Forcing To Game With Trump

Donald Trump took center stage in American politics yesterday with his policy declaration of intent to exclude Muslims from entry to the U.S.until an exclusionary program like internment and deportation can be designed.Trump has aspects of  demagogue and  narcissist.He is part of a worldwide movement toward oligarchs as problem solvers.The racism in the remarks is almost secondary to the opportunism.The fact is that Trump reflects the thinking and the proclivity to hate of some 14 percent of the U.S.population.It is religious bias but it is fused to race.The notion that race is unimportant has been expressed on this blog,but so too has it been stated that leftist ideas in the presidency of our black president have contributed to our and the world’s malaise.Jensen et al has been cited as evidence that the status quo of the world is due to capability differences based on race.The American Anthropological Association repudiates these findings and joins geneticists and DNA experts in indicating the many aspects of the biodome as more significant than a vaguely defined and very possibly unscientific “race”.
We can conclude that if race didn’t exist,we would create it.It is a construct that mankind uses to justify demeaning, exploitation ,loathing and subsequently hate.The ease of allying the construct with identifiability adds to its evolutionary power.This has been discussed elsewhere in this blog.(Keywords are caste.Dravidian,class.)Race can be unscientific but never unimportant.Apparently being demeaned and exploited easily leads to rage and retaliatory impulse.Trump’s solution is a disaster in the making.While the supreme court prepares to take even more power from the cities of America we need to keep in mind that roughly 24,000 Americans cannot read, that our public education enterprise is far behind private education and that addiction and suicide continue to mount.
A walled in, home schooled, semi rural people doesn’t seem an attractive model for an America that must assert a cooperative primacy to help the world to a viable future.Some of those who are condemning Trump have little more to offer.

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13 Comments

  1. Let’s not get lost in semantics. What we are facing here is racial hate, perpetuated by an enraged and dissatisfied mostly-middle America. Hate, as history has shown us, of the “other” is inherently arbitrary, rooted far more in complex political realities than in any surface-level distinction like the color of skin. I am astounded by Don Spencer’s citation (as a ‘prime source’ of all things) of The Bell Curve, a text which has rightfully served as a sacred map for bigots. Look, the hate incited by Trump and his followers harkens back to a common human history of arbitrary social separation based in fear i.e. racism: Pakistan, Iran, Israel, Germany, the U.S. to name a few. The world over, as long as civilization has existed, so too has this hate. Recall the stark parallels of today’s treatment of Muslims to Europe’s treatment of Jews in the 1930’s, a number of whom sought refuge on the shores of Cuba and Florida on the MS St. Louis and were promptly denied entry. They were returned to Europe just before the onslaught of WWII.
    This is not a ‘thesis about brainpower’ as Spencer arrogantly assumes. In order for ‘the best [to be] major players in all categories,’ the playing field must be even. This will never happen. Therefore, the environment we build must take this grim reality, this grim nature, into account. Human beings are not meant to only survive, as the eugenics argument promulgates. We have intelligence, Spencer would agree, and consciousness; we are uniquely able to identify and engage our deepest, most animalistic tendencies in the struggle for dignity. This embattled state has provided our greatest triumphs and most acute surrenders, but the work has to continue. We do this on behalf of the weaker man beside us, because we value him despite his lighter load. It is a power only we, as men, possess and it mustn’t be belittled to a useless theory of biological precedent.
    So, let us engage, and thoughtfully, on what is making those Americans believe in the tyrant Trump. Let us attempt understanding beyond the tempting preternatural conclusion of Darwinism, and therefore bear the burden so that the weaker man just there may see, then perhaps take on some of the weight himself. Of course, usually he won’t, and the burden remains greatest for the strong.

    1. ThomasS: “Hate, as history has shown us, of the ‘other’ is inherently arbitrary, rooted far more in complex political realities than in any surface-level distinction like the color of skin. … the hate incited by Trump and his followers harkens back to a common human history of arbitrary social separation based in fear i.e. racism: Pakistan, Iran, Israel, Germany, the U.S. to name a few. The world over, as long as civilization has existed, so too has this hate.”

