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Daily Archives: November 13, 2019
Enough: Where should line be drawn between free speech and political correctness? – HubcitySPOKES.com
Posted: November 13, 2019 at 1:50 am
I have always thought of myself as an analytical and, okay, opinionated person. Some folks may not analyze every little event in their lives, the way I do.
But when it comes to opinions, from race to religion, from the sexes to politics, our personal beliefs and opinions are pretty much set. (Especially at my age.)
That divergence of thought is what makes life in this world so interesting.
These days however, talking out loud about how you feel on a particular issue, could land you in a tub filled with scalding-hot water.
It's that whole political correctness thing, or PC, as it is called for short.
But has PC speak gotten out of hand?
In this new era of social media, we've become especially vulnerable. I constantly find myself second-guessing most comments or observations, before I put them out there.
I analyze each thought and choice of words as I prepare to express how I feel on this keyboard.
No matter how innocent my intent, I'm thinking, are my comments going to come across as insensitive, racist, disrespectful of some group or...oh, the list goes on.
These days, we have to watch every word, especially those words going outside our own close-knit circle of friends, landing for public consumption. (Annoying, isn't it?)
I'm not always the most politically correct person.
In fact, I frown on the whole language-police thing, deeming it necessary to watch everything I say. Or, in the case of social media, every word I write.
Something I might think is funny, the next person may find crass or mean-spirited.
Can't anyone take a joke these days?
I'm the first person to poke fun or laugh at myself. (And certainly provide enough material.)
But when did we become so ultra-sensitive about every little thing?
Certainly, I'm glad we're working hard at becoming a more enlightened and sensitive society, but when those benevolent qualities begin to hinder our ability to speak freely and honestly, political correctness becomes a problem.
I believe we're wise enough to know there are certain lines we should make an effort not to cross, ethnic slurs being among the more egregious.
But in today's world, there are just so many ways to offend, even with the most benign intentions.
It's like walking on eggshells, covering a bed of hot nails.
We have to be especially careful not to offend.
I feel it's wrong when some public universities, in an effort to maintain the idea of political correctness, forbid certain lecturers from appearing on their campuses, simply because of a speaker's political persuasion.
A couple of years ago, hundreds of protesters on the Berkeley campus of the University of California went berserk, crashing windows and setting fires on campus.
All in protest of a far-right speaker, a news editor from the ultra-conservative Breitbart News scheduled to speak there.
Apparently, the university's famously-liberal campus wasn't going to stand for it.
In what I thought was a cowardly act, U.C. Berkeley cancelled the speech.
Oh, please! Let the guy have his say. Perhaps the university's decision was based more on safety concerns?
But I say the protesters, themselves, are the ones who made the situation unsafe.
There are proper ways to channel our anger or disagreements on issues but, and we should all agree, violence should never be the route taken to express that displeasure
Whether they agreed or disagreed with the speaker's views, by behaving so dangerously, the protesters at U.C. Berkeley betrayed their own cause. (How "politically correct" were their actions?)
If there's any place free speech should be encouraged, it's certainly on a university campus. But what about attempts at quelling free speech?
If you ask me, that seems to qualify as politically IN-correct, and every bit as wrong.
Which brings me to a recent appearance by the nation's President, Donald Trump, at the historically African-American Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina.
The college invited Mr. Trump to be its keynote speaker at their 2019 Second Step Presidential Forum, held last month.
The landmark First Step Act, signed by Mr. Trump in 2018, was a bold action, addressing criminal justice reform here in the United States.
The purpose of the forum was to discuss the "Second Step," as in where do we go from here.
It should be noted, most of the Democratic candidates for President were also invited to attend and present their own proposals.
I must admit, when I first heard about the forum, alarm bells went off in my head.
Donald Trump speaking on the campus of a largely African-American college?
Oh, my. What could possibly go wrong?
In my head, I hoped for the best. But I did fear any student protests that might result on campus while the President was visiting.
According to most polls, Mr. Trump routinely garners only single-digit support among African-Americans.
I was afraid his appearance at Benedict College might have turned into an unpleasant one. That is, considering some of the things Mr. Trump has said on the subject of race in the past.
But here's the thing.
