Why As A Philosopher I Voted For Trump


January 29, 2017

Why As A Philosopher I Voted For Trump

 Trumpism And The Future Of The American Republic
Image result for why i voted for trump
 Make America Great Again

by Professor Daniel Bonevac (University of Texas, Austin)

 http://www.thecritique.com/articles/why-i-voted-for-trump/

This article is part of The Critique’s January/February 2017 Issue “Stick It To The Man: A Year Of Anglo-American Populist Revolt Against A Changing Culture And An Obtuse Political Establishment.”

I. “We are patronized by our inferiors”

In the heat of the Presidential election campaign, Peggy Noonan wrote about the Wikileaks revelations and thereby captured a central theme of the election:

“Here’s what you see in the emails: the writers are the worst kind of snobs, snobs with nothing to recommend them. In their expression and thoughts they are common, banal, dumb, uninformed, parochial….It’s the big fact of American life now, isn’t it? That we are patronized by our inferiors”[1]

That’s exactly how I see it: We are patronized by our inferiors. During the campaign Hillary Clinton and the Democrats did not just reveal themselves as elitists who are out of touch with the circumstances of many of their compatriots [2], and proud of it; who have contempt for half the country [3], and are willing to say so publicly; and who are willing, in fact, to say anything to gain and keep power.[4] They revealed themselves as fools.

That’s exactly how I see it: We are patronized by our inferiors. During the campaign Hillary Clinton and the Democrats did not just reveal themselves as elitists who are out of touch with the circumstances of many of their compatriots [2], and proud of it; who have contempt for half the country [3], and are willing to say so publicly; and who are willing, in fact, to say anything to gain and keep power.[4] They revealed themselves as fools.

To be clear, I do not mean to say that they are unintelligent. They are often quite clever. In many cases, they are highly educated, or at least, to borrow Glenn Reynolds’s phrase, “credentialed but not educated.”[5] But intelligence and education do not entail wisdom. Indeed, there is a kind of intelligence, and a kind of education, that seems to stand in the way of getting wisdom. Trump supporters often react to the opinions of the anointed, the elites from academia and the media, as George Orwell reacted to outlandish claims in “On Nationalism”: “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”[6] The conventional wisdom, too often, is not wisdom at all.

II. “Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes?”

Sixty-five years ago, Swarthmore psychologist Solomon Asch conducted his famous experiments, gathering groups of students together for what he said was research into visual perception. In fact, he wanted to study “a disagreement between a group and one individual member about a clear and simple issue of fact.”[7] He brought students together in groups, all but one of whom were his confederates. He showed the group a card with a line on it, and then a card with three lines—one the same length as the original, the others clearly shorter or longer. He asked the students, in sequence, which line matched the original in length. He started with his confederates, who agreed with one another. For the first few trials, their answers were correct. But then the confederates began agreeing on incorrect answers. In more than a third of the subsequent trials, the subject, who answered last, conformed to the rest of the group, giving a plainly wrong answer. “Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes?” Seventy-five percent of the subjects went with the majority on at least some trials. Only twenty-five percent resisted the pull of erroneous agreement completely.

Trump supporters, over the past eight years, have felt like subjects in Asch’s experiments. They have been struck by the discrepancies between informed opinion, as represented in the pages of the elite newspapers in the country, as well as the scholarly journals of academic societies, and their own perceptions on a wide variety of topics. Such discrepancies are not necessarily signs of unwisdom, of course; they may reflect differences in experiences and world views that lead people to base their opinions on different sets of facts or to interpret the same facts in different ways. In Asch’s experiments, however, there was little room for such differences; only one line on the second card was a plausible candidate for being the same length as the line on the first card. Statements that were incorrect were obviously incorrect. That is just how it has seemed to Trump supporters.

How often have we encountered statements like these over the past eight years? “Islam is a religion of peace.” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “Obamacare will bring down the cost of health insurance.” “The economy is in great shape.” “Raising the minimum wage doesn’t cost jobs; it creates them.” “Iran can be trusted not to develop nuclear weapons.” “America is stronger and more respected today than it was eight years ago.” These are not only false, but obviously false. The Quran repeatedly calls for violence against unbelievers.[8] Since December 2015, 68 Americans have died from terror attacks on U.S. soil.[9] More than 200 have been wounded. Obamacare has increased costs while decreasing patient choice, exactly as its critics predicted[10]; no system that increases demand for services while doing nothing to increase supply can lower costs. Obama has overseen the weakest economic recovery in decades.[11] The percentage of working-age Americans employed is at its lowest rate since the late 1970s.[12] Minimum wage increases raise the cost of employing people, which leads to fewer jobs.[13] Finally, Iran is already violating the nuclear agreement, according to German intelligence, and Russia, China, Iran, and other adversaries treat America with contempt.[14]

The Democratic Party and its allies in the media and academia have pushed a narrative for decades that portrays free enterprise as cruel, corrupt, and unfair, and government as caring, altruistic, and just. Freedom creates problems; government solves them. Sometimes, that narrative is accurate. Often, however, it is not. The gap between the narrative and reality has been growing as government grows beyond the problems it knows how to solve. And those upholding the narrative seem increasingly incapable of recognizing the divergence. They seem incapable of conceiving of a simple question: Even if there is a better solution than the equilibrium achieved by the free market—by free people freely making their own decisions—why should we have confidence that government can find it? Still less do they seem capable of answering it. I am not saying that thinkers on the left do not propose solutions—of course they do—but that they do not even try to establish the optimality of their preferred policies. Consider Thomas Piketty, who advocates a global capital tax as a solution to rising inequality without establishing what an ideal level of inequality would be or whether his proposed tax would achieve it.[15] For another example, consider George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller, who argue that manipulation and weakness of will lead people to make economic decisions that are bad for them. Why these factors do not equally lead people to make political decisions that are bad for them, and lead political actors to make decisions that are bad for all of us, remains unexplored.[16] Unlike Asch’s confederates, Democratic Party elites seem to believe the narrative.[17] Their decision process, infused with bad information, looks to others to be increasingly irrational. Votes for Trump were votes for rationality. They were votes for truth.

III. The end of “phone and a pen” policy making  

The election’s similarity to the Asch experience was no accident. It stemmed from a deep philosophical divide. This election presented Americans with a clear choice: someone who agrees with the political philosophy of the nation’s founders, or someone who utterly rejects it. The United States was founded on the political philosophy of John Locke, adapted by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other founders.[18] According to that “bottom-up” political theory, people have natural rights to life, liberty, and property. Government gets its power from the people; it is legitimate only with the consent of the governed. Its mission is to promote the general welfare by providing a framework for ordered liberty, a framework within which people can exercise their freedoms and pursue happiness. That is Donald Trump’s vision of government.[19] There is considerable flexibility, of course, in the concept of a framework for ordered liberty. Trump’s enthusiasm for building an infrastructure for liberty places him on the Henry Clay–Dwight Eisenhower end of a continuum the other side of which is Robert Nozick’s minimal state.[20]

Hillary Clinton’s “top-down” progressive vision, stemming ultimately from Rousseau, is incompatible with that Lockean foundation.[21] It envisions a very different role for government. In her view, it is up to the government—in practice, the Supreme Court—to determine what rights people have. There are no natural rights, rights independent of government, inherent in us as human beings in Rousseau’s vision. Rights are creatures of government.

As such, rights can be limited or rejected if they conflict with government goals. Clinton’s platform sought to restrict freedom of speech, for example, by making it illegal to criticize political candidates during election campaigns.[22] That is what the Citizens United decision was about: whether the government could prevent Hillary, the Movie from being shown.[23]

She also wanted to extend the Obama administration’s assaults on freedom of religion, supporting its attempts to make a Catholic charity, the Little Sisters of the Poor, provide funding for abortions.[24] Prominent Democrats called for churches who opposed Democratic policies on abortion, homosexuality, transgender rights, and other matters to lose property-tax exemptions [25], insisting that religious organizations, colleges, and clubs should not be allowed to discriminate even on the basis of religious belief.[26]

She wanted to overturn Supreme Court decisions upholding the right to keep and bear arms, including one allowing a police officer to have a gun in his own home while off-duty, and spoke favorably of Australia’s confiscation of firearms.[27]

She advocated policies on college campuses that have led to tenured professors being fired for cursing, telling jokes, or singing Beach Boys songs, and have provoked investigations of other professors for criticizing those very policies.[28] Political correctness, already out of control on college campuses, has begun spreading to the workplace and other areas of society.[29] She also backed the Obama administration’s insistence that the standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt be abandoned, especially as it applies to college students dealing with accusations of sexual assault.[30]

All of these stances have something in common: they advocate restricting or eliminating rights for the sake of expanding government power: making officials immune from criticism; allowing officials to impose their moral views on religious organizations; allowing officials to have a monopoly on violence, even in self-defense; and enabling officials to impose their own visions of proper conduct, including private sexual conduct.

Allowing government officials to impose their own visions on society, even with respect to the most private matters, is central to liberal progressivism. Progressives begin with the worry that the economy and, more generally, patterns of social interaction lead naturally to greater and greater inequality, centralizing power in the hands of a few.[31] Like Rousseau, they imagine a future in which a few gorge themselves on luxuries while the multitude lack necessities.[32] Their solution, inspired by Rousseau, is an expansive conception of the social contract in which people commit everything to the State, and receive in return a fair share of the fruits of their social cooperation.[33] In practice, this becomes whatever the State is willing to let them retain. The State should make this decision according to the general will, that is, the common good. But there is no mechanism within progressivism to ensure that the government acts for the common good rather than the private good of the officials making it up.

To put it another way, the progressive answer to excessive centralization of power is more centralization. Power concentrated in the hands of government is supposed to limit and channel power concentrated in private hands. This, of course, places government officials in a position superior to those they lead, entrusted with the authority to impose their own conception of the good on the rest of society. We have seen this in the Obama administration’s willingness to have key issues decided by unaccountable regulators in the alphabet agencies that now occupy much of Washington. No one voted to destroy the coal industry.[34] No one voted to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant.[35] No one voted to stop enforcing immigration law.[36] No one voted to abandon the “innocent until proven guilty” standard.[37] Clinton promised to continue Obama’s “phone and a pen” policy making, bypassing Congress and thereby the representatives of the people.[38]

Trump stands on the other side of all these issues. He favors freedom of speech; his flouting of political correctness and, sometimes, outright incivility underscores that.[39] He respects freedom of religion.[40] He believes in the right to self-defense.[41] He rejects the culture of perpetual offense that makes life on campus and, increasingly, off campus a minefield of arbitrary and often ridiculous rules. His positions on these issues are in accordance with common sense. They also accord with the Lockean vision that constituted the common ground of American political life until Woodrow Wilson.

Perhaps the central issue of Trump’s campaign was something also found in the campaign for Brexit, to return decision-making authority to the people and their elected representatives.[42] He described the administrative state and the regulatory burden it imposes as “the anchor dragging us down,” pointing out that its growth since 1980 has cost us as much as one-fourth of our Gross National Product.[43] He pledged to issue a moratorium on new regulations and, in the longer term, to insist that any proposed regulation accompany a proposal to eliminate two existing regulations.[44]

In a nutshell, Clinton trusts her own vision and those of people like her. She insists that everyone else conform to that vision, whether they like it or not. Trump respects the vision of the people.

IV. Donald Trump: the supporting partner

The Asch experiments point to a key and under-appreciated reason for Trump’s success. Only twenty-five percent of Asch’s subjects resisted peer pressure consistently throughout the experiment. Seventy-five percent were at least sometimes willing to betray their lying eyes. But the rate of such betrayal fell dramatically if even one other person answered correctly. As Asch put it, “The presence of a supporting partner depleted the majority of much of its power” (1955, 34). My thesis is simple: Throughout 2016, Donald Trump played the role of that supporting partner. He freed people to articulate and act on their own beliefs, rejecting the consensus of the media. He thereby generated considerable affection and allegiance among his followers.

[Asch, Solomon 2007 (Psychologist) (Photo by Jan Rieckhoff/ullstein bild via Getty Images)]

 [Solomon Asch by Jan Rieckhoff/ullstein bild via Getty Images]

“The Asch experiments point to a key and under-appreciated reason for Trump’s success (…) Donald Trump played the role of that supporting partner. He freed people to articulate and act on their own beliefs, rejecting the consensus of the media. He thereby generated considerable affection and allegiance among his followers.”

Asch’s subjects with a truth-telling partner developed a strong bond with that partner. “Generally the feeling toward him was one of warmth and closeness; he was credited with inspiring confidence” (1955, 34). Having someone else who sees things as you do and is willing to say so produces a sense of relief, eliminating for most the sense of self-doubt that disagreement with the rest produces. It generates a strong attachment to that person. It also generates a sense of admiration for the partner who is confident and courageous enough to tell the truth.

