Author Topic: The Trump Presidency  (Read 88172 times)

Offline Peter B

  • Jupiter
  • ***
  • Posts: 984
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1215 on: September 08, 2020, 08:31:00 AM »
it gives police unions a toehold to fight back and say, "You people who've never fired a gun don't know what you're talking about."

It's actually true that the police, having direct first-hand experience of police work, have the best knowledge and experience to judge things like whether use of force was justified in a particular situation.  The problem is, they don't have the best motive.

When you are the police, you may sometimes have to be judged by people who don't know what it's like themselves.  What other alternative is there?  You could say, "we don't know first-hand the difficulties and challenges that police face, so whatever you decide to do, we'll take your word if you feel it was justified", which declares open-season for all manners of abuse.

This isn't unique to police.  If you're driving the train, and the train crashes, there's going to be an inquiry in which people who don't drive trains decide whether you have some responsibility or not.  We could decide, train drivers can only be judged by other train drivers, which guarantees that the people doing the judging know a lot about what it's like to drive trains, what sorts of problems can occur, what the best ways to handle those problems are, whether it's difficult or easy, and so on.  They're also the people who have the best incentive to say, when a train crashes, it's the fault of anyone except the person driving it.

It's simply the hard reality.  When force is used, there may have to be a justification, and the justification may have to be made to people who aren't front-line police officers.  I think the problems likely to occur if police can only be judged by themselves, are obvious.

To be fair, air crash investigators seem to be able to get a good level of cut-through when it comes to working out the causes of air crashes. If nothing else, air travel has improved in safety decade after decade for, well, a long time. So, sure, this is an industry where accidents are investigated by people from within the industry, but they still seem to be able to point the finger at cowboys and idiots when the evidence points that way.

But it's also worth pointing out that, at least here in Australia, a lot of police don't like the idea of being investigated even by their own agency's Internal Investigations teams (known disparagingly as 'toe-cutters'). To some police, those who volunteer to work in II have a tinge of the traitor about them at worst, or at best are simply trying to buff up their CVs for a run at management (along with a stint in HR and an alphabet of tertiary qualifications).

Offline Peter B

  • Jupiter
  • ***
  • Posts: 984
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1216 on: September 08, 2020, 09:37:13 AM »
A lot of things are good ideas until you factor in the worst side of human nature.

Labor is in crisis in the U.S., and has been since the 1980s.  We don't have a credible labor movement.  We don't have a credible labor political party.  As such, the One Percent manages to convince everyone, on the basis of the visible corruption in labor unions, that unions are wasteful and bad and should be abolished as impediments to business competitiveness (read: impediments to obscene profits funneled into executive compensation packages).

Which raises the obvious question of why. I'm reminded of this quote from Ronald Wright (about whom I know nothing else): "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." Which is to say the marketing of the American Dream has been so successful that any failure to achieve it seems to be seen as the fault of the person themselves rather than any external factors. I mean, I'm sure I've seen somewhere that even lowly paid people don't like the idea of raising income taxes on the wealthiest Americans because they can so vividly see themselves belonging to that class at some point in the future.

Quote
That's why no one films entertainment in Hollywood anymore.  The reason we have new large-scale, regional production facilities in North America -- Atlanta, Albuquerque, Park City, Vancouver, Toronto, New York -- are that the labor unions had such a powerful stranglehold over Hollywood film and television production that it literally did become cheaper to move everything elsewhere.  All the Disney Channel movies in the 1990s and 2000s were filmed in a warehouse-studio in an industrial complex near the downtown Salt Lake Home Depot store.  Sure, IATSE (film production crews) and SAG/AFTRA (actors) and DGA (directors) are alive and well in Utah, but they don't crap all over the studios.

And yet in the pre-unionised days, a doco I saw recently about Walt Disney suggested his workplace in the late 1930s was a nightmare for the majority of the staff due to their low pay in comparison to the few close mates of Disney who were well paid. In the circumstances I'll take the union's support if that's what's needed to make an employer pay a liveable wage.

But to go back to my last point, Hollywood itself plays an insidious role in marketing the American Dream, thanks to movies about people who succeed at the American Dream from the most trying circumstances, especially if they can market it as involving real people who really did succeed from the most trying circumstances. "The Pursuit of Happyness", "Joy", "The Blind Side" and even "Friday Night Lights" all come to mind. For example, in the case of TPOH, our hero gains the position he was competing for, but we don't hear about the fates of the other nineteen people competing for that position; there's no comment about the fact that these people are working for six months without pay in the hope of getting that one position; and then there's the fact that the job naturally suits extroverts, which not all of us are.

