A new age of demonstrations and social unrest will come back to haunt the complacent class

That was my prediction in my forthcoming book The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream, but I didn’t realize it would come true on such a scale so soon.  Yesterday we saw the largest protests in American history.  Here is one excerpt passage from the book, part of a section describing how different the past was from what we had grown used to:

As much as nonviolence was an essential feature of big parts of the civil rights movement, many blacks in the South, including many of the most prominent movement leaders, protected themselves with firearms, in recognition of what a violent and vindictive time they were operating in. Martin Luther King Jr. kept a gun at home and sometimes relied on neighbors to protect his home with firearms. Medgar Evers traveled with a rifle in his car and kept a pistol beside himself on the front seat; Evers later ended up being murdered.

Almost impossible to imagine in today’s climate of overprotective parenting, the civil rights movement even saw parents willing to put their children in the line of fire. The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March paraded large numbers of African American children in front of potentially hostile armed police, police dogs, and also angry local, racist crowds. The worst-case scenario of violence against the children did not come about, but even the relatively calm course of the demonstration makes for harrowing reading today. This is from one newspaper report of the time: “The teen-agers, most of them 13 to 16, kept moving. Then the water hit them. Cowering first with hands over their heads, then on their knees or clinging together with their arms around each other, they tried to hold their ground.” It’s hard to imagine that being considered an acceptable course of action—from the marchers as well as the police—for the last few decades. Fortunately, at the time the police did hesitate to turn the fire hoses on the six-year-olds who participated in the march. And many African Americans were upset with their leaders for allowing it to proceed in this manner, yet it did, which is a reflection of how far that time was from the current safety-first mentality.

One of the major claims in the book is that history is more cyclical than we had thought during the 1948-2009 period, and that this is a major source of systematic risk in the world today.  Another major claim is that individual attempts to make one’s lot in life safer and more secure actually may exacerbate broader risks at the macro level.

Again, if you pre-order the book in the next two weeks, I will send along to you a copy of my Stubborn Attachments, the book in my life I have worked on longest, on the philosophic foundations of a free society.  Just email me and I’ll be back in touch.


Here is a Barnes & Nobel pre-order link, here you can pre-order special signed copies.


The biggest protests in American History were in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, and 1865. Almost nobody cares or remembers. The large graveyards rebuke those who forget.

Should John Brown's terrorist raids be counted as violent protests?

From Wikipedia: "Brown's actions prior to the Civil War as an abolitionist, and the tactics he chose, still make him a controversial figure today. He is sometimes memorialized as a heroic martyr and a visionary, and sometimes vilified as a madman and a terrorist."

He was all four, wasn't he? Like the 9/11 chappies.

Brown's cause was pretty clear and eventually triumphed. In contradt, I'm not sure what would qualifiy the 9/11 guys as visionary.

If their vision was that 9/11 would provoke America into hysterical, unthinking reaction, leading to disproportionate loss of American blood and treasure, that worked, didn't it? Specifically, if it lead to action that would ensure that America was more thoroughly loathed by Moslems throughout the world, that worked, didn't it? If it lead to the USA withdrawing its forces from the Arab world, then that vision awaits success. If they hoped that American action would lead to Moslem supremacy over large chunks of the world, that seems to be underway over swathes of Western Europe, doesn't it? Seems pretty visionary to me.

>provoke America into hysterical, unthinking reaction

Ah yes. You are no doubt referring to the invasion of Iraq, which occurred 18 months after 9/11, after approval by Congress.

>.... the USA withdrawing its forces from the Arab world, then that vision awaits success.

That was the publicly stated goal of OBL, and he never saw it come to pass, even right up to the moment he had an MP5 round driven through his skull by a US Navy Seal.

You hysterical, unthinking dipshit.

His vision didn't come to pass, but it certainly motivated a lot of people to fight for it.

Invading Iraq was a huge mistake regardless of whether Congress approved it.

Whatever you call John Brown and those like him, one has to hope they repented before they died. The fate of an unrepentant dying murderer is not a good one.

Or its the same as everyone else. who knows.

Mikea - Who knows? Ask around. I can't prove anything to you, and I think I have heard from doctors and nurses and others that sometimes people die looking like they are thinking 'well this is the end'; maybe you and me will be two of them. Well if so we will be wrong (this is not the right place to discuss my 1986 near-death experience (big truck - sub-zero icy Wisconsin road - a crash, and a totally pancaked little car, and a typically fatal level of bleeding and coldness for the only occupant of the little car - me: multiple lacerations and internal damage, as one would imagine - with the nearest ambulance, I am told, 40 minutes away) . Let's just say that for a few miraculous and long-lasting moments I knew a lot more about the topic than any neurosurgeon ever could , even the Christian ones I agree with about life after death. That night I decided not to go into shock because I knew I would not make it back if I did, and would be missed. Ever since then I have never once ended the day and gone to sleep indulging in a feeling of anger or hatred towards anybody, that I remember. And 1986 was a lot of days ago! Pascal's elementary little wager does not come close to describing what I found out. Unfortunately, I am still a very average person and not really capable of correctly passing along what I learned.

"Nuestra ultima esperanza esta en la injusticia de Dios" - reads the same in English (the only hard word is esta, which simply means "is").

Yeah, and I wouldn't be to sure that the number and size of protests will increase from here on. This is peak left wing hysteria, from this point forward it all becomes mundane and disappointing. Trump will probably "build the wall" (or something like it) and will probably repeal some significant fraction of Obamacare but I think those expecting to play Bonhoeffer to Trump's Hitler are in for a disappointment. No internment camps, no suspensions of civil liberties, no re-institution of slavery, no book burnings, none of the really exciting and romantic stuff that lives in fuzzy left-wing heads.

I expect Trump to fall as short of Hitler as Obama fell short of . . . I suppose short of the idea of Obama himself (nothing compares). Does anyone remember? Celebrity "pledge allegiance" videos, school kids singing North Korean-style praise-songs, entire songs with lyrics made up of just the name "O-bam-A", Obama as "light worker", Obama as King Canute (stopping the waters from rising), winning the Nobel Prize for showing up, healing the land, closing Guantanamo, ending wars, ending the idea of war, etc.

I keep hoping that at some point the left will grow out of it but it doesn't seem to be happening.

I do expect more mean tweets however. I suppose the tweets will be sorta like the Nuremberg laws, which were also quite mean.

Good grief. Until 11:59 am last Friday I'm sure you had fuzzy-thinking right wingers worried Obama would declare martial law, make himself president for life, take everybody's guns, claim allegiance to ISIS, and whatever she their fever dream fantasies they had knocking around in their empty heads. And you also seem to be unaware of all the weird Trump power porn: Military themed paintings of Trump riding on a tank and such (just google "Trump fan art"). At least the Trump:Hitler analogy works a little better, what with his white genocide retweets and his insistence that Friday's crowds were the biggest in American history.


The internet is a funny place; sometimes anti-Trump people will put up fake "Trump power porn" websites. You might want to be careful about what conclusions you draw from that sort of thing. On the other hand, real celebrities really did make that "I pledge" video, public school kids really were videoed singing Obama praise-songs written by their public school teacher, will-I-am really did write a song with just Obama's name as a lyric, Oprah really did call Obama a "light worker" on her show, Obama really did get the Nobel Prize, he really did promise that the seas would stop rising, that he would close Guantanamo, etc. All of that, and more, really happened and it wasn't some anonymous guys on the internet.

I don't recall anybody smashing cop cars, Starbucks or bus shelters in DC during Obama's inaugural and I don't recall "the biggest demonstration in American history" taking place the next day. What, to your understanding, was being protested yesterday? What awful thing has Trump already done, worse than anything anybody else ever did, to justify "the biggest demonstration in American history"?

But definitely, Trump's tweeting and claiming that his crowds were the biggest makes him exactly like Hitler. I totally get the analogy to the holocaust.

Is Trump fan art fake news or alternative facts? I'm having trouble keeping up.

You might want to re-read your original comment, because your follow up to mine is nothing but pedantic trollsplaining, failed to address my point, and focused instead on the superfluous Hitler analogy, which you introduced, btw.

And you evidently don't know many Trump supporters on social media, because I sure see a lot of fan art being shared among those I know. I guess you could make a case that the entirety of fb and twitter are fake news, though

Strictly speaking, it is neither "fake news" nor "alternative facts" its just stuff on the internet. It is real, but unless you happen to know something about the person who created it, it is impossible to tell whether it is sincere, satirical or intended as a provocation. Nobody (except, perhaps immediate friends and family) knows anything about the motives of people creating so-called "fan art" for Trump, but will-I-am, Oprah, Demi Moore, and many others were obviously sincere. Obama really did get the Nobel Peace Prize and Newsweek depicted or described Obama as a god or saint on four different covers/cover stories between 2008 and 2013. Saturday Night Live just had cast members sing "To Sir, With Love" to his picture, on national television, live, not joking, seriously. Yes, that really happened.