This, I suggest, was the source of the enthusiasm Trump’s supporters showed for his candidacy. On the last weekend of the campaign, Trump held a rally in Moon Township, southwest of Pittsburgh. Twelve thousand people, more than the venue could hold, braved a terrible traffic jam to attend.[45] Those who could not get inside—including some of my relatives—did not leave, but remained outside to listen on loudspeakers. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton had trouble filling high school gymnasiums.[46] Many noted the enthusiasm gap between the candidates, but most focused on the lack of enthusiasm for Clinton.[47] Fewer noted the extraordinary enthusiasm for Trump.

The results of the experiment do not depend, however, on whether the majority or the subject is, in the end, correct. The point is the disagreement. Having a partner who sees things as you do, right or wrong, despite the opinion of the majority is what generates the attachment.

In any event, it is far from clear that Trump was not telling the truth. The Obama recovery is the slowest since 1949.[48] Young African-Americans face an unemployment rate of over 20 percent.[49] The national debt has almost doubled; an American born today already owes more than $60,000 in debt.[50] Business profits and durable goods orders are down.[51] So are incomes.[52] Productivity growth is slow.[53] The “new normal,” at most two-percent economic growth, is disappointing by traditional measures. Obama’s policies, driven by a concern for economic inequality, have in fact increased inequality.[54]

The President’s signature “accomplishment,” Obamacare, is in a death spiral of falling enrollments and soaring costs.[55] Racial tensions are leading to riots and attacks on police officers. Violent crime is up sharply.[56] Life expectancy is falling, especially for white males.[57] The IRS, the FBI and the Justice Department are protecting political allies, punishing opponents, and defying court orders, all without anyone being held accountable.[58] The State of the Union is not particularly good. And that is in addition to the international situation, where the United States appears weak, tyrants appear to be emboldened, and the Middle East is in flames.[59] The resulting humanitarian disaster is producing a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions that threatens the stability of Europe. The list could go on and on.[60]

That is not to say that everything Trump said in the campaign is true. Even many of Trump’s supporters do not fully agree with his more extreme statements. As Salena Zito observed, they take him seriously, but not literally, while his media detractors tend to take him literally but not seriously.[61] But such disagreement does not weaken the liberating effect of having another dissenter in the group; it strengthens it.

Another less-noted feature of the Asch experiments is that introducing someone into the setup who disagreed with both the majority and the subject reduced pressure to conform. But a moderate dissenter, who chose a line between the majority’s choice and the correct line in length, reduced it only moderately. A dissenter who chose a line further from the truth than the majority’s reduced pressure to conform by more than ninety percent—more than someone in full agreement with the subject. “The extremist dissenter produced a remarkable freeing of the subjects; their errors dropped to only 9 per cent. Furthermore, all the errors were of the moderate variety” (1955, 34). If Trump has on occasion deviated from the opinions of his followers by being more extreme, that has only added to the liberating effect of his candidacy. The other Republican contenders for the nomination played the role of moderate dissenters; Trump was the extreme dissenter. No wonder he defeated them. His persuasive strategy was akin to his negotiating strategy: start out with a more extreme position and negotiate toward what you want. Taking the extreme position does not weaken your hand; it strengthens it. His followers understood that.

V. “A Basket Of Deplorables”

As imagining yourself in one of Asch’s experiments might lead you to expect, the research situation produced intense feelings toward other participants. Subjects without a truth-telling partner often doubted themselves, thinking they must be abnormal in some way. Some thought the other participants must be subject to some illusion but didn’t want to cause trouble. Some considered others sheep but declined to go against the herd.

Asch did not study what happens if the confederates mock the subject or the subject’s partner, if there is one. But it is not difficult to hypothesize the result. The emotional reactions the experiment generates would probably be intensified. Those afflicted with self-doubt would likely experience even greater self-doubt. Those with negative feelings toward the herd would likely have even more negative feelings toward them. Affection toward a partner would likely be intensified as well.

That, I maintain, is precisely what the Clinton campaign and the media did during the 2016 campaign. Hillary herself attacked half of Trump’s supporters as “a basket of deplorables,” as “irredeemable.”[62] The other half she seemed to consider pathetic. The insult quickly became a badge of honor among Trump supporters, who began posting “Deplorable Me” and “Les Deplorables” memes on social media. It drove some who had been lukewarm about Trump’s candidacy to become eager supporters, and seemed to quiet objections from so-called “NeverTrumpers”.

Attacks on the candidate himself had much the same effect. Trump’s supporters saw the incessant accusations of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, etc., as Asch’s subjects might have seen insults hurled at a truth-telling partner. The accusations did not push Trump’s supporters away from him; for the most part, they pushed them further toward him.

There are two key components to understanding the mechanism by which accusations of this sort strengthened the Trump campaign. The first is that most of the accusations themselves were unjustified. Pushing them made Clinton and her surrogates appear to be both knaves and fools. The second is that Trump’s supporters saw that what was generating the attacks was not Trump’s deviation from their opinions but his agreement with them. In short, they saw the accusations as essentially leveled at them. As the Democrats now know first hand, or at least should know, calling someone names is not generally an effective way of getting them to vote for you.

Consider the first point. What was the evidence that Trump was a racist? On examination, it was surprisingly thin and easily refuted. This is the comment that Democrats twisted into the claim that all Mexicans are criminals:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably— probably— from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”[63]

The context for these comments is his critique of Obama’s immigration policy, and, in particular, Obama’s announcement that his administration would stop enforcing immigration law.[64] Trump said that, as a result, people crossing the border are bringing drugs and crime into the United States. All of them? No—he explicitly denied that: “some, I assume, are good people.” ‘Mexicans are bringing crime’ has the same logical form as ‘People are taking pictures’, which means that some people are taking pictures. It does not imply that all people are taking pictures, or that most people are taking pictures. ‘Squirrels are building nests in the attic’ does not mean (fortunately!) that all squirrels, or most squirrels, are doing so. Just so, Trump’s comment means that some Mexicans are bringing crime into the country. That is plainly true. It does not imply that all or most Mexicans are bringing crime into the country. So, where’s the racism? Trump went on to say that the same is true of people from other parts of the world. He not only said something uncontroversial about Mexicans, but denied that it was true only of Mexicans. The racism charge rests on a misreading of his remarks.

In 1980, Fidel Castro said that he released political prisoners in what became known as the Mariel boatlift. It turned out that many of those released were ordinary criminals.[65] Many said at the time that Castro was sending us criminals.[66] No one accused anyone of racism for that assertion, and for obvious reasons. It was not racist. It did not imply that all Cubans are criminals. It did not imply that most Cubans are criminals. It did not imply that Cubans are more likely to be criminals than anyone else. Just so, Trump’s comment did not imply that all, or most, or even many Mexicans are criminals. It did not imply that Mexicans are more likely to be criminals than anyone else. It implied nothing at all about Mexican immigrants who came to this country, legally or illegally, before the Obama administration stopped enforcing the law in November 2014. In fact, it is little more than common sense. Stop enforcing the law, and you get more lawbreakers.[67]

Why, then, call Trump’s remark racist? His supporters initially interpreted it as dishonest, as an attempt to smear an opponent by misreading his statements. As the campaign continued, however, it became clear that many people believed that the comments were racist. They appeared to be incapable of distinguishing some from all, of understanding simple sentences with bare plurals and the progressive aspect—something particularly disappointing to me as a logic professor, since distinguishing some from all is crucial to symbolizing sentences in logical notation.[68] In short, it made them look foolish.

It also made them look hypocritical. The campaign was racially divisive, but the racial division came from the other side. Clinton spoke of “systemic racism,” of “implicit bias,” which “is a problem for all of us.”[69] In effect, she called every American a racist. She apologized for saying early in the campaign that all lives matter,[70] and afterward said ‘Black lives matter,’ which, in her view, evidently expresses an ideal of equality.[71] On the Supreme Court, she said she wanted justices who would decide cases, not on the Constitution or the law, but on the race, gender, wealth, and sexual orientation of the parties.[72] Hearing her say this in the last Trump-Clinton debate, I immediately thought of the words of M. T. Latsis: “To what class does he belong? That’s the essence of the red terror.”[73] Clinton’s stated judicial philosophy is essentially that of the Cheka, dividing people in the law by race, class, sex, and various other categories, with their rights depending on their membership in such groups. I am not saying, of course, that she wished to liquidate those of the wrong group. But she championed a form of identity politics that divides people by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc., and treats them differently under the law.[74] She never made a clear case for her own candidacy—“Stronger Together” was vacuous, and was undercut by her reliance on identity politics, as revealed in the otherwise also-vacuous “I’m with Her,” not to mention her dismissal of Trump supporters as irredeemable. She and her supporters relied heavily on the appeal of electing the first female President and attacked women who did not support her as traitors.[75]

Attacks on Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,”[76] were equally unjustified. President Obama interpreted this as a call to discrimination, and said, “It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose.”[77] To Trump’s supporters, however, the President’s reaction (echoed by all of Trump’s competitors for the Republican nomination except one, not coincidentally his chief rival for the nomination, Ted Cruz) seemed shockingly removed from reality.[78] They looked at Europe’s experience with large-scale Muslim immigration—widespread rapes and sexual assaults,[79] no-go zones,[80] and terror attacks (in the year preceding the election, Paris, Brussels, and Nice, and dozens of other smaller attacks, for a total of 263 dead and 847 wounded)[81]—saw something similar starting to happen in the United States,[82] and said no thanks. They worried that the Democrats wanted to take the United States down the road that Angela Merkel had paved for Germany, noted the growing recognition in Europe that those policies were unwise, and declined to follow Germany’s example.[83] In short, they saw where Obama’s road led, and decided that Trump’s road was safer.

We are now in a position to consider the second point: Trump’s supporters realized that he was being called a racist, Islamophobe, etc., because he agreed with them. Leftists have sometimes insisted that Trump’s supporters are bigots. The “basket of deplorables” remark seemed to indicate that Hillary herself was among them. But viewed from a Trump supporter’s perspective, the charge is absurd.

Why was Trump being called a racist, a xenophobe, an Islamophobe? In the end, it came down to this: he wants to slow the rate of immigration and to enforce immigration law. He wants to keep criminals and terrorists out of the country. So do most of his supporters—not because they hate foreigners, Mexicans, Muslims, or some other collection of groups, but for a variety of perfectly legitimate reasons:

[1] They dislike crime. They are unhappy about drug gangs crossing the border with impunity.[84] They are not willing to put up with increased rates of theft, murder, and sexual offenses for the sake of greater diversity.

[2] They dislike acts of terror. They recognize that we have no way to screen newcomers to prevent terrorists from entering the country.[85] They realize that many terrorists are homegrown in the sense that they are second- or third-generation Americans but become radicalized in Muslim communities. They see events in Europe and the United States and conclude that terror attacks are likely to become more common and more deadly if rates of Muslim immigration are not reduced.

[3] They worry about the availability of jobs. They recognize that immigrants compete with Americans already here for jobs at various skill levels, driving down rates of employment and wages for the native-born.[86] They see that the consequences are worst for those who are most vulnerable.

[4] They worry about the social costs of immigration. Their ancestors generally came to this country at times when there was no welfare system; newcomers had to make it on their own. Now, a large majority of immigrants rely on social services of one kind or another. And dealing with large numbers of immigrants imposes burdens on schools, health care facilities, and other institutions. Only the most skilled are likely to contribute as much as they cost. As Milton Friedman once said, “It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.”[87] The costs are potentially infinite.

[5] They worry about the effects of high levels of immigration on social capital. Robert Putnam’s research shows that areas with high degrees of ethnic diversity have reduced social capital; diversity damages the networks of trust and cooperation on which productive social interaction depends.[88] There are huge costs to being a low-trust society, and huge benefits to being a high-trust one. The reduction in trust is moreover quite general. People not only trust people in other groups less; they trust people in their own group less. They become less willing to participate in various kinds of activities and associations, preferring to “turtle” in their own homes. The life and vibrancy of the community suffers.

[6] They worry about our political culture. They sense that the Democrats are eager to increase immigration from certain areas of the world not to benefit the United States but to benefit the Democratic Party by importing large numbers of voters without much exposure to the political culture of the United States or other English-speaking countries.[89] The Democrats want voters with no attachment to the Magna Carta, the doctrine of natural rights, an ideal of individual liberty, or representative government.[90] Trump supporters see little reason why Americans should assist in the destruction of their own political system and thus their own rights and liberties.

Trump supporters realize that there are many benefits to immigration, at certain levels, of certain types of people, under certain circumstances. They recoil from Hillary Clinton’s vision of open borders, but are not hostile to immigration as such. The issue, in their view, is the kind, extent, and pace of immigration, a topic they think deserves careful consideration and debate. The Democrats and the media do not respond to any of the above concerns. They instead retort by calling anyone raising them deplorable. That sounds intemperate, even desperate. To Trump supporters, it also sounds foolish.