By design, Mr. Trump's speech was largely unattended by the college's students. Columbia's Mayor, Stephen Benjamin, said most of those in attendance were hand chosen by the White House.
Only seven students from the college were allowed to attend the President's speech.
But wait, it gets even more curious.
In conjunction with the Secret Service, classes were also cancelled and most students were, reportedly, asked to remain in their dorms while the President was on campus.
The decision was said to be made for security reasons.
I find that all a bit strange.
We've seen Donald Trump's political rallies on television, where there're often tens of thousands in attendance.
Are residents asked to "remain in their homes" because the President is in town, giving a speech?
You'd think the Secret Service would be a lot more concerned with a public event like those huge rallies, than with safety concerns on the campus of a relatively small college.
Sounds more to me like Benedict College officials, the White House and the powers that be, made a dedicated effort to make sure student voices were not heard while Mr. Trump was on campus. Isn't the end result to stifle free speech?
I'm guessing some of Benedict's students may have wanted to protest the President's appearance. (And?) By forbidding students from even leaving their dorm rooms, was it an effort to ensure there were no protests on campus?
It smacks of, to me at least, a sideways form of censorship. Like the officials at Berkeley behaved, it would be another example of political incorrectness. .
A tale of two colleges, and I don't agree with what happened on either campus.
The protesters at U.C. Berkeley succeeded in making themselves look foolish. I would expect many observers, myself included, were less likely to sympathize with their cause, as a result of their actions.
Likewise, those officials responsible for making sure student voices were not heard on the Benedict College Campus, while the President was there, behaved foolishly, too. What was the point? To protect Mr. Trump?
I'd say, the goal of the day was designed to insulate him.
Both incidents come across as attempts at controlling the narrative, silencing the voices of those they don't agree with, or want to hear from.
The protesters at U.C. Berkeley didn't want to hear what the Brietbart reporter had to say. But what about those people on campus who did?
On the same plain, the White House went out of its way to keep Mr. Trump enclosed in his airtight and sealed bubble, so he doesn't have to see or hear from those people who disapprove of his job as President.
Where do we draw the line?
It's easy to see how blurred things can become when those lines intersect.
Elijah Jones is a writer and a proud graduate of the Hattiesburg Public School System and the University of Southern Mississippi. Send him an email (or seven or eight) at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Fox News erroneously reported that Obamas PC meetings were political correctness meetings – AlterNet
Posted: at 1:50 am
On Wednesday, Fox News reporter Sam Dorman wrote an explosive story with the headline CIA staff complained about Obama White Houses political correctness, new book claims. Explosive stuff! You see, a new book by conservative writer Doug Mead claimed that when asking his sources about the Obama administrations White House, he was told that President Obama wasnt able to get things done because his administration was too busy dealing with snowflake issues like what to call people!Next thing they said was that, in the previous administration, they spent a lot of time in the White House doing nonstop PC [political correctness] meetings.
Man. Damning! This fit so perfectly into the right wings fantasy narrative that President Obama was a secret Muslim, snowflake, bleeding heart liberal communist, neer do well, you couldnt make it up if you tried! Or, actually you could only make it up because you were trying but were also dumb. You see, it turns out that the Obama administration did hold PC meetings, and they held them frequently. However, the term PCmeans Principals Committee, a top-level interagency meeting convened by the National Security Council.
Numerous people pointed this out to Fox News and Doug Wead, because let us be clear, Sam Dorman is a dummy, but he isnt the idiot who wrote a whole book about the inner workings of the Trump and Obama White Houses, without doing the bare minimum investigation into what a government acronym means.
I am dying.
Principals Committee meetings, Fox. Not political correctness meetings!
PC meetings were often not at all PC.Cc @DenisMcDonough @AmbassadorRice https://t.co/mRbHWqxPv7
Loren DeJonge Schulman (@LorenRaeDeJ) November 6, 2019
According to Business Insider, Fox News and Wead have both been incredibly lukewarm in their apology, and more importantly, their correction of the original, erroneous reporting. Fox News has taken the tact of throwing Wead under the bus by saying that Dorman did accurately report on Weads assertion, but that Wead was wrong. And Wead is reportedly half-blaming his source for not realizing how dumb Doug Wead was. The author has since informed Fox News this was due to a misunderstanding between him and his source and that the initials referred to Principals Committee.'
