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Trumps’s first year – told with a sharp pen

By Kevin Williamson

That 2017 has been a year of lost opportunities is an important failure for Republicans, who are likely to accomplish even less in 2018, when the prospect of congressional elections held in the shadow of Trump’s unpopularity will brighten the already visible yellow streak running down the back of Republican Washington. Perhaps things will go differently. But it may very well be the case that 2017 represents all that Republicans will really get out of the Trump phenomenon: a little bit of reform, a lot of noise, and a reputation that may never recover and may not deserve to.

An excellent essay by Jonathan Haidt

Worth reading in it’s entirety – quotes

Intersectionality is like NATO for social-justice activists.

and

Today’s identity politics has another interesting feature: It teaches students to think in a way antithetical to what a liberal-arts education should do. When I was at Yale in the 1980s, I was given so many tools for understanding the world. By the time I graduated, I could think about things as a Utilitarian or a Kantian, as a Freudian or a behaviorist, as a computer scientist or a humanist. I was given many lenses to apply to any one situation. But nowadays, students who major in departments that prioritize social justice over the disinterested pursuit of truth are given just one lens — power — and told to apply it to all situations. Everything is about power. Every situation is to be analyzed in terms of the bad people acting to preserve their power and privilege over the good people. This is not an education. This is induction into a cult, a fundamentalist religion, a paranoid worldview that separates people from each other and sends them down the road to alienation, anxiety, and intellectual impotence.

I am of the opinion that anything that happens on a college campus is overly hyped – but he does make some good points about the Fox News effect (rewarding bombastic statements on the right) and the notion of identity politics as viewing everything through the lens of power.

Maybe we’re so partisan because America is worse, or at least more difficult

Five not thought through theories on why people are flocking to Trump, Clinton, Moore, etc, and movements based on hashtags

  • It is a natural reaction to either tribal identities getting more fun in the age of the internet/social media (we’re all performance artists now).  The tribal identity is improving relative to the American identity
  • The American identity is getting worse in the age of the internet, i.e. we’re closer to the bad parts, and we’re farther away from the good parts.  The “cost” of being American first (in Hoffer’s use of the term, and sort of my grandfather’s) has increased
  • The notion of  an “American” identity has hidden requirements, namely dispersed income growth that are no longer there
  • The notion of an “American” identity was a historical quirk caused by the world wars that is slowly washing away, leaving us with our regional differences
  • Identity politics is easy, and we’re just way lazier and sedentary than before.  Ideology requires work.

Just some thoughts after reading this essay by Kevin Williamson, specifically

The Republican party took the lead in seeing off both American slavery and worldwide Communism under the leadership of men including Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. The most today’s Republican party can say for itself is: “You can’t prove our guy was a serial molester of adolescent girls! That’s up to the people of Alabama to decide.”

Stalin: The Kremlin Mountaineer – a most excellent little book

So – I stumbled across Stalin: The Kremlin Mountaineer on Amazon (it’s a Kindle single) and it’s the best book I’ve read on anything Russian, ever, and the first book in a number of years I’ve wished was longer. The single strangest thing I learned was that Collective Farming was inspired by a giant American farm somewhere in the upper Midwest.

My early Mr Robot prediction

I think the big reveal of the show will be that E-Corp/China has somehow conquered death, and people live forever in emulation. Angela will be revealed to be housing the emulation/image of her mom much like Elliot houses his dad. And somehow – being pushed out the window was the cover for implanting the software (or something like that).