A neoliberal view of progressives. The cricket of course is a neoliberal.
Pinocchio from the 1940 Walt Disney movie
In my last post I outlined what I thought was the most fundamental — and also most egregious — lie that progressives told both to themselves and to the world at large. I noted that since progressives sincerely and passionately believed in this misstatement of the truth, it was probably ungenerous to say it was actually a lie, but that it was most certainly a prevarication. This most fundamental of falsehoods about the nature of social reality is this: Government actually has the capability to solve or ameliorate all social and economic problems without creating even worse problems. A corollary to this falsehood is that individuals and non-governmental social organizations lack the power without government assistance to solve their most serious problems. The counterargument disproving this thesis starts with the observation that human social organizations are fundamentally chaotic systems. What the term chaotic system actually means and how the most fundamental assumption of progressive ideology is invalidated by considering them was the subject of my last essay. If you have not read it, you probably should before you read this one.
But fundamental lies about reality give rise to a great many other lies in support of the fundamental one. People who succumb to it will need to declare a great many other falsehoods to buttress the first. Listing what I consider such subsidiary lies is the subject of this post.
The United States Senate in session in their chamber in the U.S. Capitol building.
Image Credit: CDM.me
Every now and then, President Donald Trump urges the U.S. Senate to get rid of their ancient filibuster rules. I suspect a great many people, myself included, are terribly ambivalent about the issue. There are truly excellent reasons for the Senate both to retain and to junk their filibuster rules. What would be best for the nation? With the Senate balanced on the edge of a knife between the Republicans and the Democrats, a great deal rides on how the issue will be resolved.
Antifa combatants fighting with Trump supporters at Berkeley, California on August 27, 2017.
Youtube screenshot / The Red Elephants
The United States of America is unraveling as a society, in much the same way that the European Union is beginning to fall apart. Throughout the West, conflict is building between those who believe government is the answer to all social problems and those who believe government creates most of those problems. In the U.S. that conflict is becoming ever more violent. Those who believe in government, generally called “progressives”, are demonstrating increasing hatred toward those who do not, who are most accurately called “neoliberals” but often referred to as “conservatives.” Many neoliberals seem to mirror that hate.
An 1846 painting by George Caleb Bingham showing a collection of voters before a polling place. A polling judge is administering an oath to a voter.
Wikimedia Commons / George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879)
In my last two posts, the dysfunctional nature and enormous political problems of both the Republican and Democratic parties were examined. With division and discord in the Republican party, and a rush toward the political Left by the Democratic that alienates a growing fraction of the American people, how can legislative progress be made towards solving our increasingly serious problems? How can the electorate respond?
The U.S. Senate voting NO on repeal of Obamacare on July 27, 2017.
Screenshot of ABC News coverage.
Everywhere the leaders of the two major American political parties look, insuperable political problems threaten to overwhelm them. As long-time assumptions about the capabilities of government unravel and the electorate itself is fragmenting into new coalitions, driven by uncertainty on how their major economic and political problems can be solved, the parties themselves are frustrated over how to get public support for their policies. The Republican Party especially appears to be splitting into separate moderate and “conservative” coalitions. However, although the Democratic Party (at least among its elites) is not so riven as the GOP, its relatively greater unity is driving them in a direction that threatens to alienate even more of the electorate. How are the not-so United States of America and its people going to get themselves out of this fine mess?
Union dead on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, photographed July 5 or July 6, 1863, by Timothy H. O’Sullivan
Wikimedia Commons / T. H. O’Sullivan
Essays speculating on the imminent beginning of a second American civil war are proliferating with the rising political violence by American Leftists and the recent assassination attempts on Republican lawmakers. All you have to do to find them is to do a Google search with the search phrase, “second american civil war 2017.” Could these posts be just hysterical overreaction, or is there a real possibility for such a catastrophe?
Fight between UC Berkeley students and Trump supporters.
Screenshot of Fox News report.
