I continue to blame Crispin for my writing just about anywhere. He invited me to share this space occasionally, and while we disagree about a lot of stuff, we're kind of brothers in some ways. This morning his very brief piece on the probable disintegration of the Republican party and the coming realignment of politics into something a lot more coherent than what we've had since the Southern Strategy took over the Rs and then the Democrats became less elitist and more mainstream while losing a lot of the mainstream Democrats.
I've been thinking and playing around with writing about class in America as a determining factor for a while. Reagan's big tent has turned into a bunch of conflicting smaller tents all having a revival at the same time. So, over at my new home on Veterans News Now, I wrote this.
I hope to hear soon that Crispin's exile of conscience has ended and he's back at Dickinson or maybe even someplace a lot better and more welcoming to him. He seems to be dealing with whatever the hell he's doing -- car theft, card sharking, publishing -- quite well. An actual job with a pay check can really fuck up your life.
it doesn't actually bother me that trump yaps the way he does, though i've seen plenty at this point. but i do think the russia connection might should prove fatal. it needs a hook in trump, but the whole thing is disturbing.
obviously, i am enthusiastic about the disintegration of the republican party, unless it leads to one-party socialist state. but the 'conservative' coalition or 'the right' never made any sense at all. is 'conservatism' isolationist or interventionist, for example, laissez-faire or evangelical christian? watch these parties vilify each other all day, but how far apart were obama and romney policywise by november 2012? so i think if there are massive 'mainstream' and security state republican defections to hillary, that is ideologically sensible, even as a permanent realignnment. meanwhille you have tea-party nationalists (that's really trump's crowd), and libertarian or 'constitutional' types, like paul or cruz on their good days. they should just split off permanently in different directions. but then the lindsey graham/hillary clinton party is going to have take a bunch of defections to the left, i would think, unless all lefties are going to vote for war and oligarchy.
this is just pathetic, but it's also characteristic of a whole demographic's response to trump. watch brooks really really struggle to formulate anything, then offer a 'diagnosis' in an deeply serious way: 'it's a condition.' what is the condition? it's following from one concept to another, or something. these people are showing themselves to be incredibly, literally stupid: they can't follow sarcasm, irony, hyperbole, or any sort of verbal play. they have no hermeneutic ability: they can't interpret words. they are our 'elite': they've been linguistically trained and anything that isn't a mechanical repetition of cliches and catch-phrases seems literally insane. tone of voice and triple entendres are not standardized-testable, hence they do not exist. our elites are unbelievably dull, and i think we live in an upside-down meritocracy.
the guardian, among others, is insisting on interpreting trump's banter as a threat of assassination. but meanwhile this is a hell of a story: assange hints that murdered dnc staffer was the source of the leaks. if so, obviously the murder is an issue, though who knows? and also, if he was the leaker, what was all this crap about the russians? definitely taking on that scandal/house of cards flavor. the first thing one would wonder is whether seth rich was a sanders supporter: that would be motivation for the leak. obviously, all is speculation at this point, but it does have that might-blow-sky-high smell right now. this could be the wildest presidential campaign in us history.
were i advising donald trump, i wouldn't be hitting him on 'message discipline,' etc. what i'd say is: show the famous charmer, the benevolent patriarch, and keep the funny. it's gotten too dark moodwise. like go all universal love all of a sudden: i love all god's children! black white and brown, gay straight male female and other, etc. i want a country and a world that works for us all. (and yes, we will build an incredible wall.) i love crooked hillary clinton, i really do! a beautiful person; she's literally an incredible person. i am praying for her immortal soul, and especially for bill's. then smirk. but then smile. invite hillary to dinner.
say you are a recovering bernista who has tumbled into the tub of goo known as clinton. how do you feel about the fact that all former cia directors agree on hillary? or perhaps you have a clash shirt and read chomsky or something. really, seriously, you're thinking about voting for hillary clinton? oops iraq war, patriot act, drones, bomb libya, wall street, no child's behind left, mass incarceration?
