Home > Politics (general) > Arguing against racism

Arguing against racism

October 30th, 2016

A while back, I made the case that the political crisis evident in most developed countries could be explained in terms of a “three-party system” in which the political forces were divided between tribalism, neoliberalism and a somewhat inchoate left. This replaced a neoliberal consensus in which power alternated between hard/right neoliberals (in the US context, the Republican party), relying on the political support of tribalists, and soft neoliberals (in the US context, centrist Democrats) relying on the left to support them as a lesser evil. The first stage of this breakdown has been the capitulation of hard neoliberals to the tribalist right. The most obvious instance is Donald Trump, but the same thing is happening in Australia with Pauline Hanson, in England with UKIP/Brexit and in many European countries as well.

That this is happening is now obvious. What should the left do about it? It’s obviously insufficient to make the point that Trump, or Hanson, or Farage is a racist (or uses racism for political benefit) and expect that to settle the question. That doesn’t mean that we should maintain the long-standing taboo on using the word “racist” to describe such people. Rather, we should start developing a proper analysis of political racism and strategies to oppose racism and tribalism.

The problem we face today is new in important respects. The civil rights and anti-apartheid movements were was a struggle against overtly racist racist state structures. The success of those movements did not end racism, but drove it underground, allowing neoliberals to exploit racist and tribalist political support while pursuing the interests of wealth and capital, at the expense of the (disproportionately non-white) poor.

That coalition has now been replaced by one in which the tribalists and racists are dominant. For the moment at least, ahrdneoliberals continue to support the parties they formerly controlled, with the result that the balance of political forces between the right and the opposing coalition of soft neoliberals and the left has not changed significantly. However, unlike the Civil Rights era, where racists had a clear agenda of defending the status quo, the new politics of the right is driven more by a general expression of resentment (or, if you want to be fancy, ressentiment) than by coherent policy objectives.

I have some ideas about what kinds of strategies and arguments are needed here, but I thought I’d post this first, and wait to see what others have to say.

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  1. Newtownian
    October 30th, 2016 at 16:32 | #1

    Hmmmmm. It is the question of the moment isnt it.

    Yesterday in the context of the US election there was an interview of Michael Moore by Fox’s Megyn Kelly on the question of whether a left leaning person should vote for Clinton or Trump http://www.salon.com/2016/10/28/michael-moore-donald-trump-didnt-quote-me-fully/ . I found it illustrative of the conundrum of where next. Moore’s line seemed to be vote Hilary but then hold her accountable (by mechanisms unspecified and to judge by the anti-Bernie machine maybe delusional).

    On the matter of the left if would be good to split the consideration so it distinguishes the three camps, the pragamatic/Blairite types (we have to compromise to achieve government and use all the dirty? tricks we can get away with), the old left which really doesnt have much time for ecological sustainability – Corbyn in the UK, Bernie in the US and maybe Penny Wong here – and the Greens, each of whom has a very different vision.

    On the question of strategies and arguments discussions of those on the left should be complemented by ones about the right. I’m not exactly sure what is happenning in eastern Europe but here in the US and UK you have to wonder what exactly is their agenda, other than maybe fascism? Trump is incoherent. The Brexiters had no plan beyond “What do we want… Brexit…..” while here Hanson has degenerated once already into celebrity puppet dancing and why this should not happen again isnt clear….unless they become ‘normalised’ as you say they become a defacto extension of the conventoinal right and become satisfied by incrementally trading little gains year by year for Malcolm/Abbot to be able to enjoy the perks of office like striding the world stage making insincere climate change promises.

  2. Zvyozdochka (@Zvyozdochka)
    October 30th, 2016 at 18:43 | #2

    People with real problems (or those that feel like they’re victims of some conspiracy against them), are drawn to those offering simplistic solutions. It has always been thus.

    “It’s someone else’s fault” is the classical political wedge, and the difference recently is that major parties, left and right, are giving it a whole-hearted, red-hot go.

    That and post-fact politics.

  3. Zvyozdochka (@Zvyozdochka)
    October 30th, 2016 at 18:44 | #3

    The solution is to write-off this generation and talk to the children.

  4. ZM
    October 30th, 2016 at 19:05 | #4

    There is something I have been thinking about the tribalist analysis for a while, and its that the left has tribalism too. It’s a word people use themselves to describe the group of people they identify with, sort of like sub-cultures or something, so I think its problematic arguing that tribalism is bad in and of itself, and also that tribalism is restricted to people on the right politically.

    Having said that, I do think you have identified an actually existing group on the right side of politics even if I don’t think tribalism is the most useful description of it. It seems to contain discontent with economic reforms, populism, sometimes racism or fear of migrants and Islamophobia, anti-globalisation etc.

    I think its a form of nationalism really, where the nation is defined to exclude others on the basis of cultural heritage, religion, or race. And where people in other countries are seen as less important than nationals, with some exceptions possibly for culturally similar national populations in foreign countries.

    I would guess that it is the nationalism that excludes people in other countries from being considered fully equal, which then extends to transforming into racism etc in relation to people of other races/ethnicities/religion in the home nation.

    Its very hard to think, for example, that people of Middle Eastern background in Australia are good and have made many important contributions to Australian multiculturalism, but people of the same ethnicity still in the Middle East are not equal to Australians. Its easier for people just to discriminate against all people of Middle Eastern background who live in the Middle East and in Australia (or other countries) too.

    I think its right wing anti-globalisation which is a sort of nationalism, rather than tribalism.

    Left wing politics has been anti-globalisation in many ways too. I don’t think left wing politics can mount a successful critique of right anti-globalisation nationalism without actually re-examining left wing attitudes to globalisation.

    (This is the same comment I wrote on the Crooked Timber crosspost)

  5. ZM
    October 30th, 2016 at 19:09 | #5

    Newtownian,

    “On the matter of the left if would be good to split the consideration so it distinguishes the three camps, the pragamatic/Blairite types (we have to compromise to achieve government and use all the dirty? tricks we can get away with), the old left which really doesnt have much time for ecological sustainability – Corbyn in the UK, Bernie in the US and maybe Penny Wong here ”

    There was an article by Peter Garrett on “Why the ALP must focus its policy on the environment” in the Saturday Paper this weekend
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2016/10/29/why-the-alp-must-focus-its-policy-the-environment/14776596003915

    I think issues that make people feel scared or feel like they don’t have much control can lead to nationalist (tribalist) politics. Environmental issues and climate change probably do make people feel worried like this. Nationalism often tries to make problems more “solvable” by making the locus of decision-making the nation.

  6. Jennifer Lang
    October 30th, 2016 at 19:31 | #6

    At a recent political talkfest in Sydney, one of the comments that really struck me was that the fault lines of our political parties and our populace don’t match any more. The fault lines in the population used to be about money (ie whether you had some or not), and that’s how the parties worked. But now the population divides much more by educational lines, but the parties don’t divide that way any more. So if that analysis is right you still have two major groups, but the political party divide doesn’t work that way, which is why it feels like three.

    Possibly overly simplistic, but I found it an interesting analysis.

  7. Geoff Edwards
    October 30th, 2016 at 20:55 | #7

    My take on this is:

    1. Globalisation generally and free trade specifically have shifted entry-level jobs away from Australia. The neoliberals pontificated about converting these jobs into high technology services, all while undermining the basis of vocational education that might have led to a general up-skilling of the workforce. They should have seen the fault lines coming.
    2. Geoffrey Blainey observed in 1984 that the rate of Asian immigration was faster than the community was able to accommodate. He was demonised by the “left” for being racist. Whether or not the evidence supported his claim then, it would certainly be true now. The left should have seen the fault lines coming.
    3. Business has been demanding more immigration to support its growth. Apart from sociological factors, our capital cities cannot cope with the present rate of physical growth. They should have seen the fault lines coming.
    4. A large proportion of the people voting for One Nation and similar parties resent being labelled as racist although they would wear the label of economic nationalist with pride. The Greens and others who demonise One Nation as racist should have drawn the distinction and foreseen the voting appeal of a party calling for less foreign investment. (The Greens’ trade and economic policy has a lot in common with an economic nationalist one, but they don’t seem able to capitalise on it – every public opportunity seems to turn into a harangue about same-sex marriage).
    5. It is difficult to know where this will turn out. A very sour fault line in our society has been prised open, and with bright ideas like 457 visas, the “right” keeps pouring petrol on the fire.
    6. However, all these issues may become of secondary importance. Environmental decline hasn’t really bitten yet, partly because of the vehement counter-attack by the “right”; and partly because of the neoliberal-led deterioration of analytical capacity in our policy leaders in the public service and parliaments.
    7. But it will, as soon as a lump of Greenland falls into the sea, or Victoria suffers another Black Saturday, or the Gulf Stream pauses and 50 million Europeans head for the boats, or something. Natural forces will prevail in the end.
    8. A political movement to re-gain sovereignty (state capacity) to enable responses to environmental decline is likely to arise. This will look a lot like economic nationalism. A party that cobbles together a platform out of economic nationalism, transition to a sustainable economy and localisation of economic and social activity could go a long way. I’m not confident that it will happen in time to avert major social or environmental disjunction.

  8. October 30th, 2016 at 22:35 | #8

    I have been thinking about the subject of the OP as well, which is partly why I wrote an OP for Catallaxy Files on a similar subject, despite being a leftist myself. I wrote it to express sympathy with the powerless workers who have been victimised by the bipartisan neoliberal consensus that the Prof references – something that any leftist should agree with, I would have thought.

