fredag 14 oktober 2016

Harris on Trump

Much has been said about the Donald Trump candidacy for president, but Sam Harris, in yesterday's blog post Trump in Exile, says it better and clearer than almost everyone else. He begins by noting that "it is a cliché [...] to claim that a presidential election is the most important in living memory", but then immediately notes that a cliché can still be true:
    We arrived at that point in the 2016 campaign many months ago, when both sides declared their opponent unqualified for office, [...] and one side is actually right. A choice this stark proves that there is something wrong with our political system.
After a couple of passages on Trump's psychopathic and criminal behavior against women, he goes on to say this:
    While Trump’s attitude toward women should be disqualifying, it is among his least frightening traits when it comes to assuming the responsibilities of the presidency. His fondness for Vladimir Putin, the whimsy with which he has entertained the first use of nuclear weapons, his disregard for our NATO alliances, his promise to use federal regulators to harass his critics, his belief that climate change is a hoax, his recommendation that we kill the families of terrorists, his suggestion that America might want to default on its debt - any one of these sentiments should have ended Trump’s bid for public office at once. In fact, Donald Trump is so unfit for the presidency that he has done great harm to our society by merely campaigning for it. The harm he could do from the White House can scarcely be imagined.
And towards the end of his piece, Harris notes that...
    there was a point in the second presidential debate when Trump’s campaign ceased to be a depressing farce and became the terrifying, national disgrace we now see before us. The crucial moment wasn’t when Trump threatened to imprison Clinton if he wins in November - it was the shriek of joy this threat produced in half the audience. That was the sound of our democracy unraveling. And there was Trump, the crazed man-child tearing at the threads.

    If there is a silver lining here, it is that many of us now see how vulnerable our political system is to charlatanism, conspiracy theories, and populist unreason on both the Right and the Left. The role that the media has played, rendering us all moths to the Trumpian flame, will be scrutinized for years to come. The truth about us is sobering: We have been playing with our smartphones while hurtling toward the abyss...

(Link added by me.) Do take two more minutes to read Sam Harris' blog post in whole!

2 kommentarer:

  1. Even if Trump loses the presidential election (which today seems like the most likely scenario), that doesn't mean all's fine. Harris illustrates this nicely with his "the crucial moment" example quoted above. There's Trump, but there's also Trump's voters.

    It may be tempting (and I can certainly feel the temptation) to just stand there and say about those voters that they're all idiots. But that is not only counterproductive, it also isn't true. We need to understand their sentiments, and what drives them towards Trump (and Brexit, and Front National, and Sverigedemokraterna). As I blogged about in August, psychologist Jonathan Haidt has gone some ways towards such understanding. For a less academic and more straightforwardly empathic perspective, see this recent video report from McDowell county in the coal districts of West Virginia.

  2. Arne Söderqvist14 oktober 2016 18:48

    Look at this!