VI. Why I Voted For Trump

I voted for Donald Trump partly because I share his political philosophy (which I view as akin to that of the British Whigs); partly because I share his view of the current state of American society and the international order; and partly because I see the American political system as teetering on the edge of a cliff. A Clinton victory, I believe, would have ended the American republic.[91] Obama set out to transform the United States of America. He has done so by transferring power away from the people, and away from Congress, to the courts and to the executive branch. He won a few legislative victories, but has mostly ruled by decree, by executive order and especially by the rule-making of executive branch agencies. Clinton promised to continue the trend. She would have ruled more or less as a monarch with little Congressional limit to her power. The Constitution would have been a dead letter. She would have been able to impose her own moral vision on the entire country. That vision, moreover, rests on a narrative with limited correspondence to reality. And she would have removed the checks and balances of the American system designed to keep narratives and reality in line with each other.

Donald Trump won the Republican nomination because he understood that and pledged to do something about it. He is described as a populist, and for the best of reasons: he wants to return power to the people. He treats ordinary people with dignity and respect. He treats their situations as worthy of concern and their attitudes as worth taking seriously. He values the Constitution. His cabinet appointments have emphasized his commitment to return American government to Constitutional principles. And, just as important, he punctured the narrative. He showed that he understands which of Solomon Asch’s lines is a match.

“How, and to what extent, do social forces constrain people’s opinions and attitudes?” Asch wrote. “This question is especially pertinent in our day. The same epoch that has witnessed the unprecedented technical extension of communication has also brought into existence the deliberate manipulation of opinion and the ‘engineering of consent.’”[92] Trump supporters are tired of being manipulated. They realize how extensively people who consider themselves superior to them have been engineering their consent. And they’ve had enough. They’re tired of being told that they must live a lie.[93]

In an environment where the media, the Democrats, those in high positions in academia, government, and corporations, and most of the Republican candidates agreed on a story that conflicted with what people were observing with their own eyes, Trump was the only person to tell the truth—to say what he thought, no matter what others said, and, in doing so, to depict things as his followers saw them. When he deviated, he went to an extreme, which only strengthened the independence of his fans, making them more immune to manipulation. He thereby undercut the engineering of consent. He earned the affection and loyalty of those who saw a conflict between the narrative and reality. He made those who clung to the narrative look like fools. He gave his followers not only self-confidence but self-respect. And he thereby embarked on the mission to return the United States to the system of government its founders created for it—to make America great again by returning its government to the people.

VII. Objections

In my final section let me address some objections. Before I turn to specifics, however, let me make three more general points.

First, we must evaluate political candidates in relation to alternative candidates, not in relation to some abstract ideal. Is Donald Trump the perfect candidate? Will he make a perfect President? No, of course not. No one could fulfill such an expectation.

Second, there is always little data about how candidates will perform in office as President. No other position is comparable, and there is no way to predict how events will frame the decisions they face.

Third, there is a consistent pattern to many objections being raised against Trump: people on the left tend to accuse the right of what they themselves do. I do not know whether this is psychological projection, a conscious strategy, or the result of a mindset that interprets opponents’ actions in terms of familiar models. But it is pervasive.

Now, to the objections. I omit here ordinary policy disagreements concerning tax policy, foreign policy, trade agreements, minimum wage laws, anti-terrorism strategies, and so on. Each is a legitimate issue, an adequate treatment of which would take an essay in itself.

Objection 1: Trump is simply not qualified to be president—he has no government experience.[94] He is the first President never to serve in government or the military.

Presidents of the United States have generally had experience as governors, generals, or U.S. Senators. The first two are analogous to the Presidency in the sense that they involve management of large enterprises with political dimensions. In the contemporary world, however, CEOs of sizable corporations also manage large enterprises with political dimensions. Experience as such a CEO seems at least as relevant to the Presidency as service as Senator. Indeed, I would find it hard to defend the proposition that Trump is less qualified than Barack Obama was in 2008.

Objection 2: Trump does not take expert advice from the military or from intelligence officials.[95] He has threatened to fire generals and has declined daily intelligence briefings.

This complaint against Trump drips with irony, since President Obama did fire generals and skip most daily intelligence briefings. Obama purged the military of Generals McKiernan, McChrystal, Petraeus, Ham, Flynn, and Mattis, Admirals Gaouette and Giardina, and almost 200 other officers who objected to highly restrictive rules of engagement or were unwilling to subjugate military objectives to social priorities.[96] He attended only about 40% of his intelligence briefings.[97] Trump will have to shake up military leadership if he wishes to return the military to its main tasks—defending the nation and winning wars. As Aristotle properly noted, the goal of the military art is victory.[98] He will also have to shake up intelligence agencies, who have been wrong on virtually every important question over the past several decades and are now at war with Trump before he even takes office.[99]

There is a larger moral here: President Obama filled with federal government with politically radical “experts” whose advice President Trump should reject. In fact, he should do his best to root them out, get rid of them, and abolish the commissions and agencies they inhabit.

Objection 3: Trump has totalitarian tendencies. He does not accept the democratic process, and believes that he alone can fix America’s problems.

I find it hard to take this objection seriously, and not only because Trump campaigned on limiting the reach of executive action and the administrative state, while Obama expanded it and Clinton campaigned on expanding it even further. Ruth Marcus called Trump’s worry that the election was rigged “dangerous,” “irresponsible,” “unsupported,” and “set[ting] the stage for an explosive outcome the likes of which this country has never seen…. further inflaming an already toxic political climate in Washington.”[100] But now Democrats are claiming that Russia rigged the election—supposedly by releasing accurate information via Wikileaks—and even calling Trump “illegitimate,” comparing him to the Nazis and the KKK, rejecting reconciliation, and exclaiming, “Now we fight.”[101] In short, Democrats criticized Trump for talking about the possibility of something they now claim is actual, because his words might have brought about something the Democrats are now, themselves, intentionally bringing about.[102] This is not only wildly hypocritical; it reveals real totalitarian tendencies on the left, tendencies already evident in the use of violence as a political weapon against Trump during the campaign.[103]

I would like to address the arguments of those who consider Trump a fascist. I would like to, I really would. But I can’t find any arguments in the over-the-top editorials making that claim. Consider Robert Kagan, whose “argument” amounts to this: Trump exhibits “an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture,” and engages in “attacking or ridiculing a wide range of ‘others’.”[104] As far as I can see, these qualities might make Trump a bully, but they hardly make him a fascist. Indira Lakshmanan quoted Trump on world affairs, saying “I alone can fix it,” and heard echoes of “strongmen” Castro, Chavez, and Musharraf.[105] I heard in his speech a more mundane claim: that Obama’s policy of leading from behind had created a power vacuum that led to violence and anarchy in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere; that Hillary Clinton, by helping to craft that policy as Secretary of State and vowing to continue it, had no hope of repairing the resulting damage; and thus that he alone among the Presidential candidates could do so, by rejecting the Obama-Clinton policy and acting in America’s best interests.

Objection 4: Trump admires Putin, invited Russia to hack Clinton, and now dismisses attempts to sanction Russia for allegedly doing so.[106]

Much has been said and written about the Trump-Putin connection, but so far no one has produced any actual evidence of any inappropriate relationship or of Russian involvement in the election. Trump’s remark that maybe the Russians could locate Hillary’s 30,000 missing emails was sarcasm—a joke, not an invitation.[107] Obama did nothing when Russia invaded the Ukraine.[108] He did nothing when the Russians hacked into the White House computer system.[109] His response to supposed Russian involvement in the election was token. Calls for Trump to advocate sanctions before taking office, in that context, sound absurd, and, if taken as sincere, imply that Democrats care more about the interests of their own party than those of the United States. The sense of absurdity grows stronger in contrast with Clinton’s involvement with Russia, specifically, her approval of Uranium One’s acquisition of twenty percent of America’s uranium supply, which ended up in the hands of Rosatom, a Russian company.[110] Why Russia would have preferred Trump to Clinton is unclear; Clinton appears to have been bought and paid for.

Objection 5: Trump has promoted conspiracy theories, particularly Obama’s foreign birth, without any evidence: “Mr. Obama’s citizenship was never in question. No credible evidence ever suggested otherwise.”[111]

Trump was one of many people to question Obama’s citizenship, and hardly the first; he raised the issue in March 2011, saying that he was “a little skeptical,” and announced the issue settled a month later when Obama released his long-form birth certificate.[112] It is moreover not true that there was no evidence that Obama was born outside the United States; his literary agency had described him as “born in Kenya” and articles by National Public Radio and the Associated Press had identified him as Kenyan-born.[113]

Objection 6: Trump’s anti-scientific denial of climate change will set back hard-fought bipartisan progress on this front.[114]

No one denies climate change—the earth has unquestionably warmed since the Little Ice Age—but satellite and surface data sets do not agree about how much it has warmed. Nor is there any consensus about the proportion of warming due to human activity, the effect that even drastic cutbacks in carbon dioxide emissions might have on climate, or the viability of geoengineered solutions. There is in short nothing unscientific about Trump’s position. There is also nothing bipartisan about Obama’s climate policies; the “bipartisan” group that filed an amicus brief in support of Obama’s Clean Power Plan included exactly two Republicans, both former members of Congress.[115]

Objection 7: Trump does not respect the Constitution: he recommends a return to stop-and-frisk policing; he is open to censorship; his policies toward Muslims would violate freedom of religion and equal protection.

The policies advocated by Trump do not violate the Constitution. He does advocate Giuliani policies that proved effective in New York City, including stop-and-frisk. The Supreme Court approved that policy in Terry v. Ohio: “Where a reasonably prudent officer is warranted in the circumstances of a given case in believing that his safety or that of others is endangered, he may make a reasonable search for weapons of the person believed by him to be armed and dangerous regardless of whether he has probable cause to arrest that individual for crime or the absolute certainty that the individual is armed.”[116]

Trump’s alleged openness to internet censorship is in the context of fighting a war, protecting national security secrets and impeding enemy communications: “it seems that he wants to knock out the infrastructure that provides Internet access in areas of Syria and Iraq that are controlled by ISIS.”[117] Jamming enemy communications is not censorship. After the Obama administration’s decision to cede authority over the internet to ICANN, which Attorneys General of four states sought to halt with a lawsuit; after news of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google engaging in censorship; after the Democrats’ war on “fake news”; it is hard to take seriously the contention that Trump’s willingness to disrupt communications in Syria is a significant threat to freedom of speech.[118]

Finally, registering, restricting or even banning Muslim immigration into the United States would not be unconstitutional.[119] United States law specifically includes religion as a criterion for immigration; “religious persecution” is a basis for granting refugee status. Under the plenary powers doctrine, constitutional protections do not apply to potential immigrants.[120] If they did—if the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection applied to anyone anywhere—then any immigration restriction would be unconstitutional.

In conclusion, let me summarize the case for Trump in three simple propositions:

[1] He says what he thinks.

[2] He’s on our side.

[3] He fights.

The first includes Trump’s resistance to the narrative and his refusal to live the lie. If he sometimes says extreme things, that only increases his supporters’ resolve. The second proposition includes Trump’s concern for ordinary people—people who do not talk and write for a living—and for the nation as a whole. Obama’s last-minute pardons of spies and terrorists fits a pattern of actions that appear to be anti-American, hostile to the United States and its inhabitants.[121] Clinton’s vision seemed internationalist. Trump sees that a government’s primary obligation is to its citizens. The third proposition gives his supporters hope that he will finally do what they have been sending people to Washington to do for decades: shrink the unelected, unaccountable deep state, return control of their country and their lives to them, and thereby make America great again.

Footnotes & References

[1] “America’s Decadent Leadership Class,” Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2016.

[2] Michael Sainato, “Obama Blames Clinton and Her Out-of-Touch Campaign for Losing Election,” The Observer, November 15, 2016, http://observer.com/2016/11/obama-blames-clinton-and-her-out-of-touch-campaign-for-losing-election/.

[3] Aaron Blake, “Voters strongly reject Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ approach,” Washington Post, September 26, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/26/voters-strongly-reject-hillary-clintons-basket-of-deplorables-approach/?utm_term=.c672f7a2b627.

[4] This was Barack Obama’s charge against Clinton in the 2008 primaries; see Michael James, “Obama: Hillary Will ‘Say Anything and Change Nothing’,” ABC News, http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/01/obama-hillary-w.html. It resurfaced in 2016. See, e.g., Lisa Lerer, “Leaked emails show what Clinton told executives in private,” October 8, 2016, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/emails-clinton-wall-street-private/.

[5] He uses this phrase repeatedly; see https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/?s=%22credentialed%2C+not+educated%22. Compare Malcolm Muggeridge on moderns being “educated into imbecility,” https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2014/01/03/malcom-muggeridge-on-the-self-destruction-of-20th-century-western-man/, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s talk of “intellectuals yet idiots” (“The Intellectual Yet Idiot,” Incerto, September 16, 2016, https://medium.com/incerto/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577#.dcvx4hgho).

[6] “Notes on Nationalism,” Polemic, May 1945; reprinted in England, Your England and Other Essays, London: Secker and Warburg, 1953.

[7] “Studies of independence and conformity: I. A minority of one against a unanimous majority.” Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, Vol. 70 (9), 1956, 1–70.

