The Guardian on Political Correctness

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  mary guercio 2 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #1434

    EJ
    Moderator

    Once again, The Guardian does a fantastic piece of long-form journalism. This time, it’s about the history and origins of the term “political correctness” and the way that it’s become central to the Trump phenomenon.

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/political-correctness-how-the-right-invented-phantom-enemy-donald-trump

  • #1435

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    EJ, that was a long read but most interesting. None of it surprises me. The thing that distresses me most is that people are receptive to being led with such tactical predictability. Another concern is the point about using the PC argument as the right is doing to discourage dissension…which, again, is borne out by the election. I have read several articles that Republican members of Congress are keeping their thoughts to themselves regarding Trump’s statements, actions, nominations, etc. The reason? They don’t want to be “tweeted” out by Trump and face re-election problems. If this is truly how rank and file Republicans members of Congress feel, not only will Trump dominate but Ryan, McConnell and the Freedom Caucus will steamroll them. The GOP uses gerrymandering and other tactics to keep its members in line and now with this new authoritarianism, it will be dictatorial. Forget critical debate of issues – it will be all orchestration.

    It has been interesting to watch the fall out from Obama’s decision to abstain on the UN sanction of Israel’s aggressive development of the West Bank. Note the immediate rebuke by Trump and Netanyahu (who in my view functions as a dictator) called out several of the countries who voted for sanctions and excoriated them in command visits…Bebe like Putin must feel extraordinarily empowered given Trump’s election. Note all three of these men have tremendous egos and rule with an iron fist. The world is not safer with this triumvirate of power.

    It’s concerning about how far the shift is going to go…democracy is under grave assault and I think the Guardian article explains how this was a cultivated effort by powerful people with clear goals for control, not simply a populist uprising. People aren’t thinking critically – they are reactive and set on vindication.

    One thing mentioned related to the Koch-Trump relationship. That will be interesting to watch to see if the Kochs will use Trump’s success to further their own libertarian goals, or if they will be repulsed by Trump’s recklessness and become a conservative counter-force. I do feel confident in stating that Trump is a means to an end for many conservatives. They don’t like him and will throw him overboard if he gets in their way or once they get their way and don’t want him hanging around. What they may not realize is that Trump doesn’t give a shit what they think. He does, however, seem to revel in media attention and this may offer the double-edged sword of his destruction.

    You may be interested in reading Michael Lewis’ latest book, “The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds”, which explores the work of two psychologists from the 70s, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. They sought to explain behavioral economics in a completely new way. Their theory, that “people tend to make decisions based on the values of potential gains or losses rather than on probable final outcomes..” is eerily predictive of the precipice upon which populist authoritarianism rests uneasily today. Despite the fact that Lewis’book was written and released before the outcome of the 2016 election, Lewis notes the parallels between what happened and the predictions of Kahneman/Tversky. “…Part of the appeal of Trump — that people want the world to be a more certain place than it actually is and so they’re completely open to con men, who say they know everything in an unknowable situation,” something that Lewis feels was at work in the election process.

    Here’s a terrific review which I think will work nicely with the Guardian piece. I have the book sitting bedside…can’t wait to get started reading it. I’ve read several of Lewis’ other works and I think you’ll find his historical narrative style most engaging.

    https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/michael-lewis-narrative-nonfiction-formula/#!

    • #1436

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      A couple of other points that reflect upon the Guardian article: Trump’s insistence of withdrawal of America as a global peacemaker (obviously syncs with his negative views of treaties via the UN) into more of an isolationist nation….hiking import tariffs, withdrawal of troops while pledging to bomb the shit out of places…It’s all gamesmanship which he prefers by pitting himself (and others) against people who stand in his way…Grandstanding such as his personal involvement in the Carrier decision and the Boeing cost of AF1, his insistence on having retired military advisors in his inner circle which could set up conflict with the Chiefs of Staff of the Pentagon, to his unorthodox appointment of people to head divisions without expertise in the area but an expressed disdain for the division…It all seems like a big game is being played with Trump pulling the strings on a whim. The shallowness of thought and his crass impulsive actions are destined to create turmoil which he seems to use as a tool to keep people off balance. Those who wanted the status quo to be roiled are going to get their wish, but I’m betting the outcome will not be what they hoped would happen….more consolidation of power and privilege for the wealthy without help for the working men and women as promised. Trump will not be able to control all these errant activities at once meaning he will have to divest himself of authority for day to day operations. This transfer of power/authority will be disruptive if not outright dangerous.

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