the response to trump on the khans is universal condemnation. and it takes this form: you can't say that! you can't say that. you can't say that. what people don't understand is that for let's say a third of the country the fact that someone says what 'can't' be said according to all schoolmarms, left and right, is itself a qualification. the pall of boring repetitiveness, universally agreed-on formulae; the ban on a million locutions and ideas, the prohibition on talking like a human being in public, is an actual problem.
now each thing that trump does along these lines is a 'turning point,' the moment it went too far. not yet, i think! the ny times columnar staff is working itself up into a unanimous tizzy, day after day; it will prove hard to sustain. but the russia connection could end up being fatal. on the other hand, i think a fund-raising scandal could vitiate clinton at any time; i would look to come through terry mcauliffe, to take one angle.
but i will say this: as the first, as the gender-breakthrough, hillary is incredibly problematic, much moreso than obama with regard to race, or like jackie robinson or someone. that it's the wife of a president is problematic; that it's the wife of bill clinton is extremely problematic; that she has been his wife in the way she has is a big old problem from this angle too. it's definitely not maggie thatcher or golda meir. there are a number of other people already who could be the first female pres, and no doubt there will be many more. i want and expect it to happen. but she is in some ways an unfortunate choice, precisely in the way she's lived gender.
or perhaps she's emblematic of a certain sort of bourgeois white woman in a certain era, sort of just post-friedan, pill etc. she's got the notion that women must be strong and independent and equal, etc., but perhaps she's also got a set of desires that are in conflict with that. she's struggled with the expectation of wifely subordination, both rejecting and enacting it. she's caught between generating an independent power as a person and...manipulating men or the patriarchy to get what she wants or living through, contributing to, and using her husband as he rises, a kind of old-time form of women's power. but then, she still has to legitimize herself as a nurturer; we got a portrait of remarkably traditional mom, with mixed plausibility, and that extends into the presentation of the policy.
chelsea presented her as full-time homemaker, which just can't be right, even if she made efforts. there were attempts, if i remember rightly, to 'humanize' gore, but what it meant for hillary at the convention to 'show the personal side,' the 'human' hillary, was always to feminize her, to show her with the normative female activities, relationships, and values as they stood in 1960. like all the symbology is locked into a transitional and wickedly conflicted moment in gender history. if a younger woman was looking at her self-presentation at the convention, it was extreme 'super-woman': full-time mom and world-bestriding career woman! you can have it all! ! i think a lot of younger woman must have looked at that and rolled their eyes.
i'm imagining that gender in hillary clinton's head is a puzzle, a mess, a difficulty all the time, though who knows? but the public enactment is extremely complex and conflicted. of course, this thing has been pretty much a minefield for everybody, one way or another. i hope bill is deeply confused about it too, but i doubt it. more nostalgic, perhaps, like roger ailes.
it's often been remarked over the decades that the sort of feminism hillary embodies doesn't do very well at representing the experiences of black women, poor women, third world women, and so on. i think it doesn't do that well representing the experiences of younger women right now either, and i actually think that even women a decade or two younger than hillary but otherwise similar had somewhat different internal struggles, or perhaps just somewhat less internal struggle, though there were continuities in the probs too. but it also had a role in moving everybody some way and opening up possibilities.
so there are excruciating tensions. she's not alone; i think it's transitional, characteristic of a certain class-race-gender-age cohort. and i think that even if she were elected, we would await the real breakthrough, something that or someone who shows what women are really becoming outside the gender hierarchy, someone less confused and also less intent on being something general or a symbol; someone who is herself. hillary symbolizes the struggle against that hierarchy, but just as conspicuously she embodies it; she is herself a lot of what she's fighting against.