You can make some things up, but you cant make up how truly loathsome and incompetent and intellectually dishonest Fox News and their conservative hucksters are.
then let us make a small request. AlterNet is increasing its original reporting, edited by The Nations Joshua Holland, with a focus on 2020 election coverage. Weve also launched a weekly podcast, Weve Got Issues, focusing on the issues, not Donald Trumps tweets. Unlike other news outlets, weve decided to make our AlterNet 2020 coverage free to all. But we need your ongoing support to continue what we do.
AlterNet is independent. You wont find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of white nationalism, to spotlighting the overlooked struggles of the working poor, AlterNet continues to speak truth to power. As newspapers close, America needs voices like AlterNets to be sure no one is forgotten.
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Originally posted here:
Posted: at 1:50 am
Gender equality may be an idealistic goal, but the point of humanity is to get more out of our lives
November12, 20194 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
By now, mostly everyone has seen the viral photo of Nancy Pelosi standing and pointing at Donald Trump, around a table full of men.
There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to this image, depending on how you want to frame it. Is it not enough that Nancy Pelosi is the only woman at a powerful table? Does she need to gesture aggressiveness to the most powerful men in the room? Or is this a symbol of empowering women - an iconic, badass woman?
This image does not only happen at The White House, or to people with political power. It happens in everyday life, at home and in the workplace. The lens we view the world through is the same, whether we judge our leaders, spouses, children, co-workers, or boss, with preset expectations about how each gender needs to behave. We objectify ourselves and live in these stereotypes.
But what happens when people feel boxed in by stereotypes, limited to a role they dont want to play? When Nancy Pelosi stepped out of the lines of the conventional role she was expected to behold in front of powerful men, she was referred to as, Nervous Nancy on the brink of an unhinged meltdown. When women step out of that box in everyday life, it can have consequences: mansplained responses, belittling, discredited either overtly or masked in political correctness, and ultimately being silenced. And not all women will have the strength to deal with this.
The response cant be that this is how things are - success still hangs on relationships. A Gallup survey found that a majority of Americans no longer prefer a male boss to a female boss. This is a step in the right direction, as in the past, workers have had bias working for male-led firms. Silicon Valley is full of innovation, and most venture capitalists admit that start-up investment is a high touch, personal business. Investors fund people they like, and people typically get along with those who think like them. Women in technology are being photoshopped into stock images to show diversity. Stereotypes about brogrammer culture and inherent differences make women feel that they dont belong.
The gender gap in science, engineering, and leadership is not because of a talent pipeline problem, but instead is the result of stereotypes. Alienating women with unconscious bias creates an environment thats less hospitable for women.
Although we have seen many important social changes, the perception that women do not fit the image of the ideal leader is still pervasive and resistant to change. On the other hand, women are raised to hide their ambition, fearful it will be viewed negatively and prevent us from being liked.
We fail to realize that these are human-created stereotypes that have not adapted with time. We dont use the same gadgets and technology, and live the same lifestyle as our grandparents or great grandparents did a century ago, and similarly, perception about gender has changed.
This photo is not about encapsulating the idea that the future is black or white, male or female. We dont need to look at the world as male vs. female, and have our future generations mold themselves into stereotypes that were created for us.
Gender equality may be an idealistic goal, but the point of humanity is to get more out of our lives. Gender stereotypes imprison us rather than set us free to live a truly free life politically, socially, economically, and spiritually. Equal doesnt mean identical, there are differences, but equality means those differences shouldnt translate into different levels of access to opportunities in society. We need a gender-independent human culture to propel the world in the future.
Don Cherry tells Tucker Carlson on Fox News he was fired for using the words, ‘You people’ – USA TODAY
Posted: at 1:50 am
What I'm Hearing: USA TODAY Sports' Kevin Allen discusses the firing of longtime Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry. USA TODAY
"Hockey Night in Canada" analyst Don Cherry said he believes he was fired Monday because of two words he used during his Coach's Corner segment.
"It's the two words, 'You people' and you know people are very sensitive like that that got me," he said Tuesday night during an appearance on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News.