Quote
The idea of organized labor and collective bargaining is great.  It serves as a necessary check on the power of capital.  But power inevitably corrupts.  Or rather, the opportunity to wield power attracts those who would wield it for ulterior motives, whether in government, industry, or labor.  And this runs roughshod over what otherwise would have been a good organization serving a valuable purpose.  Quite a lot of good things, such as government and policing, are ruined by human nature.  Even controversial topics like private ownership of firearms can't be discussed without an army of not-so-straw men arising out of human nature.

It's a shame that unions seem to have a bad reputation in the USA. Here in Australia they're regularly targeted from the conservative side of politics and the media, and often with good reason - union corruption can easily be presented as a betrayal of the people the union is supposed to be representing. But when they're under proper internal control the role they play in protecting workers from arbitrary behaviour by management is vital, and where this protection is lacking the results can be bad for workers. Over the last few years there have been a number of high-profile cases of wage theft by companies in all sorts of industries, at exactly the same time that banks and other financial institutions have been shown to have engaged in egregious behaviour at the expense of their so-called customers. It's hard to see this as anything but companies doing what they think they can get away with, unless they're shown up by either internal whistleblowers or unions.

Quote
This is why I think the American Experiment is not so much whether a representative government of, by, and for the people can long endure.  It's whether such a disparate rabble of people can unify under one banner.  George Washington said, in one of the brilliant addresses Alexander Hamilton wrote for him, that the two-edged sword of American government was that it allowed maximum freedom, so long as individual discipline would be maintained.  People will simply not tolerate abuses of power or encroachment upon their rights.  And if they did not behave with honor and discipline themselves, the people -- in one form or another -- would take steps to enforce good behavior more broadly.  If not by government authority, then by taking to the streets.  If I, through my entitled and wanton misbehavior, trespass upon Gillianren in any way she finds uncomfortable, the courts may redress.  Or they may not, because I might not have committed any cognizable tort.  But that doesn't mean she has to endure my boorish conduct.  Thus breeds contempt among neighbors.

But isn't it the case that this balancing act is common to many enterprises? Doesn't every democratic form of government contain within it the potential for its own destruction? After all, even a supposedly anti-democratic party can win a democratic election if enough people support it, and then enact the anti-democratic policy agenda it says it was elected to undertake. The scary thing is that such things have happened because (among other problems) the members of the other parties are tempted to rely on slogans instead of genuinely attempting to solve the problems they face, and voters switch their support to the new party, even if it's anti-democratic, because they feel they have nothing to lose.

Offline Peter B

  • Jupiter
  • ***
  • Posts: 984
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1217 on: September 08, 2020, 10:16:29 AM »
I also know I'm setting myself up for failure, but I really am hoping that we will actually have a very large turnout, in whatever form that happens to be. I'm sick of having such a low percentage of people casting votes. If he gets re-elected, I'd like it to reflect the wishes of the overwhelming majority of eligible voters, not just the pathetic 58% that voted last time. I know in some states and districts the results are pretty much a foregone conclusion, but that's not the case everywhere, and even so, those in the minority should still be counted.

Heh, one more case where I like to think we got it right in Australia, with compulsory voting. People have a little more right to complain about the government if they've actually voted.

The amusing thing is how many people (especially on the conservative side of politics and media) seem to think compulsory voting was introduced in Australia by a left-wing government. The reality was that it was adopted by a right-wing government because back in the day the unions were exceptionally well-organised in getting people out to vote, and compulsory voting was the only way for conservative political parties to match the turn-out.

These days, of course, union membership is at an all-time low...

Offline gillianren

  • Uranus
  • ****
  • Posts: 2024
    • My Letterboxd journal
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1218 on: September 08, 2020, 12:12:54 PM »
I was talking to a friend-of-a-friend yesterday who insisted that writing Bernie Sanders on her ballot in November would change things, because he would force change if he had the greatest number of write-in votes ever.  Then she got mad when I assumed she was young, so I asked her if she remembers Ross Perot.  I suggested to a friend yesterday that you can draw a direct line from Perot to Trump.  Because I've read a fair amount about Perot's movement, and it seems a lot of the usual suspects were involved.
"This sounds like a job for Bipolar Bear . . . but I just can't seem to get out of bed!"

"Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labour-saving device in the face of complexity."  --Henry Louis Gates

Offline Obviousman

  • Jupiter
  • ***
  • Posts: 567
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1219 on: September 08, 2020, 03:57:40 PM »
Big difference in the two candidates there is that Perot actually was a very successful businessman.

Offline gillianren

  • Uranus
  • ****
  • Posts: 2024
    • My Letterboxd journal
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1220 on: September 09, 2020, 11:43:32 AM »
That, at least, is true.
"This sounds like a job for Bipolar Bear . . . but I just can't seem to get out of bed!"

"Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labour-saving device in the face of complexity."  --Henry Louis Gates

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3430
    • Clavius
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1221 on: September 09, 2020, 12:41:49 PM »
I think it's more important to say that Ross Perot built a very successful business, which is a lot harder than squandering daddy's fortune as Donal Trump has done.  And unlike Trump, he did a lot of business with the U.S. federal government, which makes up in some part for Perot's lack of experience in elected office.  But the problem with electing businesspeople to serve in elected office is that they are often inexperienced at compromise.  You have public opinion and other branches of government to deal with, and they can't just be fired or overridden by edict and fiat.

Donald Trump tries to style himself as the consummate deal maker.  But as we've seen, his idea of the "art" of some deal is to bully and screw over the other guy and then rely on his inherited wealth to buy his way out of responsibility.  To me that's not a deal.  To be sure, each party in a negotiation tries to maximize his value.  But an artfully made deal, as I figure it, is a win-win.  That is, each person goes away thinking he's gotten the upper hand.  But in fact both people take away something of value.  Success in business imbues people with some qualities that I think translate to political leadership.  But it also, in some cases, can accustom candidates to autocratic leadership.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3430
    • Clavius
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1222 on: September 09, 2020, 03:32:55 PM »
Which raises the obvious question of why. I'm reminded of this quote from Ronald Wright (about whom I know nothing else): "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." Which is to say the marketing of the American Dream has been so successful that any failure to achieve it seems to be seen as the fault of the person themselves rather than any external factors. I mean, I'm sure I've seen somewhere that even lowly paid people don't like the idea of raising income taxes on the wealthiest Americans because they can so vividly see themselves belonging to that class at some point in the future.

That pretty much hits the nail on the head.  There's an even shorter answer that says what you've formulated here, but in a very quotable form:  Americans are terrified of the S-word -- socialism.

Which is to say, Americans are fine with certain social institutions, because they've been well disguised.  But to give political power to "the workers" smacks of those crazy European countries with sky-high taxes and volatile coalition governments, hovering just one step this side of communism.  I think it's just good old American exceptionalism, the belief that our brand of political democracy and economic capitalism is better (somehow) than everyone else's by its very nature.  We don't want to do anything that dilutes our sense of individuality and superiority, even if it's clearly in our best interest.

To be sure, there is the strong feeling that every American is a frustrated millionaire.  Even people of modest income will defend the notion that it's not the government's business to "punish success" by high taxes, because they really do fear that even their modest success will draw attention.  And especially in the middle sections of the country, being satisfied with an honest day's pay for an honest day's work is still something of pride.  Not every American wants to be a billionaire.  But every American wants to lay claim to what he believes he has earned.

I'm sure you've heard the Makers and Takers analogy.  This is the notion that American residents can be broken into two broad groups.  The Makers are those who contribute value to the economy, largely by prudent financial management that provides the capital lifeblood from which American business is built.  The Takers are lazy layabouts who exploit social and economic systems in order to make their living by a transfer of wealth from the Makers.  Taxation is the conduit by which this occurs.  And because this is America, the Takers are invariably depicted as racial minorities and/or illegal immigrants.

That's the story the Right would have you believe.  A more accurate view is that the workers are the Makers who create value in the economy.  Because of wage disparity and the lack of a poltically-endowed labor movement, the Takers are the business owners and stock holders who form the One Percent, and make their income largely via the economic rents this system engenders while creating comparatively negligible actual value.  The Makers themselves lack the capital to buy into this system.  So the wealth transfers upward instead of "trickling down."

And now since the wealthy elite have formed a political oligarchy in the United States, the barrier to an organized labor movement having real political power is all but impassable.

Quote
And yet in the pre-unionised days, a doco I saw recently about Walt Disney suggested his workplace in the late 1930s was a nightmare...