For obvious reasons, comparing the Nobel Prize, the Newsweek covers, the celebrity videos, and similar things found in major media to anonymous internet art is just plain silly. Beyond that, however, Trump art depicting him as a generalissimo is more likely motivated by opposition to Trump than support. And, of course, you could try googling "Obama fan art" and see what you get.

No disagreement with the silliness of the gushing admiration of Obama in 2008-2009. My point, which I will leave alone after this, is that many politicians since Hitler have been compared to Hitler by their opponents. As I already wrote, a large bloc was dead certain Obama was going to take their guns, force them into cities (Agenda 21 and all that), pardon bin Laden, etc. So I conclude that hysteria over opposing political figures is shared among the left and the right alike. And after enduring gems like HITLERy, KILLary, "drain the swamp," and newfound appreciation of Nazi-era terms like "Lügenpresse" among the Silent Majority, I believe I am justified in my conclusion that there are just as many dimwits on the right hand side of the political spectrum as there are on the left. That's all. Nothing else to parse.

Saturday Night Live just had cast members sing “To Sir, With Love” to his picture, on national television, live, not joking, seriously. Yes, that really happened.

I'm trying to imagine Barack Obama teaching in a slum high school in London (and teaching there because, tertiary schooling military service, and years in the Caribbean oil industry notwithstanding, he could not find work in manufacturing).


Well we can all certainly agree that some people, somewhere, go overboard on the hate or love displayed for politicians. Nevertheless, the extent to which this behavior is displayed by the left far exceeds, by any rational measure, the extent to which similar behavior is displayed by the right. We are talking about the Nobel Freaking Peace Prize on the one hand and anonymous fan art on the other. We are talking about people singing "To Sir, With Love" to his photograph, on national television, last night, not in 2008. It not only exceeds the bounds of good taste, it exceeds parody.


And all this stuff about "Obama was going to take their guns, force them into cities (Agenda 21 and all that), pardon bin Laden, etc. . . . enduring gems like HITLERy, KILLary, “drain the swamp,” and newfound appreciation of Nazi-era terms like “Lügenpresse” among the Silent Majority" is just more of the same garbage. Only the left and tiny elements of far right know what you are talking about. You don't find that stuff on National Review, the Weekly Standard or Fox News. When you compare that stuff, or internet fan art, to what was on SNL last night, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the "largest demonstration in American history", you are comparing fringe activity on the right with mainstream activity on the left.

By the way, "drain the swamp" was Nancy Pelosi's slogan in the 2006 mid-terms. It was a reference to the Democrats' cynical exploitation and gay-baiting with respect to Larry Craig and Mark Foley. All of that is almost forgotten now but you can look it up.

"repeal some significant fraction of Obamacare"

Only the parts that require anyone to pay for insurance, seeing a doctor, paying to go any hospital of your choice, or pay anything more than a few pennies for any daily dose of drugs, plus all the taxes.

It's absolutely clear free market health care means FREE OF COST.

Nothing in the past year coming from those attacking Obamacare ever talked of replacing it with rationed health care, denying health care to anyone based on things like being born poor, losing a job when the factory was moved to Japan, China, Mexico, or Alabama, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, or the mine was shutdown because the coal was all mined out or because some guy in Texas figured out he could get lots more natural gas from an old failing oil and gas leases on private land if he ignored the geniuses at ExxonMobil, Haliburton, who argued the only way to produce more is on Federal leases that have five billion dollar barriers to entry.

Obamacare has helped the forgotten people of Appalachia who have apparently suffered job losses over the entire 36 years of Obama's presidency, with the worst years of Obama's war on coal miners, back in the 80s when 50,000 Appalachian coal miners lost jobs. But it costs those forgotten people too much, so even Democrat Joe Manchin is backing President Trump because he's going to make their health care better and cheaper. Not to mention, pay miners their old high wages from 1980 when President Carter made coal king by banning burning oil and natural gas to generate power, but cut the cost of mining 3 inch seams of coal enough to be cheaper than fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc.

The political promises of the past year have remained me of those of Premire Khrushchev, Fidel, Mao, Chavez.

At least Reagan listed the American losers he would take their income and wealth from so his supporters would get more income and wealth. To suddenly list the people he was going to take their income and wealth only after he was officially president, President Trump has certainly tricked a lot of rich people who supported him who got rich under Obama, but not as rich as they wanted.

Will Congress people and corporate CEOs willingly give up their income and wealth to provide free (market) health care to everyone for free?

Yes, I totally see that repealing Obamacare, or promising to do so, would be exactly like something Khrushchev, Fidel, Mao or Chavez might do, or might say they would do and not do . . . or something. Anyway it would be really bad, and only like the worst thing anybody ever did, or said they would do and didn't, ever.

Get a grip, mulp. You are making a fool out of yourself. Even more than usual.

bmcburney, I agree with everything you said on this thread. Except "Even more than usual."

I assume you referring to the Civil War, which is very well remembered.

I wouldn't project the civil rights movement style protests, and the violent reactions, to anything that happens today. State sanction violence is reserved for only some of our citizens. A group of certain citizens handing out thousands of joints at a presidential inauguration can draw less reaction to a different type of citizen selling loose cigarettes on a street corner.

"State sanction violence is reserved for only some of our citizens."

Def. not for those who would take over a federal building because they don't like land use policies.

Broader point taken, but one of those guys did get shot . . .

I have managed to comment before Ray and the spam site? Great!

The Sixties protests were unique - in space and probably in time. The protestors deliberately put their children in harm's way because it looked bad on TV. That is, the mainly White audience cared about children getting hurt. In most of the world, for most of history, no one would care.

The unique American experiment is coming to an end. So in the future no one will care. So no one will be dumb enough to do that to their children.

So, this Gandhi dude? Never heard of him?

Oddly, a billion or so Indians have - though only a few of them remember when India did not exist except as a realm under the beneficient rule of the British Empire.

Do you actually read what people say before replying or do you just fire off whatever comes to mind?

Orwell pointed out that Gandhi's protests would not work with the Nazis - as much as Gandhi admired Hitler - because they would simply kill him. The Soviets would have too. His protests were only possible because the British were too civilized to do him much harm.

I am sure that a lot of Indians have heard of him. But few of them are dumb enough to put their children in the firing line. India has dozens of protest groups, but they do not protest like the Civil Rights movement. Because the Indian government has no problems shooting children. It tortures. It runs death squads. Its soldiers rape women. The Indians complain because the British Army shot over a hundred people in Amritsar when they broke the curfew. Indira Gandhi sent tanks into the Golden Temple and Army squads out into the countryside to shoot any Sikh who was dressed in an obviously religious manner.

At the height of the British presence in India, they made up about 0.1% of the population. The British were guided by self-preservation as much as civilized norms in their conduct in India. The same goes for regimes such as Communist Poland or Myanmar under military dictatorship, which never quite reached the level of murdering their most prominent opponents.

The Communists came to power in Poland in 1944 and immediately began the mass slaughter of their opponents. To claim otherwise is insane. It was not until Gomulka that they slowed down. Unless by "most prominent" you mean Stanisław Mikołajczyk and pretty much no one else as the Communists had them killed.

The British ruled India with so few people because their rule was good. It did not need violence. The same is not true of the Communists in any country, nor the quasi-Communists in Burma.

If I understand well, he means Jaruzelski's regime vs Walesa et al.

Jerzy Popiełuszko

Sure, but still "restrained" behavior for a Communist military dictatorship fighting for survival against a popular movement with a very sympathetic face and foreign support. Restrained even when compared to eraly Communist rule in Poland as you pointed out. Why, the regime was even brought to prosecute and sentence the "rogue" agents who dealt with him.

I think the death rates per capita-year show pretty much any Communist regime to be far more murderous than British colonialism. And that's without considering various metrics of repression and economic liberty.

America had a bloody civil war for 4-5 years. Does that mean British rule of America was better?

Better is such an interesting word. They certainly ended slavery much more cheaply in terms of money and human lives.

They ruled the Middle East much more cheaply too come to that.

The British rule of America was over British citizens and the few quickly disappearing natives. The Americans were, in fact, British citizens and the American Revolution was a civil war.

They ruled the Middle East much more cheaply too come to that.

They ruled Egypt (for 40 years), a modest slice of the Levant (for 30 years), and Mesopotamia (for 14 years). Egypt had had no sort of popular political mobilization at the time British rule was established.

