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Keywords:litics+of+resentment&linkCodeli2&tag071007-20&linkId9e71dd09a4d59b747246276f73d04b76 target_blank
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Culture and Society
Trump voters aren #8217;t voting policy, they #8217;re voting identity
Posted on November 15, 2016 by Caterina Fake
We #8217;ve been reading so many words about who the Trump voter is and why they vote the way they do. So many explanations. But this is the first article that made sense to me, and it tells聽how people are voting more for who they #8220;identify #8221; with, who they feel represents them, and people like them than for any particular issue or policy. It is an interview with Katherine J. Cramer about her book The Politics of Resentment. Here is part of the interview:
#8230;we all do that thing of encountering information and interpreting it in a way that supports our聽own predispositions. Recent studies in political science have shown that it鈥檚 actually those of us who think of ourselves as the most politically sophisticated, the most educated, who do it more than others.
So I really resist this characterization of Trump supporters聽as ignorant.
There鈥檚 just more and more of a recognition that politics for people is not 鈥 and this is going to sound awful, but 鈥 it鈥檚 not about facts and policies. It鈥檚 so much about identities, people forming ideas about the kind of person they are and the kind of people others are. Who am I for, and who am I against?
Policy is part of that, but policy is not the driver of these judgments. There are assessments of, is this someone like me? Is this someone who gets someone like me?
I think all too often, we put our energies into figuring out where people stand on particular policies. I think putting energy into trying to understanding they way they view the world and their place in it 鈥 that gets us so much further toward understanding how they鈥檙e going to vote, or which candidates are going to be appealing to them.
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Posted in Democracy
Remember the Story of Guillermo Rodriguez
Posted on November 14, 2016 by Caterina Fake
On Aug. 19, 2015, shortly after midnight, the brothers Stephen and Scott Leader assaulted Guillermo Rodriguez. Rodriguez had been sleeping near a train station in Boston. The Leader brothers beat him with a metal pipe, breaking his nose and bruising his ribs, and called him a 鈥渨etback.鈥 They urinated on him. 鈥淎ll these illegals need to be deported,鈥 they are said to have declared during the attack. The brothers were fans of the candidate who would go on to win the Republican party鈥檚 presidential nomination. Told of the incident at the time, that candidate said: 鈥淧eople who are following me are very passionate. They love this country, and they want this country to be great again.鈥
鈥 Teju Cole, A Time for Refusal
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Posted in Culture and Society, Democracy
Ignorance 鈮 Knowledge
Posted on November 13, 2016 by Caterina Fake
#8220;There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 鈥渕y ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.鈥
#8211; Isaac Asimov
The entire article can be read here.聽
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Posted in Quotes
Notes from Wendell Berry #039;s Home Economics
Posted on November 12, 2016 by Caterina Fake
Wendell Berry is a聽great writer on community, the local, and how to organize a life. These 聽notes are from his collection of essays Home Economics. I also recommend What are people for?.
To call the unknown by its right name, #8220;mystery #8221;, is to suggest that we had better respect the possibility of a larger, unseen pattern that can be damaged or destroyed and, with it, the smaller patterns.This respecting of mystery obviously has something or other to do with religion, and we moderns have defended ourselves against it by turning it over to religion specialists, who take advantage of out indifference by claiming to know a lot about it.
