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Showing posts from June, 2018

On the astonishingly morally impoverished character of Donald Trump

During the 2016 presidential campaign and after the election and inauguration of Donald Trump, there have been countless negative assessments of his character. I have collected the most poignant here in chronological order. (Related topics such as the risks of working for someone with poor character and whether Trumpism might be a cult are in separate posts.)Before the electionThe number of active hate groups rose in 2016.Tom Nichols wrote on April 26, 2016 in "If I Lose Friends Over Trump, So Be It":"Yes, fellow conservatives: Trump is worse than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Their policies are liberal, even leftist, often motivated by cheap politics, ego, and political grandstanding. But they are policies, understandable as such and opposable by political means.Trump’s various rants, by contrast, do not amount to policies. They are ignorant tone poems, bad haikus, streams of words whose content has no real meaning. They’re not positions available either to the GOP …

How does one gain political converts?

Pat Buchanan's 2011 book Suicide of a Superpower included the line "White America is an endangered species" and the accusation that white Americans who tolerate demographic shifts suffer from "ethnomasochism". In June 2018, Buchanan appeared on “The Laura Ingraham Show” and asked "whether Europe has the will and the capacity, and America has the capacity to halt the invasion of the countries until they change the character — political, social, racial, ethnic — character of the country entirely." While acknowledging that "separating migrant kids from their parents" looks bad "politically and emotionally," Buchanan says that the president nonetheless has got it right on "the mega-issue — the Third World invasion of the West".What's he on about? Charles M. Blow, who quoted the lines above on June 24, 2018 — and who also cited a recent Brookings report that, since 2007, less than half of American newborns are "white …

On public shaming of, and service denial to, political officials

On Friday, June 22, a small restaurant in Lexington, Va. turned away President Trump's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, due to the restaurant owner's political disagreement with her work. The restaurant owner talked to her employees and then asked Sanders to come outside with her where she explained her decision. It was not an isolated occurrence; Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and senior policy advisor Stephen Miller were recently shouted at in Mexican restaurants. Dean Obeidallah, writing that "[a]s a progressive, I feel that denying service to a person is instinctively troubling," nevertheless concluded that these incidents were "not even in the same universe" as excluding someone "for their race, religion or sexual orientation. The backlash is because they have freely chosen to be a part of the Trump administration..." He worries about a politicized version of Newton's third law of motion, "For every action, t…