Yesterday, as a nation we suffered through a horrific reminder of just how bad the relations between us as fellow citizens are becoming. One determined and enraged individual, James Hodgkinson, opened fire on Republican congressmen as they practiced for the annual congressional ballgame between the parties. Miraculously, he killed no one, although the condition of Rep. Steve Scalise, the Republican House Whip, has reportedly deteriorated to critical. Had it not been for the presence of two Capitol Hill police officers on Scalise’s security detail, a large number of Republican lawmakers, both representatives and senators, might have been assassinated.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Republican House Majority Whip, was shot this morning around 7:15.
Wikimedia Commons / Steve Scalise’s House Webpage
Given all the political hate and vitriol that has arisen since the election of Donald Trump, the predictable has happened. A Republican political leader has been shot in an attempt on his life.
Democratic Party workers watching the presidential election returns in shock on the night of November 8, 2016.
Photo Credit: AP / Matt Rourke
One might expect such a lurid title for a post from a neoliberal such as myself (also erroneously known as a “conservative”) . However, the reason why American progressives should take this judgement so very, very seriously is that it comes not just from from a neoliberal, but also from a progressive American journalist, an academic who is currently an adjunct faculty member of the Columbia University School of Journalism. Thomas B. Edsall comes to this same conclusion in a June 8 op-ed in the New York Times entitled The Democratic Party Is in Worse Shape Than You Thought.
The classic, arduous. time-consuming, and expensive way to access information!
A photo of a part of my library
A few days ago, I asked the question “How Can So Many See Such Different Realities?” in a post with the same title. A part of the answer comes from the observation that most of us think we know a lot more than we actually do. From long-term observation of my fellow human beings (I am currently 70 years old), I am firmly convinced this is a true statement even for the most erudite of us. It has certainly been true for me for more times than I would like to admit! In fact, it is almost certainly a condition that is impossible to avoid. In this post I would like to offer some suggestions on how to ameliorate the situation.
Everyone holds different pieces of the puzzle!
© CanStock Photo
I am endlessly fascinated by how we all ostensibly live in the same universe, yet we all see such different realities. On the one hand, this social condition allows little room for boredom. On the other, it causes many human beings to hate, despise, and even to attempt to kill each other.
Dr. Nir Shaviv, Chair of the Racah Institute of Physics of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, giving a talk on global warming at the George Marshall Institute on March 21, 2013.
Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded by the George Marshall Institute.
When I recently wrote the post Anti-AGW Global Warming Scholarly References, I became aware of how many truly excellent videos of scholarly talks by scientists debunking Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) were available, mostly through YouTube. In addition, besides the scholarly talks, some of these same scientists often gave talks that should be termed “popularizations” to the general public of their views. Finally, there is a set of videos that are involved with the pervasive politics of AGW, which are revealing in their own way. I will embed a sampling of all three types of videos in this post, hoping thereby to accomplish several objectives.
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, winners of the April 23, 2017 first round of the French presidential election, will face off in the second round on May 7, 2017.
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Ecole polytechnique Université Paris for Emmanuel Macron on the Left, Wikimedia Commons / Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle for Marine Le Pen on the Right.
The French people unmistakably delivered a repudiation of the French political establishment yesterday when they chose Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen to advance to the second round of the presidential elections.
Incoming and outgoing international trade in San Francisco Bay
Wikimedia Commons / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Arguments over U.S. tax policies are moving toward a controversial tax proposal around which all other tax discussions are centering. That tax proposal, offered by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), is the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT). If this proposal cannot pass Congress, it is quite possible absolutely no tax reform will pass this year, a prospect that would be catastrophic not only for Republicans, but for the country as well.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Brady’s controversial plan for “border adjustment” taxes are being fiercely opposed.
Wikimedia Commons / Office of Congressman Kevin Brady
The Republicans in Congress are absorbed in a quandary. As for many of the rest of us with our own budgets, when congressmen find themselves in real financial trouble, many complications get in the way of finding a solution. As I have explored before in the post The Federal Government’s Projected Bankruptcy, the federal government is on the track to total insolvency within one to two decades. Yet, at the same time the Obama administration left national security problems that demand increased expenditures just to ensure the continued existence of the United States. Simultaneously, tax reform including large tax cuts both for the middle class and for American corporations are absolutely required to wake up our moribund economy. How can the Republicans reconcile these contradictions?