What impresses me about it, however, is the insistent practicality implicit in it. If we are up against mystery, then we dare act only on the most modest assumptions. The modern scientific program has held that we must act on the basis of knowledge, which, because its effects are so manifestly large, we have assumed to be ample. But if we are up against mystery, then knowledge is relatively small, and the ancient program is the right one: Act on the basis of ignorance. Acting on the basis of ignorance, paradoxically, requires one to know things, remember things #8212; for instance, that failure is possible, that error is possible, that second chances are desirable (so don #8217;t risk everything on the first chance), and so on. (p. 4-5)
Both the Greeks and the Hebrews told us to watch out for humans who assume that they make all the patterns. (p. 5)
Ignorance of where to stop is a modern epidemic; it is the basis of #8220;industrial progress #8221; and #8220;economic growth #8221;. The most obvious practical result of this ignorance is a critical disproportion of scale between the scale of human enterprises and their sources in nature. (p. 15-16)
The proper scale confers freedom and simplicity #8230;and doubtless leads to long life and health. I think that it also confers joy. (p. 16)
No good thing is destroyed by goodness; good things are destroyed by wickedness. We may identify that insight as Biblical, but it is taken for granted by both the Greek and the Biblical lineages of our culture, from Homer to Moses to William Blake. Since the start of the industrial revolution, there have been voices urging that this inheritance [nature] may be safely replaced by intelligence, information, energy and money. No idea, I believe, could be more dangerous. (p. 20)
Everywhere, every day, local life is being discomforted, disrupted, endangered, or destroyed by powerful people who live, or who are privileged to think that they live, beyond the bad effects of their bad work. (p. 50)
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Act Now, Electoral College
Posted on November 11, 2016 by Caterina Fake
Stopping demagogues and unqualified candidates聽is why the Electoral College was created. Time to reread The Federalist Papers聽by Alexander Hamilton. Jon Zieger paraphrases and explains:
The intention of the electoral college is to protect us from interference in our elections by foreign powers and from unqualified candidates who rise up quickly based on #8220;little arts in popularity鈥; 聽to stop #8220;foreign powers #8230; gain[ing] an improper ascendant in our councils #8230; by raising a creature of their own to the [Presidency].鈥 its purpose is to #8220;afford a moral certainty that [POTUS] #8230; will never fall to any man not in eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications as a majority of votes might not #8230; happen [go to] one man, and as it might be unsafe to permit less than a majority to be conclusive #8230;it provides that, in such a contingency, the House of Representatives shall select the man who #8230; may be best qualified鈥
And he concludes:
If there were ever a case for individual electors to exercise judgment independent of their state populations, this is it. And doing so would be consistent with both the constitution and the intention of the system as expressed by the framers.
21 States do not restrict their Electors. There is already unrest:聽Texas elector has said he couldn #8217;t support聽Trump.
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Posted in Democracy, Uncategorized
Tyranny comes from democracy
Posted on November 11, 2016 by Caterina Fake
I read Chris Hedges #8217;聽book The Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, many years ago, and I was impressed by his strong statements and his聽searing condemnation of the educated class to which we belong, and how聽we lost the people by the cynically serving them spectacle, and how that spectacle would eventually become indistinguishable, to them, from reality.
In his trademark manner he articulated and clarified many things that had been vague, unformed ideas I #8217;d entertained, writing聽of a future characterized by a widening gulf between the literate and the illiterate, complexity no longer understandable by the masses. His writing was hyperbolic, dire, doomsday. It seemed like an apocalyptic screed and much too dark. No more. His prognostications have been realized, the day he warned of has arrived.
Chris Hedges writes again, with many more now hopefully listening, that聽neoliberal kowtowing to corporate masters destroyed the underclass and opened the doors for fascism. He writes in an August 2016 article:
College-educated elites, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor. Now they are being made to pay. Their duplicity鈥攅mbodied in politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama鈥攕ucceeded for decades.
On behalf of corporations indeed.聽He excoriates the press too, in this interview with my former boss David Talbot, dismissing most journalists as stenographers for the powerful.
There are tens of millions of Americans, especially lower-class whites, rightfully enraged at what has been done to them, their families and their communities. They have risen up to reject the neoliberal policies and political correctness imposed on them by college-educated elites from both political parties: Lower-class whites are embracing an American fascism.
These Americans want a kind of freedom鈥攁 freedom to hate. They want the freedom to use words like 鈥渘igger,鈥 鈥渒ike,鈥 鈥渟pic,鈥 鈥渃hink,鈥 鈥渞aghead鈥 and 鈥渇ag.鈥 They want the freedom to idealize violence and the gun culture. They want the freedom to have enemies, to physically assault Muslims, undocumented workers, African-Americans, homosexuals and anyone who dares criticize their cryptofascism. They want the freedom to celebrate historical movements and figures that the college-educated elites condemn, including the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederacy. They want the freedom to ridicule and dismiss intellectuals, ideas, science and culture. They want the freedom to silence those who have been telling them how to behave. And they want the freedom to revel in hypermasculinity, racism, sexism and white patriarchy. These are the core sentiments of fascism. These sentiments are engendered by the collapse of the liberal state.