    The question for the left, I think, is whether to accept what the Prof calls the “hard neoliberals” into a centrist coalition, supposedly controlled by the left. The fear would be that the Kissinger types would seek to control the elites that run the show, which is being played out in America because Hillary shares so much of a viewpoint with the establishment of the Republican Party on foreign policy, whereas Trump would rather see them all gaoled and the keys to the WH handed to Putin.

    It is too cute to operate on the assumption that Hillary could conceivably operate a Dubbya foreign policy with a Sanders domestic policy. It’s all very well expanding the coalition until the rump of the GOP is rendered unable to win the presidency for a generation or more, but if the coalition is not able to agree internally on policy due to far-flung factions being too antagonistic, it’s going to be as divided as the Republicans are before too long.

    The most valuable contribution that Trump has made to politics is to highlight how powerless the right’s factions really are. He has utterly destroyed the religious right over there, and he is doing an excellent job of exposing how little ability the Beltway Republicans have to convince their voters on policy.

    Ultimately, I think I lean towards the viewpoint of m’learned colleague, the Rt Hon Conan the Barbarian. To crush our enemies and see them driven before us, these are best in life. Electorally, the constituency of the hard neoliberals is eminently vulnerable to the depradations of factions to left and right. Feast upon their carcasses while the eating is good.

  9. Andrew
    October 30th, 2016 at 23:44 | #9

    Interesting. I have always associated Nietzschean Ressentiment with the slave morality of the inner city soft left/ identity politics types; with the seething if ironic bitterness with which they believe gestures like removing negative gearing would be a simple, easy solution to their failed ambitions.

  10. October 31st, 2016 at 06:35 | #10

    If anyone is near their radio now, there will shortly be a debate on ABC Radio National between a representative of “Muslims for Trump” and a Muslim opposed to Donald Trump.

  11. Ken Fabian
    October 31st, 2016 at 07:45 | #11

    It’s the covert appeals to racist sentiments – the so called dog whistle – that alarm me. Our media opinionators and journalists are the front line here. And dismayingly they are more often the front line of employing that style of racists appeals rather than the front line of calling them out. More broadly it looks to me about hitting emotive buttons; if an opinionator or persuader does so successfully then people are diverted away from rational, cool headed assessments of important issues. These emotive triggers require no burden of evidence or proof to work.

  12. Ikonoclast
    October 31st, 2016 at 08:11 | #12

    We approach an ultimate (or maybe penultimate) crisis of late stage capitalism. Modern Marxism of the Monthly Review type is about the closest we have to an analytical system which will enable us to understand this crisis. That approach is far from perfect, far from a taking into account of all factors, but it is the best political economy analytical framework we have. Nothing else comes close.

    The left needs to focus back on Marxian basics but not on Marxist fundamentalism. There is a difference. There is no other framework which comes close to enabling us to understand what is happening. Two or three other frameworks may assist and probably need to be integrated into a Marxian analysis. On the geopolitics and strategy side, there is John Measheimer’s offensive neorealism but this must be taken only in its descriptive elements not in its prescriptive elements. On the economic and resources side of things there is thermoeconomics or biophysical economics. There is also world-systems theory which I have not adequately investigated yet but which I suspect will have insights to offer.

    If any modern polymath worth her or his salt wanted to synthesize a new theory which stood a reasonable chance of elucidating laws of relation in the current world system, predicting outcomes and advocating courses of action, said polymath would need to combine and synthesize these following fields, namely;

    (1) Marxism plus a consideration of Keynesianism and MMT (all forms). This means a critical and empirical appraisal of all three, not just a taking their assertions as dogma.

    (2) Biophysical economics with attention to biosphere systems and limits to growth.

    (3) Offensive neorealism for its descriptive insights into an anarchic, competitive system of nation state actors using geostrategies and war (open, proxy, cold, cyber and so on) to achieve their ends.

    (4) An appraisal of world-systems theory and an integration of it into the items above.

    (5) Also, probably a political science approach of some kind (I am ignorant of theories in this field) to understand how effective political alliances with real political and social reach and power to command and control can be set up within the current system to transform the current system.

  13. rog
    October 31st, 2016 at 08:18 | #13

    Racism has been in Australia since federation and in the colonial states prior. It’s been a battle, or war, for limited resources between one group and another – what does a poor shepherd from Scotland or a hard done by miner from Cornwall care about the rights of a dark heathen shadow that would eat you alive if you gave them half a chance?

    In a war you look for allies and enemy by badges, flags – and skin colour. So deep is the racism in the US that photos of coloured soldiers involved in WW2 have been removed – in particular after the D Day invasion – they didn’t want to portray a black American as an armed liberator.

  14. sunshine
    October 31st, 2016 at 08:25 | #14

    History has shown that the trans-national 1% can easily work with racists and fascists. They cannot work with socialists . In the US the Democrats had a super delegate mechanism to stop their popular socilaist-lite uprising (Sanders had 85% of the under 35’s). The Republicans couldn’t stop their racist uprising. Hillary now represents the elite of both parties but the 1% could work with Trump if it came to that . We in the West have missed a great opportunity provided by our long period of dominance and prosperity to set the right example. We are now afraid that others will do to us as we have done to them, it’s human nature isn’t it ? – we don’t even have any moral authority left to fall back on. It may be too late ,there may be nothing the Left can do to avoid systemic collapse .Hopefully ,after collapse, socialism will thrive naturally. Thomas Piketty says major redistribution is rarely achieved peacefully. A growing part of me wants Trump to win. If the elites cant stomach any socialism then racists and fascists are all that is left.

  15. rog
    October 31st, 2016 at 09:13 | #15

    I should add that it is a disgrace that our current political leaders, obviously unable to fully engage voters with deeper issues, pander to the racist elements in the community.

  16. October 31st, 2016 at 09:57 | #16

    So I guess in the Australian context:
    – the tribalist right are the Abetz/Andrews religious faction, plus the Hanson LaRouchites and the wingnut peanut gallery in the Senate;
    – the hard neoliberals are the small-l Liberals who have hitched their wagon to Turnbull;
    – the soft neoliberals are the Labor Right, personified by Shorten;
    – the left is the Labor Left, previously represented by Albo but whose future probably lies with Plibersek, plus the Greens.

    One possible first step by the left, if it can be convinced of a single strategy, would be to somehow figure out how to dismantle the gerrymander that Rudd installed which allowed the NSW Right too much sway over the leadership vote. I know 50% of the vote is better than the previous 0%, but more can be done to reflect the will of the Labor constituency. We have the salutary lesson of UK Labour, though, for the perils of when you give too much power away to those who abuse it against the best interests of obtaining government.

    Otherwise, you treat Shorten like the US left treated Hillary: mount campaigns from within and outside the leftist parties on leftist issues until he has no choice but to incorporate them into his platform. The pressure might be on Shorten from his parliamentary colleagues to move right, but he won’t if there is public pressure to move left.

    I’m not sure where Xenophon falls in this classification. Perhaps the Prof has a bead on that?

  17. Paul D’Agostino
    October 31st, 2016 at 10:33 | #17

    I think the ressentiment needs to be exploited by centrist/left politicians by increasing income security for nativists and older reactionary voters. Hostility to multinationals, foreign labour rorting and tax avoidance by the wealthy can be used to create the circumstances for raising the revenue, providing the income security and engaging the self interest of voters who may otherwise be exploited by the tribalist right.

  18. GrueBleen
  19. Mayan
    October 31st, 2016 at 15:04 | #19

    @m0nty

    I wrote it to express sympathy with the powerless workers who have been victimised by the bipartisan neoliberal consensus

    Much of the globalisation of the past few decades has not been about free trade, but about regulatory arbitrage, which has negated the environmental, safety, and other protections established in developed economies. The theory that was sold had the unspoken assumption that the trading nations would have similar laws and comparable standards. In such a world, the idea of free trade makes sense, for the same reason it makes sense for firms in Adelaide and Brisbane to compete.

    However, what happened is that the laws which required firms not to pollute, to treat their staff with some measure of dignity, and so forth were bypassed by moving production to jurisdictions that do not have those standards. I think there is a coherent case for caution in trade based on that observation.

    The problem with the sentiments tapped by Trump and his ilk is that they frame the problems with trade in terms of grievance and revenge, notably revenge about some ‘they’. When such thinking starts to gather speed, ‘they’ will inevitably be expanded to include all the usual suspects.

    As Geoff Edwards points out, the last few governments have added fuel to the fire. All peoples have limits in their ability to accommodate change. Those limits don’t make them bad people; they make them human. The inability to grasp that distinction by those whose immediate reaction is to hit the racist button could lead to an exploitable opportunity should the wrong type of charismatic politician emerge.

  20. Paul Wellings
    October 31st, 2016 at 19:51 | #20

    @Jennifer Lang

    This has been true since (at least) the Republic referendum of 1999. The inner urban electorates, on the whole well educated, some Labor, some Liberal, voted for the republic. The outer suburban, regional and rural electorates, not so well educated, some Labor, some Liberal or National, voted against.

    These days it is even more so. Malcolm Turnbull’s wealthy Wentworth has much more in common culturally with Tanya Plibersek’s not so wealthy adjacent Sydney, than it does with Kevin Andrews’ outer Melbourne electorate. And Sydney doesn’t have much in common with any number of working class Labor seats and eventually Sydney will go Green, and of course the Liberals and Nationals in their under-educated electorates face a challenge on their right: from One Nation, Bob Katter, Clive Palmer or whoever from the resentful right.