It probably was.  We point to 1948 as the nominal end of the original Studio System, and animators didn't unionize until the early 1950s.  The original union agreements in the 1920s were mostly for manual labor -- carpenters, stage hands, etc. although the Screen Actors Guild did go back that far.

And who else was doing animation at that scale back then?  Nobody besides Disney was taking animation seriously as an art form.  So if they're the only game in town, I'm not sure unionizing improves your plight that much more.

Quote
But to go back to my last point, Hollywood itself plays an insidious role in marketing the American Dream, thanks to movies about people who succeed at the American Dream from the most trying circumstances, especially if they can market it as involving real people who really did succeed from the most trying circumstances.

I think it's a vicious circle.  The major complaint against Hollywood beginning in the era that produced the films you mentioned was that it was entirely profit-minded.  You could make a case that those movies were made with those messages because that's what market research showed people would pay money to see.  If a feel-good underdog movie is what's going to make $200 million profit that quarter, then that's the movie that gets made.  It may accidentally reinforce that completely unrealistic economic outlook, but I'm not sure there's an ideological motive that outshines simply making whatever dreck they determine will score that year.

Quote
...and then there's the fact that the job naturally suits extroverts, which not all of us are.

I'll never grasp the myth of infinitely fungible labor as an excuse for dealing with the consequences of economic shifts.  If the U.S. suddenly decides to outsource all its engineering to China, it's not like I'm going to find success now as a pastry chef.  The One Percent likes to tell people that foreign competition and illegal immigrants are taking their jobs.  And we need to eliminate regulation on business to allow it to be more competitive, and to abolish labor unions that artificially rase the price of labor.  And we need to build large fences in the desert to keep out illegal immigrants.

Of course what really happened is that American industry intentionally outsourced labor to cheaper sources of it.  And the result of lowering taxes and removing expensive regulation not historically been a reinvestment in American labor, but rather the payment of dividends and the acquisition of more profits, which are then moved offshore to make them ineligible for U.S. taxation.  And U.S. industry has invested heavily in automation, with the stated goal of reducing its labor costs.  There is no way "reducing labor costs" doesn't translate to firing people, paying them less, or both.  And the reduction of labor costs is not aimed at making things more efficient and thus lowering prices.  The prices stay the same, and the margins increase.  And where do the margins go?  Upward.

Factory and farm workers just can't up and train for new careers as web designers and account managers.  I might be in for a new career as a tree surgeon, since I'm cleaning up the debris from the 100-plus mile per hour winds we had blowing down my street last night.  Yes, a Category 2 hurricane in Utah.  But that's just my side hustle.

Quote
It's a shame that unions seem to have a bad reputation in the USA.

It goes back to United States Steel and their successful campaigns against the fledgling steelworkers' unions.  Since then, organized labor has been socially and politically stereotyped with socialism/communism, and economically identified as leeches on American competition.  Early unions in the U.S. didn't really obtain much power initially.  And since the breaking point came in 1918-1919 -- formative years for national Communist movements -- it was trivial for U.S. Steel to portray the striking workers as Communists seeking to overthrow the American way of life.  And good people looked the other way while brutal things happened.  The American capitalist/industrialist really hasn't changed his stripes since the bad old days.

Quote
It's hard to see this as anything but companies doing what they think they can get away with, unless they're shown up by either internal whistleblowers or unions.

I don't think there's any point in trying to see it any other way than rampant corporatism pushing the boundaries.  In the United States, getting away with as much as you can seems to be a point of pride.  Skill at the corporate executive level seems to be measured by how much regulation or law you can sidestep with impunity, especially if other people at the company's highest levels benefit.  During the hearing of Goldman Sachs executives before Congress in 2008 or so, these people were legitimately proud that they had circumvented regulation in order to structure deals that were highly risky and putatively profitable.   The fact that the crashed the world's economy didn't even put a tarnish on their pride.

Labor unions in the U.S. are not seen as watchdogs against management misconduct.  If a union points out misconduct, it's interpreted as a negotiating ploy.  The truthfulness of the allegations probably would not even register.  Pointing out "poor working conditions," for example, is often seen as simply wanting a more cushy job.  Non-unionized workers in American are often apt to characterize union labor as lazy and overpaid.  Of course this is an image carefully foisted upon them by politicians and big business.  But it's probably more apt to be believed in the U.S. than in other countries, where labor and capital have a more equitable footing.