      An honest recognition of human reality … and to that degree, that hate certainly knows no boundaries. The appeal to tribalism is a powerful tool for hate. In view of the above (and the larger post), the recent column by George Yancy, professor of philosophy at Emory University, which appeared in The New York Times is asking all of us to look in the mirror. This powerful piece takes the format of a letter addressed to “Dear White America.” It soon became the #1 emailed column as well as #3 in most read. A segment of his introduction might have done the trick:

      “I have a weighty request. As you read this letter, I want you to listen with love, a sort of love that demands that you look at parts of yourself that might cause pain and terror, as James Baldwin would say.”

      http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/24/dear-white-america/?login=email&login=email&emc=edit_ty_20151224&nl=opinion&nlid=32752233&_r=1

      It certainly isn’t “hate” to which he harkens for attention. In acknowledging his own bias, Professor Yancy reminds us:

      “To make things worse, I’m an academic, a philosopher. I’m supposed to be one of the ‘enlightened’ ones.”

      However, there is the recognition of diversity as a factor of life … an obvious diversity that has been used to undermine a group to the strong benefit of another. We are witnessing diversity being held in contempt, condemning it as an excuse for weakness and/or failure. Thus, diversity is being mocked. Professor Yancy is asking us to look at ourselves in the mirror and see the acceptance of this institutionalized reality. “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” The closing remarks in his letter are movingly poignant. Did he succeed in engaging us? Not easy.

    2. A new year of opportunity! The process of “holding my fire” for the last two weeks has been difficult given the fact that The December 17 statement by ThomasS provided an excellent illustration of a “mindset” problem that is central to so much societal conflict.
      What should be a mind’s primary focus; doing “good”, or doing that which “works best” to advance human life? Of the two choices, those who prioritize “doing good” tend to have a predetermined idea of the needed “good”. Those who want things to “work best” focus on the evidence, and value adjustment as empirical evidence and logic dictate. Each intends “good” results. ThomasS stated the following: “Human beings are not meant to only survive, as the eugenics argument promulgates … we are uniquely able to identify and engage our deepest, most animalistic tendencies in the struggle for dignity.”
      By what source, or sources, did ThomasS come to “know” what we are “meant” to be? And his interpretation of “dignity” is somehow something that we have to “struggle for”. We need to understand that these concepts of the “good” are assumed. That is, they are embraced as a matter of (wishful?) faith. My argument is supportive of the idea that science, not faith, will give us the measurable results that allow our concepts of morality to be rooted in the best understandings of reality.
      ThomasS writes that we might be “lost in semantics”. Words are all that we have for this discourse. The meaning of those words (semantics) is of the essence. Inappropriate “hate” is always problematic. Appropriate “hate” is always good. Our task is to provide the best empirical and logical support for our judgment of what is appropriate and inappropriate. Our ideas are no better than the quality of that which supports them. I have tried to point out that a deification of what the left today calls “diversity” exaggerates the “us” and the “them” factor in interactions. Race is a foolish (worse – destructive) reason for such a division and is almost always inappropriate. However, as with radical Islam, if the “them” has declared war and is in the process of killing those we call “us”, the emotion we call “hate” is an appropriate motivator given the fact that we must energetically fight “them” or die.
      It is sad to see that ThomasS is condemning (hates?) the book, “The Bell Curve” calling it “a text which has rightfully served as a sacred map for bigots.” It is “a map for bigots” only in the sense that bigots tend to misread the findings of science. It is appropriate to hate bigots, but not the objectively supported findings of science. “The Bell Curve” is mostly an extensive analysis of a myriad number of studies about human aptitudes. It consists of 600-plus pages of math and reason. The findings of science maximize the probabilities that the premises we use will be true. Good logic and reason applied to the use of these premises tend to lead to accurate answers. An objective seeker of truth embraces the evidence wherever it leads. Those with ideas that have become sacred, written in stone, will often reject, sometimes with inappropriate emotions, those bodies of scientific evidence that run counter to the preferred view. Perhaps ThomasS should read it again (if it was read once) and provide some specifics that demonstrate inaccuracies of research, math or logic. If its methods are sound and rooted in empirical evidence, an objective mind must acknowledge that it presents valid hypotheses worthy of exploration. If reading something that is objectively true causes emotional distress, it is likely to be a “sacred” (not a scientific) mindset that is threatened.
      A powerful assemblage of research and math tells us that no matter how intensely some people wish it to be otherwise, when it comes to aptitude, the playing field is not, and never will be “even”. We can, however, attempt to structure our social affairs such that no IQ point is operating below its potential for best serving the welfare of all humanity.