So what you are saying is that the US has ruled Iraq for almost as long as the British did but have spent vastly greater sum of money and it has resulted in a thousand times more deaths? How is that not proving what I said?

The US hasn't ruled Iraq at all, except in your imagination.

Come on, Art. It was not the Iraqis who dissolved the Iraqi Army. It was not the Iraqis who organized a constitutional convention. In the real world, the US held the ultimate argument of kings. They arrested whomever they liked. They killed whomever they liked. They tried to impose the politics of their choice.

Now admittedly there was an attempt at handing over power but running did not work out. The US continues to be sucked back in, but that just proves the wisdom of Colin Powell's old saw - you break it, you bought it.

How many US servicemen are in Iraqi prisons right now? If Iraq was actually sovereign how many do you think there would be?

Because the Indian government has no problems shooting children. It tortures. It runs death squads. Its soldiers rape women.

This is a fantasy. India is a fairly tranquil country most of the time and in most places, with episodes of political violence on the geographic margin (the Punjab, Assam, Kashmir).

Yet, according to the Reporters Without Borders, India is little better than Venezuela and worse than deeply corrupt Camnodia for journalists. As a Brazilian diplomat pointed out back then, the Indian people was not ready for self-rule, but as always no one listened until it was too late (Brazil also left the League of Nations when it became clear it was an unredeemable disaster).

Why is that a fantasy? I did not say the Indian government ran death squads in downtown Delhi. But against the Sikhs in the Punjab their use is openly admitted. India is huge. Yes, most of it is tranquil most of the time. And the rest of the time in those other places, the Indian government shoots children, tortures, runs death squads and rapes women. In Assam for instance it has been doing these things more less continually longer than you have been alive.

The British were condemned for using a Maxim gun in Amritsar. The Indian government had no problems about using artillery and tanks in the city itself. With a vastly greater death toll. Which no one condemns them for. That is the downside to being civilized. People can shame you.

Orwell was wrong, Hitler didn't single handedly kill anyone except maybe in his WWI service (and probably not even then). He needed the approval of a large chunk of the population and the willingness of the majority to look away rather than oppose. If a critical mass had followed Gandhi's advice (and it wouldn't have required even a majority, even 10% of the population would probably have worked), they would have been unstoppable.

Boonton, you will never be in a circumstance wherein 10% of the population engaged in any political activity other than voting, even when there is zero penalty for doing so

From Christopher Hitchens:

Vaclav Havel, then working as a marginal playwright and poet in a society and state that truly merited the title of Absurd, realised that "resistance" in its original insurgent and militant sense was impossible in the central Europe of the day. He therefore proposed living "as if" he were a citizen of a free society, "as if" lying and cowardice were not mandatory patriotic duties, "as if" his government had signed (which it actually had) the various treaties and agreements that enshrine universal human rights. He called this tactic the "power of the powerless" because, even when disagreement is almost forbidden, a state that insists on actually compelling assent can be relatively easily made to look stupid. At around the same time, and alarmed in a different way by many of the same things (the morbid relationship of the cold war to the nuclear arms race), Professor EP Thompson proposed that we live "as if" a free and independent Europe already existed.

Actually quite a few times more than 10% of society has acted. For example, I would say the fall of the Berlin Wall would be a good example. A large portion of the population suddenly acted as if the Communist government they cowered under either didn't exist any longer or was a harmless joke. Even though the gov't still existed (no soldiers had been killed, the decision makers still had their offices and buildings and still went to work in the morning), they ceased to have any meaning. It didn't require a protest of 10% of the population but it certainly achieved at least that much if not more.

It doesn't take much but like the story of the Emperor's New Clothes, it does take something.

Actually quite a few times more than 10% of society has acted.

Nope. Not on a spatial scale larger than one municipality and not for a time period measured in units greater than days.

About 12% of the population of the United States was in uniform during the 2d World War. That required central organization and legal compulsion.

"Opposition" to Stalin's probably amounted to over 10% of the population, especially on local scales, during the collectivisation famines and WWII. Ditto Pol Pot.

There's a certain class of Totalitarian and supporters who are more than willing and capable of killing 10% of the domestic population. I wouldn't bet on 10% peaceful opposition, no matter how heartfelt, being enough in many cases.

@So Much For Subtlety January 22, 2017 at 4:45 am

I would like to see some references for Gandhi expressing admiration for Hitler. I do know he met Mussolini and made a favorable statement about Il Duce, but I don't know that he did the same for Hitler. Was it admiration of the kind Lloyd George expressed, that Hitler seemed to be a string leader who had got his country's economy in shape and done right by his people? If so, I'd put it down to ignorance of ground realities in Germany, nothing more.

Also, the comparison of British to Nazis and Soviets in this context is not quite right. Though I agree that the British were less savage than the other two, ground realities in India also played a role. Most of the people wielding arms in India (police or military) during the Raj were Indian. To murder a man considered righteous and saintly by virtually everyone would have provoked revolts that would have dwarfed what happened in 1857. So it's not like the British were especially magnanimous; they just didn't have a choice. In Nazi Germany, on the other hand, power and arms were firmly in the grips of ethnic Germans, most of them committed National Socialists. And murdering a few leaders of an unpopular subgroup (the Jews) wouldn't have provoked a grassroots revolt against Hitler. Ditto in the Soviet Union, where power and arms were firmly in the hands of Commissars and the Red Army, most of them dedicated Communists.

Well, I owe you something of an apology in one sense - I made the mistake that Prof. Cowen would be writing about a larger world, one where more than one nation was undergoing upheaval. But it seems like another book with a universal title is intended for a limited audience in essentially one market.

I suspect that the women demonstrating yesterday were mostly childless.

In the coverage I saw there were a ton of mother-daughter couples.

So that so fat-ist! I am sure most of them just have a glandular problem.

I'm sure there's still an opening for you on Trump's PR team. You can even skip the first 3 indoctrination classes!

We could convert them into biofuel. Put Musk and Thiel on the task. 30 miles per dyke is just around the corner!

No fathers?

I wonder how many of them have been groped?

Anecdotal only, of course, but of my Facebook friends who participated in any of the marches throughout country, most were not childless. Also, younger women in their 20s being childless now does not mean that they will say that way. (Everyone I know who was in the marches was over 30, and most were over 40).

"The protestors deliberately put their children in harm’s way because it looked bad on TV. That is, the mainly White audience cared about children getting hurt. In most of the world, for most of history, no one would care."

To be fair, in most of the world, for most of history, people didn't have TV sets. Maybe not among the Romans, but among the Jews, broadcasting the "Massacre of the Innocents" probably would make King Herods look bad. But it is true some peoples don't really understand the value of human life. For example, Brazilian soldiers were horrorified when the Paraguayan regime ordered childrent to fight the advancing Brazilian troops in the Batalha de Campo Grande (or Acosta Ñu Battle). Thousands of children perished when the Paraguayan regime was all but defeated and its capital, Asunción, had already been sacked and occupied by the allied forces. Like the use of children an the late stages of the war by the Nazis and the brainwashing of children into the Securitate by the Romanian Communist regime, it shows what a totalitarian regime, devoided of any respect for human life and inherent dignity can do.

Then let us all be grateful that the “Massacre of the Innocents” didn't happen.

Well, I am grateful every time little Jewish babies are not killed by Jewish kings, I can tell you that.

I think Herod would have loved to broadcast the massacre. Roman kings and governors made a show out of public executions - they kinda wanted to get across the message that they were king, get over it or join this poor fella nailed to a tree suffocating to death. It largely worked, until some crazy people started holding up the Cross as a mockery of the power of death.

There is a difference rendering veredicts in name of Justice, executing rebels and criminals, and killing some guy's baby because some magicians told you one of the neighborhood babies will become a king.

For the better or the worse, Christ was a criminal against the Jewish order and maybe the Roman domination, the babies were babies.

People respect Justice. They also respect Power. "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both. -Ghandi"

People reapect power, but the long for justice. The Jews in Masada showed it for instance. I am not saying broadcasting the Massacre of the Innocents would overthrow the king, but it probably would make him even more hated than he was before.

This post truth world is going to be so much fun for some people.