in every cohort, there have been many sorts of ways of being female, of course. but some in this situation were pretty buttoned-up; like you didn't necessarily see what was really going on with the junior leaguer etc unless there was a crisis. a lot of people were pretty focused on making it seem ok from the outside; sometimes people are more focused on what other people think about them than on what they think about themselves, or those two have merged (with tensions). i feel that hillary clinton has concealed herself, or is extremely focused on not letting her self leak into public space (the disaster of what's in those 30k emails; why she suddenly goes very strange right there); maybe that is characteristic too in a way, a sort of bourgeois respectability of which mom the homemaker is the preserver while dad gets to misbehave a bit unless it slides badly off the rails (note to my 12-steppers; she seems a bit al-anon? kind of 'chapter to the wives'? just sayin). she's the maintainer-in-chief of appearances, but you know boys will be b's etc. so that makes the later career pretty fraught.
if i were speculating on why hillary handled her email the way she did, i'd say she wanted privacy with regard to exchanges with and about bill, as well as, possibly, exchanges with huma or others about anthony weiner, etc. these might be amazingly blistering, as well as revelatory and completely destructive to her campaign. she didn't take the right approach if that was the goal, of course, but i'd say that accounts for the deletefest.
but i will also say, i think she would have a reasonable expectation of privacy on stuff like that. if you took the roughest exchanges between me and my ex-wife and made them public (which has happened to me to some extent), it would look pretty awful. really, i have emails to regret, and i'd want the apologies leaked too. but then i'd just look pathetic. you too? maybe not, but maybe. anyway, i do not look on the email scandal as disqualifying. i would no doubt read the emails if they were leaked (or the highlights in the media, anyway) with a certain voyeuristic glee. i think bill is incredibly gross, and i'm curious enough about their marriage to read about it for a day or two if it really gets spelled out. but i will also regret that the whole thing happened.
obviously, i have ragged hillary mercilessly; but man, i'm glad i don't live in that kind of spotlight. i don't see how i could stand it.
offhand, i'm going to say that this is the worst op-ed column ever written: opinion journalism after the end. i think new york times op-ed columnists like bruni are also focus-grouping both their views and their phrases and have conceived their task to be exactly that of the clintonian politician: manipulating people to agree with them. in this case, they're manipulating people who already agree with them to agree with them; that seriously seems to be how the times' opinion operation conceives its mission. it's devoted to enhancing its readers' self-esteem by enhancing the self-esteem of its staff. they speak with the collective, contentless voice of a certain class or demographic, chanting incantations in unison. or they've just been annexed by political consultants. there used to be fierce, independent voices in a lot of newspapers.
i think 'frank bruni' is the nom de rien of the same software that writes katy perry's lyrics.
it's the emptiness that kills me. people really think that creating a mood is the thing, and that you create a mood by saying the same words over and over: hope hope hope! 'progress is possible!' touts the washpost. it's 'a moment of reckoning' cracks the nytimes, zeroing in on the synonym-for-synonym rewrite of 'rendezvous with destiny' or whatever. hillary just robotically repeated her phrases. well, you could say the same about al gore or john kerry. it's chickenshit, i tell you; it shows a person with no convictions, willing to take no chances.
the clinton approach to politics is this: freed by a complete lack of commitment to anything, you swamp your opponents by agreeing with them or going one better. so they spent the first two days trying to outprogressive bernie, and the last two days trying to outrepublican republicans: extreme continual patriotism, flag-waving, militarism. you wouldn't think that you could do both more or less simultaneously, but there it was. bernie's revolution got swallowed as though it had tumbled into a huge tub of goo; its corpse is now suspended therein, decomposing. and then they did the same to paul ryan or whatever. to put every move and utterance at the service of political strategy like that: it shows a total failure of human personality. there is nothing there at all.
perhaps the worst moment in dnc history was when john kerry tried to out-militarize bush in 2004. it was outrageous hypocrisy - i'm the peacenik who will kill you if it's polling well - and it was just an application of the clinton victory formula. they ran it with rare incompetence, however, selling their very souls for nothing at all.