  2. This is good. We are into one of the core issues, a crossroad, that defines our challenge. Which path to take? Daedal2207 has responsibly presented one of the key hypotheses: Intelligence, the brainpower factors that enable us to be successful are highly (mostly) malleable. We can alter environments such that all citizens can achieve high (equal) levels of success (in every field?). I am presenting another hypothesis: The aptitudes that are important in achieving success (of every kind) are mostly genetic. Beyond a minimal point there is nothing we can change in our environment to cause the less bright to become brighter. Nature did not distribute these important aptitudes equally among individuals nor among groups. Depending on which of these beliefs (dominance of nature or nurture) is objectively true, our best path into the future will diverge strongly from the other.
    This is an objectivity-killing, emotional issue for many who embrace their beliefs as being “written in stone”, rooted in such a high moral plane that any challenge is reacted to as offensive, out of bounds. Thank you Daedal2207 for considering the scientific method above that of succumbing to wishful desires or political correctness.
    Let’s flesh out some of the ramifications, but first, a few tweaks about Daedal2207’s comments: I have said that “race is not INTRINSICALLY important”. I have also said that race IS very IMPORTANT to those who think it so and very IMPORTANT to those to the degree that they must navigate among those who imagine it so. Daedal2207 raises a valid question when he notes that if race didn’t exist, we would invent it. This addresses a possibility that most humans find the rewards of exaggerated distinctions too addictively stimulating to ever succeed in being realistic. The ego, can invent reasons to see itself as “better” than valid evidence would justify. So for those who are so inclined, ways are found to avoid valid information. I tend to agree that we will never eliminate this inclination from society. Perfection – no, better – yes.
    Daedal2207 cites The American Anthropological Association as repudiating Jenson’s findings “and joins geneticists and DNA experts in indicating the many aspects of the biodome are more significant than a vaguely defined and very possibly unscientific “race”.” So, Jenson’s “findings” are being challenged. The issue facing the truth-seeker is that of determining the quality of the challenge and the quality of Jenson’s “findings”. The possibility that “the many aspects of the biodome may be more significant than a vaguely defined and very possibly unscientific “race” does not negate in any way the possibility that Jenson’s findings are also accurate (just less significant). Jenson’s findings do not define race. They have revealed some AVERAGE aptitude variations among the groups we have (for myriad reasons) divided into the categories we call race.
    If these AVERAGE differences in important INHERITED aptitudes are objectively true, some races will perform better than others and thus gain “status” of sorts relative to those groups who perform less well. Importantly, it then is mostly nature, and not man that is responsible. For these “status” differences it would not be “just” or “fair” to cast blame on other groups. The right’s effort to retain a merit-based incentive system (focused on no IQ point left behind) is justified if the main effort is that of tapping and maximizing the power of intellect (no matter what kind of body it is in) to provide most effectively those products that best benefit those possessing ALL IQ levels. (Note also that group-related status factors are diminished).
    If the “g” factor is not hereditary, but is entirely or mostly caused by nurture, then those performance differences seen in groups and between individuals is a difference that a change in the environment can remedy. A refusal to join the “noble” effort to correct the environment is likely to be seen as an affront to decency. Members identifying with groups who perform poorly will believe (and will be encouraged to believe) that they are victims and are justified in their rebellious discontent.
    The American Anthropology Association web site reveals that it is in considerable part an advocacy group trying to advance leftist causes that fit the “we are moral” vs “they are immoral” category. It has been my observation that those who want to proselytize tend to be loose with evidence, demeaning that which threatens their “enlightened” cause, and exaggerating that which supports it. For instance, this group has strongly backed policies designed to reduce support for Israel.
    Math is very much an objective tool of science , it gives us an excellent chance at seeing reality, thereby often countering the bias of beliefs we wish were true. “Studies” can be redone and math checked by others. For over a century psychometric researchers from greatly varied backgrounds have collected data and have crunched the numbers. Armed Forces Qualification Tests have provided psychometric data on millions of individuals. Diverse researchers have examined that data and the majority report similar (but not identical) findings about intelligence distributions and average group performance. Often these military individuals can be followed into later life and evidence acquired that measures their success or otherwise. Longitudinal studies have been performed that provide immense amounts of data. We have new techniques for doing statistical correlations. Create a group of individuals (no matter race) match them to share the same Intelligence quotient and it is found that they correlate strongly with levels of success (and failure).
    Other sources to look into: The University of Minnesota has conducted a Study of Identical Twins Raised apart. This is related to an ongoing general study of Twins. National Geographic reported the researchers as (apparently agreeing with Jensen) as to “intelligence” being 80% genetic. Out of Harvard, Herrnstein and Murray’s “The Bell Curve” (1994), provides more than 600 pages of studies and information about those studies that supports the book’s main thesis that brainpower is gravitating out of the general population into ever growing layers of sophisticated activities. The best will be major players in all categories. Only one chapter was devoted to the disparity of aptitude between races, but its broad range of explanations about the science of psychometry and its methods make it a prime source of knowledge about the topic.