However, unsurprisingly, it is not Ghandhi that is the source of that quote. For some context - 'From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved more than feared, or feared more than loved. The reply is, that one ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to be wanting. For it may be said of men in general that they are ungrateful, voluble, dissemblers, anxious to avoid danger, and covetous of gain ; as long as you benefit them, they are entirely yours; they offer you their blood, their goods, their life, and their children, as I have before said, when the necessity is remote; but when it approaches, they revolt. And the prince who has relied solely on their words, without making other preparations, is ruined, for the friendship which is gained by purchase and not through grandeur and nobility of spirit is merited but is not secured, and at times is not to be had. And men have less scruple in offending one who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared; for love is held by a chain of obligation which, men being selfish, is broken whenever it serves their purpose; but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails.' Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, 1513, Ch. 17, as translated by Luigi Ricci (1903) - https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Niccol%C3%B2_Machiavelli

Of course, Ghandhi is a fine man to read, but if you want to impress people who still actually think facts matter, you may want to read The Prince for yourself - it is pretty short, after all. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1232

Oh, fer crying out loud, I was making a joke attributing Macchiavelli to Gandhi. This post-humor society is gonna suck donkey balls.

Along the lines of this: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ec/f9/23/ecf92321e168c720858dfa9d1c54fee3.jpg (sfw) There needs to be a forum rule of no posting until you get your coffee, lads.

I only comment here at intervals, but I feel confident in telling you that prior_approval/test is a post-humor commenter.

The Romans considered themselves paragons of justice - the very word is Latin. They partly justified their empire on the grounds they were bringing justice and civilization to the world.

I think you can blame the Colleges for brainwashing people into the entitlement worldview

Yes, they were obviously protesting the decline of the entitlement worldview that colleges had bashed into their brains.

Hey, did ya catch Spicer's press conference yesterday--what did you think!?

Expect more of the same. The Press represents the Democrats and government institutions. They don't represent the electorate as a whole. So the Trump administration is treating them like political opponents. It works because it ties them and you in knots.

If they are smart, and they aren't, they will respond by doing the hard work of journalism. But they won't, they aren't smart enough. They will oscillate between self righteous pontification and scurrilous rumor mongering.

Trump and his crowd know this, and will benefit from it.

Personally I look to the networks and large newspapers to read not what is going on but to find out what the political establishment thinks.

Doesn't tie me in knots. The press is just going to stop covering WH briefings and take that platform away from Trump, since the admin is just going to lie. Good. All he'll have is the tweets. You can't really spin this as good for Trump. It's terrible and it'll happen because he is full of shit and unsophisticated.

Liberal television news organizations may soon follow many newspapers into history's dustbin since most Americans realize they're pushing the open borders viewpoint of the corrupt American Chamber of Commerce and senior management of major corporations. I can respect the idea of always polishing my skillset and working longer hours, but I can't compete with someone overseas whose impoverished country has such corruption, malnutrition, and social strife its cost of living is one tenth of the United States.

And there is lots of great, independent journalism happening on this administration already. If you want to read up, here is one source: https://www.propublica.org/trump-administration

So I had a look at the site, Jan, and read the one story that interested me most: the one with the interview on national security, where the Obama supporting (one surmises) intelligence expert. After some straightforward and obligatory stuff about what Trump and his team might do wrong, the chap interviewed said that Trump has put some good, competent bipartisan people in place.

Free 'GREAT' healthcare for everyone. I will never cut Medicare. America First. Remember the 'forgotten' mean and women. I would have won the popular vote were it not for fake voters. The system was rigged. I should have won an emmy.

Decline of the entitlement worldview! We've moved beyond fiscal entitlement to the emotional entitlement worldview and it now runs the entire government.

"I think you can blame the Colleges for brainwashing people into the entitlement worldview"

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
...time for Republicans & Democrats to get together and come up with a healthcare plan that really works - much less expensive & FAR BETTER!
7:06 AM - 5 Jan 2017

I guess President Trump was brainwashed into the entitlement worldview view.

Asked in 2015 how he would handle Obamacare if elected, Mr. Trump said he would repeal the law and replace it “with something terrific.” - CBS reporting.

I have seen two conservatives plainly state their extreme opposition to what Obama accomplished: "he made everyone with very few exceptions believe health care is a right", ie, not a privilege of those with wealth or political favor.

Conservatives stopped arguing that many people most suffer from their poverty or bad luck because the alternative is those with more and better luck must sacrifice to help them. When only 75% of the people believe they are better off than the average, that we are not living in Lake Woebegone, then that message no longer sells.

And the message really flops when the people complaining they have been harmed by government are millionaires and billionaires.

So, self proclaimed billionaire President Trump is blaming the millionaires, and all politicians have become millionaires in office.

Was it really the largest protest in American History - seems like Vox isn't so sure;http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/21/14336068/photos-womens-march-vs-trump-inauguration

Regardless, I am not sure that there is really a common goal that could be articulated by the participants of the protests. Sure they don't like Trump, but what do they actually want to do? Do they really expect that a properly elected politician is going to resign because some part of the population doesn't like him? Would they really have expected Clinton to have resigned because Trump supporters protested if she had been elected President.

This protest seems kind of premature - it risks crying wolf. I would have waited until Trump did something that was clearly objectionable and then the protest would have had meaning. After a few weeks I will bet this protest will be completely forgotten.

I think what this really shows is the weakness of the leftist leadership. There is no one person or group of persons able to channel and manage the opposition to Trump. So the response is incoherent. It is perhaps is a reflection of the careerism of a lot of the leadership of the Democrats - they are in politics not because they have a cause but because it is a good option for ambitious people to get quickly into power over others. Saunders is perhaps the exception to this rule, but his policies are just too left wing to be acceptable and the careerists know this.

Protesting the reprehensible character of the President on nominal policy grounds worked worked for... of all people... Donald J. Trump!

Strange I doubt anyone in the Tea Party ever said anything like "protesting Obama works great for President Obama". I think they said "full speed ahead and don't look back".

Maybe I am wrong - but I don't see Trump as the Tea-Party candidate? Wasn't that Ted Cruz? Trump to me is an old fashioned populist, almost Peronist. Tea Party to me was more about fiscal conservatism, which is almost the opposite. True both Trumpists and Tea Party folks disliked Obama, but they make uneasy bedfellows as partners.

I'm sure many Tea Party people were very upset with the results of the election.

Organic and not centralized. A leader may emerge but it is very early days. Waiting would have been a mistake, because Trump has given more than half this country plenty of reason to disapprove of him. He is obviously not going to change and the press conference yesterday proved that.

Protesting is just using his own side's tactics against him, when he is in a weaker position of popular approval than Obama. The Tea Party didn't have a leader, either.

"Sure they don’t like Trump, but what do they actually want to do?"

Be conservative. Maintain the status quo at a minimum, if they can't eliminate the discrimination that disadvantages women of all identities.

Trump campaigned promising to be radical, to blow things up. Women generally oppose such things because they end up paying the cost of blowing things up.

It was premature but the optics were good. Comparing the protest photos to inauguration photos is pretty funny

The reference to "massacre of the innocents" (it's from the Gospel of Matthew, when Joseph and Mary fled Judea for Egypt taking the baby Jesus with them to avoid Herod, the Rome-appointed king of Judea, who intended to kill the baby Jesus, which infuriated Herod, who order that all boys under the age of two be killed) is both ironic and proves Cowen's point about complacency: ironic because God (who warned Joseph in a dream of Herod's intent to kill the baby Jesus and advised Joseph to take the baby Jesus to Egypt to avoid Herod) was willing to sacrifice thousands of children in order to save one child, the massacre of the innocent children left behind the consequence of the complacency of Jews (and God) who normalized a king, Herod, who was capable of massacring innocent children. In his column today, Ross Douthat encourages the established media not to be unduly critical of Trump but to normalize him instead, to treat Trump as the Jews treated Herod. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/opinion/sunday/the-tempting-of-the-media.html?ref=opinion

It's always important to get the facts right on something that didn't happen.

Wait, I missed where God was willing to sacrifice thousands of children to save one child. When did that happen, or are we just making things up? Because if we're making things up, Batman saved the thousands of children doncha know.

Well, unless the dads of the other children were warned to go to Egypt, too...

Mm, no. It was Herod and his men that did the killing, not God.

So I can tell a person his/her baby will be killed by the mad king, in fact I warned a family at the same predicament. I run no risk at all by warning them.

Come on, we know what we would say if we were talking about a person.

If Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus had not fled to Egypt, as instructed by God, Herod would have no reason to massacre the innocents; and God, being God, surely knew the consequences of his instruction to Joseph. Of course, the point of the story in the Gospel of Matthew isn't that God wanted the massacre of the innocents, the point of the story is antisemitism, that Jews, Herod being a Jew himself, were responsible for their own suffering, in this case the massacre of the innocents (all Jews). Americans, by electing Donald Trump president, are responsible for their own suffering.

First, I want to say I'm sorry for your loss of your brother. I read your comment a few days ago. Eight years ago, I lost a brother.

I wouldn't read the NYT on a dare.

At least it's creative. Did that man actually compare Trump to Herod - the same Herod that ordered beheaded St. John the Baptist because of Salome's dance?