also i hatehate the 'cult of personality' they always construct around the nominee, with the videos and the hyper-repetitive tributes; watching that shonda rhimes vid for hillary last night was like watching a jesus bio-pic, and after days of that - using the same damn words every time out - 'tough' 'fighter' 'childrenchildrenchildren,' the actual appearance of the candidate, her actual words, her actual history, was just a lukewarm, filthy bath of bathos. that is your savior? then why isn't she saying anything? america really needs to know the real hillary clinton, on a very personal, human level. that means we need to conceal her utterly under a make-up cake of focus-grouped cliches. imagine being the sort of person - like a tv pundit, e.g. - for whom those two things are the same, or for whom the difference is irrelevant. she needs to somehow simulate authenticity!
here was something so much better: for a number of reasons, not least because he didn't just recite the same phrases. this is easily the best thing i saw from the dnc, or the only thing that was anything.
i've got a feeling that he actually wrote that himself, perhaps the only person at the dnc brave enough to speak his own words.
this 'trump committed treason' stuff is insane. people will say or believe anything if it suits their purposes, or if they like the conclusion they can reach from it. look, first of all, we are not at war with russia; we're coordinating with them in syria, e.g. second, it would be bad, for example, to leak secret emails to the russian intelligence services. but 'inviting' them to hack accounts to which you have no connection, or play-challenging them to hack or rather to leak what they might have already hacked, is nothing like that at all. and plus, man, have you no ear for irony and humor, or no idea what he's actually saying? just ragging hillary, alright? he's saying that she might well have made her emails available to the russian (or chinese, he said) intelligence services. ps i oppose trump. but i disapprove of self-deluded stupidity too. elected officials willy-nilly accusing american citizens of treason is an actual problem, however.
people really do have a problem interpreting trump. yes he was kidding around hoping that russia can find all of hillary's emails; just bantering from the stage like he does. what he's actually saying all the time is that the fact that people like the russians may have gained access to hc's emails is the problem, ok? watch the thing in context, for one thing. joaqin castro just said "experts have said this is very close to treason." that's just stupid, man. anyway, these talking heads who all say the same thing at once can't keep up with verbal playfulness.
on the other hand, he's got to be pretty psyched about the dnc email leak. if the shoe was on the other foot, etc.
the gender gap this year is going to be amazing. i think perhaps gender and political ideology are merging, and we're going to move toward some kind of apartheid or partition. we need a wall; we have no choice, folks. perhaps there can be a hole in it for mating purposes. #gloryholeinthewall. if you build it, they will come.
ps it's me, bill! hillary is the best little change-maker i know. she's so loyal: most people couldn't bear for a moment the humiliation and victimization i have inflicted on her over the years. man i have told her some whoppers! hillary's been rolling with it since the summer of '71, when i met a lot of girls. why? i have no idea. maybe it's my unbelievable 'charisma,' or my fund-raising acuity. she's such a fighter! she never stops fighting. she can be sort of passive-aggressive, though. but putin hates that.
i am so happy and proud that, thanks to her efforts, our emails haven't been published so far, or at least they hadn't been as of when i came out here to talk to y'all. it's like a blast-furnace in there, bro. a fighter, i tell you. but then it goes all lovey-dovey and sexy. desperate, even. women are so hard to figure out, like they're from mars and we're from venus, or whatever. anyway, they're like change-agents all the time; dude, it's a roller-coaster. but hillary knows they are humans.
hillary has had a lot of experiences, a lot of common-sense experiences, just like a real human being. let me be very, very personal. let me tell you some things you don't know about hillary clinton. she is a very human being; few beings seem humanner. hillary has scanned the statistics, and she knows how hard-working american families are struggling. hillary has processed a lot of information qua human, and no one knows better than she what it's like to be a black guy getting shot by the police. she's a lot like disabled immigrants who dream pathetically of a better life in america and end up getting redeported. like prince and michael jackson, she knows exactly what it's like to be addicted to opiates, america's new scourge. and like so many americans whose communities and hard-working families have been ripped apart, her life has been deeply affected by my idea of mass incarceration, a couple of points in the polls, maybe. she's virtually lived a deeply human life, and no one is more intimately acquainted with the patriarchy and how to work it to get what she wants. she's like a little raisin in the sun. still, she rises!