    The cleanest and clearest divisions are between the Greens and One Nation. The old parties lumber along trying to be relevant and trying to manufacture the appearance of difference between them, but it is a difficult task as they overlap a great deal. (Not completely though: the Liberal Right and the Labor Left (to the extent that it still exists) have nothing in common).

    Of course, this is all simplistic and you can find plenty of exceptions. Malcolm Roberts has an engineering degree from UQ and an MBA from the University of Chicago and so would be in the top 1% of educational achievement in the country. And no doubt some of the wisest liberal and tolerant people in the country have been nowhere near a university. But the trend is clear. The enduring divisions will be between the education cosmopolitans and the uneducated nativists.

  21. October 31st, 2016 at 20:11 | #21

    @Mayan
    We are in violent agreement. The Rawlsian social contract was rigged to begin with. At some point the Chinese and Indian middle classes will get equivalent working conditions and pay to Western workers, but it’s going to take a generation. And then maybe the capitalists move on to Africa?

    The fundamental problem is that capitalism relies so heavily on the tragedy of the commons. Globalisation means capitalists have no geographic limits on the commons over which they can claim legal dominion, and exploit for profit. The commons is now the entire world, and the tragedy is universal.

    Theoretically, at some point the global market matures to the extent that there aren’t pockets of poverty left to uplift. Until that happens, the transitional forces are going to displace and displease a lot of people for nebulous reasons they won’t be able to accept. It’s far easier, emotionally, to blame the Other, rather than resign oneself to upend one’s own existence to donate your job to some poor worker from Mumbai or Dar es Salaam out of the goodness of one’s heart.

    Ultimately, to get back to the OP, I think the agenda of the Western left should be to reject the failed Third Way approach of triangulation, and stick strong to socialism with the explicit goal of bringing the disaffected victims of globalisation inside the leftist tent. Obviously, Hillary Clinton has a fraught history with this question, since she comes from the old school and has had to be dragged by Sanders to embracing the new way, and no one on the left totally trusts her yet. Similarly, Shorten hasn’t convinced many on the left that he gives a tinker’s about them. To the extent that they can be lobbied, it should come from outside elite processes.

  22. October 31st, 2016 at 20:27 | #22

    @Andrew
    I can only agree, but you do not go far enough. Its the whole edifice constructed to allow “men of ambition” to get ahead that needs tearing down. Sure, start with negative gearing, but you have to keep going with higher taxation, death duties, proper welfare, meaningful employment for all, etc etc.

    Nothing short of a socialist utopia will rescind the bitterness of this failed lefty!

  23. Mitchell Porter
    October 31st, 2016 at 22:48 | #23

    Congratulations to Geoff Edwards #7 for being the only person to mention IMMIGRATION.

    You cannot intellectually engage with the new wave of nationalism in the West, if you only talk about race and not about immigration.

  24. spinal
    November 1st, 2016 at 08:47 | #24

    Gaia. We need to worship Gaia. Go fully tribal that way, irrationally sacrifice our comforts and goats to ensure Gaia is happy. Go to war for Gaia. Build cathedrals to Gaia. It coincidentally aligns with a rational course of action on the climate at the moment.

  25. Ivor
    November 1st, 2016 at 11:04 | #25

    @spinal

    Gaia is a figment of your imagination.

  26. spinal
    November 1st, 2016 at 11:56 | #26

    @Ivor
    you’re standing on her.

  27. Ivor
    November 1st, 2016 at 14:12 | #27

    @spinal

    No I’ve checked and nothing there.

    In any case it would constitute domestic violence.

  28. paul walter
    November 1st, 2016 at 16:40 | #28

    There is plenty of further exposition on the problem but no one knows how keep the financial oligarchs and rightist neo lib populists and their nonsenses out of it.

    I look it and decide to leave, it just triggers off more depression.

  29. November 1st, 2016 at 17:15 | #29

    Late to the discussion but I will point out that you and many others here have made the usual mistake of thinking of tribalism as something that is a vestige of the past and that we can somehow move beyond it (i.e. “end racism”). This is wrong. It is a feature of human nature and it’s senseless to try to suppress it. Suppressing human nature makes you the oppressor.

    This is the problem with defining “hate speech.” It leads to suppression of free speech and freedom of conscience, like the prosecution of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands right now. I can’t say I would join his party but the very idea that he is being prosecuted by representatives of the government that he is opposing in an election illustrates the problem. You can possibly succeed in suppressing his nationalistic rhetoric but only at risk of becoming what you criticize, which they have.

    I’m horrified by this type of thing. It’s completely arbitrary to think that it’s okay to oppress free speech just because you think you are in the right. Somebody else could make the same argument while oppressing your speech.

    I have also been dismayed at the claims of “too much democracy” regarding attempts to use normal legislative processes to provide protections against the negative effects of free trade. This was in the opening line of an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding the trade pact between Canada and the EU. The same thing was said about Brexit, and from EU members of parliament, no less. You hear similar things from the left about environmental policy. This is a dangerous trend and could ruin everything for anyone trying to pursue left wing goals.

    Leftists should not just give up on democracy because they can’t get everyone to participate in cap-and-trade, or because they don’t think Wallonia should be able to block a free trade agreement. Do not convince yourselves that it is ever right to oppose free speech, or freedom of conscience, just because it reflects local interests and you think that is wrong. The left wing gave up on democracy previously, as with Stalinism, and it didn’t work out well, and probably set back the movement by decades.

    We should focus on the keeping the peace between different peoples. We should never make the mistake of expecting them to just stop perceiving the differences and reacting to them. That pursuit is folly. It isn’t like putting out a fire. More like (spitting) into the wind. Anyway just because you put out one fire doesn’t mean you should disband the fire department, and we have learned that putting out wildfires sometimes leaves too much tender in the forest, leading to a larger fire later. Sometimes you have to let it burn.

    Here in the US, the left like to refer to themselves as “progressive.” I find it interesting that on this topic it seems to me that the left is actually reactionary, while the right is actually progressive, except the multi-nationals of course. You should not be perceiving issues of localization as reactionary, but instead provide positive forward leadership in local communities, with respect given to local interests and values. That is what the left should be doing, otherwise the right-wingers will be directing those goals.

    The future is local, not global.

  30. November 1st, 2016 at 17:21 | #30

    Egad, that was too long. Sorry!

    I meant tinder, not tender.

  31. November 1st, 2016 at 17:22 | #31

    John,

    Interested to hear your thoughts on what is to be done.

    My take is that after the Trump election, neoliberalism is dead. Between Brexit and Trump the majors are going to have to accept that the inequity resulting from neoliberalism is not politically viable.

    We are heading for a new age of protectionism. The real question is what type of protectionism.

    I reckon the way forward here for the left is what I would call ‘values based protectionism’ versus the ‘race based protectionism’ we are going to get from the right.

    Values based protectionism aims to protect equality in domestic economy, and spread just economic practices to developing countries by setting ethical standards for companies that seek to operate/import goods within our economies.

    The idea is to shut companies out on the basis of how the behave and whether they abuse their power, not on the basis of the country they come from. Make it about justice and fairness, not ethnicity.

    -If they are companies that don’t pay their fair share of tax, then we lock them and their product out of the advanced economies.
    – If they exploit third world workforces and have huge gulfs between the highest and lowest paid members of their value chains shut them out.
    -If they exploit the environment – shut them out.

    The challenge would be to work out how to regulate/measure/police firms economic behaviour. But surely that is something the information age should make easier than ever before.

    My view is that if the left doesn’t capture the protectionism agenda and load it up with justice values, it will get captured by the right and will be loaded with racist values – something that will tear a multicultural society like Australia apart.

    Keen to hear your ideas.

    Cheers
    Lindy Edwards

  32. rog
    November 1st, 2016 at 18:06 | #32

    My view is that if the left doesn’t capture the protectionism agenda and load it up with justice values, it will get captured by the right and will be loaded with racist values – something that will tear a multicultural society like Australia apart.

    Yes

  33. Salient Green
    November 1st, 2016 at 18:28 | #33

    The Left- the Greens- failed to capture and take advantage of the huge community dissatisfaction with population growth which also fits perfectly with their Ecological Sustainability pillar.
    Now the far right has captured it and loaded it with racist values.
    The Greens stand doubly condemned.

  34. Mayan
    November 1st, 2016 at 21:08 | #34

    mistake of thinking of tribalism as something that is a vestige of the past and that we can somehow move beyond

    However, it can be mollified. There is a difference between democracy as “We won this time, suck it for the next few years,” and democracy as an ongoing process of social bargaining.

    It seems that committed tribalists love the former when they win (and hate it when their team loses), whereas the latter is the mature response.

  35. ZM
    November 1st, 2016 at 21:55 | #35

    I think Australia’s issue is consumption rather than population. We could still increase the population and have less impact on the environment by decreasing consumption or making consumption patterns more sustainable and less environmentally damaging.

    I also think protectionism can’t really be returned too. Its not fair to other countries. Australia is still a very wealthy country compared to many other countries in our region of the world. The 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals are better than a return to protectionism.

    Corporate regulations could be tightened to capture tax, and prevent exploitation of workers, etc, but I can’t see protectionism as being the best way to achieve those ends.

    I went to the Rural Australian’s for Refugees conference in Bendigo in September and there were talks by people about communication strategies to advocate for refugees. Refugee advocacy isn’t exactly the same as anti-racism advocacy, but some of the communication strategies would probably work similarly.