[8] “What Does Islam Teach about Violence?” The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx.

[9] “List of Islamist Terrorist Attacks,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks.

[10] Tom Howell Jr., “Obamacare premiums to rise by double-digit percentages for millions,” Washington Times, October 24, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/24/obamacare-premiums-rise-sharply-choices-dwindle-ad/.

[11] Eric Morath, “Seven Years Later, Recovery Remains the Weakest of the Post-World War II Era,” Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2016, http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/07/29/seven-years-later-recovery-remains-the-weakest-of-the-post-world-war-ii-era/.

[12] Megan Woolhouse, “Percentage of those in labor pool at 38-year low,” Boston Globe, July 3, 2015, https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/07/02/percentage-workers-labor-pool-falls-year-low/zfLQrKjCyhra95v8PJxWcI/story.html.

[13] David Neumark, “The Evidence Is Piling Up That Higher Minimum Wages Kill Jobs,” Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-evidence-is-piling-up-that-higher-minimum-wages-kill-jobs-1450220824.

[14] Benjamin Weinthal and Lahav Harkov, “German Intelligence: Iran Seeks Illegal Nuclear Technology,” Jerusalem Post, July 7, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/Germanys-Merkel-says-Iran-violating-UN-missile-regulations-459766.

[15] Capital in the Twenty-First Century, translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer

(Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2014). For a critique of Piketty’s thesis, see Matthew Rognlie, “Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share: Accumulation or Scarcity?” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Spring 2015, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2015a_rognlie.pdf.

[16] Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015).

[17] This is a theme of Richard Fernandez’s recent columns. See “History’s Unexpected Guest,” Belmont Club, November 8, 2016, https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2016/11/08/historys-unexpected-guest/, and “Situational Unawareness,” Belmont Club, December 10, 2016, https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2016/12/10/situational-unawareness/.

[18] See Thomas L. Pangle, The Spirit of Modern Republicanism: The Moral Vision of the American Founders and the Philosophy of Locke. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

[19] The most important speech for understanding that vision is probably his economic speech in Detroit: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/campaignc/290777-transcript-of-donald-trumps-economic-policy-speech-to-detroit. Newt Gingrich has elaborated the philosophy of government underlying Trump’s policy proposals: http://www.heritage.org/events/2016/12/gingrich; https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4637292/newt-gingrich-heritage-foundation.

[20] On Clay’s political philosophy, see Daniel Walker Howe, The Political Culture of the American Whigs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), chapter 6. Robert Nozick lays out his libertarian view in Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974).

[21] The connection between Rousseau, progressives such as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and contemporary progressives such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is complex and difficult to trace, not least because politicians find it advantageous to obscure their philosophical views (if they have them!) behind bland nostrums. But early progressives were overt fans of Rousseau. Randolph Bourne, for example, described his reaction to reading The Social Contract: “Yes, that is what I would have felt, done, said! …It was a sort of moral bath; it cleared up for me a whole new democratic morality, and put the last touch upon the old English way of looking at the world in which I was brought up and which I had such a struggle to get rid of.” (Quoted by Fred Siegel, The Revolt against the Masses (New York: Encounter Books, 2013), 18.) That makes clear not only Bourne’s acceptance of Rousseau but his rejection of the English tradition stretching from Hobbes and Locke through John Stuart Mill. Whether Hillary Clinton shares the original progressive rejection of natural rights is unclear—her religious background hints that she may not—but she certainly thinks that concern for individual rights, whatever their source, needs to be balanced against and frequently overridden by concern for the general welfare. See, for example, Hillary Clinton, “Children Are Citizens Too,” It Takes a Village (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996), where she speaks about changing conceptions of individual rights; see also Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy (New York: Basic Books, 1995); Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (New York: Crown, 2008).

[22] See Theodore Kupfer, “Repeal the First Amendment, Clinton Insists to Applause,” National Review, July 29, 2016, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/438519/citizens-united-hillary-clinton-overturning-means-repealing-first-amendment; Steve Simpson, “Overturning Citizens United would be a disaster for free speech,” The Hill, September 6, 2016, http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/campaign/294665-overturning-citizens-united-would-be-a-disaster-for-free-speech.

[23] Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (550 U.S. 2010), https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf. Justice Kennedy’s majority decision affirms that “Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people…. The right of citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it…. When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.” Chief Justice Roberts concurs: “The Government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech. It asks us to embrace a theory of the First Amendment that would allow censorship not only of television and radio broadcasts, but of pamphlets, posters, the Internet, and virtually any other medium that corporations and unions might find useful in expressing their views on matters of public concern. Its theory, if accepted, would empower the Government to prohibit newspapers from running editorials or opinion pieces supporting or opposing candidates for office, so long as the newspapers were owned by corporations—as the major ones are.” That kind of censorship is precisely what Hillary Clinton was advocating.

[24] See Emma Green, “The Little Sisters of the Poor Are Headed to the Supreme Court,” The Atlantic, November 6, 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/the-little-sisters-of-the-poor-are-headed-to-the-supreme-court/414729/. The decision in the case, Zubik v. Burwell (578 U.S. 2016), is at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-1418_8758.pdf. Hillary Clinton tweeted her opposition to the Little Sisters: “Every woman, no matter where she works, deserves birth control coverage. This shouldn’t be a question. #SCOTUS -H” See Derek Hunter, “Hillary Comes Out against Religious Freedom,” The Daily Caller, May 16, 2016, http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/16/hillary-comes-out-against-religious-freedom/.

[25] Those publicly advocating this are media personalities rather than elected officials. See, for example, Mark Oppenheimer, “Now’s the Time To End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions,” Time, June 28, 2015, http://time.com/3939143/nows-the-time-to-end-tax-exemptions-for-religious-institutions/; Lee Moran, “Bill Maher Breaks Down Why All Religious Institutions Should Be Properly Taxed,” Huffington Post, April 16, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bill-maher-church-tax-religion_us_5711dd19e4b0018f9cba30a7.

[26] Stephen V. Monsma and Stanley W. Carlson-Thies, Free to Serve: Protecting the Religious Freedom of Faith-Based Organizations (Brazos, 2015); “Keeping the faith on campus,” World, April 9, 2016, https://world.wng.org/2016/04/keeping_the_faith_on_campus.

[27] Clinton supported overturning the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (554 U. S. 2008), https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf; see the transcript of the final Trump-Clinton debate: “I disagreed with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in [Heller], because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns and so they wanted people with guns to safely store them.” The case concerned a 66-year-old police officer who wanted to store a gun at his house—“Respondent Heller, a D. C. special policeman, applied to register a handgun he wished to keep at home”—and had nothing to do with toddlers. The key holding: “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” On her favorable mention of Australia’s program, see Bradford Richardson, “Hillary: Australia-style gun control ‘worth looking at’,” The Hill, October 16, 2015, http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/dem-primaries/257172-hillary-australia-style-gun-control-worth-looking-at: “I don’t know enough details to tell you how we would do it or how it would work, but certainly the Australia example is worth looking at,” she said.

[28] See Catherine Sevcenko, “Faculty Senate Censures LSU President for Firing Tenured Professor,” Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, October 8, 2015, https://www.thefire.org/faculty-senate-censures-lsu-president-for-firing-tenured-professor/; Kristine Guerra, “A Kentucky professor says singing a Beach Boys song got him in trouble for sexual misconduct allegations,” Washington Post, December 19, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/12/19/a-kentucky-professor-says-singing-a-beach-boys-song-got-him-in-trouble-for-sexual-misconduct-allegations/?utm_term=.c0ccd78916b6; Eric Wemple, “Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis details Title IX investigation over essay,” Washington Post, May 29, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/?utm_term=.40740b7f1a16.

[29] See, e.g., Jonathan Haidt, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” The Atlantic, September 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/; “The Unwisest Idea on Campus: Commentary on Lilienfeld,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 2017, Vol. 12(1) 176–177; Conor Friedersdorf, “How Politically Correct Should the Workplace Be?,” The Atlantic, April 13, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/how-politically-correct-should-the-workplace-be/477636/.

[30] The “Dear Colleague” letter that announced this policy, without any public discussion or opportunity to comment, is at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201104.pdf. See George F. Will, “Due process is still being kicked off campus,” Washington Post, May 13, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/due-process-is-still-being-kicked-off-campus/2016/05/13/cbf3ee6e-1860-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html?utm_term=.658a0b5b56ad. See also “Department of Justice: Title IX Requires Violating First Amendment,” Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, April 25, 2016, https://www.thefire.org/department-of-justice-title-ix-requires-violating-first-amendment/. On Clinton’s support for that policy, see Jake New, “Trump, Clinton and Sex Assault,” Inside Higher Education, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/10/11/approaches-campus-sexual-assault-would-differ-under-trump-clinton.

[31] See, for example, Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom, A Call For the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People (New York: Doubleday, Page, and Company, 1913), http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14811/14811-h/14811-h.htm, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Commonwealth Club Address,” September 23, 1932, http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrcommonwealth.htm.

[32] This is how he ends the Discourse on Inequality, 1754, http://www.constitution.org/jjr/ineq.htm.

[33] See Rousseau, The Social Contract, https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/r/rousseau/jean_jacques/r864s/, http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/assets/pdfs/rousseau1762.pdf.

[34] See Matt Egan, “Coal companies have been scorched under Obama,” CNN Money, August 3, 2015, http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/03/investing/coal-obama-climate-change/; Robinson Meyer, “Obama’s Big New Move on Coal,” The Atlantic, January 15, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/coal-obama-federal-land/424422/; Ben Wolfgang, “Obama rushes out 11th-hour regulations targeting beleaguered coal industry,” Washington Times, December 19, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/19/obama-rushes-out-11th-hour-regulations-targeting-c/; Andrew Follett, “The Stunning Effects of Obama’s War on Coal, in One Chart,” The Daily Caller, April 28, 2016, http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/28/the-stunning-effects-of-obamas-war-on-coal-in-one-chart/. The EPA has tended not to follow the law once it has issued regulations: see John Hinderaker, “Federal Judge Denounces EPA as Rogue Agency,” Power Line, January 12, 2016, http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/01/federal-judge-denounces-epa-as-rogue-agency.php.

[35] Keith Johnson, “How Carbon Dioxide Became a ‘Pollutant’,” Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2009, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124001537515830975; Nicolas Loris, “EPA Formally Declares CO2 a Dangerous Pollutant,” The Daily Signal, December 7, 2009, http://dailysignal.com/2009/12/07/epa-formally-declares-co2-a-dangerous-pollutant/.

[36] The Obama administration’s executive actions in November 2014 effectively ended enforcement of much immigration law. It had been declining even before that: see Jessica Vaughan, “Immigration Enforcement in Sharp Decline, Despite Obama Administration’s Claims,” Center for Immigration Studies, January 2014, http://cis.org/node/5082. The Attorney’s General of twenty-five states subsequently sued the federal government over this action: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/files/ImmigrationStatesFirstAmendedLawsuit12092014.pdf.

[37] “Law School Profs Condemn New Sexual Harassment Policy,” The Harvard Crimson, October 15, 2014, http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2014/10/15/law-profs-criticize-new-policy/; Alan Dershowitz, “Innocent until proven guilty? Not under ‘yes means yes.’,” Washington Post, October 15, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2015/10/14/how-affirmative-consent-rules-put-principles-of-fairness-at-risk/?utm_term=.207dc17410c6; Stephen Henrick, “A Hostile Environment for Student Defendants: Title IX and Sexual Assault on College Campuses,” Northern Kentucky Law Review 40:1 (2013), 49–92, http://chaselaw.nku.edu/content/dam/chaselaw/docs/academics/lawreview/v40/nklr_v40n1_pp049-092.pdf.

[38] Todd Beamon, “Turley: Obama Amnesty ‘Unprecedented’ Threat to Constitution,” Newsmax, November 14, 2014, http://www.newsmax.com/US/executive-orders-amnesty-constitution/2014/11/14/id/607521/; Karl Rove, “Clinton Is Already Vowing to Overreach,” Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/clinton-is-already-vowing-to-overreach-1450307191.

[39] See Nick Gass, “”I’m so tired of this politically correct crap,”,” Politico, September 23, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/donald-trump-politically-correct-crap-213988; Conor Friedersdorf, “A Dialogue With a 22-Year-Old Donald Trump Supporter,”, The Atlantic, May 27, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/a-dialogue-with-a-22-year-old-donald-trump-supporter/484232/; James Taranto, “Trump vs. Political Correctness,” Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-vs-political-correctness-1479233123; Philipp Oehmke, “Has Political Correctness Gone off the Rails in America?” Der Spiegel, January 5, 2017, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/overwrought-political-correctness-helped-trump-win-a-1125725.html.

[40] See https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/issues-of-importance-to-catholics; Alexandra DeSanctis, “Senator Lee Introduces a Bill to Protect Religious Liberty,” National Review, September 28, 2016, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440502/trump-supports-bill-protecting-religious-liberty-introduced-mike-lee,” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440502/trump-supports-bill-protecting-religious-liberty-introduced-mike-lee.