Quote
This is why I think the American Experiment is not so much whether a representative government of, by, and for the people can long endure.  It's whether such a disparate rabble of people can unify under one banner.  George Washington said, in one of the brilliant addresses Alexander Hamilton wrote for him, that the two-edged sword of American government was that it allowed maximum freedom, so long as individual discipline would be maintained.  People will simply not tolerate abuses of power or encroachment upon their rights.  And if they did not behave with honor and discipline themselves, the people -- in one form or another -- would take steps to enforce good behavior more broadly.  If not by government authority, then by taking to the streets.  If I, through my entitled and wanton misbehavior, trespass upon Gillianren in any way she finds uncomfortable, the courts may redress.  Or they may not, because I might not have committed any cognizable tort.  But that doesn't mean she has to endure my boorish conduct.  Thus breeds contempt among neighbors.

But isn't it the case that this balancing act is common to many enterprises? Doesn't every democratic form of government contain within it the potential for its own destruction?

Quote
After all, even a supposedly anti-democratic party can win a democratic election if enough people support it, and then enact the anti-democratic policy agenda it says it was elected to undertake. The scary thing is that such things have happened...

Isn't that essentially how we got the Third Reich in Germany?
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline gillianren

  • Uranus
  • ****
  • Posts: 2024
    • My Letterboxd journal
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1223 on: September 10, 2020, 11:56:57 AM »
And now it turns out that Fearless Leader knew the virus was more deadly than he was willing to say in public and kept denying that fact because admitting it was bad for him personally.  Which means, in my opinion, he's guilty of at best manslaughter through his reckless disregard for human life.  He didn't take the steps he could have and knew he probably ought to, because he didn't want to.  And that means my seven-year-old just started his first day of second grade using a school-issued Chromebook, because it still isn't safe for him to return to his classroom.  And my three-year-old cried because she isn't going to start school at all this year, there being no such thing as a safe and effective preschool.
"This sounds like a job for Bipolar Bear . . . but I just can't seem to get out of bed!"

"Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labour-saving device in the face of complexity."  --Henry Louis Gates

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3430
    • Clavius
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1224 on: September 10, 2020, 05:48:25 PM »
It's not safe for my sister to return to the classroom.  But she has to anyway.  She teaches first grade the county to the south, where a bunch of mothers just filed a lawsuit against our governor for his oppressive efforts to prevent children from enjoying their friends and relatives in person, unfettered by masks or distance.  As much as people want to blame this on Mormon exceptionalism -- Mormon entitlement is about 2X your average American entitlement level -- the official position of the church is that masks should be worn, social distancing should occur, and that all church members are expected to obey the orders of civic leaders.  The people in Utah County are special in ways that transcend religion.  But at least my sister's school district requires face masks.

My brother-in-law teaches high school science in an affluent school district in Idaho.  They will not be providing him PPE, nor are masks mandatory at the school.  So not safe at all for him either.  He can provide his own face mask etc. but no policy prevents some infected kid (he typically teaches 200 students in several classes) from coughing in his face.  He and his wife (my sister) figure they'll both have COVID-19 within a month.

Of course nobody believed the President when he downplayed the danger back in the spring.  And now nobody believes it was merely to reassure the nation.  His inaction -- and, at times, his claim that the virus was a hoax -- created reliances that put people in danger.  Now we discover that inaction was deliberate, not a consequence of distraction from the impeachment or a legitimate controversy over whether a danger existed.  He deliberately positioned his administration to deny the importance of an emerging health crisis, when proper information would have saved lives.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Jason Thompson

  • Uranus
  • ****
  • Posts: 1573
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1225 on: September 11, 2020, 04:07:07 AM »
It's not safe for my sister to return to the classroom.



My brother-in-law teaches high school science in an affluent school district in Idaho.



He and his wife (my sister) figure they'll both have COVID-19 within a month.

I hope they are lucky and don't get it, and if they do I hope they come through it OK.

Quote
Of course nobody believed the President when he downplayed the danger back in the spring.  And now nobody believes it was merely to reassure the nation.

Regrettably I have seen evidence that some actually do believe the bullshit of 'reassuring the nation.' They seem to subscribe to some notion that if you tell a nation there is a deadly disease coming and measures need to be taken to contain it mass panic will result. The idea that you could reassure a group of people by telling them that there is a deadly disease coming, that measures are put in place for protection, and that everything that can be done to understand and prevent this disease is being done seems alien to them.

