Clinton lost because fear failed, and voters disliked her Social Justice Warriors

Summary: Political gurus gush forth with explanations for Trump’s victory in the Electoral College (although more Americans voted for Clinton). They discuss arcane strategy, the effect of the media, personalities, and scores of other things (mostly trivial). But there are two elephants in the room. First, Clinton relied on the politics of fear, which surprisingly failed. Second, Social Justice Warriors (her shock troops) terrified voters — who realized the power SJW’s would wield as commissars in an HRC administration. Together these two factors account for her support dropping by the tiny margin that led to defeat in the Electoral College.

Hillary Clinton
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

No Fear

(1)  Clinton’s politics of fear failed

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.”
By Aristotle, from Joannes Stobaeus’ Florilegium.

The Democrats ran the anything but issues campaign on the fear Trump platform. Fear climate change, fear sexism, fear racism, fear nativism, fear Russia, fear fascism, fear NAZIs, etc.  These created a weak foundation for Clinton’s campaign, especially as she spent so little effort describing an alternative great future for America.

The Putin connection was only weakly supported and extremely speculative. The non-Left majority of Americans was skeptical about the odds of severe danger from climate change. The -ism’s became ineffective after decades of the Left using them as generic attacks on all their foes. Saying Trump was Hitler just triggered Godwin’s Law, probably ending many people’s interest in her message.

For all his clownish behavior and many flaws, Trump offered an action-based plan and a vision for a better America that appealed to many voters. It was a classic case of something beating nothing.

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A new survey reveals American’s top fears, showing our true selves

Summary: The Chapman University Survey reveals American’s top fears. Many of them are exaggerated; some are delusional, most are influenced by the sea of propaganda that blankets America. Here we see one reason why the reform of America is so difficult.

Fearful faces in the dark

For the third year, the Chapman University Survey of American Fears asked 1,500+ adult Americans about their fears (details here). The slide show presentation of their results appears below, with a video at the end of the post. The top 10 things we fear the most are…fearful woman

  1. Corruption of government officials (also #1 in 2015).
  2. Terrorist attacks.
  3. Not having enough money for the future.
  4. Being a victim of terror. {Twice on the list!}
  5. Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition.
  6. People I love dying.
  7. Economic or financial collapse.
  8. Identity theft.
  9. People I love becoming seriously ill.
  10. The Affordable Health Care Act/”Obamacare”.

 

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An anthropologist looks at Social Imperialism and New Victorian Identity Politics

Summary: Campaign 2016 has degenerated into a circus of sound bites, ignoring the great issues facing America. To have any chance of reforming America we need a wider perspective , like that of Maximilian Forte (a professor of anthropology). This is chapter 3 in his series about Americans as the New Victorians. It’s brilliant, and getting better with each installment. Here he links together many problems — such as our imperialism, political correctness, fearfulness and tribalism.

New Victorianism
Graphic created by the author.

Social Imperialism and New Victorian Identity Politics.

New Victorianism’s Domestic Moral Code and the Political Economy of Identity Politics.
Part 3 of 4 in a series.
By Maximilian C. Forte.
From Zero Anthropology. Cites at the end. Red emphasis added.
Reposted with his generous permission.

“The nation-state in its imperialist guise was the inescapable context within which all political action necessarily took place: it determined the range of possibilities against which the left as much as the right were compelled to define their positions”. (Eley, 1976, p. 269.)

“Social imperialism,” applied to German historiography, involves some interesting coincidences with Victorianism and the New Imperialism. One of the key political figures was Kaiser Wilhelm II, German Emperor, and the eldest grandchild of Britain’s Queen Victoria. Wilhelm also presided over the expansion of the German navy in the wake of the Scramble for Africa, with some of the key ideas of the German Navy League being inspired by the US’ New Imperialism and by Alfred Thayer Mahan’s Alfred Thayer Mahan, author of the classic The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783.