could i talk to my homeboys for a second? girls, fingers in ears. listen, hillary helped me a lot, i guess. but we all know who got her here. where would a person with her political skills be without your boy? she'd be wherever tipper is. so chill, it's going to be alright. ok girls, you can tune back in.
god bless america, and god bless america's women and girls!
one pretty fundamental - yet extremely problematic - form of moral reasoning that people will use to corner you into the hillary/donnie dichotomy. alright you're going to vote for stein (johnson). what if everyone thought like that? then trump (clinton) will win! in other words, you're not only responsible for your own vote in the real world, which has almost no effect, but for other people's hypothetical votes in a possible world.
of course, if everyone thought like me, everyone would be voting for something much closer to their convictions and the political system would pop open like a carnivorous plant, so let's not worry about that. but what is the argument? that i might be persuasive to people? well, that is not a result of my vote per se. that 12.3% of voters are watching over my shoulder as i vote and will imitate me?
in general (i am talking to you, immanuel kant), i think we would do better to think about the actual principle of our own actions and the actual effects of our actual actions in the actual world. being responsible for that is more than enough, and the only thing that has you reasoning about reality. i would try to show how such an approach would not necessarily be sheer individualism or environmentally disastrous, etc. but whether i can or not, you had better have an argument handy that i should be responsible for the non-actual effects of my action in a non-actual world.
one more time with the decisive mathematical proof (creators syndicate/la times, 2004):
Electoral Chaos Theory
By Crispin Sartwell
"A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush."
Children, as you trudge through this vale of pain known as human life, the major parties will proffer arguments to the effect that you should vote for the moral munchkins they've nominated. Unlikely as it seems, one of these might someday be convincing. This one isn't.
Calculations concerning how voting for X affects the candidacies of Y and Z lead directly to completely insane complications. But to the extent we can work out the problem at all, voting for X is never equivalent to voting for Y or Z.
First of all, let's take the clearest scenario. All your life you've voted, and you've only voted Democratic. This time you are torn perfectly in two between Kerry and Nader: you would under no circumstances consider Bush or some other candidate or not voting. Let's suppose that Nader has absolutely no chance, and your preference for Nader has no effect whatever on anything else. Under these circumstances you nevertheless vote for Nader.
Your vote for Nader took a vote away from Kerry, but it did not one add for Bush. Whatever you want to say about this scenario, it is obviously not the same as ditching Kerry and voting for Bush. As we would say in baseball, Kerry's lost half a game.
Now the notion that you've tossed half a vote to Bush depends in turn on a variety of other factors, while the idea of partial votes opens up heretofore unimagined vistas in logic, such as that in some cases not voting is voting, while in others voting is not voting, and in yet others voting once is voting many times.
The distribution of the fragments of your vote to the candidates depends upon the various alternatives you would entertain, their weights, and their own effects. So for example, if there were no chance you were going to vote for Kerry in the first place, you haven't reduced his vote total at all by voting for Nader. If there were a 25% chance you were going to vote for Kerry, and you vote for Nader, then you're only throwing that 25% of your half vote to Bush. That's .125 of a vote.
In the case we're imagining you're 50/50 between Kerry and Nader. So you're only taking 50% of your half vote from Kerry. To make this intuitive: if someone intended to vote for Kerry and accidentally pulled Nader, that is obviously the loss of a half vote to Bush, because the probability of voting for Kerry was nearly 100%. So now we're down to .25 of a vote even in the cleanest case.
For the Democrats, a vote for Nader is a "wasted" vote: it is tantamount to not voting. So we are going to have to ask, in cases where you vote, whether you're failing to vote, and in cases where you don't, who you're voting for.
