Thursday, March 24, 2016

Philosophers on U.S. Presidential Politics

Below is a blurb from a publisher of philosophy books.  Philosophers are overwhelmingly Leftist.  What it reports is an amusing example of how Leftists live in a little self-created bubble that has no connection with reality.  According to the authors, conservatives "place high regard upon insatiable appetites for luxury, excess, spectacle, and power".  Whaat!  No conservative would recognize that description of himself.  It's just a fantasy dreamt up to justifty Leftism.  Leftists can't handle reality so construct straw men to burn.  They are damaged people.

But they get some things right.  I and many other conservatives would agree that Trump "strongly appeals to disaffected, middle-of-the-road Americans who have become divided from traditional conservative politics due to the unpopularity of such ideals".

And there is some truth in their statement that Trump "has demonstrated that in order to get the support of voters who identify with the Republican Party, would-be candidates must vilify ideas and instead communicate solely in one-liners".  The spineless nature of the GOP establishment has indeed brought us to that.

But it is very one-eyed in completely ignoring what Trump actually says.  Their closed minds probably make it impossible for them even to hear what he says. Trump opposes illegal immigration when everybody else seems to have given up on that.  Americans don't want their country messed up by throngs of troublesome immigrants and Trump alone speaks for such concerned Americans

Routledge authors, Robert Talisse, Scott Aikin, and Jason Brennan provide a philosophical insight on the state of the Republican Party, and the establishment of the Trump brand.

With the U.S. presidential race imminent, Routledge authors have been weighing in on the state of U.S. politics over on the Daily Nous, as possibly the most principled, and possibly the least principled politicians in the U.S. are currently going head to head for the American presidency.

Robert Talisse (author of Engaging Political Philosophy, and co-author of Why We Argue and Why We Should) and Scott Aikin (co-author of Why We Argue and Why We Should), have weighed in on the debate with an exploration of the trouble with political conservatism in America today, and how such concerns have presented a challenge to the Republican Party.

According to Talisse and Aikin, the central ideas of political conservatism are becoming increasingly unpopular, as they place high regard upon insatiable appetites for luxury, excess, spectacle, and power, all of which are social forces that dissolve tradition and foster divisions. Such unpopularity has therefore led the Republican Party to build a political coalition among people who ultimately have little in common, which requires a strategy by which divisions are overshadowed by some unifying purpose.

Comparatively, Jason Brennan (author of Why Not Capitalism? and co-author of Markets without Limits) adds that democracy works because it doesn’t work. Brennan qualifies this by explaining that Trump has become a populist candidate in the presidential race as he has played to misinformation, anger, and prejudice, as the mean, median, and modal amounts of basic political knowledge among voters is generally quite low. Therefore, Trump is doing well because democracy is working, because there has been a break down in various checks parties place on voter ignorance.

Moreover, he is rising as the likely Republican nominee despite widespread opposition, because he strongly appeals to disaffected, middle-of-the-road Americans who have become divided from traditional conservative politics due to the unpopularity of such ideals, of which Talisse and Aikin speak of.

In this way, Trump has consequently become the manufactured unifying purpose that is needed to overshadow the divisions that have arisen. He has demonstrated that in order to get the support of voters who identify with the Republican Party, would-be candidates must vilify ideas and instead communicate solely in one-liners - all this in the service of selling what is promoted as a brand. As, Talisse and Aikin remark that conservatism was supposed to be the idea that values were more than brands, but branding is now all the Republican Party has at its core as a political faction.

For more information, visit Daily Nous for the full debate.


The man who encouraged mass migration to Britain has a rethink

Tony Blair says 'flabby liberalism' is helping terrorists because elite feel too 'guilty' to take on the extremists.  Since he himself could be seen as a flabbly liberal, perhaps this has significance

Tony Blair has warned that ‘flabby liberalism’ is helping terrorists because Britain’s elite feel too ‘guilty’ to tackle the spread of extremism.  The former Labour prime minister said many in politics are now ‘unwilling to take people on’, fearing that they will be seen as intolerant of other cultures.

Speaking ahead of today’s terror atrocities in Brussels, he branded such an approach ‘ridiculous’ and said it had left our country’s liberal values vulnerable to abuse.

Mr Blair urged the establishment to ‘defeat violence’ by ‘attacking extremist thinking’ in schools and wider society. And he said there needs to be a tougher centre ground approach to migration and the refugee crisis, which for many politicians is a still a toxic issue.

He told the BBC: ‘We're in a situation where we have to fight back.  ‘The centre has become flabby and unwilling to take people on. We concede far too much.  ‘There's this idea that you're part of an elite if you think in terms of respectful tolerance towards other people. It's ridiculous.’

He added that too often moderate voices are defensive about arguing their case, fuelling a culture of extremism in religion and politics.  ‘One of the problems with the West is that it constantly can be made to feel guilty about itself - and I'm not saying there aren't things we should feel guilty about,’ he said.  ‘But you know, we shouldn't let people intimidate us into thinking there are certain values we shouldn't be standing up for.