If so, you may have missed the irony. For years, the other side has used Herod for their purposes. Certain anti-abortion Christians et al use as a metaphor for state funded/sanctioned abortion Herod's massacre of the innocents. Another irony may be that Herod was hated as a puppet of Caesar. Many elitist establishment (both right and left) people hate President Trump seeing him as a "puppet": of the forgotten American, a. k. a the "Walmart voter." "Attention Walmart voters."

Dark post.

Use it to justify 'Law and Order'?

Maybe Sean Hannity will be the new Spiro Agnew.

Seems like a new American tradition to immediately begin protesting a President from the other side. They aren't just wrong, they are illegitimate. I don't know if there were any protests at the very beginning of Clinton or GWB, but I am sure those feelings were common among their opponents.

Perhaps a large and increasingly-diverse (in all ways) republic is ultimately doomed to either become fractured or have some form of dictatorship develop that temporarily keeps it together in its fractured state. Or maybe the freedom to speak and protest functions as a useful outlet that keeps the whole project together, fractured as it may be.

Hey, he's acted like was President for the last three months and held rallys himself. Free speech exists not just for you but for everyone.

Maybe you interpreted "They aren't just wrong, they are illegitimate" to refer to the protestors. I meant that is the view of the losing team about the winning team's President. It was bad wording on my part.

What the hell are you talking about Bill?

Does your definition of free speech include rioting and destroying property and attacking individuals that you disagree with?

Yeah, yesterday's women's march imaginary riots.

Derek, you equate free speech with rioting. Maybe those reading your comment are smart enough to see through your equivalency.

I counted maybe at most 5 to 10 people who donned black caps and broke a window and set a limo on fire. We already know one incident of someone going over the line (holding a sign that said "Rape Melania") was in fact outed as a Trump supporter purposefully trying to stage a provocative incident.

So I'm wondering how this applies to derek and his ilk's worldview? If the many are fully responsible for the behavior of the few then why aren't Trump supporters responsible for the terrorist attack on a pizza shop? Punching non-violent protesters? Throwing Nazi salutes at a rally? If this principle doesn't hold then why is it an issue that 10 people in a protest march of thousands misbehaved? At almost every major sporting event thousands attend but there will be at least a few who start fights, get drunk or try to do worse things, does that mean the NFL isn't a profit centered organization and is instead dedicated to anarchism?

I can certainly be convinced that a lot of bad actors are actually false-flag types, but suggesting that because there was a false-flag guy holding an objectionable sign that this means anything about the chance that the violent actors were pro-Trump false-flags is a pretty baseless stretch.

I don't think you'd make the same logical leap if it helped the Trump side. In fact you seem to assume that the bad actors at Trump rallies are definitively not false-flag in your subsequent paragraph.

1. Individual Trump supporters are known to be 'false flags'. So why not be open to the possibility that some bad actors at anti-Trump protests are, in fact, false flags or perhaps false flags edge on more marginal types? Note here that Trump supporters have no problem spinning crazy assertions like George Soros is paying people to protest with a lot less actual evidence.

2. As I pointed out whenever you get a large crowd you get bad actors. Football games, concerts, even large carnivals end up needing security because you will get people who get drunk, destroy stuff, get into fights, etc. etc. Pulling an image of someone doing something stupid out of a huge crowd is an easy trick to pull off but doesn't tell you anything of substance.

I am confident there have been false-flags at pro-Trump rallies or counter-protests.

The possibility of the false-flags being behind the violence exists as an independent matter. I don't think identifying one person who was a non-violent false flag does anything to move the needle on the likelihood of the violent actors being the same. It can just as easily be used to tell a story where pro-Trump false flags are only willing to go as far as holding a naughty sign.

I'm not saying the 5-10 people we saw smashing a window were false flag operatives. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't. I'm saying so what?

Did five or ten thousand people march with the intention of burning the city? If they did then most of the city would have burned. Did thousand march with the idea that they would provide cover for a handful of trusted operatives to what? Take out the strategic window and limo? What you have is the simple chaos of large crowds. What does that prove? That large crowds are made up of lots of people and lots of people can get rowdy and out of control. That's why there's a thing called 'crowd control'.

I agree that it doesn't make sense to say the whole group is responsible because some bad actors make their way into the mix. I am faulting an aspect of your argument, not that general conclusion.

I think the only place any fault is warranted (aside from the violent or destructive people themselves) is with those who try to justify that behavior as warranted or deserved. There were some arguments like that from parts on the left throughout the campaign: namely that because of how terrible Trump's rhetoric was, some people couldn't help but go beyond seeking a peaceful redress of their grievances.

I believe that is a dangerous viewpoint (regardless of the political camp espousing it) and think it needs to be attacked and rejected at every opportunity. It attempts to circumscribe the outer bounds of acceptable speech according to the willingness of the opponent of that speech to engage in violence as a result of it. That doesn't just threaten the general principle of free speech, but gives the least-controlled people in society outsized political power.

"I counted maybe at most 5 to 10 people who donned black caps and broke a window..."

Apparently the police counted a few hundred -- and more than 200 were arrested:


I guess we'll find out how many were secret Trump supporters when they're charged and their names are released.

200 arrested for breaking one window? Nope again it's quite easy to arrest a lot of people when you have thousands. People get into fights, they disobey orders, maybe they try to pickpocket someone etc. etc. People get arrested at sporting events and concerts too. Again crowd control.

As for leaders justifying burning cars or breaking windows....where? Do you have Hillary Clinton (or Michael Moore even) on tape saying something like "if you feel like that car needs to burn set it on fire, I'll pay your legal fees if you do"? Or do you mean you have random person in protest saying something stupid like "well this happens because Trump" ?

I didn't say any leaders justified violence or property damage, though they may have. I tried to tune out from the media as much as possible in the past year so I may have missed something. I just recall that I saw the occasional "...but this is a natural response to Trump's bigotry/racism/rhetoric" etc.when non-peaceful protesting at anti-Trump rallies or such was discussed. Those are the people who concern me.

These protests are the death spasms of the complacent class, at least for now. The illiberal impulse is always simmering below the surface.

And you know this, how? Do you not remember the Vietnam protests of the 1960s? Do you think that LBJ's decision not to run was influenced by those?

Do you think that LBJ’s decision not to run was influenced by those

He was miserable (and he was ever the lousy executive), in bad health, and he'd been owned by the likes of Eugene McCarthy in the New Hampshire primary. When he was traveling back to Texas on 20 January 1969, he lit up a cigarette. His daughter protested, and he set her straight with a brief list of what he'd done with his life the previous 30-odd years, concluding with "now it's my time".

Of course I do. And the next President was...Richard Nixon. And the Democrats abandoned the South Vietnamese to the tender embrace of the Communists from North Vietnam.

Richard Nixon was a Democrat?

No, the members of Congress who voted to cut off aid to the South VietNam government when North VietNam invaded in 1974 were Democrats.

Am I the only one to remember the WTO riots that swept the world? They peaked when someone was shot by police in Italy, and came to a grinding halt after 9/11 when everyone would have cheered if the Police had used volley fire.

It isn't about stagnation or complacency. It is about acceptable political tactics. I suspect that we will see a pushback. Someone will throw some shit at the wrong person and receive what they deserve in return. That may have been what happened in Seattle.

Have there been any riots in states with vigorous 2nd Amendment rights?

'Have there been any riots in states with vigorous 2nd Amendment rights?'

Yep. Like this - 'After Wisconsin upset Kentucky in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament Saturday night, there was a riot near Kentucky’s campus in Lexington. People threw bottles and set fires, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The police used pepper spray and arrested 31 people. And this wasn’t the first time people in Lexington reacted violently after a big Wildcats game. Last spring, the police arrested dozens of people after riots when Kentucky lost in the national championship game. And they arrested dozens of people in two separate riots in 2012, after Kentucky’s wins in the national semifinal and final.' https://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-latest-kentucky-riot-is-part-of-a-long-destructive-sports-tradition/

Or this - 'On 10-22-16 at 11:46 PM following the Penn State victory over Ohio State, State College Police responded to a large celebratory crowd in the 200 block of East Beaver Ave. where a crowd of approximately 5,000 to 10,000 gathered.

The crowd, which consisted mostly of college age men and women, damaged several street lights and street signs and started small fires in the street.

During the disturbance one vehicle was damaged and one person was injured when he was struck in the head with a bottle. The injured subject was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for treatment.

It took police approximately two hours to clear the streets and several arrests are pending.

State College Police were assisted by the Pennsylvania State Police and several local police agencies. No officers were injured during the incident.' http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/bigten/2016/10/23/penn-state-ohio-state-fans-clash-with-police/92641690/

Or this - 'Here’s what I saw Saturday night in State College when our boys in blue became Big Ten champions in Indianapolis:

Students cheering and chanting from windows, balconies and the streets as masses headed toward Beaver Avenue in downtown State College.