Of course, lying is just about the only thing Trump knows how to do effectively, so the idea that he could reassure his people while letting actual experts tackle the disease is anathema to him because it would entail admitting that he has to leave the actual health of the nation to others who know more than him.
"There's this idea that everyone's opinion is equally valid. My arse! Bloke who was a professor of dentistry for forty years does NOT have a debate with some eejit who removes his teeth with string and a door!"  - Dara O'Briain

Offline gillianren

  • Uranus
  • ****
  • Posts: 2024
    • My Letterboxd journal
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1226 on: September 11, 2020, 10:48:21 AM »
Someone a block or two away from me has a very large banner declaring that voting for Fearless Leader means no more BS, and the temptation to wallpaper their house with demonstrations of his lies is strong.  Simon and I had a long talk about it.
"This sounds like a job for Bipolar Bear . . . but I just can't seem to get out of bed!"

"Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labour-saving device in the face of complexity."  --Henry Louis Gates

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3430
    • Clavius
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1227 on: September 11, 2020, 12:35:36 PM »
I hope they are lucky and don't get it, and if they do I hope they come through it OK.

They're all smart and presently in excellent health, so we're hoping for the best.  There have already been outbreaks in three area high schools since school resumed.  It's not looking good for in-person instruction this year either.

Quote
Regrettably I have seen evidence that some actually do believe the bullshit of 'reassuring the nation.'

Of course.  If you're a Trump supporter, it's easy to believe that Trump did his best to avoid panic (because you know how those liberals freak out about everything).  And Trump and Pence worked around the clock behind the scenes hand in hand with scientists to develop a containment plan, because of course the Obama Administration -- whoops, excuse me, the Obama-Biden Administration left them absolutely nothing to work with.  And Jared Kushner used his brilliant business acumen to set up a supply chain for PPE in record time, so that states wouldn't run short.

Quote
They seem to subscribe to some notion that if you tell a nation there is a deadly disease coming and measures need to be taken to contain it mass panic will result.

The mass panic they feared, of course, was in the U.S. stock market.  News that businesses might have to close for an extended period might send stocks tumbling. and the powers that be needed time to restructure their portfolios before the inevitable.  And when the inevitable hit, Kushner was busy confiscating state and national stockpiles of PPE and selling them to the highest bidders.  As, you know, that sort of person does.

Strangely enough, there are still people who blame Obama for not developing a vaccine for coronavirus ahead of time.  These are the same sorts of people who blame Obama for his inaction on 9/11.  You really can't work with people who are just this plain stupid.

Quote
The idea that you could reassure a group of people by telling them that there is a deadly disease coming, that measures are put in place for protection, and that everything that can be done to understand and prevent this disease is being done seems alien to them.

I think it goes back to the strange notion among many Americans that the United States is inherently invincible, that our institutions will prevent anything truly bad from happening, and that all these things are just tempests in a teapot fomented by The Other Guys for political reasons.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Peter B

  • Jupiter
  • ***
  • Posts: 984
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1228 on: September 12, 2020, 01:09:23 AM »
...the strange notion among many Americans that the United States is inherently invincible, that our institutions will prevent anything truly bad from happening, and that all these things are just tempests in a teapot fomented by The Other Guys for political reasons.

*groan*

Talk about getting it back to front.

The institutions aren't strong because the USA is invincible. The USA is invincible when the institutions are strong.

It's like all those dopey generals from throughout history who thought they'd win their battles because their nation was strong, when in fact their nation was strong because they won their battles.

But I'm pretty sure we've discussed this before...
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 01:13:32 AM by Peter B »

Offline Luther

  • Venus
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1229 on: September 12, 2020, 03:52:41 AM »
Which raises the obvious question of why. I'm reminded of this quote from Ronald Wright (about whom I know nothing else): "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." Which is to say the marketing of the American Dream has been so successful that any failure to achieve it seems to be seen as the fault of the person themselves rather than any external factors. I mean, I'm sure I've seen somewhere that even lowly paid people don't like the idea of raising income taxes on the wealthiest Americans because they can so vividly see themselves belonging to that class at some point in the future.

That pretty much hits the nail on the head.  There's an even shorter answer that says what you've formulated here, but in a very quotable form:  Americans are terrified of the S-word -- socialism.

I'm a little unclear what argument (if any) is being made with the Ronald Wright quote.

Is the idea that people in the US should support more socialistic policies, because it is in their self-interest to do so?