  3. daedal2207: “We’ve traveled along far enough to reexamine our intent, content and pervading mood.”

    Yes. It makes this blog special for it surely encourages engagement. Unfortunately, some times in alleged discussions we hear nothing but platitudes … homilies … that after numbing reading the conclusion is … what? Guilty? I apologize.

    The mood is that of uncertainty … especially within societies worldwide who are not informed of existence development, or, upon learning of the speed with which it is happening, they are not able to keep up and/or lack the training to jump on that tread mill. Globalization. That uncertainty leads to fear … and that fear is exploited by demagogues and narcissists through scapegoating with dire consequences. It is a despicable characteristic that rather than being eradicated like a virus, it surfaces periodically in a mutated, if not stronger, different form. NATO member Poland is reacting with a constitutional crisis: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/new-polish-government-sparks-constitutional-crisis/2015/12/02/10b6bbdc-9907-11e5-aca6-1ae3be6f06d2_story.html: “… proceeding to reshape this Central European nation of nearly 38 million people in line with its nationalistic and Catholic worldview.” Another NATO member, France, on the local victories by Marine Le Pen: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/542f820c-9f2b-11e5-8613-08e211ea5317.html#axzz3tywyNGnU … with a promise to “restore” the nation (through xenophobia) … a comparison with Trump not lost on the Financial Times … calling Ms. Le Pen “dangerous.” Experienced Europe should know.

    There were evacuations today at the CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) offices in D.C. and Santa Clara, CA due to “foreign substance” threat (http://abcnews.go.com/US/cair-capitol-hill-office-evacuated-foreign-substance-received/story?id=35697769). A severed pig’s head was thrown against a mosque wall in Philadelphia. Muslim shop owners are being beaten up.

    Trump. Should we be concerned as to the discourse? Is the answer obvious? What negative attitudes/opinions/judgements are being exposed by a sizable segment of our population? While it may not be the majority, it does not appear to be fringe-classified. 42% of national Republicans (not just primary voters polled) approve of the Islamophobic statements by Trump. This does not bode well for ruling after the 2016 election … no matter who wins. We are not encouraging unity … we are fomenting division … especially regional, within our own country … North vs. South, coastal vs. central, urban vs. rural … and yet, our financial federal contributions come to the aid of those with catastrophic need, no matter the locale. Words have meaning … and, even as we communicate through our own written form, words are not thrown out there idly. Taken for granted is that all words are well thought out … we cannot unring the bell.

    Is this phrase illogical? “Exaggerated ‘diversity'”? Per Antonin Scalia? An incredible race (or is it racist?) opinion from the lips/brain of one of our Supreme Court justices! Thank you, Andy Borowitz for offering an alternative assignment for this … bigot.
    http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/study-scalia-better-off-in-less-advanced-court?mbid=nl_121015_Borowitz_Report&CNDID=39252237&spMailingID=8335723&spUserID=MTEzMzMyMDkzMzI2S0&spJobID=821124205&spReportId=ODIxMTI0MjA1S0

    daedal2207: “A walled in, home schooled, rural people doesn’t seem an attractive model for an America that must assert a cooperative primacy to help the world to a viable future.”

    So very, very true, Professor Thomas … and, to that extent, the mood here is very somber. Will we know when we have reached the bottom?

    1. There appears to be no bottom,since it exists in our rudimentary,evolutionary beginnings.( The reptilian brain?)The climate change conference and the resulting agreement( or failure)indicates the nature of mankind’s best effort.The climatologists tell us that even the successful agreement would leave us on the path to warming doomsday.I still believe that a best effort,rather than a worst or none at all,must be made in all instances.