The popular, outspoken former coachdrew criticism for complaining Saturday nightthat people in Toronto were being disrespectful by not wearing poppies to honor Canada's fallen military heroes leading up to Remembrance Day. His words wereviewed as a criticism of immigrants.
"You people ... love our way of life, love our milk and honey," Cherry said during the segment. "At least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada.
OPINION: Cherry's popularity with his fans couldn't save him this time
'TALK WHATEVER HE THINKS': Russian hockey team tweets it wants Don Cherry as analyst
Sportsnet said Monday that Cherry's remarks were divisive and "it has been decided that it is the right time for him to immediately step down."
Cherry, who has made other remarks through the years that sparked controversy, argued that all of the good stories he did on the show were ignored by his bosses.
"I suppose if I had to do it over again, I would have said 'everybody,'" he said. " 'You people' are the people they listened to. The silent majority, as you know, are always silent.
"The police are with me. The forces are with me. Everybody is with me, and the firefighters and the whole deal. But it doesn't make any sense and I was brought in and I was told I was fired after 38 years. I stand by what I said and I still mean it."
Carlson, who often complains about political correctness, said the people who criticized the remarks weren't sensitive but were fascists.
"All I was saying in Toronto, wear your poppies," Cherry said. "These soldiers died for our way of life. ... They died so we can have our way of life and please wear a poppy in their honor."
Don Cherry not sorry for ‘you people’ remarks: ‘I know what I said and I meant it’ – Washington Times
Posted: at 1:50 am
Don Cherry isnt backing off.
The legendary Hockey Night in Canada announcer was fired Monday for comments about you people that come here not wearing poppies, the traditional symbol of support for Canadas soldiers on Nov. 11. The remarks were construed as anti-immigrant.
In a phone interview with the Toronto Sun, the former NHL coach known for his loud suits and louder persona, was unapologetic.
I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers, Cherry said.
He also said that he wouldnt have wanted to continue his 35-year run as host of the Coachs Corner segment if he had to feign political correctness.
To keep my job, I cannot be turned into a tamed robot, Cherry said. I would have liked to continue doing Coachs Corner. The problem is if I have to watch everything I say, it isnt Coachs Corner.
For decades before the weekends firing, Canadian nationalism had been a part of Cherrys broadcast persona, which is also heavy on braggadocio.
When Scandinavian and East European players began playing in the NHL in large numbers in the 1980s (and in the latter case, especially after the fall of Communism) Cherry would often lament both the influx of foreigners and the influence of them on Canadas national sport and league.
During broadcasts, he would mispronounce Slavic or Scandinavian names; offhandedly refer to the East Europeans as commies or reds; and say how, in an easily mocked Canadian accent in words hed frequently use, these European softies were taking roster spots from hard-working Canadian boys.
Cherry finished the Toronto Sun interview by reminding Canadians to wear your poppy to honour our fallen soldiers.
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Donald Trump Jrs disastrous book launch may seem funny but theres a very dark side to the booing – The Guardian
Posted: at 1:50 am
The intolerant left is at it again. I regret to inform you that, in yet another case of political correctness gone mad, the woke brigade has shut down free speech and censored a courageous conservative intellectual. Over the weekend, Donald Trump Jr was heckled off stage while promoting his new book Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us at the University of California.
Oh, hang on a minute. It looks like it wasnt the hateful left that silenced the presidents eldest son; it was his own supporters. You see, shortly after Sundays event kicked off, Trump Jr informed the audience that there wouldnt be a Q&A because leftwingers would inevitably twist his words. The lack of dialogue enraged a far-right faction of the crowd who believe the Trump administration isnt anti-immigrant enough and were eager to challenge Jr on this.
We wanted to ask questions about immigration and about Christianity, two of the protesters, who identify as American Firsters, told the Guardian, but [Trump Jr] didnt want to face those questions.
The booing got so bad that Jrs girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, had to step in and save him. Youre not making your parents proud by being rude and disruptive, Guilfoyle yelled at the audience. She added: I bet you engage and go on online dating because youre impressing no one here to get a date in person. Which is; 1) dreadful syntax and 2) a quaint insult to throw at college students in 2019. Its a bit like yelling: I bet you kids use electronic mail because you are impressing nobody with your sub-par cursive. It is also not clear why Guilfoyle thought people had turned up to a book launch to pick up dates. Despite her witty barbs, the crowd would not be silenced; eventually Trump Jr stormed off the stage.
