The dangers of Trump

Adam Gopnik makes a case that Trump is far from an ordinary presidential candidate and it would be a danger to treat him as one.  Alas, this whole tribalism thing is really strong, and the vast majority of Republicans are far more interested in the fact that Trump is a Republican than the fact that he potentially represents a genuine danger to our Republic.  Gopnik:

One can argue about whether to call him a fascist or an authoritarian populist or a grotesque joke made in a nightmare shared between Philip K. Dick and Tom Wolfe, but under any label Trump is a declared enemy of the liberal constitutional order of the United States—the order that has made it, in fact, the great and plural country that it already is. He announces his enmity to America by word and action every day. It is articulated in his insistence on the rightness of torture and the acceptable murder of noncombatants. It is self-evident in the threats he makes daily to destroy his political enemies, made only worse by the frivolity and transience of the tone of those threats. He makes his enmity to American values clear when he suggests that the Presidency holds absolute power, through which he will be able to end opposition—whether by questioning the ownership of newspapers or talking about changing libel laws or threatening to take away F.C.C. licenses. To say “Well, he would not really have the power to accomplish that” is to misunderstand the nature of thin-skinned authoritarians in power. They do not arrive in office and discover, as constitutionalists do, that their capabilities are more limited than they imagined. They arrive, and then make their power as large as they can…

If Trump came to power, there is a decent chance that the American experiment would be over. This is not a hyperbolic prediction; it is not a hysterical prediction; it is simply a candid reading of what history tells us happens in countries with leaders like Trump. Countries don’t really recover from being taken over by unstable authoritarian nationalists of any political bent, left or right—not by Peróns or Castros or Putins or Francos or Lenins or fill in the blanks. The nation may survive, but the wound to hope and order will never fully heal. Ask Argentinians or Chileans or Venezuelans or Russians or Italians—or Germans. The national psyche never gets over learning that its institutions are that fragile and their ability to resist a dictator that weak. If he can rout the Republican Party in a week by having effectively secured the nomination, ask yourself what Trump could do with the American government if he had a mandate. Before those famous schoolroom lines, Pope made another observation, which was that even as you recognize that the world is a mixed-up place, you still can’t fool yourself about the difference between the acceptable and the unacceptable: “Fools! who from hence into the notion fall / That vice or virtue there is none at all,” he wrote. “Is there no black or white? / Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain; / ’Tis to mistake them, costs the time and pain.” The pain of not seeing that black is black soon enough will be ours, and the time to recognize this is now.

Good stuff.  Likely that Trump destroys the US Constitutional order as we know it?  No.  Far more of an actual risk than under any US presidential candidate ever?  Surely.

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Photo of the day

From In Focus photos of the week:

A group of Indian Runner ducks march past farm buildings at the Vergenoegd wine estate near Cape Town, South Africa, on May 11, 2016. Each day, a quack squad of killer ducks are released for the first of two sorties at South Africa’s Vergenoegd wine farm in Stellenbosch. Their mission – seek and destroy thousands of pests out to ruin the season’s harvest. Fanning out across the vineyards, some 1,000 Indian Runner ducks hone in on their hidden targets with uncanny precision, locating the tiny white dune snails feasting on budding vines.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters

All political conservatives are racist (if you are a Sociologist)

So, I recently came across this piece in the Christian Science Monitor with the title, “The surprising relationship between intelligence and racism.”  Of course, I was intrigued.  So, it’s actually a fairly simple analysis of General Social Survey data by some Sociologists.  Here’s the deal:

The findings may surprise some: While people who score higher on intelligence tests are less likely to hold racist stereotypes (such as imagining that people of another race are lazy or unintelligent), they’re no more likely to support government policies that aim to reduce racial inequality. For example, while 95 percent of study participants who scored higher on the intelligence test said that black and white children should attend the same schools, only 22 percent support school-busing programs…

Overall, those who scored better on the test had more favorable opinions of blacks and were less likely to blame them for their disadvantages than did their lower-performing respondents. 

But when it came to government policy – affirmative action, or busing, for example – smarter respondents were no different than their less-intelligent peers…

And while the overwhelming majority of the smarter group supported integrated schools (95 percent), only a fraction supported school-busing programs (22 percent).

The conclusion that Wodtke draws is that both the high and low scorers on the tests may have racist attitudes, but the high scorers “are simply more sophisticated racists.”[emphases mine]

Got that?  If you don’t support school busing or affirmative action that means you are simply a “more sophisticated racist.”  You want to know why Sociologists have a reputation for being hopelessly, ideologically, liberal?  This.  Now, are these policy attitudes masking actual racism in some intelligent whites?  I have no doubt that’s the case.  But to entirely ignore political context and simply claim that not supporting affirmative action or busing is inherently a “racist” attitude?!  I guess that’s what comes from spending all your time in an ideological bubble as potent as getting all your information from Fox News and Rush.  Ugh.  I think Sociology is inherently a fascinating discipline that we can learn a lot from, but I also think pervasive far-left liberalism significantly diminishes it’s intellectual rigor.

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