    One really good speaker was from the Believe In Bendigo campaign, which was a response to the anti-Mosque sentiment in Bendigo. He said its important to listen to people you are trying to convince, as well as telling them what you think. He also said that they found Twitter effective, and graphic communication is really important in that medium. He said trying to find shared values with people was a good way to building bridges to try and convince people to change their minds about a particular issue.

    Another talk was from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and that provided information they got from a US consultant who did a project for them. They said the research found “an effective message provides aspirational calls to create something good, rather than eliminate a problem” and particularly about asylum seekers that “an effective message names what people come for rather than what people leave from”, I think so that it builds the sense of the asylum seekers wanting to be part of the Australian community, rather than the sense of them only coming to Australia to escape persecution.

  36. rog
    November 2nd, 2016 at 05:06 | #36

    Free trade (and free speech etc) advocates must be conflicted as their attitude to refugees and immigration deny freedom.

  37. Salient Green
    November 2nd, 2016 at 06:56 | #37

    @ZM
    In a high consumption country like Australia, population becomes a very dangerous multiplier of ecological damage. Unlike high consumption, population growth is already unpopular and in Australia, relies on high rates of immigration, also unpopular. Strong leadership is still required to keep racism out of the process.
    Some form of protectionism needs to be returned to. One that accounts for environmental impacts, Human rights, OH&S standards and food safety standards.

  38. Ivor
    November 2nd, 2016 at 07:37 | #38

    @Salient Green

    Yes, a very good points.

    Capitalists are using racism to wedge progressives.

  39. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2016 at 08:09 | #39

    Talking about wedgies….I’m thinking that it would be useful to focus on the denial of freedom that the religious right represent.

    There are 3 obvious issues that this group of political activists are forcing on us. They are anti-abortion, anti-lgbt rights, and anti-euthanasia and these are all freedoms that afaict from talking to some Pauline Hanson voters I know are important to them.

    In particular one old man who used to listen to Alan Jones and be a climate change denier and now is sort of confused and looking for some thing that makes more sense, has worked out that the right to die is something that he wants because he has some inkling that things are not going to be put right even if Pauline has her way in parliament.

    He doesn’t care about abortion rights or gays being able to marry and he’d not even be able to contemplate transgender people without gagging, but if he wants the right to die, he will support the other things to get what he wants. It needs to be clear to everyone that it is the religious right, the hypocritical Christians who are the enemy of social freedoms.

  40. GrueBleen
    November 2nd, 2016 at 09:16 | #40

    @Salient Green
    Your #37

    If I could only understand what “race” and “racism” mean – and how they are differentiated from ‘otherism’, ‘ethnicitism’ and ‘culturism’ – then maybe I could understand this discourse. The genetic scientists assure us that ‘gene similarity’ is correlated with ‘geographical origin or ancestry’, but I was brought up to recognise that there is just one – and only – human “race”, and that we can all interbreed.

    But otherwise, “ecological damage” is basically nothing but the activities of the ‘one and only human race’ modifying Planet Terra to suit their own kind – something we’ve been doing for many thousands of years and that many other species have done over time, but none as comprehensively as us. Omelettes and eggs, you know the idea.

  41. November 2nd, 2016 at 11:50 | #41

    Regarding the environment and population growth . . . There is every evidence that populations normally reach the limits of their growth in the presence of advanced technology and adequate money. It tracks pretty closely with wealthy, advanced economies. The reasons for this are not well understood and you can probably win a Nobel Prize if you can figure it out. However, when huge numbers of people immigrate from a country with rapid population growth to one with a stable internal population you are breaking the natural regulatory cycle. Essentially you have forced the entire world into a single system, and is one of the elements of globalization. This means that in the past we had nearly achieved areas where the growth of population was controlled. Most of the technologically advanced countries achieved stable internal population growth in the post World War era, yet their populations continued to grow due to immigration. None of this alleviated population growth in non-advanced economies. The explosion of intercontinental migration was actually a step backwards for population control.

    Then the migrants sent money back home to support the huge family they came from, and the next generation there continued to produce more offspring. I think I put the example on here before but I have known of a family from Central America that sent a couple of children to the US to get jobs and send back money. Here’s the mind-blower: the parents had intentionally had extra children just for this purpose! They knew they couldn’t afford a gigantic Catholic family so they doubled down on it with the intention to fund it all from adult children working in another country. I can’t even begin to articulate my frustration that such a scenario could even exist. Hopefully one of these days people will actually try using birth control, and the catholic church will stop opposing it.

    There is no way currently to quantify how common that scenario is but I consider it criminally irresponsible personal behavior. The only way to stop it is to restrict immigration. Particularly frustrating to me as an American is that you will hear Mexicans criticize the United States in one breath for not having open borders and in the next breath they will be excoriating Guatemalans and Salvadorans for immigrating to Mexico (or through it). The Mexicans literally built a wall to try to keep them out. Google it if you doubt me. There are plenty of photos online. The irony and cognitive dissonance are intolerable.

  42. Salient Green
    November 2nd, 2016 at 12:09 | #42

    @GrueBleen
    I sympathise and have argued from the same position but it seems that xenophobia, anti-Islamism, otherism etc. are all the new racism.

  43. ZM
    November 2nd, 2016 at 13:10 | #43

    Salient Green,

    I don’t think immigration leading to population growth is as unpopular as you are saying, although I haven’t seen polling to have an idea of the numbers.

    A quick google turns up this Roy Morgan poll from last year “Today 57% (up 22% since July 2010) of Australians support an Australian population of over 30 million in 30 years’ time – a stunning increase from only five years ago….. A clear majority of Australians 69% (up 11%) support immigration (of 210,000 in 2013/14) remaining the same 37% (down 10%) or increasing 32% (up 21%) while 26% (down 14%) want immigration levels reduced and 5% (up 3%) can’t say.”

    http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6507-australian-immigration-population-october-2015-201510200401

    I think we could halve consumption/waste etc with measure to decrease consumption linked to measures to make goods more environmentally sustainable and reduce waste and increase recycling to move to a circular economy.

    If we halved consumption/waste etc that way, then we could double the population presumably, without causing anymore damage to the environment, and even hopefully reducing damage to the environment.

    I don’t think its fair for Australia to think it can retain current unsustainable levels of consumption, when other countries have low consumption and about 1.3 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty, and about 3 billion people live on less than US$2.50 a day.

    I do have sympathy for the people who come to the idea that protectionism would help Australia, since I was thinking that way myself a few years ago until I did an economics assignment with a woman from Singapore and realised how unfair I was being (even though Singapore is a high income country like Australia, but its economy is based on trade). I have a disability and was worried about the future at the time, and the environment.

    But now I think a return to protectionism is not really the best way to go. I also think we can increase the population by several million more, although I would like to see a study on environmental impacts and population and how to make the right balance.

    I think the key is making consumption sustainable, and also addressing climate change. I would be in favour of regulations to this effect, but not a return to protectionism as it was in the past, or a return to protectionism that isolates Australia from our neighbouring countries and the rest of the world.

  44. GrueBleen
    November 2nd, 2016 at 13:42 | #44

    @Salient Green
    Your #42

    Blind men and an elephant ?

    I remember an illustrative interchange (‘fictional’, BOC) from about 3 decades ago: two guys in a pub having a beer and a chat.
    Guy 1: So, do you like Americans ?
    Guy 2: Nope
    Guy 1: What about Englishmen, do you like them ?
    Guy 2: Nope
    Guy 1: Ok then, how about the Chinese – do you like them ?
    Guy 2: Nope
    Guy 1: (Exasperatedly) well then, who do you like ?
    Guy 2: My friends.

    As to otherism, back in the days of Queen Empress Vicky, there were three clear English classes: Upper, Middle and Lower. All three had quite different ‘cultures’ – they all liked different music, different art, different food and different morality (especially sexual) – and although the Upper and Lower classes reviled each others ‘culture’ they both really, deeply despised Middle class culture (especially the Middle class morality).

    So clearly, we can have rampant ‘culturism’ even within a population that is very largely ethnically uniform. Or “honi soit qui mal y pense” as a bunch of foreign invader Upper Class folks believe.

  45. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2016 at 14:28 | #45

    @GrueBleen

    I don’t have a problem with categorising all discrimination based on ‘them’ being different to ‘me’, as ‘racism’.

    It makes sense to subsume all the varieties of this dysfunctional exclusionary human behaviour under one heading and by talking about all forms of discrimination as racism, will show that there are no actual human races.

    It seems to me that there are a large section of western people who hold and cherish the belief that there are different human races and the white race lol is better at all the important things.

    We white people have truly deeply madly constructed ourselves as a ‘race’ and ourselves as the race winners on the basis of the idea of our genetic fitness.

    Other peoples do not have this belief, it comes from Darwin’s idea of survival of the fittest.

    Other people apparently believed they were all the ‘one’ people or unique people and better than other groups but this was because they were favoured by their gods or through some behavioural standards that they use to manage their society so that people behaved well to each other. They did not assume that they were more fit to rule the world because they were smarter.

    The buddhist concept of yin and yang as essential parts of the one thing, is I think a brilliant and non-racist way of characterising opposing forces and differences in human behaviour that we should use.

  46. ZM
    November 2nd, 2016 at 14:48 | #46

    GrueBleen,

    “The genetic scientists assure us that ‘gene similarity’ is correlated with ‘geographical origin or ancestry’, but I was brought up to recognise that there is just one – and only – human “race”, and that we can all interbreed.”