If you are a potential Kerry voter, not voting is, on the basic Democratic account, voting for Bush in exactly the same way as is voting for Nader. This equivalence supposes that under no circumstances is a vote for Nader a vote for the winner. But though the chances of Nader winning are small, they exist. Perhaps they are equal to Nader's polling numbers nationally, say 2%.
A vote for Kerry reduces Ralph's slim chance of winning and to exactly that extent is a vote for Bush. To be precise it takes away that fraction of a vote that is proportional to Nader's chance to win halved: a hundredth of a vote. So it's .01 of a vote for Bush. Even in the case of pure dilemma, that reduces your vote for Bush to .24.
Obviously, the idea that the Democrats are entertaining is that votes and vote fragments are wasted if they go to a loser. Bush's chance of winning, let us say, is 49%. So you have a 51% chance of wasting your partial vote for Bush when you vote for Nader. Hence, a vote for Nader is .1176 of a vote for Bush.
The antecedent chance that you will vote for Kerry - which fixes the fraction of the vote you're giving to Bush - is reduced by the chance that you will not vote at all. Since about half of eligible people vote in US presidential elections, the average factor is about .5.
Then you're giving Bush .0588 of a vote. That's unlikely to change the outcome, even in Florida.
And if you considered voting for Bush at all, all bets are off. Indeed, pretty quickly you'll find that people who once had a little inkling for Bush and ended up voting for Nader did not vote at all, because they repaid to Kerry what they subtracted from Bush.
It might be fun to spend a few years working on this problem, and a Nobel in psychomathematics might lurk in the research, or maybe just psychosurgery for the researcher .
But let us not be hasty. We should also entertain the idea that a vote for *Kerry* is a vote for Bush.
After all, it is a vote for the war in Iraq, for the Patriot Act, for No Child Left Behind, against gay marriage, for deficit spending on a massive scale, and so on.
Perhaps "Kerry" and "Bush" are simply two names for the same thing. Then, though voting for Nader might be voting .0588 for Bush, voting for Kerry is voting for Bush entirely.
But let's be generous and postulate that Kerry only coincides with Bush 75%. Of course it still follows with mathematical precision that no matter who you vote for - and even if you don't vote at all - you're voting for Bush. Defeating Bush in this case is conceptually impossible, and Democrats by their own calculations would do well to give up. In fact, they have.
At any rate, if the Democrats are right that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush, and if the average Nader vote is .0588 of a vote for Bush, voting for Kerry is voting for Bush about 13 times.
i don't know whether this is an asset or a liability, but tim kaine is a far better speaker than hillary clinton: so much more natural on stage, so much more ready to improvise, so much more connected to the words he is saying.
supposedly, hillary's veep criteria were things like 'ready to take the helm from day one,' 'foreign-policy experience' etc. but they're obsessed with safety and with demographics; it was always going to be a white guy. it's an interesting year in the sense that donald will take wild risks all the time while hillary lives by one ultra-inspiring principle: fear of mistakes. expect her to say nothing, while yapping constantly, for the rest of her life.
just getting realistic for a moment on nato and trump's take: anyone who thinks that there would be an instantaneous military counter-attack in the event of a russian incursion into estonia is tripping, no matter what the treaty commitments.
i admire what ted cruz did last night, and i interpret it as an endorsement of gary johnson. as usual, people want to trap you in a 'binary choice.' i heard a number of republicans say today that a vote for anyone other than trump is a vote for hillary. that is just obviously false, and same with the assertion that a traditional democrat voting for a third party (jill stein, maybe) is voting for trump. so, if i traditionally vote republican and i vote libertarian, that takes away a vote for trump, but does not add one for hillary, which is obviously not mathematically the same as taking away a vote from trump and adding one for hillary. i don't know why i have to keep making this point.
