Robert Reich enumerated 40 promises which Trump has not kept:
Robert Reich enumerated 40 promises which Trump has not kept:
He has also brought together all types of celebrities for interviews and discussion panels. All this is admirable and captured my interest.
What has displeased me is his insistence on rooting for the lesser of the two evils — I mean his preference of Democrats over Republicans (among other preferences). Consequently, he becomes annoyed when the evils of Democrats are pointed out — always saying that the evils of Republicans are much worse.
Few of his guests take the position that both Democrats and Republicans are evil — perhaps even to an indistinguishable difference. Two stand out: George Carlin and Cornel West.
Below is a clip of Bill Maher defending what he thinks is the lesser of two evils.
Below is Jimmy Dore commenting on how Trump is almost even with Biden in the polls. How does one really distinguish the lesser of two evils?
An early one was presented by the psychologist Hans Eysenck “Chapter 7: Politics and Personality,” in Sense and Nonsense in Psychology (1957).
I found a quiz on the internet — allegedly based on Eysenck’s work — which can be taken by anyone to see where they are placed on his scale. Here is the quiz, and below is my own result after taking the quiz: There is also a similar chart, called the Nolan chart, which looks like this: My own approach to political charts is more limited. Since I reject all non-democratic forms of government, that leaves me with two questions:
1. Are you in favor of giving each person a right to free subsistence land? Yes No
2. Are you in favor of micro-democracy? Yes No
I also associate macro-democracy with a centralized government, there are thus four possible alternatives.
There are proposed remedies, but the politicians — if they know them, either can’t or don’t want to implement them. As to the masses of people, they are — what can I say? — ignorant and uninterested.
Let me unpack what I just said. The world over — except for Switzerland — executive power is in the hands of single individuals. These individuals are either dictators (or monarchs), or presidents, or prime ministers. In the case of macro liberal democracies — in which thousands or millions vote — both the president and the parliaments are in the hands of the rich. Why? Because it takes advertisement to win elections where thousands and millions are voting. And advertisement takes money which is contributed mostly by the rich. And the rich will support only a candidate that will be beneficial to them. And, as in the United States, we can see that all the Presidents have served the rich. And the trajectory for the future is more of the same: Biden or Trump. Go ahead pick the lesser of your two evils!
With Prime Ministers, the situation is equally dismal. Remember that parliamentarians too have to be elected by thousands or millions of voters; so, they too will predominantly represent the interests of the rich. And the Party with the most members will pick the Prime Minister — obviously he or she will serve the interests of the rich. Take note of Great Britain: Thatcher, Blair, May, Johnson.
What could change these political trajectories? A change, for example, towards Swiss style democracy. But is it in the offing? I am afraid not.
I come now to the masses — the voters. The masses are pessimistic as to any influence they may have on politics; so, many don’t bother voting. Of those who vote, I think that they too are disillusioned, but feel that they must choose the lesser of the evils.
As to my proposal about Switzerland, how many voters even know that there is such a country? And even if they have heard of it, can they locate it on a map? As to knowing what kind of government Switzerland has . . . Ask first if they know what a government is!
What is needed is a change in the system of governments. But such changes in the system of governments occur only rarely, and under starvation or chaotic situations. The so-called recent “revolutions” have not been more than changes in leaderships. And, as far as ordinary people are concerned, changing leaders is a revolution. Consequently, even if conditions become dire, people will clamor for a leader savior. And that is why I am a political pessimist.
As to Switzerland, the government of Switzerland is basically invisible to me — even if I look up who’s who. Why? Primarily because they do not have a single leader, but a Federal Council consisting of seven individuals, who — unlike the nine-member Supreme Court in the United States who are often quite visible because of their individual identifiable controversial decisions — cannot be individually identified with any decisions because their individual votes are unrecorded and unknown.
Besides, whatever the Federal Council’s decisions are, they are neither controversial nor of international significance. The significant decisions of Switzerland are made through national referendums and national initiatives by the people; not by any leader. The result of this type of government is a prosperous, peaceful, and neutral country in times of war.
Viva la Switzerland!
Well, I finally read some of Martin Gardner’s “The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivner” (1983); “Postscript” (1999). He tells us that he believes in a God, in soul, in immortality, and in the efficacy of prayers. And he has no justification for any of these beliefs except for the fact that he believes them. Period. So much for the Enlightenment project!
Well, I am not interested in his personal faith, and so, most of his book is of little interest to me, except for the three chapters in which he expounds his political views. These are chapter 7: The State: Why I am not an Anarchist; chapter 8: The State: Why I am not a Smithian; chapter 9: Liberty: Why I am not a Marxist.
These three chapters could have been combined with the title: Why I am a Social Democrat.
He correctly points out that political labels are ambiguous and vague; so we must understand them as used by Gardner. Extreme socialism (which he identifies with Marxism), for him, is a position in which the State owns and operated the means of production; every industry in nationalized, as it was in the Soviet Union. By “Smithian” he mean laissez faire capitalism with a minimal State, as expounded, for example, by Robert Nozick in “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” and by Milton Friedman in “Freedom and Capitalism.” By “anarchism” he means a Stateless society (which he extends to mean “governmentless”).
He thinks a Stateless society is now unfeasible in view of industrialization. But he does not want industry to be totally in private hands. He wants some industries to be nationalized, private industries to be regulated by government, and he wants a welfare State. And he wants a constitutional democracy. This conglomerate of ideas he calls “social democracy.”
He points out that most States are a mixture of free enterprise and government control. The problem is to find the right balance between the two.
In response. From my perspective the problem is “constitutional democracy” — which Gardner talks about only in a peripheral manner. He writes: “Democracy clearly functions best to the degree that voters are intelligent and well informed, which means, of course, that the efficiency of democracy is strongly tied to education.” … “education may not keep pace with extensions of the franchise, that ignorant voting will substitute a rule by boobs for a rule by the wise.” p. 120.
And we do have rule by boobs.
But the problem is not simply that we have an uneducated electorate. The problem is many-fold. Given mass democracy (as contrasted with micro democracy), a candidate for office must rely on advertisement (which takes money), and, as Gardner pointed out, in 1967, in Picoaza, Ecuador, a foot powder, called Polvapies, was elected mayor. Gardner confesses to not knowing how to solve this problem except through better education.
Also given mass democracy and the need for candidates to advertise, the probability is that only the rich and the friends of the rich will be elected. And once elected, they will work for the rich — as is definitely the case in the United States.
We also have right now in the U.S. a President, who happens to be a boob. In Switzerland they don’t have this problem. They have a Federal Council of seven individuals. So, even if one of them is a boob, there are six others to keep him in his place.
Gardner, I fear, never understood what was capitalism. It is a free-enterprise system which is aided by a government which forbids people from free access to subsistence land. And given the nature of mass democracy in which the rich rule, there never will be passed a law which gives people a free access to subsistence land.
This can only occur with anarchism, which is based on micro democracy in which the unit of government is a small community of some 100 families federated with other such communities into a confederation. Gardner was unaware of this form of anarchism in Ukraine under Nestor Makhno during the Russian Civil War 1918-1921; nor of the anarchism which flourished in Spain during their Civil War and Revolution 1936-1939, with worker-controlled enterprises both in industry and agriculture.
Gardner rejected anarchism because he did not know what it was.