[41] See https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/Second_Amendment_Rights.pdf.

[42] See F. H. Buckley, “Trump’s threat to the Liberal ‘Deep State’,” New York Post, January 19, 2017, http://nypost.com/2017/01/17/trumps-threat-to-the-liberal-deep-state/.

[43] Economic speech in Detroit: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/campaignc/290777-transcript-of-donald-trumps-economic-policy-speech-to-detroit.

[44] Ckyde Wayne Crews, Jr., “Donald Trump Promises To Eliminate Two Regulations For Every One Enacted,” Forbes, November 22, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/waynecrews/2016/11/22/donald-trump-promises-to-eliminate-two-regulations-for-every-one-enacted/#368002832b87.

[45] “Donald Trump campaigns at rally in Moon Township, says ‘We have to win Pennsylvania’,” WPXI, November 7, 2016, http://www.wpxi.com/news/donald-trump-to-campaign-at-rally-in-moon-township/464156588.

[46] There were many such stories during the campaign, e.g., “Hillary Can’t Fill High School Gym in Iowa – Trump Sells Out Huge Arenas Twice Today,” Investment Watch Blog, August 11, 2016, http://investmentwatchblog.com/hillary-cant-fill-high-school-gym-in-iowa-trump-sells-out-huge-arenas-twice-today/; Jim Hoft, “Wow! Hillary Struggles to Fill High School Gym in City of 776,000 Democrats,” Gateway Pundit, August 16, 2016, http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/08/wow-hillary-struggles-fill-high-school-gym-city-776000-democrats/; John Binder, “Hillary can’t fill gym in battleground Ohio, packs crowd with high school students,” The American Mirror, August 17, 2016, http://www.theamericanmirror.com/hillary-cant-fill-gym-battleground-ohio-fills-crowd-high-school-students/.

[47] See Jake Gibson, “Enthusiasm Gap? Clinton addressing modest crowds, as Trump rallies big halls,” Fox News, September 23, 2016, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/23/enthusiasm-gap-clinton-addressing-modest-crowds-as-trump-rallies-big-halls.html; Tim Hains, “Dem Strategist: Clinton Should Be In “Panic Mode” Over Enthusiasm Gap With Black Voters, “Nothing She Can Do,” “It’s Over”,” Real Clear Politics, November 1, 2016, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/11/01/dem_strategist_clinton_should_be_in_panic_mode_over_enthusiasm_gap_with_black_voters_nothing_she_can_do_now.html.

[48] Eric Morath, “Seven Years Later, Recovery Remains the Weakest of the Post-World War II Era,” Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2016, http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/07/29/seven-years-later-recovery-remains-the-weakest-of-the-post-world-war-ii-era/.

[49] “Employment and Unemployment Among Youth Summary,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 17, 2016, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/youth.nr0.htm.

[50] “The Daily History of the Debt Results: Historical returns from 01/20/2009 through 10/04/2016,” https://treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/search?startMonth=01&startDay=20&startYear=2009&endMonth=10&endDay=04&endYear=2016.

[51] Theo Francis and Kate Linebaugh, “U.S. Corporate Profits on Pace for Third Straight Decline,” Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-corporate-profits-on-pace-for-third-straight-decline-1461872242; Lee Adler, “Chart of The Day – Real Durable Goods Orders Still Down 11% From Pre-Crisis Average,” Contra Corner, March 25, 2015, http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/chart-of-the-day-real-durable-goods-orders-still-down-11-from-pre-crisis-average/.

[52] “Household income in the United States,” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States.

[53] David Stockman, “Chart Of The Day: The Great Productivity Bust,” Contra Corner, September 15, 2016, http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/chart-of-the-day-the-great-productivity-bust/.

[54] Lawrence B. Lindsay, “How Progressives Drive Income Inequality,” Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-progressives-drive-income-inequality-1457132837.

[55] Luke Hilgemann, “ObamaCare’s Death Spiral Has Begun,” Investors Business Daily, September 23, 2016, http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/obamacares-death-spiral-has-begun/.

[56] Sean Kennedy and Parker Abt, “Trump is right about violent crime: It’s on the rise in major cities,” Washington Post, August 5, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-right-about-violent-crime-its-on-the-rise-in-major-cities/2016/08/05/3cf6b55e-5b11-11e6-9aee-8075993d73a2_story.html?utm_term=.bbd03b8f92a0; Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Latest Crime Statistics Released: Increase in Violent Crime, Decrease in Property Crime,” September 26, 2016, https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/latest-crime-statistics-released.

[57] Betsy McKay, “Life Expectancy for White Americans Declines,” Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/life-expectancy-for-white-americans-declines-1461124861.

[58] On the IRS scandal, see “Judicial Watch: FBI Investigation Documents of IRS Scandal,” Judicial Watch, July 27, 2016, http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-fbi-investigation-documents-irs-scandal/. On questions about the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case, see “James Comey’s Clinton Immunity,” Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/james-comeys-clinton-immunity-1475017121, and Andrew C. McCarthy, “Please Tell Me These FBI/DOJ ‘Side Deals’ with Clinton E-Mail Suspects Didn’t Happen,” National Review, October 4, 2016, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440697/hillary-clinton-email-scandal-side-deals-fbi-department-justice-politicized. On defying court orders, see David French, “Federal Judge Issues ‘Extraordinary’ Order Sanctioning the DOJ for Misconduct in Executive Amnesty Litigation,” National Review, May 19, 2016, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/435630/federal-judge-issues-extraordinary-order-sanctioning-doj-misconduct-executive-amnesty.

[59] On Libya, see Dominic Tierney, “The Legacy of Obama’s ‘Worst Mistake’,” The Atlantic, April 15, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/04/obamas-worst-mistake-libya/478461/; on Afghanistan, see Andrew Shaver and Joshua Madrigal, “Losing in Afghanistan,” Foreign Affairs, September 22, 2016, https://games.foreignaffairs.com/articles/afghanistan/2016-09-22/losing-afghanistan; on Iran, see Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, “U.S. Signed Secret Document to Lift U.N. Sanctions on Iranian Banks,” Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-signed-secret-document-to-lift-u-n-sanctions-on-iranian-banks-1475193723; Center for Security Policy, “More U.S. Ransom Payments to Iran Revealed,” http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2016/09/07/more-u-s-ransom-payments-to-iran-revealed/; Mark Dubowitz, “The Iran Nuclear Agreement: One Year Later,” http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/071416_Dubowitz_Testimony_Summary.pdf; “Iran seeking illegal nuke, missile technology: German intelligence,” The Times of Israel, July 8, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-seeking-illegal-nuke-missile-technology-says-german-intel-report/.

[60] For an excellent summary, see Quin Hillyer, “Saul Alinsky Leaves the White House,” American Spectator, January 19, 2017, https://spectator.org/saul-alinsky-leaves-the-white-house/.

[61] Salena Zito, “Taking Trump Seriously, Not Literally,” The Atlantic, September 23, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/trump-makes-his-case-in-pittsburgh/501335/.

[62] Reena Flores, “Hillary Clinton: Half of Donald Trump supporters in “basket of deplorables”,” CBS News, September 10, 2016, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hillary-clinton-half-donald-trump-supporters-basket-of-deplorables/. A video clip of her speech is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZHp4JLWjNw.

[63] “Full text: Donald Trump announces a presidential bid,” Washington Post, June 16, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/06/16/full-text-donald-trump-announces-a-presidential-bid/?utm_term=.ef13f118a008.

[64] For a timeline that establishes the context of Trump’s remarks, see the Federation for American Immigration Reform, President Obamas Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement 20092015, Fair Horizon Press, 2016, http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/ObamaTimeline_2016.pdf. In January, President Obama announced that he would veto a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that cancelled funding for executive amnesty programs he had announced the previous November. In February, DHS set up an amnesty hotline for immigrants in the country illegally and allowed beneficiaries to bring in relatives from Central America. A federal judge issued an injunction to stop the President’s executive amnesty, and the Department of Justice requested a stay. In March, the administration admitted it approved more than 100,000 applications despite the injunction; Judge Hanen considered imposing sanctions on DHS for refusing to obey his orders. A second wave of unaccompanied minors streaming across the border from Central America commenced. In April, Judge Hanen denied the request for a stay of injunction; Immigration and Customs Enforcement admitted that they had released more than 30,000 criminal aliens, 3,700 of whom had been declared “Threat Level 1,” including 86 murderers, 186 kidnappers, and 373 people convicted of sexual assault. In May, the Department of Justice admitted that it had violated the injunction, granting more than 2,000 amnesty applications in direct violation of the judge’s order; 113 Republican Congressmen filed a brief in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the injunction, which the Court proceeded to uphold. In June, Border Patrol agents complained that the Obama administration was keeping them from performing enforcement duties. Documents released by Senator Ted Cruz showed that the Obama administration had predicted that more than 100,000 unaccompanied minors would come to the United States from Central America that year as a result of his executive amnesty program. Judge Hanen once again reprimanded the Department of Justice for defying his injunction, and, in early July, threatened Secretary Johnson with contempt of court.

[65] Katie Springer, “Five Years Later, Overriding Crime Is Mariel Legacy,” Sun-Sentinel, September 26, 1985, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1985-09-26/news/8502100720_1_mariel-boatlift-criminals.

[66] Alfonso Chary, “How Fidel Castro and the Mariel boatlift changed lives and changed Miami,” Miami Herald, November 26, 2016, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/fidel-castro-en/article117206643.html: “”It was an example of what Fidel Castro was sending us, ” Odio said. “Criminals and crazies, who had no families here. I began to worry.”

[67] See Tom Morgan, “How to stop lawbreakers? Enforce the law,” Utica Observer-Dispatch, November 23, 2015, http://www.uticaod.com/article/20151123/OPINION/151129985.

[68] The distinction is central to Aristotle’s theory of the syllogism, and to contemporary first-order logic, which has two quantifiers, corresponding to some and all.

[69] “Transcript of the First Debate,” New York Times, September 27, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/27/us/politics/transcript-debate.html?_r=1. The concept of implicit bias stems from Anthony G. Greenwald, Debbie E. McGhee, and Jordan L. K. Schwartz, “Measuring Individual Differences in Implicit Cognition: The Implicit Association Test,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74, 6 (1998), 1464–1480. Though the concept of implicit bias is coming under increasing criticism in academic circles—see, e.g., Oswald, F., Mitchell, G., Blanton, H., Jaccard, J., and Tetlock, P., “Predicting ethnic and racial discrimination: a meta-analysis of IAT criterion studies,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Studies, 105(2), 2013, 171–192;

Oswald, F., Mitchell, G., Blanton, H., Jaccard, J., & Tetlock, P. , “Using the IAT to predict ethnic and racial discrimination: small effect sizes of unknown societal significance,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Studies, 108(4), 2015, 562–571; Blanton, H., and Jaccard, J., “Not so fast: ten challenges to importing implicit attitude measures to media psychology,” Media Psychology, 2015, 1–32; Blanton, H., Jaccard, J., and Burrows, C. N., “Implications of the implicit association test D-transformation for psychological assessment,” Assessment, 22(4), 2015, 429–440—it has most often been seen as an indication of hidden racism. See, for example, Malcolm Gladwell, Blink (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2007), chapter 3, and President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Final Report: Presidents Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, 2015.

[70] “Hillary Clinton’s ‘All Lives Matter’ Remark Stirs Backlash,” New York Times, June 24, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/06/24/hillary-clintons-all-lives-matter-remark-stirs-backlash/.

[71] “Hillary Clinton said it. Black lives matter. No hedge.” Washington Post, July 20, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/20/hillary-clinton-said-it-black-lives-matter-no-hedge/?utm_term=.ee334f27a074.

[72] “And I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy. For me, that means that we need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women’s rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community….” “The final Trump-Clinton debate transcript, annotated,” Washington Post, October 19, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/19/the-final-trump-clinton-debate-transcript-annotated/?utm_term=.e55b48ea684b.

[73] M. T. Latsis, Red Terror, quoted in Harrison Salisbury, Black Night, White Snow: Russia’s Revolutions, 1905-1917 (London, 1978), 565, and in Paul Johnson, Modern Times (New York: HarperCollins, 1983, 1991), 71.

[74] See Mark Lilla, “The End of Identity Liberalism,” New York Times, November 18, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-identity-liberalism.html?_r=1: “National politics in healthy periods is not about ‘difference,’ it is about commonality. And it will be dominated by whoever best captures Americans’ imaginations about our shared destiny.”

[75] Ella Whelan, “Stop Vote-shaming Trump’s Female Supporters,” Spiked, 15 November, 2016, http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/stop-vote-shaming-trumps-female-supporters/18975#.WHvdyTuEfKx.

[76] “Donald J. Trump Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration,” December 7, 2015, https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-on-preventing-muslim-immigration.

[77] “Address to the Nation by the President,” December 6, 2015, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/12/06/address-nation-president.