The freedom to hate has arrived聽and we can see it in the streets, in stores, in classrooms today, unleashed by the election of Trump. 聽All over the internet聽you can find innumerable examples of rising fascism such as this, which happened yesterday in Queens:
Hedges quotes Richard Rorty, an old favorite of mine, whom I encountered because of his chapter #8220;The Barber of Kasbeam #8221;about cruelty in the work of Vladimir Nabokov in Contingency, Irony and Solidarity聽particularly #8220;the potential of cruelty inherent in the quest for autonomy #8221;. Rorty writes in his 1998 book聽Achieving Our Country a聽prediction of our current state of affairs:
One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.
But we can go even farther back than 1998 for this prediction. 聽Plato, in his Republic, warns that democracy is the very birthplace of tyranny. #8220;Too much freedom seems to change into nothing but too much slavery, for both private man and city. #8221; The Third Reich rose out of an era of great liberality and decadence, particularly in the cities, among the elite, a society of great freedom for women, gays, and Jews. At the time there was what people were calling a #8220;眉berfremdung #8221;鈥揳n #8220;overpowering #8221;鈥揳 great influx of foreigners into Germany.
There is a section, if you can bear to read it, on page 789 of your Bollingen edition of Plato, and continuing onto page 790 that describes a former oligarch, become a democrat, now shameless and resplendent in his freedom, sharing #8220;equality #8221; all around. See if you don #8217;t recognize us in it:
#8220;And does he not, #8221; said, I, #8220;also live out his life in this fashion, day by day indulging the appetite of the day, now winebibbing and abandoning himself to the lascivious pleasing of the flute and again drinking only water and dieting, and at one time exercising his body, and sometimes idling and neglecting all things, and at another time seeming to occupy himself with philosophy. And frequently he goes in for politics and bounces up and says and does whatever enters his head. And if military men excite his emulation, thither he rushes, and in his existence, but he calls this life of his the life of pleasure and freedom and happiness an cleaves to it to the end. #8221;
#8220;That is a perfect description, #8221; he said, #8220;of a devotee of equality. #8221;
It is not reminiscent of the now classic description of the liberal elite as #8220;tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving #8221;? And, too, this #8220;devotee of equality #8221; is not unlike Hedges #8217; description of liberals聽lavish聽in聽their inclusion, but excluding one group in particular:
These elites, many from East Coast Ivy League schools, spoke the language of values鈥攃ivility, inclusivity, a condemnation of overt racism and bigotry, a concern for the middle class鈥攚hile thrusting a knife into the back of the underclass for their corporate masters. This game has ended.
This game has ended indeed, and聽not how we thought it would. We #8217;re paying attention now. These have been bad days, and after my聽sorrow and shock,聽I begin聽working on a聽plan.
I seek relief in poetry, Plato and the care and feeding of children and small dogs.
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Posted in Culture and Society, Democracy
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Virginia Woolf #8217;s Diary Vol. 2
Posted on November 7, 2016 by Caterina Fake
I have been reading Virginia Woolf #8217;s Diary Vol. 2. It has been good, and I recommend it.
I haven #8217;t read it in years, and had forgotten how much she lived for other people #8217;s compliments, how insecure she was, how she flowered under another #8217;s approval, and how she withered beneath another #8217;s dismissal. I also noticed how much she speaks of, and thinks of, her household, particularly her servants. It #8217;s remarkable how much help she had, really. And Leonard, always in the background, a tremendous support to her. And I had the thought that, for someone with such an active social life, how could she have fallen into her dark periods, as friends and family are a balm for the trials of life.
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Posted in Uncategorized
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Caterina Fake, entrepreneur, angel investor, board member, writer, artist and reader. Homeschooling mother, thinker. Co-founder of Flickr, Hunch, Sesat School, Kahvila Silli. Founder of Findery. Board of Sundance.
Central Presbyterian Church,
Homeless Jesus
Max and Deirdre
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