    I don’t think using race like this is saying humans are not all one species, its looking at racial/ethnic/cultural heritage.

    My heritage is predominantly European Scottish and Irish, some people’s is African from different groups there, some people’s is Indigenous Australian from different language groups here, some people’s is Asian from Chinese or Vietnamese or Indian etc…

    While negative discrimination based on race/ethnicity etc is bad, I think its fine for people to positively identify with their racial or ethnic heritage, and see that difference as positive in most instances (with some problematic areas of course)

  47. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2016 at 15:25 | #47

    @ZM

    “with some problematic areas of course)”

    Maybe the real racists are racialists and the modern day racialists are people who call themselves HBDers and their ideas are problematic.

    Wiki lists the “Code words and alternate names” used to avoid the negative connotations that most of us have toward the idea of separate races and ranking them in order of value or something.

    RationalWiki says

    “Very few racialists call themselves “racialist”. Instead, because straight-up racism isn’t hip anymore, the euphemism treadmill rolls at full speed (just like it does in creationism intelligent design and alternative integrative medicine):

    Scientific racism: While scientific racists do have to admit their racism, they also get the joy of slapping the “approval” of SCIENCE on it.

    Racial realism or race realism: Racial realists get a two-pronged advantage: First, they can deny their racism by saying, “I’m not a racist, I’m a realist!”. Second, they can paint non-racialists as “race deniers” or “racial difference deniers”, which suggests denial of the obvious facts — when in fact, science opposes racialism.

    Human biodiversity or HBD: By being just one “bio” away from supporting “diversity” and by failing to mention race, human biodiversity is the most innocuous form of racialism, because it allows one to deny any racism — because it’s recognizing biodiversity, not being racist! Coined by Steve Sailer (a political blogger) of VDARE.

    Human phenotypes and human varieties: Same as HBD, but newer and even more evolution-y. Promoted by Human Phenotypes (which attempts to revive centuries-old race typology) and the far-right blog, Human Varieties.

  48. GrueBleen
    November 2nd, 2016 at 15:32 | #48

    @Julie Thomas
    Your #45

    I don’t have a problem with categorising all discrimination based on ‘them’ being different to ‘me’, as ‘racism’.

    Well I do, Julie, and it’s the same problem Alice had with Humpty Dumpty, namely “words mean what I want them to mean“. Which is fine, so long as you don’t care whether anybody else understands you or not. But if you do care, then it’s kinda important to have a vocabulary in which words have just one, shared extension. Otherwise, we have an infinite regress of mutual deconstruction.

    And it wasn’t Darwin’s “idea” of “survival of the fittest”, that wording came from Herbert “social darwinism” Spencer. Darwin used “natural selection”.

    But then we benighted whiteys can’t help it if no other societies developed science and the concept of genetics and of heritable IQ, can we. The Chinese did have some underdeveloped ideas of their own superiority to the rest of the world – as expressed in the Hua-Yi distinction, and they did have a fairly primitive idea of ‘bloodline heredity’ (eg the Emperor was always a direct descendant of the preceding Emperor – just like the “Nobility” of Europe).

    But the Chinese were like the Romans – anybody, even an ex-slave, could become a fully entitled Roman citizen, and the Chinese believed “that outsiders could become Hua by adopting Chinese values and customs.”

    Definitely no laissez-faire multiculturalism in the ancient world. 🙂

  49. ZM
    November 2nd, 2016 at 15:44 | #49

    Julie Thomas,

    I have never heard of “human biodiversity” before, so that wasn’t what I meant if you are attributing those views to me?

    I was thinking of people celebrating their racial or cultural or ethnic backgrounds. I don’t think there is anything really wrong with this — think about Beyonce this year with Formation

    “My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana
    You mix that negro with that Creole, make a Texas bama
    I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros
    I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils
    Earned all this money, but they never take the country out me
    I got hot sauce in my bag, swag”

    What’s wrong with celebrating being African American like that?

  50. GrueBleen
    November 2nd, 2016 at 15:49 | #50

    @ZM
    Your #46

    I think its fine for people to positively identify with their racial or ethnic heritage

    Well I think it’s generally fairly difficult for them not to – though Michael Jackson did do hst best to become an ‘ethnic whitey’. But I note that nowadays fewer Asian women seem to have the ‘anti-slanty’ eye surgery that was once so popular.

    But if you meant they should positively identify with their ‘cultural’ heritage, maybe you should ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or even Rita Panihi, about that.

  51. ZM
    November 2nd, 2016 at 15:53 | #51

    I was reading the Herald Sun in the library this afternoon, and Jeff Kennett has an article on a similar topic to the OP.

    I wish Kennett was more against the new policy on refugees that anyone arriving in Australia by boat will never be allowed to live in or visit Australia (he says “It is why rapid processing of those who breach our laws must be achieved. It is fairer to them, more humane and less costly to our community.” so I can’t work out if he is against the new policy and wants a return to fas processing of refugee claims, or something else?) , but he does come out against the racist turns in some right wing politics in Australia and the US at the moment —

    “THE Federal Government is getting tougher on illegal refugees and Pauline Hanson is claiming credit for Malcolm Turnbull’s new tough stand. Soon we will know the result of the most vitriolic and saddest US elections I have witnessed: a contest between two individuals who are clearly not anywhere near the best candidates the American people should be choosing between to lead their nation.

    Whoever wins, the swing to the right will be obvious. There is nothing wrong with being politically right if politicians who follow that line admit they are not just appeasing the electorate.

    I understand conservatism, but being part of a right-wing movement is, to me, dangerous and a sign that those who follow that path are not following a laid-out agenda, but responding to issues, mainly disaffection in the electorate. Extremes, left or right, have never been the answer. They invariably end in disaster.

    As the axis of the world seems to be leaning to the right, beware of those who preach intolerance and division, for that breeds discrimination.”

    (I also agree with him about Robert Doyle as mayor in Melbourne, I’m from the country so I mostly know about Robert Doyle’s support for the urban planning and urban design team in the City of Melbourne since that’s what I’m studying, but he has been a very good mayor in that respect and supported some really good policy and been an ambassador for them in Victoria and globally)

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/jeff-kennett-intolerance-and-division-are-not-the-right-way/news-story/c6433469c6367de3f7d93f8da1db1841

  52. ZM
    November 2nd, 2016 at 15:59 | #52

    GrueBleen,

    “But if you meant they should positively identify with their ‘cultural’ heritage, maybe you should ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or even Rita Panihi, about that.”

    I think there are a lot of positives about African or African-American cultural heritage. Of course cultures also have histories, and in the history of every culture on Earth there are negatives. My Scots-Irish or British or wider West European/European cultural heritage certainly has a lot good of good things to celebrate, but also a fair share of bad things as well. Its not very fair to hold other cultures to a high standard of perfection that British or European culture over time doesn’t meet itself.

  53. Tim Macknay
    November 2nd, 2016 at 16:44 | #53

    @GrueBleen

    But then we benighted whiteys can’t help it if no other societies developed science and the concept of genetics and of heritable IQ, can we. The Chinese did have some underdeveloped ideas of their own superiority to the rest of the world – as expressed in the Hua-Yi distinction, and they did have a fairly primitive idea of ‘bloodline heredity’ (eg the Emperor was always a direct descendant of the preceding Emperor – just like the “Nobility” of Europe).

    As I understand it the Chinese have more recently had a widely accepted “scientific” belief that they are descended from homo erectus (specifically, ‘Peking man’, being the moniker of some homo erectus fossils found in China in the early 20C) and that either they are not closely related to the rest of humanity or that all of humanity ultimately originated in China. Apparently DNA evidence that we’re all descended from Africans hasn’t been particularly well received in China.

  54. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2016 at 16:51 | #54

    @GrueBleen

    I guess it is just too bad that you object because language changes and it is changing rapidly now.

    I think you fail to see how limited the concept behind the IQ scale is and how it measures something real but that something does nothing to predict anything of interest to a non-racist person and I’m using racist in the sense of an over-arching descriptor term for all forms of othering.

    “And it wasn’t Darwin’s “idea” of “survival of the fittest”, that wording came from Herbert “social darwinism” Spencer. Darwin used “natural selection”.

    Oh dear my bad. I had better spend more time being sure that the details are correct. But did I say that I was writing the solution to the worlds problem in a comment on a blog?

    GrueBleen, why do you write such silly unfunny things? “so long as you don’t care whether anybody else understands you or not.”

    I don’t care about the people who don’t understand me; they don’t need my caring, do they? But as it happens I know now that there are plenty of people who do understand me even with all my failures to be sufficiently erudite for you to appreciate.

    “But then we benighted whiteys can’t help it if no other societies developed science and the concept of genetics and of heritable IQ, can we. ”

    Benighted? Oh dear.

    You might find Peter Turchin’s work interesting and useful to add to your repertoire of knowledge about ancient history. From wiki; “His research on secular cycles has contributed to our understanding of the collapse of complex societies as has his re-interpretation of Ibn Khaldun’s asabiyya notion as “collective solidarity”. Lots of work on wars and how it was good for developing civilizations. He even has a blog so you can correct his research if you find his writing lacking sufficient rigour.

  55. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2016 at 16:53 | #55

    @ZM

    No way was I attributing those views to you. 🙂

  56. GrueBleen
    November 2nd, 2016 at 19:29 | #56

    @Julie Thomas
    Your #54

    … because language changes and it is changing rapidly now.