[78] Marco Rubio and John Kasich were the most vocal in criticizing Trump’s stance; see, for example, “The CNN Miami Republican debate transcript, annotated,” Washington Post, March 10, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/10/the-cnn-miami-republican-debate-transcript-annotated/?utm_term=.273c513232de. Polls showed that 50% of the American people, and 71% of Republicans, supported Trump’s proposal; see Kristina Wong, “Half of American Voters Back Trump’s Muslim Ban,” The Hill, March 29, 2016, http://thehill.com/policy/defense/274521-poll-half-of-american-voters-back-trumps-muslim-ban.

[79] The best known are the Rotherham scandal, which involved the exploitation of 1,400 children, and the Cologne New Year’s Eve attacks, which involved almost 1,200 sexual assaults in that city as well as hundreds in other German cities; see “Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotherham_child_sexual_exploitation_scandal, and “New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Germany,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year’s_Eve_sexual_assaults_in_Germany. But the problem is much more widespread. See “Europe’s Muslim rape epidemic: ‘Cologne is every day’,” Muslim Statistics, July 11, 2016, https://muslimstatistics.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/europes-muslim-rape-epidemic-cologne-is-every-day/; “Sweden and Denmark have highest number of sexual assaults in Europe,” The Independent, January 7, 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/sweden-and-denmark-have-highest-number-of-sexual-assaults-in-europe-a6800901.html. For a list of sexual assaults by migrants in Germany covering just the first two months of 2016, see Soeren Kern, “Germany: Migrant Rape Crisis Worsens,” Gatestone Institute, March 5, 2016, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7557/germany-rape-migrants-crisis; a similar list for July is at https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8663/germany-migrants-rape.

[80] The existence of “no-go zones,” zones in which non-Muslims are likely to be attacked, is controversial and not officially acknowledged, but widely asserted by police and those living in neighboring areas. See Soeren Kern, “European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 1: France,” Gatestone Institute, January 20, 2015, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5128/france-no-go-zones, and “European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 2: Britain,” Gatestone Institute, February 3, 2015, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5177/no-go-zones-britain; “Police Admit: No-Go Zones in France,” New Observer, October 11, 2016, http://newobserveronline.com/police-admit-no-go-zones-france/. For an argument that there are no no-go zones, see David A. Graham, “Why the Muslim ‘No-Go-Zone’ Myth Won’t Die,” The Atlantic, January 20, 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/paris-mayor-to-sue-fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/. Skeptical filmmakers who have ventured into these areas to investigate have tended to be attacked; see, for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8bqWbJkTf8. The dispute turns largely on definitions; no one thinks there are areas officially acknowledged as outside government authority, and everyone admits that there are areas that are dangerous for outsiders, even for police.

[81] “List of Islamist terrorist attacks,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks; “Islamic Terror in Europe (Since 2001),” https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/attacks/europe-attacks.aspx.

[82] The United States, in the year preceding the election, suffered terror attacks in San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; St. Cloud, Minnesota; and Burlington, Washington, for a total of 68 dead and more than 200 wounded. See “Everything we know about the San Bernardino terror attack investigation so far,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-san-bernardino-shooting-terror-investigation-htmlstory.html; “Orlando shooting: 49 killed, shooter pledged ISIS allegiance,” CNN, June 13, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/; “ISIS wing claims responsibility for Minnesota mall attack,” CNN, September 18, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/18/us/minnesota-mall-stabbing/; and “Mall shooting suspect had blog with picture of ISIS leader,” Fox News, September 26, 2016, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/09/26/mall-shooting-suspect-had-blog-with-picture-isis-leader.html.

[83] See Christiane Hoffmann, “Merkel’s Humane Refugee Policies Have Failed,” Der Spiegel, February 26, 2016, http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/the-limits-of-humanity-merkel-refugee-policies-have-failed-a-1079455.html.

[84] See “DEA: Most Illegal Drugs Enter via Mexico, Cartels Greatest Criminal Threat to U.S.,” Judicial Watch, November 1o, 2015, http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2015/11/dea-most-illegal-drugs-enter-via-mexico-cartels-greatest-criminal-threat-to-u-s/. The DEA report itself is at https://www.dea.gov/docs/2015%20NDTA%20Report.pdf.

[85] An outline of the screening process is at https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/11/20/infographic-screening-process-refugee-entry-united-states. The difficulty, however, is that there are many falsified documents and little data on which to base decisions. See Leo Hohmann, “FBI: No Way to Screen ‘Refugees’ Coming to U.S.,” World Net Daily, October 22, 2015, http://www.wnd.com/2015/10/fbi-no-way-to-screen-refugees-coming-to-u-s/.

[86] George J. Borjas, Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999) and We Wanted Workers: Unraveling the Immigration Narrative (New York: W. W. Norton, 2016); Bob Davis, “Immigrants Push Down Wages for Low-Income Workers—But How Much?,” Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2016, http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/02/09/immigrants-push-down-wages-for-low-income-workers-but-how-much/.

[87] Interview with Milton Friedman, Forbes, December 29, 1997. For discussion, see Robert Rector, “Look to Milton: Open borders and the welfare state,” http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2007/06/look-to-milton-open-borders-and-the-welfare-state.

[88] Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000); “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and community in the twenty-first century”. Scandinavian Political Studies 30 (2), June 2007, 137–174, doi:10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00176.x.

 

[89] See Thomas M. Holbrook, “Here’s a close look at how immigrant voters could affect the 2016 U.S. election,” Washington Post, June 26, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/06/26/heres-a-close-look-at-how-immigrant-voters-could-affect-the-2016-election/?utm_term=.fcdc8cc57f12; also, Altered States: Changing Populations, Changing Parties, and the Transformation of the American Political Landscape (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

[90] The “phone and a pen” political philosophy of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton rejects limitations on executive power. That is precisely the point of the Magna Carta, the doctrine of natural rights, and representative government—to limit the executive’s power. Recent immigrants to the United States are from parts of the world where these traditions are weak, and the tradition of executive power is strong. See Luma Simms, “Why Immigrants Vote for Democrats,” The Federalist, July 27, 2015, http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/27/why-immigrants-vote-for-democrats/; James G. Gimple, “Immigration’s Impact on Republican Political Prospects, 1980 to 2012,” Center for Immigration Studies, April 2014, http://cis.org/immigration-impacts-on-republican-prospects-1980-2012.

[91] Publius Decius Mus lays out the argument in his influential essay “The Flight 93 Election,” Claremont Review of Books, September 5, 2016, http://www.claremont.org/crb/basicpage/the-flight-93-election/: “A Hillary presidency will be pedal-to-the-metal on the entire Progressive-left agenda, plus items few of us have yet imagined in our darkest moments. Nor is even that the worst. It will be coupled with a level of vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent hitherto seen in the supposedly liberal West only in the most “advanced” Scandinavian countries and the most leftist corners of Germany and England. We see this already in the censorship practiced by the Davoisie’s social media enablers; in the shameless propaganda tidal wave of the mainstream media; and in the personal destruction campaigns—operated through the former and aided by the latter—of the Social Justice Warriors. We see it in Obama’s flagrant use of the IRS to torment political opponents, the gaslighting denial by the media, and the collective shrug by everyone else.”

[92] “Opinions and Social Pressure,” Scientific American 193, 5 (1955), 31–35, 31.

[93] See Vaclav Havel, “The Power of the Powerless,” in The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe, edited by John Keane, with an Introduction by Steven Lukes (London: Hutchinson, 1985).

[94] See the Clinton endorsements by The New Yorker, October 31, 2016, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/31/the-new-yorker-endorses-hillary-clinton, and The Atlantic, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/11/the-case-for-hillary-clinton-and-against-donald-trump/501161/.

[95] Dana Milbank, “Donald Trump’s war with the U.S. military,” Washington Post, September 9, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trumps-war-with-the-us-military/2016/09/09/a6701dae-7678-11e6-8149-b8d05321db62_story.html?utm_term=.3e2570a30bbd; Andy Greenberg, “Trump ignoring US intelligence agencies creates risks beyond Russia hacking,” Wired, December 12, 2016, https://www.wired.com/2016/12/trump-cia-national-intelligence-briefings/.

[96] F. Michael Maloof, “Top Generals: Obama is ‘Purging the Military,’” State of the Nation, July 19, 2016, http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=43853; Daniel John Sobieski, “Obama purged military of those who sought victory,” American Thinker, September 10, 2016, http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/09/obama_purged_military_of_those_who_sought_victory.html#ixzz4W399n6wF; “List Of Military Elite Purged And Fired Under Obama, Compiled By General Paul Vallely, 3-17-14,” https://jhaines6.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/list-of-military-elite-purged-and-fired-under-obama-compiled-by-general-paul-vallely-3-17-14/.

[97] Marc A. Thiessen, “Obama’s hypocrisy on intelligence briefings,” Washington Post, December 19, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-hypocrisy-on-intelligence-briefings/2016/12/19/8b1fbed0-c5f4-11e6-bf4b-2c064d32a4bf_story.html?utm_term=.229941a01b00.

[98] Aristotle, Comanche Ethics I, 1.

[99] See John Hinderaker, “Dishonest CIA Director Rips Trump; Trump Should Rip Him Back,” Power Line, January 15, 2017, http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/01/dishonest-cia-director-rips-trump-trump-should-rip-him-back.php: “So ‘intelligence officials’ think nothing of committing a felony if it will help serve the cause of the Democratic Party. The CIA is a sick agency. Heads need to roll.”

[100] “Donald Trump makes his most dangerous comments yet,” Washington Post, August 3, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trump-makes-his-most-dangerous-comments-yet/2016/08/03/ed5722ba-59b0-11e6-831d-0324760ca856_story.html?utm_term=.4ec29a8af454.

[101] John Lewis: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.” See Virginia Kruta, “Trump Lashes Out at Dem. Rep. Skipping Inauguration of ‘Illegitimate’ President,” Independent Journal Review, January 14, 2016, http://ijr.com/2017/01/778135-trump-lashes-out-at-dem-rep-skipping-inauguration-of-illegitimate-president/. Martin O’Malley tweeted, “Now is not the time for reconciliation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer didn’t reconcile with the Nazis. MLK didn’t reconcile with the KKK. Now we fight” https://twitter.com/MartinOMalley/status/820476452478939137/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw.

[102] See Piers Morgan, “The people who are determined to delegitimize Donald Trump’s presidency before he even takes the oath aren’t just undermining him, they are undermining democracy and undermining America,” Daily Mail, January 16, 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4125390/PIERS-MORGAN-People-undermining-Trump-undermine-America.html#ixzz4W3QkNa8u.

[103] See Austin Bay, “Democratic Party Operative Robert Creamer Used Terror to Wage War on Honesty,” The Observer, October 25, 2016, http://observer.com/2016/10/democratic-party-operative-robert-creamer-used-terror-to-wage-war-on-honesty/. Creamer has not faced any legal consequences; he met with Obama in the White House 340 times, and sat in the front row at Obama’s farewell address. Note, too, the threats against Trump, including from a family friend of the Clintons: “EXCLUSIVE: Florida man charged with threatening to kill President-elect Trump at his inauguration on Twitter was a close family friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Daily Mail, January 19, 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4133938/Florida-man-threatened-kill-Trump-Clinton-friend.html#ixzz4WFAzNPZd.

[104] “This is how fascism comes to America,” Washington Post, May 18, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-is-how-fascism-comes-to-america/2016/05/17/c4e32c58-1c47-11e6-8c7b-6931e66333e7_story.html?utm_term=.35ab03239faf.

[105] “‘I alone can fix it’ — the simple and dangerous appeal of Trump’s worldview,” Boston Globe, July 22, 2016, https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/07/22/alone-can-fix-simple-and-dangerous-appeal-trump-worldview/yssdNUFFuNeng96N2Vxj1H/story.html.

[106] See Jennifer Rubin, “Republicans have a problem: Trump-Putin,” Washington Post, July 27, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/07/27/republicans-have-a-problem-trump-putin/?utm_term=.5d4fdb3805f4) and Garry Kasparov, “The U.S. doesn’t have a problem with Russia. It has a problem with Vladimir Putin.” Washington Post, January 3, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/03/the-u-s-doesnt-have-a-problem-with-russia-it-has-a-problem-with-vladimir-putin/?utm_term=.f016663a818a.

[107] You can listen for yourself: “Trump: ‘Russia, I hope you can find Hillary’s missing emails’ – video,” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2016/jul/27/donald-trump-russia-dnc-email-hack-video.

[108] See Jennifer Rubin, “Russia invades, Obama expresses ‘concern’,” Washington Post, August 28, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/08/28/russia-invades-obama-expresses-concern/?utm_term=.a639a82d27c6; Paul Roderick Gregory, “International Criminal Court: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine Is A ‘Crime,’ Not A Civil War,” Forbes, November 20, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2016/11/20/international-criminal-court-russias-invasion-of-ukraine-is-a-crime-not-a-civil-war/#1a654c8c7fec; Liz Peek, “Obama, not Trump, has built up Russian strongman Putin,” Fox News, August 15, 2016, http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/08/15/obama-not-trump-has-built-up-russian-strongman-putin.html.