The "We Are" chant, alma mater and cowbells were heard numerous times throughout the course of the riot, in addition to phrases such as “Big Ten champs,” “tear it down,” “we want ‘Bama” and “f—k the police.”

State College Police and State Troopers were already on Beaver Avenue by the time students arrived, armed with batons and pepper spray.

Students gathered in front of the Phi Kappa Sigma, Triangle and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternities and continued to yell and cheer as more students flowed in from both ends of Beaver.

People began posing for pictures as numerous street signs were banged on and the mass grew. Posters of Harambe and Joe Paterno made an appearance.

Students climbed up lampposts, took pictures and cheered while sitting on top of the light.

Toilet paper and cans were thrown from apartments on Beaver down to the street. They were later picked up and thrown down Beaver.

Students, including our news editor Sam Ruland, got pepper sprayed.' http://www.collegian.psu.edu/opinion/columnists/article_02ab736a-b9f5-11e6-9c2d-27bf0b3ab1e8.html

Oddly, though, such riots (recurring riots in the case of Kentucky, which also experienced riots in 2016) are considered local news, and are never used to point out how drunken college sport fans are dangerous thugs, requiring the iron fist of the law to ensure public safety.

For those keeping track at home, college athletic event riots outnumber, year after year, whatever BLM gets blamed for.

Some salvage from flooded stores after a hurricane - others loot. The difference is easy to see, when you know how to look through the proper American filter.

In other words, lots of riots in lots of places in the U.S., involving multiple arrests, burned cars, property damage, and multiple police agencies being involved.

It was not the largest protest in American history because the participants have nothing to protest, and if you talked to them, you'd understand that their presence there was a function of their confusion and their roiling inner life.

How many of the protesters did you talk to? I know of two dozen who were here in Washington and several including my daughter who took part in demonstrations in Oakland. Believe me they were protesting.

How many of the protesters did you talk to?

You can start with thems I live with.

No, they were making a simulacrum of a protest. This woman's problems


Have nothing to do with anything Donald Trump did do or did not do. This woman has problems in living expressed in superficially political language.

Except for elected officials (who have clients to feed), people who have a vocational interest in a politically-determined income stream (like the bitchy schoolteacher Chris Christie once made short work of at a press conference), and a few decent wonks like Harold Pollack, liberal politics is as we speak seldom much more than one ratchet north of this woman's outburst.

Chris Christie is probably the biggest failure NJ has ever had as a governor.

Without checking, tell me the name of the Governor of New Jersey in 1952.

Beats me. But it's impressive you'd have to go over half a century to even begin to save Christie's rep. If he's so good why don't you start a movement to draft him to be your state governor, or mayor or warden for where ever you live.

I think Art Deco's point was that it is difficult to take an assessment like "biggest failure as NJ governor" seriously if you aren't at least aware of the other governors you're comparing him to. I am almost certain I can't name any governor of NJ aside from Christie, so I wouldn't try to compare him to any of them even if I thought he was terrible (which I have no real opinion on since I don't live there and pay little attention to it or him).

I think Art's premise that Christie is a hero of the people for trash talking someone at a town hall needs to be offset by the fact that the people despise him.

But I grant you perhaps the governor of 1845 was a real son of a bitch. Please feel free to take me seriously but not literally.

How about Jim "I appointed my boyfriend to be Homeland Security Advisor" McGreevey?

And I only had to go back to 2004 to find him.

C'mon, Boonton. Let's get an essay out of you. Compare and contrast the administrations of Chris Christie, Thomas Kean, and William Cahill, paying special attention to tax policy.

Let's hear it for John Corzine!

I know several. Conversing with them is not required to learn their political beliefs, since they scream them on facebook. There's really not much intellectual depth to them.

The same people protesting Trump because he's a letch are exactly the same people who voted for the Clintons after Bill sexually - and sometimes violently - assaulted several women.

The protest against Trump I get. The gaping cognitive dissonance is a mystery.

To illustrate this point, at the women's march against Trump in Edmonton, Canada, a female journalist was assaulted by a male protester and he was then shielded and helped to escape by the other women at the march.

If you can hit a female at a protest for women's rights and be protected by those same women, it seems to me that the issue isn't gender rights so much as base politics disguised as victimhood.

I didn't know that you voted for a couple to become president! What a weird and wacky place the US is.

That's not fair - they were washing that man right out of their hair!

For better or worse, I came of age in the 1960s and took final exams under martial law at UC Santa Barbara. I saw (did not take part in) the burning of a Bank of America branch and witnessed unwarranted tear gassing by National Guard troops. I took part in a number of anti-war demonstrations and worked tirelessly for Bobby Kennedy in California. Both non-violent and violent protestations have a long history in this country as do heavy responses by government and non-government entities (read about the efforts to unionize the auto industry for the latter). I was glad to see the turn out yesterday not only in DC but also in other major cities. Yes, Trump is our president according to the rules of the game. But someone who chooses to ignore the over 60% of Americans who did not vote for him governs at his own peril. The pettiness demonstrated by both the President and his Press Secretary about the attendance at the inauguration leads me to worry that he is becoming delusional.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/21/the-white-house-petitions-page-is-still-live-the-top-one-calls-for-trumps-tax-returns/?hpid=hp_no-name_hp-in-the-news%3Apage%2Fin-the-news&utm_term=.660a16270b86 is an interesting link to the White House petitions page. As of this morning there are almost 200K signatures requesting the President release his tax returns. I think this puts to rest his statement that "...the only ones who are interested in my tax returns are the press..."

We'll see where things go from here. Personally, I think Mike Pence had a major role in picking all the Cabinet appointees and it won't surprise me at all if Trump departs sooner rather than later. I've seen 10 year olds that have more self-discipline than our President.

But someone who chooses to ignore the over 60% of Americans who did not vote for him governs at his own peril.

You have a core electorate who vote routinely in general elections. That's about 37% of those eligible. You have a peripheral electorate who vote only in presidential contests. That's about 18% of the total. You can safely ignore 30% of the electorate because they know nothing and care nothing about public affairs. You can safely ignore another 45% if you play your cards right because they do not care unless you propose to raise their property taxes, cancel the football season at the local high school, make a hash of emergency response during an ice storm or snow storm, make a hash of the public relations when poisons are discovered in the water table, or make a public proposal which suggests their Social Security benefits might be reduced.

@Art Deco - Yes, I agree with you and am continually disappointed at the low electoral turnout in the US compared to other countries that have free elections. I've always felt that people get the government they seem to want and it may not accord with my way of thinking. Too me the greatest failing of Obama and the Democratic Party was not paying any attention to what was going on at the state level after the 2008 election. they were asleep at the wheel and were justifiably punished. I'm just disappointed that President Trump has made no efforts to assuage a lot of Americans who for whatever reason believe there is something way wrong right now. Instead we continue to be subjected to delusional Twitter ravings. He's entitled to have his group of advisors but do you really think he is the type of person who can console a group of parishioners who lost children when a bible study group was shot up by a mad man? I don't think so and truly hope that the opportunity never happens.

I want a smaller government and more constrained executive, but I don't think that even I would want a Presidency where consoling a group of parishoners was an expected Presidential role.

You have low voter turnout in Switzerland as well. High voter turnout is correlated with high conflict and public discontent. It's also a function of legal compulsion in certain loci (e.g. Australia). In this country, we also have a very jumbled electoral calendar and an antheap of elected offices other countries do not have. We could repair the electoral calendar and cut back on the number of elected offices so people could focus, but no one is motivated to do that.

The Swiss seem to prove your point (well, not precisely the point about voter turnout, but the reason it increases in a place like Switzerland) - 'Voter turnout in parliamentary elections saw a continuous decline since the 1970s, down to an all-time low of 42.2% in 1995.[4] In recent years however, voter participation has been slowly growing again and was at 48.5% in 2011.[4] The average turnout for referendums was at 49.2% in 2011.[5] Federal popular initiatives of little public appeal sometimes cause participation of less than 30% of the electorate, but controversial issues such as a proposed abolition of the Swiss army or a possible accession of Switzerland into the European Union have seen turnouts over 60%.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_in_Switzerland

I sure hope the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES doesn't waste his time worrying about the hurt feelings of a few dozen people.

Fifty-percent plus one of the recorded vote is certainly the ultimate justification for determination of who gets to tell others what to do. Can't argue about the philosophical basis for that theory.

"But someone who chooses to ignore the over 60% of Americans who did not vote for him governs at his own peril." Did you provide a similar warning to Obama, or did you think "elections have consequences" at the time?

