Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Trump's consistency and foolish academics

A NY Times op-ed writes:
But the most highly educated Americans — those who have attended graduate or professional school — are starting to come together as a political bloc.

Last month, the Pew Research Center released a study showing that nearly a third of those who went to graduate or professional school have “down the line” liberal views on social, economic and environmental matters, whereas this is true for just one in 10 Americans generally. An additional quarter of postgrads have mostly liberal views. These numbers reflect drastic change: While professionals have been in the Democratic column for a while, in 1994 only 7 percent of postgrads held consistently liberal political opinions.
There are various explanations. The most obvious is that academia is subject to groupthink. Right-wingers are tolerant of others having independent views, but left-wingers require conformity.

In case you think postgrads are better at analyzing politics, just look at the silly things they say about Donald Trump. Even philosophy professors fail to grasp elementary logic.

Michael P. Lynch, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, writes:
Consistency, Emerson said, is the hobgoblin of little minds. Perhaps no one in American public life channels this thought more than Donald J. Trump. He not only doesn’t fear contradiction, he embraces it. And he is downright scornful of those little minds that are bothered by his performances.

Mr. Trump’s willingness to be inconsistent — even in a single interview, or the same speech — has baffled political strategists for months. Even more puzzling is his followers’ happy toleration of it. ...

In George Orwell’s “1984,” the protagonist is tortured until he agrees that two plus two equals five. The point, his torturer makes clear, is to make him see that there is no objective truth other than what the party says is true. That’s the deep power of contradiction.
No, the point is to make him accept what the party says, whether it is true or not.

The Left depends on denying objective truth. Currently, the Obama administration is obsessed with denying the existence of male-female distinctions.

Emerson did not say that. He wrote in Self-Reliance:
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
Lynch's article does not give an example of a Trump inconsistency. The closest is to point out that Trump disavowed David Duke, but refused to make a blanket disavowal of other unspecified groups. Trump also said he loves Hispanics, but not the one who come here illegally and commit nasty crimes. These are not inconsistencies at all.

Trump has, of course, revised his position on some issues, and had to occasionally had to issue a clarification after he misspoke. But Lynch is not concern with those examples.

Newspapers like the NY Times seem clueless about Trump's popularity. They just do not get it.

It is nutty for Lynch to say that people like him for his inconsistency. The truth is more nearly the opposite. Trump has been in the public eye for decades, and he is an authentic man who is just what he appears to be. He opinions show a consistent world view. He is much more consistent than Hillary Clinton.


Anonymous said...

Really ? How can you possibly say that Trump hasn't been inconsistent regarding David Duke ?

Recently, Trump said, “I just don’t know anything about him and also said, ”OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him."

Doesn't know anything about him ? He knows quite a bit about Duke and has spoken about him many times over the past 25 years. Here's just a few things Trump has said about Duke before claiming that he knows nothing about Duke...

IN 2000, Trump called Duke “a bigot, a racist, a problem.”

IN 2000, "And now the latest word, I hear he’s getting support from David Duke. Well, I can’t be part of that."

IN 2000, "Well, you’ve got David Duke just joined — a bigot, a racist, a problem. I mean, this is not exactly the people you want in your party."

IN 1991 "Well, I think if they run, or even if David Duke — I mean, George Bush was very, very strong against David Duke. I think if he had it to do again, he might not have gotten involved in that campaign because I think David Duke now, if he runs, takes away almost exclusively Bush votes and then a guy like Cuomo runs — I think Cuomo can win the election."

In 1991 Trump said George H.W. Bush was right “to come out against” Duke’s campaign, and “I hate seeing what it represents,” Trump said, referring to what he called the “anger vote.”

How can you say all of that and more about someone that you claim, " I just don't know anything about him" ? You can't while sounding at all sincere. Trump knows all about Duke. My guess is that Trump was caught very much off guard and was COMPLETELY INCONSISTENT.

Recently you sided with Trump's position on women being punished for abortions. You said,
"He is asked a hypothetical question about if abortion is outlawed, would the lawbreakers be punished? He said that there would have to be some sort of penalty for doing something illegal. Isn't that the definition of illegal? " and "Trump is on the right side of all those issue, while the Democrats are wrong."

Within a day or two, Trump had already claimed that he didn't think women should be punished. So, Trump is wrong, on the wrong side of the issue and is wrong like the Democrats, and anything but consistent.

Roger said...

Trump was asked to disavow support from unspecified groups. He did not know who those groups were, and probably did not know whether Duke had endorsed him. Maybe Trump did know about Duke's campaign in 1991, but that was 25 years ago.

He was right to refuse to make a blanket disavowal of people he does not even know.

The President does not write the abortion laws. He eventually had to tell people something, when they were too dumb to understand what he said in the first place.

Your message exemplifies Emerson's quote. Trump's message is entirely consistent, if you look at the context.

Anonymous said...

Looking at Trump's previous statements, it's obvious that Trump knew exactly who these groups are and exactly what they stood for. Trump discusses it. Trump DID know that Duke had endorsed him. Trump was told about it. It's what prompted Trump's response about knowing nothing about Duke.

Asked if he would publicly reject the support of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said, “I just don’t know anything about him.”

So, Trump knew all about Duke in 1991 and he knew all about Duke in 2000, and he knew all about Duke and what he was being asked about Duke's supposrt in 2016. It can rationally, be said that he does not even know these people when he's said so much about them in the past.

Of course the president doesn't write the abortion laws. Trump was asked his opinion, and then changed his opinion within 48 hours. That's fine, but it's not at all consistent.

Anonymous said...

Remember that Trump promised to build the wall ? Well he might not build that wall anymore he says. His taxes he promised to turn over ? Well, he's not going to turn them over anymore. Remember how he promised that he'd be self-funded ? Well, he's not going to be self-funded anymore, either. You think he's consistent ? I don't. The only thing he's been consistent about is being inconsistent.

Roger said...

You do realize, don't you, that the President's power is limited. He needs Congress to go along. The House of Reps writes the tax law, not the President.

Anonymous said...

"Of course the president doesn't write the abortion laws." I wrote this above. What makes you think that I wouldn't realize that the president doesn't write the laws after I wrote that ??

Trump was asked his opinion, and then changed his opinion within 48 hours. That's fine, but it's not at all consistent. Obviously, Trump is inconsistent regarding many issues.

Trump said, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump said at a campaign rally here." He's right. Trump supporters don't care what Tump says or does. They follow him like sheep or Charles Manson followers.