Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Two More Articles about the US

On truth after Trump, here, and on the evil demons of our nature, here.

3 comments:

FrédéricLN said...

Great column Art! I tried to make a comment but encountered a connection issue and did not save it. I would just have put the symmetric issue: lie by omission. Lie by not "saying the truth". E.g. that a regime that went at war 14 years ahead against "islamic terrorism" and did not succeed (while the immensely powerful Hitler regime was destroyed in 6 years) has something wrong. That a system that let financial self-correlated assets invade all sectors of economy (and destroy, in a way, the bases of micro-economy), still 8 years after a major financial crises, has something wrong. And that the agenda of Democrats, or of traditional Republicans, does not fix that.

I think that Trump's victory will very likely make things (much) worse, in these areas, instead of making them better. But — did the Democrats, or the traditional Republicans, tell the truth?

I just try to underscore truth is not only about avoiding falsehood. It is also about the scope, about what you are talking about.

You Art do talk about deep issues. But do many candidates?

FrédéricLN said...

Now read the second paper, in The American Prospect. Great. Dignifying intelligence despite "This is medieval times", as you quote the President-elect saying.

BTW, is Marx was right in thinking that economic structures determine social structure, yes this is medieval times. The "e-conomy" (Michel Volle) that replaced industrial economy, since the 3rd industrial revolution (software+microcomputer), is organized vertically, as was the feudal economy. The only difference is that the regions controlled by local forces are not necessarily geographic regions.

And yes, democracy is harder to achieve in medieval social structures, than it was in the horizontal, "unidimensional" world of the industrial era, "la société de consommation". And truth too is more difficult to use as a common reference.

When I was a child, we feared a Third World War, a nuclear one. Now this fear is quite over.

I find this sentence on linguee, from the site of the Canadian Parliament, so, totally regardless of the context:

"if we were to cut and run now, the country would go back to the dark ages within a week."

I read yesterday the second volume of "La Présidente", the comic book about Ms Le Pen winning in 2017. The second volume is about the 2021-2022 campaign. It is almost as realistic, "inconveniently true", as the first one. The title is "Totalitaire". And yet the authors were overoptimistic — they supposedClinton would win in 2016 ad lose to Trump only in 2020. Suggested reading!

Daniel Gordon said...

Art Goldhammer's article on truth after Trump is brilliant, and brilliantly written. It reminded me of Hannah Arendt's 1976 article, "Politics and Truth." That article contains the following:

Political thought is representative. I form an opinion by considering a given issue
from different viewpoints, by making present to my mind the standpoints of those
who are absent; that is, I represent them. This process of representation does not
blindly adopt the actual views of those who stand somewhere else, and hence look
upon the world from a different perspective; this is a question neither of empathy, as
though I tried to be or to feel like somebody else, nor of counting noses and joining
a majority but of being and thinking in my own identity where actually I am not.
The more people’s standpoints I have present in my mind while I am pondering a
given issue, and the better I can imagine how I would feel and think if I were in
their place, the stronger will be my capacity for representative thinking and the more
valid my final conclusions, my opinion.

The opposite of this, according to Arendt, are "the modes of thought and communication that deal with truth," which Arendt describes as "domineering."

So I understand Arthur to be saying,, among other things, that Trump presented falsehoods as if they were undeniable truths, portraying as ignorant or blind or evil all those who would deny his "truths."

Perhaps lying is the generic outcome of the politics of truth: a political conversation in which there is no conversation, no debate among opinions but only the assertion of what every rational person allegedly recognizes.

My addition to this conversation would be to ask all those denouncing Trump, on any basis, to see him as a phenomenon who mirrors ideas and practices occurring simultaneously on the Left--not just on the Right. There is hardly a single feature of his rhetoric, including racism, that doesn't have an analogue on the Left. And the practice of presenting opinions as if they were patent truths is all too widespread in the academy--not just, not even primarily, on the Right. Daniel Gordon