Obama, just as with every President in my life time (old enough to remember Ike, but first vote was for Humphrey in 1968) was flawed in one way or another. However, I would gladly welcome the resurrection of Ronald Reagan right now.

I suspect Reagan would encounter plenty of protests.

You're so full of crap. Your act is not new. You love love love the conservatives who are out of power or dead. Yet, the ones who gain office or attempt to gain office are the worst ever!

If Reagan rose from the grave, you and the rest of the moonbats would be out warning that he was really Hitler coming back from the grave in the guise of Reagan.

Again, you fool no one with this nonsense.

If this is directed towards me, I'll note that the number of Republicans that I have voted for since 1968 can be counted on one hand and none of those were Presidential candidates. One Senator and one Congresswoman; that's it. Your comment relating Hitler to Reagan is really beyond the pale.

AlanG, that rebuttal if anything strengthens his case. He is saying that your (and others on the left) supposed longing for the sensible Reagan is false, and that you would detest him today if he was the Republican President in front of you. That you feign fondness for powerless and dead leaders on the right whenever it is convenient for trying to attack a current enemy, but will hate those who are alive and have power.

@Turkey Vulture - I reject the dystopian viewpoint of President Trump and comment on the optimism of the late President Reagan (who incidentally signed my college diploma FWIW as Gov of CA).

Sorry, Alan, 'tis humbug. There were liberals who wrote in public fora who had some admiration for Reagan's skills (Leslie Gelb, Lou Cannon, Morton Kondracke, Meg Greenfield), but these were atypical.

Doesn't "Morning in America" suggest that we are coming out of some sort of dark, dystopian period? Most Presidents have optimistic visions in the sense that, through their greatness, we will be led to a better future. Trump says the same.

This is similar to the beaten South resurrecting Lincoln as a hero: i.e. his role in Griffith's Birth of a Nation, when he was absolutely hated in his own lifetime by most all white southerners.

How many electronic signatures on an on-line petition would make the release of Trump's tax returns a necessity? Two hundred thousand signatures equals .06 percent of the population.

According to the website, the White House will respond to every petition that gets 100K supporters. This petition has only been up for 2 days and has 200K so that indicates that there is something to the issue. the number of signatures is probably higher than the number of those who turned out for the inauguration.

And their response will be to release Trump's tax returns? It is to laugh. Perhaps you could spend the rest of the day roaming the city with your magic phone collecting pixel signatures to force the revelation, if you really care. The Russians will probably hack the IRS records and release the Donald's returns soon enough, anyway.

@Chuck Martel - anything that can increase the chances of catching him in another lie is worth it regardless of whether he releases his tax returns or not. For many of us this is the equivalent of Obama's birth certificate. If he has nothing to hide, let him disclose.

"For many of us this is the equivalent of Obama’s birth certificate."

This I fully believe.

We signed. I doubt Trump will release, but I want him to feel the pain as the count hits a million.

Oh, the pain he will feel!

How will it benefit the U.S. when he feels that pain you want him to feel?

I have thought about that. Even more than in the election it comes down to lesser evils. It might even be that we are in no win territory and it is all about limiting damage.

Gary Kasparov takes a darker, deeper, view of the lies than I do.


Either way, push back is vital.

(maybe a good topic for Tyler, "what if Trump is what he seems?")

That same view in expanded form:


I too think that the energy spent on inauguration attendance is bizarre, but not at this point surprising.

I am the guy who has stubbornly said "there is only one Trump" and "we are so screwed."

Did anyone take in the CIA speech yesterday? Also bizarre. He gets everyone in on a Saturday and makes a rambling low key repeat of a stump speech. Why?

He even repeated "to victory go the spoils, we should have kept the oil, maybe next time." Some immediately freaked that he was sticking to an actual plan, but I had a sadder reaction.

He is still an old man saying words that he doesn't really think about.

Attendance, that's whats important.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your President, and his priorities:


From 3 hours ago, what he is thinking about on Day 3.

His comments seem to be getting increasingly delusional. I wonder what kind of comfort he will feel at night when Melania decamps for NYC with Baron.

This is what we saw last year, and what was normalized last year.

Too many just kept up the hope of a different, secret, hidden, Trump.

You are leaving out those that expect Trump to continue to act the way he has for decades, ensuring continuing entertainment the whole time.

Why anyone takes him seriously remains part of the mysterious charm of the whole farce.

Almost impossible to imagine in today’s climate of overprotective parenting, the civil rights movement even saw parents willing to put their children in the line of fire.

Uh no. Thurgood Marshall thought King's tactics outre. He just was not willing to say so publicly.

You're also referring to one set of incidents in Birmingham. There were 20-odd political killings in the Southern United States between 1953 and 1972. The children killed among them were four youngsters at a church in Birmingham bombed in 1963, and these four were not specifically targeted.

The loony tune Left is carrying on like yesterday was important. They are right in that it just confirms what most people have come to suspect about Tyler's brand of politics. It is just a long, convoluted temper tantrum. The whole point of yesterday was for these silly women - and many are obviously suffering from mental illness - to show off their sads. Others showed up because they never miss auditions for the freak show. Otherwise, it was a reminder that the 19th Amendment was a terrible mistake.

Good to see that misogyny is alive and well in the 21st Century.

And they now even have a president to look up to, a man whose boasting about his abilities with women shows what he thinks is his for the grabbing.

Granting that grabbing someone's genitals without permission is wrong, I can't help feeling a level of moral hypocrisy about the affair.

A significant proportion of women have no problem making themselves available to men of wealth and power. I'm betting that few of Trump's 'victims' found his behaviour objectionable, or at least objectionable-given-that-diamond-necklace-he-got-me. President Clinton did not lack for willing interns either. It has been happening since Grog brought home the mammoth and got many women in his cave that night.

I'm not saying any of it is clever or right. But it's human nature.

"Witch! Witch! Witch!" cries the moonbat.

Again, you fool no one.

Here I was, thinking that Trump was talking about cute pussies, not ugly witches.

In your excerpt you don't remark on the fact that SJW, black, and anarchist groups don't mind being violent themselves as seen from the recent inaugural protests and many of the BLM protests. You can say that these are in the minority but the level of violence in anti-Trump protests seems to have been greater than in those surrounding the Tea Party.

The amazing thing is that the Right hasn't yet responded in kind. But that is something I frankly think will come to an end. One-sided provocation can't survive for long.

These "protests" are designed to create crowd control problems for the incumbents and make them look bad.

They are a lot more fun that actually getting out and voting and much less work than participating in the poltical process. They typically bring out the most self-absorbed members of a given "movement" ( I personally hate that word, so apologies for using it).

It should be illegal to bring children to protests. It's a similar tactic to terrorists hiding amongst civilians. If the innocent get hurt, let's blame and charge and arrest the actual guilty party here: hint, it's not law enformcent. We;ve forgotten how to assign actual root cause blame in this country.

Movement is a good word. I had one this morning.

History is cyclical. To understand the state of the Democratic Party today, 1968 may be more illuminating.

Quite right and it's always useful to re-read Richard Hoffstadter who had good things to say about our democracy and the history of politics.

No. The Democratic Party in 1968 was run by war veterans whose patriotism was uncomplicated. They had a variety of responses to the haut bourgeois youth making such a racket.

Like nominating McGovern in 1972?

Although Trump was elected President, what we will have now is the Trump Administration, chock-full of competing interests that have no problem undermining each other, largely through leaks of so-called classified material, classified meaning CYA. Hilariously, HRC was attacked for possible inadvertent leaks, while our government runs on intentional leaks of classified material daily by everyone. How the various interests within the new administration get on is my main interest at this point.

Protesting makes perfect sense because it can influence the Trump Administration, depending upon how things shake out, just as lobbying or influence peddling hasn't ended. In fact, influence peddling has hardly begun in this new administration. All this is true of any administration. But Trump's picks have a hodgepodge appearance, meaning the degree of conflict or cooperation in this administration is much more uncertain than is generally the case, and so now is a good time to start poking the actors, and finding out how they respond to poking.

Leaks of material, classified or otherwise, have little to do with what's happening at the national level because there won't be another election until 2020. The leak of Bill Clinton's extra-marital behavior in the hallowed Oval Office didn't seem to accomplish much other than raise the price of television advertising during newscasts and divert congressional interests from more serious subjects, not to say that salacious behavior of public figures should be ignored. Polls measuring presidential popularity serve no useful function, presidents don't abdicate.

Did I miss the message that they cancelled the 2018 mid-term elections?

On the contrary, if even a minor official proposes something asinine in a document labeled classified, it will be leaked if seen by someone in the administration to further their ends.