It is tempting to have a good laugh about the disastrous book launch and, believe you me, I have. Ultimately, however, there is nothing funny about the fact that the Trump administration has emboldened so many bigots that Maga-hat-wearing supporters are now coming after Jr for not being extreme enough. There has been a 30% increase in the number of US hate groups over the past four years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center a trend the civil rights organisation blames on Trumps radicalising influence. Dangerous fringe groups have crept out of the shadows and are shouting at the top of their lungs.
Trump Jrs book tour is also a reminder of the rights limitless hypocrisy. One of the big themes of Triggered is, to quote Trump Jr: A victimhood complex has taken root in the American left. But lets recap the situation shall we? Trump Jr (who describes himself as hyper-rational and stoic) has just published a book complaining that he is being silenced by the left. He is touring the US talking about how he is being silenced. He has been invited on primetime TV to talk about being silenced. And he is complaining about being silenced to his 4 million followers on Twitter. Maybe I am missing something, but that doesnt exactly sound like being silenced to me.
And it is not just Trump Jr who loves to play the victim. A delusional victimhood complex is at the very heart of rightwing ideology. Immigrants are invading and stealing all the jobs. Jews are taking over the world. #MeToo is intent on destroying innocent mens lives. Gays are destroying family values. The right never see themselves as racists or bigots; they see themselves as victims who are fighting back against the imminent extinction of western civilisation. Forget being stoic or silenced; they are constantly triggered and they never shut up.
Posted: at 1:50 am
Nov. 9 To the Editor:
Spanish philosopher George Santayana said that, Those who cannot learn from history, are doomed to repeat it. A reflective look at world events today provides conclusive evidence to the truth of that statement. There has been a steady effort, by the left, to re-write, re-interpret, and in some cases omit, the historical accounts that fail to advance their narrative. It is fashionable to criticize the founding fathers by emphasizing flaws in their personal lives. The personal sacrifices made by them to establish the greatest country in the world, are ignored in order to castigate them for their individual imperfections. The great achievements of America have been de-emphasized by an increasing emphasis on mistakes and failures.
The left promotes a critical emphasis of our imperfections at the expense of recognizing the incredible force for good that America has provided throughout the world since its founding. It seems that we have forgotten the terrible cost we have paid to help those in need throughout the globe. We are now smothered in the vagaries of political correctness which lends credence to a litany of cockamamie ideas. The leftist thinking runs rampant in our nations school systems. Vladimir Lenin said, Give me your youth, and Ill transform the whole world. Therefore, our schools spend much time on political correctness issues and other facets of the leftist ideology at the expense of teaching the basics. Recent studies rank us as 27th in educational level, a drop from 6th in 1990! In 2015, a PEW study reported that 46% of K-12 students were considered below average in the sciences and math.
Any display of patriotism or respect for authority is belittled or condemned by the leftist leaning mob. Socialism has become popular despite the lessons of history, no longer taught or emphasized. Remember the wisdom of Santayana!
Read this article:
Posted: at 1:50 am
During the Russian revolution, most vestiges of the previous monarchical society were expunged in the attempt to take total control by the revolutionaries. It was the first step toward Communism.
In the process, a concerted effort to control thought and behavior was instigated. Undesirables were murdered. Statues were destroyed. History was rewritten. Speech was limited. The people were under the control of the Bolsheviks, members of the Russian Social Democratic Party which later became known as the Communist Party. Anarchy reigned. People died. Leaders controlled every aspect of life.
Does any of this sound familiar? Destroyed statues. Antifa anarchy. Political correctness. Great political and racial division. History revisionism. Devaluation of life.
America is now in the process of incrementally losing our once-revered freedoms through a similar, albeit seemingly benign, political and cultural upheaval that threatens to change our great American experiment . . . and not for the better.
Our education system fails to enlighten students on the benefits of capitalism versus feel-good, but never-successful, socialism. Capitalism has raised the lives of billions of people throughout the world. Socialism fails miserably every time its tried.
America had better wake up before its too late to reverse this abomination. It may already be too late.
