, because Trump doesn't give a shit. No, he doesn't. He is not a role model for the kind of decency we Americans want. He is a profound asshole, and a thin skinned bastard. He is caustic and inept. Transparently so.
I have never thought that Trump's manipulations of those agencies he rules could be so clever and subtle that they couldn't be undone by a reasonable successor. So I have never panicked. And yet the merciless mercenaries that the Democrats have become has left wide open a stable rational response to Trump's haphazard governance, some of which is actually rational, if not diplomatic. At this moment, I can see two things he has done right. He has played hardball with Chinese trade and he has kept the immigration debate alive. Trump's nationalism has given nationalism a ridiculously purple paint job. But nationalism is what America needs. The leader of a national government should make that government work, but that is not the objective of the Progressive Left, which is to make Americans love & respect Americans through political activism. To them, the personal is political. That is wrong. We are learning how wrong it is as the activists trying to force X Americans to love & respect Y Americans is resulting in people getting clobbered.
If you listen to Eric Weinstein's podcast 'The Portal' and if you listen to Sam Harris as I do, then you will quickly realize that there are very smart Americans who can see that there is a lot left to be desired in America. In the IDW, which both men belong, we are engaged in combatting a crisis of rationality. It is this crisis of rationality and its undermining of confidence in Western civilization that is our greatest problem. It is a problem that is not well defined or described in either the mainstream media, in academic publication, or in political messaging. Some people might call it income inequality. They are vaguely right. Some people might call it the patriarchy. They are vaguely right. Some people might call it godless degeneracy. They are vaguely right. As they politic in the diffuse miasma of social media only those select phrases come through. The simple common denominator is that America is being led poorly.
Since I am a civil libertarian and champion of a better society, I often say it thusly. The ruling class has failed to fulfill its obligation to society. And to be more concrete about it I find it apt to point out that Donald Trump produced a reality TV show. I pointed this out before.
There was a great moment I saw from the Hoover Institution's You Tube channel when the host asked a reporter who has spent a lot of time with Trump and his team "I don't understand. How did millions of blue collar and poor working class people vote for this billionaire?" The first thing the reporter replied is "Have you watched 'The Apprentice'?" The host says, no I don't watch reality TV. To which the reporter replied, with a polite 'Duh'.
Trump is the billionaire that blue collar workers with no filter want to be. They communicate on the same level, and he has proven it. Everybody who looks down a these working class people and their reality shows is at a complete loss. But the answers are as plain as day. So really, how long are these clueless people going to keep the same media diet, if they truly want to understand the media language and political ambitions of that working class that stood up and elected this president?
So the problem I have with my Facebook friends is that they only know me as this ex-conservative who is not contributing enough to the dogfight whose job it is to shovel enough his own shit on Trump's head to bury him. But I know that's just partisan ammunition for political gain. That is because the Democrats who have failed miserably to produce grownup candidates, resurrect the Clinton gods or beat Bernie Sanders fair and square have been reduced to cataloging 'atrocities' of the President. What they haven't done is Labor. What they haven't done is Anti-Trust. What they have done is outsourced their brains to a mythical Scandinavia. Since I have to say this, because I'm often explaining to binary thinkers, the Republicans have done fuck all for America. They deflated the Tea Party who had every common cause with Occupy Wall Street and have defaulted spectacularly leading to the support of corporate welfare. There is no longer a such thing as a fiscal conservative in America, at least not one in a responsible position of power. They have completely crawled up the ass of big money, especially where political fundraising is concerned, and we are stuck with pretty much everyone who understands money and fiscal responsibility at the economic equivalent of a dog track run by gangsters and underwritten by the Fed. I pay over 17% on my best credit cards. Chase gets their money for 0.1% by the billion and has never paid more than 1% since 2008.
I know that nuclear power generation of electricity will not prevent global warming. But I also know it's at least 50 times better than wind, solar and all other renewables. Yet it is an article of faith that nuclear power is not politically acceptable in America. It's scientifically green but it's not Green. This is thus my situation. I have no patience with that which doesn't present honestly. I cannot afford to waste my breath contributing to a political dogfight that is not building ammunition to fight anyone but the opposition party and its constituents. So I'm out here stuck with the nuclear power engineers without a job. I'm stuck out here with the data engineers who traffic in flight schedules and aircraft maintenance, unlike Facebook who has all of the billions trafficking in the stolen personal data of consumers. I refuse to jump up and down and say with arrogant moral certitude that it's Trump's fault. It's the fault of American populist politics and its attendant media totems who refuse to surface the problems Americans are positioned, but not funded to solve. If one party cannot take sole credit at the expense of the other party, it will not be raised as a matter of concern to the Federal government.
How foolish do we have to be to expect that a President elected from this environment can and will solve every other kind of problem Americans need solved? Perhaps we are being saved by the pandemic. Perhaps we will realize that there are more things between heaven and earth than are dreamt in our political philosophy.
Yet I don't believe in political solutions to people's problems. When I explain this, people don't get it or don't believe me. Perhaps I should say that in the way that people who are atheist might understand. I have no faith in the god of Democrats. I have no faith in the god of Republicans. I can get to whatever people need without attending either church. Trump is, by all rights, the devil incarnate to those who believe in the god of Democrats. Indeed he may even be the devil incarnate to those who believe in the god of democracy itself. I have my doubts about democracy, and I certainly don't worship it. I didn't major in political science but computer science. I'm on the side of the engineers, and I don't believe in social engineering. In fact, I despise it.
So let me close with a couple other complaints around the matters of social engineering. As all Californians know, we are done with the drought. It has been around for a decade or more since El Nino drenched us and sent mudslides down our fancy slopes. And in those many years there have been no new reservoirs built. California political leaders have socially engineered a solution by jawboning us to conserve water. Don't care for your lawn, they said. Don't have a real shower, they said. Today, during the SARS-nCOV-2 aka COVID-19 pandemic, there was no strategic investment by either party in government policy involving our supply chain for medical equipment or funding for handling epidemics by pathogens that attack time and time again. No strategic investment, therefore no strategic reserve and obviously no strategy. Now that there is a crisis, the government is telling us to trust them and once again jawboning 'solutions'. They are socially engineering at the very limit of their capacity. And the people who know better, Americans who are actual experts are essentially left out in the cold. There are massive failures that are obvious to people who give it a day's thought can see. With everything that was debated and legislated about healthcare in the past 30 years, we simply find that we don't have enough hospital beds per capita.
I don't sufficiently hate Trump. I don't see how doing so will get water or hospital beds to the people who need them. If he wins in September and we don’t have enough hospital supplies, you’ll have to ask yourself what has all of your Trump hatred has gained America.