‘I'm a supporter of multiculturalism. But there's been a long period of time when we've allowed the concept of multiculturalism to be abused.’ As an example, he said that if people were asserting the equality and fair treatment of women that they should not be made to feel ‘somehow we're being culturally insensitive’.  ‘We have to be clear no one has the right to abrogate those basic human rights.’

On the challenge of migration and refugees, he said that in an ‘era of anxiety’, a lack of a coherent mainstream response, has opened the door to more extreme arguments.  A lack of action from moderates often prompts people to turn to the hard right, he warned.  ‘If you don't give a solution, and you leave people with a choice between what I would call a bit of flabby liberalism and the hardline, they'll take the hardline I'm afraid.’

He called for a more assertive policy of ‘muscular centrism’.

And in apparent reference to the Trojan Horse scandal, in which hardliners tried to impose an Islamic agenda on state schools, he said tackling extremism begins in the classroom.

Mr Blair said: ‘The truth is this extremism is being incubated in school systems, formal and informal, which are teaching children a narrow minded and often hateful view of those who are different.

‘What people need to understand is that this culture of hate is taught.  ‘They are taught a culture of hate and they can be untaught it.  ‘This extremist thinking is what you have to attack, if you don't attack the ideology you'll never defeat the violence.’

Mr Blair also challenged the idea that promoting values of tolerance was a form of Western cultural interference. ‘The West has just got to get over this,’ he said. ‘There are many other people in the region who do not regard the notion of peaceful co-existence as a Western value, they see it as a sensible human value, a global value.’



Amid the repeated ISIS attacks, Trump is the one who is being responsible

DONALD Trump has reacted to the explosions that rocked Brussels by describing it as a “disaster city” and warning that “this is just the beginning”.

Speaking on NBC’s TODAY, Trump said: “Belgium is no longer Belgium. Belgium is not the Belgium you and I knew from 20 years ago, which was one of the most beautiful and safest cities in the world.

“Belgium is a horror show right now. Terrible things are happening. People are leaving. People are afraid. This all happened because, frankly, there’s no assimilation.”

Belgium is a country, not a city, but we’ll put that aside. Trump wasted no time in saying the terror attacks were more evidence that governments needed to crack down on extremists with any means possible — even using waterboarding — and that immigration policies had failed.

“I would close up our borders,” he told Fox News. “We are taking in people without real documentation. We don’t know where they’re from or who they are.  We have to be very, very vigilant with who we let into this country,” Trump continued.

“Brussels is a great example. Brussels was an absolutely crime-free city, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And now you look at it and it’s just a disaster.”

Trump, who has made immigration and security issues central to his 2016 presidential bid,reiterated his call for the US to bring back waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists.  "I would use waterboarding,” he said on ABC’s Good Morning America.

“And I would try to expand the laws to go beyond waterboarding.”



Is This The Key to GOP Victory?

Republican leaders who don’t think Donald Trump will fare well in the general election might examine the updated primary turnout statistics as a prediction clue.  Largely due to Trump’s candidacy, in 15 of the 19 states that have so far held primaries in conjunction with Democratic contests, more people have chosen to vote on the Republican side, and in record numbers.

Turning the clock back to 2008, it was possible to see the burgeoning support base for then-candidate Barack Obama based upon his success in Democratic primaries.  His advantage was largely tied to him exciting new people and motivating them to vote.

Eight years ago, confining our analysis only to the 19 states that have held 2016 primaries in which both parties have held electoral events, 60.5% of the people from those elections chose to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary.  Using this strong backing as a launching pad into the general election, then-Senator Obama went forward to win a convincing general election victory, capturing 53% of the national popular vote compared to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s (R) 46 percent.

So far, the numbers in the 2016 primaries are strikingly similar, yet to the benefit of the opposing party.  The most glaring factor is the turnout trend’s total about face.  Using the same 19 states that have already held primary elections, an even 57% have chosen to participate in a Republican primary this year, almost the exact inverse of what occurred eight years ago.

A factor that should worry both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) is that Democratic turnout was higher in 2008 than 2016 in all of these states but Michigan.

The 2008 Wolverine State vote was badly skewed, however.  Then-Sens. Barack Obama and John Edwards were not on the state’s primary ballot.  Because the Michigan Democratic Party had broken national committee rules by moving its primary, the Democratic National Committee leadership penalized their affiliate half of its delegate allotment.  In protest of Michigan’s actions, neither Obama nor Edwards entered the state primary.  Therefore, these major candidates’ absence from the Michigan campaign obviously depressed turnout to an unusual degree.

Does the increased voter participation number signal a Republican general election victory?  Obviously, it is too early to tell but the fact that GOP turnout is up in every state over 2012, and substantially so in some places – 286% increase in Virginia, 169% in Arkansas, 96% in Texas, 92% in Ohio, and more than double in North Carolina, for example – is clearly a good sign for the challenging party.  Conversely, as a sampling carrying negative overtones, over one million less people voted in the Ohio Democratic primary this week than when comparing to ’08.

Whether or not the possibility of a divisive brokered convention tampers these positive Republican grassroots trends remain to be seen, but the participation factor at this point in time likely signals a much stronger GOP general election performance than for the past two election cycles.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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