Gayle Cranford, Fairview Township
Posted: at 1:49 am
TheNew York Times' Thomas Edsall has an axe to grind, and the paper loves to let him grind it. Edsall is convinced that the Democrats need to move to the center, in ways that will offend much of the party, in order to appeal to the moderate white swing voters he believes are the key to a Democratic victory in 2020.
Democrats will have to tackle issues that may alienate and even give offense to progressives, women, Latinos and African-Americans, Edsall preaches in his latest column (11/1/19). (Edsall repeatedly makes arguments like this, in which only cisgender, straight white men are never to be betrayed. See, for example, Whats a Non-Racist Way to Appeal to Working-Class Whites? NYTs Edsall Cant Think of Any,FAIR.org,3/30/18, and NYT Steers Dems Away From the Obvious Formula for Defeating Trump,FAIR.org,8/29/19.)
To seize the center, says theNew York Times' Thomas Edsall (11/1/19), Democrats have to be willing to alienate and even give offense to progressives, women, Latinos and African-Americans. (Note that this leaves a center that includes fewer than 30% of voters.)
Why is Edsall so convinced of this strategy? Well, in this column, he looks at evidence that Trump won because of his aversion to political correctness, and concludes that jumping on that train is how Democrats will win back the swing electorate.
To help him interpret his data and figure out how to save the Democratic Party, Edsall turns to a real spectrum of experts: A Republican lobbyist, a Republican pollster, a Republican consultant, another Republican consultant, a Republican Trump critic and the editor of a site that features many anti-Trump conservatives. Oh, and two professors to help balance things out one of whom argues that it would be utterly foolish for Democrats to move the Democratic Party further leftward, the other of whom worked for Kenneth Starrs Whitewater investigation.
At least as problematic, though, are the questions Edsall is asking. He plies these right-wing experts with questions about why immigration, identity politics and political correctness remain problematic for Democrats.
Melanye Price (New York Times,11/1/19) argues that Elizabeth Warren (and Julin Castro) seem most capable of building a multiethnic coalition of young people, whereas Bernie Sanders has made limited inroads in minority communitieseven though Warrens supporters are considerably older and much whiter than Sanders (Pew,8/16/19).
The problem here is twofold. First, persuading the swing electorate is not the only or clearly best way for Democrats to win, as the left always points out. TheTimesis not unaware of this, and in this instance they present Edsalls argument as part of a package; its accompanied in part by a column by Melanye Price (11/1/19), who makes the case for focusing on turning out the youth vote, which is increasingly not white, and increasingly leans heavily Democrat. (Its worth noting that while Price claims Elizabeth Warren and Julin Castro seem most capable of appealing to young people,Bernie Sandershas a much higher percentage of under-30 supporters and supporters of color than the other leading candidates.)
The demographic future of this country does not bode well for a party built on white supremacy, which is why the Republican Party is so intent on vote suppression and why a massive get-out-the-vote strategy would virtually ensure Democratic victory. (Whether thats what the Democratic Party establishment wants is another question.) Edsall himself actually acknowledges the turn-out-the-base option, but dismisses it with a quote from his anonymous Republican pollster: Democrats should focus on persuasion, because Trump will take care of mobilizing his opponents. If only it were so simple; ask Hillary Clinton about that one.
But second and not countered by an accompanying column: The swing electorate that cares only about immigration and identity politics is a myth. Peoples political opinions vary on a range of issues, so broad-brush labels like liberal, moderate and conservative are only so helpful in predicting what positions they hold or which issues are most important to them. The politics of a person who could vote in one election for Barack Obama and the next for Donald Trump obviously cant be captured with such a label.
Its true that Trump, more than any politician in recent U.S. history, turns out voters based on conservative identity politics. But he courted those same white working-class voters by bucking GOP orthodoxy with liberal economic positions most notably trade protectionism, but also disingenuouslyattacking Wall Street and falsely promisingto defend Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, which since the New Deal has been theparty of labor, has long been shifting to the right on economic policy, abandoning one of its core constituencies.
Never mind that a wealth tax, proposed by both Sanders and Warren, iswildlypopularamong general election voters. Never mind that Medicare for All is also verypopular although recent polls (including one cited by Edsall) indicate that support may be weakening under the massive coordinated attacks on the plan from the deep-pocketed health industry and their lackeys from both parties and the corporate media (FAIR.org,4/29/19,10/2/19).