Let me give you a concrete example. There was a story about Trump's children wanting top security status or some such. The story, I believe, was leaked on a Friday. The next day, getting sandbagged about the leak, numerous Trump people denied the story. Come Monday, the Trump people had to confirm the story, only they gave it a different spin, saying inquiries were made but there was no actual request. I could be wrong, but the Trump people who'd been sandbagged as much as admitted the leak came from their camp with malicious intent. Among Trump's supporters, there are people who don't want his family to be so involved, it would seem. As I say, I could be wrong, but that's what I got out of the story.

That doesn't mean anyone outside the circle will pay any attention to it.


Meh, protests in an electoral democracy are overrated. A whole bunch of people didn't like Trump? We knew that. Feminists can't clean up the messes they make?


We knew that too.

Look at this photo, an anti-war demonstration by students at Berkley, California:


1967? No, it was 1940. For every protest we remember, there are hundreds that history has forgotten, for all kinds of causes. We remember protests chiefly because we want to remember them, because it supports a certain narrative of history. On their own, they aren't very notable.

Well then, we'll simply have to reconcile the populist and free-market conservative.
Of course society must find that new system of facilitating the values of both and that time is upon us. No greater socio-economic innovation has come to the fore that had that potential than the gig-economy model, such as Uber. Corporations which were ideally the 'productivity' bubbles, have morphed into mini-empires and self-contained cultural clubhouses. Viewed as the only haven for the skilled and ambitious, they are instead instruments of ego by their corporate boards.

However, as we compartmentalize each job as an interchangeable entrepreneur/cog within an infinitely malleable machine, so we empower each individual to invest as much time and effort as desired to get a predictable output/income. Many would argue that that just represents a hardened top-down infrastructure investment (a kind of socialism) from the lesser of the two evils, government or equivalent, but it is no different than the organic growth of the internet, given a skeleton of initial society investment. Combined with Guild-like guidance to oversee skills and self-regulation for each industry, the actual work environment would be more market-like though definitely not Market-like (in the same way that Wall Street is not the Bazaars of Istanbul, yet we call each markets). Corporate services as the facilitator between producer and consumer would no longer be necessary. Necessarily anonymize the producer and consumers in all transactions -and- create a system of third-party trust such as a block-chain. The guilds who would oversee education, apprenticeship, quality, and access to work, but would be unable to identify its anonymous members and thus not be able to become corrupt.

All aspects of this type of system exist in small parts throughout but have not been brought together as a single eco-system - likely requiring an AI level of computational administration. It would be up to a team of Economics Ph.Ds to posit the vital links, establish pricing/wage mechanisms, and a strategize a way to facilitate a softening of demand bottlenecks, but its potential has never been closer to reality. The end and absolute goal, of course, is to create a post-scarcity society - the only true basis for absolute peace and personal empowerment.

"Almost impossible to imagine in today’s climate of overprotective parenting, the civil rights movement even saw parents willing to put their children in the line of fire."

In my town, Boulder, Colorado, parents, mostly white race traitors, encouraged their children to walk out of school the day after the elections. Some kids asked if they could just stay home that day, but the parents insisted the children go to school and then walk out, it had to look dramatic. Which is technically illegal, but they knew the schools and the police weren't going to care.

What else will protesters do?
Protesting is the second-last refuge of those whose values are self-conflicting, short-term, and pointless. When the future world you want can't be enabled by the day-to-day activities you profess, even when completely surrounded by those who follow your values -- then, you protest against the Other who would ask you to see the logical fallacy. But belief is not reason. Values are not constructs of endless considerations and re-examinations. What else to do but bring everyone down to your level as you seek some kind of validation. They would argue better to fail on your own terms than succeed on anyone else's. Such is a type of mass delusion and self-defeating anti-heroism. However, protesting is a means of communal emotional purge - and that that we are allowed, even encouraged, to have this occasional group tantrum is vital to the perception of fairness and democracy. But to move on: the only true path to effortless and fundamental peace (individually, communally, and internationally) -and- the empowerment of the individual to work hard and competently at their desired vocation without interference of local, corporate or government entity is through a society of hyper-abundance. A post-scarcity society can only be enabled by technology, consumerism, and work ethic in a moderate risk environment, likely with a large gig-economy component - all else is an endless cycle of conflict and scarcity management.

Most of you are just obsessing repeating what you dislike about certain groups of people. The main issue is that this is a corrupt, unempathic, and authoritarian regime, and it deserves to be virulently opposed. Hooray for a great flowering of peaceful protest in America.

"this is a corrupt, unempathic, and authoritarian regime"

...which has been in existence for two days.

Is it? Did Trump roll tanks on the snowflakes? Did I miss that?

Good luck with the new book!

It's hard to take these protests seriously knowing full well had Hillary gotten elected there would not have been a soul in the streets. Yesterday was more about the losers getting in touch with their inner brown shirts. Serious protests, akin to the Viet Nam war/civil rights, are non partisan.

'Serious protests, akin to the Viet Nam war/civil rights, are non partisan.'

Daley's cops would like to have a word with you, and Nixon's enemies list was quite non-partisan. After all, Nixon had a lot of enemies, including the non-partisan leaders of the civil rights movement and the war protesters.

If Hilary had won, the WH wouldn't be occupied by a fear-mongering rape apologist, so you're correct, there would have been no protests.

No, it would have been occupied by a power-mad rapist-enabler.

Practically speaking, there aren't any rights left to give women. What are well-fed people in $150 running shoes with $500 cell phones protesting, exactly?

Modern feminism is mostly women finding out that all jobs kind of suck, everybody has to compete, everybody forms hierarchies, and the stable men with good jobs find them undesirable and unattractive. So they find a lightning rod for their inchoate rage and go on a stupid, pointless march.

I suppose. One of those attending I know best is a social-worker-cum-doctor's-wife, married for 15 years (w/ 2 children she cannot bring herself to spank) to a man who fell into her lap in college (on the rebound, IIRC). Came from a well-ordered immigrant professional class family. Neither father, brother, nor husband ever suffered severe career setbacks. Loves cooking, doesn't clean house. She's quite the political sectary and I've never been able to figure her out.

Petulant-child class has lost it's petulant-child king. Show some sympathy.

"...A new age of demonstrations and social unrest will come back to haunt the complacent class..."
So, just treat it like any kind of natural disaster - increase the resilience and security of the facility, decentralize the workforce (work at home during 'unrest' days), ignore public debate bait, and create a PR protocol of spinning it. Just like advertisements and activist leaders - ignore them and they'll deteriorate under their own lack of resources to maintain themselves. Anger and resentment burn out, leaving a shell - but comfortable complacency can linger forever.

The complacent ones have been the taxpayers up until now. They are fighting Marxists and socialists. I hope you have a chapter on taxpayers.

The dialectic is ratcheting up fairly quickly. If Trump is "literally Hitler," then all sorts of nasty things are justifiable against his supporters who, eventually, will either fight back or be killled or maimed.

I think Tyler is saying the complacent class is the bunch of rubes that voted for Trump. The womyn's march is an unexpected backlash against the rrubes' choice of the POTUS, and the marchers will arm themselves like the blacks did in the 1950s.

Maybe it will become legal to buy an AR15 in CA if the snowflakes get scared enough.

Confession: I attended a "No Blood for Oil" rally at our state capitol once long ago, for the very same reasons, in total ignorance of absolutely everything except the fact that there were protests in the sixties and I had missed them.

I'm no more a believer in "tending one's own garden" than TC is, but I did in fact do yard work on Saturday, pretty complacently.

On a related note, though.

Shouldn't all these crowd numbers need to be added to the total participation number directly related to the inauguration ceremony? After all they are all 100% correlated to it.

If you add all the people actually present at the mall, the people demonstrating in and around Washington DC, the people demonstrating all over the US and the rest of the world on the 20th, plus all the women related marches on the 21st in the USA and around the world, it will actually corroborate what the WH new press secretary meant as by far the largest inauguration crowd ever, period?!

After all, without the inauguration, most of these people, who now chose to get involved, would have been sitting at home sipping on their lattes, much like they did on election day, the day when they actually could have made a real difference.

Just sayin .....

"Yesterday we saw the largest protests in American history"

Except for the Right-to-Life protests that were bigger every year. And for the one coming up in a few days ... and the "Million Man March" and the civil rights I Have a Dream
So, yeah except for all the others, that was the largest.

"Another major claim is that individual attempts to make one’s lot in life safer and more secure actually may exacerbate broader risks at the macro level."

Isn't this similar to Nassim Taleb's Anti-Fragility argument? You must allow disorder so the system can grow antifragile? Individual attempts to increase safety (or order) will make the system grow fragile?

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