    Oh, so we won’t have a single English Language but instead a million sub-Englishes each with its own vocabulary and dictionary and we won’t be able to communicate with each other because we won’t have any words in common. Oh wait, you’re proposing we recreate the Tower of Babel, aren’t you.

    I think you fail to see how limited the concept behind the IQ scale

    Oh dear, my bad, I didn’t raise the IRONY flag, Julie. Umm, or are you saying that the meaning of the word “irony” has changed in this brand new Babel world and you no longer understand what I mean by that word ?

    I’m using racist in the sense of an over-arching descriptor term for all forms of othering.

    But why ? Racism has a meaning already and it isn’t “all forms of othering”. Well at least I think ‘racism’ has a meaning but I’ve never been sure I understood what that meaning is or was. Perhaps you aren’t either, so that’s why you’ve given it a new meaning ?

    Oh dear my bad. I had better spend more time being sure that the details are correct.

    Yes, you had.

    But did I say that I was writing the solution to the worlds problem in a comment on a blog?

    Yes, you did – it’s what you always do.

    GrueBleen, why do you write such silly unfunny things?

    Because I’m writing to you, Julie, and you don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘irony’.

    I don’t care about the people who don’t understand me;

    Aww, you don’t really mean that do you ?

    You might find Peter Turchin’s work interesting

    I might, if I can believe that mathematical modelling can be applied in circumstances in which we have very little reliable measurement of key factors. If Turchin can ‘model’ old civilisations and societies at all well, why isn’t he modelling this society now with all of the numerical data that we currently have ?

    Besides, I saw this reference when looking him up on Wikipedia:
    “economists Alfred H. Conrad and John R. Meyer, which caused a firestorm of controversy with its claim, based on statistical data, that slavery, being economically efficient and highly profitable for slaves owners, would not have ended in the absence of the U.S. Civil War.”

    Well of course it wouldn’t have ended, would it. Do you think Conrad and Meyer have ever heard of William Wilberforce ?

  57. GrueBleen
    November 2nd, 2016 at 19:38 | #57

    @Tim Macknay
    Your #53

    Ah yes, now that you mention it, I think I did read/hear something to that effect, but I didn’t go into it at all deeply (LITS*). Oh just what they’ll do to prove that the Hua are superior to the Yi.

    [* LITS = Life Is Too Short, or, as I used to berate my colleagues just before I retired when they were assing around and wasting time in a meeting: “This is a much bigger percentage of the rest of my life than it is of yours !”]

  58. Collin Street
    November 2nd, 2016 at 20:18 | #58

    But why ? Racism has a meaning already and it isn’t “all forms of othering”.

    God christ.

    Words are symbols; the relationship between signifier and signified — “what” “words” “mean” — is arbitrary, constructed. Technically, socially constructed, but the speaker is part of society and can do the lion’s share of the construction work.

  59. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2016 at 21:07 | #59

    Gruebleen tl/dt but I’m sure that the info will be useful for someone. So not wasted.

    I did read the first paragraph and thought that maybe you haven’t noticed how often dictionaries are updated these days. Then I thought what about how many new ways of using words creatively there are to make life interesting that you may not be taking advantage of.
    And you may not be blessed with young facebook friends who also use words as if they had a right to ignore the rules that mean a lot to you.

    I stopped reading when I read that I want a tower of Babel situation. I suppose some sort of cognitive error due to an unnecessary excess of emotion could be responsible for an intelligent person coming to that irrational conclusion.

  60. jrkrideau
    November 2nd, 2016 at 23:03 | #60

    @GrueBleen
    … because language changes and it is changing rapidly now.

    Oh, so we won’t have a single English Language but instead a million sub-Englishes each with its own vocabulary and dictionary and we won’t be able to communicate with each other because we won’t have any words in common.

    Well as a Canadian reader of this blog, I do keep a cheat-sheet of English Australian expressions for emergencies. 🙂

  61. Collin Street
    November 3rd, 2016 at 06:16 | #61

    Oh, so we won’t have a single English Language but instead a million sub-Englishes each with its own vocabulary and dictionary and we won’t be able to communicate with each other because we won’t have any words in common.

    See, this is black-and-white thinking. This is a problem; you’re equating the existence of barriers to communication with the impossibility of any communication: if it’s not 100% perfect then it doesn’t really exist or matter.

    Since in the real world communication is never perfect… yeah. Realistically, the gaps-in-communication caused by subtly-varying definitions are pretty minor, outweighed by the inescapable problems caused by misunderstood antedecents or what-have-you.

    [something you really need to note: there are only a limited number of words. If we can only use one meaning per word, then ipso-facto there are only as many things we can talk about as there are words, and things for which we don’t currently have words we literally cannot talk about. “There is no language in which I can frame my point” is a rather bigger problem, a bigger barrier to communication, than “you’re using words in a way I don’t understand”. Particularly when the reason you don’t understand the words is a personal antipathy to noting when people are using them with new meanings: there is, to be blunt, an easy fix for that one.]

  62. GrueBleen
    November 3rd, 2016 at 07:48 | #62

    @Julie Thomas
    Your #59

    Gruebleen tl/dt

    tl/dt ? Oh yes, I see: ‘too lucid/don’t think’

    I stopped reading

    Very racist of you, as always.

  63. GrueBleen
    November 3rd, 2016 at 07:59 | #63

    @Collin Street
    Your #61

    See, this is black-and-white thinking. This is a problem

    It most certainly is, Collin and I wish you luck and godspeed in overcoming it.

    something you really need to note: there are only a limited number of words. If we can only use one meaning per word, then ipso-facto there are only as many things we can talk about as there are words

    Thank you for raising the long debunked Sapir-Whorf linguistic determinism “hypothesis”, I’d almost entirely forgotten it. But here’s a question for you: what is a mathematical theorem ?

  64. GrueBleen
    November 3rd, 2016 at 08:02 | #64

    @jrkrideau
    Your #60

    I do keep a cheat-sheet of English Australian expressions

    Won’t do you any good, I have it on excellent authority that all the words have many meanings which change overnight.

  65. sunshine
    November 3rd, 2016 at 08:34 | #65

    When i go to anti anti-Muslim rallies and we chant ‘racist’ at them , they often respond that ‘ Islam is not a race you #@*%$ Leftist’. ‘Bigotry’ would have been a better term to use in a general way but ‘racist ‘ has been used in this way for a long time . Many decades ago the first subdivision at my suburb of Sunshine in Melb was made by a group of wealthy businessmen ,it was originally a ‘no Catholic’ area. This anti Irish bigotry was referred to as racism even back then.

    Also randomly from above – we all agree population and consumption levels are big problems. Immigration is only a related issue.
    – the Chinese are quite racist .On their very popular tv dating show ‘If You Are The One’ ,when a foreigner is on it is normal for most of the suitors to bow out on the basis that their family would not accept a foreigner .
    – for us whiteys blacks are normally seen as hyper masculanised and asians as hyper feminised .In this way black women may seem more butch than asian men etc.

  66. GrueBleen
    November 3rd, 2016 at 09:33 | #66

    @sunshine
    Your #65

    But sunshine, the Irish are a race – Celtic I believe it’s called – very different from us Anglo-Saxon-Jute-Normans.

    I’m curious though as to how the “wealthy businessmen” kept ‘catholics’ out of the area – did prospective buyers have to make a statutory declaration of their religion ?

  67. Salient Green
    November 3rd, 2016 at 10:47 | #67

    I think that using racist as a generic term for many forms of bigotry diminishes it’s power. I see racism, in it’s proper definition, as a very hard and destructive bigotry which has been responsible for so many terrible acts against groups of people throughout history.
    Xenophobia seems to cover most of the bigotry where other people are disliked because they are different but not seen and treated as inferior. If xenophobia is labelled as racism, it is a form of hyperbole.
    “Hyperbole expands in societies where articulateness atrophies.”
    (George F. Will)
    Use of hyperbole can result in detachment from reality and diminishing returns.

  68. November 3rd, 2016 at 11:05 | #68

    @Salient Green My definition of bigotry is unreasonable bias. There must be an understanding that there is such a thing as reasonable bias. I’m not sure why some leftists and the younger generations believe they can be unbiased. It’s obviously a false idea. We are all biased all the time. The key is to be aware of it and make sure you are not being unreasonable.

    Racism has become a “loaded” or “hot” word that is being used as a rhetorical device to win debates. It’s meaning has been diluted to the point of meaninglessness. I believe that’s why a lot of people that would normally not do or say racist things in their day-to-day lives are voting for Donald Trump. It’s sort of a protest vote, on that, as well as other topics.

    My definition of racism would be unreasonable bias on the basis of race or ethnicity, however I also subscribe to the understanding that race does not exist scientifically. It is also wrong though, to think that racists define others as a race. Race is usually a self-applied label. In other words, people create their own “otherness.” To the degree that it is a social construct, it is self-constructed.

  69. GrueBleen
    November 3rd, 2016 at 11:23 | #69

    @Salient Green
    Your #67

    Xenophobia = ‘fear of’
    Racism = ‘extreme dislike of’ or even ‘hatred of’

    And surely, hatred can result from unassuaged fear, but they are qualitatively different.

  70. Tim Macknay
    November 3rd, 2016 at 11:27 | #70

    @Julie Thomas
    Julie, I agree that ‘racism’ appears to have started having a broader meaning in its usage. I tend to think that the most likely outcome of this is that it will end up being a generic snarl word for people or attitudes the user disapproves of, rather like ‘fascist’. Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing, who knows. It is what it is. 🙂

  71. Tim Macknay
    November 3rd, 2016 at 11:28 | #71

    I have a comment in moderation. I suspect it’s because I used a word that begins in “fas” and ends in “cist”. I assure all concerned that the word was used conversationally and in an innocuous manner. Prof Q, could you kindly retrieve the comment?