“Social imperialism” is a contested concept, with Eley (1976) showing the divisions around using it to refer to socialists’ accommodation with capitalism and adhesion to imperialist practice abroad (a contemporary phenomenon that also manifested in the early 1900s) plus making concessions to reformism, versus the work of policy-makers in distracting increasingly impoverished workers from exploitation at home by diverting their energies toward external enemies, in order to negate reform and preserve the status quo. (For those who are curious, Eley largely disproves the value of the second formulation.)

There is actually more to this debate than this short sketch allows, but what I want to introduce is a third view of social imperialism, mindful of what both of the preceding conceptualizations essentially share in common: “Both are concerned with the impact of the imperialist world economy on the domestic life of the metropolis” (Eley, 1976, p. 268). “The entry of the imperialist idea into domestic politics” (Eley, 1976, p. 268) — and it is from domestic social and political conflict where the imperialist idea first emerges — should probably be rephrased as the “re-entry” of the imperialist idea into domestic politics, because what was deployed abroad produced effects and practices that later (always) come back home in new and improved form.

This is a broader concept of “blowback” which I argued for in the Force Multipliers volume (also, see “The Dismal ‘Physics’ of Blowback and Overstretch”). The third variation I propose is not better, more valid than either of the earlier two approaches — it tries to supplement them without displacing them. The third approach focuses on how imperialist principles and practices shape and take form through domestic politics. Social imperialism in this third sense is about the politics within an imperialist society, that reflect its constitution as an imperialist society.

Essentially then, what we are talking about in the current phase is liberal imperialism at home. This is a marriage of the New Victorianism and the New Imperialism in domestic matters, where politics are increasingly moralized, attention is directed towards identity issues in order to preserve basic class inequalities, reformism is limited and inexpensive (small rewards for small groups), democracy is reduced to procedures and is led by oligarchic elites, and the society is administered by a technocratic managerial class with a noteworthy penchant for ignoring criticisms, deflecting questions, and operating in secrecy.

What results, at least in the North American context, is a call for asserting certain codes of behaviour, to impose standards of proper conduct as seen through the eyes of the liberal middle class, defended with an astringent sanctimony that turns every transgression into a catastrophe. What does this have to do with imperialism? Quite a lot.

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The reactions to Brexit show its true significance

Summary: The two previous posts brought us to the edge of analysis about Brexit, beyond which lies guessing. But there are sparks by which we can see what might happen in the next few months. I’ve gathered some of them here for you.

Sunrise or sunset for Britain?We make it sunset or sunrise.

Elites & their courtiers consider it foolish to allow a vote by peons on their fate.

“Why did he do it? Why take such a needlessly cavalier risk with the country’s future and his own?”
— The Honorable David Runciman (Prof Politics at Cambridge) in “Why did he do it?” at the London Review of Books.

The contemptuous reaction to the Brixit vote shows with rare clarity the desire of Europe’s elites to roll back the past century’s shift to democratic institutions. Why should the peons have a say in their fate, interrupting the smooth government by their betters?

“IYI”: intellectual yet idiots. It is often falsely used to describe powerful people (and their courtiers) acting in their own interest — usually successfully so.

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Journalists suffer from the crisis crisis, warping America’s vision

Summary: The news is all about fear. Each day journalists flood the media with exaggerated stories of imminent doom without useful context. This slant to the news warps our perception of the world, with ill effects on America’s public policy. It’s the crisis crisis, as described by Peter Moore in a prescient article from Playboy in 1987 (he thought it was bad then; it’s many times worse today).

Horribleness: America's true enduring bull market
The bull market in horribleness.

 

Excerpt from “The Crisis Crisis”

By Peter Moore
From Playboy, March 1987

 

It’s bad news Biblical style: Plagues of swarming journalists are swallowing — and selling — every doomsday scenario in sight. Picture a crowded bar. Three television sets hang from the ceiling, tuned in to the network feed. This is a high tech joint, so there are competing amusements, as well: MTV: on wall-sized monitors, dueling jukeboxes, video games with synthetic voices. On top of this racket, there’s the festive roar of conversation.