[109] See Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz, “How the U.S. thinks Russians hacked the White House,” CNN, April 8, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/07/politics/how-russians-hacked-the-wh/; John Hinderaker, “Remember When the Russians Hacked the White House Computers?” Power Line, December 11, 2016, http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/12/remember-when-the-russians-hacked-the-white-houses-computers.php.

[110] See Jo Becker and Mike McIntire, “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal,” New York Times, April 23, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html?_r=0: “…the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States…. As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well. And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”

[111] Michael Barbaro, “Donald Trump Clung to ‘Birther’ Lie for Years, and Still Isn’t Apologetic,” New York Times, September 16, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/17/us/politics/donald-trump-obama-birther.html.

[112] See “Donald Trump, Whoopi Goldberg, Spar Over Obama on ‘The View’” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2011; “Birtherism Is Dead, But the Birther Industry Continues,” Time, April 27, 2011.

[113] Trial and Triumph: Stories Out Of Africa, NPR, October 9, 2008; “Kenyan-born Obama all set for US Senate”. The Standard. Associated Press. June 27, 2004; Dylan Stableford, “‘Born in Kenya’: Obama’s Literary Agent Misidentified His Birthplace in 1991”, ABC News, May 16, 2012.

[114] See Nicholas Kristof, “As Donald Trump Denies Climate Change, These Kids Die of It,” New York Times, January 6, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/opinion/sunday/as-donald-trump-denies-climate-change-these-kids-die-of-it.html; Brad Plummer, “Here’s what optimistic liberals get wrong about Trump and climate change,” Vox, January 4, 2017, http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/1/4/14116592/trump-climate-change-optimism-meh.

[115] U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, “Bipartisan Group of Current & Former Senators & House Members Join to File Amicus Brief in Support of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan,” http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2016/4/bipartisan-group-of-current-former-senators-house-members-join-to-file-amicus-brief-in-support-of-president-obama-s-clean-power-plan.

[116] 392 U.S. 1 (1968), http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/392/1.html. In the first Trump-Clinton debate, Lester Holt asserted that stop-and-frisk had been found unconstitutional in New York, and Trump denied it. So-called fact-checkers universally took Holt’s side, declaring Trump’s statement false, even though it is hard to locate anything incorrect in what he said. Even Michelle Ye Hee Lee, “Trump’s false claim that stop and frisk in NYC wasn’t ruled unconstitutional,” Washington Post, September 28, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/09/28/trumps-false-claim-that-stop-and-frisk-was-not-ruled-unconstitutional/?utm_term=.9387780a1ab1, draws the relevant distinction, though she then proceeds to ignore it: “The important distinction here is that stop and frisk as a tactic is constitutional. The way it was applied in New York City, and as it was challenged in the lawsuit that Trump and Holt were referring to, was found unconstitutional.” So, Trump’s claim that stop-and-frisk itself had not been found unconstitutional was entirely correct.

[117] Nicholas Thompson, “Please Don’t Shut Down the Internet, Donald Trump,” New Yorker, December 17, 2015, http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/please-dont-shut-down-the-internet-donald-trump.

[118] See https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/Net_Complaint_-_FILED.pdf; Sarah Perez, “Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube collaborate to remove ‘terrorist content’ from their services,” Tech Crunch, December 5, 2016, https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/05/facebook-microsoft-twitter-and-youtube-collaborate-to-remove-terrorist-content-from-their-services/; Alex Hurn, “Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft sign EU hate speech code,” The Guardian, May 31, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/31/facebook-youtube-twitter-microsoft-eu-hate-speech-code; Robert Epstein, “The New Censorship,” US News, June 22, 2016, http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-22/google-is-the-worlds-biggest-censor-and-its-power-must-be-regulated; Liz Peek, “How the Focus on ‘Fake News’ Could Lead to Censorship,” Fiscal Times, December 14, 2016, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2016/12/14/How-Focus-Fake-News-Could-Lead-Censorship.

[119] Contra the claims of, for example, Corey Brettschneider, “Trump vs. the Constitution: A Guide,” Politico, August 4, 2016, http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/2016-donald-trump-constitution-guide-unconstitutional-freedom-liberty-khan-214139. See Louis Nelson, “Trump’s Muslim registry wouldn’t be illegal, constitutional law experts say,” Politico, November 17, 2016, http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/donald-trump-muslim-registry-constitution-231527.

[120] See Eric Posner, “Is an Immigration Ban on Muslims Unconstitutional?” December 8, 2015, http://ericposner.com/is-an-immigration-ban-on-muslims-unconstitutional/; Hiroshi Motomura, “Immigration Law after a Century of Plenary Power: Phantom Constitutional Norms and Statutory Interpretation,” Yale Law Journal, 100, 3 (1990), 545–613.

[121] See Stephen F. Hayes, “Obama’s Shameful Legacy,” Weekly Standard, January 18, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/obamas-shameful-legacy/article/2006355; Bob McManus, “Why Liberals Just Love to Set Terrorists Free,” New York Post, January 18, 2017, http://nypost.com/2017/01/18/why-liberals-just-love-to-set-terrorists-free/.

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump’s Mexico Tantrum


January 28, 2017

The Opinion Pages | Editorial

Donald Trump’s Mexico Tantrum

By The Editorial Board–www.nytimes.com
 Credit Doug Chayka

Less than a week into the job, President Trump on Thursday raised the specter of a trade war with America’s third-largest partner, Mexico, as the White House warned that the United States could impose a 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports.

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This absurd threat, issued as a proposal to cover the cost of a border wall, came just hours after President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico canceled a visit to the United States. The visit was supposed to improve the relationship between the two countries, deeply strained by Mr. Trump’s relentless scapegoating of Mexicans during his presidential campaign. But Mr. Peña Nieto decided he’d heard enough after Mr. Trump issued executive orders on Wednesday to begin rounding up unauthorized immigrants and building his border wall.

The tariff tantrum was the latest in a head-spinning torrent of lies, dangerous policy ideas and threats from the White House since Mr. Trump was sworn in last Friday(January 20) . They have underscored just how impulsive and apparently ignorant the new occupant of the Oval Office is of international economic and security relationships that serve American interests. His advisers appear unwilling to rein in his impulses or, as in the case of the tariff, hapless as they struggle to tamp them down.

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It’s hard to tell whether the animus Mr. Trump has conveyed toward immigrants, particularly Mexicans, is deeply felt, or if he simply came to recognize how powerfully it would appeal to voters disaffected by an uneven economic recovery and the nation’s demographic changes.

But allowing this view to drive trade and foreign policy toward Mexico could have disastrous consequences for workers and consumers in both countries, given how tightly intertwined the two economies have become since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994.

Imposing a tariff on Mexico would mean pulling out of NAFTA, a move that would severely disrupt the flow of parts and goods across North America and stall production in factories in the United States and Canada. It also could lead to shortages of fresh vegetables and fruits in American grocery stores and drive up the cost of many other consumer goods from Mexico. Mexico’s economy, which is hugely dependent on American trade, would be devastated. But American businesses and workers would stand to suffer immediate harm as well. Mexico would retaliate with tariffs of its own. And no matter how Congress tried to structure the tariff, which would require legislation, it would probably still violate World Trade Organization rules.

Mr. Trump has pointed to America’s trade deficit with Mexico as a sign that the United States is being swindled. Trade with Mexico — imports to the United States totaled $296 billion in 2015 — benefits America by lowering the cost and increasing the availability of goods, like avocados and mangoes in winter. While the trade deficit with Mexico has resulted in job losses in some industries (possibly about 700,000 jobs in the first 16 years), a 2014 study estimates that 1.9 million American jobs depend on exports to Mexico. And trade, by raising wages and the standard of living in Mexico, is a big reason that illegal immigration from Mexico has dropped steadily over the years.

Sending the Mexican economy into a tailspin is the surest way to reverse that trend, which historically has been driven by market forces, and has never been deterred much by fences or walls. Besides, a tax on Mexican imports would be paid by American consumers and businesses that buy those goods. Americans would pay for the wall, not Mexicans.

Trump’s Victory is a Wake-up Call


January 27, 2017

Trump’s Victory is a Wake-up Call: America First

By Michael S. H. Heng*

*Michael S. H. Heng is a retired professor who has held academic appointments in Australia, the Netherlands, and at 6 universities in Asia. He has published 5 books.

http://ippreview.com/index.php/Home/Blog/single/id/337.html

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The Controversial, Contentious, and Perplexing 45th President of the United States–Donald J Trump

Even without the benefit of hindsight, Donald Trump’s victory in the November 2016 US presidential election was not surprising. Although the majority of mainstream newspapers and opinion polls had predicted a victory for the Democrat candidate, a few sharp observers and analysts had been saying that the opposite would happen.

In 1989, Michael Moore made a movie “Roger and Me” about the devastation that descended on the city of Flint, Michigan after General Motors closed the car plant there. Since then we have seen 8 years of Bill Clinton and another 8 years of Barack Obama. What have the Democrats done to address the social and economic ills of Flint? Now the city is saddled with a water crisis, where the tainted tap water cannot be used for drinking, cooking or bathing. In the recent presidential election, the state of Michigan went to Donald Trump. This should have been predictable to any clear headed political observer.

The Bill Clinton presidency of 8 years was not as Hillary Clinton had put it: a great time of economic progress. That is what they like to think and persuade others to believe. Those were years that continued to favor the neo-liberal seeds planted earlier with the blessings of Ronald Reagan and the senior George Bush, with catastrophic blowback in the form of the 2008 financial crisis. The following 8 years of the junior George Bush were an unmitigated disaster with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. But then came along Barack Obama with the promise of Hope and Change. The Great Recession ushered in by the financial crisis of 2008 was not used as an occasion to galvanize the nation to roll back the hanky-panky activities of the financial sector and to reinvent the economy. For 8 long years, his green shoots of recovery proved to be a disappointment. Millions of people just ceased to register as job seekers, because the jobs they were looking for had vanished. It was not unusual for a hotel doorman in New York City to juggle 3 jobs and his wife 2 jobs in order to make ends meet.1 Wages were so low and work so hard to come by.

The victory of Trump constitutes part of a global trend. It is a trend where the failure of ruling parties in the West and elsewhere to address the real and deeply felt grievances of their citizens have thrust political power or influence onto demagogues and xenophobes.  The populist backlash in the US was attributed in an analysis by Niall Ferguson to five factors: (a) surge in immigration, (b) rise in inequality, (c) increase in perception of political corruption, (d) the ongoing Great Recession, (e) the emergence of demagogues. When people are extremely fed up, they would prefer to listen to wild allegations and promises than to the “rational arguments” which have cheated them for too long.

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Rather than being consumed by rage, hate, and despair, it is better to treat Trump’s triumph as the serious symptom of a disease that has plagued social, cultural-intellectual, economic, and political life in the last few decades. Politically, it should be taken as a wake-up call for the political, media, bureaucratic, business, and academic elites who have benefited enormously from globalization and immigration.

Unless and until the problems faced by the working class are solved, it is safe to predict that phenomena more horrible than Trump’s victory are going to happen. In the worst-case scenario, they may pave the way for the demise of the peaceful and prosperous world order as we know it.

Without trying to be funny and cynical, it may be argued that Trump’s victory as a wake-up call is politically more valuable than a victory by Hillary Clinton. Her victory would have lent weight to the belief that the US has been doing pretty well. Sure, there are problems, but here comes another Clinton to solve them and make America even better.

History has provided many examples of how resistance by vested interests has resulted in the country experiencing economic difficulties and even demise, with vested interests buried with it.

Thinking along this line, it is wrong to disparage those angry and long-suffering citizens who turned anti-establishment and voted the thug-like and mendacious Trump into power. To blame those who voted for Trump is tantamount to blaming the victims of the past few decades for complaining and protesting. Instead of focusing attention on the gloomy horizon, it is better to think of ways to navigate away from it.

A good news is that Trump did not manage to win the popular vote, something that could have given him more political gravitas. Elsewhere, populist politicians have increased their influence, but are not strong enough yet to capture key political offices.

To reverse the further descent of politics, mainstream political parties will do well to do some sincere soul-searching. They have been living too long in their cozy world of make-believe, detached from the people they claim to serve, and uncritically swallowing the prescriptions of neoliberal economists. Have they for far too long been recruiting into their ranks ambitious people who take politics as an avenue for career advancement, just like their peers in the business world? Why have they failed to recruit those who are keen in their youth to take up politics as a calling? Why have they failed to fire up the enthusiasm of the youth in politics?  Have they been too nice in accommodating to the demands of big vested interests?