  72. GrueBleen
    November 3rd, 2016 at 12:00 | #72

    @Tim Macknay
    Your #70

    You shouda spelt it “fasces” then 🙂

  73. ZM
    November 3rd, 2016 at 17:37 | #73

    @Julie Thomas

    Oh good 🙂 I was worried I had explained myself really badly

  74. Salient Green
    November 3rd, 2016 at 18:07 | #74

    An article by Tim Hollo resonates strongly with me on how to fight racism.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/22/to-fight-racism-we-need-to-craft-a-better-we-and-ditch-the-us-and-them
    He argues that it is our current political and economic system which has created the Hansons and Trumps etc. through the disenfranchisement of large sections of society.
    He offers a list of solutions which I think would be very popular with the majority of Australians.

  75. Collin Street
    November 3rd, 2016 at 18:45 | #75

    Thank you for raising the long debunked Sapir-Whorf linguistic determinism “hypothesis”, I’d almost entirely forgotten it. But here’s a question for you: what is aHow can we talk about things for which we lack words? We can’t. But we can talk about anything — we reject sapir-whorf — which means there is no thing for which we lack words. But we have a finite vocabulary, the limits of which we know: with this finite vocabulary, we have to be able to discuss the infinity of all possible things… which pretty obviously means some words [technically at least one word] carry multiple meanings.
    mathematical theorem ?

    This is what you call a proof by counterexample: to prove X, you assume not-X and show that that is impossible.

    How can we talk about things for which we lack words? We can’t. But we can talk about anything — we reject sapir-whorf, like you say — which means there is no thing for which we lack words. But we have a finite vocabulary, the limits of which we know: with this finite vocabulary, we have to be able to discuss the infinity of all possible things… which pretty obviously means some words [technically at least one word] carry multiple meanings.

    Pretty straightforward, no?

    But no. You’ve grabbed the phrase “if we can only use one meaning per word”, assumed that this meant I believed that there was only one meaning per word, and didn’t read any further. I admit, I didn’t actually say, “this means that the conditional can be demonstrated to be false”. I genuinely did not realise I had to. I genuinely did not realise you needed the argument sketched out to that much detail: I genuinely believed you didn’t need someone else to say the words “this conditional is false” before you realised that that was where my argument was leading. For this, for my oversight in not offering you sufficient guidance, I apologise.

  76. GrueBleen
    November 3rd, 2016 at 19:17 | #76

    @Collin Street
    Your #74

    I genuinely did not realise

    Yes, there is a very great deal you do not realise, Collin.

    But when you can answer my question: what is a mathematical theorem ? you may yet show that you may be worth my time. Until then, dream away and my sympathetic condolences be with you.

  77. John Quiggin
    November 3rd, 2016 at 19:58 | #77

    Keep it civil, please

  78. Collin Street
    November 3rd, 2016 at 23:43 | #78

    I have no intention of answering your question, Grue. So far I’ve written two fairly detailed posts, the contents of which you’ve completely ignored except where there’s a single line you can slice out to make some trite smart-alec “point”.

    Why would I do this a third time?

    Plus, I can’t even if I wanted to, even if I wanted to: a “mathematical theorem” is — or can be described as — many things, each description as accurate for its own purpose as the next is for its own. I actually need to know what you want to do with the answer before I can frame it.

  79. Julie Thomas
    November 4th, 2016 at 17:20 | #79

    Zed said,

    “I’m not sure why some leftists and the younger generations believe they can be unbiased. It’s obviously a false idea. We are all biased all the time. The key is to be aware of it and make sure you are not being unreasonable.”

    We believe this because it happens that there are unbiased children and adults. It is not obliviously a false idea and I’d like to know if you can gather some coherent argument together to explain how that is the case. You need to keep up with your understanding about child development research. Surely you are not saying that a baby will not want to play with a baby of a different colour.

    When do you think they would do this? Is it there from birth or at some stage does the colour/race/other bias kick in? Biases about things are part of the cognitive abilites of humans to help us discriminate good things from bad but they are not inborn.

    And what is ‘reasonable’ bias, seriously? Original sin is not a real thing either. Did you know that Zed?

    Seriously, there is such ignorance of child development research and the latest knowledge about human behaviour. How can anyone expect to understand what humans are capable of if you do not consider how we are socialised to be racists.

    Tim Macknay who can know if it is a good thing or a bad thing – nothing is very wholly good or bad – but it is happening. One can be like GrueBleen and Rage against the Future but it’s not good for us. Better to keep up and use the new terms in a new way to talk to people who want to understand what is going on. Well I talk to Hanson voters anyway and it works for me to confuse them with words so they really think about what it is that they are so angry about.

  80. ZM
    November 4th, 2016 at 21:09 | #80

    Interesting news today about the Federal Court throwing out the case involving the Racial Discrimination Act section 18C brought by an Indigenous staff member at the Queensland University of Technology against 3 students.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/nov/04/qut-computer-lab-racial-discrimination-lawsuit-thrown-out

  81. November 5th, 2016 at 11:43 | #81

    @Julie Thomas You make a pretty good case for being biased against religious people.

    Did you know that I don’t even go to church? You were just trying to push my buttons, but not knowing anything about me really, other than what I have written here, and pushed the wrong button. THAT reflects bias. I suppose some previous comments must have led you to believe that I was a religious wing nut. Probably it was the previous comments about Jesus. Oops, I don’t even go to church! I have to say I saw it coming and have been expecting something like this for a couple of weeks, and planning my response. Q.E.D.

    You are my example.

    As for your childhood development nonsense, I consider psychology to be a pseudoscience. As my 4th year Developmental Neurobiology professor said, there is a clear pattern of classical psychology being replaced by advancements in neurobiology since about the 1960s. Molecular biology techniques and biochemistry, combined with advanced imaging technology are slowly rendering psychology obsolete. Even the psychology graduate students in the class nodded their heads. That was in 1997.

    If you can show me an MRI illustrating an unbiased brain then I will accept your assertion, after I have read and analyzed the paper. Babies do not have fully developed brains. That’s what makes them babies.

    No, you can’t be unbiased. You are just introducing a whole new set of biases to the children, like for instance, to be critical of religion.

    There is a mathematical definition of bias, but that is not what we are talking about here. I have a supposition that it could be rolled in with predicate logic (i.e. a programming language) and more Nobel Prizes await.

  82. Julie Thomas
    November 5th, 2016 at 13:08 | #82

    @Zed Hogan

    I am not biased against religion. I am quite certain from all the evidence that the one-god religions have been a very bad thing for people.

    I was deliberately raised to despise fake Christians and people who use religion as a front for their bastardy and to blame them for their stupidity. Very unique childhood. My father was definite that religion and capitalism were the two worst things that had ever happened to human beings.

    I’m not trying to push your buttons. I honestly think you are too stupid to understand where your ideas are wrong. I think you are too stupid not because you lack a high enough IQ but because you have been raised to be biased against the type of thinking that would provide you with the key to understanding human nature. I wasn’t raised with that bias.

    Actually, this is the truth Zed. Developing biases is natural, it is something that the human brain does as part of its repertoire to find patterns in the world and make meaning from them; the target and actuality of those biases are all in response to the environment and how that environment is interpreted by the other significant humans in the environment.

    I can’t imagine how you think that it would work that biases just begin to emerge spontaneously in children, is there an age at which you think this happens? and I suppose there are genes taht we haven’t found yet so that some children would develop a bias against asians and others would develop a bias against gypsys perhaps? It’s quite difficult to imagine how you think about bias. Can you explain a bit more?

    Psychology is becoming obsolete? Seriously you think that? I know several practitioners who are currently making a living as psychologists mostly for the worried well but hey it’s a job. How long would you give them Zed before they go out of business?

  83. November 5th, 2016 at 13:17 | #83

    @Julie Thomas I’m done, Julie. In lieu of stooping low I will once again ignore your responses for the rest of the thread.

    Apologies to psychologists. I think psychology is useful for describing the outward symptoms of diseases and for treatment better than nothing and in many cases will suffice until actual mechanisms can be discovered with true therapies – pharmacological, surgical – are available based upon the biology. Possibly classical psychology will always be useful for diagnosis, if not treatment.

  84. November 6th, 2016 at 08:41 | #84

    If, on this coming American Presidential elections on Tuesday 8 November, I had to choose, on the one hand between a candidate who is accused of racism and xenophobia, and another, who, amongst many other crimes, has, since 1990 helped to start wars which have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, the choice to me is quite straightforward.

    My response of October 31st, 2016 to GrueBleen and Colin Street on the now closed “Unecessary Wars” discussion was not approved of until the following evening. No-one responded, possibly because it did not appear in time for it to be linked to in the list of “Recent Comments.”

  85. Ikonoclast
    November 6th, 2016 at 08:55 | #85

    @James

    In the matter of unnecessary wars and war crimes, Trump has not yet been tested. The entire US geostrategy, political economy and military-industrial complex is geared to fight continuous wars. I doubt that changing the figurehead leader and puppet of plutocratic-oligarchic interests will change anything in this regard. In other words, without changing the US political and economic system fundamentally, changing leaders will make no difference. How could the US political and economic system be changed fundamentally? Well, I won’t opine here. I am powerless in that matter, not being a US citizen. It is up to the citizens of the US to work towards something new when they are ready. They will be ready when the current system starts to fail the masses in bulk meaning the underclasses, the unemployed, the working poor and the newly poor middle class. 80% plus of US citizens are now getting a really bad deal out of the current system. They just have to realise it and realise their power.