i think it was a good speech. you should check it out if you didn't see it live. it took guts to do that. and what he was saying is that a trump presidency will be disastrous for american freedom and the constitutional tradition. other people can make other criticisms, but that's an important one, and one that 'conservatives' should think about.
some years, i've blogged the conventions minute by minute. i can't stand to do that this year, though i've been watching intermittently.
surely this year is a reductio ad absurdum of the two-party system. this is what we're left with. i'd say both that no one had the guts to jump ship, and that these idiot factories really have made it more or less impossible to develop alternatives.
donald trump jr.'s speech last night has been welcomed with 'a star is born.' christ, did you watch that? on melania's plagiarism, etc: billmoyers.com points out that both she and michelle really nailed the inspiring values on which we all agree: that our word should be our bond, that we're doing it all for our children etc. but really, most political speeches are indistinguishable from plagiarism because they focus-grouped phrases like 'hard-working families' or whatever in 1991 and have been doing nothing but running through them mechanically ever since, both treating us as idiots and actually being idiots, both at once. oh, she did really swipe sentences, but if you listen to any of these people (donald does better than most on this), they're all just yipyapping hyper-repetitive empty manipulative bullshit.
it's the science of communication, baby. you put a bunch of people in a room with some sort of little meters, and when you say 'children' they turn the dial to 'positive.' so then you hide behind the podium, raise your sock puppet up in front of the the teleprompter it says 'children children children.' it's sophisticated, clever, thoroughly researched, mindless, meaningless, useless, and evil.
simultaneously, the hyper-partisan vilification continues to intensify, when you thought it couldn't get any worse. these people hysterically hate each other, which is all the content that remains. hop off this shit now, or be so gross, as though you were the new york times opinion operation.
in re: pence. everyone talks about the indiana religious freedom law. as i've said over and over, i (alone among anyone i've ever talked to) support such laws completely. the idea that you have to get another bakery or florist for your wedding in indianapolis is just not jim crow, or even any actual problem whatsoever, and different sorts of people can be discriminated against, for example on the basis of their religion. you are going to have to show me that there are real costs, or real lack of access to essential services etc to convince me that someone's religious conscience should be violated under legal constraint.
i feel both ways about brexit. i do love it when people sneak up and nip pollsters, not to speak of technocrats, elitists, professors, and such. and the bigger the system, all else equal, the less democratic: the further from any particular person's or community's input. i think these same professors and technocrats expect the whole world to unify into a super-state (habermas is in this spirit, for example), which would leave every particular situation so distant from power that no one could have any self-determination at all. i like localism: local cultural differences, vernaculars, folk arts, funky customs, and so on. a world where those things are being expunged in favor of standardized tests is a world i'd prefer to depart. so i am viscerally sympathetic to almost any secessionist movement anywhere; i'd like to see us fragment.
on the other hand, i'm no fan of nationalism, anti-immigrant fever, border walls, and the like. i want a spontaneous localism confident enough in itself to be happy with other localisms and to shift with new members and generations. nationalism has been an element in terrible wars and oppressions and exclusions, and it's not natural or inevitable; the nation-state emerged in history.
i'm unimpressed by the technocratic freak-out now in progress, which has plenty to do with sudden shocks in stock markets. this too will pass. this is not as wild or unaccountable a change as people are making it out to be this morning.
obama's press conference on the supreme court non-decision on his executive orders on immigration was a good example of what's wrong with american politics. first of all, the relentless focus-grouped yipyap: "commonsense commonsense commonsense; dreamers dreamers dreamers; hardworking hardworking hardworking.' then, immediately using the whole thing to bash republicans and turning straight to electioneering. so, he's blaming republicans for the partisanship, and offering a dem congress and white house as the solution. how has that worked before? they'll just spend the next years running again, by bashing the republicans with a collage of robotic phrases and of course vice versa. there is no way out within the two-party system and all anyone on either side cares about is aggrandizing themselves by vilifying others. that's not a decent way to live; these are not good people.