Edsall wants Democratic candidates to appeal to those white working-class voters, not by offering them real economic succor, but by throwing the rest of the party under the bus. Of course thats what all theInexplicable Republican Best Friendsconsulted by Edsall advise (many of whom are explicitly anti-Trump) because doing so would essentially turn those candidates into models of the pre-Trump Republican Party.
And by balancing Edsalls column with three other columns that make no mention of economics, class, wealth, poverty or inequality, theTimesseems to be happily going along with the centrist smoke and mirrors.
Go here to see the original:
Posted: at 1:49 am
News organizations have devoted considerable resources to tallying and correcting thousands of misleading statements and outright lies made by President Trump and his supporters. At the same time, the president has frequently and falsely accused mainstream news organizations of disseminating fake news.
The threat to a free press and the political dangers posed by a culture of lying at the highest circles of government have already been widely reported. But there is another danger, an economic one, and it is worth pondering, too.
There is substantial evidence that if an atmosphere filled with lies or presumed lies spreads throughout a society, the effect might reduce economic growth rates. Years of incremental damage would result in a substantially lower level of economic well-being than would otherwise have existed.
The central reason is basic: An atmosphere generated by a steady flow and variety of lies is like a dark cloud over the facts. Businesses cant plan effectively when they dont know who or what can be trusted.
A critical question for the United States is the extent to which lying and mistrust have already permeated the entire culture. Alas, we dont have accurate, current data yet. But the World Values Survey includes a question that asks, Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you need to be careful in dealing with people? In the latest survey, done from 2010 through 2014, the United States ranked in the top 20 percent of countries on trust.
Day-to-day experience may suggest that among individuals, not that much has changed during Mr. Trumps presidency. After all, American honesty has been a powerful national narrative at least since the early 1800s. That was when Mason Locke Weems, known as Parson Weems, told the story of a young George Washingtons reply when asked if he had cut a prized cherry tree. According to this account, Washington said, I cant tell a lie, Pa; you know I cant tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet. This story remains in Americas collective memory, essentially having gone viral centuries ago. It wont be dislodged overnight.
Researchers have found that attitudes toward trust can linger for generations. Differences among people in the United States are often substantially explained by the attitudes that prevail in the countries of their ancestors. This accords with the view that long-term differences in economic success can be attributed to cultural attributes that may be embedded in relatively stable family values.
Nonetheless, lying erodes trust, and this process can be accelerated when publicity is given to lies. Young people in the United States who are just getting interested in politics and the news have seen only this period of rampant lying, and that might affect them for the rest of their lives.
The problem is complex. Trust isnt an all-or-nothing thing. People have prejudices. They may trust those belonging to one group, or in one kind of circumstance, and not others. Together, they may be spreading viral narratives praising honest entrepreneurs even as they spread narratives about a dishonest president. We have to hope loss of trust remains contained, though it is not clear it will be.
Measuring trust isnt simple, either. In his 1996 book, Trust, Francis Fukuyama, a scholar now at Stanford, examined the role of such social capital in producing economic success. In 2012, Friederike Welter of the University of Siegen in Germany found that there is great complexity and diversity to the behavior that we throw under the label of trust.
In talks with strong supporters of Mr. Trump, I have found that they are often willing to admit that he has rough edges. They suggest that all politicians have to play politics, and, like Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, they sometimes say we need to get over that. Being caught in lies seems to them to be no great shame. The greater picture, they say, is that the president has freed himself from the constraints of political correctness to state unpopular truths, and to fight for the interests of forgotten Americans. That view seems to show no diminution of a basic sense of the importance of honesty.
Lets hope that it does not. In fact, it is reasonable to hope through this period of polarization that the narrative of fundamental American honesty suggested by the George Washington cherry tree story is still thriving, and will survive the present experience. However, we are living in an age unlike any other we have experienced in the United States, and we cant feel secure about the long-term outcome.
In the meantime, it may be helpful if we avoid demonizing people who are poles apart from us, and show that we share with others a faith in our ultimate trustworthiness. We will be happier and more successful if we can retain our basic values.
Robert J. Shiller is Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale.
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