    2. The “mismatch”theory is in front of a quantum of racist thinking and belief often fueled by fear.The IQ testing that reflects “race” capability could account for differences in the mismatch of cultural content and experience but doesn’t(Jensen).What if the cultural content were to be the sounds of tropical birds,desert insects or the varieties of snow?Mismatch notions such as Justice Scalia’s(the man who would be king)justify a notion of innate superiority of self and one’s kind or (Justice Thomas)self and kind dislike coupled with identification with an aggressor.This is not to speak of the more obvious(Marxian)intent to pull the ladder up behind oneself!

      1. daedal2207: “What if the cultural content were to be the sounds of tropical birds,desert insects or the varieties of snow?”
        We surely would be considered mightyly inferior by those who can interpret (notwithstanding Jensen/Murray/Herrnstein 😉). Of course, it will all rely on the reptilian brain. And, as you so (dare I say) fairly stated “… indicates the nature of mankind’s best effort. … I still believe that a best, rather than a worst or none at all, must be made in all instances.” Nature has provided the tools/means … our brains (even if reptilian, i.e. survival of the fittest). It’s not nature vs. nurture … rather nature AND nurture. They may have variant degrees at different times, but why not aim to give opportunities for the “best” in an attempt to … broaden cultural content? Does the naïveté in attempting to leave the ladder behind, extend to a reaching arm, in our effort to assist the human survival of our species, merit mocking/ridicule? Or, are we that selfish/insecure as to be willing to be anarchistic … every human for himself/herself?

        http://www.npr.org/2015/12/10/459111960/millennials-want-to-send-troops-to-fight-isis-but-not-serve?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20151213&utm_campaign=bestofnpr&utm_term=nprnews. Della Volpe should cease using the term “Hispanic.” Shows ignorance (even if it’s Harvard). Could the millennials polled have been channeling Patton (“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”)?

        The individual when it suits us? The support of the group when individualism is not “efficient?”

        Quoting Patton once more: “An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, and fights as a team. This individual hero stuff is bullshit.”

        Oh, that gray area! Surely, in it there is a balance.

        DS: “The ego, can invent reasons to see itself as ‘better’ than valid evidence would justify.”

        How very true … though I would modify that it’s all in the perspective. When there are differences in measurements/outcomes, what’s “valid?” And, we should encourage avoiding painting with one huge, swift swath. What is the fact in this statement?:

        DS: “… this group has strongly backed policies designed to reduce support for Israel.”

        Support for what? My familial nurturing included showing forks in the road … choices … especially when, because of life’s experience, some choices could have long-term damaging effects … damaged individuals, damaged nations. Not to do so could earn the negative accusation of deficient cultural content. Support, right or wrong? My tribe is not monolithic.

        1. Thank you Susanna for your thoughts.
          Yes, in the sense that both words are used as adjectives, “excessive diversity” is a strange combination. But the political left is using the word “diversity” as if it were a noun. That was the context and that was a point I had hoped would be communicated. For the left “diversity” has been transformed into a THING to be revered. Raised to a higher-than-justified “moral” level this thing becomes a Deity of sorts and thus reduces our ability to be objective about its ramifications. Also, in the arts we use the concept “variety in unity” to explain a basic dynamic present in all those things called “art”. Too much variety and we get chaos – too much unity and we get boredom. It is the “proper” blend that gives us the inspired result. Diversity is to sameness what variety is to unity. Each can be excessive depending on context.
          It is a left wing position that Israel is more, or equally to blame for the ongoing conflicts in that part of the world. It was to support my statement about the bias problems of political advocacy that I mentioned this position which is advanced (touted on their web site) by the American Anthropological Association. I did not get into the pros or cons of this position, but that may be a good issue to address later. My read of world history tells me that few (if any) countries have come into existence with greater LEGAL legitimacy than that of Israel. If transferred to the vicissitudes of various “moral” levels, there are varied subjective “premises” to work through (It then becomes similar to debating religion).
          Borowitz is very funny and has a great style. But mixed with the laughter it is disturbing to see a person (Scalia) who is making statements that are true depicted as if he were saying something else. How well a mind is prepared matters. Is it compassionate or is it cruel to thrust the less prepared into competition with the well prepared? Dropout rates provide objective evidence that the policies of granting special admission favors based solely on race have some unpleasant consequences. Truth be, it is the smarter JUDGES among us who examine these issues seriously.

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