Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, March 29, 2019

Blog Roundup

1. As if it weren't bad enough that this was the first time a "MARS" candidate has won an election, the Trump Presidency has caused lots of collateral damage:

[Trump's] core constituency supports him unquestioningly. He calls them "my followers," and they attend his rallies, vote for the candidates he endorses and give him the adulation he desperately seeks. They have helped him co-opt the right. The better Republicans have been driven out and the worst ones entrenched. The few, isolated defenders of a free market have nowhere to turn for political support. There is no significant faction fighting against Trump's war on trade. Today, the right -- the intellectual leaders and the mass followers -- consists predominantly of nativists, who want to "make America great" by expanding the power of the state and regressing to the tribalism of centuries past.
For more, please read the rest of "Has the Right Been Eviscerated by Trump?" by Peter Schwartz.

2. In case you've ever wondered, Jason Crawford has you covered in "Why AC Won the Electricity Wars" at The Roots of Progress:
I recently finished the book Empires of Light, by Jill Jonnes, about the "War of the Electric Currents" -- AC vs DC -- that took place as the electricity industry was getting established in the late 1800s. It is a common story in technology: two competing standards, with ardent proponents of each. But DC was doomed from the start -- not for lack of backers, since it was favored by the world-renowned Thomas Edison, but by physics and economics. [link in original]
I usually quote the most important or essential passage when I do roundups, but it would be a spoiler if I did that in this case. Enjoy.

3. At New Ideal we learn that the idea of civility is being used in a "package deal" to attack freedom of speech:
[W]e see the language of civility used to blur the difference between speech and coercion. It is simply obfuscation to claim, as [Atlantic writer Vann] Newkirk does, that appealing to “nonviolent activism” precludes using “shame and confrontation as tools.” One can shame and confront without initiating force, as [proprietress Stephanie] Wilkinson did at the Red Hen restaurant. Would a demand for nonviolent activism serve to scold her? No. But for Newkirk, “confrontation” is code for threats, intimidation, and coercion, which is what he is trying to legitimize.
This is hardly surprising: Back in suburban Baltimore, where I used to live, I recall seeing "Choose Civility" bumper stickers and thinking, "What a polite-sounding way to say, Shut up!"

4. At the blog of the Center for Industrial Progress, Alex Epstein posts links to a video in which he explains a persuasion technique he calls arguing to 100:
I've mentioned this concept on past episodes of Power Hour, but this is the most in-depth explanation of the concept and how to apply it I've ever shared publicly.
Said video is embedded above.

-- CAV


Today: Fixed a formatting error. 


SteveD said...

It occurred to me while reading Peter Schwartz's piece, that at some point the left and right become indistinguishable and the terms themselves meaningless. He uses the term pro capitalist right at the end but maybe the point is that the right has now become the left, and there is nothing remaining to fight over except details.

The recent disagreements over how to label Trump (is he left wing, centrist or right wing) illustrate this point.

Gus Van Horn said...

That and pro-capitalists do not have a real political home on the "right".