That is, until the news comes on. Talk stammers to a halt and eyes are cast upward; they dart from screen to screen. The anchor men begin to talk loudly, and they’re talking crisis: drugs, vanishing rain forests, terrorism, Armageddon. They’re inflating stories to ten times their natural size, decrying the end of the world. Their graphics are flashier than video games, their footage better than MTV, their high-tension talk scarier than s-f.

In the face of this onslaught, the patrons can’t concentrate; they can’t even think. Aghast, afraid, they gulp their drinks as the hysteria level rises.

—————-

When they’ve got a crisis to hawk, news magazines love to start stories in italics. In that type face, they can get away with anything: apocalyptic fiction that would otherwise be out of place in straight journalism, even overextended metaphors for American society like the one in the paragraphs above. Italic type can also clear the way for a single anecdote to stand in for the latest trend that’s ravaging society, and it lays the groundwork for paragraphs that begin, “The sad story of Bob J. is all too familiar in America today. He represents an insidious epidemic that is sweeping. …”

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Stratfor: Debunking the Myth of Total Security

Summary: Here Stratfor addresses one of the central myths of 21st century US politics — that the government should provide total security to its citizens, who happily trade away their rights in exchange for this chimera. We can free ourselves from these fears!

Stratfor

Debunking the Myth of Total Security

Lead analyst:  Scott Stewart
Stratfor, 14 April 2016

Last week, someone asked me whether I thought it was safe to travel to Izmir, Turkey. Thanks to my line of work, these kinds of questions no longer surprise me. People have been asking me such things for almost as long as I can remember. And since I have gained visibility through my work as Stratfor’s lead terrorism and security analyst and as the author of a book on travel security, the inquiries have become only more frequent.

Most of the time, I don’t mind offering travel security advice. By Dave Grossman’s model of human nature, I am a sheepdog-type person (as opposed to a sheep or wolf), naturally predisposed to protect people. Moreover, I appreciate people’s efforts to understand the environment they are going to visit. After all, foreknowledge goes a long way toward avoiding unpleasant surprises.

But I suspect that my responses to these kinds of questions often surprise the people asking, especially those who seem to just want an empty reassurance that their trip will be a safe one. This is because in reality, no place is truly safe from every possible threat; the idea of total security is a myth. Risk is inherent in every single thing we do — or don’t do. I incurred a risk when I got out of bed this morning, another when I exercised and countless more during my commute. Although obviously some activities are riskier than others, none of our actions are completely risk-free. Even if I were to live isolated in a hermetically sealed bubble, there would still be risks to my health (and sanity).

And, of course, the same goes for travel.

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Debunking the hysteria about cyberterrorism. Some sensible advice.

Summary:  Cybersecurity expert Emilio Iasiello contrasts the warnings that flood the news about cyberthreats with their mundane reality.  {First of two posts today.}

CyberSkull

Everything’s “Big” When It Comes To Cyberterrorism. It Shouldn’t Be.

By Emilio Iasiello from DarkMatters, 2 December 2015
Posted with his gracious permission.

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, there has been increased scrutiny as to how these individuals successfully pulled off coordinated attacks without intelligence and security services picking up some indications of an impending operation. One U.S. lawmaker maintains that there are strong indicators that the suspected terrorists used encryption in order to circumvent monitoring. The implication is clear: authorities need the ability to be able to access encrypted communications in order to be able to gain advanced warning to prevent these types of attacks.

Encryption debate

While the terrorist attacks have encouraged some intelligence and security officials to start up the encryption debate once again, there is some indication that the ISIS actors were communicating in the open, and even the data on their smartphones was not encrypted. According to one French news source, police were able to track the phone’s movements and retrieve such information as SMS messaging and a detailed map of the concert hall attack site via a phone belonging to one of the terrorists.

Additionally, features of a thwarted ISIS plot in Belgium revealed that while the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, typically sidestepped surveillance, he did not leverage encryption technology. Shortly after the attack, a leading U.S. newspaper retracted an article in which it had originally cited that the terrorists had used encryption technology, after it could not be confirmed.

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