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At the level of ideas, there is a critical and urgent need to roll back the influence of market ideology in arenas that are patently not suitable for it, arenas such as healthcare and education. The political philosopher Michael Sandel has argued against the notion of the market society,2 and the political scientist Philip Bobbitt has written about the challenge of market state.3

At the level of the economy, there is an obvious need for reform. The US has the most enviable human resources and research infrastructure to conduct breakthrough scientific discoveries and technological innovations, which underpin high value-added economic activities. But somehow this great country has channeled its resources into financial engineering, which has inflicted destructive havoc on the real economy, and brought misery to millions of Americans and many more elsewhere in the world. The real enemy of America is Wall Street and other vested interests. Unless the value-destroying financial sector is tamed, with the rich sharing part of their wealth with the poor, and resources redirected to productive areas of research and development in the real economy, the once appealing American Dream will become more like an elusive dream, and to the most disadvantaged, a real nightmare.

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Perhaps the most challenging task is at the level of politics. How can the political class sink their petty quarrels in a genuine effort to make America great again? It calls for political reform that will demand a compromise from vested interests in both the economy and politics. History has provided many examples of how resistance by vested interests has resulted in the country experiencing economic difficulties and even demise, with vested interests buried with it. The challenge now, greater than ever before, confronts those politically conscious progressives to unite in their lofty project in order to pressure the elites to bow to economic and political reform.

At a philosophical level, here is a profound insight from Tao Te Ching by Laozi.4

Disaster is that on which good fortune depends.
Good fortune is that in which disaster’s concealed.
Who knows where it will end?

Notes

  1. Lie, C-I (2016, November 20). Private communications.
  1. Sandel, M. J. (2013). What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  1. Bobbitt, P. (2008). Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-first Century. A. A. Knopf.
  1. Henricks, R. G. trans. (1992). Tao Te Ching. New York: Random House, chapter 58.

Additional Reading:

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/03/donald-trump-the-perfect-populist-213697

2. Book Review: Theresa Gessler.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/book-review-what-is-populism-by-jan-werner-muller/

President Trump and Asia: Lest it’s misunderstood–America First


January 23, 2017

President Trump and getting on the front foot in Asia: Lest it’s misunderstood–America First

 by  Editors, East Asia Forum
http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2017/01/23/president-trump-and-getting-on-the-front-foot-in-asia/#more-54137

The inauguration of the 45th US President, Donald Trump, is a game-changer and the fallout threatens Asian interests perhaps more than those in any other part of the world.

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The 45th President of the United States of America–Donald John Trump

‘For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry’, Trump declared in his inaugural speech, ‘[we’ve] subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay’.

‘From this moment on, it’s going to be America First, America First’, Trump hailed. ‘Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength’.

That the United States under Trump would ‘reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism’ might provide a reassurance to allies in Asia and the Pacific, but one that is deeply qualified by the notion that paying for US deployments abroad is under scrutiny.

What is Donald Trump like and what will his presidency really be about? No one can know for certain: the only predictability about Trump is his unpredictability. But the experts on Trump, those who have studied his life and career and written his biographies, are clear on three things.

‘They see the same person they’ve always seen — the consummate classroom troublemaker; a vain, insecure bully; and an anti-institutional schemer, as adept at ‘gaming the system’ as he is unashamed of that. As they look ahead … to his administration … they feel confident predicting that he will run the country much as he has run his company: for himself’.

Apart from his father, Donald Trump’s chief mentor in life was Roy Cohn, a Joe McCarthy henchman, ‘a guy who stood for cold-eye calculus about how bullying people works’.

The world out there, without its norms or conventions, for which Trump on his record has no respect, is a bigger bully pit than even he has had to deal thus far in his career. On all the evidence we have, there is zero chance that in the fights he picks with world leaders Trump will be capable of separating personal pique from his country’s interests — let alone the interests of the broader public.

Nothing about inauguration day has allayed the two main anxieties for Asia that have been fuelled by the harbingers of radical change under a Trump presidency.

The old certainties that brought prosperity and a significant measure of stability to world affairs for over three-quarters of a century after the Second World War are no longer clear.

The US anchor of the Western security system, on which order in Asia and the Pacific has relied, may be being weighed.

The institutional edifice on which economic certainty and political confidence in the US-led global order has been built — the postwar institutional framework that guaranteed economic openness and the prospect of economic and political security — is under threat as Trump appears bent on trade wars and calls for protectionism. This is not a narrowly economic problem: it affects the global security outlook and especially economic and political security in Asia and the Pacific.

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The comfortable view in Tokyo, Canberra and even in Beijing that Trump in election mode was all political rhetoric, and that US global economic and security strategies would largely remain undisturbed, has given way to deeper disquiet.

Reliance on the enduring operational verities of continuing strategic engagement with Washington, around the uncertainties that Trump brings to the game, is an increasingly doubtful refuge for the business-as-usual camp.

So how do we deal with the new Trump reality show in Asia?

Certainly not by sitting back and taking what the bully pit dishes up, argues Hitoshi Tanaka in this week’s lead essay. Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy rhetoric is moving the United States away from its traditional role as a global leader at a time when the domestic and international political environments are undergoing significant change, Tanaka points out. Japan, as the United States’ most important ally in Asia, has to get on the front foot in defining the kind of engagement it wants with America. Prime Minister Abe, Tanaka says, has been right to engage Trump early and, he might have added, to swing through Southeast Asia and Australia last week to seek common positions across the region.

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The Giants of East Asia

‘Given that Trump appears keen on having Japan expand its share of the security burden’, says Tanaka, ‘the best option would be intensive US–Japan consultations that aim to forge a common approach to key challenges as an initial step toward a joint US–Japan strategy for the region’. The overarching objective would be to retain and enhance US engagement in Asia while bolstering Japan’s security roles and functions within the alliance framework, and its contributions to peace, without opening a regionally destabilising Pandora’s box’.

An important strategic priority among the four that Tanaka identifies is nurturing a stable and inclusive regional order. ‘On its current trajectory, the Asia-Pacific regional order risks fracturing into a two-tiered structure composed of the US-led liberal international order and an emerging Chinese sphere of influence’. The United States and Japan should prioritise engagement with China and find a new way to coordinate among regional institutions and advance cooperation among Asian powers. This requires rapid and immediate elevation of consultation among the Asian powers.Sitting back and relying on old default settings is unlikely to work in the new bully pit.

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In the new Trump era, Prime Minister Abe, on regional engagement, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, on the importance of economic globalisation at Davos, have both set good examples of getting on the front foot in Asia. One hopes that other Asian leaders, individually and collectively, will quickly follow suit.

The EAF Editorial Group is comprised of Peter Drysdale, Shiro Armstrong, Ben Ascione, Ryan Manuel, Amy King and Jillian Mowbray-Tsutsumi and is located in the Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.
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Japan-US Alliance in the Trumpian Era

by Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency came as a major surprise to Japan and the rest of Asia. And Trump’s controversial campaign rhetoric has brought into question the pillars of US foreign policy, including the value of US alliance relationships, its commitment to free trade and its willingness to protect regional stability in the Asia Pacific.

Image result for Japan and the US the Unholy alliance

Yet the region must find a way to work with the Trump presidency. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signalled Japan’s intention to do so by becoming the first foreign leader to meet with President-elect Trump on 17 November. Looking ahead, the region faces a number of challenges that require intensive consultation and cooperation.

Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy rhetoric appears to be moving the United States away from its traditional role as a global leader at a time when the domestic and international political environments are undergoing significant change. Continued US leadership and intensive cooperation with allies and partners will remain critical to the maintenance of regional peace and prosperity.

While the Trump administration contemplates its foreign policy approach, America’s allies must review their regional approaches as well. Given that Japan remains the most important US ally in Asia, the two countries need to move forward and further build up the infrastructure of the alliance.

Japan has responded to the changing security environment with a remarkable suite of defence reforms aimed at expanding its ‘proactive contributions to peace’. Japan will need to continue to expand its contributions, but must do so in a way that is anchored by its identity as a peace-loving nation that does not use military means to pursue its economic or political agenda.

Given that Trump appears keen on having Japan expand its share of the security burden, the best option would be intensive US–Japan consultations that aim to forge a common approach to key challenges as an initial step toward a joint US–Japan strategy for the region. The overarching objective would be to retain and enhance US engagement in Asia while bolstering Japan’s security roles and functions within the alliance framework, and its contributions to peace, without opening a regionally destabilising Pandora’s box.

The Trump and Abe administrations should focus on four key areas. First, a new approach towards North Korea is necessary. ‘Strategic patience’ has failed to change North Korean behaviour. The Kim Jong-un regime is edging closer to producing a miniaturised nuclear warhead that can be mounted on a long-range missile. This poses a serious threat.

Resolving the situation on the Korean Peninsula requires comprehensive and coordinated efforts between the United States, Japan and South Korea to bring China into the fold. Beijing is still hesitant to apply crippling pressure to the extent that it would seriously undermine the Kim Jong-un regime’s political control and run the risk of causing North Korean collapse. The United States, South Korea and Japan must do more to reassure China that a full break with the regime in Pyongyang will not end up being antithetical to its national interests. This requires joint contingency planning among the allies as well as intensive discussions with China to prepare for worst-case scenarios on the peninsula.

Second, greater confidence-building among the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea is sorely needed in order to de-escalate tensions, defuse nationalism and build relations rooted in win–win cooperation. While this may be hard to envision based on Trump’s election rhetoric, operational-level cooperation that is already underway between the United States, Japan and other likeminded countries in the region can gradually be expanded.

The third priority is nurturing a stable and inclusive regional order. On its current trajectory, the Asia-Pacific regional order risks fracturing into a two-tiered structure comprised of the US-led liberal international order and an emerging Chinese sphere of influence. The United States and Japan should prioritise engagement with China. They need to find some way to coordinate among regional institutions and advance functional cooperation among Asian powers.

Though the Trump administration is likely to place lower priority on international institutions, it is in the US interest to find some way to promote smoother coordination between the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the One Belt, One Road initiative on the one hand and the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank on the other.

Finally, the United States will need to find a balance between cooperation with Russia in areas of mutual interest and maintaining a unified front within the international community against unlawful Russian behaviour, such as its unilateral annexation of Crimea in March 2014. There is a strong need for intense consultations between Japan and the United States on this front.

There is a deep sense of uncertainty about the future role of the United States in East Asia. As Trump takes office, it will be crucial that his team makes a concerted effort to understand the positions of US allies and friends. As US domestic politics and the regional balance of power undergo changes, intensive consultations and cooperation with allies and partners will be critical. Forging a joint approach on key regional challenges in a way that opens the door to a shared US–Japan strategy will benefit both countries.

Hitoshi Tanaka is a senior fellow at the Japan Center for International Exchange and chairman of the Institute for International Strategy at the Japan Research Institute, Ltd. He previously served as Japan’s deputy minister for foreign affairs.

 This article is an extract from East Asia Insights Vol. 11 No. 3 December 2016, which is available in full here, and is reprinted with the kind permission of JCIE.

 

China’s Advice–Pursue the path of mutually beneficial cooperation for regional peace and stability


January 12, 2017

China issues urges small and medium-sized countries to pursue the path of  mutually beneficial cooperation for regional peace and stability

Image result for China the SuperpowerChina–Exercising Soft Power in Asia

by Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: China on Wednesday (Jan 11) issued its first white paper on issues related to Asia-Pacific security cooperation.

In the six-point proposal, reproduced in full by Xinhua, Beijing stated that “small- and medium-sized countries need not and should not take sides among big countries”.

“All countries should make joint efforts to pursue a new path of dialogue instead of confrontation and pursue partnerships rather than alliances, and build an Asia-Pacific partnership featuring mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation,” the white paper read.

It added that China would step up its role in regional and global security to take on greater responsibilities. “China is ready to pursue security through dialogue and cooperation in the spirit of working together for mutually beneficial results, and safeguard peace and stability jointly with other countries in the region.”

Image result for China the Superpower and the South China Sea

“The realities of geography, military and vast economic power yield China essentially permanent advantages over its near neighbors. They are always going to live in the shadow of China, and their economies will continue to be become more closely integrated with China’s. China’s neighbors will always need Beijing more that it needs them. This leverage means that over the long term, whether control is centralized or not, China’s strategic approach to maritime issues will leave little room for compromise.”http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-real-south-china-sea-problem-the-shadow-china-12015–

China remains committed to “upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea” and will continue to maintain dialogue on the issue with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it said.

However, Beijing also warned that it could be forced to issue “necessary responses to the provocative actions which infringe on China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and undermine peace and stability in the South China Sea”.

It added that no effort “to internationalise and judicialise” the South China Sea issue “will be of avail”.

The paper concluded that China’s development would add to “the momentum for world peace”.In a news conference to explain the white paper, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said it proposes to strengthen cooperation by promoting common development, perfecting existing regional multilateral mechanisms, promoting rule setting, intensifying military exchanges and cooperation, and properly resolving divergences and disputes.

“We hope that all countries in the region will work along with China to uphold win-win cooperation and make joint efforts in achieving long-lasting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

 

 

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/china-issues-white-paper-warns-small-and-medium-sized-countries/3430786.html