  86. Julie Thomas
    November 6th, 2016 at 09:31 | #86

    “In the matter of unnecessary wars and war crimes, Trump has not yet been tested.”

    @Ikonoclast

    But he has been tested and his lack of ability to respond sanely and rationally to events is apparent. Why would you give him the benefit of the doubt that he would be less of a warmonger than Hillary?

    “what would Trump do? We know that he has a highly aggressive personality. He often says he likes “fighting”, and not just metaphorically. We know he’s very vindictive, indeed he admits this. He expressed surprise that America has a (unofficial) policy against first use of nukes. He’s pro-torture, indeed much worse torture than waterboarding, and he wants to assassinate the family members of terrorists. He’s on record saying that Obama is weak and that he–Trump–would crush ISIS. He supported the Iraq War. He idolizes Putin, a militarily aggressive figure. Does this seem like a George McGovern dove? ”

    the quote is from themoneyillusion blog and a lot more could be added to this evidence that a Trump presidency would be unpredictable and that isn’t a good thing unless you are looking for a violent revolution.

    And James you are simplistically setting up what you like against what you don’t like. That is irrational. Your argument is simplistic and biased. Even Zed who is not dead would agree with that.

    There is much more that can be said about Trump’s personality that makes him unsuitable for president than that he is racist. He lacks any positive personality characteristics that would make him presidential material. Give me some examples of how he has responded with intelligence and good character to any thing that has ever happened in his life?

    And Hillary has done no more than be a hypocrite and a money grubber, social climber, greedy selfish and a neo-liberal incompetent and all the rest including her warmongering, but she will obey the laws of their civilization which Trump will not. Trump is above the law.

    And if she obeys the laws the system has a chance to evolve relatively peacefully onto a different state.

  87. Ikonoclast
    November 6th, 2016 at 09:53 | #87

    @Julie Thomas

    Actually, I did not mean to give him the benefit of the doubt at all. I followed on to say the system would keep doing the same thing under him as it is doing now – endless war. My implication was that voting for Trump would not change a thing. I agree with you he is a very bellicose personality. There is no reason to think he is a less bellicose choice than H.C. He might even be more bellicose. But I think Presidents are puppets now. The oligarchs, plutocrats and corporatocrats run the show.

  88. November 6th, 2016 at 11:21 | #88

    Ikonoclast wrote:

    In the matter of unnecessary wars and war crimes, Trump has not yet been tested. …

    Surely the choice between a certainty and only a possibility is still clear.

    Ikonoclast continued:

    … The entire US geostrategy, political economy and military-industrial complex is geared to fight continuous wars. I doubt that changing the figurehead leader and puppet of plutocratic-oligarchic interests will change anything in this regard. In other words, without changing the US political and economic system fundamentally, changing leaders will make no difference. …

    After December 1960, the changing of its ‘figurehead’ leader caused the United States to support the Algerian FLN in its war against the French colonialists. On no less than three occasions, President Kennedy (JFK) over-ruled recommendations by the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff to launch a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union. (See “JFK and the Unthinkable – Why He Died and Why it Matters” (2008) by James S. Douglass.)

    JFK supported Indonesian President Sukarno against the Dutch colonialists in his eforts to retrieve the mineral rich West Irian to Indonesia (see “Allen Dulles’ Indonesian and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy” (12/6/2016) at globalresearch_dot_ca _slash_ the-cias-involvement-in-indonesia-and-the-assassinations-of-jfk-and-dag-hammarskjold/ . After JFK was murdered, Allen Dulles was able to proceed with his plans to overthrow Indonesian President Sukarno in the bloody coup of 1965 after which between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Indonesian Communists were murdered by Islamist extremists.

    Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Giap (1911-2013) knew that if Kennedy had lived he would have ended the Vietnam War by 1965 and over half a million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans would have lived.

    Had JFK’s brother Bobby lived, the Vietnam War would have ended in early 1969 shortly after his inauguation as President.

    Neither JFK nor his brother were puppets. Clearly it is possible, even in a system as flawed as that of the United States, for someone with the integrity and vision of JFK to become President and for his brother Bobby to win the Democratic Party nomination (and almost certainly the Presidency in 1968, had he not been murdered) then it is possible for people of good intent to win that office.

    Ikonoclast continued:

    … the citizens of the US … will be ready when the current system starts to fail the masses in bulk …

    It has not already failed? The manufacturing sector has been destroyed and relocated to slave-labor economies in Mexico, China and the Third World.

    Ikonoclast, are you arguing that only when the working class has become utterly wretched and impoverished, will it rise up against its oppressors?

    Julie Thomas wrote on November 6th, 2016 at 09:31

    … Hillary … will obey the laws of their civilization which Trump will not. …

    Could I suggest you read my last post again? Which of the wars that Hillary Clinton helped to start did not violate international law?

    Julie Thomas wrote on November 6th, 2016 at 09:31

    … There is no reason to think [Donald Trump] is a less bellicose choice than H.C. …

    You have not acknowledged the rigged political system in which Donald Trump is working and the vicious media bias against him.

    After the “peace candidate” Adlai Stevenson lost the 1956 election to Eisenhower, JFK changed his rhetoric, accusing Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon of having allowing the Soviets to get ahead of the US in the nuclear arms race. This seemingly hawkish ploy just allowed JFK to beat Nixon in 1960 and, paradoxically, as I have mentioned above, prevented nuclear war from breaking out on three occasions.

    Donald Trump, who has adopted adopted similar hawkish stances – given the context of the 2016 Internet newsmedia – has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for having acted in support of the Syrian government against the Islamic State terrorist invaders – hardly the talk of a person seeking to start a war against Russia!

  89. Julie Thomas
    November 6th, 2016 at 12:14 | #89

    @James

    “You have not acknowledged the rigged political system in which Donald Trump is working and the vicious media bias against him.”

    When did the media turn vicious? And what is it in for them? Of course I forfot, they are being paid oodles of money from that incredibly corrupt Clinton corporation that has passed under media scrutiny for all these years until ….da da, the media suddenly turns vicious because they can see there will be more money for them from Clinton and not from Trump?

    You should take this stuff to the rwnj sites; they will open your eyes James. You don’t know the half of how vicious that women is. Did you know she is bombing Trump election offices? She is having people murdered?

    And the worst thing this nasty woman has done? She is not trying to create a race war. The stupid stupid woman is not trying to turn people in america against each other.

    Are you supposed to be talking about this or would it be a good idea if you stopped raising this issue? It is only a few more days and then the next stage will begin. You can wait in silence.

  90. Donald Oats
    November 6th, 2016 at 12:35 | #90

    Trump has said some, ah, very provocative things: taken at his word, if in office as the President, he will act on some of those very provocative things; if he does so, he will become the most dangerous man in the world, because of how other countries will perceive his actions.

    Clinton, flawed as any politician who has been in the game as long as she has would be, hasn’t done any of the things that Trump is claiming he’ll do. While some of the Democrats should hang their heads in shame for supporting the ill-fated and disastrous Bush Jr War on Iraq, they are miles apart from what Trump claims he stands for.

    In a straight shootin’ contest between Clinton and Trump, there should be a big ray of daylight separating them, heck the bloody width of the Mississippi River for that matter. Instead, with the help of some egregious media moguls, it is neck and neck—according to some polls.

    I mean, really: it is like a choice between Clinton and a dead headless chicken.

  91. November 6th, 2016 at 23:24 | #91

    Julie Thomas,

    You don’t need to go to “right wing nut job” sites to find out that Hillary Clinton has caused the deaths of more people than any other woman in history. She has helped cause the deaths of many hundreds of thousands in Iraq, the former republics of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. All this is shown in reputable websites including Global Research, Voltaire Net, New Eastern Outlook, the Russian RT and Sputnik News, the Iranian PressTV and the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). (Donald Oats, you know that Senator Hillary Clinton voted for “the ill-fated and disastrous Bush Jr War on Iraq,” don’t you?).

    Hillary Clinton has been filmed laughing at the cruel murder of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and laughing at the prospect of America starting a war against Iran in 2014.

    Donald Oats wrote:

    Trump has said some, ah, very provocative things: taken at his word, if in office as the President, he will act on some of those very provocative things;

    He’s running an election campaign in the United States, Surely some hyperbolic rhetoric is to be expected? Nevertheless, can you cite any example as provocative as the words by Hillary Clinton I have given above, let alone actions?

  92. Donald Oats
    November 8th, 2016 at 20:07 | #92

    @James
    Yes, I did, and do know, that Clinton voted for the Bush Jr invasion of Iraq. They all have blood on their hands. The question isn’t just who is president though, it is also a question of who they have in the room with them as their staffers, and the heads of the organs of state. On that latter aspect, it is as opaque to me as it is to most Americans. Trump’s words, if they are mere hyperbole, well at what point do you draw the line and say that this is what he *really* means he’ll do, and on the other side is mere hyperbole?

    As a comparison, consider President Duterte in the Philippines: what he said about killing of drug users could have been considered hyperbole, except that is what he wanted done, and it is being done right now, in the slums and back streets, under cover of night and anonymity of police task forces. How do we really know what Trump says is mere hyperbole? Until he is elected and we can see what he actually does in office?

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