Friday, October 14, 2016

Excuse me while I talk to monty

Your guest post at Catallaxy has the advantage of not being insane, unlike most of the blog, but I have the following criticisms:

*  did you really have to throw in the "cultural allusion"?:  it reminds me too much of the grand - and nutty - Right wing faux historical prisms that nearly everyone at that blog thinks everything has to be viewed through.  In a way, it reads too much like the grandiose crap that Mk50 used to go on about.  (And, incidentally, he seems to be on some calming medication, or something, now, since he returned under a new identity.  [And why did he bother doing that, when everyone knows who it is?]  He's no longer getting positively excited by the prospect of an American Right wing armed revolution, like he used to.)

* takes too many words to make a point that many - even on the Democrat side - have already made.

* candy was right - the reference to Trump's supporters formerly being the type who would have a country club membership is a tad improbable.  Update:   here's Nate Silver yesterday:
Based on recent polls, I’d estimate that about 35 percent of Trump’s current voters are white men without a college degree, by far Trump’s best demographic group.
  Was this demographic ever into country club membership, monty?

* it's one thing to have sympathy to the economic plight of the low educated under globalisation - and to talk of them having a logical reason for dissatisfaction - but in doing so it risks encouraging them to believe the situation is more catastrophic than it really is, exactly as Trump has been doing.   It also underplays the poisonous anti-evidence based nonsense that the entire leadership of the American Right has participated in for more than a decade as priming Trumpkins to believe any nonsense at all, including that sprouted by their orange buffoon.

I can see how it's not a winning strategy to win hearts and minds to tell people that they are being idiots - yet this is what at least the leadership of the Right needs to be told.   I fear that expressing too much sympathy towards the Trump base makes that job harder to do, and I think that your post reads too much in that direction.

PS:  please pass on the threadsters at Catallaxy that I think they're all being idiots.


Mayan said...

Monty's post should have been more direct, especially since he raised Rawls' theory of justice. It is impossible to deny that, especially in the post war peak of America, white (straight, cis-gendered) men were given special privileges. They worked behind a veil of protection; their competition was Europe and Japan rebuilding from rubble; women were paid less, moved on after marriage, and otherwise treated as less; formal and informal barriers were placed in the way of non-white people, and this continues today (An architect having trouble banking a substantial pay cheque and a doctor not being allowed to render assistance on a place because they are black are from this week!); gays were persecuted (and still are at law in some states); and many other advantages.

Monty correctly points out that they are having a tantrum because they have lost their special privileges. Many of those privileges were enforced formally and informally by the state. Oddly, for a blog in which every second comment whines about intervention, political correctness (which has always been with us, in various forms), and *gasp* "cultural Marxism', most comments seem to be in favour of using the state to restore that privilege.

The world doesn't owe people a living merely because they get sunburned and have a penis.

Paul Montgomery said...

LOL, I was wondering when this post would come from you Steve. :D

The cultural allusion stuff happened organically as I was researching it, but in a way it's actually aimed at the likes of Mk50 who style themselves pompously as masterful historians and wise scholars. Basically, I can do that sort of stuff better than he can, because LaserJet3000 (or whatever JC calls him) just regurgitates what he reads because he's a bit thick, whereas I can actually make some use of it rhetorically with a bit of wit. The Shakespeare references are also deliberate, as the speech it cribs from is a prime example of sly rhetoric with complex purpose. Just as Marc Antony was forbidden from directly criticising Caesar's murderers, I was never going to get that piece published if my words could be construed as serving a leftist cause.

I thought it was important to go through the Rawls formulation, because that's about as basic as it gets in terms of how I understand the situation. I could have included another paragraph about how the contract has been changed midstream, with the veil of ignorance about one's station in life previously operating under the assumption that the veiled citizen was nonetheless a citizen of a particular country, with the advantages obtained therein, whereas now the assumption is that you are a citizen of the world, because the Western contract now incorporates the veiled possibility that you could be a peasant from Shenzhen or living on a mud flat in Bangladesh, etc. But it was already complicated enough.

As IT identified adroitly in a later thread, my piece was about the questions that Trump asks, not the answers. Of course Trump doesn't have the answers either. No one does. There may not be any. We may just have to wait for the robots to take over, and forget about work as a signifier of identity. But at least Trump has been asking the question.

As to whether validating the Trumpkins' anger is productive... well, it's not going away any time soon, and I don't think anything else will work. I keep waking up each morning expecting to hear Hillary has been shot dead. That's where we're heading if things don't get de-escalated. We're spending a lot of time and energy on the left thinking about how to de-escalate the Muslim situation to lessen terrorism, but IMO we should also realise that formerly-privileged angry white men have just as much right to be treated as equal citizens, so treating them as pariahs is only going to prove the crazies right. Responding to anger with anger doesn't work. Don't make their conspiracy theories come true by activating their fears.